I purchased a Civivi Elementum EDC folding knife for review purposes, and although the full review is not quite ready, I wanted to share a little bit about it while it’s currently still in stock.
Here’s a little about it:
Its 3″ knife blade is the sweet spot for my knife needs and preferences – compact enough to be highly portable and convenient, long enough to be useful.
It’s a smooth flipper knife. The Ruike P801 that Anthony reviewed here is a good knife, but I do like this Civivi better – it’s smoother and has a little more character, rather than basic metal-slab handles. Flipper knives can be much easier to use than traditional thumb stud or thumb hole openers. For some, there’s also a “fidget factor” where they open and close such knives when their hands aren’t busy.
It’s less expensive premium knife. Civivi Knives, by WE Knives, is a recent budget-friendly knife maker. You have some style choices, but less expensive materials help make this knife more affordable than one made with an exotic tool steel and titanium handles.
The D2 tool steel blade and G-10 handles are solid choices. This is a knife that you could and should use on a daily basis.
It’s extremely well-made. It opens and closes smoothly, the knife shape is useful, the blade grind is nicely done.
This is a great knife, even shockingly good.
You should buy this if you want a taste of higher-end folding knife design at a lower price point. There are several color choices, as well as handle material choices if you’re willing to spend a little more.
Price: $50.20 as of the time of this posting
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via BladeHQ
Not legal in my locale (Amazon won’t ship to my primary residence) so I guess I won’t be ordering ones as Christmas stocking stuffers. Boo-hoo.
Where do you live that a 3″ blade knife is illegal?
I have been finding that Amazon won’t ship many things that are legal. Something is going on with them. If you search for private knife shops, unless 3” is truly illegal in your location, they will ship to you. Knivesshipfree.com and white mountainknives.com are a couple good sources. You could also try shipping to one of your other houses 😀
I think it may be how some states/localities interpret assisted opening knives – and if they have ruled all assisted opening knives or just ones like switch blades or gravity knives illegal. We have 3 residences – 2 in locales that have few issues with knives. But with COVID – we are hunkered down at our primary residence in a locale that has issues with what they may consider as “weapons” – 3 inches long or not.
It’s to do with your state laws on automatic knives or assisted opening knives.
Recently my state changed its laws so all knives of this type are legal again for anyone other than law enforcement, fire fighters, or military.
Koko The Talking Ape
Stuart, I notice the liner lock (probably the bit with the rounded saw teeth) doesn’t protrude much above the handle scales. A lot of knives even have a cutaway in one scale to allow you to press the liner more easily, and this doesn’t. Is it hard to unlock the blade with one hand?
And I guess that snazzy bolt cover with the “C” logo is glued in place?
Nice looking knife though, like some models of Griptilians. I usually prefer flat-ground blades, but a hollow-ground blade can perform very well, especially in softer materials or shallower cuts.
This one is comfortable to unlock. I’ll have to check about the logo inlay.
The logo seems to be part of the pivot pin, with full disassembly accomplished by loosening the screw on the opposite side.
Koko The Talking Ape
Thank you sir!
They’re great quality. Civivi is WE knives budget line, but they’re still great. Open super smooth and close easily. Blade on mine was centered perfectly.
I’m just not a fan of d2. I find it rusts quite easily. You can get a pretty good edge on it, though.
Koko The Talking Ape
Have you ever tried spraying with GlideCote or something like that? My D2 knife has been fine (though I live in a dry climate.)
I’ve never tried GlideCote. And the sad thing is I have a boat. I’m going to give it a shot on the tools I keep aboard as well as a knife. So far only H1 and CPM S110v steel has been truly rust resistant.
If you need rust resistant, check out anything in LC200N steel:
Native 5 salt
Salt2 coming this year
These are all solid no matter the climate.
I’ve had my Spyderco Pacific Salt on board for about 3 years. At 1 point I developed a leak in a window in the galley, and the drawer it was stored in flooded. It was winter and I didn’t get to the harbor for almost a month. The knife was totally rust free. It was kind of nuts.
Koko The Talking Ape
Well, I think on a boat all bets are off. I wouldn’t count on any spray-on product there.
You’d better go with a stainless stainless, not a sorta-kinda stainless. Paul names some Spyderco knives made with fancy nitrogen-hardened steels, and I think Kershaw makes some too, but I bet ordinary 440C or AUS8 would suffice. Probably 12C27; I haven’t heard anybody complaining about stainless Moras rusting.
