As a reviewer, and griper in the cutlery world, I’m pretty obsessed with ‘fit and finish’, that is, makers’ treatment of the little details that may not be a big deal, but, when done right, show mastery.
Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about big, deal-breaking issues. Problems with the lockup, blade sharpness, or the folding mechanisms aren’t ‘crappy finishing’, they’re just problems with a ‘crappy knife’. Calling a folding knife with these kinds of problems ‘poorly finished’ is like calling a car with no brakes ‘an exciting driving experience’. Yeah, it’s true, but much like a sheepsfoot blade, it’s completely missing the point.
Instead, to me, good fit and finish is all about the effort put into the details of construction that aren’t crucial but do show that you, as a maker, give a damn. These are details like the smoothness of the action, with an effortless glide on bearings, or a smooth consistent open on phosphor-bronze washers. Details like a smooth, consistent grind with symmetrical edge bevel(s). Details like a well-centered blade when closed, tight, gap-less fit with backspacers, and smooth transitions between scales and liners. Heck, even niceties like well-done engraving and etching, non-free-spinning screws, and any number of my other knife gripes are fit and finish issues, and when done right, show masterful work.
*Photo courtesy of Knife News