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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Kershaw Spec Bump Knife > Test Report by Josh Cormier
Kershaw Spec Bump Knife
Tester series by Josh Cormier
Initial report: 2-Aug-07
Field report: 16-Oct-07
Long Term report: 8-Jan-08
· Name: Josh Cormier
· Age: 28
· Gender: Male
· Height: 5’ 11” (1.80 m)
· Weight: 162 lb (73 kg)
· Email address: swifteagle1 at hotmail dot com
· City: Los Gatos, California
I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 11 and have been camping and backpacking ever since. I like to do challenging trips ranging from week long to weekend in mountainous areas. I would classify my gear as mid weight although now I am trying to move more toward lightweight. I now go backpacking at least once a year in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as monthly car camping trips with the Scouts.
Product Information: (information taken from Kershaw website)
- Item Description: Kershaw Spec Bump Knife
- Steel: Sandvik 13C26 stainless-steel- Tungsten DLC-coated
- Handle: 3-D machined, black G-10 handle
- Listed Blade Length: 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm)
- Measured Blade Length: 3 9/16 in. (9.04 cm)
- Listed Closed Length: 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm)
- Measured Closed Length: 4 15/16in. (12.5 cm)
- Measured Overall Length: 8.5 in (21.6 cm)
- Listed Weight: 5.0 oz (142 g)
- Measured Weight: 5.5 oz (156 g)
- Manufacture's web site: http://www.kershawknives.com
- Year of Manufacture: 2007
- MSRP: $99.95
- Item Received: 26-July-07
- Initial Condition: The product arrived in new condition
- Item Completeness: The item came in retail packaging and included all required pieces.
- Package Includes: Knife, zippered fleece lined case, CD, and instructions.
Initial Report - 2-August-07
The knife arrived in a good sized Kershaw knife box along with a zippered fleece case, a mini CD, and an instruction booklet.
The web site did not give a picture of what the spec bump knife looked like, only a picture of the speed bump. I know the basic knife is the same but the handle material is different and the spec bump has a Tungsten DLC-coated blade. It would have been nice to see a picture of both. Saying that, I am happy with the spec bumps looks and would still choose it now that I know what it looks like. Upon taking the knife out of the box I was surprised at its size, it did not dawn on me how big a 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm) knife really is. Even though it is bigger that I imagined, I was happy with the size and also the heft, the knife feels really solid.
I tried to use the index finger lever to open the knife but to no avail. I also tried to use the thumb stud to open the knife but also to no avail. Lastly I grabbed the back of the knife blade and tried to open it but it was still stuck closed. As a last resort I dumped the rest of the contents out of the box and picked up the instruction book. The instructions are written for general operation and have notes for different models of knives. Unfortunately the instructions did not cover how to unlock my knife when it was in the closed position. Tossing the instructions aside as most guys will tend to do, I studied the knife in my hand trying to determine what was keeping it shut. I finally determined that the small Allen screw near the belt clip was actually a locking mechanism. I slid the screw down toward the bottom of the knife and pressed the index finger lever and, WALA the knife sprung open.
Picture of blade lock on left and thumb stud lock on right.
The thumb stud on this knife is a different design that I have seen before. The thumb stud acts as an opening device as well as a locking device. To open the knife from the closed position I use my thumb to push the thumb stud out and upward and the knife will snap open. Once the knife is open the thumb stud rests against the handle and acts as a lock to keep the blade from closing. To close the knife press the thumb stud forward and the blade will be free to close. The thumb stud has a spring that allows it to perform this double action. I will be looking to see if this spring falls out or gathers dirt.
Once I had the knife open I was impressed by the VERY sharp blade and the detail given to the factory sharpened edge. I have used the blade to cut rope, string, open packages, and used the tip to pierce a soda can. Later I will try to cut some small gauge wire and other material. The blade does not appear to be scratched from the use I have given it. Even when I punched the tip through an empty soda can, I thought it was scratched but the mark wiped off with my fingers. I will be looking to see if scratches start to appear as I continue to use this knife.
