China has come a long way in knife production (Enlan EL-01)


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Snowdog
October 22, 2013, 01:43 AM
I'm not a collector of knives, though I do have a few.
I typically believe the knife you carry should be the best quality you can afford. So, I carry a Benchmade Strker 910 (D2 steel, G10 scales liner lock) and have for the past 10 years.

I've largely ignored knives made in China as some years ago they were garbage, IMO.

Recently, I decided to make a few "go bags" for family members who've expressed interest in the idea that include both a fixed bladed knife and a folder.
A coworker suggested I look into Enlan knives made in China if I wanted a decent quality folder on the cheap.

I went on Ebay and purchased an Enlan EL-10 with Khaki G10 scales and 8Cr5MoV Chinese steel blade from a vendor from who ships from China, $15 including shipping.

I have to say that once I did receive it (a lengthy 3 weeks ship time), I was pleasantly surprised. The knife is tight and looks to be tough enough for camp work. The fit seems good, though there was a spot on the blade (false edge) that exhibited some machine marks. For $15, I'm impressed.

I went ahead and purchased 7 more for the go-bags (black handles rather than khaki this time). The remainder had little if any machining marks and were just as tight and solid.

For the money, these seems to be a decent knife for a tool or tackle box. The only downside I can think of is the weight as they have some heft.

Here are a couple images of 2 of the EL-01 knives with my EDC 910.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/10416412735_41b8df0b71_z.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7321/10416437456_b85acfde9b_z.jpg

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Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 01:54 AM
I'll have an EL-01A tomorrow for preliminary T&E.

Some of the Vendors on Amazon occasionally have Enlan, Sanrenmu and Ganzo knives in stock and free 2-day shipping.

ugaarguy
October 22, 2013, 01:56 AM
Snowdog, China is like any other industrialized country. They can make knives as good as anyone in the world. Quality is affected by what the designer specifies, and is willing to pay for production. Even Spyderco and Benchmade have some of their knives made in China now. And you're right - It really is amazing how much quality you can get for the dollar on knives made there. The Boker Plus Subcom Titan is a great example of what the Chinese can do when the designer bumps the street price up to the mid $30 range, and specs a titanium frame lock with a 440C blade.

hso
October 22, 2013, 09:04 AM
Years ago at the Blade Show I was with a group consisting of senior employees from Camillus and they commented about the rising quality of knives out of China. One comment mades was, "The Germans taught them to heat treat and now we've taught them quality control.".

As said, the factories in China can produce any quality level desired and we're seeing that in the U.S. marketplace.

19-3Ben
October 22, 2013, 11:28 AM
Agreed with the above. I had first heard about rising quality of Chinese knives right here in NFW about a year and a half ago
I went on FleaBay and bought two Boker Plus pocket knifes for about $10 or so for each.
I've had them and used them since. They've exceeded expectation. They are not and will never rival the equivalent models from Case, but they definitely waaaay outperform the price tag and the usual products from China.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 12:05 PM
They are not and will never rival the equivalent models from Case

How so?

Case Tru-Sharp is just 420HC AFAIK so the better Chinese knives are using superior cutlery steels already.

hso
October 22, 2013, 12:23 PM
Sam,

I don't know that I'd call the Chinese steels in use "superior" to 420HC, just more modern (whenever they use recognized steels). When Camillus was still in business I knew they and Case were very happy with it when properly heat treated. The performance for Case and Camillus and Buck was good also due to the heat treat and their geometries. It takes a keen edge and is easy to sharpen without having to use anything other than simple stones or ceramics. Coupled with the lower expense from a raw material and production standpoint there's a lot of good to be said for 420HC (just the HC version, that is).

It isn't as wear resistant as 154CM and S30V, but it is a lot cheaper and easier to sharpen and we know what it is as opposed to having to become familiar with XCrYMoZV steels.

JohnKSa
October 22, 2013, 12:27 PM
Quality is affected by what the designer specifies, and is willing to pay for production.And by how closely the production output is monitored. I spoke with one small business owner who was having some products manufactured in China and he indicated that he had to carefully test the products from each new batch to insure that they weren't cutting corners. He had found problems on several occasions and had to send a couple of entire batches back to the factory.

