Kershaw Fringe Knife Review

The Kershaw Fringe

Kershaw Knives designs and manufactures a wide range of knives, that ranges from pocket knives to sporting knives to kitchen cutlery.

Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs. The early manufacturing was mostly done in Japan. In 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the KAI Group. In 1997 the U.S. production facility was opened in Wilsonville Oregon. Due to an expanding market, the facilities were moved to a larger production site in 2003. Currently, Kai USA manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin, Oregon with some goods coming from their Japanese and Chinese factories. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions.

Kershaw has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers over the years to produce ground-breaking knives. Collaborations include working with Hall of Fame Knife Maker, Ken Onion on Kershaw’s SpeedSafe knives, Ernest Emerson, Grant and Gavin Hawk, Frank Centofante, Rick Hinderer, RJ Martin, and plenty others.

Kershaw has a commitment to innovation and has actually pioneered many of the technologies that are now standard in the knife industry. They promise to keep on innovating, bring new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife using public.

Today we will be discussing the brand new Kershaw Fringe.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This steel has been known to be the equivalent of AUS8A—and it is true. To someone who just likes having a knife with them for their convenience and even to a knife enthusiast, it would be tricky to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13moV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. However, there are differences to the two formulas. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. Of course, when it comes to a Kershaw knife, you can expect the best quality. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edges, strength, and hardness. 8Cr13MoV is high quality Chinese steel and Kershaw knows that they can make it work for their customers. One of the biggest advantages to this steel is how inexpensive it is, which keeps the overall cost of the knife down considerably.

The blade has been finished with a titanium carbo-nitride coating. Kershaw uses this coating to produce an attractive dark grey blade coating. It also increases the blade’s hardness, helps maintain the edge, and increases the overall lifetime of the blade. The coating helps to make an already good steel even better.

The blade on this knife is a drop point blade style. This is one of the most popular blade shapes in the cutlery industry and for good reason: it is tough and versatile. The spine of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curving manner. Because it curves toward the tip, it creates a lowered tip, which gives the user more control and allows them to work on fine tip work. The tip on the drop point style is broad, which is where the bulk of the strength comes from. It is this strength that sets the drop point style apart from similar styles such as the clip point. The strength allows the user to take on almost any task without worrying about the tip snapping. This blade shape is very versatile because of the large belly that it boasts. The belly makes slicing easier which is vital in an everyday knife.

This knife does have a plain edge, which allows you to take on a wider variety of tasks.

 

The Handle:

             The handle is made out of stainless steel that has been coated with the same titanium carbo-nitride. The front of the handle has a carbon fiber insert.

Stainless steel already has high durability, but the titanium carbo-nitride makes it even more durable. Stainless steel also has the benefit of having a high resistance to corrosion. Unfortunately, stainless steel is rather heavy and can be pretty slippery. Kershaw combats these two issues by having the back of the handle full stainless steel, but the front has a carbon fiber inlay, which is very low weight. The carbon fiber inlay is extremely textured to give you enough grip to not notice the slickness of the stainless steel like you normally would.

Carbon fiber is a material that has thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven and then set in resin. This material is very strong, very lightweight, but unfortunately, it is expensive. While carbon fiber is very strong, it is not indestructible and does suffer from being brittle. This is because all of the carbon fibers have been woven together going in the same direction. In that specific direction, carbon fiber is going to be extremely strong. Once its stressed in any other direction, it will start to break apart or crack. The carbon fiber inlay looks to be woven like a traditional basket weave. Underneath the inlay, the stainless steel has been etched with arrow shapes to add additional texture and grip.

The handle of the Fringe is very curvy. There is a large finger groove that gives you a comfortable and safe place to rest your fingers and have a secure grip. In the finger groove, there is jimping, which secures your finger further from slipping. After the finger groove, there is a slow curve towards the butt. The spine of the handle has ergonomics that fit perfectly in your palm, even if it is for long periods of time. The butt of the handle is triangular.

