Pros: Overall Quality, Blade Sharpness, Handle Material, Ease of Opening, Blade Material
Pay Attention These Guys Are Trying Hard to Get This Right
Why ? All made in America with American steel etc. I'm an international, global, cosmic kind of guy; I look for quality where I can find it . . . but if I have a choice between buying very similar products I will buy from my neighborhood every time. Even if it costs a little more. I thought it was a crying shame no body had reviewed this knife so I hurried to get something up about it. Hope to update once I get some time sharpening, using and photographing it. By the way I am way happy with Knife Center for their packaging for shipment. Brown paper wrapped around the box of the knife. Other vendors, not specializing in knives, put those big plastic pillows on the box or some such. With pillows the manufacturer's boxes have popped open and by the time I get it the knife is bouncing around unprotected on the bottom of the shipping box. anyway . . . back to this knife : At the time of this review some vendors indicate the steel as 440 stainless. This is an error. Some of Bear and Son's other, non heritage, knives are 440 stainless. That is just fine. Most people don't appreciate the 1095 steel and want the rust resistance of the 440. But this knife is special ! The steel in THIS 4TH GENERATION COMMEMORATIVE knife is CARBON STEEL 1095 (it says CS on each blade). I verified that by making a small area rust by putting white vinegar on it and letting it dry (after thoroughly washing the blade with soap and water and denatured alcohol to get any protective coatings off. A Boker I bought advertised as 1095 behaves like 440 with the vinegar on it and is much more stain resistant and behaves identically to another Boker (all stockmans) that is listed as "SS stainless steel" stamped right on the blade. The Boker listed as 1095 had no indication stamped in the blade as to the steel. T'd me off. The shape of the blades are just right on this Bear & Son. I considered a Great Eastern Cutlery stockman (at three to five times the price) but did not like the blade shapes as well as this one. I have not given up on GEC they turn out bushels of different (but limited quantity) versions of their knives; just a matter of time and they will put out a blackish green, 1095 medium stockman with the blade shapes I want and I will snag it . . . until then (and after then) this Bear and Son is a great product. The long blade is hollow ground, the finger nail knick is cut perfectly ( square edged, deep enough and very generously long) The grinding and polishing on the sides of the blade are very well done in deed. The other two blades are a LITTLE less well polished and are flat ground and are thinner. Nothing wrong with flat ground. I like flat ground. I like thin blades. All is just fine here. Especially considering the price. Guys . . . Bear and Son is practically giving you this knife for free at this price . . . my advice is snag it while you can. All the blades where sharp enough for everyday use. Only the small spey was shave sharp and then just barely. Some would say that is how it should be anyway. By the way the spring action "walking and talking" is just the way I like it. The "1095" Boker stockman I spoke of above (a spectacularly beautiful black green with full on etched large blade) . . . the springs are overly firm on that knife to the point of breaking my finger nail if my hands are damp etc. When I close that one, if my wife is sleeping, I have to grip the blade and close it slow so it doesn't talk too loud and wake her up; no kidding. I have the SS stag of that same knife and the springs are much lighter. Back to this Bear : The handle, side plates, scales . . . they are much nicer than the photo here shows. The photo here made me think the walnut might be like a cheep kitchen knife and just waxed wood or some such. Not the case; these scales are pressure injected epoxy for extreme durability and will not absorb liquids. The scales are polished and smooth yet sculpted and attractive. The middle rivet is flush and well set and the bolsters look terrific. Now . . . when you put on the magnification visor and start looking at this as a piece of jewelry then yah there is the occasional grinding mark and missed spots here and there. You want perfection in every way then it is going to cost you many many times what this knife sells for. If you want a great every day knife with great steel and made in American through out then this is a super deal. I am happy with my purchase 100%.