• The Wait Is Over. From this thread, orders for the 2023 BladeForums Traditional Knife are open & here's your handy order button.
    OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS WITH GOLD OR HIGHER PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS OR have 25+ posts in the Traditional Forum Preorder price is $160 shipped CONUS, price increase on 9/25 11:59PM when ordering opens to anyone on the forums
    User Name

Our First Knife Test!

Oct 2, 1998
Well it is Saturday and I am bored so here goes our first test!

I will be testing the following models.
Spyderco Endura '98 Version (New) 10PBK
Benchmade Ascent 840
Junglee Marshall K02043
Gerber E-Z Out ATS-34 version G-06768
Cold Steel 34LC
A Taiwan version of the Spyderco Endura

All knives are of similar blade shape and all are plain edge. I will not test the serration patterns until I develop a fair way of testing them.

First I will do a short review of each knife based on fit and finish, smoothness of operation, ease of lock/unlock and several other factors which we all look at when buying a knife.

The first test will be the shaving of hair off my arm test. Basically, this will be an out of the box "pass or fail" test. If a model shows prowess over the others I will mention that as well.

Then the overall sharpness test "real world" style. Each knife will cut through an equal length of cardboard. Then I will measure how many passes it takes to dull the blade to the point where it grabs the cardboard. This will be a straight push down using force alone to cut. No slashing and only 1/4" of the blade surface will be used. Since all the blades use similar geometry and width this should be a fair test. Each blade will be marked at the point where the test is done with hash marks separated by the 1/4".

Next is the A.T. Barr, slap the crap out of the back of the blade, test for lock failure. Again pass or fail. I will first measure my strength on a scale. Then I will ensure that each test is as close to the original test as possible.

Then I will place 30lbs of weight on each knife after locking them in a vice. This most likely will not bring any of the knives to failure (well maybe the Taiwan POS) but if it does you will know. Each weight will be attached to the knife through the lanyard hole, which is nearly the same on each knife as far as distance to the pivot, so it should be close to fair. I will take a picture so you can see how each knife responds before and after weight is applied.

I will then retest the knives with the A.T. Barr test. This will show how the lock faired in the weight test.

Then I will test clip strength and placement and how easy it is to remove from pants.

The last test will be for tip strength. I will drop each knife from it's end from a height of 3 feet directly on to concrete with blade extended so the tip hits first. Hopefully I will not destroy a knife in this test. I will then scan the blade tips for all to see.

I will not destroy any knife and when the tests are done I will offer each for sale on the "for sale" board at cost. Of course they will need to be sharpened

How's dem apples!

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

[This message has been edited by Mike Turber (edited 13 February 1999).]
One minor point. If the knives are blunt out of the box why not sharpen them before doing the cardboard cutting test. Who cares how sharp a knife comes from the factory anyway and how it cuts with that edge, its only like that once.

Other suggestions with possible destructive consequences.

After the tip test either cut something hard (like wire / rock) or drop it edge first on similar to see if the edge impacts, rolls or chips out. Second pry with the blade a moderate amount (or lock it in a vice laterally and hang weights off of it) and then repeat the whacking test to see if that effects the lock. Finally do a few hard snap opens and see if that introduces blade play.

Cliff, there are a few problems with this line of reasoning:

1. When you buy a brand new knife, you shouldn't have to sharpen it out of the box.

2. It's pretty hard to be completely objective when you are sharpening the knives by hand, it through's a bit of bias into the tests.

We just finished some of the tests, and the results should be up in a short while.


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here
Well the results are in and I must admit I am quite surpised at the results.

I will go in order of how the tests were performed.

First the arm shaving test.
Spyderco Endura Pass (Nice)
Benchmade Ascent Pass (Good)
Junglee Marshall Pass (humm)
Gerber E-Z Pass (Not bad)
Cold Steel Pass (Nice)
Taiwan POS Fail (

The Cardboard test.
I tested these knives by cutting a 25" piece 250 test cardboard. The cardboard was laid on a table and pushed 2" out and a 1" strip was cut off from the full 25" length. I continued cutting until the knife either made the cardboard buckle under or simply became too difficult to pull through without resorting to lots of pressure. This is the test which can come under scrutiny but I tried to be as fair as possible and use the same force.

