TTAK Knife Madness 2017 Import- East division: Kershaw vs. Coast


Facebook users: “Like” to vote Kershaw, “Love” to vote Coast.

Round 1 of our TTAK Knife Madness Tournament takes us across the Pacific to the Imports- East division, with a matchup between #1 seed Kershaw and #8 seed Coast. As we have mentioned before, the brackets are imperfect. Yesterday’s winner in the USA Legacy division, Great Eastern Cutlery is not really a “legacy” company, but we needed an 8th American maker and chose one known for their traditional style knives. Likewise Kershaw makes quite a few blades in the USA, more than several of the “legacy” companies. However, since many of their models are of offshore manufacture, we are putting them in Imports- East. Besides, KAI (Kershaw’s parent company) gets a USA- Modern entry with Zero Tolerance.

Just a reminder, You can vote twice – once on our Facebook page, and once in the Blog comments. See the complete brackets here.


As I mentioned, a considerable amount of Kershaw’s manufacturing is done in the States. But they do offer some of high-quality imports as well. We have a ton of Kershaw content in our archives, including reviews of the Skyline, Shuffle, Blur S30V, Junkyard Dog, Blur Sandvick 14C28N, and my personal favorite pocket EDC – the Leek D2 Composite. And yes, I know some of those aren’t imported models.


Our Founding Mission:

Kershaw was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.

Kershaw pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knifemaking industry and knife-using public.

Their annual Warehouse Sale is something to behold from what I have heard as well.

Twitter: @kershawknives
Facebook Page
YouTube Channel


Coast Products:

I guess we could technically have put Coast in the USA Legacy division as well. They are every bit as worthy as Schrade, but I am going by their current business model rather than their company history. As I said, the brackets are not perfect.

Portland, Oregon based Coast does not only make knives, they also make multitools and flashlights, the latter are supposed to be quite good. I don’t personally have experience with Coast Knives, but both Chris Dumm and Nick Leghorn have on our behalf. They reviewed the Rapid Response 3.0, and Rapid Response 3.90 respectively.

From the

Thank the salmon. We do.

What do fish have to do with Coast? Actually, a lot. Established in 1919, Coast has called the Northwest home ever since Henry Brands founded the company near the banks of the Willamette River in Portland Oregon. Over the years, Coast has continued where Henry left off — making tools for professionals and those who work like professionals that make their tasks safer, easier and more enjoyable.

Shortly after moving to Oregon, Henry Brands worked as a sales manager for a large wholesale hardware company, traveling to towns of all sizes throughout the Northwest selling hardware—including cutlery—to local merchants. After seeing firsthand that the fillet knives he was peddling were wholly inadequate for gutting the Pacific Northwest’s 50-pound chinooks, Henry Brands had a better idea. He teamed up with a local metal smith to design and fashion a new fillet knife. This new tool was stiffer, had a thicker blade and featured a metal scoop on the back. Now slicing, cleaning and filleting could be done with one tool.


Henry sold these new Salmon Fillet knives out of the back of his Model T along with his other hardware items. As word spread about this new Coast fillet knife Henry couldn’t keep up with demand. In 1919, Henry Brands went into business for himself and officially started Coast Cutlery Co.

This being the Pacific Northwest, there was no shortage of other trades in need of specialized knives and tools. What could make lumbermen’s, farmers’, ranchers’ and lawmen’s jobs better, safer and easier? Henry listened and delivered. Case in point, in 1923 Coast created and produced the first “Scribner’s knife” specifically for lumberjacks to mark which Douglas Fir trees they were preparing to cut down. Later in 1931, Coast improved the grip of fixed-blade hunting knives by offering one with a leather handle. Innovations continued throughout the coming decades.



Coast continued as a small specialty manufacturer through the next three decades. In 1952, shortly after World War II, Henry W Brands Sr. passed Coast Cutlery to his son Henry Brands Jr. Henry Jr expanded the company significantly from 1954 to 1980, adding many new products including scissors, shears and kitchen cutlery. He also expanded the company geographically from the Pacific Northwest, through California and out to the Rocky Mountains.

Not long after, Henry’s grandson David Brands started working for the company at age 12 as a warehouse helper in the packaging department. Now leading the company, he never lost sight of his grandfather’s mission and vision. David quickly brought new production techniques to Coast, including the use of high-density plastics, easier-to-sharpen stainless-steel blades and the use of aluminum alloys for linings and bolsters.

In 1983, Coast became a pioneer in the multi-tool business. David Brands designed and developed a new line of compact pocket tools. These tools included pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, wrenches, saw blades, files and more. Today, Coast is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of multi-tools under the names Pocket Pliers, Pro Pocket Pliers, and Micro-Pliers.

Instagram: @coastportland
Facebook Page
YouTube Channel


I have a feeling that this one won’t be particularly close. But that isn’t to disparage Coast. That is a commentary on the quality of Kershaw, which is among the small handful of companies whose imported offerings I will carry.

Please Vote on Facebook by “liking/loving” this post., vote here in the comments below, and please let us know your thoughts on the tournament. I am especially interested in what companies you think we snubbed, but welcome all feedback you might have.

You can see the complete brackets here.

See the previous matchups here.


  1. Dennis says:

    I love the cost / benefit of the Kershaw knives owning a half dozen of them (and also like their ZT line owning a fantastic ZT0452 clone.)

    So My choice is Kershaw

  2. stuartb says:

    Kershaw – my Cryo rocks!

  3. Cubbie says:

    Kershaw. Solid products at an affordable price. The Blur is my EDC and has been put to some hard use and still keeps going.

  4. Sam L. says:

    I like the Kershaw knives I have. I’ve seen Coast knives, but never handled one. May have to, though.
    Kershaw for me

  5. Peter says:


  6. Jon says:

    One of my coworkers has Coast folding knife that has a flashlight in the handle. I guess it’s for illuminating whatever he has to cut. Comparing apples to apples here, the majority of the imported Kershaws are better quality knives than those sold by Coast. Coast gets an “A” for effort, but Kershaw wins.

  7. Willie Pfisterbottom says:


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TTAK Knife Madness 2017 Import- East division: Kershaw vs. Coast

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