EDITOR'S NOTE: Writing negative reviews is a change of pace, the jokes and hyperbole are interesting to write and, apparently based on the feedback, fun to read. That said, I recognize that reviewing this knife is a little silly. There was really no chance that a $3 knife was going to be worth the money, but as a thought experiment and an opinion piece, I thought I should do it. Plus, oddly enough, there have been people clamoring for a review of this particular knife. With that in mind, here is my highly opinionated editorial on both this knife and the trend of budget overseas made gear.
Putrescence thine name is Ozark Trail Flipper.
To speak in the parlance of my day job, this is "allegedly" a "knife." This knife, or as Mike Stewart sometimes says “knife shaped object,” was $3 on Black Friday 2016. It was sold at Wal-Mart. There is no information on the origin of this knife and no information on its warranty (which I think is: buy another). I have no idea where it was made, what the materials are, or who the OEM is. I think that is by design. I have owned a few things from Ozark Trail and aside from two merely mediocre sleeping pads, they have been universally awful. I had a backpack that I reviewed from them. It was more a spina bifida simulator than a backpack. I received an Ozark Trail tumbler in a gift swap a few years ago. It had a lid that had no way of closing, which, unsurprisingly, lots of folks complained about online.
The OT Flipper is, without question, the biggest waste of money I have ever spent on a knife. In many ways this is worse that Nick's Z-Hunter flipper. In the case of the Z-Hunter no one REALLY takes that knife seriously. It doesn't look like a serious knife. Here, given the faux Anso texture, the flipper, and the pretend utility blade shape, someone might accidentally mistake the Ozark Trail Flipper for a useful knife.
In fact, this knife is emblematic of what is wrong with bargain-obsessed, impulse buy mentality afflicting our country. All in the name of saving a buck, we buy things that are garbage and then a few weeks later when the break, fail, or blow up they are ACTUAL garbage. And to think, the vast majority of our trade deficit with China is based on people buying shit like this. Who am I to point fingers, though? I bought one.
The questions for this review is really whether or not the Ozark Trail Flipper gets the lowest score ever. Thus far that title goes to the calamity of product design that is the Gerber 600. Stay tuned, I don't tally scores until the text is written so as I write this paragraph even I don't know. We could have a record breaker on our hands.
Also, I am publishing this just before Black Friday to help guide you in your fever dream gear purchases. You can totally score some deals on Black Friday. This is not one of them. Stay the fuck away. The only way to make this knife worse would be to smear it with human entrails that are infected with the Marburg virus. Apparently the Ozark Trail ends at the same place hospitals dump waste that ends up on the floor in surgical rooms.
Here is the product page. There are no serious reviews; even sadists have their limit. This is a $3 knife after all. Also, there is no link to buy this knife. So far as I know this was a Wal-Mart exclusive, which, in the knife world is one step away from an endemic disease. Here is my review sample:
Twitter Review Summary: Its a visual metaphor--it both looks like and is a piece of shit.
Its wide and narrow in all the wrong places and the knife perpetually feels like it is going to slip out of your hand. The flipper tab is weird and the thumb stud seems as if it were placed by a species without opposable thumbs. But don't worry because, apparently the detent ball was made out of chalk because this thing languidly flops open at even the slightly touch. This is just a screaming "no" in terms of utility.
In terms of appearance, the design is somewhere between "hairy buttcrack in front of you on public transportation" and the Pontiac Aztek with built-in tent deployed. The OT Flipper is simply a new level of ugly. How can you screw up Anso-pattern handle scales? They are rough and tumble and yet here, by doing them wrong, the knife looks like the skin print of a long-dead dinosaur, or a 5 year old's rendition of the skin print of a long-dead dinosaur. And then there is the hand-poking, paint-scraping snag-o-rama clip. Its terrible. The whole design is terrible. Its ugly and non-utilitarian.
The performance ratios aren’t atrocious. The blade:handle is .75 exact (3” blade on a 4” handle). The blade:weight is .81. Both aren’t bad, but as I have said before, performance ratios don’t tell the complete story.
