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Comparison: Kizer Feist and GEC #73 (modern vs traditional)

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by miso2, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Rambling warning!

    I was (probably still am) a modern folder guy until recently but switched to traditional carry lately.
    Although I still love good frame lock knives, what I grab and put in pocket is a traditional knife.

    Here, just out of curiosity, I compare a couple of small knives I like, a modern frame-lock production knife and a traditional slip joint (with liner lock) knife, to find out why I choose a traditional carry.

    So this is a research in my personal preference and not to be generalized.

    Anyway, these are the two knives for the comparison.

      Overall length:                  165 mm (6.5”)                                                       175 mm (6.89”)
      Closed length:                   94 mm (3.7”)                                                        95 mm (3.7”)
      Blade Length:                    73 mm (2.875”)                                                      80 mm (3.15”)
      Blade thickness:                 2.75 mm (0.108”)                                                    1.93 mm (0.076”)
      Blade width:                     20 mm (0.79")                                                       15 mm (0.59")
      Edge thickness:                  0.5 mm (0.019”)                                                     0.18 mm (0.007”)
      Edge angle:                      20 DPS                                                              20 DPS
      Blade material:                  CPM-S35VN                                                           1095 (carbon steel)
      Blade grind:                     Flat grind                                                          Full flat grind
      Handle thickness:                10 mm (0.39”)                                                       12 mm (0.47”)
      Handle material:                 Titanium (bead-blasted?)                                            Osage Orange cover, brass liners
      Weight:                          75g (2.65 oz)                                                       78g (2.75 oz)
      Lock type:                       Frame lock                                                          Slip joint with liner lock
      Deployment method:               Front flipper                                                       Nail nick
      Pivot type:                      Ball bearings (caged)                                               Direct liner contact
    They are both great knives with their own goodness and shortcomings.

                                       1. One hand opening.                                                1. Thin blade.
                                       2. Pocket clip.                                                     2. Thin edge.
                                       3. High-end stainless blade steel.                                  3. Narrower blade.
                                       4. Open construction.                                               4. No accidental opening.
                                       5. Can be disassembled.                                             5. Edge protected when closed.
                                       6. Durable handle material.                                         6. Natural handle material.
                                       7. Better finish (modern machining).                                7. Double locks.
                                       1. Thick blade stock.                                               1. Two-hand opening.
                                       2. Thick edge.                                                      2. No pocket clip.
                                       3. Edge too accessible when closed.                                 3. Carbon steel blade.
                                       4. Potential accidental opening.                                    4. Pinned construction (no disassembly).

    I like the ease of operation of Feist (and other modern folders).
    But there are two things annoying me.

    First is the ease of opening.
    I had it open accidentally in pocket, multiple times.
    It too happened to other modern folders, of which blades are kept closed with the detent ball.
    In contrast, I am pretty much worry-free with a slip joint knife which has a strong spring like the GEC.

    Second, the blade is not slicey enough to me.
    Feist has a relatively thin blade, but still it is way thicker than most of traditional blades.
    The edge is also thick, which is typical of modern folders in general.
    Once getting used to the cutting ability of traditionals, it is very hard to go back to modern blades.
    I am a bit tired of chasing a slicey frame/liner lock knife......

    The GEC doesn't offer a pocket clip nor one-hand opening, which I thought absolutely necessary for a folding knife.
    In truth, I find them really unnecessary in daily cutting chores.

    To sum up, in my case, the cutting ability and the secure blade closure are the main reasons to choose a traditional slip joint over a modern folder.

    Would you choose a traditional over a modern folder, or vice verse, and for what reasons?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    dc50 and Dangerously like this.
  2. Otto Carpenter

    Otto Carpenter Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 24, 2016
    Sort of an "apples and oranges" discussion. A lot of knife hobbyists are interested in design and mechanical innovation. Traditionals are excellent, practical tools that can be beautiful but lack the "fidget factor" that many hobbyists not only enjoy, but require in a purchase. Lots of us own and carry both, of course, but if a choice had to be made between the two, I'd pick a modern folder for entertainment value alone.
    Lapedog likes this.
  3. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Yes, it is.
    I do fidget flippers a lot myself.
    But when it comes to cut something, I tend to pick up a traditional because I know I can cut with it efficiently and without frustration.

    If a manufacturer make a 3" frame lock knife with a 0.07" FFG blade, I would be all over it.
    I know it can be done, as Facor Bit is just like that but just too small.
  4. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    I think that's what it comes down to. A small gentleman's knife like the Feist does not require thick blades. There is no possible use you could want it for that could even suggest such a thing. So why are these blades being made thick? Thick at the spine, thick behind the edge. It's such a shame that their full potential as EDC pocket cutting/slicing tools is not being realised.

    I'd add that I'd love Blade HQ, who have such a good list of specs for each blade, to start including thickness behind the edge measurements. It's got to the point where unless you can ask someone to measure the knife for you, you have no idea if the knife will be a slicer or not. My Lionsteel Roundhead (1st run) has all the right ingredients for a great slicey traditional. Other than the thick blade behind the edge which takes all the fun out of slicing with it. Queen were the same of course. Full blade regrinds can cost as much or more than the knife itself if you don't have the equipment and experience to do it yourself.
    miso2 and Dangerously like this.
  5. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I suspect the blade thickness on the Feist is to better facilitate the flipping action. I look at my new Boker Urban Trapper and the blade is thicker than I think it needs to be. To top it off, it is a flipper that is not a great flipper. You have to snap your wrist to flip it open... okay, but it could be easier.

