måndag 19 mars 2018

Knifereview Two Sun Phalanx

- the brand that was given a second chance

A couple of  years ago I took a chance and bought a knife from a for me at the time totally unknown brand, Two Sun. That wasn't exactly a success. The model have some major flaws both in execution and design-wise but the overall lines which sold me the knife still looks good. But despite that I decided to give the brand a second chance. Afterwards I can just say that I'm glad I did  and now there is four representatives in the collection and a couple more incoming. This knife gives you very much value for money.

Two Sun TS45 Phalanx

This second chance was a hit since this knife blew me away when I opened the inconspicious cardboard box it came in. It surpassed all the expectations I might had. The little I knew were based on some positive remarks on Instagram. And as I said that should be weighed against previous experience.

Two Sun obviously upped their game since then. The China based company is cooperating with among others a very active designer who calls himself "Night Morning Design" and can be found on Instagram. This particular model has number 45 and are named "Phalanx". 

Phalanx, a knife that is surprisingly straightforward despite its hi-tech appearance

This is a knife with a clear and modern design language that most probably doesn't appeal to everybody and not even me all the time. But it's consistent and very well executed. The knife is full of interesting details that can be found in the construction of the handle and over travel stop, the clip design, the mechanic, the shape of the blade and the surface treatments. Simply put, there is a lot to talk about.


One of the most compelling parts of this knife is the blade. It's also one of the simplest even if there like on the rest of the knife are details to be noted and talk about.

The first impression I got were that the knife and blade were bigger than expected. This is a "full sized" folder and no small pocket knife. That means a blade that measures 95 millimeters made out of a piece of D2-steel with a thickness of 3,8 millimeters and that is around 3 centimeters wide/high depending on how you put it. 

A modified Wharncliffe with some belly and a high flat grind gives a versatile blade with EDC-focus.

The blade finish is an attractive semi-polished satin that is accentuated by a blasted gray in the fuller and grooves. The two-tone finish and the even surface is like the rest of the knife very well made which gives Phalanx an air of exclusiveness. The discreet markings contributes to that impression. On one side Two Suns logotype that is rather modest and on the opposite "Night Morning Design". The latter is unfortunately written in a font that unsightly reminds of Comic Sans. On the ricasso steel type can be read.

The blade shape is exciting and is completely in line with knives such as Fox Slim Dragotac or Spyderco PPT. They kind of mix a classic wharncliffe with the slightly curved edge from a Higonokami which ends in a modern fusion. The result is blade that offers aesthetics, a minor belly and a damned useful tip. Exactly the properties I look for in EDC oriented knives.

An even and symmetrical edge with a good bite already out of box

Some details deserves mentioning. Firstly this particular model have one of the best ratios between blade and handle size I've encountered in a folding knife. Two Sun have basically shoveled in as much blade as possible without the tip sticking out. Secondly this knife has a really really sharp edge that is both even and symmetrical. It with no doubt beats a number of more established brands when it comes to factory edges.

It can also be said that the somewhat unusual grooves on the blade fulfills a function no matter if it was done on purpose or not. They enable a slow and controlled opening if so desired. More on that topic later.

Besides having a nice grind the blade also is commendably thin behind the edge. That and a flat grind stretching almost to a full flat makes the TS45 a very good cutter in all materials tested by me so far. And they remembered to leave a small but effective sharpening choil to make future edge maintenance easier.  

The material is indicated as D2, a somewhat older steel composition that is usually referred to as tool steels even if it is "semi stainless". There are no reason to distrust the markings on the blade since D2 doesn't belong to the more exclusive knife steels. But it is quite possible an domestic version of said material. Interestingly enough Two Sun have also released a couple of their knife in luxury versions with M390 steel for the ones who want to satisfy their "inner steel snob". 

