The Kershaw Tilt is a Holy Grail knife for some collectors. Most people know of Kershaw as a middle or lower-middle line knife manufacturer with great designs and innovative features. Among most knife enthusiast circles I’ve been a part of, Kershaw is a brand with a reputation for delivering a lot of bang for the buck. Kershaw also has several product lines with composite blades (at least two different steels used – one for the blade and one for the actual cutting edge).
Kershaw also has extremely robust manufacturing facilities, as evidenced by the Kershaw Tilt. Many enthusiasts consider the Tilt to be Kershaw thumbing its nose at higher priced knife manufacturers and some custom designers.
The Tilt was released (as best I can gather) in mid 2011. The price was around $225 USD. As a limited offer, most Tilts released were the stonewashed blade variation with a smaller number of the dark, DLC blades; all were numbered. These days it is extremely difficult to find one and the absolute cheapest I’ve seen them sold (this being Sept 2015) is $600, which is what I paid for mine. However, I’ve actually seen them go for $1000 already.
“Why in the world do people pay so much for this knife?” This is an honest question that can be answered in two parts: exclusivity and function. The exclusivity is pretty self explanatory; there are only around around 1000 Tilts in the world right now. Function is a lot more fun to talk about, though.
The Tilt is a composite blade made of 440 stainless steel and a super metal called Vanax 75 used for it’s cutting edge. Vanax 75 is described by the manufacturer thusly:
Never before used in a production knife, Udderholm Vanax 75 is a high-nitrogen stainless steel that has excellent corrosion resistance, very high wear resistance, and earns 60-61 on the Rockwell scale. Kershaw uses its patented Composite Blade technology to put this state-of-the-art performance steel on the Tilt’s cutting edge.
I can attest personally that this knife is wicked sharp and keeps an unbelievable edge. I didn’t used to be big into supermetals, but the Tilt made me a believer. The Tilt is also known for its buttery smooth action.
The Tilt features Kershaw’s KVT opening system for butter-smooth manual opening. Instead of a standard pivot hinge, the Tilt has ball bearings at the pivot point. Pull back on the ambidextrous blade protrusion, the ball bearings rotate, and the blade glides out of the handle quickly and easily.
The roller bearing Kershaw used for the Tilt opens with speed an authority and despite its odd looking ergonomics, it’s actually extremely comfortable in the hand. To be honest, I own a number of higher quality, exclusive knives and the Tilt can outperform almost all of them. It’s simply that good.
My rating for the Kershaw Tilt is 4.95 out of 5 stars. It doesn’t get a perfect 5 stars because some people don’t like how square the pocket clip is, but this is one of the best knives I’ve ever held or used.
“Will the Tilt ever be released again?” Nobody knows right now but I doubt it. I think Kershaw probably enjoys the exclusivity and near-mythic reputation this knife is garnering in knife circles. I suppose only time will tell, though.
- Blade length: 4 inches
- Closed length: 5.5 inches
- Blade material: Vanax 75 cutting edge / 420 stainless steel
- Handle material: carbon fiber / titanium
- Weight: 4.8 oz