Chinese manufacturers have the capability to do anything they want. AND, they are used to getting away with anything they want. A company can get good products manufactured in China as long as they put in the time to make sure that what they're getting is what they specified.

JERRY
October 22, 2013, 12:28 PM
there are a lot of Chinese made "infidels" out there, if you don't know the real thing from experience its easy to be duped, they are that close.

hso
October 22, 2013, 12:33 PM
I personally know knife manufacturers who made a point of making almost monthly trips to their manufacturing "partners" in China to ensure they got the product they were contracting for. Those monthly trips became quarterly and then 2x a year as they established the level of trust in those factory owners and their operations staff.

With the introduction of ISO compliance at particular factories in China the need for visits to put eyes on the actual manufacture of an order has fallen off. What that means in China is that the factory will produce the actual quality of product specified consistently, not that they'll produce every price point product to the same high quality. The Chinese understand that if the customer wants them to produce the lowest price point possible they will adjust the quality accordingly and consistently deliver it just as they will for the customer that wants the highest quality possible and is willing to pay for it.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 12:43 PM
I don't know that I'd call the Chinese steel superior to 420HC.

The Enlan is 8Cr13Mov so within a gnats hair of AUS-8.
http://www.agrussell.com/Steel_Guide/a/73/

Its going to be HT dependent of course, but I'd rather have have the tougher steel in a working knife.

We will beat on it tomorrow and see how it does. :cool:

Yo Mama
October 22, 2013, 01:04 PM
China has come a long way in knife production

Enlan, and many other Chineese companies have stolen patents including designs and locks. Their version of the Axis lock is a prime example. I can't bring myself to look at them. I work hard for what little money I have, I won't support counterfeiting.

I know they may have improved manufacturing, but I'm not going to carry a blade made in China.

j1
October 22, 2013, 01:11 PM
China now makes quite a lot of good knives. I know as I have bought quite a few.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 04:30 PM
Their version of the Axis lock is a prime example.

Do you know for certain that Enlan/Sanremu haven't licensed the McHenry/Williams lock?
http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/5737841.html

Snowdog
October 22, 2013, 05:24 PM
Sam Cade, do you plan on posting your impression of the EL-01A here on THR? I'm interested to see what others think of this inexpensive knife.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 05:42 PM
Yup. That is the plan.

Yo Mama
October 22, 2013, 06:26 PM
Do you know for certain that Enlan/Sanremu haven't licensed the McHenry/Williams lock?
http://www.patentgenius.com/patent/5737841.html

Benchmade has exclusive license and use of the McHenry/Williams Axis Lock. It will expire in 2015. I'm not expert in patent law, and I know that BM used the same factories that many Chinese companies also used, but BM never made an Axis lock model in China.

Paired with "borrowing" designs by many China made blades including Enlan, I'm just turned off by them. I know they may be getting better at making them, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I want them to be behind in US offerings. There is a sense of pride that's worth a bit more money.

I hope your testing goes well Sam, as always I'm still interested in you torturing steel!

Double_J
October 22, 2013, 06:43 PM
I have had a bunch of Chinese knives over the years. Some were cheap flea market throw away knives that I used for yard work/bait knives and others were very good quality. My daily carry right now and for the past 7 years is a kershaw vapor that was made in china. It held up to a lot of abuse when I was doing industrial maintenance. I was able to keep it sharp with nothing more than a few passes on a stone every day.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 06:44 PM
It will expire in 2015. I'm not expert in patent law, and I know that BM used the same factories that many Chinese companies also used, but BM never made an Axis lock model in China. See, therein lies the rub. An "exclusive" license doesn't necessarily mean "only one who can use the patent". BM might have an exclusive license on the McHenry/Williams lock for North America and Europe but not Asia.

*shrug*

OTOH the Chinese could just be unscrupulous pirates.

It's a shame Benchmade doesn't let me look at their internal documentation. ;)


An exclusive license may be granted by the patent owner to a licensee. The exclusive license prevents the patent owner (or any other party to whom the patent owner might wish to sell a license) from competing with the exclusive licensee, as to the geographic region, the length of time, and/or the field of use, set forth in the license agreement.

