I don't think that venture turned out to be what they were hoping for, and Case decided it was best to keep things in house and looked into manufacturing modern folders in their Bradford facility. In 2021 Case released their take on the modern pocketknife with the release of the Kinzua and Marilla. They seemed to be a decent success for them, and this year they've followed it up with their first assisted pocketknife, the Westline.
The Westline comes in at 4.5 inches closed, has an open length of 7.75 inches and a weight of 4.5oz. The handle is made of hard anodized aluminum and feels like a polished stone. Like the Kinzua, the texture is smooth yet tactile enough that it doesn't feel slippery. I appreciate the fact that handle is large enough for four fingers, so many knives I've handled lately get around three and a half and it's nice to get a full purchase on a handle. The handle is slightly curved, and follows the contour of my hand, feels very natural. There is a slight swell to the rear of the handle, and it fits nicely in the swell of my palm. Pocket clip is short enough that it doesn't cause any hot spot in my palm when gripping the knife tightly.
The previous models featured a drop point blade, which is probably my favorite style next to a clip point. They seem to have the right amount of belly for daily tasks, and the tip is in line with the center of the knife profile. The Westline features a 3.19-inch blade with a modified drop point made of S35VN with a stonewash finish. The blade has a nice swedge on the top so piercing is easy, it gives a nice look to the blade profile. The jimping on this knife is something I hadn't seen before. The jimping on the top of the blade runs a further up the spine than I normally see, and under the blade we have jimping that runs the same way beyond the jimping on the liner lock. What I initially thought was a strange choice in design, turns out allows you to really choke up on the blade. This jimping replaces a finger choil and does a great job, when doing power cuts, I can really get behind the blade, and feel I have a great deal of control. The blade came hair popping sharp from the factory and had made short work of the cardboard I deal with at work. As a Grocery Merchandiser for a small chain, I spend a lot of time building displays and whatnot. I purposely used the Westline instead of my box cutter, seeing how much I could chew through before needing a touch up. Blade held up well and I went several days before needing to put it to the stones. S35VN is great stuff, edge holding ability is really good and it doesn't take a lot of work to touch the edge up.
This being the companies "first" assisted knife (not counting TechX of course), I think they did a decent job. In the closed position it feels like the blade is held in with a combination of the detent and what feels like a torsion bar. Deploying the blade is done using the ramped thumb studs. Using a ramped style versus the traditional style keeps your thumb firmly on the stud and it's angled in the direction you need to push. Different knives have different angles you need to use to be effective in blade deployment, the ramped studs definitely help aid in deployment. A quick flick of your thumb is all that's needed to release the blade, I've have had a few times where the blade did not fully deploy, which is kind of strange for an assisted blade. Don't know if it's the fact I didn't flick the stud just right or I didn't overcome the tension from the torsion bar.
The crutch of this knife's design is the deep carry pocket clip. This is the same clip that Case used on the other two folders released two years ago, and it seems they didn't feel it needed any improvement. It's a thick clip and it's wide enough at the top that it will fit most of what you clip it to. The problem is the T8 screws they use for the body of the knife are also used to attach the pocket clip. That combined with the clip not having a milled channel in the handle, makes for an obstacle when clipping it to your pocket. The screws and bottom of the clip stop you from inserting the knife fully into your pocket. I get about three quarters of the way and I have to lift the clip slightly to seat the knife properly. If Case had listed to customer feedback, they would have made the necessary changes to make this clip a perfect companion for the Westline. I'm a stickler for a proper pocket clip, if one is wonky or not properly designs it throws the whole knife off for me. Guess that's why there's aftermarket clips, people doing their best to right wrongs.
The Westline is an incredible knife and hits a lot of checks on my list. Comfortable handle, sharp blade that can handle a myriad of tasks, and easy to open. If it wasn't for the pocket clip issue this knife would be about perfect. Don't let this detract you from picking one up, I'm sure this problem will be resolved in time, or someone will find a solution. I wonder what else the boys in Bradford will come up with next.