Spyderco Endura 4.8 (ATS-55)
Benchmade Ascent 5.5 (ATS-34)
Junglee Marshall 1.8 (AUS-10)
Gerber E-Z Pass 5.1 (ATS-34)
Cold Steel Pass 4.2 (AUS-8)
Taiwan POS
Could not even start a cut. (Who the hell knows 420J2 maybe classic Rostfrei)

The numbers are the number of pieces successfully cut. 4.8 means I went through nearly 5 pieces at 25" each and so forth. In this test it appears as though ATS-34 won. Both the Benchmade and the Gerber were ATS-34.

A.T. Barr slap the crap out of the knife test. Now this is where it got interesting! Plus this test can be duplicated by forum members and I would be interested if your results are similar to mine.

Spyderco Endura Pass (Nice)
Benchmade Ascent Fail (and not very hard either)
Junglee Marshall Pass (Only liner lock in the bunch)
Gerber E-Z Fail (the lock looks like they are rounded off or smoothed. Not good for a lock)
Cold Steel Pass (Nice, Damn solid)
Taiwan POS Pass (I was amazed!)

Benchmade fails the Barr test.

Well as you can see the Gerber and Benchmade failed this test. I was very surprised at the Benchmade's failure but expected the Gerber as I have heard this before. We achieved the same results on the second test after the 30Lb lock test so no need to post them again.

Drop test. I held the knives at a 36" height and let the weight of the knife carry it to the floor which was solid concrete.

Spyderco Endura Pass (Nice)
Benchmade Ascent Pass (Good)
Junglee Marshall Pass (humm a very slight bend)
Gerber E-Z Pass (Not bad)
Cold Steel Pass (Nice)
Taiwan POS Fail (
) Tip was badly bent.

Drop was from 36" and simply the weight of the knife was used.

Junglee on floor after test.

After testing, the floor had several chips.

The 30Lbs on the lanyard hole test.
The Gerber did not have a lanyard hole so we could not test it here.

Spyderco Endura Pass (Nice, did not even budge)
Benchmade Ascent Pass (Same as Spyderco which is funny after failing the Barr test)
Junglee Marshall Pass (major stress bending)
Gerber E-Z Could not test
Cold Steel Pass (Nice, and again same as Spydie and BM)
Taiwan POS Pass (Thought it was going to fly apart but it held up although showing major stress)


Pic of the Benchmade. As you can see, after the weight was applied, there is virtually no bending at the blade pivot juncture.

Well all the knives functioned fairly well. The smooth operator was the Benchmade as far as ease of opening but the Spyderco and Cold Steel were hot on it's heals. The Gerber and the Junglee were pretty good and the POS was not too bad for a $1.95 knife. Afer testing, the POS and the Junglee now exhibit side blade play. Not too bad but you knife nuts would notice it. The other knives held up just fine even though 2 failed the A.T. Barr test.

The overall winner was......
A tie between the Cold Steel and the Spyderco.

After testing was done, Spark and I really whacked the crap out of both of these knives trying to get them to fail the Barr test. Neither showed any signs of wanting to let go of their locks. In fact while whacking the knives, you could actually feel how solid they were. If the Benchmade had not failed the Barr test it would have won hands down.

Well that's it the first test is over so look for them in the "For Sale" board.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

[This message has been edited by Mike Turber (edited 13 February 1999).]
Great test Mike. Very thorough and fair. I can`t wait to see the much rumored Trailmaster vs. Battlemistress vs. ? vs.? test!!! Keep em comin. Marcus
Great test. Keep em coming...I had hoped to find a forum that actually tested knives.BladeForums is a cool place to be .
Spark of course its hard to avoid a bias but as a reader you just have to trust the reviewer. And of course you should not have to sharpen a knife out of a box however I have yet to buy one that I didn't including knives from Cold Steel, Benchmade, Spyderco and MD.

It would have been much more valuable to see how the cheap POS knife did if it was actually sharpened. The primary grind is much more important than the secondary bevel which is only in factory condition once.

The results on the cutting were interesting though, especially as AUS-10 and ATS-55 are promoted as being superior to ATS-34.


Thanks, good job,I just cant wait for big guys test(MD,BM.CS etc.)
Mike what kind of watch you have (TAG ?)?

Yes that is a Tag.


I think sharpening them before the test would actually be a bad idea. It would represent my sharpening abilities and not that of the manufacturer which is what I think the members here would rather know about. Plus I could not guarantee that each knife would be sharpened in excactly the same way which in turn would make the results skewed. But I took your suggestions and sharpened the POS and it made it through 2.6 pieces therfor making it not bad at all for $1.95!

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

Great test Mike..

Makes me question my Ascent, I'll have to do the A.T. Barr test on it, I just hope that you got a lemon.

I look forward to future tests.



"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!

