Kershaw has a large selection of flipper knives in their resume and the Skyline 1760 up for review now happens to be one of the most popular and successful Kershaw flipper knives to date. Why does this folding knife receive such high praise? Well first of, it’s made in the USA and can be found for as little as $35 (the price I paid for mine). Bonus points right there. Second, the Skyline is very lightweight for the blade length, yet robust enough for moderate cutting tasks, so it makes for a fantastic EDC blade. And finally, it features a flipper design without any assisted opening features (many knife enthusiasts are not fans of assisted opening technology, such as Kershaw’s SpeedSafe).
So what are my thoughts and opinions on this high-value, lightweight EDC? Continue reading the BetterPocketKnife.com Kershaw Skyline review below to learn more and get all your questions answered.
Skyline Review: Profile, Dimensions and Weight
The Kershaw Skyline is a fantastic option for EDC, mainly due to being very lightweight (2.3 ounces), yet still providing a decently sized blade (just over 3.1″ and .09″ thick). The handle length (and closed length) is 4.25″. Overall length of the Skyline is 7.3″. Kershaw was able to make the Skyline so light by only including one steel liner (for the lock) inside the G10 handle.
Blade Steel, Handle Materials and Pocket Clip
The Skyline features a hollow ground, spear-point blade shape in Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel with a bead blasted finish. This is the first knife I have owned with a 14C28N blade and I’m not a steel expert, but it seems comparable to AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV. This means it’s a low to mid-range stainless steel for lower budget knives with decent edge retention. It is extremely easy to sharpen and takes a very keen edge. The Skyline’s factory edge is in fact very keen and sharp. Some knives may need a little touching up on a whetstone straight out of the box to get a hair shaving edge, but not this one.
The spear-point is a great blade shape for general use. The blade tip of the Skyline is finer and more delicate than I would like, but it should be good for detailed work and really intricate carving. Extra caution is needed to avoid breakage and of course I would not recommend any sort of prying with the Kershaw Skyline because of the delicate tip. One aspect of the Skyline’s blade I’m not fond of is the bead blasted finish. Not a fan of bead blast in general. Don’t like the way it looks and it tends to hinder the blades ability to resist rust and stains by “opening up” the steel with micro-abrasions introduced during the bead blasting process. I would have much preferred a polished or even stone washed finish, but that is just my own personal preference. However, 14C28N is a stainless steel and the corrosion resistance seems ok, so if you take proper care of your Kershaw Skyline (keep it oiled, store it dry) it should not pose too much of a problem as far as rust is concerned.
Now we get to my biggest disappointment with the Kershaw Skyline. Blade centering. It’s bad, as you can see in the picture to the left. In fact, the blade is almost touching the G10 scale on the non-linered side. Thankfully it isn’t, so functionality is not compromised. Off centered blades are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They tend to bother me a lot more than they probably should, especially in this case where it makes no difference in the cutting performance or blade deployment of the Kershaw Skyline, but is something to keep in mind if you’re like me and picky about blade centering. By the way, no amount of adjustments I made to the pivot by loosening or tightening made any difference. The blade was always off center and misaligned.
Handle material is a medium texture G10. It provides plenty of grip while not being so abrasive as to tear up your pant or jean pockets within the first week of carrying like some rough textured G10 is capable of doing. The handle is partially open (has about a 2″ plastic or FRN backspacer toward the rear of the handle), so the knife can be cleaned without having to be fully disassembled with a few blast of compressed air. The Skyline was designed with only one steel liner in the handle (for the liner lock) to reduce weight. As a result, this knife is not suited for hard use. The G10 provides enough strength for a medium use EDC knife. However, if you squeeze the scales and apply enough pressure to the handle you will notice a small amount of flex in the G10 on the side without a liner. Nothing too concerning for the expected use of a knife this size and weight that is made for only light to medium cutting task. No prying, puncturing thin metals or batoning should be expected from this folding knife
The pocket clip itself on the Kershaw Skyline is very nice, with a similar design to those found on Kershaw’s Zero Tolerance line of knives. The tension is perfect. Enough to hold securely in a pocket, but not so tightly that removing the knife from a pocket becomes a hassle. However, I was very displeased with how high the Skyline rides in the pocket when configured in the tip up carry configuration (my preferred way of carry). By default, the Skyline comes setup for tip down carry and for this it works fine. I wouldn’t call it a deep carry with the tip down position, but it doesn’t ride nearly as high as the tip up configuration in which roughly a quarter of the Skyline’s handle is exposed. As a result I actually preferred to carry the Kershaw Skyline in the tip down position, something I would usually never do. The Skyline only has mounting holes for right handed tip up or down carry, meaning the pocket clip isn’t ambidextrous.
