Pocket Knives

Knife Review: Peachsmith Chimera

The Peachsmith Chimera is the first production design from Teddy Peacher of Peachsmith Knives. Teddy is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design and this design background can clearly be seen in a knife that is a juxtaposition of ancient and ultra-modern.

The Chimera’s friction-folder mechanism is as old as the folding knife, dating to Roman times. The use of titanium and angular lines give the knife a futuristic feel. The inclusion of a bottle opener and small screwdriver on the tang-tab set this knife apart from the more traditional Higo No Kami or peasant-knife (think Svord) style friction folders.


Construction:

The fit and finish of this knife are exquisite. The blade is perfectly centered, operates crisply, and the knife has a substantial feel in the hand. As Ethan Becker declared when I showed it to him, “This is quality goods”.

Blade:

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Razor-sharp 440C. You can clearly see the secondary bevel.

The Chimera has 3″ of working blade, but if you live in a jurisdiction where it matters, there is another 1/4″ of metal before you reach the handle. The primary grind is fully-flat, but in reality the secondary bevel is where the cutting takes place. The secondary grind is relatively steep and short, measuring in at just under 1/8″. The blade is given an acid-etch finish. This finish polished slightly, primarily as a result of my sharpening it with my Worksharp Guided System without taping the blade. User carelessness, not a design fault.

According to Teddy, the blades are professionally heat-treated to an HRC of 58.

Being a friction folder, there is a tab on the end of the blade which serves to “lock” the blade open when a finger is placed across it. Rather than leaving this tab plain, Teddy turns it into a bottle opener and small screwdriver. The tab is not the only “locking” mechanism. There is a spring detent that must be overcome to open or close the knife. More on that later.

Handle/Scales:

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The body is asymmetrical, with a single G10 scale.

One of the cool design features of the Chimera is the assymetry of the handle/body. The body is machined Grade 5 titanium, with a single G10 scale on the front. The backspacer and pocket clip have a stonewashed titanium-nitride “Chaos” finish.

Pocket Clip:

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This is far and away my biggest knock on the Chimera. While the clip is a good aesthetic match for the Chimera, it is just too thick and stiff for ease of use. Frankly, even after bending it open slightly, it still takes deliberate effort to pocket or draw the knife.

That said, for as large as it is, it does not press or rub on my palm. It is not particularly even noticeable when grasping the knife. It never gave me a hot spot throughout testing.

Other:

There is no sheath, not that one would be expected for a folder, but the Chimera comes with an extremely nice felt  storage pouch. A classy touch for a knife that is geared towards a connoisseur.


Ergonomics:

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The thumb rests naturally on the tang-tab. The “lock” is as strong as your thumb can hold.

In a nutshell, extremely comfortable for such an unconventional and angular knife. I was expecting the pocket clip to bother the palm of my hand, but it didn’t. The smaller front scale cuts away at the right spot to allow my fingers to wrap comfortably around the knife. The thumb rests naturally on the tang-tab, and the jimping is appropriate without being overbearing.

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The front scale cuts away at the right spot for my fingers to wrap comfortably.


Mechanism/Action:

In a sense, the Chimera is both a friction folder and a slip-joint, because of the double-position detent spring which must be overcome to open or close the knife. It isn’t a “bias towards closure”, rather it is a “positional inertia” as it is not being pushed open or closed by the spring, rather the spring is pressing into one of two detents on the blade.

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I used sand and a kitchen scale to test the strength of the double-detent

Even without the tab, which fixes the blade as firmly as your grip, the detent is a significant aid in preventing accidental closure – or opening for that matter. To demonstrate the strength of the detent, I put the knife in vise, hung a cup off the open blade into which I poured sand into until the detent released. At the midpoint (above), the detent held just 1/8 oz shy of 3 pounds of sand. Moving the cup out to the tip of the blade, I repeated the test. This time the detent supported 1 lb., 9 oz. of sand.

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For comparisons sake, I threw a slip-joint in the vise, in this case my Primble 5371 Stockman and attached the cup to the 3″ primary blade. As it turns out the detent holds the Chimera open with a half-pound more strength. The Primble supported 1 lb., 1 oz. of sand before closing.

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I captured the moment of slip-joint release.

What does this mean? It means that even without the tang-tab, the Chimera holds itself open or closed better than a slip-joint knife with its double-position detent mechanism.


Testing:

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TTAK Testing Protocol:

While the Chimera takes an extremely sharp edge, the blade geometry causes the knife to be an imperfect slicer. It wasn’t an issue in slicing newsprint, but was particularly apparent on the cardboard test. I can attest that the knife performs fine when breaking down boxes in an EDC capacity, but it isn’t a laser in the more clinical test environment. The slices were never among the cleanest I have made, even with a freshly sharpened blade, and after 50 feet was rolling the cardboard badly. However, it could still slice newsprint with careful technique, and feels functionally sharp to the touch.

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The Chimera performed surprisingly well on the 3/4″ sisal rope. While it was not quite able to cut through one of the three braided strands on a slash, it only took 3 drawing cuts to part the rope cleanly. I was expecting closer to 5.

