Could these Chinese knives really be that good?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
1,578
It's very, very hard to beat CIVIVI for the price. If I'm spending more than around $100-150 I'm probably getting some flavor of US made auto at this point, but I'm genuinely uncertain if there's anyone that's realistically competing with CIVIVI in terms of build quality in the under $100 market.

This is true. There are lots of companies that make lots of decent knives in that range. Now that I've used, carried, and disassembled a fairly large number of current budget knives; I feel like I've gotten a good idea of what to expect from some of them. Some are definitely better than others. Some, like Kizer and Bestech, tend to be safe recommendations. Some, like QSP and Artisan, have given me too much trouble to be totally random happenstance.

WE and their budget brands, Civivi and Sencut, are another story. The quality, quality control, fit and finish, and attention to detail have consistently been at the top of the curve for Chinese-made knives. Even down to little things like internal tool marks and how clean they leave the factory, WE just wins at the budget level. While I have less experience with premium Chinese folders, contrast my experience with the Kizer Clutch and the WE Seer. The Clutch is definitely nice and has amazing action. However, there are little issues like crisp edges and pointy corners that cause minor hot spots. The Seer is a little more expensive but the increased attention to detail is obvious.

Sure, their D2 might not always be great but that point has been covered. Chinese D2 has issues. Some companies do better with it than others. It can really shine as an alternative to 8Cr13Mov at the right price, such as in the Petrified Fish knives. However, it's just not a great choice versus a lot of other now-common budget steels as they are typically done by the companies using them.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
1,313
Knife manufacturing has changed quite a bit in the past year or two. Some of the most well known knives right now are designed by American designers who typically do custom work and produced by highly regarded Chinese manufacturers. Reate, We, Kizer, James brand, Bestech all have pretty good reputations and are making blades on par with American companies. But in the price range you’re saying it’s most definitely gonna be hit or miss.
For at least some of their knives like the integral, James Brand is made by Reate. I don't know who they used for the others, but they don't actually build anything.
 

POCEH KOCEB

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2013
Messages
2,277
Manley Comrade D2 = Bad
O old4570 When you say "ManlEy", what exactly do you mean ?
Is it a Chinese company named "Manley" or the Bulgarian company "Manly" ?

Because the Bulgarian company named "Manly" does not use any Chinese parts, nor have any associations with China.
At one point Boker represented them for Europe, not sure about who did it for the US, I know they have rep that is member of this forum but usually it's MIA.
They do use D2 for some models but everything is done in house, I'm not sure if you just misspelled the name, have in mind a Chinese company or the actual Bulgarian company.
They do have model named "Comrade" and had a issue with bad batch of tempering the D2 blades but this is rather exception than common practice to be named "bad",
simply because the batch isn't very big to flood the market with "bad" D2 blades, as I said - it's a small company, there is plenty of info online, along with some very good reviews,
few members of this forum are also very happy with t heir Manly models and the way they temper their steels used.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2021
Messages
31
I recently purchased two knives manufactured in China. One was made by WE knife. The other is a designer’s knife manufactured by Reate. My WE knife has a great action and I’m extremely happy with the overall quality and build of the knife. I would buy another WE knife; provided the purchase is through a reputable USA based dealer.

The Reate knife is another story; apparently I got a lemon. My Reate was 3x more expensive than my WE knife and the Reate knife had/has issues right out of the box. The knife that I received has an overly strong detent or there is a manufacturer’s defect. I also have questions about Reate’s published knife specifications for the knife that I purchased. Reate has published two different sets of specifications for the same knife which means that either Reate has changed their method or protocol how they measured the knife or that they have manufactured two different generations or versions of the same knife with different specs. I have sent Reate emails regarding their warranty and to inquire about their published specification. Reate has failed to respond to my multiple emails. If Reate ignores emails and does not provide customer support; their warranty is worthless. I would not recommend Reate.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Messages
53
Manly = I threw it in there cos the edge retention is horrible for D2 .... ( I'll have to fix the post ) Sorry , my typing sux's and sometimes when I try to type fast my fingers do their own thing .
So - Buyer BeWare ... My Comrade D2 is not good .. ( Edge retention )
I have quite a few alleged D2 knives that simply wont perform .. In fact they cant even compete with very average 420 stainless steel .
Only way to be sure is to do edge retention testing that is consistent and repeatable .

