Friday, September 1, 2017

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Higonokami Style Folder Review!

So I just got back from a trip to China and had this one waiting for me for a review.
Got this solely with a purpose to see how it is like and to make this review on it, because it is one of the most intriguing budget folders on Ali.
The description about this knife states the handle is made from titanium+CF (which is amazing for the price). In addition, a lot of people are certain it is a friction folder and is legal to carry in countries where locking blades are prohibited.
In fact, after I checked it - the handle is made from steel and a CF laminate, similar to the one that is used on Ganzo knives. It runs on nylon washers and has a linerlock. 

It also has an original design (at least I haven't seen any original knife that is similar to it) but resembles one of the most iconic knives out there - the Japanese Higonokami (can't be called a clone though).
The knife arrived in a good quality cloth knife pouch, was sharp and pretty smooth out of the box.
The blade is centered and supposedly made from D2 steel (might as well be 9Cr18MoV), the lockup is solid.
No fit and finish problems out of the box.
Blade length: 83mm/3.25"
Overall length: 190mm/7.4"
Weight: 91.1g/3.22oz.

The blade has satin finish and markings - "Seki Japan" from one side (I suspect it has nothing to do with Japan) and D2 marking on the other side.
Some people say they are able to flick it out like a front flipper with one hand, I am able to do so only if I hold the knife with the other hand. Nevertheless, the knife can be opened and closed easily and smoothly using only one hand in one continuous motion.
Ergonomics are great, I am able to get a full 4 finger grip on this relatively small handle and it is even better if you position the thumb further on the blade.

There are few sharp corners on the knife (around the opening trigger), but those could be easily buffed out.
The knife has a lanyard hole, no pocket clip though.
Summary - although it doesn't match the description, the knife is pretty well made, has original, gentleman style design to it and is worth it's price IMO. It can be carried as an EDC knife in a suit pocket or just thrown in the pocket.

I got the knife here: Higonokami Style Folder
Genuine Higonokami could be bought here: Genuine Higonokami
Or here: Genuine Higo Knife

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Budget Friction Folder DIY Project!

A little DIY project I did today:
Got this Kershaw Shuffle clone from Ali and turned it into a no-lock friction folder, which is legal to carry almost everywhere.
Once I got the knife, I disassembled it and broke the liner with my hands by bending it a few times.
Then assembled the knife again, tightened the pivot all the way, and that's it - it works great, the friction supplies a sufficient detent to hold the blade in the open and closed positions (I'll publish a video in the comments).
It might work with other blades but I recommend:
1. Choosing a relatively cheap blade with a liner lock and a choil, so the knife could be held securely.
2. Choose a knife with nylon washers (not bronze ones and definitely not with bearings), as nylon washers will give you just the right amount of friction if you tighten the pivot all the way.
3. Choose a knife with thumb studs or a thumb hole (definitely not flippers).
Got the knife here: Shuffle Clone
Genuine Kershaw Shuffle could be bought here: 
Genuine Kershaw Shuffle
Or here: Kershaw Shuffle

Monday, April 10, 2017

Flash Sale on the Jiaheng JH04!

Flash sale on the Jiaheng JH04!
The knife features 3 colored G10 handles, axis lock imitation (more similar to the axis found on Shiro knives, such as the Tabargan, than to the Benchmade ones), satin or stonewashed blade, ball bearings and deep carry pocket clip.
It is very similar in overall quality and construction to the great Jin 02 knife (I believe it is made in the same factory).
Great price for the next 15 hours.

Check it out here: Jiaheng JH04 knife
More axis lock knives here: Axis Lock knives

Flash Sale on the Jiaheng JH04!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Extrema Ratio RAO Clone Tactical Knife Review!

So, I've received this about a week ago and would like to do a short review of it.
The knife came in an Extrema Ratio branded black cardboard box, including a nylon sheath and a pin for turning this into a fixed blade and to secure the blade in the closed position.

It had few scratches and nicks on the aluminum handle (not a big deal, this knife is strictly a user), the fit is good, the finish not so much.
No blade play in both directions and the blade came centered and sharp.

