Kershaw Leek Spring Assist Knife Review

Kershaw Knives designs and manufactures a wide range of knives, including pocket knives, sporting knives, and kitchen cutlery. Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd., a member of the Kai Group, and is headquartered in Tualatin Oregon.

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 US 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.

Kai USA Ltd. has three lines of products; Kershaw Knives brand of sporting and pocket knives, Shun Cutlery, which are handcrafted Japanese kitchen cutlery, and Zero Tolerance, which is a line of premium and professional knives.

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, Grand and Gavin hawk, Frank Centofante, Rick Hinderer, RJ Martin, and more.

In 2002, Kershaw released a Steven Seagal model featuring stingray leather on the handle. IN 2004, Kershaw developed a multi-tool for the National Geographic Society with National Geographic filmmaker Bryan Harvey. Kershaw has also released models in collaboration with Jeep, Orange County Choppers, the American Professional Rodeo Association, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Kershaw was founded in 1974 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 pocket knife, a hunting knife, or a special collector’s 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.

If this is your first Kershaw, you should prepare yourself, because even though it will last you a lifetime, you’re going to want a lot more Kershaw’s.

Today, we will be going over the Kershaw Leek. This version of the Leek is equipped with Carbon Fiber handle scales, a CPM 154 stonewashed blade, and is spring assisted. Get ready for it to rock your world.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM 154 stainless steel. This is a relatively hard steel which is considered an upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. IT has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. This is a powder steel that has used Crucible Particle Metallurgy. The Particle Metallurgy process makes finer carbide particles resulting in a slightly superior steel that’s tougher and with better edge retention.

This blade has been finished with a stonewash finish. This finish is created by literally rolling the steel with pebbles. After the blade has been tumbled with the pebbles, it is removed, smoothed out, and polished. This creates a very rugged, well-worn look to your knife. There are a variety of benefits that come with it because the stonewash finish preserves the look of the blade overtime. The stonewash finish hides scratches and smudges, which takes maintenance time down significantly, especially when compared to other knife finishes.

This blade has been carved into a Wharncliffe style blade. The Wharncliffe blade is very similar to the sheepsfoot blade shape, but should not be confused with each other. The Wharncliffe is very much like a standard blade shape that has been turned upside down. This type of blade has a totally flat cutting edge and the spine of the blade drops gradually until the tip forms a point. There are a couple of stories as to how the name Wharncliffe came to be, with some people claiming that the pattern originated many years ago with some of the patterns used for Scandinavian Seax Knives and others claiming that it came from a British Lord who commissioned the knife to be made. There were several Lord Wharncliffe that the blade shape could have been named after, but the actual name Wharncliffe did not exist prior to 1822, which means it was named after that point in history. Regardless of history, the Wharncliffe is a very useful blade shape. It is fantastic for people who work in the office for opening boxes and envelopes, and definitely excels in box cutter type chores. This blade shape is not very good for preparing food and skinning as the lack of a belly makes it difficult of cutting soft tissue and using on a cutting board. As a general guideline to differentiate a Sheepsfoot and a Wharncliffe is that a Sheepsfoot blade has an abruptly curving spine at the tip of the knife, creative very little point. The Wharncliffe has a more gradually tapering spine creating a pointier tip, and is consequently more fragile.

The Kershaw Leek sports a plain edge. The plain edge is better than the serrated when the application involves push cuts. Also, the plain edge is superior when extreme control accuracy, and clean cuts are necessary, regardless of whether or not the job is push cuts or slices. The plain edges will also give you much cleaner cuts, which are excellent for your everyday tasks.

