Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: United Cutlery Frontier Wolf [Pocket Knife]

United Cutlery


United Cutlery Frontier Wolf Pocket KnifeThe best I can tell, United Cutlery is a company that went out of business a couple years ago and
sold their operation to another company, which now makes all their knives in China. Lately the Chinese have stepped up their game and are making some decent knives, like the Spyderco Tenacious.

I have a potential issue with this company though, because they seem to be intentionally vague about where their products are made. A Google search reveals that I'm not the only one having confusion about the origins of products like this one.

Frontier Wolf Stockman Knife

Price: $30 from Amazon.com


This knife looked really nice, and despite my concerns with the brand, I decided to go for it.

At about $30 from Amazon, I figured it wasn't a very risky move for a knife that would probably be used mainly for display. One thing I did notice though, was the huge difference in pricing for this  knife. Some sites are selling this priced as a high end knife!

Another problem was that I couldn't find a single decent review of this knife, and no one seemed able to say definitively where it was made. If I had to take one for the team to see if this knife looked as good in person as it did over the Internet, then so be it.

Official Specs


  • 3 1/4 Inch Closed Length
  • 2 1/2 Inch Main Blade Length
  • 3 Blades Total
  • AUS8 Stainless Steel
  • Hardwood / Turquoise Handle

Official Description (from Amazon)


Each Frontier Collection Howling Wolf stockman knife has been hand-crafted with scrupulous details offering authentic Southwestern accents. Elegant hardwood and turquoise handle scales are accented by polished brass inlays, bolsters and howling wolf shield. Intricately file-worked details have been added by crafted artisans to reflect the decor of the frontier period of the Old West. Three blades of AUS-8 stainless steel have been honed to a razor's edge and then individually laser-serialized using advanced blade etching techniques. Each knife is built with quality and craftsmanship by United Cutlery, so it is not only a cutlery tool - but also a collectible.

First Impressions


Taking the knife out of the box, I was fairly impressed. It's a little bigger than I thought it would be. I was picturing a more traditional size like an Schrade or Buck. But that's OK, I still like the size. The blades don't have a very good edge on them, but I wasn't expecting that, either. This is first and foremost a decorative knife.

Looking at the unit, I can't see any indication of where the knife was made. I'm not saying it's not there, but if it is, I can't find it. However, it does say on the box that it's made in China. It's a shame too, because that it probably going to turn people off, and this knife definitely appears to be worth the $30 I paid for it.

Fit And Finish


It's pretty good for a budget, decorative knife. If it had "Case XX" stamped on it, I would almost be a believer. I can tell the difference in the quality of the steel. And there's a couple small flaws that I don't think would make it past QC for a real higher end knife. The carving around the wolf inlay isn't as precise as I would like, and there's a spot on the handle with a slight discoloration. Neither of which would be noticed if you weren't looking hard.

But other than a couple small nit picks, overall the fit and finish are pretty good. The tolerances and machining are comparable to a higher end knife, and so is the overall detail work. The red and blue Turquoise are well done. From the fancy bolsters to the little ridges on the main blade, to the laser etching, this knife shows good attention to detail.

Conclusions


I'm very satisfied with this purchase, and for what I got for my 30 bucks. I could probably show this knife to most people and they would look at it, admire it, and probably believe me if I told them I paid $100 for it.

Honestly, with how shady this product came across on the Internet, I was expecting to be let down.  This knife is a bargain, and it shouldn't be ashamed of its origins. I have some Chinese pocket knives and flashlights that I really like. All I demand from the products I buy is good value, which to me is the relationship between quality and price.

This knife is now a part of my "dress up" rotation, which it shares with a Case Executive. If I am opening a package in a white collar office environment, this knife is going to be perfect.

Gallery










































United Cutlery Frontier Wolf Pocket Knife, Shown with Schrade Old Timer and Swiss Army Knife
Shown with Schrade Old Timer and Swiss Army Knife

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