A license is not an assignment of the patent. Even if the license is an exclusive license, it is not an assignment of patent rights in the patent or application.
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s301.html

hso
October 22, 2013, 07:38 PM
Do you know for certain that Enlan/Sanremu haven't licensed the McHenry/Williams lock?

I do.

According the Les DeAsis of Benchmade they are exclusive world wide on it.

Sam Cade
October 22, 2013, 07:45 PM
I do.
According the Les DeAsis of Benchmade they are exclusive world wide on it.

Well, there you go.



...and that is why we keep hso around folks. He knows stuff.
:cool:

hso
October 22, 2013, 07:53 PM
Naw, I talk to people that knows stuff. I just remembers some of it.

BTW, Sanrenmu is notorious for stealing designs. They make a Sebenza knockoff that you shouldn't mention around Chris Reeves unless you want to see fireworks. The scum have even ripped off Mantis's most successful design now that it has become a cult favorite.

http://www.sanrenmu.com/media/wysiwyg/T11-2.jpg
http://ak1.ostkcdn.com/images/products/P13829050.jpg

I've made it clear on several occasions here and elsewhere that a company that doesn't pay the developer/inventor for their designs they use are companies I will do everything I can to discourage people from doing business with. I literally want them to go out of business and the people responsible to be ruined for the rest of their lives. As you might get the impression, I despise them.

Sam Cade
October 24, 2013, 05:42 PM
Ok guys, I've got my Enlan EL-01A here... F&F of lock liner and scales seems to be near perfect. I've snap-cycled the blade just over 1,200 times with no discernible change in lockup.

Edge grind as delivered is meh. Slightly irregular and asymmetrical. Initial edge is able to push cut notebook paper but will not shave.

I can't seem to find my smallest torx wrenches :banghead: so I can't break it open just yet.

Will do start some comparative tests once I re-edge it. Will probably start another thread for the sake of organization.

zhyla
October 24, 2013, 07:37 PM
Did some poking around on eBay to see what Enlan folders are available for cheap. The EL02 or EL02B look kind of nice. Almost without exception their designs seem to have a very vanilla flavor to them. I guess you need to have a certain level of reputation before you start cranking out oddball stuff.

Sam Cade
October 24, 2013, 08:01 PM
Almost without exception their designs seem to have a very vanilla flavor to them.

More of an imitation vanilla flavor. :evil:


The EL-01xx draws some styling cues from Rick Hinderer but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a copy.


Some quick pics:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190342&stc=1&d=1382659090

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190343&stc=1&d=1382659090

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190344&stc=1&d=1382659208

Ohen Cepel
October 24, 2013, 08:07 PM
My knives are pretty personal for me. I just don't like so much of the way the Chinese do business and so don't buy their knives.

They can and will make some very nice stuff. However, till they clean up a LOT of their business practices I won't spend my knife money with them.

hso
October 24, 2013, 08:24 PM
zhyla,

They rip off their designs from the U.S. so that's why they look kinda like you've seen them over and over again. Like Ohen Cepel I can't abide them, but as long as you're not buying blatant copies, even at the appropriate $10-$15 price point, many people find a place for them.

There are threads on them in the knife forums focused on trying to find the "best" of the knockoffs. This knife rates pretty "highly" (of course that's high in a field of bottom crawlers) as a beater that people won't cry over breaking or losing. I'm interested in seeing what Sam puts this thing through and what he finds.

Sam Cade
October 24, 2013, 10:23 PM
I'm interested in seeing what Sam puts this thing through and what he finds.

The usual for this sort of thing.

Cardboard and wirechopping.

Obligatory spinewacks.

Tipslashes on heavy-wall shipping tubes.


I'm around 1,600 unlubricated flicks. Still smooth,still solid. The Pivot screw hasn't needed adjustment but it has picked up an annoying squeak. I think that it is coming from the poly washer/bearing.

ugaarguy
October 25, 2013, 12:06 AM
I've never bought an Enlan or other totally Chinese brand. I have purchased Chinese made Bokers, Spydercos (their Byrd line), and a Benchmade (HK line). In contrast to the rip-offs, if you want a production Chad Los Banos knife they're almost all (all?) made in China. I'm okay with ethical knife companies offering some value line products that are made in China.

hso
October 25, 2013, 12:20 AM
Cardboard cutting

Rope push cut crunches

Stab into 2x4 and snap out for tip strength

Standard stuff.