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Finally, I used the Chimera to make some gun cleaning patches from an old t-shirt. I rolled the XL shirt, and was able to cut all but one layer of the role in a single draw. I then placed the rolled shirt on the bench and with single, drawing cuts made “t-shirt sushi”.

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I then placed each disc on its side and was able to cut it in half or even quarters depending on what size patch I wanted. The Chimera passed with flying colors.

Culinary:

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The blade-geometry hinders the Chimera’s culinary chops. While there was nothing I couldn’t process, produce in particular posed challenges. The results were in many cases barely passable.

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The ability to peel and slice an apple is something I look for in an EDC blade. While I can do this with the Chimera, the results are pretty rough.

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I did fare better with tomatoes.

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Try as I might, I could never make even cuts in an onion.

I decided to use the Chimera to do all the prep for a stir-fry. It was a somewhat tedious process, but with patience I was able to produce a result that was passable for home cooking. It made me miss my Murray Carter though. It took at least twice as long to prep the peppers, onion, ginger ( it did an unexpectedly great job peeling ginger root), and chicken as it would with a proper chefs knife. I didn’t even attempt to mince the garlic. I grabbed an Ethan Becker/ESEE Santoku. The kids were getting hungry, I needed to get cooking.

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Cubing peppers was somewhat tedious.

The Chimera does do a better job slicing protein than it does with produce. The chicken for the stir-fry sliced cleanly, though it did take longer with the Chimera than with a chefs. Not that one would find that to be a surprising result.

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The Chimera slices proteins acceptably well.

The Chimera also did a fantastic job cutting steak, in this case my celebration steak after I passed my Krav Maga Orange Belt test.

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Tastes like Victory

 

Wood Processing:

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The Chimera is not a bush knife.

Let’s face it, the Chimera is not a bushcrafting knife. If it were all I had for emergency fire-preparation, I could make it work – but I wouldn’t like it. The blade had a tendency to wobble slightly when whittling, as my thumb did not maintain a constant pressure on the tab. I was never going to accidentally close the knife on my fingers, but I could feel the detent go in and out. The shavings of wood produced were short and erratic.

 

Other:

Because the Chimera has the bottle opener and screwdriver on its back-tab, I obviously needed to put these to test. As I EDC’d the Chimera for a couple of months, I used both frequently.

I wrote a while back that I don’t like carrying a multi-tool, because 95% of the time if I need a hand tool I can grab a real one nearby. That said, the screwdriver worked great when needed, and as it was clipped to my pocket was always at hand. It is thin enough that it will work on a light-switchplate, and for other light-duty work. Like changing furnace filters, or opening a can of paint.

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This is all well and good, but I am sure you are all dying to know how the bottle opener works. After much experimentation and replication just to be sure, I can attest that the bottle opener does a fine job.

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The Chimera, more than just a cutting implment

The bottle opener can also be used to open a can if need be. It yields a functional, if not quite aesthetically pleasing result.

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Not pretty, but the bottle opener will open a can as well.


 

Ratings: (out of 5 stars)

Styling/Aesthetics: *****

The mix of ancient and futuristic is something I really enjoy about this knife. It isn’t flashy at first glance, but upon examination the attention to detail and design is apparent.

Blade: ***

Nice finish and good edge retention, but the geometry is simply not the best ever for slicing. I have been in conversation with Teddy, and he is planning on bringing the grind up significantly higher in his next production run. I think this is a fantastic idea.

Ergonomics: ****

Remarkably comfortable for such an angular knife. The difficulty in drawing and pocketing the knife due to the overly robust clip is taken into account here.

Ruggedness/Durability: ****

This thing is stout, especially when compared to a Higo No Kami or Svord Peasant. I would expect nothing less from a protege/apprentice of Will Woods. There is no way you are breaking this knife in common EDC use.

Overall: ****

Conclusion: 

While there are a few kinks to be worked out with regards to geometry and tweaks to the pocket clip, the Chimera is a fantastic first release from a young knifemaker. It is not just my first experience with a friction folder, it is my first experience with a custom/non-production EDC folder. Carrying any high-end knife comes with particular enjoyment as I have come to discover over the past several years. The Chimera has swagger.

I keep mentioning the old/new thing, but it is part of what makes this knife so cool. It is unlike any other knife in my collection, and is fun to manipulate. I like carrying and using the Chimera. I like it so much in fact that while this particular knife is a loaner and needs to be returned to Teddy this week, I plan on taking him up on his offer to make me one for materials cost when he does another production run.

To spec out your own Chimera, drop Teddy a line through his Instagram (@ted_peachsmith) or through the contact form on the Peachsmith website. They retail for $300 give or take depending on options and finish.

Discussion

3 responses to ‘Knife Review: Peachsmith Chimera

  1. razor knife handle angle= just the tip.
    rather like locating a real tool, a chef’s knife or a bushcraft is probably no further away. so for edc this looks very good.
    perhaps a swindle handle curve might be an option…

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