Great job Mike!

The spine-whack test was a shocker! I ran and re-tested my Ascent, it is totally rock solid. I'll be interested in seeing Yekim's and other people's tests.

I am actually with Cliff and think that you should put your own edge on the knife, since the edge is what many factories do badly, and is the one thing that the user can easily fix. However, your methodology has merit as well. I find that Cold Steel usually has some of the best edges out of the box, and that is an advantage over the Ascent which usually don't quite have the Voyager's edge at first.

One thing, can you comment on *working* ergonomics? I don't mean how the knife feels in the hand when you pick it up. I mean, after cutting all that cardboard, which knives felt more comfortable than others? This is very subjective but I appreciate your impressions anyway. Pay particular attention to the pressure put on the little finger during hard cutting.

thanks again, great job


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 15 February 1999).]
Thanks for the tests, a little worried about my Ascent, will check it out, also was a little concerned about the guy (Spark?) with the Teva-like sandels, glad he didn't do the drop test...Yea, nice watch!
I'll have to see if I hold it by the blade or the handle to wack it, like the Barr test.

Mark C.

[This message has been edited by mcfg (edited 14 February 1999).]
<IMG SRC="http://www.bladeforums.com/images/upload/superspark.jpg" align="right">Actually, that isn't a picture of me at all, the one at the right is a more accurate representation. Yeah, that's me all right, ignore the plastic appearance...

Seriously though, I had a death grip on the knives I was "Whack Testing" at the time, so I wasn't worried about having one slip out and impale my foot. Heck, one series of photo's shows me making a knife fail just by flicking my wrist down, not moving the rest of my arm at all. Pretty scary.....

Can you guys tell I like the other Valentine's present I got?

Airborne All the Way!

Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here

[This message has been edited by Spark (edited 14 February 1999).]
VERY cool test suite.

I'd like to add that the Cold Steel performance you saw *will* carry across to the bigger models, including the 5" and 6" megafolders. That's what's remarkable about the CS "cheapos".

If at all possible in the future, I'd like to see you add the Scimitar to the test series, just "do it up the same way". Cold Steel isn't known for linerlocks and this particular piece may prove popular as a low-end "streetfighter".

Also: any interest in testing my personal CSVG, pretty much one of the first on the street and "dremel modified for smoothness" about a year and a half ago, survivor of hundreds if not thousands of snapopens? It'd make a VERY interesting "long term test bed"...

I could maybe ship The Outsider at the same time, get some better pics...maybe some other neat stuff?

Jim March
I ran the spine-whack test on my Ascent. It passed.
I was surprised with the cutting test, with what everyone says about the sharpness of Cold Steel and Spyderco knives. Since they both shaved better then the Benchmade(nice is better then good right?). Does the Benchmade have a thinner edge then the CS or the Spyderco.


The Bitternes Of Poor Quality Remains Long After The Sweetness Of Low Price Is Forgotten
Boy, am I pissed......

My Ascent folds as easy as a slip joint folder.

Fairly light whacks folds it up.


I want a new knife!

(brief moment of running around the room, screaming and pulling out hair)

I think I am going to cry....



"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!


I ran the test again, this time holding the handle of the knife down on the arm of my Loveseat with the blade overhangin'. I tapped the spine with the handle of my hammer, and just little taps made it fold up, same test on my old and worn out SOG autoclip...same result... next the CSVG...I beat the hell out of it and it holds....I guess I may be back to carrying my beast around again...ugh...Tomorrow I will get my GF's Goddard Lightweight and perform the test on it.

[This message has been edited by Yekim (edited 15 February 1999).]
Thanks for the info Mike, that's more or less what I expected. I handled the POS knife before and actually did some cutting with it. The edge retention was not that bad and if all you are cutting is cardboard and rope its a decent knife. The big difference between its blade steel and a decent one is seen when you start cutting something a bit harder. The edge will roll / impact and even chip really easy. The lockup was actually solid on the one I handled with little play, however I didn't beat it around much.

Mike - cool test! This is the kind of info that's helpful to know before we make our purchase decisions. Keep up the good work!
I agree with Cliff and others that the knives should have been sharpened as close to identically as possible. If not, the variable you are testing is not the ability of the steel to cut but the factory's sharpening ability and their quality assurance department's attention to detail. Again, as with Cliff, the edge is a "very" important part of the knife, a critical part. Without a keen edge, a knife is just a limited prybar. Possibly, that part of the test should be repeated--with a sharpened edge. Without this additional test, the test design is flawed. The rest of the test was very informative.