CA Raider
October 25, 2013, 12:41 AM
i wouldn't put China down too much for two reasons:

1. Chinese products are made the way that American businesses specify, including alloys and heat treatments. Basically, US companies specify the design, then China makes it. So if you are not satisfied with the quality of the product - look first at who is specifying it from the US side. China can produce high-quality products ... if they are told to do so.

2. China has made pretty much every kind of knife you can think of - for the USA and many other countries. They have made them all. HENCE - they can make just about anything. Stop and think about that HUGE amount of experience with manufacturing and product testing. Then ask yourself - what are the Chinese special forces carrying for their knives? Because China can pretty much make their own army the very best blades. We taught them how to do it.

Just my $0.02

CA R

hso
October 25, 2013, 08:23 AM
CA Raider,

The knives made for American and European companies aren't the primary complaint, although I'm personally familiar with Chinese factories cheating at products made for American knife companies in the past and the need for visits to them to help keep everything running smoothly.

The most serious criticism is what Chinese companies produce and sell themselves here. Some of them, those mentioned in this thread, rip off American designs or outright counterfeit the products (right down to labeling and packaging) and they produce inferior quality so they can make the most profit from unwary or uncaring buyers. I've handled counterfeit Microtechs and Spydercos just this week and Cold Steel and Buck and Strider in the past and you can find examples yourself on the internet. I've handled Chinese ripoffs ranging in quality from tolerable to terrible. I've also handled knives from Chinese manufacturers who went to the trouble to change enough to avoid any legal challenge on design even if they'd been produced in the U.S. Those also ranged from good to terrible. Overall Chinese knife factories can produce any knife they want at any quality level they desire, but that's part of the problem because they will produce and sell ANY knife whether it is theirs or not at any quality level and our members won't know the difference unless they read reviews and evaluations of specific items.

Sam Cade
October 25, 2013, 04:17 PM
While running errands today I stopped by a local machine shop and had them poke the Enlan EL-01A and got a hardness of 58. Right where it should be.
Probably.

hso
October 25, 2013, 04:56 PM
Impressive

Sam Cade
October 25, 2013, 05:04 PM
Impressive

I'd be more impressed if I did 10 knives from 10 different runs and they all came back within a couple points of each other. I'm not going to make any broad statements on quality based on a sample size of one.


I will say that the single poly washer suxxxors. It is starting to break down (2,200 flicks, roughly) and the large bearing surface keeps the action from being smooth as.... the $25, dual PB, Nipponese AUS-8, Chinese built OKC-Rat-1, ferinstance.

hso
October 25, 2013, 08:21 PM
if I did 10 knives from 10 different runs and they all came back within a couple points of each other

Yep, but at least they got the heat treat right on this one random sample and given the nature of modern heat treat lines it isn't unreasonable to expect they got this entire lot right. Other lots? That would get to be expensive finding out.

Kayaker 1960
October 25, 2013, 09:37 PM
Buy American made products, keep a fellow American working. Buy a Chinese product and you put your neighbor out of work. If I have to pay more for a USA made product I will do so gladly.

TimboKhan
October 25, 2013, 10:59 PM
Buy American made products, keep a fellow American working. Buy a Chinese product and you put your neighbor out of work

Nice sentiment, but that isn't quite how that works in a global economy such as we have now.

I am not saying don't buy American , but I am saying that jobs are created all along the pipeline with foreign products. The knife sellers, the importers, the trucks that deliver them, etc. Like it or not, we live in a global economy and Americans are making money off foreign products in all phases except for the actual production side of things.

If I really need a reason to say "don't buy Chinese", it is what Hso said about the illegal copying of designs. Legitimate Chinese products don't cause me much heartache, but I wouldn't spend a dime on a stolen design. Fact is, I have some good Chinese knives, including a couple of Chinese Spydercos that I think are fantastic.

ugaarguy
October 26, 2013, 12:12 AM
Timbo, you make good points. I'd also like to point out that Spyderco got their start having their designs made to their specs in Japan. That produced to spec in Japan start allowed them to build their own plant in Colorado for some of their production.