    Miso2: You pretty much described the difference between a traditional slip joint and modern knife design. The potential for a knife to open in my pocket is disturbing and the opening action may help or hinder such things. My solution is to carry both. I generally avoid knife designs that might facilitate opening in my pocket from just pressure exerted from say bending over.... I absolutely hate when the alarm goes off in my one vehicle because of pocket pressure on the opener bending over and so forth.

    Added: Take a look at the Fox Gentleman's knife....thin and a lot more knife than you would think from the size and shape. I like it.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    Pomsbz likes this.
  6. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    They do?
    Including the thickness behind edge in the spec list is sweet!
    I wish they also put it in the search function together with the stock thickness.

    Yes, it is a shame that these blades are made thick with inferior cutting ability......

    I did not think about the weight of the blade to add the momentum for the flipping action. You may be right.
    Then, it is still a shame to short cut to achieve the best action by thickening the blade rather than by refining the machining.

    Regarding accidental opening, I had a flipper open in my jean pocket when I crouched down. Since then I am a bit too aware of this possibility.

    And thanks for the suggestion. I have been looking into their inventory. Which model would you recommend?
  7. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    This is the one I have. Liner lock. Very thin 3" blade in N690co. Pinch open versus thumb nail nicks.
    miso2 likes this.
  8. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    I would and do all the time (then I bounce back to the modern and visa versa). Truth be told I carry both most every day.
    Currently my focus and fascination are on this traditional (put some M4 steel in it and I might even be persuaded to . . . well you may have already heard my rant) . . .

    Why ? I like long skinny handles and fairly long skinny blades that are thin (1.9mm at the spine for up to a 4inch blade length . . . believe it or not . . . but it is true).
    Sure I like bigger handles and blades but that would look like this
    Not like this
    miso2 likes this.
  9. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar Platinum Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    I choose both. The proof is in the pudding of my knife collection.
  10. popedandy

    popedandy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    I am the same way. I have both and use both.
    SpySmasher likes this.
  11. wensynch


    Apr 30, 2016

    I want a GEC73 farmer lock. Doesn't appear easily acquired these days. Some day..
  12. solphilos


    Oct 17, 2009
    I carry some form a slipjoint daily and have for years, but lately I've been needing the convenience of pocket clips and one-hand opening.
    Thick blades and impractical geometry is why I tend to steer clear of modern folders, but the lack of variety of steel choices with traditionals has me coming back .

    I have a Buck Vantage that is extremely slicey due to its deep hollow grind and a Kershaw Leek that is as thin as many traditional knives. These two cut just as well as any slipjoint I own and have been seeing a lot of pocket time lately.
  13. whp


    Apr 26, 2009
    I haven t carried a traditional slip joint in years. For me one handed opening and closing is very convenient and a pocket clip is essential as I carry my knife mostly IWB. My hollow ground blades are generally my most slicey. My Vantage Pro is a good example. Wide flat ground blades also slice well. My Manix2 lw and Holdout2 are very slicey. Perhaps the most slicey knife I use currently is my hap40 Stretch. Man, that s a slicer!
  14. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Is IWB "inside waistband"?
    I've done it with a tip-up carry knife and had it open.....

    Kershaw leek seems to be a well-designed knife with a thin blade.
    Only if it is not assisted......

    Regarding sliceyness, I found that the narrow FFG blade of GEC #73 outperforms the wide FFG Manix 2 LW, presumably due to the thin and slim blade (less friction) and the thinness behind the edge.
    It even outperforms hollow-ground Boker Exskelibur I, and I think it is also because of the slim blade.

    I guess I weigh more on the (subjective) slicing capability than other aspects of a knife.
    dc50 likes this.
  15. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    I have an Urban Trapper. The light blade is a factor, but the lack of a good detent is a bigger one. If they had a stronger detent the blade would fire out and weight wouldn't be as much of an issue.
    With the Feist, this isn't a factor. With a front flipper, the blade doesn't fire out in imitation of an automatic. The thumb keeps constant contact with the fipper, at least every way I've seen a front flipper being opened is like that. So a laminated paper blade should open just as well as a depleted uranium blade - weight for the sake of momentum shouldn't be a concern.
  16. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    They don't I'm afraid, I was wishing that they would.
  17. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Oh, I misread.
    Yeah, that would be really wonderful, if they (and GP and KC) implement these measures in the search function.
    Pomsbz likes this.
  18. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    i’m a modern folder guy, mostly for the following:

    One hand opening. While not always necessary, it tends to be very convenient. I’m also a bit jaded from hard to open nail nicks.

    Pocket clip. There is always tons of junk in my pockets. I don’t want to fish around in there for my knife.

    That said, IMO most modern folders are thicker than they need to be and grinds are often more about image than performance.

    My SOG Zoom-mini performs exceptionally in spite of what some (including myself) consider a “barely adequate” steel (AUS-8). Why? Blade stock is .10 and the grind is slicey. That blade in m390 would be insane.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  19. PirateSeulb

    PirateSeulb Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 6, 2017
    I will say the idea of comparing a traditional and modern is nice but the comparison is less about the tangible qualities and more about the experience which is more subjective.
    miso2 likes this.
  20. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    You can fire out some front flippers.
    Anyway, as 4Mer_FMF said, the manufacturer's decision to make overly stout blades might be more for marketing than for performance mostly.

    I admit that sometimes I wish I had a pocket clip on a traditional-style knife.
    Then, there are so-called "modern traditional" folders lately, some with pocket clips.
    I have been looking at them and found that most of them are overly thick at the spine of the blade and at the edge bevel.
    Hope that the "tough like a tank" plague does not spread to traditional pocket knives.
    But I have already seen some custom slip joint knives with 0.13" blades.......
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    4mer_FMF likes this.

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