The Good:
The bang for the buck - the knife is truly impressive. I mean if you thought the Medford clone was huge - wait till you see this one, it makes the Praetorian look like a gentleman folder in comparison.
It is made pretty well, despite the finish flaws, and has great materials for the price - unique locking system, aluminum handle, huge, thick slab of steel as a blade and even includes a sheath (which is essential, because this knife doesn't have a pocket clip (and is too big to carry in the pocket anyway)).
Few words on the sheath - it seems cheaply made, but functions surprisingly well, doing it's job holding the knife in both open and closed positions.
The knife is also pretty smooth to open and close.

The Great:
Definitely the charisma and the ER design - the knife screams "TACTICAL" with all of it's features, starting from the full blackout color, to the very deep aggressive gimping, the overall shape, the 185 RAO unit logo and markings and the molle compatible sheath. I wouldn't call it elegant looking knife, but a brutal, beastly attractive, massive blade.

Another great thing to mention is the balance. Although the knife is pretty heavy (285.8g/10oz) it doesn't seem to feel as heavy in the hand, because of a good balance between the handle and the blade.

The Neutral:
The lock - from one side it is a unique lock (kind of a backlock, but with a thumb studs to lift the back spring instead of the lever. It holds the knife with no bladeplay, but has not so much meat on the blade to hold it (like in the Cold Steel knives). The added pin is more of a secure add-on than a lock, because it doesn't actually support the blade, but only prevents it from closing on the fingers.
Another neutral thing is the fact that this is a 2 handed knife. I mean it can be opened one handed (by shaking the blade out) and also closed, but neither of these methods is comfortable.
If you are using both hands - it becomes a pretty easy to use knife.

The Bad:
The finish - as I've already mentioned - the knife had same finish flaws on the handle and the blade. The black coating on the blade seems to be just paint (very similar to the older Cold Steel black coating, which is shiny and comes off pretty easily).
The steel is 440A, not a great one, but you can't expect much else in that price point.
The pin came on a very cheap string and without the keyring (both easily fixable).

The Ugly:
The guy who will try to EDC this knife in his pockets. 

The Verdict:

It is hugely impressive and attractive as a novelty item, not so much as a usable urban EDC blade. I mean it can still be used, but mainly as a cool outdoors knife, that you can use and abuse (mainly because of the cheap price). I think it is less intended for knife aficionados or the Nick Shabazzes (who will take a fixed blade to do those tasks), but more for guys who like Medford Knives for their brutality and undeniable charisma.
Nevertheless, I'm very glad I got this one, as I do like ER designs and because of the many unique features it has.

I got the knife here: Extrema Ratio RAO Clone
Genuine Extrema Ratio knives can be found here: Extrema Ratio Knives
Or here: Extrema Ratio Knives

Extrema Ratio RAO Clone Tactical Knife Review!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Z T 0999 Clone Knife - Not limited at all!

So, the Chinese clonemakers made this one as well, lets see how they have done it.
To lower the costs they've used steel+G10 instead of titanium+CF as the materials on the handle and replaced the frame-lock with a linerlock.
The insert in the blade is made from CF and the clip is a pretty simple bent clip (instead of the milled ti on the original).
But they have kept the overall design features and shapes, to a point that it looks like a Kershaw budget version of the 0999 (just like the Natrix is a version of the 0777).
I think that is a move in the right direction for them - making budget versions of the limited edition and hard to get knives in order to make the design available and accessible for more people.
One thing I didn't like about it is the use of the original logo.
I mean, no one will confuse this with the original and they've changed so many things about it, might as well drop the logo and make it a sterile clone - thus making it less controversial and more popular.

