United Cutlery / Gil Hibben GH5012
Auto Assist Folder

Review

This is my review of the United Cutlery GH5012 Auto Assist Tailwind Folder designed by Gil Hibben. The GH5012 has a partially serrated edge. Also available is the GH5011 with a non-serrated edge. These knives have a suggested retail price of $47.00 but can readily be found at knife dealers such as Smoky Mountain Knifeworks ( http://www.smkw.com ) for around $28.00.

I purchased this knife a few months ago from Gil Hibben and I have been carrying and using it daily. The photos are of my own personal EDC knife so it does show some dirt and signs of use.

First, the basic information:
It is 4 1/2 inches closed and about 7 3/4 inches opened. It is manufactured in China for United Cutlery and is based on Gil Hibben's design. The 3 1/4 inch blade is 440 stainless steel although I notice that Smoky Mountain Knifeworks mistakenly listed it as 420. The handles are anodized aluminum and it has a steel pocket/belt clip. It weighs 5.1 ounces so it is not the lightest folder around but it is not noticeably heavy either. Although the pocket clip is not reversible, there is a thumb stud on both sides of the blade for ambidextrous use.

The knife utilizes United's patented "tailwind" spring assisted opening which means that once you manually open the blade about 30 degrees the spring takes over and opens the blade the rest of the way.

In use, I found that the blade was a little stiff in opening. It can be difficult unless you have your grip just right and it takes a pretty good push to get it moving. And I found that the blade sometimes stopped just a little short of the fully open locked position (as seen in the 3rd picture above) requiring me to give it another little nudge for the lock to engage. The tension is adjustable so it might be that I just need to experiment with it a little. UPDATE: A minor adjustment to the pivot screw tension and a drop of oil has this knife snapping open like a champ.

The knife is a liner lock and once it is fully open it does lock up nice and solid with no play in the blade.

Releasing the serrated locking tab and closing the blade is a very easy one-hand operation.

The knife has a nice slim profile and it is as comfortable in the hand as it is in the pocket.

Performance: I have been using the knife for a few months now in everyday tasks such as opening boxes or cutting string and plastic. I have sharpened it a couple of times. It takes an extremely keen, very sharp edge. In use it does seems to dull a little quicker than I would like but it is very quick and easy to touch up the edge and bring it back to razor sharp. I have given it some moderate use and I have no problems with the edge chipping or deforming in any way.

The edge has a nice secondary bevel on the straight part and the serrated rearward 1/3 of the blade is ground from one side only. Personally I am not a big fan of serrated blades but that's just a matter of personal choice. I decided to give it a try with this one but I would be just as happy with a straight blade.

The anodized aluminum handle has a vented steel plate over it which looks good and lightens the load but it is a trap for dirt and pocket lint.

The pocket clip is probably a little longer than it needs to be but it's not really that noticeable.

Overall, I like this knife a lot and plan to continue carrying it as my everyday use knife. I will play with the blade tension a little to see if I can get a little easier opening. In reality, I don't think spring assisted knives don't really bring that much to the table. I can open the same non-assisted model just as easily and quickly as the assisted model to tell you the truth but assisted openers are the hot thing right now.

In any event, this is a very good value for the price. It is a well designed and solidly built knife of a practical size. It performs well in normal everyday tasks and I feel it would also hold up well in heavy use. I would recommend this knife in this price range.

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