Product Review: Kershaw Culpepper, Gadsden & Brandywine

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Kershaw Classic Folding Knives

There are some things that you never forget, like the first time you rode a bike or your first kiss.

For me, I’ll never forget my first knife.

The first knife I ever owned was a old slip joint knife that I was given by my Granddad. I loved that knife and what it represented, feeling almost like a rite of passage into manhood. I felt proud and trusted and grown up.

It was nothing fancy, it wasn’t even new, but it was mine. I remember the handle worn smooth by unknown hands, the small blade scarred by time and the feeling of history it exuded.

It felt like a connection to a past I’d never know except through stories and sepia toned photographs.

The moment I saw these three Kershaw folding knives took me right back to that feeling. These are classic knife designs that have stood the test of time.

Kershaw Culpepper

The Kershaw Culpepper is a classic slipjoint with a 3.25″ clip point blade made from 7Cr17MoV steel. It’s not the most sought after knife steel in the world, but it is stainless and hard. It requires a bit of care as edge resistance isn’t as good as more premium knife steels, but for a low cost good quality steel, it does the job nicely.

The Kershaw Culpepper features a G-10 handle, which has been polished and shaped so that you can see the grain of the material. This gives the handle a more organic look, almost like wood, but with a toughness that wood wouldn’t be able to match.

Brass liners and rivets complement the dark handle and the polished steel end cap completes the look. The lanyard hole is a nice touch too.

This is a two handed opening knife, no fancy assistance is required here. The blade features nail nick on both sides and as there is no pocket clip it’s a true ambidextrous knife.

The blade open smoothly and in the hand it feels comfortable. The lack of a pocket clip or other adornments makes for a nice hold and also means there’s nothing to catch in the pocket. The jimping on the blade sine is a nice touch as well, giving a feeling of control. I can almost imagine using this knife for some ole timey whittlin’.

Kershaw Gadsden

The Kershaw Gadsden features the same materials as the Culpepper, but has two blades instead. The first blade is a clip point and the second is a spey point. Both are 2.75″ and are made from the same 7Cr17MoV steel as the Culpepper.

The choice of blades gives it more flexibility than the single bladed Culpepper. ‘The right tool for the job’ as my Granddad used to say.

The Kershaw Gadsden is another well made classically styled knife that evokes nostalgia – the two bladed design is one that has been in use for as long as people carried pocket knives. It’s like looking into the past using the Hubble telescope, history and modernity in balance.

Kershaw Brandywine

The Kershaw Brandywine is another in the line up of Kehsaw classics. Again, it features the same 7Cr17MoV steel, polished G-10 handle and handle features minus the lanyard hole.

It has a spey point, wharncliffe and a clip point blade for extra flexibility. The longest of the blades is 2.6″ with the others measuring 1.9″ and 1.8″.

The handle has a gentle ‘S’ shape too it which feels really nice to hold, whichever blade is being used. The thickness of the knife back with it’s pleasing stripes of steel and brass feels very tactile, I imagine this would be a proper pocket fidget knife. This knife is a modern take on a classic design and overall it’s very pleasing.

Handling all of these knives has filled me with a feeling of nostalgia that physical things rarely elicit these days.

In a fast moving world it’s ever more important to remember our connections to the past and that is exactly what these knives feel like to me.