A year or so ago, CKF came up with a very gracefully designed folder called the Sukhoi (yeah, like the Russian fighter jets). It was designed by Anton Malyshev, with full scales in CF covering titanium that featured a wavy pattern. Very attractive. And apparently well made. But costly and not flipping. That last point was subsequently addressed by the same protagonists when CKF released the “Gratch” designed by Malyshev, which was essentially a flipping Sukhoi but lost in the process its nice wavy patterned titanium parts. All CF, then, and the flipper tab was a bit “blocky”, reducing a bit the overall “sexiness”.
Then, the Chinese knife makers came along and a first knife was released, inspired to a certain degree by that general design (shape of the handle and blade, mostly). It featured titanium (with no CNC patterns) and carbon fibre (but flat and polished, not 3D sculpted like in the Russian models). This “inspired by” knife, however did include a very interesting feature, a “disappearing flipper tab” and was thus dubbed “the Piston” as this tab worked as a piston. I have had this knife since it was introduced and it’s still one of my all time favourites. But the aesthetics were still rather different from either the Sukhoi or the Gratch.
More recently a newer Chinese take on that style was released. Again a fairly high end piece, with s35vn blade, 3D contoured titanium handle, nice quality pouch, great fit and finish, costing about $100. So, I jumped on it, and here it is:
It is an almost perfectly faithful redesign of the Sukhoi, but in flipper and with the sculpted CF inserts replaced by a sculpted 3D satin titanium handle. The flipper tab is small and rather unobtrusive, yet it works wonderfully. This knife is on bearings and one of the smoothest in my collection (which does contain quite a few very smooth knives, thank you). The contouring, machining, sculpting of the Ti handles is absolutely perfect, and the texturing is very nice, brighter than usually the beadblasted Ti looks, yet still a bit “frosty”.
The blade is perfectly ground (and very sharp) in a very attractive semi-deep satin that often is found on Vespa’s knives in s35vn. Well, no surprise, it is s35vn that has been used for the blade.
The pocket clip is 3D sculpted titanium and the lock face is blessed with a hardened still insert that reduces the possibility of wear and lock stick.
The back spacer protrudes from the back and is perfectly well adjusted. From this view point it possible to see already how tight the tolerances and great the fit and finish are on this knife… But that becomes even more visible here:
The blade centring is perfect and needs to be, else the blade would probably touch the scales while going in… The symmetry of the grind is also in display if you look for it.
Overall, it’s a very nice, very smooth knife, which while not being overly original (it’s quite visibly inspired by the Gratch and the Sukhoi) brings something knew to the table in a very high quality package and I guess few would be unhappy having. I’m, for one, delighted to have in my collection!