Jan 26, 201995 views

What is the knife you wanted to love but couldn’t or the knife you never thought you’d own but love?

In the spirit of the upcoming Feb 14 festivities, what pointy thing broke or warmed your heart?

I wouldn't call it a "heartbreaker" because I've never purchased a single one, but anything Benchmade disappoints me. Don't get me wrong, they're wonderfully made knives, but I have two issues with them. The first and more minor issue: they all look the same. Well, not ALL of them, that's unfair hyperbole. Better to say a great many of their models look very similar, and their general design is classic, conservative. I love a "classic, conservative" design, but I also love wild, unique designs; modern, aggressive designs; balanced, subdued designs; etc. The point is I like diversity of design, and that's not Benchmades strong suit. The real problem though, and the reason I don't own, and have never owned a single BM is the cost vs what you get. And I don't think I'm cheap. I'm far from rich, but I will throw down when the time comes to invest in a really excellent knife. I just finished the purchase of my first single knife to exceed $1000; I have an entire knife roll--with most slots doubled up--of Microtech knives, including a Damascus UTX-70 hellhound, and a Stormtrooper Ultratech dagger; I have four true customs, including that recent $1K purchase, and a Marfione Customs MSG3 (a "cheap" version, no meteor inlays or mirror polishing, but still custom). On the other hand, I also have some Chinese knock-offs and a bunch of cheap Boker autos; I have a dozen or so Spyderos, from a $50 Ladybug to an Aogami Super Blue Calypso; and I LOVE my half-dozen Kizers, the $89 Alter Ego best of all. So I don't feel guilty of sinply thinking $ = awesome knife! All that said, BM knives, in my opinion, are between about 10 and 35% too expensive, considering the materials. Take the famous Infidel: it's about $420, has a blade a little over 3.5" made from D2, and an 6061 aluminum body. I believe both satin and black blade finishes are available, but no other options as to shape, serrations, etc., I believe. Compare that to a Microtech Ultratech: a blade a bit under 3.5" made from M390 (or Elmax, or CTS 204P or in the past S30V), both plain and partial serrated plus full-serrated blades with finishes in satin, stonewash, their propriety "apocalyptic" stonewash, bronze, "apocolyptic" bronze, and DLC black. Additionally, they have single-edge, double-edge dagger and bayonet styles, tantos, and (my personal favorite) what is basically a double tanto point that makes for a triangle tipped, double-edged blade shape they call "Spartan". Ultratech bodies are 6061 aluminum, like the Infidel. Prices on Mictotech just went up, but unless it's some sort of special edition, the very highest price is $294; the majority are between $274 and $289. Not cheap, but over $100 less than the Benchmade. Some people argue the Infidel is better than the Ultratech, and that may well be the case. Microtechs do have a stiff action and rough button. But the Infidel isn't $140 better, esp considering the blade steels . And that's kind of how I feel about everything Benchmade makes: for what I would spend on any given Benchmade, I could get more knife for the $ with something else. Almost every Benchmade has D2 or 154 CM blades, although the new Griptillians have been upgraded to...S30V. Not S35VN, just the 30V. And the prices just went up about 20%. No offense to any Benchmade fans, and I should add that I don't flip balis, so maybe I missing their best products. But I can't count how many times Ive walked into the knife shop fully intending to buy my first BM, but then I get in there, feel the cheap-o FRN scales, or the decent-but-nothing-special blade action; notice that the nearby ZT with AMAZING action and CPM 20CV is only $30 more, or the Spyderco is $30 less, or the comparably priced Kizer has S35VN and an all titanium body, not to mention looks cool as hell, and...still no Benchmades in my collection. It's really starting to bug me, strange to say. But you know what I actually purchased recently that I've been trying and failing to love (esp for the $$$)? This thing:

