Kershaw Knives designs and manufactures a wide range of knives, including pocketknives, sporting knives, and kitchen cutlery. Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd., a member of the KAI Group, headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon, United States.
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. Early manufacturing was primarily 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.
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 more.
Kershaw says, “If this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back. We’ve got some cool new blades to show you—along with a wide selection of your favorites. For design, innovation, quality, and genuine pride of ownership, Kershaw is the one.”
Today we will be discussing Kershaw’s Showtime Flipper Assisted Knife.
This knife was designed by Todd Rexford. Todd says, “My fascination with knives began as a young boy attending numerous gun shows with my father. Every now and again I was able to pick out a knife for myself and soon my collection began to grow. As I got older, sport shooting, hunting, fishing, and automobiles consumed my life. I went to work in my father’s garage and continued on to college in order to obtain my engineering degree.
After college I continued to work in the garage until I moved out of state. It was then my fascination with knife-making began. Starting with simple machinery and hand files (plus lots of blood and sweat), I produced my first knife. From then on the addiction was set in stone. I strive to learn and improve the skills and designs I use on my knives with every piece that leaves the grinder. New materials and procedures are coming out every day and I take a lot of joy in learning everything possible about what works, and what does not when it comes to edged tools.”
The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. 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. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” This steel has been hardened to an HRC 57–59.
The blade has been finished in two different ways. The first is a black oxide coating and the second is a satin finish. The satin finish is on the flats and the black oxide is on the rest of the blade. The two finishes combine to create a tuxedo-like look. The black oxide is created with a chemical bath that converts the surface of the steel to magnetite. Kershaw uses this coating on some blades and pocket clips, mainly for appearance, though it does add some corrosion resistance. The satin finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine sandpaper. Kershaw says that their satin finish will “typically show a faint pattern of vertical lines across the blade. It is a shinier finish than bead-blasting and somewhat lighter in color.”
The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point shape. This is the most popular blade shape on the market and for good reason: it is crazy versatile as well as being crazy tough. The spine of the blade reaches from the handle to the point in a slow curve. This curve creates a lowered, or dropped, point, which is where the knife shape got its name. The dropped point is also going to allow you to more easily control the knife, which is why it is a good option for detail work or clean cuts. The dropped point is also broad, which is where the classic strength comes from. The drop point blade shape is more capable of tougher tasks than the blade shapes similar to it, such as the clip point. The drop point also has a very large belly, which is going to make slicing an easy chore—perfect for an EDC. The only drawback to a drop point blade shape is that because of the broad tip, you do lose out on some of your piercing or stabbing capabilities.
The handle is made out of steel that has been coated with a black-oxide coating. The stainless steel is an alloy of iron and carbon; most steel also has additional elements alloyed in it to enhance specific characteristics. Stainless steels contain chromium to enable them to withstand rusting. Stainless steel is going to be incredibly durable as well as being highly resistant to corrosion. However, it is not going to be a lightweight handle material. Also, stainless steel handles can be slippery, which means that the manufacturer has to manually add in etchings, ridges, or grooves to give the user the appropriate levels of grip. The overall pros to a stainless steel knife is that it is strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. The overall cons are that it is going to be heavy and it might not offer you the best grip.
The handle is sleek, just like the rest of the knife. This knife looks like a James Bond outfit, so only the sleekest shape would do. The spine of the handle is straight, with only a slight angle towards the butt of the handle. The belly of the handle does have a large finger guard that is only enhanced by the flipper when the knife is opened. There are two elongated finger grooves on the belly. These will give you a more comfortable grip as well as giving you something to hold onto that will give you a more solid grip.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps make this knife completely ambidextrous. However, it can only be attached for tip up carry, which is a drawback because that is the more dangerous of the two ways to carry a knife. This is a deep carry pocket clip, which means that the knife is going to stay more secure and snug in your pocket. The knife can also be more easily concealed. The knife is black, which blends in with the back handle scale. The pocket clip is kept in with black screws, although the bulk of the hardware is actually silver.
This is an assisted opening knife that has been equipped with a flipper, the SpeedSafe opening mechanism, and a frame lock.
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 enables fast and easy one-handed opening. It is also ambidextrous, which means that it is going to work for left and right handers. To open a knife with a flipper and the SpeedSafe mechanism, Hold the knife handle vertically in one hand. Place your index finger on the top of the flipper. Gently apply downward pressure on the flipper or push outwards on the thumb stud. SpeedSafe opens the knife quickly and easily, and the blade locks into place. Keep fingers away from blade edge while closing.
The SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push pull back on the flipper. The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. 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 position, ready for use. So how safe is the SpeedSafe? It is very safe. When the user overcomes the resistance of the torsion bar, SpeedSafe assists in opening the knife. Once opened, a locking system secures the blade in position so that it does not close accidentally. When releasing the lock, the blade won’t snap shut due to resistance provided by the torsion bar. Since the torsion bar provides a bias towards the closed position, it will normally hold the blade securely closed. New SpeedSafe users can ensure safe use of the technology by practicing to proficiency.
In a frame lock knife, the knife handle—its “frame”—consists of two plates of material on either side of the blade. To ensure a secure lock up, one or both of these plates is usually metal. When the knife is opened, the metal side of the frame, the lockbar, butts up against the backend of the blade (the tang) 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 position. Both the blade tang and the lockbar 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 blade on this knife measures in at 3 inches long. The handle on this knife measures in at 4 inches even. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 6.75 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.7 ounces, which is a really good weight for an everyday carry knife such as this one.
When Kershaw is discussing this knife, they say, “The Kershaw Showtime, designed by Todd Rexford, is not exactly a traditional “gentleman’s” knife. Which means that it could be exactly what the non-traditional gentleman is looking for.
With its 3-inch blade, the Showtime is a convenient size for pocket carry—whether you’re dressed up or down. The blade features a two-toned finish: black-oxide on the grinds and satin-polish on the flats. 8Cr13MoV stainless steel enables the Showtime’s blade to take and hold its edge.
The Showtime opens elegantly with the built-in flipper and our SpeedSafe assisted opening. And there’s no thumb stud to interrupt the clean, streamlined looks.
The handle is steel, black-oxide coated, and contoured for a solid grip. A frame lock ensures secure lock up. The decorative hex pivot enhances the Showtime’s showoff good looks. The pocket clip is reversible for left- or right-handed carry and because it’s also a deep-carry clip, carrying is always discreet.”
You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps and have a very sleek EDC.