Once again, Kershaw Knives is on a roll, with yet another innovation in a folder. There appears to be no end to new knife designs these days. Some are mere gimmicks. However some have some real down to earth applications. I’m a sucker for folding knives – there are so many different designs these days, its hard to pick one for the next purchase a person is going to make. Today I’m reviewing the “Flythrough” by Kershaw, and it’s a bit different, in that, you can see how it operates, without taking it apart.
Speaking of taking knives apart, I used to do that quite often when I first started writing about knives back in 1992 – I had to know how some of those folders worked. First off, don’t ever take an automatic folder apart. You’ll find its easy to take apart but hard to put back together. I’ve heard from several Oregon knife companies that produce automatic folders, that people have taken them apart, and couldn’t put back together again – and those knives were sent back to the company for reassembly. Luckily, I’ve never had to return a knife. I always managed to get them put back together.
I’ve observed folks who work for various knife companies, and Kershaw is one of them, who can just breeze through the assembly process on folding knives. Each person sits at their station, and the partially assembled knife is passed to them, for their portion of the assembly process. However, keep in mind that, these people rotate from one station to another, so they don’t get bored with screwing down the same screws, day in and day out. And, along the way, if something isn’t quite “right” when a partially assembled knife reaches a certain station, it is returned to the previous station. Still, in the end, some knives end up assembled, and upon final inspection, the keen-eyed inspectors pull those knives and they don’t get shipped out as perfect. Some knife companies hold annual “factory seconds” sale days, where the consumer can go and buy some factory seconds with big discounts. Some just have a minor cosmetic flaw and some might have a scratch on the blade or handle. In the end, the consumer is the big winner.
The Kershaw Flythrough was designed by custom maker, R.J. Martin, and he’s been around for quite a while, and I’ve seen some of his other designs – outstanding, in every respect. What we have with the Flythrough design is a see-through pivot. This oversized pivot is hollow in the center, letting you see through it. There is also a handle cut-out behind the pivot and this lets you see the blade’s tang with it open. Really cool stuff if you’ve interested in how some folding knives work. There is a “wow” factor there, when you see how things operate on this folder.
The Flythrough isn’t a big folder, it has a blade that is only 3-inches in length, and for many folks, that’s the perfect using size in a folder. I personally like blades between 3.5-inches and 4-inches long – and the 3.75-inch length seems to be a perfect balance for me in a using folder – we all have different tastes, and I have no problem with that at all – just my personal tastes in a folder’s size. The 3-inch blade is made out of 8Cr13MOV stainless steel. Many of Kershaw’s other folders use this same steel. It has a black oxide coating on the blade, very tactical looking.
The Flythrough is opened using a Flipper, and it has the now famous KVT ball bearing opening mechanism – very smooth and easy to use. There is a frame lock, and many folding knives use this proven method of keeping the blade locked open. There is, of course, the almost mandatory reversible pocket clip, for tip-up carry. The handle is made out of stainless steel, and it is also black oxide coated. The entire knife only weighs in at 3.7-oz so it’s a light-weight folder. I should mention that this folder is made in China, but not in a slave labor factory, Rather, it is made in a factory that is managed and run by Kershaw – so don’t let that scare you away.
On the top of the handle is a thumb ramp, and your thumb just fits in there perfectly in the fencing hold – the most used method of holding knives. The blade design itself is drop point, which is one of the more useful blade designs. The handle is an open design, so not a lot of pocket lint will build-up in there, causing problem opening the blade and keeping it locked open – just blow out the little bit of lint and the knife is ready to go. You can even safely wash the Flythrough, just run some warm water through it, and it short order, you knife is cleaned and ready to go. I always add a drop of lube on the blade’s pivot point, to keep it running smoothly.
Here’s something a bit different, and it is sold separately from the Flythrough, and you can use it on other similar pivot pins, to adjust the tension on the blade when opening it. Although, the tension on the blade came perfect from the factory – no need to adjust it. This neat little tool is called the STPtool, and it is a two part affair, that you pull apart – it is magnetized – and you can put one part on one side of the pivot pin, and the other on the other side of the pivot pin, and adjust the tension on the blade to your liking – and if you dare, you can take the knife apart – not advised, though…LOL.
My sample Flythrough can shaving sharp from the package, and I expected no less from Kershaw. It is a dandy smaller folder for everyday carry. I’ve seen lots of “Gentlemen” using similar sized folders for cleaning their fingernails, I prefer not to use a sharp blade on my fingers. It is just too easy to make a wrong move. Over the years, I’ve had more than my share of cut fingers in testing knives – not a lot of fun. However, the Flythrough adds a bit of class, if you are prone to cleaning under your fingernails in the office. I prefer to use a knife for cutting purposes.
The blade on the Flythrough was a bit too short to cleanly slice through a thick blackberry vine, with one swipe but it came close. I opened lots of mail – I use a knife as a letter opener – and some boxes that arrive almost daily via FedEx, UPS or USPS. I showed the knife around, and everyone liked it – commenting on how light-weight it was.
Kershaw products are fairly priced to start with. However, shop around the ‘net – especially Amazon.com for some seriously discounted prices on Kershaw products. I found the Kershaw Flythrough that normally retails for $62.99 selling for only $34.92 Meanwhile, the STPtool that retails for $26.99 was ellling for as low as $17.8. And keep in mind that you can use the STPtool on some other maker’s knives to adjust that oversized pivot pin’s tension. If your in the market for a new folder, one that is a little bit different, then grab a Flythrough, I think you’ll find yourself using it all the time.
Subject to Trade War Price Increases
One thing to keep in mind these days is that, we are in what looks like a protracted trade war with China, and the USA and China are hitting each other with some serious tariffs. That means, a lot of products coming into the USA from China are being slapped with high tariffs. Thus, the consumer will be paying a lot more for a lot of various products. President Trump has come right out and told American companies that are doing business with Mainland China, to stop – and start seeking other sources for having their products made. This is easier said than done. It takes quite a bit of time to get set-up to do business in another country, and this can mean delays in getting products into the hands of the American consumers.
Many American knife companies – not all – are having some of their cutlery made in China – as well as Taiwan, Japan, and other Asian countries. So, what is a bargain today, for the knife consumer, may not be a bargain in a few months. If there is something you absolutely have to have, in the way of cutlery, now is the time to get out of your easy chair and get it.
If you’ve ever wondered, how a folding knife operates, the Flythrough is the one to get, you can see its operation, without having to take the knife apart. Kershaw never ceases to amaze me with each and every new knife design they produce.