At least one good thing came out the Cryo review. I mentioned in the review that it caused me to rethink how I review stuff. This post explains that rethinking and adds some more data points to my reviews.
For a while now I have been using and reviewing folding knives. There are all sorts of things that I look at, but one of the most important things, one of the things that is almost always present on a good knife and absent on a bad knife is a high blade to handle ratio. For a while I just listed it because, of course, free blade length is great. I want a blade that is as small as possible to carry, but as large as possible during use.
To that end, I had originally thought that blade:handle was a good way to measure, objectively, that sentiment. But over time I have come to realize something. High blade:handle is not just correlated with a high score, I think it may be the CAUSE OF a high score. In other words, if you could only know one thing about the design of a knife, I think choosing blade:handle would tell you more about whether it is a good knife than any other feature of design. Of course you want to know more, but if you had only one thing to look at, I'd say take a peek at the blade:handle.
Now, I think there is another objective measurement that is valuable to know: blade:weight. Both ratios are measurements of a knife comparing, essentially how it works when open versus how it carries when closed. But carrying and reviewing the Cryo and then, with some clear review whipsawing going on, switching to the Al Mar Knives Hawk, I have realized that blade:weight is just as important as blade:handle.
From now on you will see two different ratios: blade:handle and blade:weight in every design section of a folding knife review. They are objective. They are clear and easy to understand. And they are quick and dirty shorthand for a knife that can do a lot of different things but still carry easily. In the end that is why I carry a folding knife--lots of utility in a convenient package.
I am also going try this approach in other reviews. With multitools I am going to highlight the to tools:weight. Lots of tools for minimal weight is a great thing and a sign of good, conscientious design. Finally, after carrying the Aeon around for four days and falling in love with it all over again, I think I will add a pair of ratios to the light reviews, one of lumens:weight (with battery) and one of lumens:runtime (max on both). For the curious the lumens:weight on the Aeon is .85 (114 lumens divided by 1.34 ounces) and the lumens:runtime is 1.26 (114 lumens divided by 90 minutes).
Generally the better knives score around a .70 on blade:handle. The Sebenza scores a very nice .74. The Mini Grip does a bit better at .75. The SOG Flash I scores of the best of any knife I have reviewed, hitting a .78. On blade:weight, I'd like to see a score of 1. The DF2 ZDP-189 smashes it with a score of 1.875. The Al Mar Hawk gets a super score of 2.81 (2.75 inches divided by .98 ounces). Comparatively speaking, the Steel Turd a.k.a. the Cryo gets a score of .65. Ugh. That is a lot of weight for nothing. Multitools are a bit different. You want a ratio better than 1. The Skeletool CX has a tool:weight ratio of 1.4 (7 tools divided by 5 ounces). The Charge TTi hits a really nice 2.32 (19 tools divided by 8.2 ounces).
One other side benefit of the ratios (aside from their shorthand function and objectivity) is that they are unitless measurements meaning they stay the same regardless of whether you are using standard or metric. Hopefully this will help out non-US readers.
So look for the following in upcoming reviews:
tools:weight (in ounces)
lumens:weight (in ounces; with battery)
lumens:runtime (in minutes)