There are a few “established” good quality Chinese knife brands, like Kizer, Reate or Rike Knifes, that are generally “mid-tech level” at “production” prices. There are also more than a few makers of “mid-tech level” clones/copies. Then some brands are “on the fence” in between those two groups, like Kevin John. And there are a few others that are doing original designs but are not established nor clearly identified (maybe they are clone-makers making their “westerners acceptable”, not too inspired pieces under a different name). Those are usually rather impressive bang for the buck at first (they often then migrate to the first group and while still being good value, that’s no longer “mind blowing”). Among them was Rike (before moving to the first goup), District 9 (related to Reate, it seems), MG… And CH.
So I had to get a CH knife, to see what that brand is about. And let me be clear, it’s great! The one I got goes by the very poetic name of CH-3504 s35vn. As the name clearly explains, it’s got a stonewashed s35vn blade (maybe it’s really a lower grade steel like 9Cr18MoV, but that would be a bit surprising given that the exact same knife is officially offered in that 9Cr18MoV steel for a about 25 dollars less). The knife is what I’d call a “full size EDC” at 21cm full length, 4mm thick and 9cm long blade and a not negligible 160g weight. It’s a titanium frame lock (with hardened steel lock interface) flipper on cage ball bearings.
That you could get that for a hair less than 100 dollars is already worth noticing. But the titanium scales and the general finish of the piece is what really piques one’s attention. Indeed, the handles are contoured and sport a texture of very tiny lines. This is anodised a very nice blue/purple colour. On the presentation scale, half a skull is engraved, and the raised parts of the engraving are polished raw titanium (not anodised) while the low parts are a dark grey bead blasted affair, again not anodised. The back spacer is polished and anodised like the rest of the body, and the 3D sculpted pocket clip is anodised on a sort of egg-shell like finish and so comes out as slightly more teal than blue, still with the purple edges.
The fit and finish is superb and the three different surface finishes on the handles respond well to the very precisely carved skull. Also a high point, the pivot screw while very probably in steel of some sort (it’s magnetic) has inlaid black elements that highlight the star shape. For all its fancy looks, it still works with a standard torx bit. The other screws are also “custom” and mounted flush.
All the details you can look at are very finely detailed and well thought out. The edges are all well rounded. The blade shape is a very practical full bellied drop point ground to perfection in FFG style, the gimping at the end of the blade is wide, effective, never painful. The ergonomics are superb and once in hand the knife sort of vanishes with no hot spots of any sort. Blade centring is, obviously I’m tempted to say, perfect. The blade was, out of the box, razor sharp.
Only (very minor) defects I could detect: the box is a rather plain folded cardboard thing and the pivot action, while very smooth is not “pure graving folding back” smooth. Very minor indeed for a knife that would not look out of place among a bunch of customs or midtechs north of 750 dollars… while costing 7.5 times less!
Overall, I got this one “just to try the brand” and it totally blew my mind. Get one as soon as you can, and if the price tag (or the feel that it might not really be s35vn) bothers you, grab the little brother in 9Cr18MoV who seems absolutely identical safe of the blade steel.