Also, most (if not all) of the Chinese made knives from all brands use Chinese made blade steel. However, there are US made Benchmade knives with German blade steel, US made Kershaws with Swedish blade steel, Italian made LionSteel knives with German blade steels, and Taiwanese made Spydercos with American steel - just as a few examples. We truly do live in a global economy.

Sam Cade
October 26, 2013, 12:19 AM
Hmmmm... Should we differentiate between ROC-Chinese and PRC-Chinese?

9mmepiphany
October 26, 2013, 12:42 AM
Taiwan makes good blades?

I don't think we need to confuse internationally recognized China with the island/nation of Taiwan

ugaarguy
October 26, 2013, 12:48 AM
Taiwan makes good blades?
The Spyderco Chaparral is made in Taiwan, and it's one of the best production knives I own. It's every bit as good as my Japan made Spydercos, and better than my sample size of one US made Spyderco. That's just one example, but, yes, Taiwan made knives are as good as anything else at their respective price points.

Hmmmm... Should we differentiate between ROC-Chinese and PRC-Chinese?
Well, they are two different countries.

hso
October 26, 2013, 12:56 AM
The progression offshore of knifemaking has been to Japan, then ROC, and now PRC.

30 years ago Japan produced the quality offshore made knives and Taiwan was the source of cheap knives just a bit better than Pakistan. As Taiwan caught up with Japan for quality production they became a primary knife manufacturing country. Once the PRC opened up they were the junk knife maker for many years. Now they are supplanting the other countries in economical knife production. To further muddy the water, Japanese factories are subbing some work out to the PRC as are, I think, the ROC companies. So, even though you may have a knife made in a Japanese shop for Spyderco or Cold Steel or Kershaw, that knife may have components from the PRC or may have been assembled and shipped back to Japan.

Sam Cade
October 26, 2013, 01:22 AM
Well, they are two different countries.

Depends on who you ask.
:neener:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Xi_Jinping_Sanya2013.jpg



The Spyderco Chaparral is made in Taiwan, and it's one of the best production knives I own.

The Taiwanese OKC folders are very impressive as well.

9mmepiphany
October 26, 2013, 01:31 AM
Depends on who you ask.
:neener:
Interestingly both the ROC and the PRC will tell you that there is only one China... so there :p

Snowdog
October 26, 2013, 01:44 PM
I have noticed that my El-01 isn't any easier to open than it was when I first got it. I have to give the blade a little snap of the wrist to open. With my 910 Stryker, it's all in the thumb and no movement of the wrist.

Another issue is closing. The blade locks open tight... I mean tight. The liner lock doesn't want to move without considerable pressure.

It's still usable with one hand and I'm guessing it will ease up with use, but it's not as user friendly as the Benchmade I'm used to.

On the flip side, it's solid all the way around, open and closed. And this issue is only with the original Khaki Enlan EL-01 I bought and not with the others. That's a bit strange. I'm beginning to suspect some grit from the Lansky sharpener I originally used got into the washers.

I still feel this is a heck of a value for the money. I'd still purchase them all over again knowing what I know now.

Ol' Badger
October 26, 2013, 01:48 PM
I don't buy Chinese made items if I can help it. Most of the money goes to the PLA and we will just end up fighting them at some-point in the future. I'd hate to think my money paid to kill someone's boy in the services.

But thats just me...

Sam Cade
October 26, 2013, 01:57 PM
The liner lock doesn't want to move without considerable pressure.


On the example I have the liner lock is exceptionally stiff as well and feels exactly the same after a couple thousand flicks.

Sam Cade
October 26, 2013, 03:19 PM
Took the Enlan EL-01A out to the shop of horrors for a workout.


The knife is unused except for flushing the grivory scales on a couple Beckers and cutting up a couple pounds of potatoes.

