The Skyline is often regarded as a reference point. A knife we compare other knives to. It’s also a damn good Every Day Carry (EDC) blade.
Back when I originally reviewed the Skyline in 2010 it was among the first reviews to be published on the site. It was a great knife then. Today, it is just as relevant and excellent of a knife.
This is an in-house design from Kershaw, meaning it wasn’t designed by a popular custom knife maker, and I doubt that when they originally created the knife they expected to have such a run away success on their hands. The Kershaw Skyline is an American-made, high-value, lightweight, EDC knife with all the features you would expect from a modern folding knife that is widely available and accessible at almost any budget.
General Dimensions and Blade Steel
The Skyline has an overall length of 7.375″, a 3.125″ long blade, weighs 2.3 ounces, and is made in the USA. In addition to being long and light, the knife is slim, measuring an inch across when closed and 3/8″ wide. The Skyline is ideal for EDC.
The Skyline sports a long spearpoint blade shape with a plain edge and a hollow saber grind. This is a very practical blade shape that is good for piercing and slicing. It is surprising how much blade you get considering the weight. The full size blade and handle lend a lot of versatility to a little 2.3 ounce knife.
The blade, liner, and pocket clip are all made of Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. This is a hearty Swedish steel that holds an edge well and is easy to sharpen. My Skyline came sharp out of the box and is easy to maintain. The blade and the clip has a beadblasted finish. This isn’t my favorite finish, because it is more susceptible to rust than a stonewash or satin finish, but it works here (especially at the price).
Given the tremendous popularity of the Skyline, Kershaw has released this knife in a number of different handle colors and blade steels (including carbon fiber covers, a damscus blade, etc). So the knife can also have a collectible element to it if you want to go that route.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle of this knife is made of lightly textured G10. The G10 is lightweight, feels nice and provides decent grip. The liner lock has received some jimping which works well however the spine of the knife has no jimping at all, which means your thumb has no real grip on the top of the knife when in use. This can be a problem, especially if you were to do some stabbing or thrust type cuts or were working with something like slimy foods, and is one of my few complaints with this knife.
The Skyline has a a pocket clip that allows for tip up or tip down carry. I found the clip to be very tight and I had to bend it with a plastic spatula before I got the desired pocket retention – an easy adjustment. One problem I do have with the clip is that it is not ambidextrous. Being left handed, this is something of a concern, and I would prefer if they drilled and tapped the handles for 4 way carry. They may have opted not to do that because there is only 1 liner.
The pocket clip rides fairly low in the pocket, there is about an inch of knife sticking up when the clip is mounted for tip up carry. I would prefer a lower riding clip, but the knife is still pretty discrete.
Deployment and Lock
The Skyline uses a flipper to open the blade. This was back before flippers were cool. Consequently, it does not have the dialed in, rocket the blade out action that we have come to expect on modern flippers. You need to pre-load the flipper tab or use your wrist to ensure fast opening, but it certainly gets the job done. There are thumb studs, but they are primarily blade stops. You can use the thumb stud if you are right handed to roll the blade open, but the flipper is the preferred way of opening the knife. Inside there are phosphor bronze washers, a feature typically found on higher end knives – especially when this knife originally came out.
The Skyline uses a liner lock to lock the blade open. This knife has only one steel liner (on the side of the lock) which greatly reduces the weight and thickness of the knife. I think this was a wise decision by Kershaw although some might prefer a beefier knife. In that case, I would simply suggest buying a bigger knife. The lock itself performs admirably. I like liner locks in general and this knife has a good one. Blade centering on my knife is perfect.
Kershaw Skyline – Final Thoughts
This is an amazing knife that has stood the test of time. The build quality is extremely high. Everything feels nice, the knife is well put together, and the materials are all of high quality. The Skyline is thin, lightweight and unassuming, which makes it an idea choice for EDC. I often forget that I have it in my pocket. For around $40, you can use it guilt free.
In a perfect world, the Skyline would come with a 4 way pocket clip to ensure maximum versatility, and the detent strength would be improved to ensure better flipping action. Beyond that it is tough to find fault with the Skyline.
There is a reason why the Skyline remains so popular among knife enthusiasts for years and years – it is excellent.