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Gear Watch: Early March 2014

Editor's Note: This post was written by Anthony Sculimbrene in March 2014.

Bernard Capulong

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Gear Watch: Early March 2014

In this edition of Gear Watch we have two new arrivals, both of which are awesome in their own right.
Solar Eklipse -
There is a lot of new gear floating around out there after SHOT, but it is a very rare event when a master, at the top of his game, releases something new.  It didn’t happen at SHOT, but just after. 

Read on if you are interested in a brand new Hinderer flipper.  If your not, well, I am not sure how you found this website by accident.

In January of 2014 Rick debuted a new knife at the Tactical Knife Invitational.  It is a titanium framelock flipper (he can go back to that well—he dug it in the first place) with a 3.5 inch blade.  The initial offering was a very small batch of all titanium knives handmade for the TKI.  The world learned of the knife when it was released on Rick’s site on February 3.  Its called the Eklipse.   Here is a good video overview from Monkey Edge, a ultra premium knife dealer:

The knives released at the TKI were handmade prototypes and one or two have leaked onto the secondary market and commanded HUGE prices.  The knife itself is something like the XM series, but they are differences.  First the handle has less of an organic shape.  Specifically the butt end of the knife is truncated while the XM series had a rounded end.  Second, and perhaps most importantly, the blade does not have the wide finger choil/ricasso the XM series does.  Lots of folks criticized the XM series for this feature as it wasn’t QUITE big enough to be a real finger choil but was too big to be a ricasso that allowed you to sharpen the knife all the way to the edge.  Of all the criticism out there of the XM this is probably the most legitimate, and with the Eklipse, Hinderer took the feedback and made changes. 

Given the huge number of counterfeit XM series knives out there I also would have to believe that this new model will have features that make it more challenging to machine so as to stymie counterfeiters.  This is a common reason knife makers change models.  The original AG Russell Sting boot knife became a huge collectible and as is often the case, that brought on a wave of fakes.  With the Eklipse, I am sure Hinderer is trying to do something similar. 

The prototypes were titanium on both the lock and show side, but I would imagine that the production models will have the standard G10 swappable handle scales, if for no other reason than the opportunity to sell accessories.  The blades appear to be Spanto-ish, but with a small harpoon on the top.  I would imagine that the production models will come in a wide variety of blade shapes.  Finally, don’t worry if you love the XM series, Hinderer indicated that he’d continue to be make his uber popular folder.  Now it just happens to have an upscale brother. 

Ruby Anniversary

One piece of news that was slow to leak out of SHOT Show was Kershaw’s gem—the Ruby.  As 2014 is the 40th anniversary of Kershaw knives they decided to release a very limited edition, high end blade to commemorate the event and that knife is the Ruby.  A friend over at KAI (thanks, Thomas) sent some press shots so take a look:




The Ruby joins a very small club of ultra premium Kershaw knives.  Typically the premium stuff is reserved for the Zero Tolerance line, but every once in a while we get an amazing, high end, blank check blade from Kershaw itself.  The lineage is impressive.  First there was the Blade Show darling, the Speeform with its Scandinavian or Japanese clean angular lines.  Then there was the RJ Martin Volt.  Then came one of my grail knives, one so beloved that it has a fansite—the Tilt.  To this day the Tilt has features and design elements that have not been surpassed.  The handle are skeletonized, no big deal, but the skeleton holes spell out “TILT”.  That’s a pretty cool touch.  The knife is a framelock, but the overtravel is incredibly clever—the lock bar is cut at an angle so it runs into the handle before it passes out of alignment.  Then there was the bearing system in the Tilt—the first on a Kershaw blade.  All of these super premium Kershaws are grail knives, hunted by collectors like big game.  And the Ruby clearly fits in that group.

The knife itself is pretty special.  First, it is a flipper with the Tilt bearing system, called KVT.  Second the blade steel is one of my favorite steels—ZDP-189.  There is also a large and beautiful pivot.  Finally, the handles have been double sanded, leaving a beautiful and clean two tone effect.  The overall lines are sleek, with a downward curved handle, producing an almost scimitar-like negative angle for the blade to meet material.  There has been no mention of how many will be made or when they will be released, but I would imagine the numbers will tiny. 

It bears mentioning that these blank check blades from KAI USA have all be challenges to make and some are released in painfully small numbers.  The ZT0777 was announced, delayed, delayed again and then canceled without a few making it into the wild.  Similarly the the ZT0888 was delayed quite a bit.  The Tilt was similarly difficult to make again resulting in very small numbers.  We are still awaiting last year’s Blade Show winner, the ZT0454 and the Martin ZT0600 came and went in a blink of an eye.  All of this is a way of saying that I don’t expect the market to be flooded with Rubies and even if they do make it out to the public it may not be in the numbers Kershaw intended to produce originally.   If you want one you may have to throw caution, and money, to the wind and just bite on anything you can find. 

#gear-watch #kershaw #shot-show #zero-tolerance #ruby #hinderer-eklipse-review #fake-kershaw-ruby see all

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