Steel - A real lottery ..
You can have multiple knives , and edge retention is all over the place ..
I have 2x Marttiini Folders ... One has fantastic edge retention and the other horrible edge retention ( Same model )
Purchased from either side of Earth .. One local ( Oz ) and the other USA .
The one sourced from the USA has nasty blade steel ..
And the other , purchased local ( 2nd Hand but mint - unused maybe ) , really holds an edge like a premium knife .
SO I got me the Local one , was so impressed .. I had to buy another .. And that other , .................... was a waste of money !
I got me a CH3530 D2 flipper , a really nice knife with good edge retention ..
So I got me a CH3509 D2 , it cant even compete with 420 ...
My Civivi Dogma D2 , same deal ... Cant compete with 420 ... Been at the rope at least 5 times ( edge reground maybe 4 times now - Wet stone grinder ) Just wont hold an edge ...
Contacted Civivi about it , and apparently they dont give a Capital S ...
So you takes your chances ...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
1,781
I recently purchased two knives manufactured in China. One was made by WE knife. The other is a designer’s knife manufactured by Reate. My WE knife has a great action and I’m extremely happy with the overall quality and build of the knife. I would buy another WE knife; provided the purchase is through a reputable USA based dealer.

The Reate knife is another story; apparently I got a lemon. My Reate was 3x more expensive than my WE knife and the Reate knife had/has issues right out of the box. The knife that I received has an overly strong detent or there is a manufacturer’s defect. I also have questions about Reate’s published knife specifications for the knife that I purchased. Reate has published two different sets of specifications for the same knife which means that either Reate has changed their method or protocol how they measured the knife or that they have manufactured two different generations or versions of the same knife with different specs. I have sent Reate emails regarding their warranty and to inquire about their published specification. Reate has failed to respond to my multiple emails. If Reate ignores emails and does not provide customer support; their warranty is worthless. I would not recommend Reate.

If you have a designer knife made by reate the designer usually handles warranty work. That's the way it works with sharp by design, Brian handles any issues.

Personally, I don't mind Chinese knives. All my civivis have been excellent, and I really like the Kepler fixed blade. Artisan was so-so... The tradition I had was a fine knife, the d2 was done well, action was amazing, but some of the work on the g10 was off. Functional though... Gave it to a student and he's been using and enjoying it. It's holding up! Much better than the cryo 2 I gave him...

My sharp by design Evo typhoon is great, period. Well made, best flipper I own hands down. Great grind on the blade, great fit and finish. Definitely worth what I paid.

I usually end up with a hinderer, benchmade, or spyderco in my pocket most days though. Native chief in s90v/cf today!
 

whp

Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
3,420
In general, yes. Some of the best values for the money today are coming from Chinese companies. Brands like Tangram, Kubey, Ruike, Civivi, Bestech, and Real Steel are putting out some very nice products for the price tag. I've owned examples from these companies and a few others. Overall, I've been impressed.

For the same price that you might get a Chinese-made CRKT in 8Cr13Mov, you can get something with as good or better overall quality using better steels like 9Cr18Mov, 14C28N, Acuto 440, or Chinese D2 from one of the above companies. One reason I think that companies like CRKT continue to use steels like 8Cr13Mov (or worse) is that they have a comfortable foothold in American brick and mortar stores where these other brands don't have a presence.

