HEST/F Review

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HEST/F Review

Postby stevenkelby » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:52 am

Hi All,

I had this posted on Bladeforums but it really belongs here of course.

I got my HEST/F LE Sterile a couple days ago. Seems to be a lot of "interest" in them so I took some pics and will give my thoughts.

I'm a pretty critical person but keep it well hidden most of the time. I'm a natural born engineer too so can't help but think how I would do things differently.

Index:

1. Politics

2. Knife Quality

3. Blade

4. Handle / Scales

5. Opening / Closing

6. Bottle Opener / Wave Feature

7. Detent

8. Rotoblock

9. Pocket Clip / Self Defense

10. Lanyard / Lanyard Hole

11. Delays in Delivery

12. Why did I buy it?

13. Things I would personally consider changing for future runs

14. Conclusion

1. Politics

Regarding the whole Bladeforums nonsense, I couldn't give a toss about peoples attitudes or personality disorders/mental health issues (both lovers and haters). Who cares whether you think someone's an ass or a bully. Not me, that's who. You've all been a jerk to someone, right? I know I have. Just because there's no evidence of it posted on the 'net doesn't make you a saint. Who ever you are, someone, somewhere, hates you. I couldn't care less. I'm not going to take sides when something doesn't affect me directly, why would I?

I wouldn't have posted Ren’s info up and RYP broke the rules but it's gone now, no harm done, and nothing to do with me anyway. Hope they sort it out.

Quality control on this Lionsteel made knife is excellent apart from one single (misprint doesn’t count) minor issue and anyone calling it a piece of crap is being ignorant, letting their bias against RYP show and probably hasn't held one.

End rant.

Image

2. Knife Quality

I am here because I'm interested in good knives. The HEST/F is one. Overall it's a well designed and manufactured folding knife with some unique features and maybe a couple perceived minor flaws. The tip issue is a minor one, has happened on plenty of production and custom knives before, and is easily and permanently fixed by the end user with no negative side affects at all.

On at least some, (probably all but I'm not sure) of the 250 LE blades, the tip of the knive sits slighty proud of the scales when the knife is closed.

This is how mine (and I think all other LE blades) sits, more or less:

Image

I'm not sure but I suspect the main reason for this is the coating on the blade and the stop pin. Without those coatings the tip would have sat perfectly, that's how little difference is required in the size of the stop pin, at a guess.

RYP/Lionsteel are fixing all the LE blades that haven't been shipped yet (I think by replacing the stop pin but not 100% sure) and I think they are sending replacement stop pins to everyone who already has the knife. That will correct the issue.

The standard production HEST folders will not have this issue at all.

It shouldn't have shipped like this IMO but it's a small thing and easily fixed.

All it needs is a new pin with a very slightly smaller diameter which is easily replaced by anyone with a T7 Torx bit for the handle and the pivot tool that comes with the knife. Detent and lock up are not affected by this to any relevant degree at all as is obvious when you understand the relationship between the pivot and the blade length.

I removed the stop pin, did some testing and put it back in, untouched as I'll wait for replacement pins from Lionsteel, no rush. As it is I can't touch the tip with my skin but can get a nail under it. It won't catch on anything so I'm happy with it like this for now, but would want it fixed eventually.

I measured and 4mm of movement at the blade tip when closed, or open, equates to approx 0.3mm movement at the stop pin and even less than that at the lock face, about a 10% difference in the lock up which is no issue at all in a lock this well engineered.

The lock face has a great shape, it will never make it’s way over to the other scale thanks to the curve of the ramp in the blades lock face and the lock will just wear in more securely as time goes by. this is how a frame lock should be made.

Image

In my opinion there is no need for the knives to be sent back to the factory or anywhere else. Lionsteel should just send everyone a new stop pin (or 2 or 3 if you want to get the position extremely precise) and maybe a T7 torx bit, ($2 from eBay) plus instructions which even I would be happy to write or film. It is no more than 5 minutes work to swap the stop pin, no matter how slow and careful you are.

When closed, the blade can be just touched with my little finger if I poke it in there, and would sit only a very small fraction of a mm lower with a new stop pin (not noticeably at all). Personally I would like to see a very thin backspacer right up to the end of the blade. The backspacer could be paper thin really and then end in another handle screw, right through the sharpening choil cut out. It would still leave room for a flipper if the finger guard of the blade where extended to be one. If I keep the knife I may make a temporary flipper from JB weld or something just to see how it works.

Mine is sterile but as for the misprint issue on the Mr. DP blades, who gives a crap, big deal, it in no way affects the performance. It's worth more like that long term and you should be happy if you got one. I have bank notes with misprints. if the Mint can miss those, I can forgive Lionsteel and RYP.

