Got in the mail, a few days ago, a knife that had picked my interest to the highest while not having (to the best of my knowledge) been reviewed anywhere.
It is the “District 9 2015 knife”, or “Original District 9 2015 knife” with a blade in S35vn. Not to be confused with the Reate District 9. But I’ve read here or there that actually District 9 is a brand/maker and that said Reate was actually a collab’ between District 9 and Reate. Which could make sense as this Reate District 9 looks distinctly different from the rest of Reate’s line-up and shares more with the one in my hand. Ahhh, the mysteries of Chinese manufacturing and branding.
Yeah, that thing on the frame, between the locking part and the scale proper is a stabiliser, anti-extender AND locking mechanism (when turned away from the pivot it blocks the frame in place and prevents the knife from closing). I think Lionsteel has a similar thing… It also has a steel insert in the lock-face, preventing changes in the geometry and lock-stickiness.
Anyway, this piece is striking, really striking. This knife is build like a tank, feels like a tank. Or a “bank vault” as many use to say regarding Chris Reeve’s production (well, the D9 feels “tighter” than any Sebenza I’ve ever touched).
It is very well finished, the blade is top, with a satin finish alternating vertical direction on the ground part, horizontal rub on the flats (it seems hand rub, with a not perfect orientation and not perfectly linear brushing lines). The spine is also brushed, with perfectly executed bevels and a fine gimping. By the way, it seems hand ground as well, well executed but not perfectly regular.
The action is perfect: strong detent and very smooth pivot, it flips like a dream. By the way, that strong detent and the shape of the things that look like thumb studs prevent the “thumb-flick”… unless you’re ready to kill your thumb.
The flipper is gimped but not too aggressively, and well chamfered. The closing is a real joy, there’s a good relief cut for the thumb in the frame so nothing will cut you, and the frame is flexible enough. As for lock-up, I’d say 15 to 20%, and it’s got steel insert, so it’s not likely to change much over the course of time…
Blade centring is about perfect too. The hardware is mounted flush inside the scales and it might well be the only Chinese knife (except from top Reate models) with a titanium pivot.
The back of the knife is really interesting and solves elegantly one of the pocket folding knives conundrum: a back-spacer looks good and protects the edge against keys or any other thing that might share your pocket with the knife (and makes sure you don’t accidentally get your finger between scales and cut). On the other hand, a back spacer makes cleaning more difficult: simply blowing between the scales won’t be enough. Well, here you have a small back spacer towards the tip of the blade (you won’t cut yourself) and a series of 6 tightly spaced pins that prevent other stuff like coins or keys getting to the edge.
Overall, it feels great in the hand. It is heavy, too, but not unwieldy. The clip is very nice but the relief cut in the frame is “sharp-ish” and might grab inside your pockets, like the “thumb-studs” possibly tearing the fabric… Only weakness I’ve seen in that really great knife which, to my, clearly boxes way above its $130 category.