Things That Don’t Suck: Sandrin TCK Knife

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

Dan Z for TTAG

I own a lot of knives. More than any healthy person probably should (and definitely more than my wife should know about).

One of my favorites, though, and certainly one of the more unique blades in my regular carry rotation, is the Sandrin carbon fiber/titanium TCK .

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

Dan Z for TTAG

This blade is a true thing of beauty. A gentleman’s folder, but not a typical one by any means.

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

Dan Z for TTAG

It’s a two-handed opening titanium frame lock design with a glossy carbon fiber scale and contrasting red pivot and spacer hardware. It’s ultra-slim and incredibly light weight (1.3 ounces).

But what really sets the TCK apart is its mirror-finish blade. At 3.4″, the angular Wharncliffe blade is certainly longer than those most gentleman’s folders.

What’s really notable, though, is the blade material. Italian-owned Sandrin has crafted the TCK’s blade not of steel, but of tungsten carbine. That makes it incredibly hard and sharp.

It’s also unusually thin at just under 1mm wide. How thin?

 

Tungsten carbide has the benefit of being shockingly hard. The TCK’s blade has a Rockwell score of 71. That makes it one of the hardest materials you’ll find in a pocket knife. For reference, a premium blade steel such as S35VN has a Rockwell score of 58-61. ELMAX is rated at 62. ZDP-189 is 64-66.

What does that mean practically? It means that in the 10 months that I’ve owned and used the TCK, I’ve never had to sharpen it. It could shave the hairs on my arm right out of the box and it still can.

That’s good, because being that hard, putting a new edge on it, if I ever have to, could be a project.

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

Dan Z for TTAG

The TCK not perfect and it’s not cheap.

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

The TCK is ultra thin and light, virtually disappearing in your pocket. (Dan Z for TTAG)

I got an early model and while it’s exceptionally attractive — at least to me — not all of the edges were finished perfectly. There are a few rough spots and machine marks here and there. That’s not something you’d expect in a knife in this price range.

Retail cost was about $279.

Sandrin TCK carbon fiber knife

Dan Z for TTAG

Sandrin seems to have taken the lessons it learned in building the TCK and applied them to the latest iteration of the knife, the TCK 2.0. (The original carbon fiber/titanium version is still out there and available through some retailers).

Sandrin TCK 2.0 knife

Courtesy Sandrin

The 2.0 is a less flashy, more understated slipjoint version with black stainless scales and a smaller, more proportional pocket clip. Most importantly, Sandrin has used the same tungsten carbide blade, giving it what they call a black diamond-like-carbon finish that looks like it won’t show fingerprints nearly as easily as the TCK’s mirror-like finish.

No, this isn’t necessarily the most practical knife in the world. Don’t expect to deploy it in a defensive situation. You’ll be using this mostly to open packages, cut cord, and maybe tuck into a tomahawk ribeye when the restaurant’s steak knife isn’t up to the job (no restaurant utensil will even come close).

Most will sniff and call it an expensive fashion item or an odd, if high performing curiosity. The new TCK 2.0 is more affordable ($229) and looks to be more practical.

Still, the carbon fiber TCK is a joy to own and carry, an elegant pocket folder that definitely does not suck.

comments

  1. avatar Kevin says:

    Awesome knife! Out of my price range because I lose knives all the time, but awesome nonetheless. Thanks for the “Things That Don’t Suck” series – they are always interesting.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      Buy a few nice knives to enjoy and a cheap knife to use. If I were to grab one of the nicer knives I’d lose it in no time but the cheap Kershaw is like a booger , it just sticks to me.

      Somewhere up in the attic there is a very expensive handmade MacFarlan damascus folder that fell out of a pocket a few years back as I was crawling through the rafters. It’s down in the insulation and there is enough metal up there to hide it from a metal detector. I have looked and looked and felt into the fiberglass insulation but so far it’s managed to stay hidden. I should have known better than grab it but it was handy and the job was a quick repair a duct that came loose from the plenum. Maybe one day I’ll recover it or maybe whoever owns the house next will get a real find.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        Large magnet?

  2. avatar Darkman says:

    I still can’t see the justification for spending that much money on a knife. In all my many years of life I’ve never spent more than 50 dollars on a knife. The only knife I spent even close to that was a Spec Plus Air Force survival knife from Ontario Knives back in the early 80’s. It has served me well and I still use it. While I understand the importance of quality. At the end of the day. It is just a knife. Unless you need it for a designated purpose or business. A much less expensive knife will work for the average person. To each their own I guess. Keep Your Powder dry.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      So your guns all are Hi Points and Jimenez Arms ?

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        What’s wrong with Hi Point or Jimenez Arms? They’ll kill you just as dead as Colt, Beretta or even God forbid a Glock. Stay in the basement son. You’ll be safer there.