3. Blade

The blade is centered bang on. I read criticism of un-centered blades but haven't seen pics, anyone seen a blade not centered? The pivot and washers are big enough that if tightened properly I can't see the blade getting close to the liner, even though the fit is tight and gap is small. When closed I can’t wiggle the blade enough side to side to make it hit the liners unless I was to get stupid with the force used, which I wont.
The HEST/F blade is 5mm thick, same as my Junglas and Fallkniven H1.

Image

The coating seems great but I haven't used the knife so don't know how it will hold up. I suspect it will be pretty tuough and durable, seems better than Emerson and Fallkniven coatings for sure. Spyderco and ESEE coatings seem tougher and I don't know how they compare to the HEST/F long term.

Image

Blade is the same as the fixed HEST, great big belly, flat ground, good point and thick and strong. Fair bit of distal taper near the point so should be ok for fine stuff. Not sure how it will slice, it's no Opinel...

Image

It's very sharp, has only been touched by my finger tips but it's a fine edge. I haven't cut aything with it but I'd expect it will be the same as the fixed blade apart from the coating being smoother. The jimping is great, deep and aggresive, you can press real hard and not slip or get a sore thumb.

4. Handle / Scales

The scale is very grippy but not painful, it gives a great hold on the knife and wouldn't be slippery even soaked in mud or oil. Excellent. The liner scale and the G10 are very, very closely matched. Only the tiniest step on the “inside” side, can’t be felt with a finger, just barely with a nail. I spent hours sanding Emerson knives, no need to touch this one at all IMO.

I would like the forefinger cut out on the scales to be extended forward a bit, to line up with the finger guard on the blade when open. This would increase closed length a bit and then closed there would be a gap between the jimping on the blade and the scales so the blade would have to be reshaped as well. There are several solutions though and I would like to see a bit of reshaping in that area, especially if the blade was turned into a flipper.

Image

5. Opening / Closing

Detent is strong enough to ensure the blade won't come open in your pocket unexpectedly, (unlike a Hinderer, at least without modding the detent). The detent also prevents accidental wave openings better than an Emerson.

This strong detent requires pressure on the thumb studs which are not as smooth as I'd like. Most companies thumbstuds/disks make your thumb get sore if you sit there and open the knife enough times. The studs here are not bad, better than a Hinderer (which still are not bad) but could be more comfortable, more of a concern if you have girl hands. I don't, but thought I'd mention it and I do prefer touching things that aren’t rough or sharp.

I often put a bit of heat shrink over rough thumbstuds to make it nicer to operate them.

My Right hand thumb stud came with a small scuff on it. No big deal.

Image

The blade was shipped with the pivot adjusted correctly IMO (pretty tight). It was not "tight" as I had hoped it would be. I am able to wrist flick the knife open, just. It doesn't slam open, just clicks into lock. I'm very good at that but so are Customs officers and if they can get a knife open by flicking (trying for as long as they like) they keep it. Customs didn't open the package which is lucky for me, or I'm sure they would have nabbed it and I would have had to jump through expensive hoops to try and get the blade into the country, probably unsuccessfully.

If the pivot was loosened it would wrist flick easy.

The opening and closing action is very smooth, the blade has a ramp ground into it where the ball sides up onto it and the ball has a slight flat ground onto it. Lock bar tension is not too hard and the non-lock side scale cut out is deep enough to expose some of the lock bar, making it easier to release the lock when you want to. I can't see it happening by accident and if you're really hacking away, use the rotoblock to secure the lock bar.

Image

In common with all frame locks you have to be careful not to squeeze the lock bar against the blade with your fingertips when opening, many people don’t realize they are doing that and get frustrated at how hard a frame lock is to open. You have to hold it in a way that feels a bit unusual at first but you soon get used to it. On the HEST/F I touch the pocket clip with my last 3 fingertips and my forefinger doesn’t touch the knife. I push forward with my thumb, not out or up but forward, towards the tip on the front of the scales.

The hex in the pivot had very minor marks in it, would be nice if it was perfect but no biggie. No need to ever touch that anyway, the tool works wonderfully on the other side of the pivot.

Image

There is very solid lock up and only very minor play in the pivot when open, not side to side, but up and down. That's caused by the tolerances of the pivot and not a concern at all. It's about average for this price range knife. I have good folders with far more play.

6. Bottle Opener / Wave Feature

The bottle opener/wave hook would technically weaken the blade but it's so thick I can't see a failure happening there, the pivot would probably bend first, and it's beefy. Emerson’s have a small notch cut there too for the disk to sit in, and much thinner blades.

I haven't opened a bottle but the cut out works great as a wave and doesn't stick up out of the blade like Emerson and especially Spyderco wave hooks do.

This seems like a great design for a wave hook, I love it.

