Knife Review: Kershaw Junkyard Dog


Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I thought I’d have time at the end of the semester, but now I’m working 6 days a week and being trained as a manager. But here it is, the review of the Kershaw Junkyard Dog.

History and Design: 

The Junkyard Dog is a design by Tim Galyean. He had an insanely popular design, so as most production companies do, they wanted to make a licensed version of it. Tim had two levels of knives: his full customs, which can reach up to $3000 on the current market, and his “pro” series, which is a mid-tech line and can range from $400-$800. You may have caught on that everything is in past tense. Tim is retired from the knife making business. While his knives are not in great demand like they were a few years ago, the limited supply still makes the secondary market prices go up.

The Kershaw version keeps true to the original design, right down to the hated pocket clip. It’s tip-down only and extremely large. If it had a clip modeled after that Tim put on his then I’d be a bit more happy. I know Kershaw can’t effectively make a different clip for every knife and multiple knives use the same clip, but whoever thought this was a good idea must have been tripping on acid.

Besides the clip, the overall organic flow of the knife is wonderful. The blade shape is absolutely wonderful and Kershaw always nails hollow grinds perfectly. Some would call the blade stock thick, but it really isn’t. When Chris sent me this knife he referred to it as a tank, but it doesn’t have the typical tank characteristics that I think of. It does have a large blade and handle, but the stock isn’t thick and the handles are really just a standard size. This is not a demerit, but I just feel like I should let you know.


The clip is slightly bigger than a Boker Nano

The clip is slightly bigger than a Boker Nano

Fit and Finish:

This was picked up by Chris as a factory blem at Kershaw’s factory sale in December. Between his eyes and mine, the only thing we can tell that is flawed is that the backspacer is not flush. Lockup is great; I doubt it would fail unless you try to make it fail. I guess the only real knock I have in this category is the detent. Having a good detent can either make or break a flipper. Some knives don’t need a lot of finger action (there should be no wrist action for flippers) and you just need to overcome the detent for it to fly open. A good production example of this is the CRKT Carajas. The detent in the JYD is quite weak and it could benefit from a stronger detent. Even without a great detent it flips well because it is so damn smooth. It runs on bronze washers, which is becoming standard for production knives.

Not super thick

Not super thick


Other than the clip the ergonomics are quite wonderful. The curvature of the handle fits into the palm quite well. The swedge on the top of the blade makes it comfortable to choke up. While I’d prefer a choil on the blade to choke up on, the large flipper tab will do for light cutting. There is very useful jimping on the flipper tab and spine.

Standard grip

Standard grip

Choking up

Choking up

Reverse grip

Reverse grip


As expected the knife did very well. The hollow grind slices extremely well and the knife was comfortable, for a bit at least. I actually had to stop cutting because my hand was getting sore from the pocket clip. The edge had some life in it. I cut enough boxes to fill up four grocery bags with shavings. I think that was the most out of all the knives I’ve tested. The D2 cutting edge is phenomenal.

So much cardboard

So much cardboard

But D2 is also a downfall. It is a pain in the ass to sharpen. I spent two hours trying to sharpen my Brous Silent Soldier on an Edge Pro Apex and only got an okay edge. Because of that it still has the edge from when I tested it. So far this is the worst steel I’ve had to sharpen.

Thumb was a bit sore

Thumb was a bit sore


I had my eye on this model for over a year but other things just kept popping up that needed my money. I went into this knowing I’d hate the pocket clip. Besides that the only gripe I have is with the detent, but that could be because my Ferrum Forge Pretium (review soon) has spoiled me. If you can live with those two problems, I’d say start looking for one. I believe they are out of production so they may be tough to find.

Top to bottom: Spyderco Endura, Chris Reeve Umnumzaan, Kershaw Junkyard Dog, Ferrum Forge Pretium

Top to bottom: Spyderco Endura, Chris Reeve Umnumzaan, Kershaw Junkyard Dog, Ferrum Forge Pretium

Top to bottom: JYD, Spyderco Delica, SOG Flash I

Top to bottom: JYD, Spyderco Delica, SOG Flash I


Style: *****

The organic flow of the knife is stunning. The sawtooth pattern on the composite blade harkens back to the Tim Galyean customs.

Blade: ****

The blade shape, grind, and steel all attribute to excellence performance. One star off for the trouble with sharpening.

Ergonomics: ***

I can’t put it too low because my only gripe it with the clip. It feels great in hand but the clip is awful.

Durability: ****

G-10 and stainless liners are not a sturdy as titanium. Not exactly a tank but far from being flimsy.

Overall: ***

It’s a great knife but I’m having trouble getting over the clip.



  1. Thanks Nathan. Great review. You aren’t kidding that the clip is pretty funky.

    As my Kephart is slated to be D2, I am curious to see how it (eventually) sharpens.

    1. Nathan says:

      It might be better but by the time I was done with the Brous I was fed up with sharpening and didn’t feel like doing it

  2. DP.Science says:

    So I’ve had one of these for around 7 years now and it’s still one of my favorites out of a large collection. Furthermore, I completely agree with you on the clip, however, 2 minutes with a grinder to just straighten out the strange ‘wings’ on the clip and it’s a million times better, still very functional with none of the draw backs. Why Kershaw still makes it with that clip is beyond me.

  3. Insipidmoniker says:

    Good review. I will pick the minor nit that titanium liners aren’t any sturdier than steel, just lighter. The steel liners should actually make it stronger and give it more structural rigidity than titanium would.

  4. jay says:

    I have been an amature knife maker for years and have used some D2.
    D2 is a highly wear resistant tool steel, most commonly found in usable sizes as planer blades. One famous knife maker often quoted, “Holds a lousy edge forever”
    I have had my best luck with diamond stones for sharpening.

    1. I can put a great edge on my D2 Leek with a Sharpmaker, but it takes it a while to get there. Once set though it lasts a long time.

      1. jay says:

        I could get good edges on mine as well. However I never seemed to get them as sharp as a blade made of 52100 or some other carbon steels. I never worked with stainless. I am not a metallurgist but. I have a feeling that when the metal is hardened D2 ends up with a slightly larger grain structure than many other knife steels. Metals like most things are like sponges at a microscopic level. When you heat steel up it expands slightly and then when you quench it becomes locked in the expanded state. For example a bronze blade could be made way sharper than steel. They would hammer the edges to shape packing the atoms closer together. The closer the atoms the sharper a blade can be. This is why many properly forged blades are slightly better than stock removal blades. I dont know if this explains why D2 is hard to get really sharp, but its my theory.

  5. Alex says:

    Hi. Great review. Right on the money. I got one recently after years of putting it off, before they get discontinued. It’s one of those knives (like the Benchmade Lonewolf Trask, Or Kabar Phat Bob) that really surprised me, and struck me as somehow luxurious and special, once I got it. I thought I’d hate the clip, but I have to admit that hooked to a jeans pocket it actually looks really cool. Now if you dressed like a Klingon warrior, that clip would be too much. But on its own, with no other fantasy adornments, I really like it. It’s flimsy though.
    Thanks for the review.

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Knife Review: Kershaw Junkyard Dog

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