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Closing out Round 1 in the USA Legacy division, we have a matchup between Great Eastern Cutlery and Gerber. It may seem strange to see a relatively young company such as GEC in a division with companies with 100+ year pedigrees, but we needed an 8th company to finish out the bracket. I was informed at lunch today that I should have picked Colonial Knife Company, who have been making knives in Rhode Island since 1926. Since this was a fairly egregious oversight on my part, I figured I would give them a plug here.They will probably make an appearance in next year’s tournament.
Just a reminder, You can vote twice – once on our Facebook page, and once in the Blog comments. You can see the complete brackets here.
Great Eastern Cutlery:
Including Great Eastern Cutlery in the “Legacy” division is not as odd as it might seem at first glance. For one thing, it isn’t uncommon in the NCAA tourney to have a team like Duke play in the West Region due to seeding position, or Arizona play in the east. The other, and primary reason that GEC fits here is that they have become a major player in the traditional pocketknife market. Their slipjoints are among the nicest you can buy from any company, anywhere.
My introduction to the brand came from David’s 2015 review of their #73 Scout Single-Blade Trapper, but I have made a point of checking out their wares in person when I make my occasional trip to SMKW. They have 3 sub-brands under their label, Tidioute, for their carbon steel offerings, Great Eastern Cutlery for their stainless, and Northfield UN-X-LD for their ultra-premium knives.
From the Great Eastern Cutlery Website:
The manufacturing of natural handled, traditional, pocket knives was a common business throughout the United States during most of the 20th century, but now, that has become uncommon as there are only a small handful of cutlery manufacturers still remaining in the US. Over the recent years many of the famous cutleries have gone under, and of those that remain only a few actually produce their products on American soil.
Here at Great Eastern Cutlery, we are out of fashion in today’s world of chain stores and imports; we prefer to be known for “MADE IN THE USA”. Our manufacturing company established in August of 2006 in Titusville, PA, has begun a renaissance in classic traditional pocket knives by recreating the old knife patterns as close to authentic as has been seen in 75 years. We blend a mix of mostly manufacturing processes and a few contemporary machine operations to produce high quality classically designed pocket cutlery. In just a few short years we have achieved a reputation for craftsmanship and dedication to tradition, and along the way we have become a successful American manufacturing company.
At the time of this writing, David’s review is the only GEC tagged content on TTAK.
Gerber Legendary Blades:
Unlike GEC, which is a company we would like to know better, we have a fairly extensive archive of Gerber-related content. Chris started it off with a review of his vintage Touche Belt-Buckle knife. He also did a review of the Reflex Mini. Nathan kicked a hornet’s nest with his Gerber Sucks post, which while staking a position on the far extreme of the debate has some defensible arguments. David and I were a little more diplomatic asking “What’s the deal with Gerber?” after they missed a string of BLADE Shows – a harbinger of the exodus of other large companies from the show.
This led to some conversations with the company, and their sending us a quartet of their American-made offerings to test and review. Of these, only the Strong Arm distinguished itself as a top-shelf knife. The Propel Auto and Gator Premium S30V were solid, but both suffered from quality issues. The Propel has excessive blade wobble, and the Gator arrived with a loose bolster. The Ghostrike was a poorly designed blade with really terrible ergonomics and dubious utility.
They must not have appreciated our frank assessment of their products. Following the conclusion of Gerber Week, I reached out to the company, but a series of phone messages and a couple of emails went unreturned. I have moved on from the company, though if I am not mistaken, Jake is planning a review of their new US-Assist.
When Joseph R. Gerber described his young knife company, Gerber Legendary Blades, as the, “birth of an enterprise that grew into big business,” it was true, but it was an understatement for sure. What had started out in 1939 as a small batch of handmade cutlery sets given as holiday gifts had turned into thousands of retail accounts around the country. By 1960, Gerber had quickly become one of the most trusted, appreciated and collected names in knives.
Over 70 years since its founding and Gerber continues to grow. Still grounded in the same principles that first guided Joseph R. Gerber’s “enterprise,” Gerber is a company dedicated to making knives and tools that combine high quality materials and innovative designs that will stand up to a lifetime of use. The sleek, stainless steel sheath knives of the ’50s and ’60s (the Magnum Hunter) have given birth to today’s lightweight, open-frame clip folders (the Remix). Gerber is, however, no longer just a knife company. Multi-tools, axes, handsaws, machetes, headlamps, flashlights, survival kits, digging implements – these are the newest directions that Gerber explores with the same standards of quality and design that inform their revered knife making.
This should be an interesting pairing. On one hand, many of you probably have hands-on experience with Gerber’s products, whereas Great Eastern is a niche company that some of you have probably never heard of. I am curious as to how this will turn out.
Even though at the time of this writing, Day 3 between Schrade and Buck is not technically over, Buck is ahead by a score of 15-6. I am going to call this an unofficial win for Buck. Round 2 will pit #1 seed KA-BAR against #5 seed Case, and #7 Buck against the winner of today’s matchup.
Tomorrow we will kick off the Import – Eastern division with #1 seed Kershaw against #8 Coast.
You can see all of our Knife Madness 2017 content here.