Check out the knife here: 0999 Clone Knife

The original knife is available here: Genuine ZT0999CF Knife
Kershaw knives here: Kershaw Knives

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dog Tag Style Clone Knife Review

I've received the Panchenko style Dog Tag clone knife from Fasttech and would like to present to you a short review of it.
The knife comes in a tin round presentation box and comes with a black chain to wear on the neck (as a dog tag style jewelry).
It is sharp out of the box and has no immediate drawbacks.
The scale is made from stonewashed steel (matches the finish on the blade), the backspacer and the pivot screw cover are made from anodized blue aluminum.
The blade is held by the detent in both directions, lockup is OK.
It came a bit dry in the pivot area and made a noise when opening/closing but since I put a little bit of lube on the detent ball, the problem was gone.

What did I like about the knife:
- Small, slim size and light weight (1.11 oz) make it a great EDC'able carry, whether on the neck or on the keychain.
-  I liked the overall execution, starting from the acid stonewashed finish on the scale and the blade, to the anodization on the aluminum parts and the smooth cutouts and edges.

- The knife is non locking, meaning it will be considered legal to carry in countries, where locking blades are prohibited.
- The overall looks (I prefer the looks of the clone over the original, because of the color of the scale) and original concept (gotta give credit to Serge Panchenko, the designer of the original Spyderco Dog Tag Knife).
- The knife is easily opened one-handed (can't be flicked out though).

What I didn't like about it:
- The ergonomics. It isn't made to do hard work, but I think it wasn't designed for this as well, more suitable for light EDC tasks.

- Blade-to-Handle ratio (Bean clone is better in this sense, but this one is more practical than the coin knife).

The Verdict:
This is a very cool little knife, that combines the concepts of man-jewelry and small EDC knives.
It isn't designed to be a primary carry, but more of a people friendly knife, a real conversation starter, which could also function for light EDC tasks (such as box cutter and letter/package opener) and serve as a great, original gift.

Check it out here: Dog Tag Clone Knife
Original Dog Tag here: Original Spyderco Panchenko Dog Tag

More Dog Tag style knives here: Dog Tag style knives

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AliExpress 7th Anniversary Sale - Original design knives!

So, Aliexpress 7th anniversary sale is already here, and that means an opportunity to score some of the great knives with original designs, that are sold on the site, with a big discount!
I want to pick some of the best deals for original designed knives out there and present those to you:

1) Genuine Maxace Knives: Maxace Knives are being sold on large sites such as BladeHQ, but could also be found at trusted dealers on AliExpress.
Most of their knives will be available with a big discount (up to 20%) in the sale - such as the Balance, the Wind, Halictus, Red Queen and the newest Dwemer Assasin.

Check out Genuine Maxace Knives on AliExpress here: Maxace Knives
Can be also bought in the US here: 
Maxace Knives at BladeHQ

Maxace Halictus

2) Genuine Stedemon Knives and ZKC: Stedemon and it's subsidiary ZKC (Zon Knife Company) knives will also be available for lower price in the sale and from great sellers. Stedemon are known for their great and original designs, as well as the high quality of their production.

Check out Stedemon and ZKC knives on sale here: Stedemon and ZKC knives

3) Genuine Rike Knives 1508: Another great knife, which is included in the sale. As of now only the grey color is available (it was a limited edition), but you have the chance to get it for the lowest price ever (and maybe send it to be anodized to your favorite color).

Get it here: Rike knives RK1508

Rike knives rk1508

4) CH Knives: CH have been around for a while now, making great quality and high value knives with original design and premium materials. This sale is a great chance to grab them for even less then those are being sold usually.

CH 3504 (Skull knife): CH 3504
CH 3001 Parallel (Great EDC Knife): CH 3001
CH 3002: CH3002

5) Viteli Knives TOP1: Relatively new brand from the folks that brought us Vespa. This is their first model, it has original design and received great feedback from the customers for quality and materials. It's price on this sale is going to be the lowest one ever, so it's a great chance to grab one.

Check it out here: 
Viteli Knives TOP1

Viteli Knives Top1

So, these are my picks for knives with original design to buy in the AliExpress 7th Anniversary sale.
Also, check out other items on the site, such as electronics and home appliances - this is a great opportunity to save money and buy products with a significant discount.
Happy shopping!

AliExpress 7th Anniversary Sale - Clones and Replicas!