Image

7. Detent

The detent is already pulling the blade closed when the tip is level with the highest point of the end of the handles, which is 8mm proud:

Image

The detent is centered when the blade is almost but not quite touching the back spacer, and the tip is well below the handles:

Image

The detent hole in the blade is 2mm wide. So the detent works acceptably to pull the blade closed anywhere from the blade being 8mm+ open, to the blade hitting the backspacer (and further). The detent is consistently very strong over about half that range. There will be no issue with the detent with new stop pins.
Last edited by stevenkelby on Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby stevenkelby » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:53 am

8. Rotoblock

The rotoblock works well, mine was stiff but is free now, I only turned it 20 times or so. I have only waved the knife open twice, once forwards and once backwards, and neither time did the rotoblock engage but it was still stiff and I didn't wave hard, just enough to lock it. Personally I would probably end up adjusting the rotoblock to never engage as I don’t get too rough with folders, but it’s still good to have as it provides 2 more functions, as on Hinderers, the Lionsteel SR-1 etc.

1. It prevents the lock bar being over extended due to too much force when closing the knife.

2. In hard use with the knife hard in the open position it prevents the lock bar being bent up toward the top of the handles when squeezing the handle, which does happen with framelocks that are gripped or stabbed hard.

9. Pocket Clip / Self Defense

The clip seems plenty strong to me, it secures the knife deep in the pocket just fine. I've seen broken clips from Hinderer, Emerson, Spyderco and others so it can happen to any knife. Saying that, I would get rid of the two holes in it for more strength and make the clip reversible. Relieve some of the Ti on the lock side so the clip can slip into a groove like it does on the G10 side.

Image

With the clip on the G10 side the blade could be waved forward into a reverse grip. I would never pull a knife in a fight unless I was about to die and felt I had no choice, but if you want to present the blade as fast as possible for "self defense" this would work great and a reverse grip is best for defense or attack IMO. They can't grab your wrist as the blade is in the way, throwing a normal punch presents the edge sticking out the bottom of your fist and you have the glass breaker to impact with too. If you're into that kind of thing. I'm not.

Still, it’s nice to have the option of a reversible clip. Obviously Tip Down carry is not going to be an option with this knife unless you go for an after market clip and tap the G10. I did that to a Hinderer.

10. Lanyard / Lanyard Hole

The LE lanyard is cool but too big for my liking personally. It dangles too low and red is too flashy for me. I always tie my own style lanyard to my knives so they all feel the same to me .Haven’t done it to this one yet.

I would like the backspacer to be milled out, above the Hex hole, so the backsacer "bridge" there is removed allowing a lanyard to be tied permanently onto the Ti frame lock piece only, and not need removing to disassemble the knife. The lanyar would be tied around the Ti side then go up through the middle of the frame and not go through the G10 side, though that would still be possible. I would also shape the clip slightly different to allow better access to the lanyard hole but stil just prevent a Hex bit from falling through.

The hex hole in the knife accepts a driver bit and the pocket clip prevents the bit from moving all the way through, but it could be a tighter fit and hold the bit in place more securely. Not exactly a practical bit driver handle and will never get used by me, if I have bits I have a tool to use them in, but it may be handy for someone. No down side to the lanyard hole being a hex anyway.

11. Delays in Delivery

The wait time is no big deal to me. Tom Krein made me wait much longer for a "2 week job". The Sun on USN has had my scales for over 3 months, not the week or two he quoted. I've had a Lochsa on order for years. Gary Dodd has had the power supply for my amp for repair for months, and I'm still waiting for my TRI EDC from Mac. I have plenty more examples but I'm not upset about any of them, as I have realised that sometimes things take longer than I would like! It's usually not intentional.

12. Why did I buy it?

I have so many knives I don't need this one but ordered it as I love the fixed HEST, (but don’t use that much either,) and was curious about this knife from the start. Blade is too thick for the fine slicing I normally do and I use a fixed blade for serious work. If I visited more rough areas where I needed a folder though, I’d take this happily. Compared to a liner lock Emerson IMO the HESTF is tougher (strength of parts), better finished (undeniable to anyone) and more reliable (engineering wise, superior lock and thicker parts), if not as long bladed or slim lined.

13. Things I would personally consider changing for future runs

Every knife ever made will have some things that I think would fill their intended role better if they were changed, that will always be the case. My list for the HEST/F is about the same length as most knives:

Option of a flipper - easy to do with nothing but more material left on the finger guard of the blade so it pokes through the back of the frame when closed. Never hurts to have another option for opening.

Pivot bushing to remove any play and give even more strength to the pivot.

Smoother, angled/rounded thumb studs to give more comfort when pressing them hard.

Solid Clip with no cut outs, reversible via slot milled into Ti lock side.

Longer back spacer to fully cover the blade when closed mainly to prevent nicks on prying little fingers.

Extend scales forward to line up with blade finger guard when in open position - if possible.

