Monday, April 15, 2013

Thomas W.'s Comments and the Cryo Revisited

The Kershaw Cryo review lives on.  No other article has spawned as many substantive comments as this one, but one in particular is pretty important.  When Thomas W. comments, you listen.  If you browse knife forums at all, you know that Thomas W. is an active and outstanding member of the knife community and he also happens to work for one of the Big Three--Kai USA.

When an email alert told me that he had commented on the Cryo review, I knew I had to take a peek.  What he said was really interesting and given how well respected he is in the community and how much I respect his opinion, I thought it warranted its own post and a response from me.  If I were a movie critic, this would be like Stephen Spielberg sending me a note about my review of Lincoln.

Here is what Thomas W. wrote:

Hi Tony

This is Thomas from Kai USA. Sorry to hear of your disappointment with the Cryo.

I'm not really looking to argue with you about your review, although it seems exaggerated.

Just wanted to drop in to let you know that the Cryo is the most popular new item our company has seen in a long time. It's numbers have shown it to be our biggest volume sku in our current line-up. I'm not sure how that could happen if the Cryo is as bad as you advertise. There have been multiple requests for variations of the Cryo (black and bead blast), and the pre-orders on the larger Cryo have been very, very, solid.

Suffice to say, calling the Cryo junk is just not accurate, not even as an opinion. We know knives. We know execution. I own a Cryo. It's far from junk, and I find your claim distasteful and disrespectful.

I'll assume you are here as an advocate of the knife community. Please remember as good as it felt to write this, you have a responsibility to the community, not just your viewers here.

Throwing out the word junk in the easy fashion as you have here is just not responsible. I'm unsure why Blade HQ would utilize you for reviews when you self admit bias, and there is an obvious lack of industry experience/understanding, but little surprises me anymore.

I appreciate the ability to respond here, and would like to shout out to the readers that the overwhelming percentage of Cryo owners are very much satisfied with the knife, as are we.

The Re-Review Policy

This is not a comment I can brush off and it contains points that really made me think, not just about my opinion of the Cryo, but what I am doing writing about gear in general.

In response to Thomas's comments I have decided that I am going to amend my review policy.  At the prompting of a maker, I will, at my discretion, re-review a product.  The re-review will take place no sooner than six months after the original review is posted.  This will be an appeal of sorts (as a lawyer I am familiar with the complexities of an appeal).  The purpose of one my reviews is to inform you the reader.  It is not to be a smug jerk.  I want, above all, to get the review right.  I want to make sure my reasons are clear and my opinions are based on facts.  I want to make sure that my opinions are defensible as well.  But I am convinced, based on 35 years of errors, that even a well-reasoned argument based on facts, can be wrong and so, I am going to re-review the Cryo.  This time I will purchase the Cryo and keep it as long as I need to do the review, but I am going to use it for at least a month and I am going to do my new cutting tests with it to standardize the review of its cutting performance.

A more formal statement of the re-review policy will be added to the Contact page up at the top.


I do want to response to Thomas's points.  If Spielberg tells you you got it wrong, you owe him a response.

First to general points.  Thomas W.'s comments come when my review of the Cryo is the first hit on a Google search of "Kershaw Cryo Review."  Perhaps that is what brought it to his attention.  It has not always been the number one hit, but it is now.  I mention this because some of Thomas's criticism seems most pointed if you read the Cryo review in a vacuum.  If, however, you read it with other things I have written, like other reviews of Kershaw knives, some of the things he says make less sense.  The Skyline got an 18/20, the OD-2 a 17/20, the Zing SS an 18/20, the Chill a 16/20, and the ZT 350 an 18/20 (the Scallion got a worse review than the Cryo with a score of 8/20).  KAI USA's products are the second most often reviewed gear on my site, only Spyderco has more product reviews (7 reviews v. 12 reviews).  I am not a Kershaw hater and these scores indicate that I know they make good knives.  But these are general objections to his points.  Let me be more specific. 

I'm not really looking to argue with you about your review, although it seems exaggerated.

He stated that he felt my review was a bit "exaggerated".  I am not sure what this means, but I think he means that I was exaggerating how bad the knife was.  I believe that there certain facts that are simply unavoidable, facts that show the knife to be subpar.  As facts, these can't be exaggerated (though their impact can be).  First, the weight of 4.2 ounces.  I am not a weight maven, but for a knife with a 2.75 inch blade, the weight is just too much.  In Episode 4 of Gear Geeks Live Aaron and I hashed out the debate a little and I gave him this list:

Benchmade Griptillian
Spyderco Paramilitary 2
Kershaw Blur
Kershaw Cryo

Then I asked him which was the heaviest.  The answer is the Cryo.  And here is the more surprising fact--all of the blades in the other knives are significantly longer, around a half inch longer.  So based on objective facts--weight and blade length and a ratio of the two--the Cryo falls behind the crowd pretty substantially.  That is something I can't exaggerate--it is all facts, inches and ounces.

