As I mentioned in my writeup of the Finch Cimmaron (seen here), I’ve gotten into the knife world a good bit more. I’m still no expert on steels and other materials, but I’ve become more aware of the wide world of designs and creators out there. One of the most recent brands that I discovered was based just a bit north of me in Minnesota, and when a batch of Qvist Variant PE became available with blue scales, I jumped on it.
I almost literally mean that I jumped on the Qvist Variant PE. You see, these are high demand (particularly the Jade scales), and seem to sell out almost as quickly as they become available. Even with that high demand, the knife itself has stayed very affordable, coming in at just $69, making it a good deal more affordable than some of the very high end stuff you can run across in the knife world.
When I got the Qvist Variant PE in, the first thing to do was to figure out how to open it one-handed. Unlike the previous knifes I had purchases, there is no thumb stud on the knife, or little nubbin sticking out to allow you to open it with an index finger. As the owner Jacob Lundquist told me, “no cheaters to open the blade”. Yes, that’s right, I’ve had some discussions with him. Once I got the knife in, I messaged him on Insta. Some back and forth, and then I had a couple of quick videos (and some text) to walk me through how to open the knife one-handed. I mean, that’s some super customer service, and something you’re definitely not going to be getting from the big brands out there, I can tell you that.
Since then, I’ve been practicing, and I can get it opening smoothly – one-handed – about half of the time. Of course, if you want to cheat it a little, you can flick your wrist a bit as well when you flick your finger after setting it in the hole in the blade, and it opens smooth as silk then.
To look at the handle and blade shape of the Qvist Variant PE, it looks almost a little backwards. While the Wharncliffe blade has it’s curve on the top (non-cutting edge), the scales curve back up. Once you hold it, and take a look at how you’re holding it, it makes a lot of sense. That upward curve in the scales fits very comfortably into the center of your palm, and makes for a very secure handgrip. Still, for those differing curves, the blade folds very snugly into the handle, leaving just the finger hole visible.
Speaking of flipping it in – the Qvist Variant PE is what is known as a single-detent blade. Many blades with have a single detent (usually a small ball bearing) that helps the blade snap into place; here, we’ve got the same helping it to snap (the custom version ups it to a double-detent).
However you’re fiddling with it, you shouldn’t lose your grip on the Qvist Variant PE. The G10 scales have a nice bit of texture – not overly rough – that give you some grip; your pinky and ring fingers can grip the pocket clip when you’re flipping it open (or closed). And speaking of pocket clips – prior to this knife, I’d never given much thought to pocket clips. On one very small knife I’ve got (a Boker) I removed it to make it even more compact; past that, they were just something I viewed as being a good way to not lose my knife
On the Qvist Variant PE it is very much that, but it allows for a much deeper pocket carry than I’ve experienced on a knife before. Most knives, you’ll have the tail end poking out of your pocket a little bit. With the Qvist Variant PE, all you see is the clip itself (see the photo above). This sounds like a small thing, but it makes a world of difference. For one, if it’s completely submerged in the pocket, it’s not going to get caught on things. Also, there are some folks who seem to get nervous if they see someone with a knife (as I’ve caught on to at the office), so this keeps it much less visible.
The blade of the Qvist Variant PE has a satin finish, and is made of 14C28N steel from Sandvik. Yup, that’s right, the same steel as the Cimmaron. Which, based on my experience there, this is a blade that is going to remain plenty sharp for a good long time, and will take an edge pretty easily when it comes time for some maintenance.
Going into it blind, I wasn’t sure how well I’d like the Qvist Variant PE. Still, the community seemed to rather like it, and given the inexpensive price, I thought it was worth taking a flier. I have to say, I’m super pleased that I took that chance. While I still rotate things in here and there, the Qvist Variant PE is what has been in my pocket about 95% of the time these days – it’s just a perfect size and carry for what I need the knife for on a daily basis. No doubt, it’ll be getting put through the paces camping this summer as well. While they’re currently sold out, you can sign up for the newsletter at the Qvist site, and get the news for when they’re being released. In short, if you’re looking for a new knife, you need to check these out. qvistbladeworks.com
Tech Specs from Qvist
- Blade Length: 2.98”
- Handle Length: 3.99″
- Overall Length: 6.97”
- Blade Material: 14C28N Stainless Steel
- Blade Type: Wharncliffe
- Handle Material: G10 fiberglass epoxy resin
- Weight: 3.25 oz
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Lock: Liner Lock
- Blade thickness: 0.116 inches
- Blade Coating: Bare Satin
- Clip Coating: Bare
- Washers: Ceramic Caged Bearings
- Carry Type: Tip-up