I guess the other alternatives are titanium and ceramic.
Try bronze tools – Ampco is one brand.
They are not impervious to the ravages of salt water but they certainly won’t rust. I have a pair of their pump pliers and an adjustable wrench on the boat – never an issue – but I still keep them oiled.
Koko The Talking Ape
Are there any bronze knives? How do they perform? I can’t imagine they keep an edge very well.
Spyderco says the nitrogen-hardened steels they use are impervious to corrosion. Not just resistant, but impervious. They aren’t as hard or tough as the best knife steels, but they have to be better than bronze.
When you “Google” “Bronze Knife” – you do get a few hits like the CS Unitec EX410S-180A – sold for $14.40 on Amazon. It’s more like a kitchen knife. Like you, I don’t imagine that it holds its edge for long. As I recall history – bronze swords were slowly obsoleted when iron ones were introduced by people like the Hittites.
Many bronze tools (like hammers) seem to be cast rather than forged – but I know that aluminum bronze can be quench hardened to produce a decent edge – like on that Unitec knife. I’m guessing that Stuart – with his PhD in material science – might be able to give us a tutorial on this.
Amazon does that sometimes. I had that same problem with the ken onion designed leek. Perfectly legal in my locale but Amazon wouldn’t ship. I was able to ship it to a friend in a different area and picked it up from him next time I saw him. Not sure if it’s Amazon being overprotective or just the algorithms messed up or what.
As for this knife: pass. If I’m buying from that part of the world it’s going to be Japanese. Yes I will probably pay a little more. I also know the workers are ethically treated. And the steel forging quality even if the same type of steel will be better in Japan.
This knife is average/mass market quality materials with lots of hand polishing/machining. And because they don’t have to pay their workers hardly anything for the manual labor it’s alot cheaper than the competition. Not a business strategy I will reward with my business.
Now if they had some sort of 3rd party certify fair wadges, working conditions, environmental concerns etc then I would be interested. Of course then the price would have to go up. “Money for nothing” only happens in 80’s rock songs lol
Agreed, I’m pretty close to switching my business away from China too for the same reasons. Nowadays, if I do purchase from China, I try to buy direct whenever possible. American C-level executives would run over their own mothers to make a few dollars more and would sell their own country out too. It makes me sick. Buying american today is nearly impossible. It’s either markef up made in China or at least parts/materials sourced from them.
I’ll have to say, I’m thinking the same way more and more. I think a lot of people will be re-thinking their purchases more in the future. The more I look for good, American made options, the more I find. Sometimes it takes some extra effort but usually the results are well worth it.
It’s a very complicated matter.
First, We Knives/Civivi is a Chinese company.
Second, it is difficult to find a good manual-opening USA-made knife at this price point.
Kershaw has some great USA-made knives in the $30-$60 price range, but unless I am mistaken, they are all assisted openers.
We Knives is the company that Ferrum Forge has partnered with to make their knives. The two have collaborated on designs for Drop/Massdrop, and also on their own knives. Ferrum Forge’s mini Archbishop is $75, and the nearly identical Civivi collab, Odium, is $53. Ferrum Forge seems to have given up on in-house production.
If you want USA-made, your options under $75 are very limited. There are lots of choices at $75 to $125 or so, and there are lot more above $150.
USA knifemakers are now facing very strong competition at even $125+ price ranges.
The knife industry is a lot like the tool industry. There’s mass production with a focus on price at the entry level, and then different higher-priced tiers aimed at more specific user needs and wants.
What so many people fail to realize is that consumers vote with their wallets. So many more people want more for less, and many simply shop according to price.
This is a good knife at a great value.
There are MANY USA-made knives I can recommend, and I’m working up to a USA-made series of reviews. But do you know what happens when I post about USA-made knives? The comments end up completely focused on “why would anyone spend so much on a knife?”
Koko The Talking Ape
“But do you know what happens when I post about USA-made knives? The comments end up completely focused on “why would anyone spend so much on a knife?”
I’ve basically decided that although I want to support American industry, low-cost items like knives or shoes are not the way to do it. That particular battle is lost already, except for expensive boutique items.