Then we talked about the Cryo in terms of similarly priced knives.  After all, all three of the knives in the example above are more than three times the price of the Cryo.  So I pointed Aaron to the Kershaw Zing SS.  It shows just how below par the Cryo is in terms of objective measures.  The handle material is the same, the blade material is the same, the lock is the same, the country of origin is the same, the company is the same, but the Zing weighs less and has more blade than the Cryo.  Additionally, the blade to handle ratio on the Zing is better than the Cryo.  You get more blade length for roughly the same handle size and 1.2 ounces less in weight.  Again, these are facts, and I can't really exaggerate them.  And to bring this home even more, the Zing SS and the Cryo are basically the same price, so this is not a matter of one knife benefiting from a higher budget and therefore better production quality than the other.  These two knives are very readily comparable and the Zing SS just gives you more.

As far as other facts, the fit and finish, especially the blade centering, on my knife was bad.  It was so bad that I got the scissor effect when I closed the knife as the blade contacted the handle and slid past it.  There is no exaggerating how bad my sample was, but perhaps I should not attribute these problems to the whole line.  That may have been an exaggeration.  I will get another Cryo and find out.

Just wanted to drop in to let you know that the Cryo is the most popular new item our company has seen in a long time. It's numbers have shown it to be our biggest volume sku in our current line-up. I'm not sure how that could happen if the Cryo is as bad as you advertise. There have been multiple requests for variations of the Cryo (black and bead blast), and the pre-orders on the larger Cryo have been very, very, solid. 

First, let me say I am so glad that the knife is selling well.  I like Kershaw as a company.  They won me over with blades and then again helping me prepare a case when a client of mine was charged with possessing a switchblade because of owning a Speed Assist knife (the law banning switchblades in New Hampshire has since been repealed).  But liking Kershaw aside, I have a few thoughts about Thomas W.'s comments on popularity.

First, when a knife is brand new good sales numbers are not an indication of quality design or product, but quality marketing.  It can't be anything else because no one has the knife in their hands to use.  If the sales are this strong ten years from now and/or the Cryo undergoes the CQI of a blade like the Delica, then the sales numbers and longevity will be an indication of quality.  Strong sales out of the gate is an indication of a fantastic marketing department, something Kai USA certainly has, not of product quality.  After all one of the worst reviewed movies of last year had one of the highest, if not the highest opening weekend grosses (Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 1 grossed $290 million).  Initial sales are not indicative of quality.

Popularity is also not a great judge.  After all, quite a few people believed the world was flat and that turned out to be wrong.  If popularity or sales numbers were all that was needed to prove quality then this:

would be the third best knife in the world right now as it is really killing it on the Amazon Top 100 folding knives chart.  Obviously, popularity cannot a direct indication of quality.  Quality items are often popular, but popular items are not necessarily quality items.  Over time popularity tends to correlate with quality, but the Cryo is less than a year old and so popularity, right now, at least, is not helpful in evaluating quality.

Requests for variation could be a sign of quality.  I asked for a variation of the Cryo in my review.  There are things the Cryo does very well.  I said it in the review and I said it on the podcast--this knife has good bones.  With a few tweaks it would be amazing.  But calls for variation can also be a sign of problems.  People wouldn't ask for changes if they liked what they already had.  They might, but they also might not.  Requests for variations does not, in my mind, necessarily correlate to quality.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Finally, if the Amazon reviews are any indication (and usually they aren't but with as many as the Cryo has they start to be statistically significant), this is not a knife of universal acclaim.  The knife has 243 reviews with an average of 4.37 stars, which is good, but not close to great.  The Dragonfly 2, with 53 reviews (an admittedly much smaller sample size), has an average of 4.8 stars.  The Skyline, with 208 reviews, has an average of 4.7 stars.  If the Amazon reviews are even somewhat helpful, the knife is liked or well liked, but not beloved. The difference of half a star on a 5 star scale is 10%, a sizable thing.  I don't think this is the strongest counterpoint, as Amazon reviews are notoriously fickle or silly, but it is all we have to go on in terms of objective metrics.      

Suffice to say, calling the Cryo junk is just not accurate, not even as an opinion. We know knives. We know execution. I own a Cryo. It's far from junk, and I find your claim distasteful and disrespectful.

