Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: Kershaw Skyline [EDC Pocket Knife]

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Product Link
Kershaw Skyline Product Link
The Skyline was on my hot list for quite a while before I finally gave in and bought it. I've never been big into flippers, but this model was still very appealing to me. There's a lot to like for the enthusiast: lightweight, high quality, USA made and it's very sleek. My review sample was purchased from Amazon.com with Prime and got here in two days, just like clockwork.

Product Description


The Skyline is a USA made pocket knife of the 'flipper' style. It features G10 scales and a deep carry clip which can be configured for right-handed tip-up or tip-down carry. Sorry lefties. The blade steel is Sandvik 14C28N and is bead blasted. Unlike some of their assisted flippers, the Skyline is unassisted and takes some wrist movement to deploy the blade one handed.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • Steel: Sandvik 14C28N bead-blasted finish
  • Handle: Textured black G-10
  • Blade length: 3-1/8 inches
  • Closed length: 4-1/4 inches
  • Overall length: 7-3/8 inches
  • Weight: 2.3 ounces
Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Split View Closed

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Split View Blade Deployed

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Flipper 1

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Flipper 2

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Made In USA

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Thumb Stud

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Liner: Top View


Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Pivot Screw

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Pivot Screw 2

Initial Impressions


Unboxing the Skyline, my first impression is that it's sleek and well built. It's lighter than I thought it would be, and thinner. I also noticed right away the the steel liner is only on one side, which I'm sure contributes to it's lightness. 

After my brief moment admiring it, immediately I start flipping it open and closing it one handed. It didn't take long to get the hang of opening it one-handed. Closing it one-handed is a little precarious but still possible. See the short video below:

video

Blade


The Skyline's blade features a hollow grind and a drop point. It's made of Sandvik 14C28N steel--very nice. Mine came with a good edge but with the very point of the tip broken off. Not a deal breaker since I only noticed it in the photos.

The blade is deployed either with the thumb stud or the flipper. On one side of the blade is etched "made in USA" and the other side has an etched Kershaw logo. Other than that, there's not much to say about the blade: great steel, good grind. It appears to be a little on the thin side, but looks can be deceiving. A good steel, like the VG-10 on my Spydercos, doesn't need to be as thick since it is more robust than cheap steel. 

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Chipped Tip
Notice the chipped blade tip

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 1

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 2

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 3

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Blade 4

Handle


The handle on the Skyline is made of the standard, high quality G10 material you will find on most Kershaw flippers and other EDC type knives. It is strong, light and textured for a good grip. There is a steel liner on the lock side, and on the other side, the G10 handle is the liner. At first glance it doesn't look well designed, but it is. The extra steel liner would add weight but wouldn't make it a better EDC knife. If you use it for basic every day carry tasks, I doubt it will ever fail.

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 1

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 2

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 3

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Handle 4

Here you can see the steel liner only runs along one side

Clip


The clip is of the deep carry variety, and surprisingly good quality. Most clips seem to be afterthoughts by the manufacturers. Even the ones that get it right usually cheap out on the clip steel, even if they have a good design. But the clip on the Skyline appears to be very high quality, maybe even the same steel as the blade. It can be configured for tip-up or tip-down carry for right handers only.

It's interesting to note that my Skyline came with the clip configured for tip-down carry. I didn't used to care, but now I definitely prefer tip-up carry, as do most pocket knife enthusiasts. It wasn't a big deal switching the clip--I just think it's interesting that Kershaw goes against that trend with some of their flippers.

My only real gripe with the clip is that it's too tight. It is gradually wearing in, but too slowly. I'm surprised I haven't ripped any pants pockets already. I've owned and given away several Kershaw flippers and they all seem to have this same problem with the clip being way too tight. I guess you could make the argument that it will wear in like a good pair of boots and last you 20 years after that, but breaking in boots is painful. It's not a huge gripe, but just something I've noticed about Kershaws.

The clip is held on by two Torx T7 screws, with the pivot screw being Torx T9.

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip 1

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip 2

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip 3

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip 4

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip In Sweats Pocket

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Closeup Of Clip Mounted Tip Up

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Torx 7 Driver With Clip Dismounted
A T7 Torx driver takes the clip off

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Torx 7 Driver With Clip Dismounted


Lockup


The Skyline features a typical liner lock design you would expect most flippers to have. The liner seems to be a little on the thin side but is totally sufficient for any EDC task. Like the blade, the lock isn't over-designed. On a Chinese steel knife such as the Spyderco Tenacious, I like to see a liner about double the thickness of the one on the Skyline. 

The lockup on my review sample is smooth and tight. The blade is almost perfectly centered, so a good nudge on the flipper and I have a open knife, locked and ready to get to work. I don't stress test the locks like some reviewers, but I always to a basic test with some good arm strength, and the Skyline feels solid.

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Lockup 1

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Lockup 2
Another view showing that the steel liner is just on one side

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. If it wasn't for the very tip of the blade being chipped/broken then I would've almost called it perfect. It doesn't really affect the usability of the knife, but to me it's a bigger deal because I would expect better quality control for a Skyline than I would for say a SanRenMu. 

Other than that, the overall build quality and finish are what I would expect paying more for a USA made product. The edge is good, the blade is almost perfectly centered and the G10 scales are nice and uniform. Other than the chip out of the tip, there's no scratches, dings or other tool marks. The overall machining on my review sample is very good. It's pretty obvious that it's well designed and well made.

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Lockup 1
Blade centered perfectly as good as my eyes can tell

Usability


Other than the clip being a little tight, using the Skyline day to day is a dream. It's very light for its size and carries very well. I honestly didn't think it would compare that favorably to my precious Delica but it does. I'm sure it will be a while before I need to sharpen it, but it'll probably be a little bit of a pain. I'm still not as confident sharpening higher end steels as I should be, but I'm getting there.

The straight, long blade makes the Skyline well suited to most EDC activities, especially slicing and food prep type tasks. One thing I really like the Skyline for is opening mail. I wouldn't use a flipper like this in a corporate office environment, but around the house it makes quick work of opening things.

Conclusions


I'm a little disappointed with the tiny chip out of the tip of the blade, but other than that I'm really impressed by the quality and design of this Skyline, not to mention the fact that it's so light. It's sleek and it's functional, and definitely going into my EDC rotation. The Skyline deserves a place in my pocket knife drawer next to other stalwarts such as the Delica, Dragonfly and GB-763. Since I didn't notice the tip until I looked at the photos, I've decided not to worry about it for now. If it really bugs me then I can fix it a number of ways. So far I like the Skyline more than I thought I would.

Gallery


Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - On Scale

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Next To Ruler

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Box 1


Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Box 2

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - Box 3

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - In Hand

Kershaw Skyline Pocket Knife - With Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen and Nitecore SRT3 EDC Flashlight
With Smith &Wesson Tactical Pen and Nitecore SRT3 EDC Flashlight

From Top: Spyderco Delica 4, Kershaw Skyline, SanRenMu LB-763, Spyderco Dragonfly 2
From Top: Spyderco Delica 4, Kershaw Skyline, SanRenMu LB-763, Spyderco Dragonfly 2

The Skyline deserves its place among the greats


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review of a classic EDC knife. I will be reading other stuff on your site as well now since your pic of the Delica Skyline SRM and Dragonfly got me here ( three of my fav blades)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. The Skyline is one of my favorites.

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