At the 2010 SHOT show I had a good conversation with Chris Cashbaugh of SOG Knives about long term testing. Chris expressed to me the thought that while a month or two of testing for a review was okay, he really wanted to see what happens when a knife or tool is tested much longer, and no one seemed to be willing to do that in the print magazines or with other online blogs and sites. What happens when you EDC a piece day and day out for a year?
What routine and not so routine tasks do you end up performing? How does the tool hold up? How does it resharpen?
Those were the things that you miss in an initial review, and the things you don’t generally see as most magazines and web sites tend to want to report on items while they’re new and fresh, not a product that’s already a year old. Well, one of the beauties of web publishing is that we have the space follow up on previous articles. Being a magazine format rather than just a blog posting news blurbs and quickie reviews, we had both the facilities and interest in taking him up on his challenge. Chris provided us with a number of items for testing with the understanding that our writers would wring them out through a year or better and come back with our results. So here we are, over a year later with the first returns from this project, the long term test results of the SOG Aegis Folder. The Aegis had initially been reviewed by Ian Fielder back in 2009, and in early 2010 Luke Causey also received one for testing. What follows are the results of Ian’s follow up on his previous article, and Luke’s impressions after a year or use.
Ian’s Year and a Half Testing
Back in September of 2009 I wrote a review of SOG’s Aegis folder. More than a year later this knife is still my every day carry knife and I can easily say that it is one of the best knives I have ever owned. During that time I have carried several knives for review purposes in addition to a few other knives in my collection. In each case after a few days of carrying the other knives, I ended up putting the SOG Aegis back in my pocket.
Over the last year and half I have used the Aegis for just about every task around my house. It has seen extensive use in cutting up cardboard boxes in preparation for recycling as well as opening packages of various materials. Cardboard and plastic are pretty hard on knife blades; however I only had to break out my CRKT Slide Sharpening system to hone the edge of the Aegis last week. It had gotten pretty dull and on visual inspection I could see that the blade of the knife needed some work. Just prior to sharpening the blade edge I used to Aegis to score some scrap leather that I had lying around. I didn’t realize just how dull the blade had become until then. After approximately fifteen minutes with the CRKT Slide Sharp I was able to restore the blade edge. However, it still isn’t as sharp as when I first acquired the Aegis and I need to spend some more time to get the edge razor sharp. As of the writing of this article I was not able to shave the hair off my arm with the knife. Considering that that’s occurred over a year of regular use though, that’s pretty good!
The condition of the knife is exceptional considering the use it has seen. The blade steel has no marking or scratches. There is no rust or stains on the blade from kitchen use. The Zytel handles do not show wear or marking and the hex screws that hold the knife together have not needed adjustment. The Aegis’s assisted opening and closing mechanism is a crisp as when I first reviewed the knife. Its lock has never failed when carrying the knife and has not spontaneously opened when secured in a pocket. The pocket clip has not loosened or bent with use.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the SOG Aegis folder. It will be a long time before I carry another knife with the same regularity as the Aegis. In my opinion it is a great carry knife which is certainly worth the price. The materials used in its construction are excellent and represent SOG’s commitment to producing a quality tool. Everyone that I have shared the Aegis with locally has given it rave reviews. I even had a police officer comment about how much he liked it after getting pulled over for burned out headlight. As a matter of fact I had to ask the officer for the knife back as he walked back to his patrol car with the Aegis tucked into his pocket. I would not hesitate to recommend this knife to anyone looking for an excellent knife for every day carry.
Luke’s 1 Year Review
With nearly a year into the review of the SOG Aegis folder, I can say this is the longest time I’ve ever ‘tested’ any equipment. Over the course of a year a lot of things in my equipment line-up changed. I’ve upgraded various bits and bobs, but the Aegis has come along for the ride to many places. In the last year the Aegis has assisted in everything from in installing new plumbing fixtures, to cleaning wild game, to building camp fires in the Rockies and making lunch in the desert. The Aegis has pleasantly impressed me over the year.
Starting off with the build quality, the Aegis has stayed in one piece just like it should. The S.A.T. assisted opening feature of the Aegis requires some minor play in the blade to handle fit in order to operate smoothly and quickly. This play is barely noticeable, but I was originally concerned this would develop into a larger problem. After hundreds of hundreds of openings, the Aegis’ blade to handle fit is just like it was when I received it. The assisted opening spring has stayed strong, with no perceivable weakening from the constant use. This is a significant victory for the Aegis, as I opened and closed this sucker a lot!
While equipped with a safety to prevent accidental opening in the pocket, I never found this to be an issue. I often dropped the Aegis in the bottom of my patrol bag at work, with the safety off, just to test the necessity of the latch. I never had the Aegis accidentally open. Not in my pocket, bag, or backpack. Like any good lock, it automatically engages upon the opening of the knife.
Closing the knife is a simple affair, and if you’re familiar with modern knife locks, you won’t have any problems adapting to this lock. One especially nice aspect of the lock is that even while oily or muddy, the lock is still easy to operate. I really appreciated this while running new brake lines under my old Bronco. Covered in brake fluid, I could still open and close the Aegis safely. The nicely textured handle helped to keep the knife in place in my hand while in use. That combines to make something really worth mentioning, since trail repairs in the backwoods need to be a simple and safe as possible.
The blade itself has held up nicely. Resharpening has been straight forward without the need for any high tech gadgets. My Falkniven DC3 stone, and ceramic rod are all that I ever needed to get the edge back up to snuff. Even after going through some nasty lodgepole pine that was frozen hard, the blade has stayed in good shape. The black “TiNi” coating has a few of the typical scuffs that you’d expect with a year’s worth of use, but the minor scuffs and a few tiny scratches give it a little character anyway. And while cutting long curls of pine for fire kindling, I really began to appreciate the sweeping shape of the edge. This isn’t a shape I’d typically look for when buying a knife, but when long steady cuts are necessary, it’s really a winner.
The only issue I had with the Aegis was with the clip. Typically, problems with knife clips are that they’re not secure enough. The problem I had with the clip on the Aegis is that it was way too tight! For all but the thinnest pans pocket, I had to muscle the knife from my pocket. Getting the knife into a jeans pocket or Carhartt style pants was a two handed job. I finally gave in and decided to fix it myself. I simply loosened the pocket clip attachment screw on the back of the knife and pulled the clip from the frame. With a little work with a pair of needle nose pliers, I bent the attachment point away from the pocket clip. After a little trial and error, I had the problem corrected. All in all, this took about fifteen minutes and was a simple task. Once adjusted, I never had another issue with the clip.
Using the SOG Aegis for the last year has me convinced that this knife is a real sleeper in the one-had-opening category. Major retailed have the knife available for a few cents under $60. I even saw it on Amazon for that price with free shipping! After all the one hand opening knives I’ve reviewed I’d rank the Aegis high on the ‘buy’ list. You could spend twice the money and not get as much knife. If you’re in the market for a good one hand opening pocket knife, give the Aegis a hard look. If you carry it for a year and still don’t like it, send it to me. I’ll carry it!
Original SOG Aegis Review:
On the Woodsmonkey Forum: