SOLD 7 3/8" Shilin Cutter Slipjoint Knife from Taiwan with All Brass and Black Acrylic Handles and a Fully Flat Ground Super Hard Alloy Blade

SOLD 7 3/8" Shilin Cutter Slipjoint Knife from Taiwan with All Brass and Black Acrylic Handles and a Fully Flat Ground Super Hard Alloy Blade
Product Code: Product 431
Product Length: 18.73 cm
Product Weight: 4.00 oz
Reward Points: 0
Availability: Out Of Stock
Price: $199.00
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Here’s something you won’t find anywhere else! These are Shilin Cutters, handmade in Taipei, Taiwan by a senior member of the Chiu family. These knives were first made in Guangzhou, China in the 19th century. The making of these slipjoint knives was taught to a select few and later the skills were taken to Taiwan by migrant families.

While nobody disputes that these knives were made in Taiwan at the turn of the 20th century, who started making them first is very much in dispute and has been for decades. Once, the Shilin area of Taipei was full of family-run businesses that manufactured these beautiful knives. Today, there are only two men who make these knives. Kuo, perhaps the better of the two craftsmen, currently has a three-year waiting list for anyone who wants one of his knives.

These knives are from the older of the two men who make them today. I believe Mr Chiu is in his early 60s. The last few decades have been traumatic for the family: they sued the Kuos for the right to use certain markings on their Shilin knives (and won). Then, a more recent death in the family caused a dispute serious enough for the Chius to close their doors, perhaps pemanently.

Obtaining Chiu’s knives today is difficult enough in Taipei. They are not currently being produced, orders are not being accepted through their website and the doors of business remain shut. I am fortunate to have a connection in Taiwan who was able to track down Mr Chiu.

While they are not perfect, they are beautiful, durable and very efficient cutters that are really made to use. Due to influence from Japanese buyers who absolutely love the Shilin knives, Chiu and Kuo use some very fancy modern steel. These knives I’m offering today feature high end Japanese Cowry-X steel and a new, superhard alloy that is supposedly the hardest steel ever used on the Shilin Cutters. It is even harder than the ZDP-189 damascus (which is much more expensive) according to Mr Chiu. I don’t know what this steel is, but it appears to be an extremely hard carbon steel. 

All of these knives are hair popping sharp and fully flat ground. The blades will whiz through anything effortlessly and hold an edge forever. I previously tested one by cutting through a carton repeatedly. Cartons are extremely rough on blades because of the silica that is found within the cardboard, but even after forty cuts, the blade would still shave hair cleanly. That is truly amazing performance!

This Shilin Cutter measures in at 7 3/8" long when open. The blade is 3 3/8" long with a 3 1/8" edge. This is what the maker calls a 3.5” model.


The handles are solid brass with black acrylic and brass and steel pins. The blade is  marked "A” for Chui's Super Hard Alloy. The maker considers this the hardest Japanese steel he’s ever used. I believe it is over 67 RC, and from cutting tests, it definitely appears to be!


The blade is fully flat ground and hair popping sharp. The markings were done by hand. There appear to be phosphor bronze washers in the pivots. From the maker, there is a lot of dust left over in the handles and pivots (traditionally there was less emphasis on knifemakers to deliver a flawless and spotless product), but the knife will smoothen out considerably with some cleaning. WD-40 always works well on traditionally-made folders that don’t have stag or bone handles.


The blade is not perfectly ground,but it is absolutely razor sharp from heel to tip (and will stay that way better than any other knife I’ve ever handled)!


The brass handle is thick and durable, and nicely polished all over. 



This slipjoint has an extremely strong backspring that will take a good amount of force to overcome to get the knife closed. This knife holds open in two positions for safety, and even if the blade was to close, the unsharpened portion will make contact with your index finger, preventing injury.

This is the first step when opening the knife; the blade holds in two positions.



This slipjoint offers incredible cutting power and traditional craftsmanship. 4 oz. $199.

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