In the last few days, I’ve had more requests than usual from customers to rate the ‘pull’ of several knives. Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we usually refer to the ‘pull’ as the effort to open the blade on a folding knife. Then we’ll ascribe a number to quantify that ‘pull’.
We’ve all done it. Every now and then someone will come up with a mechanical measuring device to achieve greater consistency in their measurements. In all honesty, measuring the pull is more of an art then a science…in my opinion. It’s most accurately done with a bit of personal interpretation rather then ascribing to a hard and fast axiom. Usually we’ll issue a pull rating by starting our statement as follows. “In my Opinion….”
I understand most of us don’t expect to get an answer that’s perfect. If we’re told the pull is an ‘8’ on a scale of 1 to 10 that’s still just a number, not an absolute value.
Where it all gets kind of muddy is when I (personally) try to give a value and apply it across the board for all consumers. My personal scale of 1-10 goes from the Fallkniven Gentleman’s Pocket Knife which I’d rank as a 1 to the GEC #23 which I’d classify as a 10. The Fallkniven gets a 1 as I can adjust the pivot tension to allow opening with a flick of the wrist. The GEC #23’s, at a 10, resulted in more broken thumbnails for me then I’d like to recount. Everything else falls somewhere in between.
I recall being at a show a year or two after the 23’s came out and was showing the knife to a potential customer. I was bemoaning the incredibly stiff springs rating it as a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. Meanwhile, he was opening and closing the blade like it was no big deal. He liked the stiffness and claimed he had seen much worse. Hunhhh???? When that knife was released I went through a pint of Super Glue repairing my thumbnail opening the knives for photos!
Conversely, when the 65 Ben Hogans arrived, I felt the pull was relatively modest for a knife that size and at the same time heard some complaints about the heavy pull. Hand a Ben Hogan to three different consumers and each will probably have a different take on the pull. It comes down to the fact I find it incredibly difficult to offer a subjective opinion on the matter.
While I understand the desire to know how hard a knife is to open, I find I’m more interested in the function. Does it meet my needs (assuming I can open the blade without tools). Is it safe, comfortable to use and carry. As much as I dislike the pull on the GEC 23, if I still hunted deer and the 23 had a D2, SV or CPM series blade, I’d carry one in a heartbeat.
Folks want to know how hard a knife is to open. I get it. Don’t blame them. But just because someone claims the pull on a knife is a 2 or a 10, the only way you really know if it’ll work for you is to try it. Believe me, I’ve gladly accepted returns because the pull was to light or too heavy. Like I said, I get it. One size doesn’t fit all.