Fit and Finish: 0
The OT Flipper has neither fit nor finish. It is as if this were an early prototype, a mock up made from spare parts and impromptu materials that were lying around the shop where it was made. It had blade play from the minute I got it out of the clam shell, which, to be fair, was better made and cut far better than this knife. The webbing of my hand, one year later, still bears the scar of being slashed by this clam shell. No amount of adjusting could save the OT Flipper from blade play in all directions. And for a while I couldn't figure out why. Then, I figured it out: the entire lock bar flexes noticeably regardless of what I am doing with the knife.
Miraculously, the blade is dead centered, which, I guess is proof a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Suprisingly the Anso texturing doesn't work here. It is really quite crazy, given how this texturing is done, that it doesn't provide grip, but the material here is a poor substitute for grippy G10. If that was the only sin, it would be a different knife. Oh no, the OT Flipper reached deep when it comes to disappointment. The pocket clip is horrific. It gouges and digs like a garden trowel, which is expected given its shape. But again, that's not all...there is MORE! The taper at the end of the handle seems to be designed to help you lose control of the knife. Having the "pinch point" be wide, but the end of the handle narrow is just a bad idea.
In many ways, the OT Flipper wasn't all that bad in the pocket, if you ignored both the clip and the flipper tab, which Nick Shabazz would certainly label a "pocket pecker." The weird thing is that these two problems, despite usually being small issues, seemed to dominate the carry of the knife. Time and again the clip snagged on something as I walked by or pulled oddly on fabric. The fact that this is a tip down flipper is weird. Normally, I could care less about the senseless tip up vs tip down debate, but here it makes a difference, as flippers generally should not be tip down.
Steel? Maybe, possibly, I guess. In reality I think this is silver spray painted rust. This steel rusts instantly. It positively refuses to hold an edge. Folks online tell me this is actually 8Cr13MoV. I don't know. It has not held an edge like the 8Cr13MoV knives I have used in the past (which is to say it has "meh" edge-holding). Here I am getting something like "barf" edge-holding. Second, it has rusted very quickly. I understand that 8Cr is a bit rust-prone, but I have never seen a knife steel rust like this. Look at the pictures here--there are rust spots all over the place. And it is not like I live in the Amazon rainforest. More telling is the fact that the product packaging doesn't tell you what the steel is, or at least mine didn't (I have a feeling this is an OEM knife skinned and reskinned for a vast number of brands). If the steel was noteworthy, it would have noted what it was.
Blade Shape: 0
Imagine the guys as Benchmade that do design work had some make-you-blind-moonshine to drink and then tried to recreate the perfect ratios of the 940 from memory. That is what you get here.
Oddly, the "clip" part of the knife is very long, relative to the belly and tip. The result is a knife that has a really hard time doing even modest penetrating cuts. That alone would not merit a "0" though. To get a zero there has to be something else going on and there is. Some knives have no way of sharpening the last bit of the edge just before the pivot. Many Spydercos have this problem. But here, not only can you not sharpen that part of the edge, but if you try you will grind away part of the flipper tab. As you can see above, I started to do just that. When you combine this thoughtlessness with the need for regular sharpening, you feel like the knife's cutting edge is shrinking with each new touch up.
All of the edges in the pictures above were taken AFTER I put an edge on this knife with the Worksharp. If they look uneven, its because they are and that is my fault. That said, the edge is better now than it was before. Prior to the resharpening there was a distinct and noticeable slant to the grind--that is, the cutting bevel was about twice to three times as wide at the tip of the blade as it was towards the flipper tab. Having played around the grinder attachment on the Worksharp it looks like the person at the grinder was slowly falling asleep, leaning to his left as he did so. If this was a machine grind, well, either the CNC was programmed by a squirrel running across the keyboard or, I guess, machines get tired...
Deployment Method: 0
This flipper was a flop. Hah! The only thing worse than that pun is this knife's flipping action. To describe it as awful is a huge understatement. Its odd though because the lack of detent is met with a gritty pivot meaning that false fires are all but guaranteed unless you employ a wrist flick. So you have a knife that both won't stay closed and a knife that doesn't open. Ugh. This is dreadful.