Detent, Lockup and Blade Deployment
The Skyline has a strong detent. Not as strong as I observed with the Ontario RAT 2, but plenty of detent to avoid any unwanted opening of the knife and to aid in blade deployment by allowing force to build up when using the flipper for easier opening. You won’t have to worry about the Skyline’s blade opening in your pocket for a nasty surprise next time you reach in for some change.
Lockup of the liner lock on the Kershaw Skyline is extremely solid. There was absolutely no blade play in either direction, even after I loosened the pivot to improve the performance of blade deployment. It’s neither an early or late lockup, but somewhere in the middle (roughly 50 to 60 percent), which I have no problem with. You can get a better idea of the lockup by viewing the picture to the left. The liner lock is also fairly thick for a knife this light in weight and includes jimping to make the lock easier to disengage. Also keep in mind the Skyline has “thumb studs” that act as blade stops instead of the more traditional stop pin. The steel liner and G10 scales have grooves cut out on each side of the handle for the blade stops to insert and hold the blade in place. This system works just fine in my experience.
I was somewhat displeased with the Skyline blade deployment out of the box. Mainly because it wouldn’t flip successfully half the time unless I gave it a moderately hard wrist flick when using the flipper. Very odd, since all reports indicated the Skyline was a very smooth knife and it features phosphor bronze washers, which I greatly prefer over teflon for durability. Over a weeks worth of use it did loosen up quite a bit, but still required a slight flick of the wrist to open and lockup completely 100% of the time. Time for some tinkering!
After allowing it to break in I loosened the pivot as much as I could without introducing any blade play and finally had a very smooth blade deployment. My Skyline now opens very easily and quickly every time without having to add a wrist flick. The flipper works best by using the “button push” method as I like to call it, meaning to push in towards the handle on the very back of the flipper to build up tension and then press down slightly parallel to the handle. The blade flies open using this method, but it also works well just by putting your pointer finger on the end of the flipper and pulling straight back for a slightly slower opening of the knife.
Also keep in mind that the Skyline’s thumb studs primarily function as blade stops and can’t realistically be used to open the knife. They are very small, provide almost no traction and I was unable to deploy the blade by way of the thumb studs. Maybe for some users it will be possible to use the thumb studs, but the flipper is just much more comfortable, convenient and fast.
Comfort and Ergonomics of the Kershaw Skyline
The Kershaw Skyline has a comfortable and secure grip, despite a complete lack of jimping on the blade. The medium traction G10 handles provide the perfect amount of grip and the handle is long enough to comfortably accommodate a full four finger grip. It has a nice sized finger groove that combines with the flipper when the blade is open to form a safety finger guard that helps keep your hand from slipping forward. A good sized lanyard hole is also present. There are no hot spots created from the pocket clip and the G10 is rounded for smooth edges that don’t bite into the skin with a tight grip. The Kershaw Skyline is a very pleasing and comfortable knife to hold. It can be used over prolonged periods of time with little agitation.
Kershaw Skyline Review Conclusion and Final Thoughts
There’s a lot to like about the Kershaw Skyline. It’s made in America, can be found under $40, is very lightweight, has a flipper design with smooth blade deployment, medium textured G10 for a secure grip that won’t quickly trash a pocket, features phosphor bronze washers for extra durability and smooth opening and closing, a solid liner lock, good ergonomics, quality steel for the price and the factory edge is razor sharp right out of the box. The Kershaw Skyline is a good choice for a lightweight, affordable US produced EDC knife that is unfortunately held back from greatness by a handful of relatively minor quality control issues (blade centering) and design quirks (high riding pocket clip, bead blasted blade finish). Still a solid folding knife that I have no qualms recommending to anyone interested.
BetterPocketKnife.com Rating of the Kershaw Skyline:
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