Kershaw Highball XL


Banned By Request
Jul 28, 2010



I saw this a few days ago , and was wondering - How did this fly under my radar ?
From a styling perspective ( looks ) , the highball ticks all my boxes .

First Impressions :

The knife feels like it's about the right size for a folder , also an appropriate weight for it's size and presence .
Walk N talk is excellent .
The blade runs on a BB pivot , making it smooth .
The clip does not feel overly intrusive and comes off easy enough .
There is enough weight for the knife not to go un noticed in the pocket , unless you use the clip .
The knife is ticking a lot of boxes , except for the frame lock tension or lack there off !

Warning :

The knife is GLUED shut ! So if you want to re tension the frame lock ? You need to disassemble the knife .
This means dealing with the glued screws .
There is a plastic frame spacer at the back of the knife , use to much heat ( I used heat ) to break the glue and you may melt the spacer .
I BBQ'ed the spacer a little as I really wanted a knife that does not gravity open .
And even with heat applied , those screws were BOSS tight . ( good glue )

With the frame lock tightened , there is little to complain about ( pre edge retention test ) .

Making the Purchase :

The Kershaw Highball XL runs around $55 USD as a starting price + Postage to around $80 USD + Postage .
Here in Australia you are looking at around $100 to $120 + Postage ... ( AUS dollar )
Except for one place I found ( Xhunter ) , where I was able to pick it up just under $90 AUS bananas .
55 USD is around 76 AUS bananas currently for a comparison and 80 USD is around 110 AUS bananas ...
I can buy a decent D2 knife from around 50 bananas ( Import ) , so I am really looking forward to seeing how the Highball performs on the rope ( edge holding ) .
Is it all looks and no go , or does it have some giddy up (?) .
Thanks for the review!

I saw this on Knifecenter's recent video and thought it'd make for s good budget gift.

By glued you mean they are loctite-d? That stinks, I hate that especially now when alot of companies cut cost and use soft screws...
I have fidgeted the knife to the point my hand is a little sore ( well this one and the Kizer ) .
At the front of the grip where the bottom curls up / down ( depending on how your looking at it ) , the curve is too tight .
And for my hand , it feels crowded on my index finger .. If that curve had been pushed 5mm forward , ............ If .
Loctite Screws (?) , maybe , or something Chinese .. Loctite usually gives up pretty easy with heat , not sure what this stuff was , but it was brutally strong stuff .
I had to push the knife against the table ( brace it ) so I could push the driver into the screw and then twist it without stripping the screw . ( I stripped 2 screws but the remaining 2 came out - Lucky that )
Yeah , not the hardest screws ... And that BOSS glue is a PITA .
Super humid today , hopefully cut some rope soon ( edge retention test )


It took around an hour to clean up 50% of the blade with the wet stone grinder .
I really wanted the front portion of the blade clean , as this is what is used to slice rope .
50% of the blade toward the handle is still FUBAR ....

Highball XL , is a nominee for the FUBAR'est Bevel of the year award !
Pictures are from about 45 minutes into the re grind .. So a one hour estimate is ( Very generous ) ?

Factory edge cuts rope !
It's horribly humid , and that paper was soaking in moisture ..
Inside the house the knife passed the 100 slice test with fresh dry paper .
But still failed at 150 slices ...
That FUBAR factory grind might be responsible for that ...
50% of the blade now has a fresh grind ( wet stone grinder ) , so ........ Another test soon !

I was afraid of it !
Pay $$ for a knife , and get ripped a new one ...
This knife is supposed to be D2 Tool Steel , not Butter Steel ...
After some 200 slices on the re ground edge , the knife was struggling badly .
I was very generous and took it to 250 slices ...

Call it a 200 slice fail or a 250 slice fail ...
The Kershaw Highball XL failed to live up to the D2 hype !
Decent D2 falls into the 400 slice range , NOT the 200 slice range ! Unless of course it's BAD D2 ... Or maybe not D2 at all ? ( Like that has never happened ) .

So ? ......... What to say about the performance ?

The Highball is simply a Overpriced / Underperforming knife ! ( For me )
Putting the Highball to the guided knife sharpener and the diamond sharpener ...... The steel is soft for D2 ...

Soft blade material , terrible factory grind , poor edge retention , seriously overpriced for what you get ! ( Such is my opinion after testing the Highball )

The knife is all looks !
XL @ 3.3" must be Junior, Little Misses, or Women's sizing ... :-/
Is there a full-size version ?