The best quality for price today is arguably Civivi. If you're going to try one of these knives, that's the brand to try.
I don t kniw about the other brands mentioned, but the three Civivi knives I own are very well made and the d2 blades hold an edge very well.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
1,218
The Reate knife is another story; apparently I got a lemon. My Reate was 3x more expensive than my WE knife and the Reate knife had/has issues right out of the box. The knife that I received has an overly strong detent or there is a manufacturer’s defect. I also have questions about Reate’s published knife specifications for the knife that I purchased. Reate has published two different sets of specifications for the same knife which means that either Reate has changed their method or protocol how they measured the knife or that they have manufactured two different generations or versions of the same knife with different specs. I have sent Reate emails regarding their warranty and to inquire about their published specification. Reate has failed to respond to my multiple emails. If Reate ignores emails and does not provide customer support; their warranty is worthless. I would not recommend Reate.

If Reate is just the OEM, you should contact the designer/seller (Liong Mah, Brian Nadeau, Enrique Pena, etc.) for warranty work.
 

kreole

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
3,485
Not a fan of bearings, but Civivi/We won me over by their quality and materials. Bought a few recently based on the designers. F&F, materials, and prices are all top notch. Made me a fan, and I've got three more in the mail.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
41
If it’s (WE)CIVIVI, Kizer, (Artisan)CJRB, Bestech, Ruike or QSP, I’d trust they’re using advertised steels. As far as HT goes, that’s anyones guess. The reason you find these brands using these steels at such a low cost is sheer volume.

On a rambling, kind of off topic side note, production heat treats are almost always run too soft anyway, even on high end production and mid-tech knives. We’ll never see the full potential of steels like Maxamet, Cruwear, s110v, etc. on a production level unless companies like Spyderco (who uses said steels) raise the cost exponentially.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
507
The Asians will build to any level of quality you desire if you're willing to pay. It's not that they aren't capable of high quality - they just don't have a huge market for it since most companies turn to Asia for cheap labor the mostly build cheap stuff.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
52
Knives are nothing high-technology and if it's around a low price range, for that Chinese do the very best in the world.
Trump tried to bring manufacturing industry back to the US but eventually failed, so it turned out as a result that you still gotta buy light industry products from China no matter if you resist it emotionally.
Just surrender and it won't hurt at all :)
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
52
Nowadays even in China , commodity made in the US doesn't always mean the best quality.
For example , T-shirts , jeans and jogging shoes , no one in China would still chase for those made in the US cuz that only means higher price for the same quality.
 

MolokaiRider

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2017
Messages
5,169
Knives are nothing high-technology and if it's around a low price range, for that Chinese do the very best in the world.
Trump tried to bring manufacturing industry back to the US but eventually failed, so it turned out as a result that you still gotta buy light industry products from China no matter if you resist it emotionally.
Just surrender and it won't hurt at all :)
Wrong forum my dude.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
52
humankind
煮豆燃豆萁,
豆在釜中泣。
本是同根生,
相煎何太急?


Twitted by Elon Musk recently


Translation:

Pods burned to cook peas,
Peas weep in the pot:
“Grown from same root, please,
Why boil us so hot?”
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2010
Messages
1,034
Even iPhone and Tesla are made in China , then what's the problem with knifves ?
China made knives won't cut or something ?
In an area in which affordable US-made alternatives exist, and at a decent quality, I’d opt to not shove money into the PRC, so their government can continue to commit genocide. Sorry champ, this isn’t it. Literal genocide, not the facetious heavy-handed crap people talk about in the US.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
52
In an area in which affordable US-made alternatives exist, and at a decent quality, I’d opt to not shove money into the PRC, so their government can continue to commit genocide. Sorry champ, this isn’t it. Literal genocide, not the facetious heavy-handed crap people talk about in the US.
That's literal pride and prejudice , my dude. See I'm the only Chinese around here in this thread , and you're telling me that China Government commit genocide ? Have you ever been in China ?
 
Last edited:

Haooooo

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
36
That's literal pride and prejudice , my dude. See I'm the only Chinese around here in this thread , and you're telling me that China Government commit genocide ? Have you ever been in China ?
No, you're not alone,my bro
你好,兄弟
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top