Winkler belt knife fails strength tests (GREAT response by Winkler)

Twindog

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I have and use quite a few knives. Over the years I’ve gotten a feel for how well a knife will perform. I look for a nice balance between toughness (resistance to breaking, chipping or cracking), strength (resistance to deformation, rolling and bending) and wear resistance.


I just bought this Winkler II belt knife (the consumer version, not a custom), just because of the recent buzz (mention in the New York Times). It was a secondhand knife, but not used. The factory edge was sadly dull, which to me is a sign that someone at the factory just didn’t give a darn.


The seller wasn’t sure, but thought the steel is 5160, an extremely tough, low-alloy steel. I think he is right. Because toughness was going to be the main feature of this knife, I decided to give it a test of tip strength, the same way that Benchmade tested its 162 in S30V (stabbing a piece of softwood and bending the blade sideways). I was less aggressive than Benchmade. I had no intention of turning this into a destruction test. I just wanted to assure myself that the blade had a decent amount of strength to go with its toughness. The tip on this knife bent quickly and easily.


Well, this was not a knife that I was going to keep. And I certainly could not sell it to someone else, so I decided to test it some more. But nothing too hard. I wanted to see how strong (not tough) the full blade was, not just the tip. I placed the damaged tip on the floor and held the handle off the floor a few inches with my right hand. I put lateral pressure on the blade by pressing down with my heel. Basically, I stepped on the blade while holding the handle. I’ve had other knives in this category easily take this kind of pressure — which was way less than my weight (150 pounds). This blade bent easily.


To take it a bit further, I tried to see if it would cut a nail in half. It wouldn’t. The nail basically got a shiny spot, but the blade edge dented severely, pretty much conforming to the diameter of the nail.


This blade may be super tough, but it has almost no strength at all.




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That's a damn shame. These knives are incredible. I have the same one in 80crv2. Before you continued your, "destruction" test, I was going to say, just get a hold of Daniel. He'll take care of you but then you beat the hell out of it. I don't know any knife or steel that could withstand that kind of abuse. I don't think you should be disappointed at all with the latter results but the first one WOULD HAVE been fixed or replaced EASILY.
 

Twindog

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Maybe it would have been replaced. But I have no use for a knife with that kind of heat treat. I really started out just gently testing the strength, not expecting to do any damage. But it was so soft that the tip bent quickly and easily. Believe me, I didn't want to throw $300 down a rat hole, but I have no use for a knife that performs this poorly.

It felt almost like I could bend the blade with my bare hands. (Tried and couldn't do it.)
 
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Obviously that knife was far from incredible, it should be sent in for testing and be replaced if in fact defective, appears to be way too soft.
 
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Something wrong there. Are you sure it's real? You got it used from "some guy" it seems. Not s

Daniel Winkler posts on here, and he's easy enough to find. I'd say reach out to him.
 
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Something wrong there. Are you sure it's real? You got it used from "some guy" it seems. Not s

Daniel Winkler posts on here, and he's easy enough to find. I'd say reach out to him.

I totally agree. Daniel would NEVER put something out like this. It's quality inspected before it ever does. I'm baffled.
 
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Can you post more pics? I'll compare it against mine and see if I can tell a difference. It may be an imposter. Send all angle pics please.
 
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the ricasso looks off and the jimping seems to be more than a normal belt knife. I'd almost say it was a fake. right where the finger stops behind the blade looks to be to sharp or a grind as well from these pictures.
 

Twindog

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I don't know. I comes in a printed box. It has the birthday card (2/19/13). Inspected by Inspector No. 1, whose initials look like SL, and Inspector No. 2, whose initials look like J2.

I could tell when I first started to use it that the steel was not right. Maybe it's a fake. Maybe someone made a mistake on the heat treat.

I did the same test, except not the nail test, with my Withrow hunter in forged 1095, and there was no damage at all.

The nail test I did because the knife was already shot by that point. But the nail seems harder than the blade steel because it took very little damage, while the edge just melted around it.

The workmanship is very good, just what you'd expect. The grind lines at the ricasso are not very good (one side different than the other). The thumb jimping is just about perfect and of an effective design. The sheath seems like very high quality, with the felt lining. It's just the steel is too soft.
 
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I seriously doubt you'd do this to a 300+ knife. Surely you would of reached out to the maker pending the results of your initial testing.
 

Twindog

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I seriously doubt you'd do this to a 300+ knife. Surely you would of reached out to the maker pending the results of your initial testing.

As I explained, I didn't set out to damage the knife. But I could tell the steel was off. I did a somewhat abusive tip test, but not as abusive as what Benchmade has done and posted on YouTube. The tip bent easily and quickly, which at that point made the knife worthless to me. So I just decided to do some additional testing.

I don't want anything from anyone. I'm just sharing an experience with people who are interested in knives.
 

Andy the Aussie

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I don't know any knife or steel that could withstand that kind of abuse.
..... I think there are many blades available (both more and less expensive than this one) that could have dealt with this and much more mate.
 
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As I explained, I didn't set out to damage the knife. But I could tell the steel was off. I did a somewhat abusive tip test, but not as abusive as what Benchmade has done and posted on YouTube. The tip bent easily and quickly, which at that point made the knife worthless to me. So I just decided to do some additional testing.

I don't want anything from anyone. I'm just sharing an experience with people who are interested in knives.


Thanks for sharing. After doing some research, I don't doubt you. Apparently winkler hasn't touched the manufacturing of these knives for some time due to the demand. Clearly the heat treat is off, or maybe never done. It's a shame you burned 350 bucks in the process. I'd reach out to Winkler knives and see if you can trade it in for a proper blade.
 

Twindog

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If you look at the nail in the last photo, it's slightly bent. It was straight when I started. When I hammered the edge into the nail, the nail didn't get cut, but it did bend. The nail is not that hard. The knife steel is even softer.
 
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Hey next time you have a $350 knife to ruin send it to me.

I'll film it live and take better still pictures than those.
 
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