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Departments : Blades & Tools

Emerson Knives HD-7

This 10th anniversary commemorative knife is more than just a collector’s item.

June 01, 2005  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author

In this world there are many items whose names are synonymous with quality: Ferrari, Zeiss, Rolex. In the world of knives, Emerson is such an item. The name Emerson on a knife or related product assures the owner/operator of a quality product that will survive whatever you can throw at it. The new Emerson HD-7 is just such a knife.

Last year was the 10th anniversary of Emerson Knives. To celebrate this milestone achievement the company was scheduled to produce a commemorative version of the CQC-7, the knife that started it all. Well, there were several delays in getting the new HD-7 knife to the market. But some things are worth waiting for.

There were many reasons for the delay, from fine-tuning the machining of the frame to perfecting the smooth opening and closing of the blade.

Some major stumbling blocks Emerson had to overcome included using titanium for the frame and using a frame lock instead of a liner lock, a first for Emerson Knives. My understanding is titanium is a bear to machine and tough on tools. It’s also expensive, so you don’t want to screw up the frame blanks. From discussions I’ve had with the company, this was one of the major setbacks to the production of the HD-7. From what I see of the HD-7, the wait was worth it.

The other challenge in creating the HD-7 was using G10 stainless steel for the frame without a frame liner. The company eventually found a way to make the panel thick enough to provide support, yet thin enough to function as a pocket clip-it knife.

The heart of any knife is the blade, and Emerson Knives manufactures some of the best blades in the industry. The HD-7 uses 154 CM premium blade steel and it is hardened 57-59 RC. This combination yields a blade that is strong, holds an edge, and is easily sharpened.

Unlike many knives on the market today, Emerson’s HD-7 has a single-edge blade, which is stronger and holds a better edge. The single edge is also easy to sharpen with a sharpening system such as one from Gacto or Lansky.

To meet operators’ needs, the HD-7’s tanto blade is available in several styles. The first choice is a plain or serrated blade. Some will debate the virtue of serrations, but I have found them to work wonders on seat belts and parachute/rappelling harnesses. The other option is to have a flat blackcoated blade or a bead-blasted steel blade.

Another prominent blade feature is the “Wave.” This U notch allows you to open the HD-7 while drawing it from your pocket or a pouch, bringing the knife into action virtually immediately. The HD-7 also has a thumb stud to open the blade for traditionalists.

A fine knife blade is nothing more than a shiv without a frame/grip and is tough to carry on duty. The HD-7 uses a two-piece frame. One side is G10 and the other is titanium. They’re secured with a pivot pin/screw and three stainless screws. Both halves are machined to exacting tolerances. Titanium and G10 both cut down on the weight of the knife while being durable. The drawback is that both are tough to machine. Emerson Knives overcame these obstacles and has made a knife that it tough with a blade that opens and closes as smoothly as silk.

The HD-7 is the culmination of years of knife making for Ernest Emerson and his crew. If there is an option or material that is used in knife making, the HD-7 combines them all. I have owned several Emerson Knives and the HD-7 is an improvement over them. If you are a knife user or collector, check out the Emerson Knives HD-7.

Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman. 

Tags: Emerson Knives

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