Because the site is now over a year old and because the reviews stay up forever, every once in a while I will get a series of comments from a new reader. The email pattern is clear: he or she is working through the old reviews as I get four comments in quick succession on older posts. It is fun to see this happen because it means that someone else is reading and giving feedback. Feedback is important because it helps shape what I write about. I like doing this, but I like doing it more when it engages you.
Now comments are always a dangerous proposition. Read the comments on most newspaper articles on the web and you will find a handful of loonies almost every time. And the negative feedback effect is always at work--people that are satisfied are much more likely say nothing than people who aren't. Toss in a heaping helping of fanboys and the comments can be downright nasty. But not here. Most of my readers, if not all, are pretty reasonable. So when negative comments come in, I read and process them carefully.
Two were very instructive. A new reader was winding his or her way through the archives and stumbled on the review of the Spyderco Tenacious and the review of the Benchmade Sequel. Both were relatively negative, especially when compared to the feedback these two blades have received on the Internet. His or her basic comment was: "what were you thinking?" What I was thinking, hopefully, is clear from the review, but WHY I thought that is important, both to me as a reviewer and to you as a reader. The why reveals my preferences and hopefully the more you know about my preferences the most useful my reviews will be to you.
The basic reason why the two knives got less than stellar reviews is simple--both are uninspiring. The Sequel is surprisingly bland for a $90-$100 blade and the Tenacious is bland for a blade of any price. The reality is, at those two price points you can do much, much better. The Caly 3 CF, a classy 3 inch knife, is simply superior to the Sequel in almost every way (I like the lock on the Sequel better) and it is basically the same price. The Tenacious is bested by a ton of knives, especially the Kershaw Skyline, which is, again, essentially the same price. I like it SO much better.
I also would probably never recommend either of these knives because for a little more you get a whole lot better knife. My preference is to save up and buy that one knife I really wanted instead of spending $30 here and there on something similar to but not exactly what I wanted. It is a preference built up from years of incorrect spending habits. Save and buy once. It will be a huge cost savings in the end, even if the thing you save up for is a lot of money.
In the case of the Sequel and the Tenacious this is especially true. Want a classy knife? Save up for a Mnandi or an Al Mar and call it a day. What a good user folder? Save up a little more than the Tenacious and buy a Delica or a Mini Grip. The cost is greater, but the difference in quality and purchase satisfaction is proportionally greater still.
I try to explain my opinions, but I also do not shy away from having them. By stating them clearly I can give you a signal as to how you should use my review. If you are budget-only person, you can take my reviews with a grain of salt. I think I put more of premium of premium materials than, say, Nutnfancy. As a budget-only person, the Tenacious is a good choice (though the similarly priced Skyline is a vastly better one). When I was younger I loved reading EGM, a video game magazine. They would review games and eventually I figured out which of the reviewers shared my taste. So when that reviewer (it was John Davison, a legend in the video game press, BTW) would give a game a good score I knew I would like it too. He explained his opinions, but he also expressed them clearly. Hopefully I am doing the same thing.
So keep the feedback coming. It helps me help you.