Retention Method: 0
As I mentioned above in the pocket, the knife pretty crappy, but this clip merits special attention. Tension is spot on, but the clip's shape and profile make it just terrible in the hand. If you want to know how bad it is, here is what you can do to simulate the OT Flipper--take a regular knife and remove the clip, then tape a decking screw (one of those black ones that is really coarsely cut) to the handle scale so that it is parallel to the blade, then use your knife. This clip doesn't make hotspots, it gives you stigmata (or technically speaking, since it is only a single hand--stigma).
The lock never failed, not once. Good thing. But the lock bar flexed like a gymnast and the lockbar itself is massively uncomfortable. Engagement with the tang is near 100% and there is still blade play. At some point, when the lock crosses all the way over and touches the other side and there is still blade play, I think it is safe to say that the lock is more of a suggestion to the blade not to close than an actual locking mechanism. Just dreadful.
Overall Score: 0 out of 20
Its happened--a dead 0. I can't think of a more appropriate product to be the first to receive this ignominious distinction. This deserves every bit of reproach that can be heaped upon it. Yeah, this is a terrible knife. Just terrible. There was not a single redeeming feature here, and yet, despite a boatload of crapulence it did not actually fail any category. I have reviewed products that didn't work or had a feature fail so badly I couldn't recommend them despite other good things, but this is a rare product that has no critical flaw but also nothing worthwhile. It is an achievement in terribleness.
I am sure, of course, that the unit I got was an especially bad one. I can imagine an OT Flipper with a better grind, a better detent, and maybe no bladeplay. All of those things are variables that are the result of the machining process, but there are other things that just can't be waved away with a concession that this was a lemon--the handle design is wretched, the pocket clip is puketacular, and the blade shape is self-defeating. This is a real stinker of a knife.
The bigger issue, for me, is this--this knife is emblematic of our culture's obsession with shopping and "the deal." Over the years I have come to view the mall as a form of torture. I can go online and get anything I need and it is delivered in three days. But in the once a year trip to the mall (to visit Santa with the boys), I walk through being repulsed by the cheap garbage that is there, 99% of which is made overseas. Aside from some nice knives at the kitchen store there is literally nothing I want in any mall. Going to Wal-Mart is even worse. Is this really how we boosted China's economy? Is this really why we send so much money overseas that we have hollowed out good middle class manufacturing jobs? For junk like this?
Look, I understand the economic theory that countries are best off producing the most elite high end goods they can, that economies should always strive to maximize their sophistication. The theory holds that we should be making MRI machines in the US and leave stuff like this to China. But we have a big economy here. Would it really cripple us if we relies on US manufacturers or if we skipped this part of the market entirely?
I am not saying that we shouldn't buy Chinese knives. There are great Chinese-made knives out there and I have reviewed them. What I am saying is that I cannot see any justification for spending money on a product this bad. No matter the price, something that has zero performance is a bad value. A Reate blade is great and a worthy addition to your knife collection. This is just a mistake. If the Yugo taught us anything it is this--there are certain prices that are simply incompatible with certain products. You cannot make a real car as cheaply as Yugo did and you cannot make a useful knife as cheaply as this is. Bear in mind that this knife was HALF the price of the San Ren Mu I reviewed. Half.
Don't be swayed by Black Friday deals. Unless it is something you wanted BEFORE it was discounted, don't buy it. If you spend $3 on a turd you still paid money for a turd. Leatherman always has killer deals on multitools on Black Friday. If you really have to buy something on the High Holiday of Consumerism, go snag a $30 Skeletool. It has an actual warranty and actual useful features. Saving money also works.
Well, there is not much that competes with this knife. That said, its a close call between this and its closest competition--a flaming bag of dog shit left on your porch. The dog shit, of course, smells and makes a mess, but its on fire and fire is cool to watch. So I would give slight edge to the flaming bag of dog shit. After all, it was free and delivered right to your door.