I was informed only a day or two ago that I would be receiving a knife to field test and here it was in the mail this afternoon. I had no idea what size, type, or brand of knife would be coming and was happy to find a very durable feeling pocket folder by TIGERSHARP. The box informed me that this knife was for, "When Sharp Is The Only Option."
I flipped the knife open and started to look it over. The model that they sent is called the XENON which is lightweight with a Zytel handle and Kraton rubber inlay for a solid grip. The company makes many other sizes and styles of knives including a hunter. I could tell right away that this was a solid knife complete with a stout belt clip. Something about this knife wasn't normal though. The blade's edge had a distinct indented line about a quarter inch above the edge itself. It was almost as if someone had welded a blade to a blade and I was looking at a new design of some kind. Of course I never actually read the manual before playing with anything new, so the confusion was well placed at that moment. What I had stumbled upon was what TIGERSHARP calls R.E.S. R.E.S. stands for "Replacement Edge System" and that means that the blade itself can be easily removed and replaced with a brand new factory edged blade when needed. Much like a utility knife on steroids, as one dulls, you simply put a new one in. Each knife in the Xenon model comes with both a smooth edge blade and a serrated edge blade to choose from. How it's done is quite simple and ingenious. The thumb screw you use to open the knife with is also used to replace blades. The main part of the blade is actually split slightly apart so that it houses the thinner edge piece. When you loosen the thumb push by unscrewing it slightly, the entire thing slides back, which in turn releases the blade insert. Even I managed to do this without tools and without amputating any part of my anatomy that I'll need for later.
I know what you're asking, "What about the sharpness?" As you can see from the picture, right out of the box this sucker took the hair off my arm with no pressure at all. The company says that it's made of GIN 5 stainless steel and is cryogenically tempered to increase wear resistance. I call it a nice sharp blade that I can shave with if need be. It also cut through some zip ties, a large chunk of rubber, half of a phone directory, and I whittled some wood with it before finishing off the phone book. (I hope nobody needed it) I would say that this little folder is as tough as any knife I've ever owned and probably tougher. I look forward to carrying it and seeing what it's made of over the next few months. Not really big enough to use as a gutting knife, I think it's perfect for skinning, and hope to give it a shot sometime next week during the prime rut here in Indiana.
Ok, I know some of you traditionalists out there are wondering why you wouldn't just want to sharpen the blade as it dulls. The good news here is that you can sharpen these blades if you choose to. TIGERSHARP suggests a Lanskey style sharpener for putting on a new edge, but states that other brands will work as well. Some of the benefits to replacing blades are that it's much easier to pop out a dull blade and put in a new blade in the field as needed, the replacement blades are extremely light and can be carried in the pocket of a knife case as opposed to carrying any size of sharpener, and I know very few people who can put on an edge like the new blade has in the field. Lately I've been on a "less is more" kick when out in the bush and this is a great way to accomplish my goal. The replacement blades are very reasonably priced at around 10 dollars or less per pair.
Lastly, the TIGERSHARP website is well laid out, professional, and informative. Replacement blades, knives, and accessories may be easily ordered online and there is a list, by state, of retailers selling their products if you'd rather see it in person before you buy. The testimonials are also a fun read and I suggest taking a look at them. You may reach them at: www.tigersharp.com
Here's what TIGERSHARP has to say about their knives:
What is RES™?
This new ground breaking Replacement Edge System or RES™ technology separates the cutting edge and blade into two separate parts. By using a softer outer stainless steel blade support and a super hardened, cryogenically treated surgical steel cutting edge TigerSharp ™ has created a knife that can hold an edge up to four times longer than our competitors. Additional Features
GIN 5 stainless steel cutting edges
One of Hitachi's "Super Steels"
Same steel used in surgical scalpels
Every cutting edge is cryogenically tempered to increase wear resistance
440 stainless steal blade support
Hardest anodizing available
Handle materials in: Zytel with Kraton, T6061 Aluminum, G10, Titanium, Exotic Hard Wood
All folding knives come with one smooth and one serrated cutting edge
Thick heavy duty belt clip
Liner lock for easy one handed use
Ball bearing locking mechanism on liner lock to ensure the knife stays in closed position
Adjustable opening tension via the pivot pin
Blade floats on two Teflon bushings to always ensure a smooth opening action
All knives are hand assembled and go through a 100% quality control inspection before shipment to create some of the finest production knives available
Limited life time warranty
EVALUATION Durability: 5 of 5 Quality: 4.5 of 5 Design: 4.5 of 5 Sharpness out of box: 5 of 5 Value: 4 of 5
If you're in the market for a great knife that will last a lifetime, think strongly about buying a TIGERSHARP. For the entire line go to: TIGERSHARP