After continuously asking others to borrow a knife, I finally decided to purchase my own. I needed something dependable and sharp (obviously) that looks good. It needed to fit into the smallest of pockets and purses and have a cutting edge that met not only every day tasks, but emergency ones as well. I didn’t browse long before the Kershaw Chive jumped out at me. Its rainbow titanium-oxide coating is shiny and definitely not discreet. It clearly stands out from a slew of otherwise dull matte black knives in the same category. Despite its flashy appearance, the Chive is no delicate flower.
I admit it; I mainly purchased the Kershaw Ken Onion Chive folding knife based on its looks. Following a close second to the Chive’s pretty look, is Kershaw’s reputation as a high-quality knife maker. The Chive isn’t the cheapest knife in the shed, and I wanted to buy something from a trusted company and not solely based on looks. The Chive immediately pleased me. Right out of the box, the Chive cuts the finest of arm hair. Not only that, but it digs, dices and slices just as well today as it did the day I took out of it’s gift tin. This shiny, slick, little guy quickly became my EDC knife. Nearly eight years later, the Kershaw Chive keeps on cutting.
The 1.94-inch plain recurve blade is excellent for slicing. The Chive comes through without slipping or struggling when cutting rope and other dangly things like string—which I cut on a regular basis. The shape is a good middle ground between a traditional clip point and a spear point, so you get a blade that will stab and slice equally well. However, the tip is not as sharp as a clip or spear point, the recurve is stronger and easier to control while cutting.
The 420 high-carbon stainless steel blade is a mix of steel and other metals to make the blade rust-resistant and easy to sharpen—Kershaw recommends proper care of the blade. My Chive has gotten wet from water and various weird stuff. For instance, in my purse, it has been exposed to substances such as melted lip balm and lotion. My blade has yet to show any signs of corrosion or rust. The most “care” it gets is a wipe down with a paper towel or the hem of my t-shirt. (For the purpose of this article, I gave the Chive a nice bath with some Dawn dishwashing soap.)
It isn’t shaving sharp anymore, but still holds a fair edge even after using it in ways not intended, such as whittling wood, a makeshift tool, digging in dirt, and prying things open. There are a few nicks on the blade’s edge, but the tip is still as strong and pointy as the day I bought it. Though I have not sharpened it, it still handles every day tasks.
The blade and 410 stainless steel handle have a titanium-oxide coating with a rainbow finish. Using negative voltage and ionizing, a thin layer of metal mixed with oxygen coats the blade and handle. It is an extremely eye-catching and beautiful finish. Do not let the slick look deceive you. Not once has my grip slipped from the handle. The jimping on the black of the blade close to the thumb stud offers a firm and secure grip. Minus a few fingerprints, the finish hasn’t dulled. There are noticeable scratches however, but I’ve dumped the Chive in the bottom of my purse and in the bottom of a backpack full of camping gear. I expect this look of use from a well-used and well-loved knife. You might think the finish is a bit flashy, but I find the brightly colored blade easy to locate in the bottom of a filled bag.
SpeedSafe and Safety Features
One of the most desirable features of the Chive is the SpeedSafe, one-handed assisted opening. Designed by notable knife maker Ken Onion, the SpeedSafe assisted opening is not a switchblade, so the Chive is legal to carry.
On the bottom end of the blade—closest to the handle—is a small protrusion. This protrusion is how you activate the Chive’s SpeedSafe opening. When folded the protrusion sticks out of the handle. The knife will spring open when you press the protrusion. Once open, the frame lock clicks into place and the knife safely stays open. You can also open the knife by using the thumb stud.
Kershaw inspects the SpeedSafe’s torsion bar to 10,000 openings, at which point Kershaw says the part may need replacing. I don’t know if I have opened my knife 10,000 times or not—I don’t keep count—either way, mine is just now showing signs it might need replaced. After washing it, the knife would not fully engage to a full locked open position while using the SpeedSafe. I let it sit overnight to completely dry and I had no further issues with the SpeedSafe mechanism.
According to Kershaw’s website, the Chive has two official locking mechanisms: a frame lock and a tip-lock slider. The frame lock has given a little over the years, however it remains stiff and tight.
On the pocket clip side of the Chive is a metal slider that engages the plastic tip lock built into the handle of the knife. The lock slides easily and never catches on my clothing or anything else floating around in my purse. Once I have engaged the lock, it stays there. If I am carrying it in my pocket, just to be extra careful, I keep in the tip-lock safety on. When I carry the Chive in my purse or backpack, I tend to leave the safety off. I’ve never had an issue where the blade came open.
Pocket Clip and Carrying
Like the other three screws in the knife’s construction, the two securing the pocket clip are still tight. I have never needed to adjust any of the screws. The stainless steel (not rainbow colored) pocket clip is nearly the same size as the Chive’s handle and positioned for right-handed, tip-down carry only. This might bother lefties, but since this is the way I carry a knife, I have no issues with the non-interchangeable, non-ambidextrous clip.
Folded, the Chive is 2.88 inches long and only weighs 1.9 ounces. It is incredibly discreet and fits even in the snug coin pocket of my jeans. Not only can I carry it in my favorite pants in any pocket unobtrusively, it finds its place in any compartment of all my purses—even the smallest ones.
When clipped to my pants, there is no play, movement or sliding around. To this day, the clip remains stiff and the knife stays securely where I clip it.
Though I’m not as rough on the Kershaw Chive as some of you are on your knives, I have never babied it, never sharpened it, and never had to adjust any of the hardware. Even though Kershaw recommends cleaning the knife with mild detergent and wiping the blade, pivot points and lock with oil—I haven’t done that either. All parts of the Chive are still tight and perfectly functioning. I have never considered replacing my Kershaw Ken Onion Chive. As far as an EDC knife, this one suits me to a T.
For me a good blade gets me out of a jam, opens boxes I’m eager to receive after an online shopping binge, cuts when I need cutting, and gives me some sense of security when I can’t carry a gun. Despite its smaller size, after years of abuse, the Kershaw Chive certainly exceeds my expectations.
Specifications and Features
- Action: Speed-Safe assisted-opening folder
- Blade Length: 1.94”
- Blade Material: 420 HC stainless steel
- Blade Style: Recurve, plain edge
- Handle Material: 410 stainless steel
- Locking Mechanism: Frame lock
- Finish: Titanium-oxide rainbow coated
- Pocket Clip: Single-position, tip-down carry stainless steel
- Handle Length: 4.19”
- Overall Length Open: 4.19”
- Weight: 1.9 ounces
- Made in the USA
Need more convincing? Kershaw offers a lifetime of free sharpening. I should probably get on that, don’t you think?
Like it, want it? Buy it!
The Chive is also available in the following finishes:
What is your EDC knife? Tell me about it in the comment section.
Suzanne joined the content team with over eight years experience at Cheaperthandirt.com. Starting out as a product description writer, Suzanne has extensive knowledge of the Cheaper Than Dirt! product base and is a good resource for suggestions on which products you need. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Though she prefers plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, Suzanne also loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!