Calling the Cryo "junk" is disrespectful.  I don't think it is or should be, but Thomas W. obviously took offense, so I can't really tell him to not be offended (especially given the fact that the "I am sorry you were offended" style apologies are one of my pet peeves).  The reason I called it junk was twofold.  First it is a clear and concise summary of my experience.  The Cryo I got flipped poorly, had poor grip, and was really off centered.  It was a junky version of the knife.  Second, it calls attention to the main problem I had.  I didn't call the knife ugly, I was taken aback by its seemingly cheap fit and finish, materials, and production choices.  The design itself is a great one, and with a few tweaks it could be a great knife, but the production issues make it a lesser knife.  It might be offensive, but I see my purpose as informing people and the word "junk" was both clear and informative.  My intent was not to be disrespectful, though I was aware at the time I wrote the review that could be a consequence.  As between being disrespectful to KAI USA and misleading my readers, I would obviously choose being disrespectful, though this is almost always a false choice.  My "customers" are my readers, not the folks that make the products.  I don't do this for knife companies and I don't do this for money or stuff (I give all of my review stuff away).  I do this for the readers and their interests come first.

Thomas's point that calling it "junk," even as an opinion, is not accurate is confusing to me.  It is an accurate summary of my opinion.  I used facts to back up that opinion.  That, it seems to me, is enough to say that my opinion is accurate.  You might not agree with it, but there is no doubt that "junk" accurately summarizes my opinion at the time.  I should know, after all, it is my opinion.    

I also agree with Thomas that Kershaw and KAI USA know how to make knives.  They really, really do.  They make some of my favorite production blades of all time.  I know, right now, that two are on the top of "to buy" list (the 556 and the Injection 3.0).  Also also wholeheartedly agree that Kershaw knows execution.  If I didn't believe this I wouldn't bother re-reviewing the knife.  There are certain things that are fixed, like the size and weight, but I believe, given Kershaw's long track record, that I could have received a very rare Kershaw lemon.  So I will re-review the blade.  I also think that some of the best knives I have used, for the money, or cost no object, have been KAI USA products.  They make fantastic knives.  NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

I'll assume you are here as an advocate of the knife community. Please remember as good as it felt to write this, you have a responsibility to the community, not just your viewers here.

I also have to take seriously what Thomas said about being an advocate for the knife community.  I realize that what started out as me writing for a few dozen folks has transformed into something bigger.  With that bigger megaphone comes more responsibility.  Going forward I will take that into account in writing reviews.  For the record, I took no pleasure in writing a bad Cryo review.  I wanted that knife to be awesome from the day I saw it on a SHOT Show video.  If anything the review was written and fueled by a sense of profound disappointment.

Throwing out the word junk in the easy fashion as you have here is just not responsible. I'm unsure why Blade HQ would utilize you for reviews when you self admit bias, and there is an obvious lack of industry experience/understanding, but little surprises me anymore.

I didn't throw out the word "junk" easily.  The review took over a month to write and the product took as long to test.  The whole reason I use a 20 point system is so there is some order to my opinions.  None of these reviews are easy.  They all take quite a bit of work, all of which is unpaid.

Thomas also pondered why Blade HQ would sponsor me.  I think I do a good job reviewing products and getting the word out.  I think I provide lots of content for them for almost nothing.  I know, based on commissioned sales, things are going well.  But I have no idea why they choose to sponsor this site. I am incredibly grateful, but their motives are their own.

The one thing Thomas W. said that I most strongly disagree with is his idea that bias makes someone a bad reviewer.  Bias or subjectivity is the very heart of a review.  It is one person's take on something.  It is, by its very nature, biased.  I even wrote an article on what my biases were and how to account for them in reading a review.  I AM BIASED.  So is everyone else.  The reviewer that tells you they are not is lying.  They are the folks you need to be worried about because they are biased and they either don't know it or won't admit it.

I am also going to confess further.  I am a huge Kershaw fan.  I am always interested in what they put out.  I don't follow Gerber or Cold Steel like I follow Kershaw (check my Twitter account, I follow Kershaw and Knife Jen, but neither Gerber or Cold Steel).  There is a difference between being biased and being fair.  I think that I am fair.  I strive to be fair.  I bend over backwards to be fair.  I try to be transparent as well.  I try to ensure I benefit in no way from any review.  I reviewed the Tom Bihn Cadet and decided I liked it a lot.  But instead of keeping the review copy and sending them my money, I paid for it to go back to Seattle, then once it arrived, I paid for it to come back my way.  If I was trying to be slanted in some way, if I was not fair, I wouldn't go to all these lengths.  My reputation is all I have.  I don't have money or prestige, just people believing I am fair and honest.  Everyone has a perspective and so everyone has a bias, but I can recognize those biases and work around them to review things I wouldn't necessarily like or buy and still give them good reviews if the product deserves it.

