For a long time I've been listening to the keyboard experts who say 440A steel is terrible. I would look at the Boker Magnum line and say to myself, self, those are pretty good looking knives but you know that steel is going to be poor. You remember the Gerber Money Clip thing? It's going to be like a lawnmower blade and probably won't even work right out of the box. So one day I even e-mailed Boker and I said look, you've got these good looking knives in the Magnum line but is there really a segment of the market who just WON'T step up to a 30 or 40 dollar knife? I mean if the steel is as bad as they say and does match some of my experiences with cheap knives, who really wants this crap? Many times you can spend another 10 bucks and get a huge leap in quality. I have had a very positive experience with the Boker Plus line and would be all over some of these knives if they were moved up to the Plus line. They never replied.
To solidify my suspicions that we are dealing with failure disguised as a folding knife they come in these nifty little tins. Boker is thinking, this just ices the cake for some people - they are going to be wowed by that tin. Shorty thereafter they will be wondering why the tin cost 22 bones because the knife isn't worth a nickel. Me on the other hand, I see the fancy packaging as a red flag. It means the knife is so worthless that even at $22 they can afford to include something other than the knife that actually has some value. They had to wrap it in something useful so that it would get to the $22 price tag because before the tin, they were making money on a Hamilton. And so, I avoided Magnum by Boker and tried to put them out of my mind.
|Not razor sharp out of the box, but it cut. What's interesting is that it was obviously polished. The finish along the edge was polished away and I even found a bit of white compound. Seems like a waste of time when the knife still isn't sharp.|
So I got the Boker Magnum Slicer. It's a stupid name like most of their other knives. But the point here is to get past the perceptions and find out if it is worth buying. Let's face it, it's a good looking knife. It is good looking because the silhouette is 100% ZT 0777. That knife is a US made and designed slicer that won best knife of the year or some other award that sounds important and certainly alludes to something awesome. Do I think it is a ripoff? Nah. Different lock mechanism, watered down design, obviously different materials. Not to mention that Microtech, another US company, felt it was perfectly legit to copy the 0777 almost exactly in every single aspect, and then charge even MORE money for it. Anyway, a rose by any other name still smells like old ladies.
|Lock up is solid and where it should be.|
But everyone knows that more or less. You could have guessed it. The question is; is the steel terrible? Well let's get the qualifiers out of the way. This is just one example of the model, and one example from a very large line of blades that as I stated above, carry a daunting red flag count. However, I think the point I would like to raise is, we are beyond the industrial revolution. No doubt there is some fluctuation in quality control where these things are produced but at the end of the day I picture it being pretty well formulated. They know what they want to achieve with heat treating, it's done in batches, probably in a massive automated process, and they only made a gajillion of them this week. For them, the steel is a known quantity and consistency can't be all that difficult. And with that said, the blade performed well beyond my expectations. Let's get into details.
Now, get to the good stuff. You're telling me you wanted to test the steel so let's see it already. Damn! I pointed out earlier that the blade was kinda sharp - nothing amazing. So I went and cut up a bunch of cardboard to see how things would go. I did nothing to the edge. My picture does not do justice to the cutting I did or the size of that pile and what's under it. I probably made 100 cuts in some tag board type stuff and straight up cardboard. I got lots of smears allover the blade but it cut like a champ. It really is a nice slicer. It's not bar setting, but the blade shape and hollow grind want to slice.
Wrong, I sharpened it with ease using my highly sophisticated equipment; some cheap two sided stone that isn't even flat and a tiny Lansky (I think) Arkansas stone. For fun I stropped it with an untreated, high-end leather strop, or in other words, an old worn out belt someone gave me. It will shave hair off a gnat's ass. The only way it could get any sharper is to correct the edge geometry then properly polish it. And check the blade coating in the next images after sharpening and cleaning. Not bad.
Soooooo? I'll be honest, I expected to roll the edge in the wood or chip it. I expected that at the very least it would lose a fair amount of edge after just this amount of cutting. I thought I was going to take my pile of cardboard and defeat this knife in a fairly short amount of time. I was cutting and ripping through cardboard fast enough that the blade was warm. When I got this far I asked myself, why should it be able to do more than this? I had lost zero cutting ability and completed far more cutting than I would for any reason in a typical day. If fit and finish is going to bug you, then the Magnum line probably isn't for you. I would expect issues in that regard throughout. But the steel, it is perfectly good. I am confident that I could skin a deer with this knife, or perform any other pocket knife task, without resharpening . The pocket clip sucks, thems just the facts. But, I have concluded that it is worthy of my standards for value and so the plan is to rip it all apart, replace pretty much everything and have a good time doing it. That will come in a future update. Thanks for reading.