Feb 4, 2019379 views

Are The James Brand Knives as good as they look?

I'm very interested in two of The James Brand Knives.
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The Chapter: https://gallantry.com/products/the-james-brand-chapter-knife-straight-black-and-black $275
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The Folsom: https://gallantry.com/products/the-james-brand-the-folsom-knife-bone-black $99 This would be my first EDC Knife that isn't a cheap Chinese Knock off. I love the futuristic and minimalist look of these. What is your opinion on both? Are they worth buying or are they just good looking Junk? I'm very interested in getting a good discussion going. Feel free to comment on different knives as well. :)
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BarryO, Chitosf, and 3 others
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I am selling off my collection if intetested
BarryO
Are you still selling your collection, and if so where can I view it?
I love the look as well, I own two...i like them and the packageing
What's your price range and what sort of piece are you after? James brand is the hipster EDC brand and isnt worth what they charge. But I could probably point you towards stuff youd like better
I was unfamiliar with this brand until I saw your question. I looked at a Nick Shabbaz review and read several years of comments. I would not buy anything from this company without holding it is my hand. And even then, I believe the chances would be very small.
I'm pretty sure they sell through Huckberry and some other over-priced non-knife type sites. Am pretty sure you are paying for a name and a look, not quality...My 2 cents. Lots better, well known knives at much less than that price point. It's a knife to look 'cool' not serve any real purpose otherwise IMHO.
SAnCLT
The packaging looks... alright, at least. *shrug
Duncan
Yeah - you're paying for that packaging, cause it (the cost) ain't going into the knife...
I think Naftoor has it covered. I've actually seen them in person, so I'll add my 2 pennies worth. The Fjallraven store in SF had the Chapter knife on display, they may have had the Folsom also, but I didn't look at that too carefully. The Chapter was well made but the design was nothing spectacular. The ratio of blade length to handle length was poor. The ergonomics were serviceable. And D2 steel for a >$200 knife is pretty much a joke at the current time. The Folsom is a slightly better value since it's $100, nevertheless you can do much better for half the price from CRKT or Spyderco's Byrd. You can also get a VG-10 Spyderco Stretch for the same price, a much more ergonomic and efficient knife.
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What do you think about this one?
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https://www.massdrop.com/buy/crkt-ken-onion-helical-folding-knife?utm_source=linkshare&referer=VHLNEV CRKT Ken Onion Helical I love the design
DMTTAB
I think it’s th best of his recent designs. Great handle to blade ratio and sleek design.
Interesting looking knives for sure. I'll start by stating I haven't run into James Brand knives before, either on bladeforums, r/knifeclub or r/knifeswap; it could be I've just missed them but I would say they aren't incredibly common knives. As for worth? That's subjective. Will it increase in value? Probably not, no exotic materials, doesn't look like they're using limited runs to drive up demand, and the name doesn't seem to have too much power. Will it retain it's value? Maybe, but I doubt it for what I'll outline below. But I could be wrong. Value's dependent on you, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that; what designs appeal to you won't appeal to others and vice versa. That being said, it only holds so true. In this case I can say at the very least The Chapter is not worth the asking price. The Folsom I would say is probably not, but it's closer. My issues with the Chapter are numerous and as follows: 1) The product page tells you nothing of value. Literally, there are more missing specs then there are present ones. Linking to a bladeHQ page for the Chapter to demonstrate how it SHOULD look https://www.bladehq.com/item--James-The-Chapter-Frame-Lock-Knife--29725 It's not a great sign when you can get vastly more information from a reseller then from the actual manufacturer. For reference I'll be referring to the Spyderco Slysz Bowie and the Opinel #8 when doing some comparisons. BladeHQ pages below. https://www.bladehq.com/item--Spyderco-Slysz-Bowie-Frame-Lock--20415

