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 .
This blade is a true thing of beauty. A gentleman’s folder, but not a typical one by any means.
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.
The TCK not perfect and it’s not cheap.
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 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).
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.