Rant: What’s up with QC at Boker?

The Kwaiken, a collab with Lucas Burnley

The Kwaiken, a collaboration with Lucas Burnley

[Editor’s Note: When you pay big bucks for a big-brand knife that turns out to feel flimsy and cheap, you’re entitled to a little rant.]

I’ve noticed many videos on YouTube that focus on the problems with their Bokers. It’s sad, especially with the crap-load of collaborations they have been doing. The Epicenter, the Manaro, the Federal that was just posted, the S2, the Nano (you have seen mine), they are all collaborations. I’m glad that they do these collaborations. They give the normal people, like me, a chance to handle excellent designs from excellent craftsmen.

These knives come from the Boker Plus line, which is their mid-range line. The Boker line is made in Germany and is top-quality. The Plus line is made in the “Far East” and, well, can be better. The Magnum line is their low-end line.

The only bad thing is the spotty quality control coming out of Boker. ‘Lock Rock’ and sticky locks have plagued the titanium framelock collaborations. What I want to know is why a large, well-known company is having these QC problems? I do not think that the Made in China label should be a factor. Spyderco doesn’t have these issues. Kershaw doesn’t have these issues. Benchmade didn’t have these issues when they had their red line. Being from China should not mean that it is crap. Why, in this day and age of mechanical awesomeness, are these problems persisting? Have they not seen the countless videos on YouTube? Do they not know the power of Social Media?

If I was a custom knife maker I would not collaborate with Boker until they get these problems sorted out. I would not want my name associated with this quality of work.

And another quick tangent: why 440C? Can’t you bump it up to VG-10 for little extra cost?

I really want to buy these knives, but I’d like to inspect them first. I’ll probably pick up the Federal when I stop by Blade HQ in a couple weeks.

Rant over.


  1. Matt in FL says:

    Interesting post. How much good does inspecting them do, if these problems are things that largely seem to appear a short time into the knife’s lifespan, so they wouldn’t be immediately apparent in the store?

    1. Nathan says:

      Well, since many major manufacturers don’t have these problems I think it’s possible. I am glad that they have a good warranty

      1. B says:

        My Spyderco Tenacious was $30 and feels about as solid as my $150 Benchmades. Being made in China doesn’t mean its crap, QC is everything.

        1. Nathan says:


  2. Esoteric says:

    I had the same situation on my hands….. bought a Nano and love it, but the blade was chipped in two places right out of the box. Thankfully, 20 minutes and a sharpener fixed that, but it certainly hasn’t inspired enough confidence to purchase another Boker

  3. Sam L. says:

    Well, I’m old; 440C is the first stainless steel I knew the number of (I guess 18/8 the second, for tableware). Being old isn’t a bad thing, given that 1095 and other carbon steels are still used. What’s wrong with 440C? Other, newer steels are available, but is not 440C as durable as ever?

    1. Nathan says:

      440 is decent, but when a knife is $150 I want something better. Elliot Williamson at FerrumForge has excellent explanations on how little steel actually costs (except SM100). From what I’ve seen it is great if it has a good heat treatment, but only small time makers seem to be able to get it down great

  4. Alex says:

    I won’t buy a boker for this reason. They have some great design collaborations, but the constant negative feed back from YouTube reviewers has kept me away. Why spend money on a gamble when there are so many other great knives from good manufacturers?

  5. Duncan Idaho says:

    *cough* Mora *cough*

    I was actually drooling over the Kwaiken (pictured on the thumbnail) the other day. It has some really nice, simple and clean lines to it. I just finished playing with my new Mora Classic- stripped the paint off the handle, re-stained it, boiled the carbon steel blade in vinegar, and made a nice leather sheathe. It’s ready for elk season.

    From now on, I’m sold on Moras.

    On a secondary note, I’m not impressed with Gerber of late either. Of the three that I currently own, one is defunct, and the other two are just nice to look at.

    Before my time, Gerber and Boker used to dominate the industry, it seems.

    It’s getting harder to find affordable knives with solid construction and good steel at a brick-and-mortar store.

    1. Sam L. says:

      What does the vinegar boil do?

      1. Matt in FL says:

        Acetic acid loosens rust and scale without hurting the underlying metal.

  6. Pat says:

    Got a lot of various Boker folders. Fantastic for the price. $18 for a Chad Los Banos Trance. 440C Stockman slipjoints for under $10.

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Rant: What’s up with QC at Boker?

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