https://www.bladehq.com/item--Opinel-Knives-No-8-Beech-Stainless--20516 2) The grind is a bit chunky; It's a hollow grind on a short, fairly thick blade. I carry the Bowie listed above, I use for for food prep on a regular basis to justify my spending as much as I did on it, and because I enjoy using it. What I can say is that it wedges like a son of a bagel on hard foods. It's using a flat grind on a blade that's longer (better distal taper) and not much thicker then the Chapter. The Chapter would probably do fine for small stuff like opening boxes, cutting herbs, cutting string as that's where a hollow grind shines, but it'll fail once you start to reach the top of that hollow on any kind of hard object like a potato or apple if you decide to use it as something more then a fancy box cutter. The Opinel #8 above is a slicing monster, and as you can see it's about half the thickness of the Chapter while being quite a bit longer. 3) The steel is garbage. It's D2 steel. It's been used on kabars and the ilk for decades at this point, it's a fine serviceable steel. At 100 bucks or less. At 250 bucks from a no name, non storied manufacturer I would expect some form of powder metallurgy steel such as M390. There are manufacturers who go full retard and somehow sell knives using D2 at ridiculous prices (Such as Medford) but that's a rare exception. One of the key things you pay for in a knife is the steel, and this knife isn't providing any value. Beyond that they call it semi-stainless, which is laughable. D2 will rust if you don't care for it, or leave it somewhere it doesn't like. Sure it's SEMI stainless, but most of the chrome content goes to carbide production so it isn't as stain proof as the composition would make you think. Them calling it corrosion resistant is basically preying on people with more dollars then cents who want a pretty art piece. 3) Handle design. It looks pretty abysmal in terms of ergonomics, it looks like it would fit in your hand like a brick, it would kill your hand if you were in a situation where using the knife is the best solution (E.g going to a tinder matches date for dinner, finding they cut everything on ceramic plates instead of their cutting boards so using a knife is like cutting with a computer mouse so you whip out your razorsharp knife to blow their minds. ) 4) What's it running on? Another huge question when it comes to knives. Even BladeHQ has no idea whether it's on washers or bearings, and that's a pretty bad sign. 5) The pocket clip. Good god the pocketclip. Right side, tip down carry only? On a knife of this price that's a pretty solid indication that you're paying for a fashion accessory here, not a tool. No shame in that, but be aware of that fact and don't expect it to perform like other $250 knives you see. Personally I would pass. Far too many negatives and questions for an interesting design. As for it's little brother, it looks more ergonomic for sure ,but the steel is atrocious at that price. BD1 would be pretty close to AUS8 and that class of steels, which might be worth 30-40 bucks, certainly not worth 100ish. That's my two cents, as I said though designs a powerful thing and if it speaks to you no issues with materials or quality will sway you so best of luck in your quest!
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Thank you so much for this very informative post. And thank you for sharing your knowledge on knives. Most people don't want to share their knowledge, i really appreciate that. I haven't gotten a clue what types of steel exist before your post. The swiss soldiers knife is pretty cheap i'd say. It works well while in service but without sharpening it got dull after a few months.
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I used this sharpening steel to give it a better edge. It worked quite well but it probably isn't the right way to go about it. I'm a chef and use these knives for work.
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https://www.knivesandtools.de/de/pt/-wuesthof-kochkoffer-bestueckt2.htm?gclid=CjwKCAiAy-_iBRAaEiwAYhSlA1-yd524JyN2Aho9JOcTuCrl5mCjKdwVP2K2aGEOTfIb4WHxHfwiqhoCpJkQAvD_BwE They are made of X50CrMoV15 Steel. I'm pretty happy how they hold up after more than five years and sharpening it with the sharpening steel.
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https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/cEtIxKXR I've ordered a whetstone 1000/3000 grit and will try to work the knives with it.
DMTTAB
Happy to help however I can! There's a ton of knowledge out there regarding the hobby and I always wished someone would aggregate it and turn it into an easier to digest form, so I guess this is a subconscious method of doing that now. Based on the looks of that that's a ceramic rod, which is indeed a sharpening rod (many people mix them up with the grooved metal rods, also known as hones). I'm personally of the opinion that on a beater knife they should perform fine, the biggest issue is that you need to be very careful with the angle by ensuring you have a steady hand, which is harder with a smaller item such as a rod vs a wet stone, in my opinion. That being said, it's a skill/muscle memory and if you can get it down with the rod then who cares what the world thinks? Sharp is sharp and a knife is a tool designed to be sharp. Lots of people in the community spend as much on sharpening systems designed to hold an angle to a pretty exact quantity for the duration of the sharpening activity. For me I find wet stone sharpening therapeutic even if my knife edges will never be pretty enough for IG photo shoots. I'm using a combination stone with the same grit ratings at those, in addition to some no name 3000/8000 grit stone. For softer german steel knives like Wusthof, which are around 58 HRC my next suggestion might be superfluous. However I would recommend picking up a strop and some compound. You can get a decent one for relatively cheap (normally 2 sided, letting you use 2 compounds for under 30 bucks), they'll last essentially forever barring the addition of more compound over time, but they can really help put that mirror polish on a knife edge. You can also use them to delay additional sharpening (this may not hold true for a professional setting due to the shear amount of use a knife will see in service) but I find for my casually used pocket knife using CTS-XHP I can strop it 3-4 strokes every week or two to bring it back to shaving.