Kershaw Knives was founded in 1974 in Portland, Oregon, by a knife salesman named Pete Kershaw. He previously worked with the well-known Gerber Precision Knives company, where he had begun to come up with his own knife designs. The Kershaw Knives company was Pete Kershaw's opportunity to produce and market his own knives. Today, Kershaw is one of the leading knife companies in the United States and worldwide.
At its founding, the Kershaw Company manufactured most of its knives in Japan despite being an American company. Kershaw has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese KAI Group since 1977. Today, most Kershaw knives are produced in facilities in Wilsonville or Tualatin, Oregon, although some are still produced overseas. Kershaw Knives is very much an American company, and has maintained offices as well as production facilities in the United States since its founding.
Today, the Kershaw company designs and produces many different types of knives, including hunting and outdoor knives, pocketknives, and a wide selection of kitchen cutlery. There are three main product lines: Kershaw Knives for hunting and outdoor knives as well as pocketknives and other basic styles, Shun Cutlery for kitchen cutlery, and Zero Tolerance or ZT, a unique line of combat-style knives designed for police, military, and related uses.
Although Kershaw makes many different knife styles, they are perhaps best known for their hunting knives. Many of their knife models are designed for specific hunting and outdoor tasks, such as the aptly named "deer hunting" and "antelope hunter" knives. The Kershaw Knives inventory is categorized by use, including pocket/utility, fishing, hunting/outdoor, police/military, and water sports. Kershaw also produces a range of knife-related tools and accessories, such as sharpeners.
Kershaw kitchen knives under the Shun Cutlery name are also well reviewed, although many have noted that they do require frequent sharpening to maintain their extreme sharpness. Kershaw steel knives are known for being strong and durable, with a well balanced and easy-to-use handle and blade design.
Although Kershaw offers a complimentary sharpening service for their knives, Kershaw knife sharpeners are also available. These make a great choice if you want to use your knife often or don't want the hassle of having to send it in for sharpening. Kershaw knife sharpeners also make an excellent choice for sharpening non-Kershaw knives. The range of sharpeners includes the Ultra-Tek sharpening stick with 600 grit diamond coated shaft and the Shun electric knife sharpener designed to quickly sharpen kitchen cutlery.
Kershaw Knives has won numerous awards over the years for various knife designs, including SpeedSafe opening mechanisms for one-handed opening of folding knives. Recent developments in knife technology at Kershaw include a process for manufacturing knife blades using two different steels in the same blade. They are also known for several collaborative projects in knife design, including a 2004 model which had authentic stingray leather covering the handle. Recently, Kershaw won the prestigious "Knife of the Year" award. Besides knife quality, Kershaw is also known for its lifetime warrantee; all Kershaw products are guaranteed against defects for life.