If you're a knife lover like me, chances are you've heard of Ken Onion before. Ken is an award winning custom knife maker and a member of Blade Magazine's Cutlery Hall of Fame. Ken has worked with a number of different knife makers but he's probably best known for his collaboration with Kershaw knives and the invention of the "SpeedSafe" assisted opening system. The Kershaw Chive is his brain child and comes equipped with the SpeedSafe opening system. This is the smallest of Kershaw's Ken Onion knives and one of the best.
What can this knife handle?
The Kershaw Chive is really an ideal EDC knife. The SpeedSafe assisted opening system ensures that deploying the blade is a snap and it's lightweight makes it easy to carry on your belt or in your pocket. The blade length is under 3 inches, so you won't be able to rely on it for heavy duty jobs. It's small blade is ideal for carrying around the worksite or in public, where your 8 inch bowie is liable to raise eyebrows. It'll cut through boxes, tape, string, and even chordage with no problem at all. To top it off, the Chive is a beautiful knife, making it a welcome addition to any collector's inventory.
Construction and Blade
Kershaw used 420HC stainless steel in the blade construction of the Chive. It’s not VG10 but it's passable steel. On the plus side, 420HC are is very resistant to corrosion (a real plus if you often find yourself working in the elements). You'll also find that it's a tough, durable steel that sharpens easily. On the other hand, you lose your edge fairly quickly so it's a good thing it's so easy to sharpen. Does the Kershaw Chive get sharp? Yes, yes it does. In fact I was surprised at how sharp I was able to get it. Most other 420HC blades I've owned don't get impressively sharp, but you can shave with the Chive.
The blade of the Chive is 1.94 inches long and has a drop point shape. While that's not a lot of blade, the Chive is equally adept at thrusting and slicing cuts. You wouldn't want to count on the Chive as your primary tactical blade but it could be a servicable weapon in a pinch. A dual thumb stud is located at the top of the blade butt these are essentially pointless. The Chive is so small and the thumbstuds are so close to the handle scales them is next to impossible. I'd stick to the flipper for opening. To polish things off, Kershaw coated the blade with an attractive looking black Tungsten/Boron coating.
Handle, Grip, and Feel
The handle is 2.88 inches long and is constructed of 410 stainless steel. A pocket clip is attacthed to the back via some torque screws. The pocket clip has good retention but it rides a little too high in your pocket for my taste. This isn't that big of a deal to me because I typically just drop the knife in my pocket. The knife feels good in your hand. I think this is due to the all steel construction of the knife, it feels solid in your hand despite its small size. The handle curves to fit in your palm. Great ergonomics on the Chive.
I want to go into some detail about the SpeedSafe opening system, as it's probably my favorite feature of the Chive. The Chive isn't technically an automatic knife but it might as well be because once you add some light pressure to the flipper or thumbstud the blade pops open. This is without question the fastest assisted opening system I've come across, you'll need to watch your fingers. A tip lock is included with the knife, normally I don't like safeties on knives, but It was a good addition to the chive. The assisted opening is so strong and sensitive that it would be a safety hazard to not include the tip lock.
There are minor flaws with the Kershaw Chive, but nothing major. It's solidly constructed, with a sharp blade, ergonomic handle, and one of the fastest deployment system on the market. Downsides are useless thumbstuds and a less than ideal blade steel. Overall, another good effort from Ken Onion and Kershaw knives. If you're looking for a good little EDC for the home or office I'd give it a shot.