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Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design

Posted by Bugout Bill 
Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 09:15AM


Introduction

For a long time, I have been rather enamored with Emerson's folding knives, but I was always rather put off by the price. Predictably, I was thrilled when Kershaw introduced their line of folders designed by him. While I wasn't particularly interested in many of the knives, the CQC-8K model struck me as the closest thing to Emerson's hallmark design, the CQC-7. For the $25-$30 this knife costs, I am pleased to say that it is an excellent knife for trying out his designs or just getting the idea of the wave out of your system. Even as a practical work knife, it really isn't too bad.

Some Specs:

Overall Length:8.10"
Blade Length:3.50"
Blade Thickness:0.12"
Weight:5.40 oz.

(Shamelessly stolen from BladeHQ)

The knife features a sabre/chisel grind, with the sabre side appearing on the presentation side of the knife. The steel is officially quoted as 8CR13, though I have seen it labeled as 8CR14MOV

Ergonomics:

For $25, this is really a solid knife ergonomics wise. It has a big and nicely rounded handle with a fairly grippy texture. In general, the knife is comfortable in all grips, ranging from reverse to sabre grip, though the pocket clip can become something of a hot spot with bare hands. In a filipino grip, the knife is quite comfortable as well. Even in a pinch grip, it is a fairly comfy knife to use.

General Fit and Finish:

Due to the price of this knife, I was not surprised by the condition of the knife out of the box. Initial sharpness was quite low, being unable to cut copy paper cleanly on a slice. The tanto blade also had a slight recurve out of the box. Additionally, the hardware quality is fairly low. When switching the pocket clip, one of the screws and a screw hole readily stripped out.

Pedestrian Use:

With the edge reprofiled on a Norton Coarse Economy, the knife was then carried intermittently for daily use. On packaging, the CQC-8K had no real issues provided that the edge was sharp. On heavy materials like plastic or cardboard, however, the obtuse grind and chisel grind has a tendency to bind and pull, making detailed cuts difficult. On foods, the chisel grind had the nice feature of kicking food off to the side when slicing, making slicing cucumbers or onions relatively easy. Again, the obtuse blade grind is something of a detriment for this work, however.

Hard Use the finger smiley:

While this knife is ostensibly marketed as a heavy tactical folder, it's performance at this sort of work is a rather mixed bag. Due to the heavy grind and thick stock, there are no durability concerns with using the blade for prying or probing work. When removing weeds, the tanto tip easily penetrates soil and can be used to quickly cut roots underground. Even when essentially dull, the acute nature of the chisel grind allows the knife to readily cut weeds, albeit requiring them to be under fairly heavy tension. The steel performed as expected, dulling by blunting and light impaction. As this is a steel with a cheap ht, I am not surprised that it chipped to the degree that it did, no am I surprised that a portion of the tip snapped off.

Although the blade was solid under this use, the rest of the knife is another story. Under lateral and torquing loads, the thin liner lock really didn't deal with it well. under heavy loads, the lock would release. Additionally, the pivot loosened fairly quickly, generating significant side to side play, though this could be quickly tightened out. I was pleased, however, that the lock did not jam under loads, nor did it jam when exposed to mud. If this knife were to be used like this consistently, thread lockers like loctite are a must.

Sharpening:

It is an 8CR class steel and sharpens like you would expect an 8CR class steel would. Grinds fast, and responds well to cheap abrasives, though care must be taken to deburr and avoid the generation of a secondary bevel on the non-ground portion. I found the Norton India Fine to be sufficient for removing most damage, before then polishing with the 1K king. Deburring was then done with about 5 trailing passes with the knife flat on the unground side of the knife. After 5 alternating passes on denim, the knife had sufficient sharpness for most utility tasks.

Conclusions:

Not a bad knife for the money. If you want to get all the Emerson-ness out of your system, this is probably the most cost efficient way to do it. It is comfy, the wave feature works well (you can slay terrorists and open your beer with it), and the knife is generally rugged enough to handle fairly heavy work. Despite the apparent ruggedness, however, the lock needs to be treated like a CRKT M16.

P.S.

The skull on the pocket clip is moronic.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2015 09:18AM by Bugout Bill.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 09:50AM
Bill, have you talked to Emerson about the lock release?
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 09:54AM
Cliff: These are Kershaw produced, so it is handled by their warranty. I believe the lock release was directly due to the fact that the pivot had loosened. I wasn't able to recreate it with the pivot tightened.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 10:37AM
Bill, yes I was not speaking of warranty just of design issues. For example if Kyley had Spyderco produce one of his designs and it had problems then Kyley would likely want to know about it.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 10:42AM
Cliff: Ah. I might need to contact them then. Of course, it would depend on whether or not Emerson intends his knives to survive lateral loads and prying without issue.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 05:28PM
Interesting commentary on the usefulness of the tanto point. My brother prefers them for much the same reason, along with the American ninja factor. How does it compare to a Spyderco Tenacious for example- same price class, steel, etc.....
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 01, 2015 05:51PM
Chad: No comparison, the Tenacious is a bit more ergonomic, not to mention that the blade offers higher cutting ability if the edge is thinned out a bit. Additionally, the Tenacious seems like a better made knife; heavier liner, higher quality hardware. However, the CQC has considerably more swagger than the Tenacious. That's about it.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 02, 2015 02:30PM
I emailed EKI about this knife:

Quote
Bugout Bill
Dear Emerson Knives,

I recently purchased an Kershaw CQC-8K, and I must say that I was happy enough with all of the features that I decided to order an Emerson Horseman. Over the period that I used the CQC-8K, I was rather disconcerted by the thinness of the liner lock, as well as the tendency for the pivot to loosen and the lock to release under lateral loads. I was wondering if this sort of behavior is to be expected in a genuine Emerson, indeed whether or not they are intended to handle this sort work.

