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I see the terms "testing" and "reviewing" often used as if they're the same thing. To me they're not. Let me explain:

Reviewing:

Checking if things are up to standard. You have certain expectations and you're checking if they're met. This can be done with things like:

Fit and finish:

Are there any scratches? Are there any gaps? Is there bladeplay? How is the polish?

Sharpness:

How sharp was the knife from the factory?

Used materials:

What kinds of materials are used and would they be of good quality?

And then there's

Testing


This would be exploring, pushing the limits. Checking things that can only be found through use like:

How many 2x4's can it chop through and still remain sharp?

How many times can it open and close before the spring loses it's (pardon me) spring?

How much force can be punt on the blade before the lock fails?

I guess that for me...a review can be done on a knife that's new or close to new...if the reviewer is objective and critical.

But a test can't be done as a "tabletop review".

What's your view on this?

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Replies to This Discussion

I completely agree with this.  I think you can have different categories of testing though.  You can have your longer term testing where you do just a normal pocket wear style testing, which does take longer to get your testing done, but its a good real world testing; you can also have the ones like you are talking about where you really thump on the blade to see what the knife can withstand; or you can have your own set of tests you run each knife through as a baseline standard to tests things without possibly destroying the knife in the process, which is usually what i see in most "reviews".

I do think you can have a review without testing, as long as you are only talking about build quality, fit and finish, factory edge, packing, and customer service.

Kit,

I tend to agree...build quality, fit and finish, factory edge, packing, and customer service are an excellent basis for a review.

 

To me "testing" is a different form of review all together.  I would never consider destroying a knife to test its durability but I have many times sent one to a job site with Donnie and the crew and said, do your worst, LOL.  Generally I will tell him that I dont want to hear about the knife for at least a month.  Now that we no longer have a crew other than him, I pass them to friends with the instruction to use it.  I put it on my calendar and in 6 months ask them how it went.  Gives me a great unbiased opinion.  I have heard everything from...I quit using it after a week to...I bought more!

I think some of us should try a review, with some sort of test included on a knife and see just how hard it is. I am thinking about trying to do one and see how it comes out. Good or bad.

I completely agree, I have written a review and so has Ron aka Tuna. It does take some work to put it together but all your are doing is giving an opinion of what you are experiencing with that given knife. If you think about it, you are going through a bit of a review process every time you receive a knife. In your mind you are considering all the things Kit mentioned ....is this a quality knife, how is everything fitted are there gaps etc.

Now transfer those thoughts to an iKC Sharper Review page and you have a review.

I am a big supporter of coming back after six months or so, if you still have the knife, and give an update. Like Jan said, she hears different opinions and can make a judgement on a knife based on that opinion.

Robert Burris said:

I think some of us should try a review, with some sort of test included on a knife and see just how hard it is. I am thinking about trying to do one and see how it comes out. Good or bad.

Thanks Steve, most of the knives I buy are collectors and go into my collection, without ever being used but I am about to buy a knife that I plan on making a user. When I recieve it, I will start taking notes and start a review. I plan on posting some sort of review. Like I said before, alot of us should try it, you never know it might be fun.

What are your thoughts on field testing? Is it to complicated to agree on standards?

That's the 64000 dollar question. Let me think about it a while. I wish we could hear other members thoughts on that.

As far as field testing standers, you would have to break it up per knife "group", and what roles the knife is going to play.  You wouldnt take a toothpick style folders and go thrash on some trees with it like you would for something like a kukri.  It goes the other way too, you wouldnt take a large fixed blade survival type knife and just do some paper cuts with it and call it a day.  I think you got to look at what the knife will primarally be used for.  Good tests for pocket knifes and edc style blades could be what they will be used for.  Go cut some cardboard with them, some paper, some packing tape, maybe torque the blade a bit cause we all have used a knife to pry something open (or as a screw driver)

That's a good point, Kit.

I judge a knife with two reviews and countless tests.

When I first get a new knife I'll judge it on it's immediate fit & finish, fresh from the factory. (say that 10xs fast). Polish, edge, snap, open and close, lock up if it's a lockback, fit from scale to bolster, things of that nature.

Testing a knife for me  is just using a knife and taking note as to how it holds up. Edge retention is a big factor for me, but that relys on steel and heat treat mostly. Some knives get to shine more after tackling tough jobs, while others are counted for their ease of carry and their people friendly statures. I don't buy a knife then slice through 10 cardboard boxes, 3 2x4s, a concrete block and a slice of paper. I don't buy a knife for those kind of things.

The final review is at the end of my test, which is usually after the blades sports a decent patina from a month or so of work. Again, everything is checked over to see how the knife has held up. Blade play is a huge annoyance for me and after putting a knife through some tough cuts I am always impressed that it's held it's own. 

I'm not against the way anyone tests a knife and just because I think a knife is fantastic and is perfect for my chores, it doesn't really mean that it's for everyone, or that I think you should all go out and buy one. If you read my opinion and you feel we have the same uses for a knife, than chances are you might like the knife I reviewed.

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