As for the lack of experience I am the first to admit I have ZERO experience in the knife industry.  I don't have any clue whatsoever what makes a knife company profitable or a design good for business.  Thomas W. is absolutely right on this account.  But I don't think that, on its own, invalidates my opinion.  Bill James had no clue what made a ball club successful when he started writing his Baseball Abstracts.  He had an idea--the numbers contained crucial information that IN THE INDUSTRY OF PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL were missing.  Twenty five years later, the guy that worked as a night security guard at a baked bean factory while writing the Abstracts, has been proven right again and again.  He has a World Series ring to prove he is right.

I am not Bill James.  I am not as smart as he is.  I am no where near the writer he is, but the notion that only those inside the knife industry have meaningful things to say is hard to accept.  Maybe I don't understand how the price point of the Cryo requires certain compromises or how the branding shapes the product.  But I don't care about this stuff.  I have one focus--how good is this piece of gear.  It may take an engineering degree to design the knife (though I don't think that is a requirement either) and a business degree to market and sell it.  But anyone can use a knife and anyone willing to think about it for a while and write stuff down can speak meaningfully about how well it works.


Thomas W. I am incredibly grateful for your comments.  They will change how I write reviews going forward.  They were insightful in a fundamental way.  We disagree on a few things, but in general, I think you were right.  So, for the first time in two plus years, I am going to do a full blown re-review.  The Kershaw Cryo gets a second chance.    


  1. I too, thought you got something completely wrong once. The time you gave the Haiku to a review other than mine, which was clearly the best. :) (Seriously though.)

  2. I dunno Tony I think you give Thomas too much credit here. I too have seen him on the forums, and I don't doubt he is a good guy, but calling him the "Steven Spielberg" of knives seems a little much when it's unclear what his role at Kershaw actually is. I like your candid approach to gear reviews, and hope this letter doesn't dissuade you from continuing to speak your mind.

    Frankly I got a Cryo too and wasn't impressed either. I know some people loved it, while others apparently hated it. It's a polarizing product and it doesn't take much industry experience to figure that out.

    I will say that I found his reaction to be pretty inflammatory and (dare I even say it?) a touch disrespectful. The fact that he is so obviously upset about one person's opinion speaks volumes. But maybe if he were to attack the review on it's merits rather than resort blanket statements and ad hominems he would engender a little more respect. At the very least he would be left with a cogent argument.

    That said, bring on the second review. I hope Kershaw has corrected niggling issues like the off center blade by now, but I am almost sure some of your initial concerns will remain valid.

    1. I agree on the "too much credit." The original Cyro review was clearly thoughtful and well-considered, and the fact that the knife is popular is not at all a compelling counter-point for all the reasons you suggest.

      Worse, though, was this notion that you have some "responsibility" to the "community" to - I don't know- downplay or water-down your bad assessments? If anything, your responsibility to the community is the opposite.

      Finally, I don't get at all why you have to have "knowledge of the industry" to review a knife. A knife is a knife. It's a tool that should succeed, or not, on its own without requiring some secret knowledge to appreciate. It was too heavy and closed improperly; if you had some super in-depth knowledge of Kershaw's shipping routes or whatever that wouldn't change anything.

      In any event, he didn't explain any fact about the "industry" or any other topic that you got wrong. Probably because there is no magic hidden fact that would suddenly change anything about your assessment. I suspect what he really means is that if you knew him and all his buddies personally you wouldn't be so mean (not that you were particularly mean). That's maybe true, but that's a reason why getting too close to industry insiders harms reviews, not helps them.

  3. The Cryo is garbage. Its so successful because it looks like a Hinderer. It is the poor man's Hinderer - THAT'S the ONLY reason.

  4. I picked up a cryo at a BassPS. Really wanted to like it cause it looked like a hinderer but had a small size. It was just too heavy and I was not thrilled about the opening. I set it back down on the counter and walked away. Tony i enjoy your site because we have similar taste. Not everyone shares a similar taste, which is why the internet has more than one knife forum. Its nice to see that your "little ole site" has the attention of the industry. Its also nice that you were not trying to get it.

  5. I am surprised you took the bait, Tony. When I read Thomas W.'s response to your scathing review, I laughed. I laughed because he provides very little reason to consider it constructive other than the fact that HE is paid to be biased as an employee of KAI.

    Re-reviewing the Cryo is jumping the shark. You are better than to second guess yourself as you are clearly doing here. Thomas' complaint reads as corporate hubris. You have given it too much merit by promoting it as a valid reason to change your review policy. Please don't cave, Tony.

    1. Here's the thing, it is important to me to be seen as unquestionably fair. Lots of people have hammered me for that review and though I think it is defensible, I want to make sure, absolutely sure, I got it right. This might be a case of a mea culpa on my part or a "be careful what you wish for" on Kershaw's part. Either way I really, really want to get this one right.

    2. Tony, I understand. People paid by the knife trade will want you to put the knife trade first and try to tell you it will be good for all of us. The reason your reviews have been a hit with me was because you avoided being "accepted" by the major players by using false politeness and unfounded industry chivalry.

