Tsar Bomba wrote:My Osage #29 arrived today.
The good news is the knife is a looker. GEC has done some good things with the Tidioute brand and Osage orange wood in the past, and this knife doesn't disappoint. The handles are great-looking, hafted perfectly, and the knife's level of finish just works for the overall aesthetic. It is exactly how I wanted the knife to look. Unfortunately, I would also like to carry this piece and get some of that skin oil character into that pristine Osage orange wood.
I say "would" because this transaction has a bad side, too. For those who don't want to read bad things about Great Eastern, stop right now.
The best thing about the mechanics of the knife is that none of the blades have any side-to-side wobble and the secondary sheepsfoot blade snaps open and closed fairly strongly for a 3-spring knife.
The worst thing about the mechanics of the knife is "everything else."
The master clip blade opens softly, barely snaps open, and barely stays open due to the spring tension. It is comically easy to get the blade to start closing from the open position, and while it might not be an issue with light/medium use, it does not even approach the usual high standards of GEC craftsmanship.
And that's not even the worst part. The punch, which was a primary reason I bought this particular knife, suffers the same soft-open and lazy-opening-snap problems, plus one extra: The spring tension is not anywhere enough to keep it in place. It has up-down movement when the blade is supposed to be fully open. Again, this is a punch, a tool which necessarily would need to provide a little stability to do the job it was designed for. With the beveled edge on the closing side of the punch, I see any number of ways someone can pretty seriously cut or gouge themselves because of this lazy "lock-up" (and yes, I know none of the tools actually lock).
I am starting to see the diminishing returns associated with manufacturers increasing their output without substantially upgrading their workforce or tooling, and this is by far the worst example I've noticed yet. I'm highly disappointed for two reasons: The dealer doesn't seem to think this is a valid reason to take the knife back (and exchange for another of the same kind after a token check of the tools to see if they suffer the same defects!) and this does not in ANY way reflect the workmanship and quality I expect out of a $120 American pocket knife. For a few dollars more I could replace this with one of the recent multi-blade Lionsteels and I know it will be rock-solid and punch well above its weight class.
This is compounded by the fact that I have one of the burnt sienna jigged bone Tidioute #29s in the mail, and if it suffers from the same problems as the Osage version then I'm going to have nearly $240 into two knives that just do not "cut the mustard," at least one of which was intended to be a regular user. I was looking forward to the #29 run since the day the variants were announced, but this has really dampened my enthusiasm.
I know this is not a problem with the #29 frame and its 3-spring construction, because my Maher & Grosh Appaloosa model is built on the same frame and spring layout and it is snappy, tight, and does not disappoint mechanically. I know the #29 CAN be built properly...I just can't be sure if GEC was willing to put the same effort into it as we've always expected from them.
So now I have to decide if I fight the dealer for an exchange, demand a refund based on the fact that it's a brand new knife, or give up and send the knife into GEC to do what they can do. If the problems persist with the bone version, I may have to give up on the punch, request refunds for both, and just buy a couple more M&Gs.
Anyone else experience this lazy, loose action on any of the GEC main-line #29s?
Tony, sorry you are having issues with your 29, I've received 6 or so now and one, the acrylic , had a lighter pull on the main than I would like, I flushed it and lubed it and it is better but still lighter than the others. There must be something in the assembly process that causes this. I just received a bloodwood that the action is perfect right out of the tube so maybe as they are getting further into the run assembly is getting better.
I was surprised at your report of the punch having issues as that is the first I have herd of any of the secondary blades having issues, all my secondaries including the weak main acrylic are just about perfect.It sure sounds like you got a real turkey with your osage, I'm also surprised the dealer won't take it back, I've never returned one but I've read of others returning knives to GEC dealers with no hassle so not sure why yours is just not telling you to send it back. If no satisfaction from the dealer I would send it back to GEC and maybe find another dealer.
Hope you have better luck with the others, let us know how the bone 29 is.