JE Made: Doing It With Style
Checking Out the Lambfoot
Let’s get this out of the way, right up front. Yes, JE Made is a Chinese company, owned by knife maker named ChenYiJi. However, this not a stereotypical Chinese knife company, where the quality is questionable at best. JE Made knives are made by hand in small batches, not in mass quantities on an assembly line.
As a result, the quality is comparable to anything you’ll find at a similar price point built in the United States. The Lambfoot is one of their latest folding knife models. It is available in a few different handle configurations. The one shown here is Vintage Micarta.
The Lambfoot is the third knife from JE Made that I’ve owned and I’ve been impressed with all of them. Here are the basic specs of this model:
- Overall length: 7.08 inches
- Blade length: 3.15 inches
- Steel: M390
- Weight: 2.5 ounces
This is a pretty traditional slip joint construction, with a positive stop at 90° as well as at full open. The action isn’t stiff, but there is enough tension that there’s little concern for the blade to just fall open. Rather than a small nail nick, there is a groove that runs most of the length of the spine. It is ambidextrous, as the groove is present on both sides of the blade.
The handle on this model is two-tone Micarta, but as noted earlier there are several other options available. There’s a large lanyard hole at the end the handle, for those who like to adorn their knives with them. The handle is comfortable in the hand, widening slightly at the end.
This is a sheepsfoot blade profile, but modified just a bit from what we might think of as the standard. The sheepsfoot is characterized by a straight edge with a parallel spine that curves down to meet the point. This curve is usually fairly steep, resulting in a point that isn’t particularly sharp. With the Lambfoot, the curve is much shallower, creating a pointier tip than you might find on other sheepsfoot knives. The spine also has a slight dip in it, just before that curve. This creates a comfortable place to rest a thumb or finger while you’re doing detail work.
The sheepsfoot blade shape was originally designed for trimming, well, sheep hooves. Today, it is found on many utility sorts of knives, and for good reason. The blade profile is great for any number of chores, from cutting cordage to stripping insulation. There’s a lot of steel behind the point of the blade, strengthening it. The downside, if there is one, with the Lambfoot blade is that the point is significantly sharper than I’ve found on other sheepsfoot blades. I don’t consider that a drawback by any stretch, but it is something worthy of note, especially if you’re looking for something you could use as a rescue knife of some sort, which is a common knife category for sheepsfoot blades.
M390 is a powdered steel from Bohler-Uddenholm. It is known for being durable as well as fairly corrosion-resistant. It should hold an edge for a good while under routine use. It is technically a tool steel, made for the real world rather than just being polished to look good on a shelf.
One thing I noticed right off is how…unnoticeable…the Lambfoot is in the pocket. At less than three ounces, it adds very little weight to the daily carry. The groove at the top of the blade makes it easy to open the knife. I feel like it provides a lot of added purchase or traction for your finger and thumb.
I used the Lambfoot as my daily carry knife for a few weeks, tossing it into my pocket every time I left the house. Every time I had a box to cut open or break down, the Lambfoot was put to work. It was used for slicing apples for lunch, cutting up cordage for various projects, and even a bit of whittling.
It still remains paper-shaving sharp. Now granted, I didn’t take it out to a construction site to see if I could use it to cut apart concrete blocks or some such nonsense. But, it has held up quite well to routine use.
The sheepsfoot blade is quite handy and the narrow tip on this variation is great for detail work. Not quite a razor knife, but along the same lines.
The open and close action still has a fair amount of “snap” to it, even after extended use. If I had to pick something I didn’t like about the knife, it is that the tension on opening the knife is almost a bit too much.
I’ll admit that I’ve grown spoiled by automatic and assisted-open knives in the last few years. It is so easy to just pop the blade open with one of them, y’know? However, I’m a traditionalist at heart and will always have a fondness for a slip joint knife. For many of us, that’s what we started with when we were kids, right? Whether it was a Buck 110 or maybe a Swiss Army Knife, it was something that usually required two hands to open and close.
With a price tag north of $200, I wouldn’t suggest the Lambfoot is a beginner’s knife by any stretch. However, it is an incredibly well-made knife that in many ways harkens back to the days when folding knives were the do-it-all tool we carried everywhere.