Sandrin Knives – First Ever Tungsten Carbide Folding Knife – SHOT Show 2017

If you’re interested in purchasing a Clemente or any other Sandrin knife, you should definitely visit the Cabot or Sandrin website.

Overview

Excellence was once again on display at the Cabot booth at SHOT Show 2017. Yes, their 1911s are always amazing and eye-catching, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the Sandrin Knives that were also being showcased.

Back at NRA 2016, I first learned of Sandrin Knives, an Italian-based knife manufacturer, which has partnered with Cabot Guns to bring their proprietary tungsten carbide blades to the states. If you’re not familiar with tungsten carbide, it is a powder material that when pressed together into a shape is harder and more resilient than steel!

The Clemente, as they say, the “Apogee of cutlery.”

Typically when something is very hard it is also very brittle. So, the knife industry has largely ignored tungsten carbide as a blade option — until now. Sandrin found a way, a patented method, to harness the benefits of tungsten carbide in a blade design without sacrificing toughness and durability. The result is a knife that will cut better and hold its edge longer than any steel-made knife on the market.

Sandrin’s initial launch of their lineup only contained fixed-blade knives.  At SHOT, though, they debuted the “Clemente,” the company’s first folder.

The Clemente features an overall length of 7.44 inches when open, 4.4 inches when closed, a blade length of 2.95 inches and a weight of .42 pounds, making it suited for every day carry.

A beautiful little knife.

Its mirror-polished drop-point blade has a 35-degree hollow-ground cutting edge of just .00004 inches, sharp and fine enough to perform multiple cuts on even a single red blood cell.  Needless to say, it’s a precision cutting tool with an unparalleled fit and finish.

A breakdown of the assembly of the Clemente.

Specs

Overall Length: 7.44”
Blade Length: 2.95”
Cutting Edge: 35°
Blade Thickness: 0.10236 +/-0.0004”
Blade Material: Tungsten Carbide
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Grind: Hollow Grind
Finish: Mirror Polished
Edge Type: Hollow Grind
Handle Length: 4.4”
Handle Thickness: 0.63”
Handle Material: Titanium
Weight: 6.77 oz or 0.42 lb
Lock Type: Frame Lock

Impression

I’m really sold on the development of tungsten carbide to make knives. I think it’s the next evolution in blade technology. Sandrin knives are so hard, 71HRC, that you can literally sharpen your steel knife on a Sandrin blade. That’s insane!

I’ve also seen these knives in action and they cut like nothing I’ve ever seen. I definitely want one.  As it relates to the Clemente, I think it is a great first generation folder for Sandrin.  There’s just one thing stopping me from purchasing one.  The price.  It’s a little too rich for my blood.  But I’m optimistic that in the future prices will drop a bit.

The Clemente uses a frame lock.

Price and Availability

The show price for the Clemente was around $1,000. If you look on the Sandrin website, only the fixed blade options are available at the moment. But that should change in the very near future.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Clemente or any other Sandrin knife, you should definitely visit the Cabot or Sandrin website.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Chris February 18, 2017, 12:08 am

    This just my opinion, but that knife is hideous looking. It looks like a Buick that someone slapped a blade into. Again, just my opinion.

    • Johnny Ess May 26, 2017, 3:10 pm

      I think it’s AWESOME ….. having done the proper research …. we are getting one

  • Brian Ross February 17, 2017, 3:27 pm

    While I face the same dollar limitations as the author, I’d like a carbide knife. Contrary to other posters opinions, I’ve used carbide in various shapes and application in heavy machines: building turbines for GE Hydro. It will cut tough stainless steel for hours at high speeds before the cutters get dull. Do not, however, run the machine head in reverse: they break. Duh.

    And yes, they can be sharpened by hand to a razor edge. You do need a diamond for abrasive, and some skill. The preferred cutter for individual cells is slightly harder, somewhat brittle and even pricier: a diamond microtome. They are upwards of $5K for a 4mm blade which can only be resharpened three times. You only find them in laboratories.

  • WillR February 17, 2017, 1:37 pm

    There is no practicality to this. Modern knife makers using quality steels shoot for RC hardness in the low to mid 60s range, NOT because steel cannot be hardened further, it can, but because that is the upper range of hardness that is still useful as a hand tool. If you are not making tool and die components, you have no use for anything harder. Above 64 rockwell(and WITHIN that range with many materiels) the natural resilience of a blade goes out the window. And the larger the blade, the lower the hardness needs to be to withstand the immense forces it undergoes during use.

    This is a novelty at best, a fleecing at worst of people who have little understanding of metallurgy. Of course with as many people as I’ve seen arguing that “alloy steel frame” listed on a pistol means it’s not as strong as “solid steel” sadly it seems it’s a healthy niche.

    First they tried to make aluminum blades, for corrosion resistance and non-magnetic properties. Found out you can’t put an edge on them. Then titanium knives for the same reason – titanium is a miracle metal, right? Too soft for cutting, like aluminum, and neither metal benefits at the molecular level from heat treating, except to the manufacturer who gets to slap another selling point on and raise the price. Then ceramic knives! Ceramic knives were going to make steel blades obsolete, by god… except they’re too brittle, just like their stone age grandfathers, they chip on bone and rock and other hard materiels with which they come into contact, and they cannot be sharpened. The chips cause fatal flaws through which stress cracks develop and run the risk of breaking and even shattering the blade in your hands during use. Enter tungsten carbide and you will find much of the same to hold true there. Tungsten may be hard, but it is not immune to wear, impervious to chips, and the idea that it’s machined precise enough to slice a blood cell is ludicrous at best. So you’re going to end up with a knife that is prone to chipping and shattering if you drop it and it hits a rock in the field, and once it goes dull, which it WILL, just like the sawblades and every other cutting implement they make out of it, you won’t be able to sharpen it without seriously reducing the lifespan of your tools, be they grinder wheels, slack belts, bench stones or carbide sharpening implements themselves.

    Stick to steel. In thousands of years of developing cutting tools, nothing else has even come close to being as good.

    • Dave Emery February 17, 2017, 2:01 pm

      Exactly right. Good post.

  • Dan Stenberg February 17, 2017, 9:51 am

    Could get a lot of cheap knives and a few subcompacts for this much money. Then I’d decide what to carry

  • Feynman February 17, 2017, 8:53 am

    Isn’t tungsten carbide extremely brittle?

    • Sierra175 February 17, 2017, 9:28 am

      I think in this case it would depend on the Rockwell, but I still wouldn’t put any lateral force on it. I’d be more worried about chipping with harder use. But, I’d imagine it would keep an edge for quite a while. I’d rather have REX-21 for a novelty knife that holds an edge though.

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