This is our factory edge. It is fairly rough with a bit of rolling from steeling on the Becker tangs as the scales were trimmed.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190430&stc=1&d=1382814224

I jumped right into serious blade testing, by hammering the edge through some heavy electrical wiring.
I made 20 cuts through the cable.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190433&stc=1&d=1382814676

Not terrible, but the edge is fairly thick and did not slice well. (edit-on the taters)
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190434&stc=1&d=1382814939

Lockup remains tight after all the pounding, zero play.

Next I did some tear outs on pine.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190435&stc=1&d=1382815135

Sam Cade
October 26, 2013, 03:38 PM
First tear out, roughly 1cm driven into 2x4.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190440&stc=1&d=1382816299

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190436&stc=1&d=1382815534

...and immediate failure.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190438&stc=1&d=1382815652

Keep in mind the blade is a full 1/8" thick. Soo.... Yeah. :uhoh:

Tear out #3 breaks the tip off cleanly.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190439&stc=1&d=1382816208


Grain looks to be homogenous.

Deltaboy
October 26, 2013, 10:01 PM
Thanks..

TimboKhan
October 26, 2013, 11:13 PM
I'd hate to think my money paid to kill someone's boy in the services.


Well, again, not quite how that works. My guess (and it is just a guess) is that you will pay more money in sales tax domestically than you will towards funding the PRC. And, consider that profit is being made every time that knife changes hands right up until it gets to the consumer. The Chinese get profit once, we get profit off the same product 4 or 5 times. Look, this is why manufacturers do stuff off shore to begin with. Trust me dude, American profits are being made on the back of foreign products.

In a weird way, sure, I guess that some minor percentage of your money ultimately goes to PRC military strength. Considerably more money is being generated domestically as that knfie moves down the consumer chain. Maybe your knife purchase buys them one bullet, but it buys us five. (obviously not a real statistic, but instead a simplification made to illustrate the point)

Snowdog
October 27, 2013, 05:47 AM
So, I guess I won't be using my Enlan El-01A knives for prying. :uhoh:

However, I did change the angle of grind on my first EL-01A and got the darn thing pretty sharp. I also reduced a lot of the friction of opening by applying TW-25 around the washers. Still requires a flick of the wrist, but not nearly as much. As the grease collects lint and grit, this might prove to be be a short-lived victory.

Thanks for that review, Sam Cade!

hso
October 27, 2013, 09:54 AM
Sam,

Can you get a macro of the broken tip so we can see the grain size better?

Are you going to grind it back to see how it holds up with further abuse?

Will you be resharpening it and working over some rope?

Sam Cade
October 27, 2013, 01:13 PM
Sam,

Can you get a macro of the broken tip so we can see the grain size better?


I did...but it isn't useable since I didn't check it. Whoops. :o

It was fairly fine.





Are you going to grind it back to see how it holds up with further abuse?

Will you be resharpening it and working over some rope?

I've reground it and I'm thinking about additional protocols.

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 01:29 PM
Are there other production folders that can survive the tear out test on a 2x4? I don't have the guts to conduct the test on my $100+ knives, and I have a feeling most of my folders would end up with broken tips.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 01:40 PM
Preliminary tests on a taped off 1" section of blade look like roughly 80% edge retention on corrugated paper vs. similarly ground and sharpened AUS8 on an elderly Spyderco delica.
That is based on linear distance cut before the edge (presented at an angle) would no longer cut cleanly.

You will have to excuse my nasty grind line but my shop was freeeezing cold and the heater wouldn't burn. :o

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190550&stc=1&d=1382981734

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 01:44 PM
Are there other production folders that can survive the tear out test on a 2x4?

Sure.

Considering the thickness of the tip (a full 1/8") , the shallow amount of penetration and the medium hardness of the steel I was surprised at the failure.

Yo Mama
October 28, 2013, 03:02 PM
And, consider that profit is being made every time that knife changes hands right up until it gets to the consumer. The Chinese get profit once, we get profit off the same product 4 or 5 times. Look, this is why manufacturers do stuff off shore to begin with. Trust me dude, American profits are being made on the back of foreign products.


Yes you're correct, but profit for a company with foreign labor vs. profit for a company and it's ability to hire American workers are very different.

Sure.

Considering the thickness of the tip (a full 1/8") , the shallow amount of penetration and the medium hardness of the steel I was surprised at the failure.