I really, really wanted to love the Boos Smoke TM1.
Don't get me wrong, it's a gorgeous knife with top-notch materials (M390) that's got an off the charts fidget factor. My issue is it just doesn't slice very well. The blade is really short (vertically) & not super thin, making it more of a wedge than anything else. On the good side, I really love the Civivi Praxis. What started as an impulse buy without any expectations see more pocket time than anything else. It carries a lot smaller than any 3.5" knife has a right to & I can't say enough good things about its slicing ability.
Thats funny, i was just about to start a thread talking about how much I love my BB smoke. It's the first front flipper I've ever owned, and that took a bit of practice, but now I can get it out of pocket, properly seated in-hand, and ready to use faster than any other knife I own, save for maybe my Microtech OTF, and some but not all Pro-Tech autos. And as for slicing, I've found it to work pretty well, considering the geometry of the blade, which pretty much no belly at all. I do have to employ a different action to effectively slice with it than I'd use with a big, fatty drop-point--I'm trying to picture in my mind what I do differently when slicing with the Smoke, as I don't have the knife nearby at the moment, but I'm pretty sure the edge needs to be kept perpendicular to the material being cut, as close to 90° as possible unless the of angle of the cut or available space necessitates something different. That's not as comfortable as with a more dedicated slicer, but the long, thin handle of the smoke makes it not too onerous because at least there's plenty of real estate to grip, and the knife is so light that it doesn't tire the hand too much. Speaking of lightweight, that's a big reason I've been so enamored with this knife: for the weight and size in the pocket, I feel like I get a very, very effective blade. The fact that its M390 contributes to that; for example, going back to slicing, I've found sometimes it's better to draw the whole blade length through the material being cut, like playing a sustained note with a violin bow; other times shorter, more staccato strokes with lighter pressure work better. With a lesser steel that could leave one with a blade that was sharp in some places and dull in others, eventually ending up wrecking the blade (esp since its so thin) but with the glorious, glorious M390, it just stays sharp. When the day is done, I run it over the surgical black AK stone a few times, then my two strops with polishing compound a few times, and it's as sharp as when I first put an edge on it. Not that that is surprising given the reputation of M390, but I've used this blade more and harder than any other with that steel, so it's the first time I've really gotten to see what it can do. I'm not saying you're wrong, nor trying to change your mind (and if you still have that blue Smoke but want to get rid of it, we could talk; I have the green one and always like to have multiple variations of favorite knives), I'm just giving the counterpoint to your perfectly understandable perspective. That's one thing I love about knives: no matter what the "general consensus" is about any knife, there's always someone who holds completely opposite views on it. And there is also someone else who holds a view exactly in between those two extremes, and someone else who agrees with that person except for one point of difference, and so on, etc. Because although there are objective measurements of knive's qualities and usefulness, there's also a big ol' subjective element that few, if any, other tools are subject to (guns, perhaps?). And subjectivity makes for interesting discussion and debate.
I cannot sign into this stupid site. I have purchased knives from them! Now there is a sign in. But it does not work. Please help
Biggest heartbreaker for me is the Spyderco Southard. I have a friend who owned one for a year or two before me and he constantly raved about it. I picked one up, and everything checks out. 204P steel is knife, flies out reliably every time, no lock stick, fits in right hand beautifully. But it didn't speak to me, really can't figure out why to be honest. At 170ish when it went on a fire sale following news of it being discontinued it's a tough value to beat, considering the MAP increases and how so many manufacturers are trying to push S35VN or VG10 at that price point. Main issues I have with it are that the right handed ergos make it less (but still decently) ergonomic for the left hand, the spydiehole is basically an after thought if you intend on spydieflicking it (doable, but difficult if you don't have nails) and the blade design is god awful (weird frickin hump in the blade, really short, hollow grind that wedges like nobodies business, too much belly.) I'll still carry it on occasion, but then go back to my Slysz Bowie and go "ah, that's why I carry this knife". Only thing southard wins on is that it has a flipper tab and far better steel. Funnily enough I got the buddy who turned me onto the southard a bowie, and he's still in love with the southard whereas I'm a die hard bowie man. Different strokes I guess!
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The Emerson is still going strong, no lock issues other than a little stickiness that comes with the brand. I finally wore the G10 down to the point where it is comfortable. It’s hard to EDC it though because the moment it comes out of your pocket it looks like it’s ready for combat, and Linda from accounting may call security because she’s not about that.
Wow, your experience is basically everything I feel when looking at the Southard. I almost snagged one on a couple of occasions, but always decided against it because I couldn't get over my suspicion that I would hate it for exactly what you didn't like about it. I'm happy enough with my Dice for my Spyderco framelock.
For me the Benchmade Griptilian never did it for me. It looks good, has excellent reviews but I wasn’t able to get over the flimsy feel and lack of refinement on the GRN handle. I know it’s blasphemy but I just never warmed up to it and now mine sits in a drawer. The knife I never thought I would love but do is the Kershaw CQC-11k. I don’t have a high opinion of KAI products or their quality control, the knife is stupid big, rides high in the pocket and the blade steel is not well thought of. I took a chance on it because of the beautiful lines and low price point and was shocked at how great it is. I EDC it a lot and have zero complaints. Who knew?
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Actually found his review after I purchased it and agree with him 100%, which never happens on the internet. I was initially attracted to the CQC 11k after seeing the almost $300 Emerson Rendezvous it was based on.
Spydiehole, fine edge
Thought I would love but didn't: Boos smoke cm1: Vertical blade play and poor lock engagement on two in a row. Can't just keep sending them back till I get a good one either because they are sold out. Spyderco Manix 2: Everybody said this was a brilliant knife, but the lock is really really stiff. Way more than any Benchmade despite what people say about it being basically an axis lock. Also it is simply too wide to carry in jeans. Benchmade north fork: Seemed so perfect, but it is so much wider than it needs to be, and I can't get a good action out of unless I introduce some blade play. One of only two benchmades that I own, so not going to sell it, but never carry it either. Way better than expected: Kizer Kesmec: Bought it off Massdrop, wasn't expecting more than your average Kizer, but it is comfortable in hand, attractive, has a phenomenal action, great fit and finish, and one of the best grinds I have ever seen. Was not expecting this one to be among my best slicers, that's for sure. Kizer Envoy: See a pattern here? Once again, bought it because I got a good deal, but ended up with a fantastic little edc knife. Size is perfect, action is good, just not much to complain about. Spyderco Delica 4: My first small knife (prior to that my smallest knife was the southard), and the knife that made me realize how amazing for edc a small, light, low profile knife can be.
Good call on the North Fork.
Heartbreakers- Buck nanoBantam. CRKT M16-O1KS. Very tiny. Heartwarmers- CS Rawles Voyager, Steel Will Apostate 1113, TOPS Wild Pig Hunter, CS Recon1, SW Modus in M390. These are a few of my favorites things.
That CRKT didn’t do it for me either.
I've been eyeballing the wild pig