To add a little more control, the portion of the blade near the handle has a short row of thick jimping to help you better control when doing fine detail work.

On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole carved in. It is rectangular oval and will fit any lanyard.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

The Kershaw Fringe
The Kershaw Fringe

The pocket clip on this knife is black, which is darker than the dark grey handle, so it does contrast with it a little bit. This is a deep carry pocket clip, which means that it will sit in your pocket deeper, helping to conceal the knife, while also keeping it very secure inside your pocket. Unfortunately, this is a single-positon pocket clip, which means that the pocket clip is in a fixed position on the knife handle. On the Fringe knife, it has been attached for left hand, tip-down carry. The clip is kept in place by two small, black screws, that match the rest of the hardware.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife, which is a type of folder that uses an internal mechanism to finish opening the blade once the user has partially opened it using the flipper. Because it is not fully automatic, it does not fall under the same strict laws that a fully automatic knife would.

The Kershaw Fringe uses a flipper to help with the opening of this knife. The flipper is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the user can pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. The flipper on this Kershaw knife is triangular with a flat top. Some of the bigger benefits to having a flipper instead of a thumb stud is that the flipper is not going to get in the way because it does not extend out of the blade. Second, when the knife is opened, the flipper acts as a finger guard, adding an extra element of safety. Third, because of the very design of a flipper, it is an ambidextrous opening system. And fourth, when you are using the flipper to open this knife, it keeps your fingers out of the blades path—making it a very safe mechanism to use.

This knife is also equipped with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe Assisted Opening Mechanism. Kershaw was the first company to bring SpeedSafe assisted opening knives to market, which in turn, launched a revolution in opening systems. This system was originally designed by Hall of Fame knife maker, Ken Onion. Kershaw says, “SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push on the blade’s thumb stud or pull back on the flipper.” On the Fringe, that is going to be a pull back on the flipper. They go on to say, “The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion ar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by “gravity;” it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the thumb stud or flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into positon, ready for use.”

The Fringe is also equipped with a frame lock mechanism. In a frame lock, the knife handle, or its frame, consist of two plates on either side of the blade. To ensure the most secure lock up, one of these sides is going to be made out of metal. When the knife is opened, the metal side of the frame, the lock bar, butts up against eh backend of the blade and prevents the blade from closing. To close a frame lock knife, the user pushes the frame to the side, unblocking the blade, and folds the blade back into the handle. Like locking liner knives, frame locks are manufactured so that the locking side of the frame is angled toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias toward the locked positon. Both the blade tang and the lock bar are precisely angled so they fit together for a secure, reliable lockup. The thickness of the frame material blocking the blade open makes the frame lock extremely sturdy.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4.1 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 7 inches long. This is a lighter knife, because of the handle material, weighing in at a mere 3.5 ounces. This weight makes it an exceptional option for your everyday carry knife, because you will hardly be able to tell when it’s in your pocket.


Conclusion:

When Kershaw is talking about this knife, they say, “The new Kershaw Fringe is out of the mainstream and anything but boring. With its gray titanium carbo-nitride coating on both blade and handle, as well as an attention-getting carbon-fiber insert, the Fringe is already a very attractive EDC. But it’s the things you don’t see at first glance that make it even better.

To ensure a comfortable carry, Kershaw has thinned the back handle, making the Fringe lighter than you’d expect for an all-steel pocketknife. A deep-carry clip enables you to carry it securely in the pocket, yet access is easy when you need it. The blade is 8Cr13MoV, a top-quality steel, precision heat-treated by Kershaw to bring out its high-performance qualities. It takes and holds an edge well, then resharpens easily. The gray coating further protects the blade from corrosion and gives it a sophisticated look. The blade opens quickly and easily with SpeedSafe assisted opening and the flipper or built-in thumb stud.

The Fringe’s handle is titanium carbo-nitride coated in gray with a large carbon-fiber insert that catches the light—and catches the eye. The blade locks securely in place during use thanks to a sturdy frame lock. Black hardware completes the classy look.”

You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.

 

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