14. Conclusion

It's a great knife. You may not like the looks but in my opinion it's not the place of a review to tell you how you should think something looks. Aesthetics are subjective so whether it looks good or bad is up to you to decide. I find the Sterile to be understated and functional, which appeals to me.

Its a good size, not too big or small, and feels solid but not heavy. It's very slightly smaller than I was expecting. I'm happy to carry bigger and smaller knives. When open it does feel like a serious tool in my large hands, but the blade feels a little short for me, I do like longer blades though.

I have no doubt the glass breaker works. I recommend wearing proper gloves if you try it out.

The price was fair IMO, it's very well presented and the quality is very high, there are no sharp edges or annoying angles where there shouldn't be. The production version will be great value, like the Hogue EX-01

The stop pin issue will be a very quick and easy fix. The knife has had a troubled gestation and controversial birth, but all tough guy internet talk aside, it's a solid knife.

Thanks RYP, Linda and Lionsteel!!

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Any comments, questions and criticism welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks,

Steve.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby svizzerams » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:03 pm

Thank you Steve for such a thorough and thoughtful review. I am not a knife enthusiast, per se, although I also own the fixed HEST, 3 leatherman multitools a couple of swiss army knives and a small scary Buck folder (scary because for some reason its hard to close once open without endangering life and limb), so your comments were very educational for me. I will never look at knives with the same eyes again. Thanks again. :-)
Joan of Arc went to battle with nothing
but the voices in her head
and a well-sharpened sword ~ Charlotte

...those without swords can still die upon them...

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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby coldharvest » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:13 pm

Superb review Steven.

svizzerams wrote:I am not a knife enthusiast, per se

No more so than any other person with Viking DNA
I know the law. And I have spent my entire life in its flagrant disregard.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby stevenkelby » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:17 pm

Thank you gentlemen :)
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby Lev » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:54 pm

Thanks for a very informative review. I cant wait to get to see mine in the flesh.

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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby RYP » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:58 pm

Steven has made some very thoughtful and practical suggestions to improve the HEST. I just wanted to thank him for the time he spent thinking this through. Also encourage anyone else to feel free with suggestions.

For example I have already ordered clips in three finishes and without holes (logo,black coated tempered stainless, logo tempered stainless and plain tempered stainless)

For the next round of HEST folders we will make some tweaks to the belly, clip, blade length and other subtle mods.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby jacktrades_nbk » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:43 pm

the lanyard can also be put on the cut outs in the clip
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby svizzerams » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:14 pm

stevenkelby wrote:Thank you gentlemen :)


You're welcome - but I'm a girl ;-)
Joan of Arc went to battle with nothing
but the voices in her head
and a well-sharpened sword ~ Charlotte

...those without swords can still die upon them...

Illegitami non carborundum est
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby coldharvest » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:16 pm

svizzerams wrote:
stevenkelby wrote:Thank you gentlemen :)


You're welcome - but I'm a girl ;-)

Oh no Babe, you're all woman
I know the law. And I have spent my entire life in its flagrant disregard.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby Jeffjuice3886 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:25 pm

Wow, that is one insanely awesome review you made! Very organized and detailed. Kudos mate.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby nemrac72k » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:20 pm

Great review. cant wait to get my production version.

Jeffjuice3886 nice to see you here dude. i love your vids
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby JTC3495 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:36 am

Great review. I am one of the lucky few to have this blade in hand and second most everything you said.
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby RYP » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:26 am

I feel bad that I have been fondling and sleeping with my DPx HEST F for almost four months now. The knife never fails to make people want to feel it. The production models are on their way and you will hear it first. The First Runs are being turned around starting tomorrow and you will hear that first here as well. As soon as I learn how to post pics here I will get the usual HEST porn going here.

You can see some here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/RYPCel
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Re: HEST/F Review

Postby stevenkelby » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:47 am

RYP wrote:Steven has made some very thoughtful and practical suggestions to improve the HEST. I just wanted to thank him for the time he spent thinking this through. Also encourage anyone else to feel free with suggestions.

For example I have already ordered clips in three finishes and without holes (logo,black coated tempered stainless, logo tempered stainless and plain tempered stainless)

For the next round of HEST folders we will make some tweaks to the belly, clip, blade length and other subtle mods.


Thank YOU Robert, you've obviously put a lot of very hard work and thought into this piece, you should be proud of it. Great to someone who takes Customer service so seriously too. ;) They are more important than non-customers IMO.

svizzerams wrote:
stevenkelby wrote:Thank you gentlemen :)


You're welcome - but I'm a girl ;-)


My aplogoies :) Should have paid more attention to your avatar etc. I have a fixed Hest, Leathermans and SAKs too, plus I also hate hard to open knives!

JTC3495 wrote:Great review. I am one of the lucky few to have this blade in hand and second most everything you said.


Thanks, I would love to hear about anything you see differently :)
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