Kershaw Ken Onion “Leek” Pocket Knife Review

Kershaw Ken Onion Leek

The Kershaw Leek folding knife features an overall length of 7 inches when open and 4 inches when closed and has a bead blasted, non-serrated, blade that measures 3 inches in length that is made from 14C28M stainless steel.

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Also, please note that although Kershaw refers to this blade shape as a “modified drop point”, it would more properly be referred to a Wharncliffe which is a highly specialized blade shape rather than a general purpose blade shape like a clip point or a drop point. In addition, the Kershaw web site does not list the Rockwell hardness of the blade, the manufacturer of this steel recommends that it be hardened to 55 to 62 Rockwell. The blade also features a thumb stud and Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted locking mechanism which allows you to quickly and easily open the knife with a push on the thumb stud.

Kershaw was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a special collectors’ edition, or a precision kitchen knife, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures their knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. For instance, their SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. Also, they introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in their Blade Traders and recently, their Composite Blade technology that combines two steels into one blade which gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling them to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. So, from award-winning technologies and advanced materials to the solid sound of the blade lockup, when you’re carrying a Kershaw, you know you’re carrying the real thing.

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Even their inexpensive models are impressive. Each of their knives is backed for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction with their famous Limited Lifetime Warranty. In fact, people do own their Kershaw knives for a lifetime. (Although, occasionally, a Kershaw has been known to get accidentally left at a campsite, lost in the garage, or permanently borrowed by a friend). The point is, you can always look to Kershaw for every day carrying knives that can tame any cardboard box and liberate any purchase from its plastic packaging, for sporting knives that make hunting, fishing, water sports, and camping even better, for work knives that won’t let you down, and for tactical knives that ensure you’re ready for anything. Therefore, Kershaw’s “Leek” pocket knife, which was designed by Ken Onion, displays their commitment to innovation and fine quality craftsmanship.

Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Pocket Knife Open

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In addition, the spine of the blade also incorporates Kershaw’s Flipper which is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the user can either pull back on or flip in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. Plus, it also incorporates a super-secure frame lock that keeps the blade locked during use and a Tip-Lock slider locks the blade closed when folded. Also, the handle is made entirely from 410 stainless steel with a bead blasted finish that also incorporates a pocket clip can be configured for tip-up or tip-down carry as well as right and left side carry and the handle is drilled to accept a lanyard.

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with pocket knife construction can see that the Kershaw Leek folding knife is a well designed and well made knife that incorporates quality materials and an innovative locking mechanism that keeps the blade closed when you want it closed and open when you want it open and yet enables the user to easily open the knife with one hand. Also, I like the design of the handle since it has a very ergonomic shape. However, having said that, I also have to say that I do not personally like the shape of the modified drop point blade since it lacks a sweep to the tip. Thus, in my opinion, it is more akin to a straight razor than a proper knife blade.

While it may be useful for opening packaging and other everyday tasks that would normally be relegated to a box cutter, it is utterly useless as hunting knife and thus, it would make a poor choice for a companion to a fixed blade survival knife as well. Also, while the stainless steel handle is pretty, it is prone to showing scratches and dents and an all metal handle is cold to touch and hold when the surrounding air is cold. Also, due to the lack of texture on the grip, the polished stainless steel grip is likely to be slick in the hand when it is wet. In addition, I find it odd that Kershaw does not list the Rockwell hardness of the blade on their web site and thus, we are simply left to assume that they chose to follow the steel manufacturer’s recommendations of hardening the steel to somewhere between 55 and 62 Rockwell (which is wide range for knife steel).

Ken Onion Leek

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While I am not familiar with this particular steel, upon reading the Sandvik Materials Technology website (who is the manufacturer of this steel), I can see that this is a high carbon stainless steel since it has a Carbon content of .62% and a Chromium content of 14%. In addition, according to Sandvik: “This new (steel) grade matches the previous highest achievable hardness without affecting the microstructure. Blade re-sharpening is therefore easy. At the same time, edge stability in terms of microchipping and edge folding or rolling is also good.” However, I hesitate to accept this statement at face value since it has been my experience that knife steels that are easy to sharpen are not hard enough to properly hold an edge. But, I have been wrong before and I may be wrong about this steel.

So, while I am well aware that Kershaw has a long standing reputation for building quality pocket knives, I am not personally impressed with the overall design of the Leek. Another option to look into is the Kershaw Compound, we’ll be reviewing that knife in the future. On the other hand, the Leek does incorporate quality materials and it does display Kershaw’s usual level of fine craftsmanship. Thus, I am certain that some of you will wholeheartedly disagree with my assessment of this knife and you are welcome to do so. Therefore, I have to say that if this blade style suits your intended purpose and you happen to like the stainless steel grip, then purchasing a Kershaw Leek pocket knife would be an excellent choice for you since you will be acquiring a knife that would literally last you a lifetime.

—>>Check the latest prices and discounts for the Kershaw Ken Onion “Leek”

Written by Bill Bernhardt

Last updated: January 3, 2014 at 5:36 am

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