      In my opinion, the Thomas W's of the world are part of a hairball with its own gravity force in the knife industry. If you start caring what he thinks (as a 30 year corporate knife industry insider) too much, you will end up being just another hair in the hairball. In my opinion, it is better to orbit the hairball and avoid becoming enveloped in it. Please do not let his corporate ramblings suck you in. By the way, if you, instead, wish to join the knife industry fold as a paid attorney or other advocacy position...continue on and it will only be a matter of time. By the way...I hold nothing against those who choose to go that direction but instead, I choose to hold high those who do not succumb.

  6. I have been reading your reviews for a short time, and (being new to this knife thing) have found them to be some of the most un-biased and fair reviews out there. Your review was the impetus for me to purchase a Caly3 and I think almost everything you said of it was true. However if I wrote a review of it, it would obviously be a bit different just as it would be if Thomas took a crack at it, and I assume my biases as a fan of carbon fibre would differ from his as a representative of a competitor. There is simply no such thing as an impartial review.

    It's been stated in other comments, but as a paid representative of KAI - his argument that an item is good because it's popular just doesn't hold water and unfortunately for KAI I think just confirms the accuracy of the review. And to assert that "we know knives, you don't" is childish and in fact just irresponsible public relations in my opinion. Tactics that would pass 10 years ago, now in the age of social media and transparency, do not.

    I really respect the fact that you're going to come back to this knife - I think that's a noble thing to do and will only help your "business" as a reviewer. KAI could take some notes and maybe revisit the design and production quality of this knife.

    Thanks again for your time and effort!

  7. Don't change too much, Tony, your reviews are a breath of fresh air in a community rife with mall ninjas and pubescent boys. As these were likely the Cryo's target audience, don't let a paid shill trying to cover their shenanigans derail your exemplary content.

    1. I am not going to change my language or my tone, don't worry about that, but I am going to change how I do these reviews. In fact, I made the change before Thomas's post. I am going to formalize the cutting tests, and I have done a part of this, but I am working on more. I feel like it will make my reviews more thorough and reliable and I feel like it will be more useful to you. It had nothing to do with Thomas's comments, look at the Chill or Native 5 review, to see that. They pre-dated the comments by a large margin, but I think it might help with being an advocate for the community and being more responsible.

  8. Hi Tony

    Wow, didn't realize my quick comment was going to create all of this.

    Certainly I appreciate the kind words with both myself and Kai USA. We take great pride and put forth tremendous effort everyday so to produce lifetime products for all to use.

    Tony, while I didn't agree with the Cryo review, I do actually like your reviews in general. Your future looks quite bright, and I feel that with a little more industry insight, your site, footprint, and reputation, could evolve into a true place for in-depth reviews. I would be more than happy to spend some time with you on the phone if you feel that would be a benefit.

    I did want to comment further on one part of this conversation, and that is of one's responsibility to the industry.

    I understand the some of the above comments, but feel they come from your fan base perspective more than anything else.
    David Kraus and your corporate hubris babble...please stop, you know not of what you speak. If you knew me, even a little, you would retract and apologize like real quick.

    The reason I bring that comment up is because of industry responsibility. The knife industry is a very small cottage industry, that is quite delicate within our current culture. What we have and see today, can all be gone pretty quickly tomorrow. There is importance in comradery. A comradery with our competitors is essential with all of us being here tomorrow, and beyond. If one of our competitors would go away, it would be a red alert for the remaining. We have to in many ways bond and work together vs. divide an conquer. Failure with one of us, jeopardizes the remaining.

    When it comes to a reviewer like yourself Tony, in talking your everyday commentaries to the end line user, it's important to remember that tact, respect, and understanding are as essential to the community as they are to the intended base. No manufacturer goes out and hits a home run every time, and not one is out to make a crappy product. While a specific knife may fall short of (in this case) your expectations, you firstly do have a responsibility to the community to ask why and understand vs. I'll make a conclusion that creates negativity and sheds poor light on a brand. It's just not in the best interest of either party when reviews come forward like this. These reviews feel...lazy, lacking the reporting really needed to come off as legit. They then become nothing more than an uninformed opinion. They also feed the base to pile on. IMO, you have to go to the source, ask questions, gain knowledge, wisdom, and ultimately that oh so important understanding. Then, and only then can you give an insightful, fully explained review. A review worthy of what the industry needs, and the ELU deserves.
    IMO you have to immerse yourself with with those that do, and blend it with those that want. Hell, you'd be a first, and it would be awesome. Now that, that would be meeting the responsibility that the community truly needs. YT is a killer for the industry...commentary within a YT vid review is painful and elementary. We should do a better job communicating the review of a product. Leave the hack jobs and comments of these hack jobs to the gutter they currently reside in.