So, Aliexpress 7th anniversary sale is already here, and that means an opportunity to score some of the great knife clones and replicas, that are sold on the site, with a big discount!
I want to pick some of the best deals for clones and replicas out there and present those to you:

1) Shiro Neon Clone: I have this one (also did a review on it on the blog) and it is an excellent EDC knife!

Check out The Neon Clone on AliExpress here: Neon Ultra Lite Clone

2) New Smaller Budget Version of the RAD Knives Field Cleaver: Also published a post about this one, on this sale it can be bought with significant discount.

Check out the knife here: Budget Field Cleaver Clone Mini

3) Made by CH Knives the Matsuda Style flipper: CH Knives Matsuda

4) LDT store also have some great offerings in this sale:
- Microtech Whaleshark clone: Whaleshark Clone
- 0392 Clone (I have one and it's great): 0392 Clone
- Spyderco Slysz Bowie Clone: Slysz Bowie Clone

5) Clones of the unreleased CKF models:
- Piston knife: Piston Knife
- The Gnome: Gnome Knife
- Assymetric Fixed blade: Assymetric Fixed Blade

6) And of course some of my fav knives - the Green Thorn Shiro clones:
- CF+D2 Hati: Shiro Hati Clone
- F95 models: Shiro F95 Clones

So, these are my picks for knives with original design to buy in the AliExpress 7th Anniversary sale.
Also, check out other items on the site, such as electronics and home appliances - this is a great opportunity to save money and buy products with a significant discount.
Happy shopping!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Genuine Cold Steel Pro Lite Knife Review!

I won this knife in Jimislash's 400 giveaway (check out his channel, one of the nicest guys I had the chance to communicate with on YT) and would like to review it and compare it to the recent Chinese Cold Steel and other clones.
The knife came in a Cold Steel cardboard box, nothing fancy.

First impressions are good - the knife is sharp out of the box, grind is even on both sides, blade is centered and there is no bladeplay in both directions.
The action was a bit stiff out of the box, but got better later (with use).

Things I liked about it:

1) The concept - this is a great no nonsense working blade. If I was in the line of work, in which I would use a knife on daily basis - I would definitely carry this one as an EDC knife. Stonewash finish and plastic handles are great for hiding scratches (although I won't even mind scratches on this one, as I think it would only add character to the knife).

2) Truly ambidextrous, including the clip - the knife can fit a left handed user for 100% (just need to adjust the thumb stud and move the clip to the other side) - which is great for options and uses. One more thing about the clip - this is the best clip I've ever seen on a Cold Steel - it's stonewashed, straight and not stiff at all, I don't know why they don't use this style of clip more.
3) Ergonomics - great job Andre Demko. The Pro Lite fills the hand nicely and has decent traction (unlike the Code 4 I had, which was too slim and slippery). 
4) The steel - the German 4116 is pretty decent for the price. Seems well heat treated and is comparable to the Ganzo's 440C. It is also stainless, which is a big plus for a working blade.

Things I didn't like so much:

1) It is great as a working EDC blade, but as to keep in the collection not so much - feels too simple and cheap. I mean if I got this as my first knife (instead of the genuine Ontario RAT 1) - I would be stoked, but after trying knives with ti frames and bearings, I have the feeling that I need more than cheaply feeling plastic scales and mediocre action.

2) The position of the lock on the handle - it is further back than in the Code 4, which makes it harder to close one-handed (do a blade drop).

How does it compares to Chinese knives in the same price range?

Well, again, if I was a man who works with one knife every day, all day - I would definitely pick this over a Ganzo or a similarly priced clone (maybe even over the RAT 1, because it carries a bit better).
But because I'm not and because I've tried better knives already - I feel like I need something more complex to carry occasionally and to keep in the rotation.

With that said - I do like this knife very much because of its sentimental value to me as a present from a great guy and as the first prize ever to be won in a GAW.

Check out the knife here: Cold Steel Pro Lite
Or here: Cold Steel Pro Lite

Also could be found here: Cold Steel Pro Lite