Review Index




By Matt, 14/7/2017





Great Eastern Cutlery (GEC) was started in 2006 by Bill Howard, a former Queen Cutlery employee, with the intent to produce high quality, affordable, traditional pocket knives.  GEC’s first production patterns were single blade recreations of the classic R1123 Remington Bullet and R1173 Baby Bullet which GEC designated the #23 Pioneer and #73 Scout.

I purchased my first GEC in 2008, a lovely #73 in green jigged bone and I was blown away with the quality of what they were producing for the money.  Nearly a decade later and now I can’t even count the number of GECs which have passed through my hands and all, without exception, have been of the highest quality.

The two 73s which are the subject of this review, a 2013 in burnt stag and a 2015 in cocobolo, are both representations of GEC’s Northfield line.  If so inclined, you can find out more about GEC’s different brands here.  <>

Both knives were purchased from Greg at TSA Knives and Collectables <>.  From memory, prices were roughly $110USD for the stag and $70USD for the cocobolo.  Greg is always a gentleman and goes out of his way to look after us guys who aren’t Stateside.



Overall Length: 17.5cm (6 7/8”)

Blade Length: 8cm (3 1/8”)

Closed Length: 9.5cm (3 ¾”)

Blade Thickness: 2mm

Blade Steel: 1095, 57-59 HRC

Handle: Nickel silver bolsters, brass liners, burnt stag/ cocobolo covers

Lock: Slipjoint

Weight: Stag -77g (2 5/8oz), cocobolo – 63g (2 1/8oz)

Country of origin: Titusville, PA, USA



Both 73s came packaged in the standard GEC tube.  I really love the effort that GEC put into the ‘old timey’ artwork for their packaging.  Additionally, there really is something cathartic about popping open a GEC tube and unfurling a fresh knife from its wax paper cocoon as the oily scent greets the nostrils.

Now if you are at all like me, the first thing that will strike you is just what a handsome knife the 73 is, with its clean purposeful lines and stout rugged good looks I personally think it is still the best-looking knife that GEC produce.  I would wager that the looks of the 73 and its bigger brother have been responsible for luring countless modern-knife stalwarts into the sweet embrace of the traditional knife.

Out of the tube, both 73s presented with impeccable fit and finish and nail breaking pulls, as seems to be the GEC norm for this model.  My only disappointment was with the pile side of the burnt stag 73, which despite being well matched with the mark side for thickness, had a deep central valley and resultant sharp peak along the top of the cover.  That being said, I really have no one to blame but myself as admittedly I do find it hard to visualise the contours of stag covers when viewing pictures online.  Caveat emptor as the kids say.


GEC really did a great job with the blades of these 73s, with those sexy classic lines and geometry just designed to cut!  Both knives feature a single flat ground drop point blade made from 2mm thick 1095, finished with a mirror polish and etched with the Northfield logo (although the etch has long ago been worn off the stag example).  The primary grinds are even, getting very thin behind the edge before thickening out slightly towards the tip.  The spine of both blades feature a neatly cut swedge which further streamlines the cutting profile.  The stag 73 has a long match striker pull while the cocobolo makes do with a standard nail nick, both are sharply and deeply cut.  The tangs are crisply stamped with the model number on one side and the Northfield designation on the other.  The blade to handle ratio is an excellent 0.84, especially given that the average for a modern folding knife is around 0.75.

After using my stag example extensively, I can categorically say that I REALLY like the way that the 73 blade performs.  In use the blade benefits from the thin 2mm stock and flat ground geometry as it glides through most materials, even thick card and rubber sheets, exhibiting minimal binding.  Now while GEC’s 1095 isn’t going to compete with the latest super steels for outright edge holding it is no slouch holding an adequate working edge for a few days use.  Perhaps more importantly for me it takes a wicked fine edge with next to no effort.

I will note that the mirror polish finish scratches quite easily and being 1095 the blade will patina and/or rust if not wiped down especially after cutting acidic foods.  

















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