I have worn the knife in my pocket using the belt clip since I have received it and have had no issues with it coming open in my pocket. I have worn it in jeans, dress pants, nylon zip-off pants, and shorts. I have not had any problems with the belt clip not holding the knife in place during my various activities. The belt clip is a good design, it is smooth on the underside so that it does not grab my clothes when I am trying to take it off, yet it holds firmly to whatever I clip it to. I also like that the pocket clip is a matte black color, it doesn’t draw attention to the fact that I have a big knife in my pocket and blends well with almost any color I wear.
The handle material is tough looking and seems just as durable, I’ll be looking to see how much wear the handle shows at the end of the test. I found that while I was wearing the knife in my pocket it was scratching the paint off of my phone that was in a holster on my belt. Now I wear my phone further back and no longer have a problem. The handle initially looks uncomfortable, but I have not experienced any discomfort while using the knife.
Field Report - 16-OCT-07
I was able to use this knife on 3 day, two night trip to Del Valle Regional Park, in Livermore California. The elevation ranged from 750 – 1100 ft (229 – 335 m) and the temperature ranged from 55 – 81 F (13 – 22 C). It was rainy the first evening but that cleared up the next day. For the rest of the trip it was clear with a slight breeze and never got too warm in the shade. The hills in the area are mostly grass covered with few oak trees interspersed here and there.
I have also carried this knife with me every day since receiving it. I have used it in the office, at church, outside working with horses, driving heavy equipment, working in the lab, camping, and fishing. I have worn the knife while standing, sitting, running, and walking in the dust, dirt, and rain. I say all that to say this, for all the different places I have worn this knife it has never been in my way, or fallen out of my pocket. The knife has been a constant part of my wardrobe and looks good with dress pants, slacks, and jeans.
The first night of the trip I cooked steaks for dinner. I used the knife to slice the steaks into smaller pieces for cooking and then into bite sized pieces for eating. The knife cut through the steak well and I did not have to apply much pressure or saw back and forth to get it to cut. To clean the knife I used a wet paper towel and wiped off the blade area. When ever I use the knife to cut items on a plate I have to be careful not to apply too much pressure otherwise I find the knife cutting through the paper plate as well. I have used this knife to cut fruit and find cleaning it pretty easy as long as I get it cleaned before the juice dries out. To clean it after cutting fruit, I run it under warm tap water then dry it with a towel being careful not to cut my fingers.
On this trip I did a lot of fishing on Lake Del Valle and so got to use the knife for cutting my fishing line and other fishing uses. When I wanted to change lures, it was easy for me to hold the pole and lure in one hand while opening the knife in the other. Once I was done cutting I had to use two hands to close the knife and put it away. I was able to use the knife to clean the fish we caught. The blade easily cut off the fins and through the bone allowing me to remove the fins and head without too much trouble. Even when the work got slimy, the knife never got slippery and I never had a hard time keeping my grip on the knife. Once I was finished I boiled some water and poured it over the knife to rinse it off. I did it a few times till the fish smell was pretty much gone, then I dried it off with a towel.
I have used this knife at work to cut some wire and see what effect it has on the blade. After cutting several pieces of 18 - 22 Gauge wire, I do not see any nicks on the blade or scrapes on the finish. Besides wire I have cut plastic stock, wire-ties, rubber, cardboard, tape, string, and anything else that needed cutting during the day. I have not sharpened this knife for the entire time I have been testing it. It still feels almost as sharp as the day I received it. It seems to hold its edge pretty well through normal use.
I have noticed that some times when I pull the knife off of my pocket; it will not open when I try to open it using the index finger lever. Then I check the Allen screw lock and find it in the locked position. Switching this back to the unlocked position allows me to open the knife as I originally wanted to. This has not happened more than 4-5 times which is a small number of times compared to how many times I pull this off my pocket to use it. It’s not a huge concern but I wonder if it might happen some day when I need to open the knife with one hand right away. I have not been able to determine if this locks because of how I clip it to my pocket or something else.
