Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Kershaw Chill

RJ Martin is the undisputed master of the flipper.  There is no question about this in my mind.  He is also an excellent designer--delivering a steady stream of great designs to KAI USA from the Volt to the Zing to the ZT0600.  But it is easy to make good EXPENSIVE production knives.  The real test of a designer, one that RJ Martin passed with flying colors, is to make a good CHEAP production knife. The Kershaw Chill is that knife.  But due to low sales, the Chill is being discontinued.  Thomas W confirmed this on episode 23 of Gear Geeks Live.

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So before it is relegated to memories and eBay auctions, pick up a Chill.  Its not just a good knife, it is a downright great knife, especially for the price.  I don't think that the Chill will become a collector's item--its too inexpensive and lacks top shelf materials.  But it might be something folks hunt down, like old Beckers.  There is a grace to the Chill, a slender beautiful shape that works well in the hand and makes this an amazing knife in the pocket.  While I disliked the extra length to the knife--it gave the entire thing a weak feel--I never experienced an issue with it during use.  It was more a hypothetical concern than a real problem.  

But thing that sets the Chill apart from other budget blades is, of course, the flipping action.

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At just around $25 you get a knife that flips effortlessly.  I have handled a lot of flippers--expensive and inexpensive ones, and the Chill is, in all seriousness, among the best.  It flips as well as, if not better than, my Hinderer XM-18.  There is something about the pivot, detent, and washers that just makes the Chill an amazing knife to flip open.  Buying the Chill, or what stock remains, solely for the fidget factor is not a crazy thing to do.  Of the flippers I have handled the Small Pathfinder is clearly better as is the Spyderco Domino and the vastly underrated CRKT Eraser.  The Spyderco Southard is probably better too, even though I dislike the handles quite a bit.  The Chill kills the Surefire Jekyll with its poor detent.  It is as good or better than the CRKT Ripple and the AG Russell Skorpion.  It matches the action on the Swindle and didn't need a Loctite fix like the Swindle did.  It was on par with another great budget flipper the CRKT McGinnis Tuition.  

The action on the Chill is so good that I am convinced that flippers aren't a matter of expensive materials or costly labor.  A good flipper is a matter of good design and tight tolerances.  The Chill is also a testament to RJ Martin's mastery of the form.  He can make a good flipper regardless of the limitations placed on him.  After the Chill, I am half expecting a knapped flint flipper with smooth action.  Given the low price and the discontinuation of the knife, it is definitely worth a few of your Christmas bucks to pick up a Chill now, in case you missed it before.

There are still some in stock, on sale for $20.95, at

Blade HQ

5 comments:

  1. As of 6:00 PM on jan 3, these are sold out at Blade HQ. Still available at Armarzorn, though.

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  2. Tony,

    You need to get your hands on the original USA made ZING. I think Kershawguy is the only one with them left but they are remarkable. Excellent action, solid build, better steel, made in the USA and only $35.

    Cheers

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  3. They used to make it with a thumb stud for Big 5 Sporting Goods. I would have liked to have gotten my hands on that edition. It seems Big 5 had special models from Kershaw not available anywhere else. Huh. Go figure.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IfUgAzr_nA

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  4. Tony

    My bad, the Chill slipped in the 2014 line-up last minute, and will be available throughout the year...

    Thomas W

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  5. I love the Chill!! I work in an office in a mall and I can use it without security being deployed. Sad to see that it is being discontinued; I might have to pick up one more.

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