    This is not to say there will or should not be any negative reviews. Look I understand, the final product is not always good. The way you say it, the way you comment on it has a lasting effect. I just saying, think bigger than just the knife in your hand.

    It's time to be a champion to the industry Tony, your fan base will only benefit.

    As to Dan and my credentials and capacity at Kai USA. For the last 9 years, Director of Sales and Marketing for Kershaw and Zero Tolerance knives. Also am responsible for Warranty and New Product Development. This is my 30th year in the industry working for manufacturers (Spyderco twice), cutlery retail, cutlery wholesale distribution, and cutlery catalogs. Board member of AKTI. Maybe not Speilberg, but hope that helps with credibility :)

    1. Thomas, it pains me to see you babble on the way you've done here as you paint such a dependence-laden picture of the knife industry. You quote knife sales as the basis for debating Tony's review as if it might have any level of relevance to his specific points. If you really want the respect of his readers, don't be lazy and avoid speaking to the design decisions he took issue with. Speak to the poor alignment shown in Tony's picture. To me, you took the lazy approach by leveraging corporate stats and responding by patronizing Tony as if he is an outsider still. He does not have to be in your clique to be relevant.

    2. Thomas W. corporate titles and industry insider insight don't make you valued around here. Thoughtful rational discussion of individual points do. For example, if you told us about how you use your Cryo (in your corporate or private life) and what makes it so awesome. Or if you addressed ANY individual factual content of the review that you object to strongly to. Those would be useful contribution.

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    4. Trying to wrap my head around that 7th paragraph. Wow.

      What matters in a knife review is how the knife works--the grip, the blade, the deployment, the lockup, etc. Knowing why decisions were made to make the knife turn out that way is incidental and unnecessary for the consumer.

      "...think bigger than the knife in your hand." Uh, what?! Last I checked, it's a friggin' knife review.

      "It's time to be a champion to the industry Tony, your fan base will only benefit." It's time to stay a champion of the consumer, Tony, your fans already benefit.

      BTW Thomas, I own a Kershaw Blur. Love it. Great knife. You know, I'm tempted to go on YouTube or post a blog telling everyone how much I love the knife, and why, but it seems you wouldn't want me doing that, seeing as I don't have the proper industry credentials to know that it's a good knife. That would be "lazy," "painful," and "elementary," in your words.

      Again, wow.

  9. Last folding knife I bought was a Kershaw Skyline. It is the BOMB. Great design & great F&F. Love it to death.

    That said, Thomas's butthurt and attitude here has caused my view of KAI to drop a bit. I still like 'em, but nowhere near the warm fuzzies I have for Sal Glesser's impeccably gentlemanly online presence.

    On the other side of the balance sheet I give them props for helping you out with your client's legal issues. (Sounds like he was a lucky dude in getting the attorney he did!)

    If you re-review the Cryo, I'd urge you to confine your reconsideration solely to the execution issues -- blade scraping etc. That might be semi-legit (although on that reasoning couldn't you justify re-reviewing every knife you've ever written about?).

    You already thought long and hard about the critiques of the design when you wrote the original review. There's no good reason to go back on them now.

    Glad Dan from Bladereviews weighed in! He was pretty darn lukewarm on the Cryo too, and his review dovetailed nicely with yours. You two guys are my favorite knife reviewers.

    Stay Real, Tony!

  10. Oh dear, now I know why I don't post much anymore. No worries all, I'll go back behind the scenes now...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Look, it seems obvious that Tony has great respect for you, your contribution to blade forums/community, and your company. Being only a casual knife fan (I'm here mainly for the flashlight reviews), I'll accept Tony's opinion. I still don't agree with how you've responded to Tony's review, but I'm also willing to chalk it up as a miscommunication, a hiccup, and not indicative of your normal work. I wish you and Kershaw/KAI the best in future endeavors.

    3. Please go back behind the scenes. It pains me to read your babble. I am going to take a asprin now and sell my Skyline on E-bay. You sir, just tarnished your company's reputation.

  11. Stay there, please. (Stephen W, behind the scenes)The more you post, the more you explain the worse it get for you and any company you represent.
    You as a witness in court would be a defense attorney's dream. Just keep him talking and let him do the work for you.
    Wow, this guy is no advocate for the consumer. He has sold his objectivity to the company line.
    Be careful who you regard as your heroes and who you hold in high esteem.

    Do not be influenced at all by this guy. Keep him in the back and away from customers and customer service.

  12. I'm tossing my Chill in the garbage as a symbol of my opinion of Thomas and his maniacal corporation. Geesh! Why don't you go back to your boardroom and let people write what they want to on their websites? And Tony, please do not review the Cryo again. There are other much more worthy pieces of EDC gear in need of your worthy and well- written review style.

