Pull from the pocket, flick the wrist. A heavy blade opens with an assuring ‘THUNK.’ Meet the Gekko from Steel Will.
Steel Will is a new company importing knives made in Italy. For the past two months, I’ve quite literally abused its Gekko folding blade, using it like a machete to hack down dozens of saplings in my neighbor’s back yard, taking the limbs off an elm tree, scraping paint and adhesive off a truck door that needed to be repainted … and cutting a tomato.
I’m impressed, and my buddies all seem to lust after the blade that’s become an everyday carry (albeit a big one). Read on for the review.
Steel Will Gekko 1500
The Gekko 1500 ($230) is the folding knife of the Gekko line, which also has two fixed blades.
Flick the thumb stud of the N690Co steel blade and it locks with a reassuring “thunk.” The dark green micarta handle falls nicely into the hand for a comfortable grip with no noticeable hot spots.
The 3.94″ blade locks firmly, with no side-to-side play under pressure. The knife feels balanced in the hand, and in aggressive use, a good firm grip is easy to attain — aggressive jimping helps the user perform fine motions with thumb or finger on the top of the blade.
The lined handle is finished with an ambidextrous design; the pocket clip can be moved from side to side to accommodate left- or right-hand users.
The lock-back locking mechanism seems secure. I had no problems of accidental closure or unlocking during several hours of hard use.
The N690Co steel is hardened to a rockwell hardness of 58-60. While not super hard, the knife held an edge for quite a while through tough tasks.
To check the edge retention, I spent most of an afternoon hacking down saplings and limbing trees with the knife (not really recommended with a folding knife, but it did fine).
I put a few small dings into the cutting edge when errant swings pinged into rocks, but at the end of a couple long days of use, the knife was still useably sharp, slicing through over-ripe tomatoes and leaving a clean cut in its wake.
To really dull the knife (so I could resharpen it, of course) I used it to cut a bunch of sandpaper, and then as a paint scrapper while repainting a truck door.
After all these totally not-recommended practices, the blade was somewhat dull, but still useable.
I’m by no means a master sharpener, but I set to work with a whetstone and, after a half hour of steady honing, the nicks were gone from the edge and the knife was nicely sharp. I can’t really shave with it, but that’s more my fault than the knife’s.
A Big Pocket Knife
The Gekko 1500 is on the large size of pocket knives, and probably too big for most people’s EDC blade. That said, I find myself carrying it a lot.
It fits completely in the pockets of my jeans or shorts, and, while it does take up some real estate, it isn’t really a bother.
You need to be careful whipping this bad boy out in pubic, though. The blade length will make it illegal in some places, and it may strike fear into strangers for its size and hunting knife looks.
New Entry From Italy
As a brand, Steel Will is a newbie in the U.S. market. It hopped across the ocean this year offering about 40 tactical and outdoors models ranging from $40 to more than $300. The higher-end blades are made in Italy, while models under $150 are sourced in China and Taiwan.
The Gekko series are Italian, and they are nicely finished knives. The folding model I tested has precise manufacturing; everything seems to fit together perfectly with close tolerances.
Lots Of Knife
As I said, the Gekko 1500 Folder is a big folding blade, but I like it. For use in outdoors situations, it’s useful, durable and seems like it will last for many years. If you are looking for a primary tool, the fixed-blade version may be worth investigating.
It’s a handsome knife, and while you can certainly get a similarly useful blade for less money, this model is a pleasure to use. If you don’t mind paying for high end, you should be pleased with this hard working folder.
- Steel: N690C0
- Full Length: 8.98 inches
- Blade Length: 3.94 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.14”
- Folded Length: 4.89 inches
- Handle: Micarta
- Lock Type: Lock Back
- MSRP: $229.99
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