The blade lock/thumb stud has held up well to use, it consistently locks the blade into place and does not allow the blade to wiggle. I was concerned about the spring used to push the blade lock into position falling out or becoming filled with junk. I have had no problems with either issue, and the blade lock still works as good as when it was new.
Long Term Report - 8-JAN-08
I was able to take this knife on five-day trip to Oahu, Hawaii. The elevation ranged from 0 – 2000 ft (0-610 m) and the temperature ranged from 70 – 81 F (21 – 27C). It was mostly clear with a slight breeze and never got to warm in the shade the entire week. It rained for about 15 minutes everyday then cleared up again. The mountains in the area are thickly vegetated with green trees, vines, and bushes.
Long term use:
I did not get any backpacking in on this trip but I did carry the knife with me every where I went. I did have a chance to take the knife hiking up the Kuli’ou’ou trail. It rained earlier on the day we were going to hike it so when we got to the trailhead the ground was muddy. The end of the trail was steep and we had to scramble and slip up it. On the way back we pretty much slipped, fell, and slid our way back down. During all of this the knife stayed securely clipped to my pocket.
Traveling to Oahu I was a little worried about placing the knife in my checked luggage and having it disappear during inspection or open with all the jostling. I put the blade lock in the “locked” position and put in my suitcase anyway. I had no problems and retrieved it from my suitcase when I arrived in Oahu.
I have carried this knife with me almost every day since I have received it. I use it for most all my daily cutting activities: opening boxes, cutting apples, cutting string/rope. The knife has held up well to use during my testing period. I really enjoy using this knife, the blade opens so crisply, and cuts easily. I have had no issues with it opening in my pocket or being uncomfortable when I sit down. I look forward to the continued use of this knife.
Below you will find the answers to the questions I wanted to answer by the end of this test.
Does the knife consistently open up all the way and lock?
- Yes, the operation has been consistent
Does the knife ever open all the way but does not lock?
Does the locking mechanism ever fail?
- It has not failed on me
After hard or forceful use, does the locking mechanism get stuck?
- I have not had any issues with the locking mechanism getting stuck after pressing the blade hard.
Does the knife hold an edge well or do I find myself sharpening it all the time?
- It holds its edge well. I have not had to sharpen this knife for the entire testing period.
Does the non slip grip sill allow me to hold the knife firmly even when my hands are dirty and sweaty?
- The non slip grip is very efficient at providing a place to get a firm grip on the knife.
Is the knife light enough for me to want to take it backpacking?
- It’s not the lightest knife that I own, but it is a good knife to have around if you want to do some heavier camp work.
Does the curved blade lend itself to be useful?
- I like the curved blade, it makes cutting rope easier the first time.
- I have not found the curve to be a hindrance.
Is the size of the knife well suited to multiple uses or are there portions of the blade that never get used?
- I pretty well used most of the blade length when performing one task or another.
How useful is the point of the knife, can I get splinters out with it?
- I did try to take a splinter out with the point of the knife which is sharp enough. However it was hard to control the point accurately enough not to cut myself elsewhere.
Ease of Use:
Is the knife easy to clean after use?
- The blade is very easy to clean after use, the handle takes a little more attention.
Does the “speed safe” opening assist me in opening the knife under control?
- Yes, however I find it is very important to hold the knife tight when opening it. If the knife is very loosely held it is possible for it to jump out of your hand when opening.
Does the knife ever open on its own while in my pocket?
- No, the spring that assists with the knife’s opening also helps to hold it closed.
Does the blade’s finish scratch easily?
- It does not scratch easily, but it can be scratched.
How easy is it to sharpen the knife?
- There is no serrated edge on this knife so sharpening it is straightforward.
Does the thumb stud spring fall out or become clogged with dirt?
- This was a part of the knife I was worried about. However the spring has stayed dirt free and has not come loose.
This concludes my Long Term Report. Thank you to Kershaw and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test this item.
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