Chinese TiSpine Clone with Integral Titanium handle and m390 blade

About a year ago I had presented you a Chinese version of the LionSteel TiSpine gentleman folder. Alas, this clone was lacking on one of the main selling points of its inspiration: the integral titanium body/handle was replaced by two sides and a back spacer. The Elmax blade was replaced by a D2 piece and the lock bar was very tightly cut (water jet?)


Well, time passes and Chinese knife makers venture more and more into higher end territories and as such are not so much constrained by technical limitations and price barriers are not so strict. As a result a number of integrals (first in aluminium, easier to machine, see the Anax or the Lochsa, then in titanium) were released. A new version of the TiSpine was among these, also including a Böhler M390 blade (the “high end steel” of the moment). Loving the design, a classy great looking gentleman folder but large enough in the hand an pocket (unlike the small Sebenza or other similar pieces).


It has all the features of the real LionSteel original, improved upon slightly as M390 is a slightly “better” steel than Elmax that the Italian original has for the blade steel. The lockbar is now more largely separated from the main body, as on the original.


The finish is almost perfect, one can only detect slight machining marks here and there and a not perfectly smooth radius on the “Titanium Spine” of the handle



As you see, it is almost invisible and only under certain angles does light reflection reveal the not perfectly even finish in the ridges of said spine…



Blade centring is rather good, but not 100% perfect. Now, that is something that an integral body is prone to generate as there are no way to “re-adjust” by moving a bit the scales relative to each other. However, the “un-centring” is very very small and one needs to look attentively to detect it.

Overall it is an expensive piece for a Chinese clone but when thinking of what the price of the original (already one of the cheapest Ti integral folders on the market) or of any integral folder in sculpted titanium made in any other place, well, it’s a bargain.

The smoothness is good (for a not-on-bearings knife) but you need two hands to open the knife easily. Which is not a problem in the case of a gentleman folder. The lock bar is not reinforced, again not a problem for this style of piece. The blade is superbly ground, with a very nice finish: satin on the grinds and stone-wash on the flats. The pocket clip is simple but effective and allows for a very unobtrusive deep carry. To me that is one of the very best small folder one can get nowadays in the industrial/mid tech market, irrespective of the price, and probably the cheapest titanium integral body frame-lock on the planet. What’s not to love?




5 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    Just checking in on how much u like this knife. Ordered one thru dhgate but the shop shipped it to the wrong address (now in open dispute). Not sure if its worth the risk to order another from another person so just wanna hear your take. I like to flick my knives too, is it possible with this knife?


    1. Franz says:

      Hi Chris. I’m still very happy with it, very nice, sharp blade, the handle is a work of art. Clearly it’s a very hard one to flick (I like doing it as much as anyone, I guess) as the finger really has a hard time getting a good purchase on the blade with the rectangular hole and the rather poor access the hand gives to it.
      Are you 100% sure it was sent to the wrong address? Did you try to work out a solution with the seller? At one time I had a knife apparently sent elsewhere but eventually (after more than a month) it arrived at the right address. They had simply mixed up the tracking numbers. I hope you’ll get yours soon enough, and I don’t know if I’d repurchase one if I were in your situation. Possibly because those models often appear, then vanish and are then almost impossible to get. But then again, I’m not sure… What if the first one turns up in two days?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris says:

        Hi Franz,
        Yea its definitely wrong address as on the tracking number it says delivered and the address is in San Jose,CA and I dont even stay in the US so its definitely wrong. A mix up of tracking number is possible but there is no way we will reach a resolution because the seller is no longer on DHGate. So im just waiting for 5 days to be up before I ask DHGate to mediate the situation. Its been quite a painful 3 weeks watching this package travel the US hahahha and I was looking forward to my first integral. There is a video here where the opens it like a front flipper.


      2. Franz says:

        I haven’t tried the front flipper method… Can’t tell you why, as it’s a form of opening I tend to like…
        Anyway, good luck with the delivery. It might be that they send your knife to the US of that they mixed up things. In my case, they had given me the tracking of someone living not too far from me, in France. So at the begining I wasn’t surprised or anything. Only when I saw “delivered in XXX” which wasn’t even my city, did I start to freak out. Unnecessarily it then appeared as two or three days later my knife turne at my place, with right address and all.
        Let’s hope you’ll have the same nice surprise ! And then possibly get a refund, so you’ll have gotten a nice TiSpine for free!


      3. Chris says:

        HAHAHa thats a nice thought…. Anyway appreciate your replies 🙂 itching to get a green thorn shiro too hahha


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