Friday, January 9, 2009

Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt Review

We've recently had the opportunity to evaluate the Direkt tactical folder manufactured overseas by Boker. It's another in a long line of innovative designs from Mr. Chad Los Banos, who calls Hawaii home. Chad resurrected the German cutlery giant with his fresh take on tactical designs and they just keep getting better. Chad has a background in blade-based martial arts, which I appreciated, as I have been a student of a Filipino knife and stick system. He also works in the corrections "industry" and has no doubt dealt with his fair share of unsavory characters who have used violence as a tool to meet their desperate and shady needs. It goes without saying that Chad Los Banos knows how to design a knife that can stand up to real world utility use while also providing comforting backup to those who may venture into harm's way. If you post, or lurk on EDC Forums, you may know Chad as 'Daywalker'. Chad is always friendly and open online, and appreciative of his success in the knife design game. I've had the opportunity to chat with Chad via email, and he's a very nice guy, and very humble, even though most of his knife designs are sure bragging rights, Los Banos keeps it real, and seems to live in the real world. We look forward to seeing what comes out of Chad's creative brain, and out of Boker's factories in the near future.

Quick tech-specs: Overall length: 8¾“. Blade length: 3 5/8“. Weight: 4.2 oz. with a blade of 440C stainless and G10 handle slabs.

JEH aka: Discomfort had this to say about Boker's Chad Los Banos Direkt folder:
"Seems as though I beat Aaron to the punch here on reviewing the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt, but I'm sure Aaron will have a different review then I considering we do have different tastes in blades and even different uses, plus I'm sure Aaron's write up will be in more detail and more enjoyable to read considering he is an amazing wordsmith where as I will be cut n' dry and give my opinion about this very nice knife that I have had the privilege of carrying around and using at work.
At first glance when looking at the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt closed I thought "Why in the hell does it have a tail fin on it?" That's when Aaron informed me that it was the flip opener, I put the knife in my pocket carrying it tip down, as that is the way it comes and the flip got caught on my pocket when I would draw the knife, I initially thought this was a poor design, the flip just protruded a bit to much to be carried in the pocket. Being that this knife was not mine but was mine for a short period of time so I could give my thoughts and opinions about it, Aaron told me it was okay for me to change the clip and carry the knife tip up. So with the help of my Benchmade tool and some Loctight from work I changed the clip so I could carry tip up, which is my prefered method of all my EDC's and now I don't see the flip as a flaw at all, in fact now I love opening the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt with the flip method, it opens smooth and fast. Really this blade is so well weighted that it opens with a gravity flawlessly each time and glides open with the thumb studs with the greatest of ease.
One thing I was really impressed about with the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt was the milled G10 scales, the grip is solid, the knife fits snug in the hand and with the blade open the flipper also acts as an index guard and makes the knife feel that much more snug.
The Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt is feather light and rides like a cloud in the pocket, I'm sure this attribute can be credited to the minimal amount of metal that is used between the G10 scales
The Chad Los Banos Direkt I have been using is the combo edge titanium coated 440c with the serrations near the tip of the blade which I like very much, I feel like I use less pressure cutting with the serrations then if they were near the back, but for some reason I didn't feel like the plain edge cut as well, it still cut nice and smooth and is sharp as hell, I just feel like the position of the plain edge doesn't allow the blade to get a good cut going. Maybe it's my lack of experience with this style of blade and the serrations are supposed to start the cutting and the plain edge is supposed to finish the cut off. By any means I don't want my last comment to deter anyone from checking out this knife, especially for the price and quality. At you can pick one up for a mere $47 and have a very fine tool at your disposal. In fact after I give this knife back to it's rightful owner I'm going to pick one up.
Aside from being a great cutting tool, the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt fits well enough in the hand it would be used as a mini kubaton/impact device for self defense purposes.
If you looking for a well priced, well made light weight tool or self defense weapon the Boker Chad Los Banos Direkt should be one of the first knives you look at, it will not let you down."
I think Disc. summed it up very nicely. Eric, Discomfort and myself [Aaron] have all had time using and playing with this piece. Eric liked the grip pattern of the G10 in particular and the light weight. I appreciate the open construction for easy cleaning and the blackened blade. I was eager to see how it really performed in Disc's hands, as he uses tactical folding knives hard daily. If it passes his 'real world' work test, I know it's a knife built to last. Eric evaluated the knife in its 'out of the box' tip-down carry and commented on how the index flipper tended to be difficult to draw and deploy in that configuration. It should be noted that I had contacted Mr. Los Banos himself, who recommended that ALL of his designs be reconfigured for tip-up carry. Now I see why! The Direkt knife in particular seems as though Chad intended it to be carried this way, though Boker chose to manufacture it with the clip placement for tip-down carry for some reason. I really think Los Banos' placement of the serrated portion near the tip is unique and quite functional. As Discomfort stated above, he felt as if he had to generally use less pressure for utility cuts.
I used the Direkt at work to break down cardboard from cases of canned pet food, open freight at some stores where my employer's products are sold and I even used the tip to trim hangnails! Eric carried the Direkt for awhile and used it for several daily utility chores. Everyone I showed this knife to assumed it was in the $80-$200 range! I would think so too, and it should be noted that IMO, Chad's designs look like they are from 10 or 12 years from now!

One thing I thought was nice was that, while 440C is not a "buzzword" supersteel, we here at S, B and T have yet to sharpen it in the weeks we've been using the Direkt! 440C stainless has worked well for many types of knives for many decades and will continue to serve knife users well, regardless of what high tech alloy becomes the flavor-of-the-month in the coming years.

I think it's safe to say that all of us were extremely impressed with the Direkt folder's thin profile, minimal weight and overall cutting ability. I bought one of the fat little Chad/Boker Subcom folders a couple years back, and it's been clipped into my Maxpedition wallet ever since!

Whether the venerable little Subcom series, or the longer, meaner looking Direkt, Chad and Boker continue to crank out the hits. These knives perform at a level well above nearly all other knives in this inexpensive price range. If you're in the market for a capable workhorse knife that won't weigh you down and looks good while kicking ass, check out the Chad Los Banos range of knives by Boker.

Boker USA

and check out Chad's website CLB Design

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