SOLD 7.5" Shilin Cutter Slipjoint Knife from Taiwan with All Brass and Black Acrylic Handles and a Fully Flat Ground Japanese Cowry-X Blade

SOLD 7.5" Shilin Cutter Slipjoint Knife from Taiwan with All Brass and Black Acrylic Handles and a Fully Flat Ground Japanese Cowry-X Blade
Product Code: Product 547
Product Length: 7.50 cm
Product Weight: 4.30 oz
Reward Points: 0
Availability: Out Of Stock
Price: $239.00
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Here’s something you won’t find anywhere else! This is a Shilin Cutter, which was 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 across 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 five-year waiting list for anyone who wants one of his knives.

This knife is from the older of the two men who make them today. Mr Chiu is in his early 70s. 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 the business remain shut. I am fortunate to have a connection in Taiwan who was able to track down Mr Chiu.

Chiu’s Shilin Cutters 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 uses some very fancy modern steel and now uses internal backsprings. This knife features high end Japanese Cowry-X damascus steel that has been heat treated to 62-68 HRC. The blade is hair popping sharp and fully flat ground. The blade will slice effortlessly and hold an edge for a good, long time. I previously tested a Shilin Cutter by slicing 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!

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This Shilin Cutter measures in at 7.5" long when open. The blade is 3 3/8" long. This is what the maker calls a 3.5” model. 

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The handles are solid brass with black acrylic and brass and steel pins. The blade is marked “X” for Cowry-X. The maker considers this some of the hardest Japanese steel he’s ever used. I believe it is around 67 RC, and from cutting tests, it definitely appears to be! The Chinese characters simply read as “Shilin Knife.”

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The blade is fully flat ground and hair popping sharp. The markings were done by hand. There are 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 by knifemakers to deliver a flawless and spotless product), but the knife will smoothen out considerably after some cleaning. WD-40 always works well on traditionally-made folders that don’t have stag or bone handles.

Cowry-X is a laminate steel with a very hard cutting edge; I haven't tried etching the steel, but it might help highlight the incredible pattern.

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

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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)! 

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This slipjoint has an extremely strong backspring that will take a good amount of force to overcome to get the knife closed. This knife has a two-step lock for safety. 

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This slipjoint offers incredible cutting power and traditional craftsmanship. 4.3 oz. $239. 

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