Here is a link to a forum post that I did on the knife:
[www.cliffstamp.com]

Thank you very much for your time and for putting up with this rambling Email.

Sincerely,

(REDACTED)

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 03, 2015 09:57PM
Maybe there should be a test of folding knives or a statistic for how loose the pivot can be before the lock fails under use. It does make sense, since the lock geometry can change with blade wiggle plus load.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 05, 2015 05:24AM
Quote
jasonstone20
Maybe there should be a test of folding knives or a statistic for how loose the pivot can be before the lock fails under use. It does make sense, since the lock geometry can change with blade wiggle plus load.

If your tolerances are tight enough it will not make a difference in the lockup. My Sebenza as an excample can have the male pivot screw out and it will not affect lockup.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 05, 2015 07:14AM
Marthinus: I agreed my umnumzaan was the same way.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 05, 2015 05:52PM
No response from Emerson I take it?
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 05, 2015 06:07PM
Chad: Nada.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 14, 2015 12:10PM
Ok, any other examples besides CRK extreme tolerances models?
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 17, 2015 12:55AM
Quote
jasonstone20
Ok, any other examples besides CRK extreme tolerances models?

Quite a few handmade products that I have seen, but I think what we are getting at is at a certain price point, there wont be an issue.

For a $25-$30 knife you are not paying for the amount of time in hand/surface-grinding/tuning/fitting a blade to match the lock/cleaning of pivot holes/filing of screws so there is no gap or misalignment/lathe work/making sure there is no lock play or lock movement so there is going to be some issues that can creap in.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/17/2015 12:57AM by marthinus.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 17, 2015 12:05PM
This is exactly what I was trying to get at. About when does the issue arise? Also, with different lock type's, the stability of the pivot is crucial, for instance Cliff's Benchmade 710, for instance.
If in some knives and lock types, it's not an issue at all, but when it is an issue, how loose does the pivot need to be before the lock is compromised?
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 18, 2015 04:37AM
Quote
jasonstone20
This is exactly what I was trying to get at. About when does the issue arise? Also, with different lock type's, the stability of the pivot is crucial, for instance Cliff's Benchmade 710, for instance.
If in some knives and lock types, it's not an issue at all, but when it is an issue, how loose does the pivot need to be before the lock is compromised?

That is difficult to answer as it can depend from knife to knife.

My Benchmade Bone Collector and 550HG Griptilian do not have the same issues as Cliff's 710 with the male pivot removed.

On a backlock there could be an issue with the back screws causing problems rather than the pivot.

On my Manix I had the front screw above the pivot come lose and it caused some od allignment of the bearing lock.

I had some lock issues with my personal framelock one time after cleaning. It would lock up well, then not at all, slip and blade wobble at a certain angle. Turned out I replaced one of the IKBS balls with a ever so slightly larger one that caused some issues. The difference was 2.38mm rather than 2mm.

In short, there is no one set of rules to answer your question in my opinion. It depends on a lot of attributes including the designed lock.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 18, 2015 07:00AM
I was thinking that it could just be something to try when evaluating a knife.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
August 19, 2015 12:24AM
Quote
jasonstone20
I was thinking that it could just be something to try when evaluating a knife.

Never really thought of that but good point.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
March 25, 2016 03:39PM
Bought the CQC 6K on a whim due to the low price. Without a doubt the dullest factory edge I have ever received. A slight hollow grind behind the edge. It came at a very reasonable 15dps but would not even slice printer paper without tearing and snagging even though the edge was not reflecting light. On the plus side the handle is decent in normal and reverse grip. Very similar to the Tenacious as others have noted.

I haven't ever had a blade with the Emerson opener and as Bill had mentioned this seemed an inexpensive way of trying it out. For the most part I have found it works as advertised. Once it is sharpened I suspect this will be a perfectly reasonable daily carry knife aside from the skull on the pocket clip which I suspect I'll grind off. I'm thinking about handing these out to a few people and then looking at them every month or so to see how well they hold up at lower angles. The Tenacious is already at 10dps.

Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
March 26, 2016 07:12PM
Chris: The OOB sharpness is rough on these, my CQC-8K came in similar shape. I like the 6's design.

It will be interesting to hear what you think of these in the long term.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Kershaw CQC-8K Emerson Design
March 30, 2016 03:32PM
Bill - I will update but I haven't yet lowered this one and I'm not carrying it right now. I too am interested in how this holds up. It's appealing in a lot of ways and affordable.
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