Good to hear you’re enjoyed Forklift 3, @bodiequirk.
I used Forklift for a quite a while…and found it was a great app overall. But, there were some little quirks (e.g. not getting it to work consistently as the default file viewer) and shortcomings (including the one you mentioned).
I had quite a bit of contact with Forklift’s developer, who was very helpful and receptive to feedback, but Finder won out in the end.
I’m actually very happy to be using Finder (Catalina). I make extensive use of Dropbox and like the Finder integration that it provides, including the icons that show the sync status. I also really like Finder’s Groups feature (I can’t remember if Forklift has this or now) and find the Gallery View can be helpful at times.
There are some things from Forklift I miss, most notably being able to create multiple Favorites lists. But, ultimately the Finder is proving to be a better fit. I’ll likely revisit Forklift in the future and, even if I don’t adopt it as my main file browser, may still use it in some instances.
I have a Stream Deck as well (and really like it). I don’t currently use it to open any folders (though I couldn’t definitely see that being useful). I currently use Keyboard Maestro to open commonly used folders using global hotkeys (I use ⌃⌥ …e.g. ⌃⌥I for [Inbox], ⌃⌥D for Downloads, and ⌃⌥C for Clients) and it would be trivial to map these to the Stream Deck.