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Some thoughts on the Boker Trance

Jan 17, 2004
I received a CLB Designs Trance made by Boker about a week ago (Thanks to Chad and to Boker!). It immediately replaced my Benchmade Mini-Ritter Griptilian as my “go to” EDC which I use for 90% of my daily cutting chores. After living with the Trance for a week, I thought I’d share some thoughts.

There have been several other excellent reviews with some great pics of the Trance, so I won’t duplicate those here. I will remind you that the Trance is ~6 5/8” overall with a 2.7” blade of AUS 8 that is 0.100” thick. Handle length (and thus length closed) is 3.90” The blade width at the root of the blade is 1.20” Handle thickness is a thin .315” and is 1.11” wide near the center of the handle. Lock is of the Frame variety with open spine construction: 3 standoffs, one doubling as the blade stop. The “front” or non-lock side is black textured FRN with a stainless liner. Lockbar is .077” thick Opening is accomplished either with the flipper or the ambidextrous thumb studs. Blade pivot is .195” diameter with a 3.5mm pivot screw. Pocket clip is reversible for tip up or tip down carry. I prefer tip up, so I left it as installed by Boker. A hole is provided on both the lock and front side scale for a lanyard if one is desired.

The Trance was VERY sharp out of box. Hair poppin’ sharp, for sure!

Build quality is excellent. Nothing rubs where it shouldn't, blade is very well centered in the handle. Only blade movement (side to side) is due to the deflection allowed by the Teflon washers, and is minimal. Lock up when it first arrived was about 20%. Opening it a few times helped the lockbar settle in to 60% (Inside face of lockbar just past center on blade). Jimping on the lockbar gives your thumb or finger a good gripping surface for unlocking.

Blade shape is very utilitarian. Point is low enough for everyday tasks like opening packages, cutting gaskets, cutting cardboard, etc. Blade has enough belly for effective rocking cuts, whether for cutting rope, tubing or veggies. Flipper makes a nice guard to protect your fingers from accidentally slipping forward. I'd like to see the jimping on the top of the blade continued a bit further toward the point, maybe another 1/2" or so.

Handle ergo's are great. The slight angle to the handle makes for a very secure grip.
Opening is multi-faceted fun. Press on the flipper as you give it a flip and the blade snaps into position. Or, if you're in a more sheeple-sensitive environment, you can thumb it open discretely with the thumbstud. For those occasions when you need it open as soon as its out of the pocket, snag the thumbstud on the hem of your pocket as you draw the knife and ... snick ... the blade is locked open. (Note to self... don't do this while sitting in the metal folding chair :doh: ) Blade opening in both forward and reverse grips is a breeze with both hands, thanks to the dual thumb stud, and one handed closings are a piece of cake with both hands.

Pocket clip is a bit longer than that of the SubCom (and its variants). The longer length gives it a bit more spring and is easily clipped to the pocket, yet firm enough to give confidence that it won't fall out.

Cutting performance is very good. So far, I've opened envelopes and packages, a couple of those Evil Clamshell packs, cut up some tygon tubing, some fuel injection hose, push/rock cut through some 0.080 rubber sheet and pried the top off my xylene container several times. And, it still shaves hair like crazy :)
Holding the knife (sort of) like a pencil, very precise cutting can be accomplished. Just be careful choking up on that blade, or your project will have a little more color than you might like :eek:

Went to town on the flaps of an old box:

Since it would still shave after that, I decided to make a cardboard target with it. There’s probably a fancier name for it, but you get the idea:

Made a couple of test stabs and then tested the edge again. The Trance still removed hair, but it pulls much harder on them than it did when it was fresh from the box. A view of the blade after a few more stabs. Except for the razor edge being taken off, no damage or change in function was noted.

Got the target mounted firmly in place and did some drills on it. Slash/stab and stabbing drills in multiple grips, both hands and stab from draw. The handle ergonomics proved quite effective for retention and resisting slipping. A tad more thickness to the handle might be desired by some, especially those with larger hands.

Keeping a sharp eye on the lock bar, I noticed that engagement of the lock bar had gone to 100%. Closing the blade revealed that the blade was no longer centered and had quite a bit of movement side to side when closed. It still locked up tight, though. My first thought was that the pivot screw had vibrated loose and needed tightening. This was not the case. The pivot screw was still tight against the barrel. It turns out the problem was that the Teflon washers had cold flowed enough to allow blade movement in the handle. Shortened the pivot barrel a few thousandths and the blade went back to centered in the handle and lock-up went back to about 80%.

Of course, after all that abuse, the Trance definitely needed sharpening. But, a few swipes on the Sharpmaker and its back to shaving sharp, thanks in part to the low included angle on the edge bevel.

Overall, the Trance is an excellent every day carry knife that excels at those chores most of us find to do every day: slicing and dicing. It is also an excellent stabber, should the need arise. Hopefully, we’ll see some blade variations in this package. Sheepsfoot and American Tanto spring to mind :D, though this blade, I’ll call it a Spear Point for lack of a better name, is certainly a winner!

Kudos to CLB Designs for an outstanding design package, and to Boker for excellent execution in production.