Sam, can you recap the folders you've tested that lived? :)

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 04:20 PM
Sam, can you recap the folders you've tested that lived? :)

1cm tear outs on pine?


Hmmmm...
Several Emersons, one of the old Buck/Strider colabs, A BG-42 (in 440C) to prove a point :D, the big REKAT folder-(what was this thing called? The Sifu?),S30V Boa, a couple ZTs.

I don't do much in the way of destructive tests.

zhyla
October 28, 2013, 05:41 PM
For the less knowledgeable of us... what's the significance of the "pine tearout" failure? I don't do that with my knives because ummm... well for one thing 2x4's don't come in pine here :). Does this indicate poor metallurgy, heat treat, blade geometry?

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 06:12 PM
For the less knowledgeable of us... what's the significance of the "pine tearout" failure?

It is just a rough indicator of tip strength. While it is never a good idea to stab or pry, sometimes life circumstances do demand it.

If a folder blade won't lose its tip under the abuse (and it is abuse) of a tear out it should be tough enough for any reasonable work use without fear of failure.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 06:15 PM
Does this indicate poor metallurgy, heat treat, blade geometry?

I honestly don't know in this case.




I'm going to go and try to dig the tip out and see if we can get a look at the grain.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 07:11 PM
Ok, Macros.

Hmmm....
:scrutiny:


http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190558&stc=1&d=1383001825


OK....that doesn't look so good.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190559&stc=1&d=1383001825

hso
October 28, 2013, 07:43 PM
Those are freaking HUGE and they aren't even even! That's a bad heat treat.

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 07:47 PM
I don't know the significance of the bad heat treatment. What does this translate to in terms of the knife's weaknesses?

blarby
October 28, 2013, 07:51 PM
Those are freaking HUGE and they aren't even even! That's a bad heat treat.

This is why i'd be willing to pay more for a blade made by Sam :D He'd get it right. Nice review !

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 07:54 PM
What is freaking me out is that the other side of the fracture was much finer grained and homogenous.

What the heck man?

That has to be a materials issue right? Surely they couldn't have zone-goofed the heat treat this badly and not pretzel it. For that matter, I don't know how it would even be possible to zone-goof a batch treated blade.

I'll armor up tomorrow and snap it in a couple places and see what happens.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 07:57 PM
He'd get it right.


I'd send it off for heat treat by someone with a proven track record of success.


I'm still learning. I'm stalled out at the ugly but functional stage. :p

Sam Owens OTOH, that feller got skill. :cool:

RussellC
October 28, 2013, 07:57 PM
Yes, you are right. I was in my gun shop the other day, who carries Benchmade. They had returned an Infidel (not purchased there) for a customer, and they got a call back from Benchmade that it was a fake!

Russellc

hso
October 28, 2013, 08:10 PM
That has to be a materials issue right?

Not always. It could indicate heat treating system that doesn't cool blades evenly. It could indicate poor handling where the blades are in contact with other materials. It could be poor quality materials and poor heat treat.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 08:13 PM
What does this translate to in terms of the knife's weaknesses?

Well, it layman terms, its crap.


Ok...back to the shop or I won't be able to sleep tonight. :evil:

hso
October 28, 2013, 08:16 PM
When you get through putting it through the paces clamp it in a vice and snap the blade about an inch back from the new tip. I'd be very interested if the same uneven grain size manifests side to side.

Got a handy geo or materials college nearby?

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 08:23 PM
clamp it in a vice and snap the blade about an inch back from the new tip. I'd be very interested if the same uneven grain size manifests side to side.
?

I'm standing in my shop, tablet in hand, cigar clamped firmly in teeth, leathered up and hunting for a cheater-bar.

:evil:

hso
October 28, 2013, 08:55 PM
No, no, no.

Clamp the thing with the tip sticking out of the vice and whack it with a sledge to snap it off.

Wear a face shield for heaven's sake!

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 08:58 PM
..as it turns out I didn't need a sledge. I armored up, draped a couple towels over the vise and tapped it with a carpenters hammer.

It shattered like glass. Repeatedly.

Pics in a couple min.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 09:07 PM
Dig it.