  13. I agree with your decision to re-review the Chill for one main reason: the blade alignment was clearly defective to the point of it being a lemon. I can't help but feel that poor fit and finish is an outlier, and not indicative of Kershaw's normal production standards.
    That said, I can't imagine your other complaints will change given more time with the blade, but what the heck, give it a go.

  14. Tony, I respect your decision to re-review the Cryo, and give you credit for a thoughtful, eloquent response. Here's my biggest complaint with Thomas W.'s comments -- he claims several times that you need industry experience and/or knowledge to write accurate reviews. Here's one of his statements, verbatim:

    " have to go to the source, ask questions, gain knowledge, wisdom, and ultimately that oh so important understanding. Then, and only then can you give an insightful, fully explained review."

    He then proceeds to provide ZERO insights or any sort of data, explanation, ANYTHING as to the issues you found with the Cryo. I don't see how "going to the source" would explain the horrible fit and finish on the knife you received. You might be able to get an answer as to why the knife is so heavy, but again, Thomas doesn't provide any answers, he just accuses you of failing to be a "champion to the industry", even though you are not a part of said industry. You are a customer of that industry, as are your readers.

    I can confidently say that I am not the only one here who appreciates your readily-admitted bias, along with the way you handle it, and your clear, concise scoring and review systems.

  15. I would like to say that I support the author of the Cyro review. Let's remember the fact that the Cyro is a twenty-or-so dollar knife. It was not intended to be a high quality knife just based upon the quality of the material that price point can afford. You get what you pay for is definitely a true sentiment. I have a Spyderco Sage 1 and a Kershaw Volt II among other knives. The former cost about $105.00 and the latter about $27.00. They are comparable in size but the difference in quality and reliability is apparent at first encounter. That being said, the Kershaw still serves a purpose: a more affordable knife that has a level of quality a consumer could reasonably expect for that price. My Volt II does not have the problems the reviewer's Cyro which would further diminish the cost-to-quality ratio. In closing, Had the reviewer given a lower quality knife a high rating his reviews would lose their value to me as a consumer.

  16. I really love this blog, Tony's reviews speak for themselves in terms of objectivity in scoring, as well as recognition of bias and up-front 'review for purpose' philosophy. You get what you pay for, and when Tony's reviews are free, and he is so obviously not getting any freebies from makers that says a lot about principle.

    It would be a shame to miss out on a 'fresh review' to read a review of the Cry-Oh manufacturer's quality control but I'm kind of hoping the system wins and the review stays unchanged.

    I must say though, you'd think KIA's marketing and comms people would have thrown a wet blanket over TW by now. Reiterating a "trust us, we know the business, come into our tent and we'll show you how to do a respectful review" line when you obviously have a commercial interest in hosing down criticism is lazy and frankly a bad look.

    Throwing in the towel (now I know why I don't post much) because you don't like indignant responses to your indignant response? Probably shouldn't be trying to represent your industry in forums like this. Perhaps there is a sharper knife in the drawer there at Kershaw that can address the actual substance of the criticism. Perhaps outlining your returns policy for major manufacturing defects like the scissoring on closure would have showed class?

    Keep up the good work Tony.


  17. Many posters have accurately reflected my opinion here. Here here to Dan & David Kraus' et al comments.

    If TW's protestational posts prompt you to re-review does that mean you'll seek a corporate blessing for following reviews before publishing them? That is repugnant and hope it is for you two. A re-review would effectively start going that way.

    It would dilute your much appreciated independent and non-conflicted substance.

    It seems most of your readers motivated to comment here are not even hinting you got it wrong. Moreover, they are lauding your independent journalistic mind set. I respect and value that in your writings.

    Please don't re-review. There are many other contemporary EDC items or you to review that would be far more compelling.

  18. Oh dear, now i know why TW doesn't post much anymore: he can't answer with facts or specialized information that a long-time knife pro should possess. Don't feel you have to re-assess the Cryo unless you really think (not feel) that you have reason to on the basis of having missed something. You were certainly given no reason to reassess in TW's comment. My comments tend to disappear when I hit "post" and this one may, too, but really, the guy wants a positive review for the good of his little $25,000,000 a year "cottage industry"? BTW, that is my professional estimate of Kai's gross retail sales based on my master's in English and ability to avoid balancing a checkbook for long periods, but it is still more "truthy" than any sentence in TW's comment.

    1. Revenues are tricky to figure out but according to a business tracker site KAI USA has annual revenue of $19 million.

    2. That's a ton of dough but in the world of international business it is not that much at all. Staples the office supply company has annual revenues of $25 billion. That is a huge difference.