But if I buy a high-ticket item like a cabinet table saw, then I’ll go with American-made. That’s a lot of dollars I can keep in the US. But even then, some parts will be made in China. What can you do? Maybe the thing to do is donate money to job retraining programs.
I think everyone in the US wants to support good American jobs. The problem is, discounting some high end, niche items, most manufacturing jobs today are garbage jobs. If they were to come back to the US, they would either be minimum wage jobs, or the products would be priced way beyond anything competitive.
My daily carry knife is a Spyderco Para 3, with CPM S110V steel. Sure, it’s American made. And it cost me just shy of $200. I remember a year or 2 ago you had some guy on here doing knife reviews, and he got eaten alive when he reviewed some higher end knives. Not only will most people not pay the premium involved with American manufacturing, but in many cases they shouldn’t.
Manufacturing on a large scale is a game for developing nations. Countries like ours need to continue to focus on services. You can hate all those knives made over seas, but remember, often times Americans own part of the plant where they are made. American sell those knives to retailers. American write those purchase contracts. Americans audit those records to make sure that other Americans get their due money. And often times, Americans even run the plants where they are produced.
N. dos Santos
I hate seeing a simple post on a particular knife turn into an ethics debate
Koko The Talking Ape
I do too, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. There’s only a few posts that could be said to be related to ethics, and there’s no disagreement. Are you referring to the three “buy American” posts?
I think a bronze knife would be cool if it can keep an edge. Kinda reminds me of bronze age primitive man.
I know some of the brazing rod alloys have (70k+ psi) tensile strength but not sure on toughness. Which would translate to edge retention. I guess there are better cheaper alloys out there (stainless). So bronze alloyed blade steel never took off? Still I think it would be cool if anyone knoes any.
Also to clarify I never said buy American. I actually mentioned Japanese knives.
I said I would avoid products from exploitative governments/countries. Free country so buy it if you want. Well this one is free. The one the workers are from not so much unfortunately.
Koko The Talking Ape
Right, though the material property that translates most directly to edge retention is hardness, not toughness (though practically speaking, a blade with low toughness, like an obsidian or ceramic blade, will chip or flake, and lose its edge that way too.)
Bronze was useful until steel came along. Fred has pointed out some bronze tools, but they seem to be used mostly because they are non-sparking, not because they are corrosion resistant. For corrosion resistance, stainless steels are usually sufficient, and are harder, tougher, and cheaper than bronze (though stainless steels vary quite a bit, even in corrosion resistance.)
I think you were clear enough, Bob, and I personally have no quarrel with you. 🙂
I love G10 for pocket knife handles, but hate it for hunting knives. It’s heavy, cold, and hard in the hand. It’s durability is admittedly unmatched, but it has the feel of glass or metal.
How do you feel about micarta?
I would also think for fixed blade knives to be better suited for hunting tasks, given the types of materials and especially fluids that could find their way into crevices and opening pivot mechanisms.
If you are particularly concerned about corrosion on your knife blade – especially in a marine environment – and would rather buy something manufactured in the USA, then you need to take a look at Boye Knives.
Their duo of small folders – with marlin spike – and “Basic” fixed-blade knives have blades made from Dendretic Cobalt steel – which is utterly impervious to the ravages of salt-laden air, is tremendously tough – so holds an edge much longer than other blade materials – yet is relatively simple to sharpen.
I had one of their Basic fixed blades, which I used as my primary diving knife (until it was stolen), and there was never a spot of corrosion on it – even after sitting in a damp sheath for several hours after a dive.
I have just invested in one of their sheepsfoot folders – with its Cobalt, serrated blade and folding marlin spike – as a compact, virtually indestructible, lightweight EDC folder.
If you check out the Boye Knives website (google it), you’ll see that they also sell “seconds” of their more popular knives at considerable discounts – and there are only minor cosmetic blemishes which demote such items to “Seconds” status.
If you Really want corrosion resistance, it can Only be Cobalt..!
Nice share! I had asked about this exact knife a few months back. Super cool to see that you have one in-hand. Origin aside, seems like one of the better knives available under $75 USD.
Okay, you talked me in to it. I even grabbed the same color to have a knife that wasn’t BLACK, graphite, or silver. It’s an incredible knife for $50.
Not sure how black was changed to BLACK. Feel free to edit or delete. This message too.
More Knife reviews are welcome,