Is this indicative of a hardness differential between surface and core or unrelieved stresses?

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190563&stc=1&d=1383008508

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190564&stc=1&d=1383008508

When I tapped it near the pivot it just exploded.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190566&stc=1&d=1383008775

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190565&stc=1&d=1383008775

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 09:09 PM
Now I feel like a sucker for ordering one.

So what should I do with it when it arrives? Maybe I'll use it in the garden to dig up weeds.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 09:15 PM
I'm not sure I'd use it for anything the way that little sliver was poking through my covers. :uhoh:

When it came apart it popped like a firecracker. :eek:

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 09:17 PM
Good advice. Straight to the garbage can.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 09:20 PM
Good advice. Straight to the garbage can.
Is it an EL-01A?

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 09:22 PM
I ordered an Enlan EL-01A and an Enlan EM-01.

hso
October 28, 2013, 09:30 PM
Pack them up and I'll see what my old lab can make of them (assuming they want to play with them).

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 09:32 PM
If you are going to junk them, pull out the blades and send them to hso or myself for destruction and analysis.
I think we are calling in the eggheads on this one.

--Ninjaed by hso

readyeddy
October 28, 2013, 09:35 PM
Send me a mailing address and I'll mail them when they arrive. They said 3 weeks for delivery so there's maybe 2 more weeks until I get them.

hso
October 28, 2013, 09:46 PM
I'll probably buy a random one so that we have a broader range to see if the guys are willing to run some metallography on them. If nothing else they should be willing to shoot some good magnification images of the fracture faces and if they're feeling frisky they might slice the face and polish it to get some flat grain sizing.

Looking at Sam's pics blown up is interesting.

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 09:51 PM
Any theories Mike?

hso
October 28, 2013, 09:58 PM
Sam,

This is what large grain size looks like when a 1095 blade breaks from not being properly tempered. See how even and regular they look? The grain in that thing of yours is enormous by comparison.
http://bladesmithsforum.com/uploads/monthly_04_2013/xpost-34036-0-29326900-1366140158.jpg.pagespeed.ic.YHgJ7xi58r.jpg

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 10:13 PM
See how even and regular they look? The grain in that thing of yours is enormous by comparison.

Harumph. :scrutiny:

Surely this thing didn't go directly from quench to final grind? :eek:

If so....scary.




In any case there is something badwrong going on here. :what:
Look at that ripple :uhoh:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190568&stc=1&d=1383012739

hso
October 28, 2013, 10:21 PM
That's just weird!

I'm gonna ask a couple of the bladesmiths to take a look at that!

Sam Cade
October 28, 2013, 10:37 PM
That's just weird!

It looks like a tiny Shai-Hulud breaching the surface.


#megadork

hso
October 28, 2013, 11:20 PM
Looks like ductile failure, but the material broke too easily instead of bending.

DT Guy
October 29, 2013, 06:33 PM
That's the thing about knives...the single most important aspect of their performance is completely hidden within the blade's construction. Of all the things I'm willing to cheap out on, knives just aren't one.

As dad said, 'When do you use a cheap knife? When you're wearing your cheap fingers.' :)

Larry

readyeddy
October 29, 2013, 10:48 PM
I received my 2 knives today. If you guys want them for testing, send me a mailing address.

Also, thanks for all of your testing and reporting. You saved me from possible disaster that could have resulted from using substandard knives.

hso
October 30, 2013, 12:29 AM
Both of yours might be just fine. Inconsistencies in materials and heat treat may be at play here.

readyeddy
October 30, 2013, 01:11 AM
I gave both knives a quick test. Did a few tear outs on a 2x4 for each. Nothing major, just some 1/4 inch stabs. No failures.

Then I placed the blades flat on the 2x4 and gave each some taps from the hammer of my trail hawk. I didn't want to hit it too hard in fear of having shards of steel fly in my face, so I tapped the blade, steel-on-steel, about hard enough to shatter a beer bottle. Gave the blades about 6 taps each the length of the blade. No failures.

hso
October 30, 2013, 07:20 AM
Good tests.

Find a brass rod and place the cutting edge at an angle and see if the cutting edge flexes a little and returns to shape or chips.

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