I was tremendously excited to see a collaboration between SOG Knives and Kiku Matsuda of Kiku Knives. I essentially stalked Mr. Matsuda at Blade Show 2013 and I think I left a few drops of saliva on the table as I admired his custom creations. Merely knowing I could buy a production knife designed by this Japanese master cured me of cost-rophobia and freed up my healthy credit card.
The new SOG Kiku Folder evidences Mr. Matsuda’s influence in the blade shape. This knife’s blade is a modified tanto, with a kicked up swedge and recurved primary edge. It is very reminiscent of his customs in its alternating curves and straight lines. I hate the word “organic,” but it fits here.
Mr. Matsuda grinds his blades in a convex Hamaguri-Ba style, which utilizes the side of a power disc. His custom knives sometimes feature hollow ground sections. SOG Kiku’s first third from the point back has a flat grind, as does the swedge, but the primary edge is deeply hollow ground. The juxtaposition of grinds maintains the strong visual look of a classic Matsuda blade.
The handle repeats Kiku Knives signature grip appearance with coarse green canvas Micarta that has a longitudinal groove down the center. The groove aids in indexing the knife. Scalloping on the edges adds a unique look and tactility to its feel. SOG factory specs say the scales are linen Micarta, but…nope, they are definitely canvas.
I chose the polished/satin finish blade instead of the blackened one. All the hardware on the knife is blacked out, to include the pocket clip, dual thumb studs, liners, and screws. I felt the shiny blade would be a nice contrast to all the darker stuff. Blade lengths of 3.5″ or 4.6″ are on the menu. I selected the shorter of the two. The steel is AUS-8 at 56-58 RHC.
The liner lock on my knife throws securely. Its tip-up pocket clip was easy to move over to my desired left side. At 3.79 ounces and 4.25″ closed, it carries with ease. SOG’s finishing of the Kiku was mechanically sound. The knife arrived shaving sharp. No complaints here.
One infinitesimally minuscule gripe: I wish the SOG Kiku blade had Mr. Matsuda’s interesting acid etch treatment. If the steel were high carbon and not stainless, like 1095, you could stab it into an onion or soak it in vinegar to give a cool contrast. Unfortunately, most customers want a stainless steel blade for a folder, so household etching is out. Wow, that was petty.
I am afraid my photographs do not do justice to this smart looking little knife. I have left it out on my kitchen counter for the last couple of weeks because I smile whenever I see it. I almost never do that with my pocket knives. Ask my wife. Best of all, I paid just 84 unapologetic dollars for my SOG Kiku Folder. Worth it. Gushing over.