Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 1: Kershaw Knife - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 1: Kershaw Knife

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs

Every year, I write up a gift guide that discusses the small items that have made a big difference in my shop.  These are items that are ideal for gifts – it’s difficult to ask your toddlers for an Altendorf table saw for Christmas. I hope that these items are useful to you. If you have any complaints about this gift guide, please submit it here.

The first item is a shop knife. I thought I’d rewrite and improve my original thoughts on this knife, but I cannot.

I lost my shop knife while we were unpacking at Handworks this spring, and I have been on a quest since then to find its replacement. (The company that made my now-lost knife no longer exists.)

I am dang picky about knives. I’ve carried one every day since elementary school. So it is no small thing when I say this: I am glad I lost my favorite knife at Handworks because now I have a Kershaw Link drop-point knife in gray aluminum “blackwash,” whatever that is.

Here’s what I need in a knife:

  • One-handed operation – I need to be able to quickly close and open the knife with zero fuss.
  • The blade has to lock in the open position for safety.
  • It has to be lightweight and compact.
  • It has to have a belt clip.
  • All the components need to be incredibly rugged. I hate flimsy knives.
  • Oh, I also dislike flashy materials or things that look like a Klingon’s wet dream.

That is a tall order, and I rejected a lot of knives until I found the Kershaw Link. What makes the knife even more extraordinary is it is made in the U.S. and can be found for about $40 retail. (I bought mine on sale for $31.)

The blade is stainless steel, but it takes a good edge and is plenty durable when cutting wood, wire and whatever shop material is asking for a stabbing or a slashing. Totally recommended.

— Christopher Schwarz

  • To read entries from past guides, click here.
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Showing 13 comments
  • thekiltedwoodworker

    My SCUBA dive knife is a Kershaw. It’s dreamy.

    I also have a Kershaw Wade Officer pocket knife that my dad found for sale on the counter top at a feed store out in the country. There were three of them, still in the box, along with a dozen Old Timer pocket knives. He asked how much for the knives. The guy said the Old Timers were $20 each and… He thought the others weren’t that good and said he’d sell them for $10 each.

    Dad bought all three Kershaw knives and gave one to me for Christmas. They don’t sell it anymore, but it was a $70 knife. The serrated edge is wicked sharp.

  • Neitsdelf

    Geez, now I want me one of those beautiful Altendorf glue-up/assembly tables for Christmas.

  • whiterc

    Chris, How do you hone the blade?

  • steveg150

    I was so disappointed! After going through the purchase and starting the checkout process I was informed that they couldn’t send it to me. I’m guessing it has something to do with New York State regulation. Anyone know a work around?

  • bicyforev

    A great recommendation Mr. Schwarz! Got one of the Kershaw’s as gift about five years ago, and I haven’t lost it yet.

    My problem now is that I didn’t even know that the Altendorf table saw existed…. Now I want one.

    Thanks a lot,

  • Mark Fisher

    Lately, I’ve carried a Case Stockman. It isn’t locking, but it has a nice high carbon steel blade that can be sharpened incredibly sharp and it is small. For my regular office/teaching days, it is perfect. My other regular is a Benchcrafted Mini-griptilian. It really costs too much but it close to perfect.

  • fubfcriberMike

    Kershaw 1560 Whirlwind for six years plus, along with a Victorinox Swiss tool (original version).
    This model has a blade made of Sandvik 14C28N steel. I’ve had a knife in my pocket since 4th grade and this is by far my favorite. Tough as a hardened nail, stays sharp through ridiculous abuse. If I ever lose it I’ll buy another at full list and be happy to get it.

  • Richard

    I found the CRKT K300KXP Hootenanny also meets these requirements. I liked it so well, I bought my son one also.

  • Barquester

    My only stainless knife has a glass break which is a must if I leave the house.

  • Christopher Hawkins

    The Kershaw 1620NB Scallion Folding Knife is also an excellent choice. Please describe how you close your knife one-handed. I can’t push the accidental closure stop to the side while folding the blade into the body.

    • Christopher Schwarz
      Christopher Schwarz

      Hi Chris,
      I press the closure stop with my thumb, fold the blade in slightly (by pressing the back of the blade against my leg) and then move my thumb out of the way of the path of the blade. With a little practice the knife will go into your front pocket – all in one smooth motion.

      • Just_Iain

        When I had a folder, I couldn’t quite get the motion right and ‘lightly’ closed the blade on my thumb. Just a little blood and I don’t have folders anymore.

      • rwyoung

        You can’t see it in the picture, but at the base of the blade there is a small bump-out. If you use your thumb(nail) right up close to that area to push the lock aside, the knife can’t close more than a few degrees as the bump-out will stop against the back of your thumb. Move your fingers clear and finish closing the blade.

        Toughest duty I’ve asked of this knife so far was to slide up my beef ribeye and ostrich steaks at the stone grill in the Brewers Arms in Christchurch. Good food, lousy cutlery.

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