Kershaw Knives

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Kershaw Knives/Kai USA Ltd.
FoundedPortland, Oregon
1974; 45 years ago (1974)
HeadquartersTualatin, Oregon
Key people
Jack Igarashi, Chief of North American Operations, Kai USA ltd., Pete Kershaw, Founder
Number of employees

Kershaw Knives designs, sources and manufactures a wide range of knives, including pocketknives, sporting knives, and kitchen cutlery. Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd., a member of the KAI Group, headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon, United States.[1]


Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs.[2][3][4] Early manufacturing was primarily done in Japan. In 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the KAI Group.[2][4][5] In 1997 the U.S. production facility was opened in Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to an expanding market, the facilities were moved to a larger production site in 2003. Currently, Kai USA manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin, Oregon. Other products are imported from Japanese and Chinese factories.[4]

Kai USA Ltd. has three lines of products; Kershaw Knives brand of sporting and pocketknives, Shun Cutlery, handcrafted Japanese kitchen cutlery,[4] and Zero Tolerance, a line of premium and professional knives.

Kershaw has collaborated with custom knife makers including Hall of Fame knife maker Ken Onion on Kershaw's SpeedSafe knives,[6][7] Ernest Emerson, Grant and Gavin Hawk, Frank Centofante, Rick Hinderer and RJ Martin.[8]

In 2002, Kershaw released a Steven Seagal model featuring stingray leather on the handle.[9][10]

A Kershaw Leek Assisted-opening knife in action.

Kai USA Ltd. and its Kershaw, Zero Tolerance, and Shun brands have won many industry awards. In May 2005, Kai USA Ltd. won four of the top awards at the Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.[11] This was the first time in the show's history that one company won this number of awards in one year: 2005 Overall Knife of the Year, 2005 Most Innovative American Design, 2005 Kitchen Knife of the Year, and 2005 Knife Collaboration of the Year.[11]

In June 2007, Kai USA won the Blade Show's "Overall Knife of the Year Award" with the Kershaw "Tyrade" (model 1850), in which the company's patent-pending Composite Blade technology using two different steels in the same blade was introduced.[12] The blade steels were D2 tool steel at the cutting edge, and a spine of 154CM stainless steel.

In 2009 Kershaw won an award for the Speedform (model 3500). In 2010, Kershaw won "American Made Knife of the Year" for the Tilt (model 4001) and Shun won "Kitchen Knife of the Year" for the Shun Premier line.[13] Zero Tolerance's 0777 won "Overall Knife of the Year," the ZT-Rick Hinderer 0560/0561 won "Collaboration of the Year," and the Shun Fuji line won "Kitchen Knife of the Year" in the 2011 Blade Show.[14]

Then in 2012, Kai USA Ltd. repeated its four-win sweep of the Blade Show awards. The Zero Tolerance 0888 won "Overall Knife of the Year", while the 0600 won for "Collaboration of the Year". The Kershaw Cryo won 2012's "Best Buy of the Year" and the Shun Taiyo was the 2012 "Kitchen Knife of the Year." [15]


  • Kershaw Knives: Pocketknives and sporting knives designed for every day use, camping, hunting and fishing
  • Zero Tolerance Knives: Premium knives developed in loose collaboration with custom knife makers for the law enforcement and military markets.[8]
  • Shun Cutlery: Handcrafted kitchen cutlery
  • Kai Housewares: Kitchen cutlery and household products
  • Priyanka India Pvt. Ltd.: Stainless Steel Kitchen cutlery and household products


In the television show Person of Interest, the character John Reece (played by Jim Caviezel) is frequently seen using a Kershaw Blur.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Voyles, J. Bruce (1985). "Knives in the Northwest". Blade. 13 (4): 38.
  2. ^ a b Pacella, Gerard (2002), 100 Legendary Knives, Iola, USA, Krause Publications, 145. ISBN 0-87349-417-2
  3. ^ Inman, Naomi (2002)"Birds and Bees: How Businesses Are Really Born, Business is blooming—Oregon’s outdoor retail industry leads the world.", Brainstorm NorthWest Magazine, October 2002
  4. ^ a b c d "Kershaw Knives", American Handgunner, May–June, 2005
  5. ^ "KAI acquires the balance of Universal" Chain Drug Review, January, 2007
  6. ^ Cascio, Pat(2007). 'Kershaw's Latest Tactical Folders', Knives Illustrated, February 2007
  7. ^ Gardner, Jim (2004) "Sweet Onions", Guns Magazine, June 2004
  8. ^ a b Ewing, Dexter (2013). "Factories Drink From the Custom Maker Well". In Joe Kertzman (ed.). Knives 2014: The World's Greatest Knife Book (34 ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 42–46. ISBN 978-1-4402-3700-3.
  9. ^ Cascio,Pat. (2003). "Steven Seagal's Knife", Tactical Knives Magazine, November 2003
  10. ^ Campbell, Robert K. (13 March 2009). The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection & Home Defense. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 118. ISBN 1-4402-2443-9.
  11. ^ a b "Kershaw Knives". American Handgunner. May–June 2006. 15 Jul. 2008.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Shackleford, Steve (2007). "Hand Salute the Blade Magazine Knives of the Year". Blade Magazine. November 2007
  13. ^ "2010 Blade Magazine Award Winners - The Knife Blog". 2 June 2011. Archived from the original on 7 December 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Blade 2011". Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Kai's the Limit". Blade Magazine. November 2012.
  16. ^ "Any Person of Interest Fans Out There? - Kershaw Knives". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2018.

External links[edit]