An enviable everyday carry folder, the Random Leek by Kershaw puts a fine point on precision cutting tasks…and looks cool doing it!

by Dexter Ewing; photos by Marty Stanfield Photography

The Kershaw Leek was designed by custom knifemaker Ken Onion to be a stylish, useful, and easy-to-carry EDC folding knife. This model is currently one of Kershaw’s bestselling designs, as it has spawned variants with handle material, blade material, and now a blade shape variant known as the model 1660R Random Leek. You might ask, “how did the Random Leek get its name?” Very fair question. To answer, there first needs to be a history lesson.

Rewind back to 1999. Kershaw Knives introduced the model 1510 Random Task assisted-opening folder designed by Ken Onion. The Random Task featured a 3 ¼-inch long reverse tanto blade made of premium CPM 440V stainless steel. The reverse tanto blade is a sibling to the sheepsfoot blade. The sheepsfoot has a blade tip that curves downward to meet the straight-line cutting edge. With a reverse tanto, the tip angles down sharply to meet the cutting edge. Think of an upside down tanto blade and you get the idea.

The Random Leek today (top) and its predecessor Random Task (below).

During the early 2000s, Kershaw began producing an exclusive variant of the Leek for the now defunct knife retail chain called Chesapeake Knife & Tool, which primarily had stores in upscale shopping malls located in the mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast of the USA. Kershaw took the blade of the Random Task and fit it to the handle of the Leek, therefore calling it the Random Leek. The original Random Leeks were sold only through Chesapeake Knife & Tool stores, and it featured an S30V blade offered in both plain edge and part serrated edge and was all black DLC-coated — handle and blade. Several years later, the Chesapeake Knife & Tool retail chain went out of business and closed all locations. Also gone was the original 1660TCKT Random Leek.

Until now.

Kershaw revived the Random Leek design and made it a part of the standard Leek lineup, starting in 2021.

What we have here is identical to the original Random Leek sold by CK&T except for the blade steel. The dimensions are also the same. The reverse tanto blade measures three inches and is made from Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, which holds a very good edge and is rather easy to resharpen. Dual thumb studs primarily serve as the blade stop when the blade is open, as they come to rest against the handles, and are out of the way during use. A hollow grind is used to give the Random Leek its bite, as it thins the edge out nicely for a shaving-sharp edge right out of the box. A flipper tab allows the Random Leek’s blade to be opened easily. Touch the flipper, push on it a bit, and then the Speed Safe assisted-opening action takes over and propels the blade open the rest of the way.

The slender handle is machined from 410 stainless steel. One of the reasons why the Leek series has been an excellent seller for Kershaw is that it is a slender knife that carries very easily in the pocket. This gives you a folding knife that is pocket-friendly but also has some heft to it, so you know you are holding a quality cutting tool.

Securing the blade is a frame lock, which is integral to one of the handle slabs. The frame lock’s lock bar is cut and bent out from the handle slab. Generally, this is a preferred blade lock for those who use their knives with vigor because the frame lock’s lock bar is the same width as the handle scale. The frame lock locks the blade up securely, yet easily releases with the press of your thumb, allowing the lock bar to swing out of the way so you can close the knife.

The steel pocket clip fastens the Random Leek to the pocket, keeping it within easy reach. A second set of clip screw holes lets you remount the clip to carry the knife in the tip-up configuration.

Regarding performance, the Random Leek is definitely geared for cutting work. I must first caution you on the blade tip. Because of the hollow grind, the angle’s reverse tanto blade tip is fairly thin. DO NOT use the blade to pry up on anything or even twist the blade while cutting. Tip breakage will occur if you do, and this is something that Kershaw does not honor as a part of the warranty. So, treat the Random Leek as the precision cutting tool that it is. That said, the thin tip is excellent at doing precise cutting or scoring work. It slices cardboard very easily. It cuts through thick plastic lawn edging like nobody’s business. It even cleaves thick rubber hose like it wasn’t there.

Fine-point cutting is the hallmark of this folder.

I am sure most, if not all, of you are familiar with what an X-Acto knife is. The Random Leek is basically the folding version of an X-Acto knife! At seven inches overall, the Random Leek punches well above its size in terms of performance. The 14C28N steel holds an edge respectfully well. Resharpening shouldn’t be an issue, especially if you use diamond sharpeners. The straight-line cutting edge is always easier to maintain than blades with belly to them. Again, I cannot stress enough regarding the blade tip thinness. If you are generally rough with a knife or do any sort of twisting while cutting, this is not your knife. Use a firm pulling motion only and you should be fine.

For an EDC folding knife that combines style, high functionality, and great looks all into one easy-to-manage package, the Random Leek checks all the boxes. Available in plain edge only, the Random Leek is offered in two variants. Model 1660R has an all-bead-blast finish and currently retails for $99.99. Model 1660RBW has Kershaw’s Blackwash finish for low visibility and retails for $115.99.

Dexter has been writing about knives for over 25 years. He currently serves as Field Editor for BLADE Magazine, and he runs a knife and tool sharpening service. Dexter has a passion for knives and knife collecting. His specialty is production (factory-made) knives and the trends and technology associated with them.

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