Kershaw Camber Review
One of my favorite offerings from our friends in the great Northwest is the Kershaw Camber. Camber is a reference to a slight curve that’s found on airfoils, ships decks, and even roads. Out of the box, the Kershaw Camber appears quite modest as opposed to some of the flashier models on the market. Dig deeper into this premium knife, and you’ll see that it’s what is on the inside that makes this knife so special.
Kershaw Camber Specifications
- Model: 1678 Kershaw Camber
- Knife Classification: Spring Assisted Folder
- Blade Type: Drop Point
- Blade Material: S30V, Stonewash Finish
- Handle Material: Aluminum with Trac Tec Inserts
- Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
- Closed Length: 4.2″
- Blade Length: 3″
- Clip: Reversible, Tip Up Only
- Weight: 3.8 ounces
- MSRP: $139.99
Starting with the name, the Kershaw Camber’s slight curve is found on the center of its handle. This allows for a more ergonomic feel when holding it. On my grip, the top of the curve rests against the fat part of my hand just below my thumb. In a typical slicing grip, the top of the arch rests against the joint beneath my middle finger rather than in the middle of my palm like my usual EDC.
The handle is made from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum with Trac the inserts near the top and bottom on both sides. The aluminum offers an attractive tactical finish that won’t reflect light and leaves a lightweight feel to the Camber. The clip is reversible for left or right side carry, but you’re going to have to live with the tip up carry. A quick look at the inside of the handle and you’ll notice a standard liner lock. It’s nothing to write home about, save for the fact that it’s a reliable, safe way to keep the blade deployed.
One of the features that I like the most on the Kershaw Camber is the SpeedSafe spring assisted opening. It makes deployment fast and enjoyable to the point that you’ll probably find yourself mindlessly opening and closing the Camber frequently. I love that the Camber uses a forefinger flipper rather than thumb stud. While the Blur is one of Kershaw’s most beloved models, I found the thumb stud to more awkward than a forefinger flipper.
Yes, I’ve intentionally saved the blade for last. The blade is a traditional drop point made from S30V powdered stainless steel. The drop point design of the Kershaw Camber gives it an excellent balance of slicing and piercing potential. S30V is one of the most adored steel blade materials on the market as an entry into the super steel class. “V” isn’t for Vendetta in this case – it’s for Vanadium. Vanadium improves the strength to weight ratio of steel and was even used by Henry Ford to reduce the weight of his automobiles while increasing the strength of steel components.
The powdered nature of S30V steel makes it more dense. The result is a blade that can be sharpened to an extremely fine edge while at the same time offering outstanding edge retention. Getting the best of both worlds comes at a premium price though. If we take the Kershaw Blur as an example, S30V steel adds $30 to the price.
The only word of caution that I would offer is when it comes to resharpening the Camber. S30V takes a while to sharpen because it is so dense. Unless you’re an enthusiast that has really honed your ability to sharpen blades well, you may want to leave resharpening to a professional shop.
The relatively vanilla design Kershaw Camber might not be a winner at any beauty contests. However, when it comes to applicable function and edge retention, I’m not sure that you’ll find a much better EDC on the market. $139.99 might be a little steep if you’re just looking for a basic knife to carry around. If you’re looking for an EDC that’s of a higher quality, take a good look at the Kershaw Camber.
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We've long considered the Blur to be Kershaw's best EDC, but the Camber may very well take its place. S30V steel provides excellent edge retention with the ability to sharpen it to a very fine edge, but comes at a premium price. The aluminum handle with Trac Tec inserts provide a non-reflective coating for tactical or discrete carry.
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