I have been rotating knives very frequently lately, even more so than normal as I try and test out the new gear I have on hand. Most of the gear has been very appealing and I have had a hard time at certain points deciding what to carry. However, for the most part, I have found myself carrying the Dao I picked up at the beginning of the month when Drop had a sale. I feel like I can finally give my thoughts so that I have a little bit more of an incentive to give my other gear a chance.
Blade Length: 86 mm (3.4“)
Closed Length: 108 mm (4.3“)
Overall Length: 193 mm (7.6“)
Weight: 97 g (3.4oz)
Blade Thickness: 4 mm (0.158“)
Blade Material: CPM-S5VN
Handle Material: Titanium
Pivot: Caged Bearing
Grind: Flat Saber
Blade Design: Modified Sheepsfoot
Locking: Frame Lock
Opening Mechanism: Flipper
Pocket Clip: Yes, Tip-Down Left/Right Side
Additional Features: Comes with a storage pouch
I had been thinking about finding a titanium knife for a little while now but never wanted to pull the trigger on anything even though I found a few designs like the Dao interesting. I am thrilled that Drop launched a sale on a few of their models that made me feel a little bit better about picking one up. The overall construction of the knife has been very solid, and I have fallen in love with the design. At first, I was unsure of how I would feel about the modified sheepsfoot blade. However, I find it very appealing when taken as a whole and the few angles on the knife accentuate the overall fluid curves. The lockup feels sturdy as the frame slides about halfway across the blade making sure that it won't give under my normal pressure. This is also my first S35VN blade and it came out of the box razor sharp. So far I have not had to resharpen it and I don't expect to have to do much more than basic edge maintenance for a while. I will have to see how it performs when it does come time to resharpen this blade. I am happy with the newer version of their titanium clip as it fits well in my pocket and does not leave too much of the frame above the pocket. There are several designs that you can choose from but for me, I preferred the simple satin finish. I will also add that finger choil is a great addition, I wish that it was just a hair larger to enable my finger to fit slightly more comfortable. However, it still gives me great control over the blade during use.
I do have one major complaint about the function the detent is incredibly strong. I was hoping that after a couple of weeks of use it would loosen up, however, it did not seem to loosen and I felt it necessary to adjust the pivot. I think that for the most part the very slight rotation gave me just enough play to flip the blade more comfortably. However, it still feels pretty tight but I do not want to adjust it anymore. I will also add that this adjustment caused the blade to lose the perfect centering that it had prior. I have noticed that my finger has become very worn due to the milling on the flipper tab and the pressure needed to deploy the blade.
The Dao is a very interesting knife in both its design and existence. It is sold and produced by Drop, however, it was designed in partnership with Ferrum Forge while being manufactured and warrantied by WE Knives. I have thoroughly enjoyed carrying the Dao and just wish that the detent was adjusted differently as I mentioned above. It was also a nice addition as it started to bring together a titanium carry that I was not really looking for.