        1. avatar KenW says:

          You read it wrong, they are not expensive so by his argument that’s what he should own.
          We can’t have basements here. They would be called indoor swimming pools.

      2. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

        A lot of people will buy nice guns but save money on knives — especially knives that cost as much as a 10/22 or 870 or Surefire or Pelican, all of which would stand up to harder use than this knife.

        Different strokes for different folks. Some of us have to prioritize more than others.

      3. avatar Arthur "care bear", I am in Florida until March says:

        Are you in FL bro, you wanna hang out or something?

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Troll for a date somewhere else…

    2. avatar Chris in VA says:

      Darkman. Seriously, man. Read back through your original post and ask yourself, “what value did I add to the conversation?” Think about it. Do you care if I wouldn’t buy a new Ford F250 because I think they are too expensive? Do you care if I think that Perazzi shotguns cost too much? Of course you don’t. Why should you? Now go read your original post again. The only meaningful part is the advice to keep our powder dry. Thank you for that. There is no need to tell all of us complete strangers that you don’t like something because we don’t care.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Chris you got enough to worry about. Just living in Virginia. Best put your dog in that fight. unless you enjoy being a “Subject”.

    3. avatar SoBe says:

      The most versatile and indestructible pocket knife I have ever owned is a CRKT M16-10KZ by Carson Design. It cost me less that $30 and the original purpose was as an emergency knife to carry in my PFD while Kayak Sailing. Any type of sailing mandates carrying a very sharp knife for emergencies and anything carried on a small sailboat in the ocean means that it wasn’t that valuable, because eventually everything carried on a small boat, especially sailing, will either end up at the bottom of the ocean or will be rendered more than useless by the exposure to the salt and environmental extremes.
      Not so for my “cheap knife.” Despite several dunkings in the Atlantic Ocean and being carelessly left in the pocket of a briny PFD, my first CRKT has no signs of corrosion and is still sharp enough to shave with (my favorite thing to do to freak out friends). Needless to say that after this test by fire I bought a second one that permanently resides in my sweaty jeans pockets.
      I am a surgeon by profession and I know a sharp knife and I know an over priced knife. My most expensive knives are in my kitchen (and in my reenactor scabbards), but those need to be really babied to appreciate the difference in price.

    4. avatar Hans says:

      Darkman, thank goodness my armpits
      are hairless !

  3. avatar Aerindel says:

    And people say we fetishize guns….sheesh. “Ammosexuals” have nothing on knife nuts.

    It a tool, just like a gun. Spending more than about $50 on a knife and you’re not buying a tool, you’re buying a fetish. A pretty shiny thing to stroke and and pet and feel good about.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      As are a lot of powder weapons and accessories. It’s lucky we do not have to explain to accountants why we bought the guns we own instead of a much cheaper weapon.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      Even tools come in different price categories. You can make do with a Ryobi drill, or you can buy a Hilti that costs 5 times more. If you use it once in a blue moon to make a hole in wood, it would be vaste of money to spend more for better tool. Contractor using and abusing the thing every day will pay willingly for quality that lasts.

      As for knives, I had more than my share of cheap ones. But about 20 years ago I found out that Spyderco knives work great, last forever and thanks to a solid clip I don’t lose them. My wife still carries my first Delica that I bought for half of my monthly salary in Europe last century.

      Spyderco Military is a perfect size for my every day carry, with a blade shape that works not only for cutting stuff and opening packages, but also for scraping, shaving, smoothing and anything else I can come up with, dozens of times during my work day as remodeling contractor. Even best knife in the world can’t hold a perfect edge for long when you use it to scrape cement from floor tiles. That’s why I have another one to carry outside of work – evenings, weekends and holidays.

      When, after years of abuse, my work knife is not good enough anymore, I gladly spend $250 for a new one and cycle the evening one to work duty. After those 20+ years I’m on my third Spiderco Military. You still can cut a human hair held by one end (sticking out in the air) in one swipe with it.

  4. avatar Texican says:

    I would most likely never own this knife. The Sandrin TCK is basically a really fancy box cutter. I like knives as hard use tools and want the strongest ones I can find. That’s why I buy Cold Steel. They have options for just about everybody. And they are the strongest knives at the best price point. And, therefore, the best value. I look at other knives and appreciate some of them but can’t bring myself to buy any other brand. And, no, I don’t work for Cold Steel.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      enjoy your chicom goodness.
      i don’t cold steel same like i don’t bell’s beer.
      the owners are wads.

  5. avatar CCDWGUY says:

    Buy what you like and can afford, enjoy those items whether a knife or a weapon or a car or bike. This knife looks good and apparently works for the user’s purpose. Why criticize his choice. I have a fairly expensive Benchmade that I’d hate to lose but carry it every day and find it useful for something just about every day and it has multiple uses. Why criticize Dan for his choice. I also got a Swiss Army Knife for Christmas that has more tools than my toolbox and one tool that I can’t figure out what it does. But I’ll figure it out and I expect someday I’ll need it.
    I also have 4 or 5 Kel-Tec’s that most people would find absurd but I find their engineering unique.