Kershaw Leek Spring Assist Knife
Kershaw Leek Spring Assist Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Carbon fiber and features stainless steel liners. Carbon fiber is a generic term for any material that is made by weaving together strands of carbon which are then set into a resin. As such, the material is going to be as good as it’s made. Kershaw makes great carbon fiber, so this shouldn’t be a worry for you. Carbon fiber is going to be very lightweight and completely resistant to rust and corrosion because it is a nonmetallic material. This material is also going to be stronger than a stainless steel. Unfortunately, this material does have the tendency to be rather brittle, and because the strands of carbon are woven in a single direction the material is rather brittle. This means that if it gets hit with a hard or sharp object, it will probably crack. This material is also on the more expensive side of the spectrum. Because the fibers are woven together, the weave reflects light in different ways. You can achieve some nice looking results in the handle. In this Kershaw knife, the handle looks as if a basket was woven together. Carbon Fiber handles are strong, lightweight, and eye-catching. Unfortunately, do the labor intensive process, it is not cheap.

The handle features stainless steel liners. Stainless steel provides excellent durability and resistance to corrosion but it is pretty heavy. This weight is perfect for giving your knife a little bit of extra heft to get the tougher tasks done. Stainless steel is very durable as well, which makes it the perfect option for a knife liner.

This is a pretty simple handle shape. There is a shallow, elongated finger guard on the bottom of the handle. The spine of the handle has a slight curve to it to give you a more comfortable grip when you are working with this knife.

The butt of the handle is rounded and there is a lanyard hole carved into it. Many people who have an EDC like the convenience of having a knife with them everywhere they go, however, they don’t always love using the pocket clip. Some people feel like the pocket clip tears up their pockets on their pants, and others are more worried about the clip giving away that they are carrying a knife with them. If you attach a lanyard to your knife, you can easily hide your knife deeper in your pocket, the clip won’t give you away, and you still have it on hand so that you have access to it at all times. Plus, when you are using the pocket clip, it will take you a little longer to pull your knife out than if you were using a lanyard instead.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is a reversible pocket clip, but you can only attach it on the traditional side of the handle. The pocket clip shapes mimic the shape of the handle. This pocket clip and the two screws that attach it to the knife are black, just like the rest of the hardware.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a spring assisted knife. These knives differ from automatic knives in that you use your hand to partially open the blade rather than a button or lever. Anything with a button on the handle is considered an automatic switchblade and is subject to stricter regulations. The mechanisms inside the knife is what makes a spring assisted knife a spring assisted knife and not an automatic knife. Despite the difference in the mechanism, the overall deployment of a spring assist knife is very similar to that of an automatic knife. There are many different variations on the mechanism that makes a spring assist knife work. But, they will have a spring or tension bar that is designed to spring open the blade into locked positon. What makes them different from an automatic knife is that there is resistance after the blade is closed that will keep it closed until the resistance is overcome. Once the resistance is overcome, the spring engages and does the rest of the work opening the knife for you. But, because they have a different opening mechanism a spring assisted knife is not subjected to the same strict laws as an automatic knife.

This Kershaw knife features two opening mechanisms—it has the flipper and the thumb stud. The thumb stud acts similarly to the nail nick—you grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. The flipper is a shark’s fin shape that protrudes from the handle. You pull back on this protrusion and it flips the blade open. Many people like the flipper because it is naturally ambidextrous and it keeps your fingers out of the way during the entire opening process—keeping your phalanges safe.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3 inches long, with the handle measuring in at 4 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 7 inches long. Because of the lightweight handle material, this knife weighs in at a measly 2.2 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

The Conclusion:

The Kershaw Leek series has remained as one of Kershaw’s most popular spring assist knives thanks in part to its ultra-slim profile and versatile blade design. This liner lock designed model features Kershaw’s patented SpeedSafe™ system, which quickly deploys the blade via the ambidextrous spine flipper function or the built-in dual thumb stud feature. The Leek also includes a small slide safety located on lower-rear of the back handle scale to help keep the blade at bay until you are ready to use it. This model, the 1660CF, features a smooth carbon fiber handle, stainless steel liners, a Wharncliffe style blade in a stonewash finish and a reversible pocket clip designed for tip up or tip down carry on the traditional side of the handle. The maintenance on this knife will be light because of the stonewash finish that extends the look of the blade. The 154 stainless steel has great edge retention. The handle is durable, but still aesthetically pleasing. Pick up your Kershaw Leek with a carbon fiber handle today at BladeOps.