  19. WOW. I have been away from this site for a week or so due to work and family but I cannot believe the response that Thomas W gave. I feel his response was actually disrespectful and in poor taste. Tony, you do not "owe" the knife community anything, nor do any other homegrown reviewers. Of course someone is biased, we all are. I am biased towards Spyderco for one reason only: the ugly-as-hell but oh so useful Spyder-Hole. I am biased towards knives that have this deployment method as I find it better than thumbstuds. Does that mean I can never review a knife without the hole? Of course not. I am not here to defend you Tony as you are capable of doing that yourself, however I cannot believe that KAI even employ's someone like Thomas W here. Just because you work for a knife company does not mean you know everything. Every knife company makes some sort of trash and it is okay to think that. I personally have not had good experience with Kershaw or ZT knives that I have owned. The fit and finish were lacking or their design just did not seem right. I am glad I read this post as I will NEVER own another KAI knife again. Thomas W made sure of that when he essentially told you that you cannot form a negative opinion on any KAI knives. I may not be an industry insider, nor will I ever be a custom knife maker, but I know knives. Everyone in my department comes to me when they ask what knives they should get for on-duty and off-duty. My opinion counts with them. I will never recommend another KAI knife because of Thomas W's response and attitude. Tony do not bend over and "reevaluate" the Cyro, it is junk. Tell this guy to take a hike.

    BTW to continue to support your site and your opinion my next knife purchase will be through your site and it will not be a KAI knife.

  20. can we see more from TW, make for a great comedy bit

  21. Please do not re-review the Cryo!
    It's a cheap knife - but even so, still not worth the money.
    It sold so well because of the insane demand for Hinderer's design and the cheap price tag.

    It didn't even deserve the first in-depth review to be honest. But a re-review? When there's a ton of great gear out there to review? Not worth your time!

  22. I think TW's responses were arrogant, condescending and lacking in substance. He did not address any of you issues you had with the knife other than to say he owned a Cryo and his wasn't junk. The main jist of his reply is basically that he has a bigger knife-penis and you should beg his forgiveness and maybe you'll "gain...ultimately that oh so important understanding". Oh man, that line was special.

    You've done one year updates on all the gear you've reviewed and I think this should suffice in this case. It might be worth it to examine another sample to see if the fit and finish issues are an abberation or the norm, but I think a full-blown re-review is an overreaction on your part. However you are dealing with a Very Important Knife Person here so you do what ya gotta do.

  23. Hello Tony.
    my thanks for all the work you put into maintaining this informative and entertaining site. I stumbled upon it by accident and have subsequently used the information you generously share, for free, to build my EDC collection. I wish you all the best in you endeavours with this site. It is a great resource and like others, I am very grateful.
    David, Darwin, Australia.

  24. Feedback is feedback, and your Cryo review was dead on. I just wish I would have read it before purchasing the Cryo myself. I only own a handful of folding knives and I did a fare amount of research before buying each...with the exception of the Cryo. What a mistake. Facts are facts, just as you wrote; it is clunkingly heavy, hosts useless vestigial thumb studs, and the blade closes on the frame like a pair of scissors. I much prefer my Spyderco Tenacious as a "beater knife". I love love love my DF 2 and Paramilitary 2. Plan to purchase the Kershaw Skyline and Benchmade Griptilian next. Not sure if I can ever justify purchasing a Sebenza...will think about that one a while...

  25. Wow, I'm impressed you have that much respect for this guy Tony. He sounds like a marketer wanting to make reviewers do a better job of marketing his knives, and wow, did that just backfire on him big time.

    TW, I hope you do go stay back behind the scenes and hope your bosses don't notice this episode (unfortunately, I am emailing them to bring this to their attention).

    Responding to a negative review with a complete lack of facts, calling the reviewer lazy, and then saying that he has to be a "champion to the industry"... LOL!

    Tony is clearly not lazy. At least in his knife reviews. And also, Tony does NOT have to be a "champion to the industry". In fact, he may as well be David to the industry's Goliath. A counter to the marketing hype and lack of facts. It is your responsibility to either counter a negative review with facts only countering the incorrectness of the review, or just fix the problems. Period.

    Kershaw has lost a customer today, one of many, I'm sure. Which is unfortunate, because they do make a lot of good knives. However, there are plenty of other great knife makers who don't have a marketing director who shoots his mouth when he doesn't like a review.

  26. Wow, so... I just found this site and I'm excited by the content and subject matter. This blog post was one of the first I read because I am a huge Kershaw fan. I sincerely hope I can forget I ever read a word Thomas W. wrote. In fact, I sincerely hope I can forget he even exists and is in any way associated with my favorite knife company!

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  29. Tony, I respect your decision to re-review the Cryo, and give you credit for a thoughtful, eloquent response. Here's my biggest complaint with Thomas W.'s comments -- he claims several times that you need industry experience and/or knowledge to write accurate reviews.