What’s the equation for building a timeless knife? Functional, long lasting, comfortable but aesthetically pleasing. These are definitely all factors. But it takes the right ingredients, the right price, and some luck to make it timeless. Buried somewhere deep in the vaults of Kershaw Headquarters they have that secret formula (probably scratched on a napkin or sticky note). In their 42 years, Kershaw has produced their share of “winners” thanks in part to designers like Ken Onion, Rick Hinderer, and Tommie Lucas, and innovations like the Kershaw Sub-frame Lock, the KVT Bearing System, and of course, Speedsafe Assisted Opening. Obviously Kershaw knows what’s up in the knife world. Here is our list of timeless Kershaw knives, and what makes them classics.
Launch 1 – Automatic Kershaw Knife
We’re kicking this list off with a curve ball. Our first “timeless” Kershaw knife is the Launch 1. The Launch automatic knife series has been a wild success since it’s arrival in early 2015. It is the right balance of made in the USA quality, strong materials, and affordable pricing that will keep this Kershaw knife around for a long time coming. With it’s popularity, Kershaw has released several new color variations along with different blade finishes. We don’t expect this bad boy to lose steam anytime soon.
Cryo and Cryo II – Assisted Kershaw Knife
The Hinderer collaboration on this Kershaw knife, the Cryo, was destined to be a hit. Winning “Best Buy of the Year” at Blade Show 2012, there was no doubt that this assisted knife was going to be an instant classic. Being a Hinderer design, you know this knife was built to be rugged, as well as practical. Rick Hinderer draws from his real world experience as a firefighter and EMT to design his knives to be easily opened with one hand and with gloves on. It also has good heft to it, which makes it easier to control in finer EDC tasks. If you’ve always wanted a Hinderer designed knife at a wallet friendly price, this is the knife for you.
Blur – Assisted Kershaw Knife
The Ken Onion designed Kershaw Blur is the full sized folder that is great for most any task. Classic handle, classic liner lock, classic deployment method. This assisted knife hits on all of the things that have been proven as a success in the past. But you don’t achieve greatness by rehashing old ideas. With additions like the rubberized grip tape on the handles, angled thumb studs for a more positive purchase, and the Speedsafe deployment method, the Blur is a great example of a simple, timeless Kershaw knife.
Skyline – Folding Kershaw Knife
When you think of Kershaw, do you think of the Skyline? We sure do. It’s the cult classic that never stops impressing. This is the knife that shows that simplicity can go a long way, when executed correctly. Designed by Tommie Lucas and released in 2008, the no frills flipper is lightweight, easy to use, and beautiful in its simplicity. It is lacking a spring assist or automatic function, has a basic G-10 textured handle (base model), and a classic looking drop point blade. Yet, without all the fancy gadgets, the Skyline is one of the most popular EDC options out there. It just goes to show that you don’t need the newest technology to make something that is near perfection. (kershaw knife)
Leek – Assisted Kershaw Knife
If we could only choose one knife to be THE timeless Kershaw knife, it would have to be the Leek. Another brilliant Ken Onion design, the Leek assisted knife has found its way into most knife enthusiasts’ pockets, one way or another. Although it was not the first knife to feature Kershaw’s Speedsafe technology, it was most likely the one that made it a success, along with sparking the assisted opening craze in the knife world. It is so compact and lightweight, while still fitting nicely in your hand and being a good blade length for EDC. The Sandvik 14C28N steel is a great middle of the road blade steel that both holds an edge very well, and is easy to resharpen. It can be easily opened and closed with one hand, thanks to the Speedsafe action. It is the perfect storm of size, weight, strength, and intuition. kershaw knife
So what is it that makes a timeless Kershaw knife? Well, the majority of our list is assisted or automatic knives, easy one hand opening seems to be key. Even in the Skyline, the only manual action, the flipper deployment makes opening the knife second nature. 4 out of 5 have high quality blade steel, with the fifth being a budget friendly EDC option. And finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a world class knife designer develop the knife for you. Both Ken Onion and Rick Hinderer showed up on our list, and that is really no surprise. Price is also a huge factor. All of the knives on this list came in at under $100 dollars, which is a huge plus. Tell us what your favorite Kershaw knife is in the comments below. Is there a model you would have put in the top five? Which one? We can’t wait to see what the coming years have in store for the Kershaw brand. If history is any indicator, the future is bright in the Kershaw knife world.
12 thoughts on “What Makes a Timeless Kershaw Knife?”
I currently have two Kershaws in my collection so far which has grown diversely and extensively. Some are valued collectibles, tacticals and edc’s. After each new purchase I swear to myself I’m going to stop until I see an email like yours just now and I want to justify buying more, more, more. After seeing your new email, there will definitely be more Kershaws in my collection. My friends and family have now changed my nickname from “Aquaman” (I’m in the water treatment business) to “Bobby Blade”
Thank you Kershaw for all the dedicated precision and passion.
Bob F. New Jersey
Been collecting a very long time. But it wasnt until a few years ago I got my first Kershaws which were a Leek and a tanto Blur off the rack at Wal Mart. From there on out I have held them as standards for others to be judged by.
So what makes a classic knife? Usually it is who designs it. Ken Onion is an ergonomic god when it comes to knives I have 7 Blurs and 3 Leeks. First, value. What are you getting for your money? The Kershaw Ken Onion knives are about as good as they get. Second, design or more specifically ergonomics. How well does it fit the average hand? Third, ease of carry. In my experience most Kershaws carry so easily you forget you have them on you.
Oddly some may think I put materials last. I have no problem at all with 8CR13MOV all the way to steels like CPM 154 to 420 HC. Take care of them and they take care of you.
My list would have included the knockout. The knockout is my favorite Kershaw by far, it has all the ergonomics, assisted opening, good steel, great pocket clip, very usable thumbs studs and flipper, it has it all together. The list you made has lots of great knives but each one of them has at least one issue in my book.
Hey there i’m from germany and i love knife’s!
I just discovered this page and it looks very nice. The pictures of those knife’s are so cool.
Wish you all the best 🙂
Can’t argue with any of these (as I own 4 of 5 myself) but the Kershaw Camber is my most used knife. It’s the right size, I love the flat grind, and the S30V steel is fantastic.
i have the leek black wash and the black DLC Blur both very awesome blades, but i think you have to include the 1776 link in this all awesome knives USA!
How is the Chive not on this list!? My all time favorite EDC knife! Small, assisted,well designed and won’t break the bank. Its a work of art that has been my work horse for every day carrying for about 2 years.I just love how small and unobtrusive it is clipped to my pocket and I’ve been spoiled with the one handed opening to the point I won’t carry anything else! I also have its bigger brother (the scallion) but my little chive is with me 90% of the time. LOVE LOVE LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! and the icing on the cake!? Its available with a damascus blade! Thank you Kershaw!
I am a huge fan of the Leek from Kershaw. That knife is like a straight razor that can actually be used for EDC.
Been buying a few really love them an their priced right good value
Thanks for your comment, Ken. Stoked you’re enjoying your Kershaw blades.
Just received my buck 112 Auto really nice seriously thinking about ordering the buck 110 Auto now thanks
Glad you’re enjoying the 112, Troy. I love both of those Buck knives, but the 112 is seriously underrated!