Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kershaw Clash Knife Review


The Kershaw Clash, model 1605, is possibly one of the more attractive assisted-open folding knives I've seen in a while. It fits the hand perfectly, is easy to use, and has a glass-filled nylon handle that's just grippy enough, but remains comfortable as you use it. The drop point blade has a nice belly and comes with a bead-blasted finish. I've used the Speedsafe-enabled Clash in a variety of applications and carried it for weeks. I have to say, once you pick up this knife and start to use it, you may not put it down again... at least not anywhere your friends might "accidentally" walk away with it!

Before doing a review on a knife, what I always do is open it up to see what it looks like, how it feels - and discern the intent of the blade. Is it tactical? Is it made for EDC? Will it blend? Often a blade has a specific purpose which governs its design and features, but sometimes a knife comes across as an all-around versatile tool that just seems "right". The Clash falls into the second category. It's not a tactical weapon. It doesn't have any features specifically for safety, or the workplace. It's not colorful or particularly rugged-looking. But it's got a nice shape - both to the blade and the handle. It "feels" right when you hold it, with excellent balance and just the right sizing to make it a great EDC (every day carry) knife.


Look at the drop point blade, for example. While some may not prefer this blade style, the Kershaw Clash Knife includes a nicely rounded belly on the blade that gives it a slight recurve, with a bit more girth and rigidity during use. It also allows you to "aim" the knife for more delicate and focused trimming or shaving as opposed to a flatter blade. The back of the blade lacks any real jimping (notches on the back side where your thumb rests in the forward position), but it has a smooth and comfortable depression. As such, this isn't a knife that's meant to be "wielded" so much as easily handled and controlled for general use.

And that general use doesn't mean you can't manhandle the Kershaw Clash 1605. The liner lock is thick, providing a solid pressure to stop the blade and hold it secure in the open position. At the same time, it's a simple thumb move to release it. The Speedsafe function worked flawlessly and I only noticed a slight amount of side-to-side wobble in the blade which I was able to remove by slightly tightening the Allen-head screw at the blade pivot point. I am not sure if this was just a QC (quality control) issue from the factory, or what, but the blade never loosened up again after I tightened it.


The texture on the glass-filled nylon handle isn't terribly rough, which is partly why the blade is so easy to hold and maneuver. It has just enough variance to give it a solid grip without being too aggressive. You're not likely to drop the Clash, or have it accidentally slip out of your hand while handling it. The included belt clip is unusually large - and by "large" I mean "fat". It's wider than what I typically see on EDC knives and, while robust, we questioned why Kershaw chose such a design. There is also a rather steep angle along the top of the clip, which helps it seat itself perfectly in pockets that flatten out (like the typical jean style) but which may prove to be awkward on pockets that angle all the way down to the bottom (as with some work pants).


The clip is also positioned such that the knife sticks out about 7/8 of an inch when you carry it and Kershaw could have saved 1/8-inch on this easily simply by shortening the distance from the holes to the top of the clip. The clip can be mounted to the bottom of the knife, but you can't reverse it to the other side for a left-hand carry.

Opening this knife is a most satisfying experience. The Speedsafe combined with the blade shape and size give it a very satisfying 'snap' on open. It's also loud and will get the attention of everyone in a small room (which could be good or bad, so exercise with caution). The Kershaw Clash Folding Knife is well-balanced and you can really wrap your hand all the way around it for near-perfect control over slicing, cutting and shaping. There are two positions my thumb liked to be in, depending upon whether I was looking for more control (on the curved part of the spine) or speed (on the small jimping ridges). I did everything with this knife, carrying it for weeks and opening boxes, cutting through nylon rope... it even served me well whittling up some sticks for hot dogs and various other food prep tasks on a recent family barbecue. Even after all that, the blade was relatively sharp, but we took out my Spyderco Tri-angle Sharpmaker and touched it up, noting that the 8CR13MOV stainless steel of this V-ground blade is a very easy material to sharpen. This is a Chinese steel that is comparable to AUS-8 and so far it's proven to be reliable and resistant to rust, though further use will tell over the long haul how well it withstands the elements. As with anything, good maintenance and care will help you enjoy your blade for a much longer time and Kershaw's limited lifetime warranty means that the blade is guaranteed against manufacturing defects (but not rust or damage from prying). They'll also sharpen your knife for free if you send it to them - you just need to pay for shipping to the company.

I rate the Kershaw Clash 1605 an 8 out of 10. If you want a nice EDC knife that has a versatile blade that is good for cutting, slicing and shaping, it's going to be difficult to top the Kershaw Clash 1605. I love the drop tip blade, and the entire knife just feels right. Weight, handling, and grip are all in good balance. The pocket clip could be improved, but it's not a very serious ding on an otherwise excellent knife. While I've used this blade as my EDC for the past several weeks, it's one that will be hard to give up. While it retails for $39.95, I've seen it online for a lot less than that, making it not only a great knife, but a great bargain.


To buy or get more information on the Kershaw Clash Model 1605 Assisted 3" Bead-Blast Plain Blade with Polyimide Handles, click the link below.

Kershaw Clash Assisted 3" Bead-Blast Plain Blade, Polyimide Handles




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