‘The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for’ — that’s serendipity. It’s also my experience with the Civivi Tamashii, one of the more interesting new fixed blades on the market.
Designed by industry legend Bob Terzuola, the Tamashii is a medium-size, “tactical”-minded knife with a decidedly Eastern look. I stumbled across it while looking through upcoming releases, and it immediately caught my eye. So I reached out to Civivi, and the brand was kind enough to supply the model shown here for testing.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was intrigued. During its time with me, the Tamashii was also garnering praise out West.
Blade Show West 2021 awarded it both Best In Show Factory Knife and Best Factory Tactical Knife.
Like I said, serendipity. And while I’m not what you’d call “tactically minded,” it’s hard for me to argue with both circumstances and the Tamashii’s credentials.
But before we dive into the review, let’s get into some background.
What’s a Civivi?
No, it’s not a small mammal that eats raw coffee beans. Civivi is the budget-minded arm of WE Knives, one of the leading Chinese manufacturers in the world. And when I say leading, I’m referring to quality, not quantity.
While its catalog is indeed vast, what sets WE apart — and, by extension, Civivi — is the quality of its materials and finished products. It has become one of the more popular knifemakers for a reason, pairing high production values with wallet-friendly prices.
While some of the designs the brand chooses to greenlight can be a little strange, I’ve never found them to be lacking in execution.
Civivi Tamashii Fixed Blade Review
By the Numbers
Weighing in at 4.4 ounces and measuring 8.8 inches from stem to stern, the Tamashii lands in the midrange of fixed-blade knives. The full-tang, D2 steel blade stretches to just over 4 inches, with a thickness of 0.18 inches.
Its satin-finished edge gives way to a contoured G10 handle, available in either black or green. The trailing-point shape provides a distinctive silhouette that’s far from the bushcraft and general-purpose knives I usually test.
Civivi has paired the Tamashii with a black Kydex sheath equipped with a T-clip system. It can be worn vertically or horizontally on your belt, pack, or anywhere you happen to have a thick enough strap.
The knife also ships with a braided lanyard, which could improve grip for people with large hands.
Practical vs. Tactical
Like I said, I’m not a tactical guy. The most dangerous foe this knife came up against during its stay was a whole chicken. The Tamashii spent the rest of its time cutting cardboard, lawn debris, and other foodstuffs.
Still, breaking down a whole bird is no small feat for a non-kitchen knife. But, in this instance, the upswept tip and grippy handle made for easy maneuvering through the joints and around bones. Carving wood was a bit more of a chore, and its rounded spine won’t be much help when starting a fire.
But after the success with the chicken, I decided to take things a step further.
I attempted to make beef stew with the Tamashii as my main cutting tool. Dividing the chuck roast was no problem, as this is definitely a blade with a taste for meat. But once we got to the vegetables, things did get a little dicey.
While the blade was definitely sharp, its spine is still a bit wider than your typical slicer. I was able to get through onions, carrots, and garlic (as well as some potatoes for later), but the cuts were less than what I’d call pristine.
Still, it was able to produce cleaner results than the pair of Moraknivs that I used for comparison. This is due to a flat grind on its D2 blade, which has a leg up on the Mora’s signature Scandi bevel in the kitchen.
Speaking of D2, can you guess the Achilles heel of this particular material? It’s rust. As a member of the tool steel family, D2 can take and hold a great edge. But its tendency to oxidize means that you’ll need to wipe down the blade fairly often. So what did I decide to do after carving up a chicken?
That’s right. Into the old Maytag it went. And surprisingly enough, it came out just fine! I have noticed a bit of discoloration from chopping garlic (something I’ve seen other tool steel blades), but nothing more than superficial.
While I wouldn’t recommend throwing your tactical knives in the dishwasher, this one passed with flying colors.
Civivi Tamashii Fixed Blade: Final Thoughts
Overall, I’m pleased with my experience with the Tamashii. Tactical aspirations aside, this is an attractive, well-made knife capable of tackling most generic tasks.
The build measures up to the quality of the design, and it’s more than capable of dealing with synthetic and natural materials. Heck, with its proficiency as a meat slicer, I think this could make a fine hunting knife.
And at less than $70, it’s affordable enough to take a flyer on.
So if you’re looking to bring some award-winning prowess to your chores or backwoods kit, you could do a lot worse than the Tamashii.