Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Gerber EVO JR clip folding pocket knife

I've carried a pocket knife for the last 10 years or so. About 4 years ago I settled on the Gerber EVO Jr. In the last 4 years I've probably bought a dozen or so of these. I've lost a couple, but typically they fall apart before I loose them.

All but one has failed in the same way: a screw that holds the knife together falls out of the handle.

Why continue to buy a $20 knife that fails so frequently? I like the features and I haven't spent time to try to find similar knife made by a different manufacturer.

For the record, I'd rather pay $40 and have it last longer.

I continue to buy these knives because I love the size and feel of the knife. It's easy to have in my pocket always. The blade is a good size for me. I use the knife multiple times a day for a myriad of tasks: cutting a tube or whatever needs cutting; cleaning/scraping stuff; cutting my finger nails; playing mumbly-peg; cutting food; digging out crud from wood or in the ground; etc; etc.

The blade has the serrated bit too -- so I can saw/hack through thick plastic, chunks of wood, and other stuff that the blade won't work through. When the blade dulls I typically just use the serrated bit for everything.

The blade locks, which I think is essential for actually doing stuff with a pocket knife.

The blade also has a little knob on it to make flipping the blade out fast and easy. I can work it like a tough guy in a 50's movie. I could totally shiv somebody with this little bugger if I wanted to.

Finally, I like the shape of the handle (palm) end of the knife. It's perfect for opening up bottles (using the lighter method). A close look at the boneyard pic above there shows wear on the ends of the knives from bottle opening.

In the end though, I'm more annoyed than happy with this knife. I've grown to love the features, but it bugs me that I have to buy a new one every few months.


Michael said...

I like my Swiss Army knives, not as good at aggressive knife stuff, but they'll open boxes, slice onions and cheese and they resharpen easily. They can open any can (with a little practice) or bottle out there. The tweezers work great and you can buy replacements for when you lose them. The scissors do a good job on fingernails and stray clothing threads.

I do find that they can be a little fumbly when my hands are cold and there's no point in trying to look tough when using a Swiss Army knife. But then, I'm usually wearing sandals or clogs and carrying a man bag anyway...

Anonymous said...

spyderco, pay a premium for the name and have a knife that doesn't fall apart.

Mark H. said...

When you buy a new one, take out the screw and use some Loctite on it.

Michael said...

Could you pop a rivet in that old screw hole?

Anonymous said...

John: Have you tried replacing those screws? Ace Hardware on Regal has an excellent small parts selection. Gerber Customer Service might also send you some of those screws, looks like you need 6!

Cheers, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Ziptie? Duct tape? Gum?

Geoff said...

Red Loctite

John Speare said...

Anon: thanks for the Spderco link. Sweet knives. In the running for the next replacement.

All others:
the screws use the silly little star nuts. There's also a spacer in there. So when the screw falls out the spacer goes with it. And the screw doesn't screw into a threaded hole in the knife handle, it screws into a countersunk nut.

I think my plan is just to send a pile of knives to gerber and see what they do with that. I'll let you know.

Anonymous said...

I think Gerber should stick to baby food.

And daisies!

Knives are scary.

Anonymous said...

The best idea is the loctite - I know the screw is small, fiddly, and unusual, but even if you have to buy the right tool, it is likely cheaper, and less hassle, than having another fall apart. Do keep us posted as to Gerber's response - my experience w/ Gerber customer service has been great. They have replaced multiple abused and broken multi-tools. Which reminds me, I have a Gerber multi-tool sitting in a drawer, also needing a screw replaced. I must send that in . . . .

RJ said...

a REAL knife is a BUSHCRAFT knife.


I have the cheap Mora, which works great. You need that wide whatever-it-is on the blade to cut through wood well. And the tang-or-whatever on nicer ones goes pretty deep into the handle-- good for whacking it with a heavy stick when using your knife to cut branches off.

Check out his videos--

Unknown said...

look into crkt's m-16 or m-21 lines of knives. gerber is largely believed to have copied their design in making the gerber evo. crkt's are significantly more expensive, but considered to be of largely better quality.