    1. avatar KenW says:

      I had to dig one of those out of a sock drawer awhile back for the tweezers. I managed to get a splinter into my palm that a needle would not pry out. It too has a few attachments that I have no clue are for.
      It’s to bulky to carry around so it lives in the sock drawer.

    2. avatar dph says:

      I’ll take a guess and say that the tool you can’t identify is a parcel hook.

      1. avatar KenW says:

        Mine was brought to me from Switzerland when my Mom went there quite a few years ago. The thing is at least 2 inches thick and looking at site that described what the parts were the 3 I could not identify are a hoof cleaner ( ?? ) a divet repair tool and the multipurpose hook . They along with most of the stuff on it will never get used.

        A totally uselessness way to big knife but hey if you need a small tool that can be installed on a knife it may have it. It did have the roach clip which came in handy to pull a splinter.

  6. avatar RGP says:

    I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $300 on a good knife but the blade on that thing looks about as useless as they come.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      wharnies are tip designs, whittling, scoring, etc. looks like a helluva letter opener and coupon cutter.

  7. avatar Mack The Knife says:

    Nice knife. Other than shaving, what do you use it for, short conversations?

  8. avatar Rubiconcrossed says:

    it looks like an interesting knife

  9. avatar captainlouisrenault says:

    I would like to have one

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    “ and maybe tuck into a tomahawk ribeye when the restaurant’s steak knife isn’t up to the job”

    Yup. I’ve done that more than once with my pocket folder.

    1. avatar Merle 0 says:

      Good for you tough guy.

  11. avatar Moltar, plain simple Moltar says:

    Man that’s expensive for a simple slip joint folder! Then again I’m betting a good portion of that cost is paying for the materials, the time to work them, and the poor souls having to put overtime in to polish it.

    1. avatar Moltar, plain simple Moltar says:

      Oh also there’s a reason knife steels are generally kinda soft. It’s for shock and flex, see you drop a hard knife it will chip and break you temper it back to a happy medium hardness and it won’t. I’d be interested to see how that blade handles shock and being flexed.

      P.S. please bring back my edit button. I’ve sent the ransom you requested.

  12. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    strange they would make a knife you cannot sharpen

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Who said it can’t be sharpened? It just takes diamond stone and a little more time.

  13. avatar BigDaddyHoffman1911 says:

    Open and appendix carry, that’s the way son.

  14. avatar The Rookie says:

    Nice knife. Out of my price range, but nice knife!

  15. avatar Travis Thams says:

    Tungsten Carbide is also incredibly brittle! Like shatter brittle! Horrible alloy choice for EDC Knife. Great choice for a shaving razor.

    But the aesthetics of the blade are excellent.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Beauty is in the eye of beholder. To me it looks like a toothless sawzall blade. I made something similar to cut fiberglass insulation once.

  16. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    The poors are out in force. jeeez

  17. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    ignoring the fact that i might want a tungsten carbine (look again), this bit, “…a less flashy, more understated slipjoint version…” leads me to believe that the original version has a locking blade. which, even for a letter opener, i require.

  18. avatar Dan says:

    Very hard “steel” but prone to chipping. I saw one video where a guy was trying to sharpen out a chip and it was damn near impossible.

  19. avatar conrad says:

    The best way to figure that knife out would be to use the tip as a screwdriver.
    Otherwise, the argument about 279 bucks should not be over how much money that is, but rather if it was well spent on a knife like that.
    In application, it appears to be perfectly suited for opening plastic bags of cocaine and making lines on a mirror, lol.

  20. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Damn, a lot of ass hurt around here. Well, keep spending your money on your $50 knives, and when they break, or you spend all of your time at the sharpening bench 4x a week, we’ll know who was right.

    I carry and USE a Microtech ‘85 every day. 204P is amazing steel. Edge retention is second to none, and reprofiling or replacing the edge is not nearly as hard as I imagined. I paid $250 for it. I’ve got a few more at that price, and I have a bunch at half the price, and lower. I don’t expect any of the cheaper ones to do what the expensive ones do. You get what you pay for, but from my experience, and from others I’ve read about, $275 is the cap on materials and performance. Anything over that, you’re paying for a name, collectibility, etc.

  21. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $300 on a good knife but the blade on that thing looks about as useless as they come.
    مشکلات دوران نوجوانی

  22. avatar NCO says:

    Looks like a great knife, but I certainly would be afraid of losing it. I buy decent knives, mostly for cutting deer and cleaning fish, but I have to admit I am good at misplacing them.

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