Buck Mayo Cutback: First Impressions

Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
857
I just purchased a Buck Mayo Cutback (model 174) at a Wal-Mart in the northwest Denver metro for about $32 including sales tax.

The Cutback reminds me of the Kershaw Vapor, which is also a framelock with a satin-finish steel handle. The Vapor has a pretty solid reputation here in the forums, especially given it's price point (about $20). I would say the fit and finish on the Cutback is a little better than the Vapor overall, but the blade (which appears to be coated with Buck's TiNi coating, I *think*) is clearly better steel (440C vs. the Vapor's AUS6A). The Vapor's lackadaisical edge retention is the only major slam against it; knowing Buck's heat treatment methods, I'm confident the Cutback will hold its own.

The framelock is solid, engaging in the middle of the tang, but it disengages easily. Gentle-medium spine whacking against my thigh didn't produce lock failure.

The blade was just under shaving sharp out of the box - it could draw cut newsprint but not easily push-cut it. After about 10 passes on each side using the alumina ceraminc (fine) rods on my Sharpmaker, the edge was able to push-cut through newsprint with ease.

The ergonomics are very solid. I have a funny-shaped hand - wide palm but short, stubby fingers (I have to wear a men's XL glove so my palm fits, but the fingertips of the gloves extend a good 1/4" past my fingertips). Given my wide palm, I'm usually able to get a good positive grip on most medium-sized folders, and such is the case with the Cutback. Somebody with longer fingers might have issues, but in any case, the lock is recessed and I can't see white-knuckling the grip would accidentally disengage the lock.

My only real gripes are (1) the blade is rather stiff when opening; a good flick on the thumb stud can't quite get it open and (2) the pocket clip is very flush against the frame, so it's taken some effort to clip it into my right front pocket. I'm assuming both issues will take care of themselves as I use the knife.

For $32, I'm glad to add this knife to my EDC rotation.

PS - I thought of another gripe: now I want to get the Buck Mayo TnT. :rolleyes:



As per the Buck Web site, the Cutback's specs are:

Weight: 3.3 oz. (92 g.)
Handle Material: Stainless steel with lightening holes
Carry System: Stainless steel clip
Blade Steel: 440C
Length Closed: 4 1/8" (10.4 cm.)
Blade Length: 3 1/4" (8.3 cm)
Country of Manufacture: China
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Messages
181
I got one for Christmas, I like this knife as well but it seems a little short in the handle dept. Steel holds a wicked edge and mine can be flicked out quite easily. I had the same problem with the pocket clip but I bent it out some and now it go in and out of my pocket alot easier.

David
 

LFH

Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Messages
469
I picked one up back in the late summer when I was caught out of town with just a small 170 and needed a larger blade. I love it and have carried it almost daily since. It sharpens up easily.
Opens easy and locks up tight.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
5,872
I carried the Cutback, also from WM, for quite a while to see how I might like the Mayo TNT. Really enjoyed it so I lusted after the TNT.

The Cutback's thumbstud caught my jean's pocket edge on the pull. Opening the Cutback was best accomplished for me by using the flat tip of my thumbnail to begin the opening push then roll to the fleshy tip of the thumb to complete the opening. The blade detents, using the frame lock, closed so that is why it is stiff to open. If you look closely at the frame lock, just as the blade finishes closing, you can see the frame lock move to its locked close position (same with the TNT).

Lucky enough to get the TNT for Christmas. Easier to open, using the thumb hole and no stud. The TNT alse employs the frame lock to hold the blade closed but the hold while closed is much less than that of the Cutback. No thumb stud to catch on the pants pocket. Clip is quite tight but made of titanium. It feels half the weight of the Cutback as I balance one in each hand. They are the same lengths for blades and handles. The CPMS30V blade has Bos heat treat.

Carry the TNT now. Makes me feel like a Rockefeller. Gonna have to be a better person to feel like I deserve such a fine tool.

Best,

oregon
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
857
Thanks for the info, Oregon.

You mention the dimensions of the two knives are similar even though the TnT is about 1/2 the weight of the Cutback. Besides the framelock differences you described, would you say the overall ergos are similar, too?

If the TnT feels as good in my hand as the Cutback (but of course if made of better materials), it would be a great EDC. I'm just afraid to spend $150 on a knife if I've never held it! To date, my most expensive knife purchase sight unseen was a fixed blade puukko, but it's kind of different with fixed blades (at least for me)...
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
5,872
MG,

The weight difference between the two is really remarkable. I forget that the TNT is in my RF pocket. I am not certain that it would sink when dropped in water.

True story: I pulled glove liners, balled one inside the other, from my right front pocket, was walking in the cold rain, and the blade on the TNT opened cutting some of one glove and grazing a finger. Apparently a few threads from the glove liners found their way around the tip of the blade. So, the weaker closed detent on the TNT was a drawback in this instance. I was surprised by the sharp sensation as I could not feel the knife in my pocket as it was set around to the extreme right seam.

Ergonomic differences: The butt of the TNT's handle is not tapered as is the Cutbacks. The front of the TNT's handle expands, top and bottom, to help keep fingers off of the concave ground (slicer, like a straight razor) blade. There are 14 lightning holes on the handle and one long thumb hole on the blade of the TNT vs 5 holes on the Cuback's handle. The TNT's handle finish is striking and may take some getting used to. It is dull/sparkly/rough grey titanium. While the Cutback's finish is the elegant, grey and smooth annodization.

Due to the grind, there is slightly more cutting edge on the TNT, despite having the same blade length.

I thought that the TNT might turn our to be too small before I ordered it. But, now that it has settled in, I think it is just right. Grippier, with all the holes and rough finish, the TNT is easier to hang onto. The moving arm of the framelock is longer on the TNT than on the Cutback. This makes opening and closing easier (I am not sure how the different frame material plays into opening/closing ease, steel vs titanium).

The blade on the TNT is quite shiny but doesn't show finger prints quite as much as a mirror finish. The Cutback's finish is great for hiding prints.

$145, shipping included, Ira Wood & Sons online.

Best,

oregon
 
Top