I am often hesitant to start a review of an item because I want to make sure I hit as many points of interest for the readers. We all know you will never cover all those points, so let's figure out here what we as elite Knife Collectors want to see in future reviews. 

Let us create a standard format that a novice reviewer can use. Obviously not all the points will be relevant to the knives being reviewed, but a guideline would encourage more reviews and more participation. 

Normally I start with the basic specifications of the knife or "Subjective":

Subjective = Facts of the item to be reviewed.

  • Weight
  • Overall length
  • Blade & handle length
  • Blade steel, heat treat & grind style
  • handle material

Next would be the observations of the item or "Objective":

Objective = Factual observations of the item before, during and after testing.

  • Fit and finish
  • performance during applied work
  • condition of items after applied work

Next would be your "Assessment", an overall Opinion of the item.

Assessment = What your personal opinion of the item is:

  • Failings of personal interest in the items are noted in this section
  • Also a personal rating of the items goes into this section

Next would be your "Plan", your suggestions for improvement for the item, it may never be seen by the manufacturer, but we all want to know what you may do for a modification. 

Plan = Your ideas for improvement of the item under review:

  • Changing edge profile
  • material change
  • anything you think would make the knife more appealing to more buyers.

Now using what I listed above may still intimidate a novice reviewer. Which is the reason for this discussion. To create a printable checklist that hits most of those boxes. 

BTW: I know that any Navy Corpsman or Army Medics will know the term S.O.A.P. note. Has anybody who learned this practice in the service stopped using it after your enlistment was up? I haven't, it is the best procedure for problem solving I have yet to try.

Tags: Knife, reviews

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Interesting. Sounds pretty good for an in-depth review.

I would recommend that blade thickness at the spine be noted, as was done for the "Brute", as well as blade width. An indication as to whether or not there is distal taper throughout, would be nice . And, an important feature is the type of tang. (full, hidden, rat-tail, etc.) On a bowie, the edge treatment on the clip edge. Some indication of the ricasso length can be derived by edge length versus hilt to tip length. I bring this up because of blade length laws  Note whether an edge is single or double bevel and bevel angle may be given by the manufacturer. 

Lets keep those specifics coming, the more boxes that we can check-off during a review the better.

You have a great start right there. A while back in another Forum post, iKC Member Stanley may posted this:http://www.iknifecollector.com/forum/topics/does-your-knife-stand-u...

Being in the stress test business and knowing more than a fair share about metals he was looking for what amount of pressure would cause a knife to break. Not sure this is adaptable to a review but certainly the knife's hardness would be a factor.

I think, we should note, how user friendly a knife is for it's given job.

Robert, you are so right. Brad mentioned some points in his review, such as the guard protecting his hand. One of the fastest ways to know how rough a knife is on the hand is cutting a rope many times on a bench. Or, putting a stake point on a 2 x 2. It isn't so much for performance comparison, as it is to see how the reviewer feels that it did the task.

I think the objective and subjective titles should be switched, or the issues addressed under each title switched.  I am not in the medical profession but I think the subjective part of the SOAP analysis addresses the patients subjective complaints, pain, where hurts, history, etc.  The objective parts are the results of scientific/diagnostic tests.  Weight, length, materials are objective components that can be measured, and are objective.  Fit and finish, utility, etc, are more subjective to each individual.  The performance tests could be objective if scientifically based and repeatable, etc.  I love the post.  Great idea.  I Once you get your analysis like you like it, I would suggest giving each part some kind of numerical value where you can see at a glance the approximate review of the knife.  Thanks for starting the thread.

Vance Hinds

I don't recall  S.OA.P.

I was a grunt.   I knew S.A.L.U.T.E.;

and - Task Condition Standard;

and -  the 4 basic life saving step (preferably done at the same time)  Clear the airway - Stop the bleeding = Treat for shock -Protect the wound.

and lots of GO -NOGO.  There was 100% or you failed!

Rockwell testing.

Ease of Sharpening

Utility for purpose designed.  



Corrosion Resistance

Edge Geometry

Maybe define classes of knives to be comparatively reviewed.  Could be like the Blade Classes for the Knife of the Year Awards.

Value vs. Price


Country of Origin

Maker's Reputation in the Knife Community

The WOW Factor/The Undefinable

Quality of Materials Used.

Feel in Hand

Daily Carrying Ability

Investment Potential

Performance Standards (A personal opinion of mind is not to do the 90 degree test.  I am not going to use my knife that way anyway.  I am more interested in holding an edge and edge geometry for intended purpose. I think the heat treating is the single most important component of the trinity of blade steel, edge geometry, and heat treating. Look at the older Paul Bos Treated Bucks and Kershaws.)

A knife is first and foremost needs to be reviewed for its intended purpose and compared to knives intended for the same purpose.  

Just some random thoughts.  I hope some can be incorporated into your knife review assessment.  Vance Hinds

Here is a preliminary checklist I pieced together from responses. This is only a checklist to help an individual get all the information readers want in a review. I copied and pasted the iKC logo to the top without approval, Jan would have to approve that.

That's great, Brad. A lot of info there to give a good review. I like reviews that are not for comparison to other knives. Just a straight forward opinion from the reviewer. Thanks for doing this. 

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