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.
They had a founding mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.
Kershaw also has a strong commitment to innovation. They pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”
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 going over the Kershaw Strobe Flipper knife.
The blade is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. The easiest steel to compare this steel to is AUS8A. For everyday use, it is going to be complicated 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.” The steel on this knife has been hardened to a 57-59 HRC.
The blade on this knife has been finished with a stonewashed finish. A stonewashed finish is created by tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also working to make a less reflective look than a brushed or satin finished blade. There are actually a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type of finish the blade has before it enters the tumbler. A very major advantage of a stonewashed blade is that it is going to be low maintenance and keep its look through time.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a popular blade shape in the cutlery industry. It is created by having the spine of the knife go from the handle to about halfway up the blade before it turns and continues to the point of the blade. This section looks as if it is clipped out, and is named the clip, which is where the name of the knife shape came from. The clip can be either curved or straight, but on the strobe, it is straight. The clip creates a lowered point, which gives the user plenty of control over their cuts. The blade shape also has a very large belly, which makes slicing a piece of cake. One of the disadvantages of a clip point blade shape is that because the tip is fine, sharp, and narrow, it does have a tendency to break off or chip, especially when being used on hard targets. However, because of those same characteristics, the clip point is going to excel at stabbing.
The handle on this knife is made out of 410 steel with K-Texture grip overlays. Steel is going to provide durability to the handle and knife as well as being incredibly resistant to corrosion. Unfortunately, it is not lightweight and is often slippery. The slipperiness of the steel is combatted on this knife with the K-Texture, which is an exclusive texture and pattern used on the handle of certain Kershaw knives. K-Texture provides an extremely secure grip. The overall benefits of a steel handle is that it is going to be strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. The overall cons of a steel handle is that it is going to be heavy and it can be slippery.
The handle on his knife is designed for a great grip. The spine curves slowly toward the butt of the handle. About 2/3rds of the way down, a row of extreme jimping starts. This jimping is going to provide the user with the ability to really have control when they are using this knife. The belly of the handle does have a finger guard that is enhanced significantly with the flipper when the knife is opened. There is a slight finger groove that also has jimping in it to give the user an even more secure grip. The belly of the knife bulges out before curving towards the butt of the handle. The handle is outlined in steel, because the K-Texture does take up the majority of the handle. The steel on this knife is satin while the K-Texture is black, which provides a very sleek looking contrast.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip that is reversible. The pocket clip is black, which matches the middle portion of the handle. The clip has been slightly skeletonized at the top, which will cut down on weight.
This is a deep carry clip, which means that it is going to fit as deep in your pocket as it can. This is nice because you can move about throughout your day without worrying about the knife falling out of it. This knife is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make the knife ambidextrous. That being said, it is not reversible for either tip up or tip down carry. This knife has only been drilled for tip up carry. Some people do not like tip up carry, because if the knife accidentally opens in their pocket and they reach in, it is likely that they would slice their hands. However, this is a manual knife, so that is not going to be an issue for the Kershaw Strobe.
This knife is a manual knife which means that there is no mechanical assist, such as SpeedSafe, used to open the folding knife. This knife is going to open the classic, old-school way. That being said, it is equipped with the KVT ball-bearing opening system. The Kershaw KVT ball-bearing system makes one-handed opening of your knife fast and easy—without the need for a mechanical assist. While SpeedSafe assisted opening uses a torsion bar to help move the knife blade out the handle, KVT relies on a ring of “caged” ball bearings that surround the knife’s pivot. (“Caged” means the ball bearings are secured within a ring that surrounds the pivot. It keeps the ball bearings in place, while allowing them to rotate freely.) When the user pulls back on the built-in flipper, the blade rotates out of the handle as the ball bearings roll in place. KVT makes one-handed opening quick, easy, and smooth as butter.
This knife is also equipped with a flipper, which 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. A flipper helps to enable fast and easy one-handed opening as well as being ambidextrous. To open a Kershaw manual knife that has a flipper, Hold the knife handle in one hand with the butt end resting firmly in the palm of your hand. Place your index finger on the highest point of the flipper. Push down strongly and quickly on the flipper. The blade will move out of the handle and lock into place. (If you have trouble moving the blade fully out of the handle, add a slight flip of the wrist.)
This knife also has been equipped with a frame lock. 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 lock bar, 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 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 blade on this knife measures in at 3.3 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.25 inches long. The overall length of this knife measures in at 7.5 inches when it is opened. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces, which is a good weight for a knife that you can have with you at all times. This knife is not going to be too heavy to have with you, but it is going to give you the heft that will get you through your tasks.
When Kershaw is describing this knife, they say, “Knife users who love the look of Kershaw’s Diskin Hunter—but would love it even more in a manual folding knife—now have their wish.
The Strobe takes the sweeping lines of the Diskin Hunter and turns them into a smaller, folding pocketknife. The clip-point blade offers a deep belly and opens with a handy flipper.
Thanks to the Strobe’s KVT ball-bearing opening system, the blade opens smoothly and easily; just pull back on the flipper. A washer with caged ball bearings surrounds the pivot joint and the bearings rotate as the blade moves out of the handle to ensure quick, one-handed opening. A frame lock provides secure lockup.
The blade is heat treated to Kershaw’s demanding specifications to bring out the best qualities in the steel, then stonewashed. The slim handle is characteristic of a Diskin knife and fits the hand securely. K-Texture™ handle overlays in glass-filled nylon provide additional grip.
The pocket clip is reversible for left/right-handed carry. Even better? It’s a deep-carry pocket clip so that it rides comfortably down in the pocket.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.