Contrary to certain antiquated rumours, the Leek/Chive/Scallion is not the only knife Ken Onion has ever designed for Kershaw. The graceful Blur is another Ken Onion star in Kershaw’s lineup. The ‘standard’ model Blur comes in Sandvik 14C28N, and the upgraded S30V model is (IMHO) even better.
The S30V version has spent several weeks in my pocket now. It’s neither a folding short sword nor a delicate gentleman’s folder; it’s a capable, sturdy EDC knife that delivers a lot of comfort and performance for its $75 street price.
The Blur, for those who haven’t seen one, is an aluminum-framed folding knife with Kershaw’s Speedsafe assisted opening mechanism. The blade is 3.375 inches of S30V drop point, with a hint of recurve and a very shallow hollow grind. The aluminum grips have panels of Kershaw’s ‘Trak-Tek’ (basically a non-abrasive skateboard tape) inset into them for better grip.
The blade opens with prominently beveled ambidextrous thumb studs, and a right-handed steel liner lock keeps it open. Unlike the Leek/Scallion/Chive series, the Blur has no protruding flipper that can open in your pocket so there’s no need for a safety mechanism to lock the action closed. It never came open in my pocket, whether it was loose or clipped in place.
The pivot screw is adjustable, so you can tighten it to eliminate wobble or loosen it to free up the action. Mine was tightened perfectly out of the box and I never had to mess with it. I’ve talked to several other Blur owners, whose consensus is that you’ll probably never have to adjust yours either.
All of this is held in your pocket by a right-side pocket clip that’s reversible for tip-up and tip-down carry. The clip is sturdy and easy to use, but it’s nowhere near a ‘deep carry’ clip. and it rides a little higher if you opt for tip-up carry. If your pants are dark and your Blur is black it will probably go unnoticed anyway; it’s not a flashy-looking knife.
At nearly 1.5″ wide in the middle, the Blur is a bit broad in the beam for a discreet EDC knife. It’s only 1/2″ thick, though, so it carries pretty flat in your pocket. Solid aluminum scales do not the lightest knives make, and this one checks in at 3.9 ounces. This is more than one ounce heavier than a Spyderco Native, but an ounce lighter than a Benchmade 300.
The pocket clip carries the knife high enough that it sometimes catches on things, and mine quickly gathered some scratches on the body side of the butt. The grip panels keep it pretty well anchored in your pocket, despite the smooth and somewhat gently sprung pocket clip. It goes in easily and comes out quickly; I just wish it rode a little lower in my pocket.
The beveled thumb studs are among the most comfortable opening studs I’ve ever used. They’re perfectly angled and scalloped so that you don’t need to ‘pry’ the blade open with your thumb. Instead, you simply push your thumb forward (as shown here) and the blade jumps open.
Aluminum scales can be very slippery, but the Blur’s grip tape gives your hand a firm grasp when wet or dry. Metal grips also get cold in frigid weather, but I’ve always preferred fixed blades for snow camping anyway. I like to leave my gloves/mittens on as much as I can.
When the blade flips open, those perfectly-contoured thumb studs are now pointing against your thumb, and those suckers are sharp. If you don’t keep your thumb on the mildly-jimped shoulder of the grips, the studs will jam uncomfortably into your thumb. This isn’t ideal, but I don’t give the Blur major demerits for this issue because it’s not designed to be a heavy-use cutting knife.
It’s a Kershaw, it’s S30V, and it’s sharper than hell. Even with a 40 degree primary bevel, it cleanly slices arm hair, newsprint, and Shotgun News crepe paper. Just like the Kershaw-made Zero Tolerance 0350, it earns an easy A+ in this category.
You’ve seen plenty of pictures of strip-sliced cardboard so I’ll spare you the redundant graphics. The Blur S30V sliced through 100 feet of box cardboard before it lost it’s arm-shaving sharpness, and then cut through another 60 feet (with increasing effort required) before it stopped cutting cleanly. 160 linear feet of cardboard will turn a lesser knife into an overpriced EDC spatula, but the Blur could still slice copier paper. Grade: A++.
The Blur was a monster in the other cutting tests, but it did not exactly represent when it came time to cut through the 3/4″ Manila rope. It couldn’t just barely pull through a loop of rope with extreme effort, and it was pretty lame at sawing through it on a cutting board. Grade: B-.
Ease Of Sharpening
The S30V Blur was reasonably sharp out of the box. When I gave it twenty strokes on the fine Sharpmaker sticks like most new knives need, it was ready to party. I never made it truly dull. but even after I’d done my best with rope and box cardboard it only took another twenty or thirty strokes to bring back the newsprint-slicing, hair-popping edge.
S30V can be a terrible pain to sharpen once it gets really dull, but with edge retention like this I’m not sure what it would take to get it ‘really dull.’
Fit And Finish
I picked up this knife as a blemished second at Kershaw’s annual factory sale, but I’m still not sure why it didn’t make Kershaw’s cut. One machine mark, hidden on the inside of the grip halves, might be the culprit but I’m not sure. The blade is perfectly centered and wobble-free, and the grip anodizing was dark and even until I started scratching it up.
- Carry comfort.
- Blade sharpness, edge retention, and ease of sharpening.
- Quick, comfortable opening.
- It rides too high in my pocket. (Then again, I say that about almost every knife.)
- Those thumbstuds can gouge your thumb once the blade is open.
- The jimping doesn’t add much grip.
Regardless of which steel you choose, the Blur is a great choice for an EDC knife. The ‘base’ model’s 14C28N is no slouch in the mid-$60 price range, and the S30V version brings astonishing cutting performance for less than $20 more. There’s only one caveat: the liner lock and pocket clip make it a poor choice for left-handers, or for weak-side carry by right-handed users.
RATINGS (Out Of Five Stars)
Styling: * * * 1/2
Not exactly stunning, but graceful and practical. A low-profile design that goes well with black Tru-Specs or tan Dockers.
Blade: * * * * *
Another excellent S30V blade from Kershaw.
Ergonomics: * * * 1/2
Flat and thin to carry and very quick to open, but watch out for those thumbstuds when you’re chopping away.
Ruggedness/Durability * * * 1/2
Solid construction, but it scratches easily and I wouldn’t mind a sturdier liner lock.
Overall Rating: * * * *
Excellent all-around performance and value for a general-purpose EDC knife.
- Overall Length: 7.875″
- Blade Length: 3.375″
- Blade Thickness: 0.12″
- Blade Material: CPM S30V
- Blade Style: Drop point with slight recurve
- Blade Grind: Shallow hollow grind
- Blade Finish: Stonewashed
- Edge Type: Plain
- Handle Length: 4.50″
- Handle Thickness: 0.47″
- Handle Material: Aluminum
- Handle Color: Black
- Liner Material: Stainless steel
- Weight: 3.9 oz
- Pocket Clip: Right hand, tip up/down
- Knife Type: Speedsafe spring assisted
- Opener: Ambidextrous thumb studs
- Lock Type: Liner lock
- Model: 1670DSBLK
- Country of Origin: USA
Manufacturer’s link here.