Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kershaw Leek Review

  I've been a fan of Kershaw knives for quite a while. As I sit here trying to get a count of how many are in my home, I keep discovering more.
  The Daywalker clan has a Volt II, OSO Sweet, Clash, Chive, Scallion, a couple of Skylines, and a Leek. They're all pretty good knives. Some are better than others.
  It's funny. The Leek is the most expensive knife out of all of the blades that I listed above. It's also one of the Kershaws that I like the least. I'll be honest, and admit that it's due to the Leek being the most expensive knife on the list. Expectations were higher.
  I like the Leek. It's "OK." That's faint praise.

Let's get the specs out of the way.

Blade Length:     3"
Overall Length:  7"
Closed Length:   4"
Blade Steel:        Sandvick 14C28N, DLC Coating
Pocket Clip:        Reversible Tip Up/Down Carry (Right Hand Only)
Deployment:       Speedsafe assisted opening
Handle:               410 Steel, DLC Coating
Weight:               3oz
Lock:                  Frame Lock
Made In The USA

  I'll begin with what I consider the Pros.

  The weight is very good at 3oz. That's impressive as this has all steel construction. It's easy to forget that you're carrying this knife, and I doubt that anyone will leave it at home because it of the weight.

  3" is a decent blade length for an EDC knife. Although I generally prefer a 3.5" blade.

  The blade:handle ratio is very good. I hate it when a knife has a huge handle, and a little blade (my Cold Steel Mini AK-47 comes to mind).

  The blade centers almost perfectly, and there's no movement when the blade is deployed. The lockup is very good.

  It's an attractive knife, with a distinctive look.

  The price isn't unreasonable at $50-$60.

  Frame locks are strong enough for my EDC knives.

  The stainless steel handles and liners should make this a sturdy knife.

  The pocket clip is pretty decent overall, and is reversible for tip up or tip down carry. Be warned that a bit more handle shows if you decide to go with tip up carry. The pocket clip is right side only, and is not as goofy looking as some of the Kershaw clips used on the Volt II, OSO Sweet, etc.
  The Leek doesn't carry quite as deeply as I like, but it's better than a lot of my knives. All of the clips get compared to what's on the SOG Aegis, and I find that they all come up short.
  The DLC coating should offer good corrosion resistance. Time will tell.

  I don't know much about the blade steel that is used, but it's held an edge very well. The blade was very sharp out of the box. The tip is delicate, and has a good shape for precise work. I wouldn't use it for anything requiring a lot of strength however.

 The good news is that there's a little jimping along the back of the blade. The bad news is it's close to useless.

  The Leek is very thin, and I know that my daughter appreciates that. This is now her knife. Guess what? The skinny jeans that girls wear today have very shallow and snug pockets. There's very little room for an EDC knife. So why does a teenage girl need an EDC knife you ask? It's because her parents pulled up the sex offender registry for our district, and there's far too many freaks in our zip code.
  Long story short... the knife carries VERY well thanks to the light weight, thinness, good pocket clip, and subdued color.

  The handle is comfortable enough. It is however very smooth, and there's not a lot of traction on this model. I think that it's fine for everyday use, but I wouldn't want to use it in a wet environment. This isn't a work knife. Some have called it a "Gentleman's Folder." That seems like a good description to me.

  You've probably noticed that it has a safety lock, and a lanyard hole. I don't usually use either one, but they are there if you want them.

  I called this a gentleman's folder earlier. I like that term. It's been floating around the knife community for a while. I don't know who first coined it, but if you find out then let me know. I'll give him/her credit for it.
  This is a good office knife. I carried this Kershaw while wearing a suit a few weeks ago, and forgot all about it. It didn't show, or look oddly out of place. It's easy to carry an EDC blade in jeans, but it gets a bit harder to do in office wear.
  The thin shape, precise tip, and lightweight make this a good office knife. I wouldn't want to use it in the trades, or while doing farm work. It would probably shine in a professional environment.

  Now for the cons:

  Some of these were touched on above. The tip is delicate. I wouldn't use this knife for anything too harsh. Cutting cardboard, digging out splinters, or opening letters would be the hardest tasks that I would use it for.

  The handle is a little slick. Kershaw makes about a gazillion different models of this knife, so I'm sure that there is a more grippy version out there. A little skateboard tape would help provide traction in a pinch.

  I feel that some useful jimping is not too much to ask for on a $50 knife (what I paid at Walmart last year).

  I'd prefer a deeper carry pocket clip, and would like the screws to be blacked out.

  The safety engages and disengages on it's own. It's an easy fix if you have a small set of torx bits.

  The thumbstuds are next to useless. I'm going to assume that they serve more as blade stops instead of being a deployment method.

   I like Kershaw's assisted openers. In my experience, they are usually fast and reliable. That's not the case with this knife. The blade deploys easily using the flipper... 2 or 3 times. After the first few deployments, the blade usually doesn't open all of the way on the following attempts. The longer the knife sits, the better the first deployment is.
  I know two other people that own Leeks. They also have issues with blade deployment. Neither gentlemen is a rocket scientist, and it's entirely possible that they've been abusing their knives. This one, however, has not been used hard.
  I'll eventually send it back to Kershaw, and I'm sure that they'll make it right. Their reputation is too good for me to think otherwise. I'll update this when the Leek returns.

  I purchased this knife with the intention of giving it to my daughter. She now has several very good EDC blades that will hopefully be carried on at least a semi regular basis. That's all that I can do until she hits 21 (and then she gets her gun collection started).

  That's about it for the Leek. It's a good seller for Kershaw, and I'm probably in the minority in regards to not loving this blade. I wouldn't have bought it for myself, but even so... it would probably do most of what I need a knife for.
  I'd probably give it a middle to low rating for blue collar work, and a higher rating for office type environments.
  It's really too small, and smooth for a defensive knife but not everyone can carry a real tactical blade. Honestly, most of us aren't interested in making that kind of knife part of our daily carry.
  The Kershaw Leek is OK. That's as high as I would rate it.  It's a niche knife IMO, rather than an all around EDC blade. I have other niche knives (such as the SOG Aegis), but I rate them higher due to better deployment, jimping, price, etc.
  For some, it will be absolutely perfect. Others like myself will want something bigger, sturdier, and with a better grip.

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