Anyhow this is a blade capable to deal with most tasks. Possible with the exception of very acidic food like tomatoes. If you cut stuff like that and leave the knife the blade will stain. D2 in general demands some attention. It need some oil from time to time and that you keep the blade dry after usage. This goes for this particular blade as well. It isn't as stainless as the simpler "numbercombination steels" that often is found on knives from China like 8Cr13MoV and the like.

I also noted that the edge doesn't stay sharp forever. That is especially true when plowing through cardboard for instance. But with with some stropping or a couple of strokes on my honing steels it quickly comes back to a really nice sharpness. But apart from that this is a quite solid user, maybe more than it's modern appearance suggests.


If the blade is rather straight forward with some added detail the opposite is true for the handle. Undeniably much time and effort is spend on the looks. If you appreciate that style is of course a matter of taste. It for sure looks like the knife is part of the prop from any episode of Star Trek.

But it can also be said that the handle despite that is rather functional. There is obviously a thought behind it all. The shape is the result of a lot of time spent at a CNC-machine. The foundation is two pieces of TC4-titanium with the milled out portions that is normally found on the inside of the handle slabs on the outside instead. That procedure gives the distinct looks but also contributes to a less slippery grip. Besides that all the edges and corners are exceptionally well rounded and sanded. As a matter of fact the knife is so well put together that I have a hard time to found many other mass produced knives that is better no matter what the price category. A bold statement but the quality is there.

A very comfortable grip even if the attachment for the lanyard feels like an afterthought

You can tell that quite some time went into the production by a number of details. Besides the pattern on the outside of the handle that goes for both the lock bar and clip which are both skeletonized. Details that otherwise are found on much more exclusive knives since it of course demands more processing of the materials used. The same can be said about the pivot screw which besides being decorative also have a collar doubling as a over travel stop. A very cleaver way of hiding that function.

Despite being somewhat ornate the pivotscrew is easily adjusted via a common T8. It is simply put both aesthetic and practical. It is also together with a single screw at the back end of the handle the only attachment point. That makes the knife very easy to take apart. Since all the milling is found on the outside the inside is completely smooth and thereby easy to clean. 

The build quality is very good and there are many details to observe. You can especially note how well the milled portions of the handle is chamfered and sanded

The handle measures twelve centimeters which is long enough to accommodate most hand sizes, also gloved ones. 

In hand the grip is simple and ergonomic in a straightforward way. It curves slightly which fills the hand quite well. Possible it can feel a bit slippery especially in wet conditions. But that goes for many titanium grips. Despite all it is a metal handle with not that many grooves to speak about. Apart from the pattern on the outside that saves this knife in that regard. 

One detail that I don't like is the small loop that acts as a lanyard hole. It doesn't fit in with the rest of the design, it's too tight and sometimes you can feel it digging into your hand. I even got plans on removing it all together. The lanyard attachment point is an extension of the backspacer which by the way is also decorated with a gear pattern. 

Opening and Lock

Phalanx is primarily opened via a flipper that is kept modest in shape and size. Sure, due to that and a rather stout blade this isn't the fastest flipper on the market. But the opening works and I personally prefer somewhat smaller flipper tabs since they demands less pocket space and doesn't terrorize their surroundings as much as larger and more pointy ones do. It also affects the knives overall lines less.

In order to provide better grip the front of the tab has some grooves and they are necessary. The "landing track" for the finger is commendably chamfered and rounded which gives a smoother experience. This is one pet peeve of mine - I really dislike "finger shredders". Flipper-knives must be convenient to open in every aspect.That was by the way one of the bad things about the first Two Sun model I tried out. 

The flippertab is small and descreet. Proper geometry makes for a good 

The blade can also be opened with the thumb. Just use the 
grooves in the blade and push

I might add that the detent isn't particularly strong on this knife. Not that weak that you can shake the blade out but enough to allow the knife to be opened via the thumb as well. You just push against the grooves on the blade spine ét voila - an opened knife! It's a finesse I really appreciate since it gives you the option to open the knife in a slow manner as well. 

TS45 has a very smooth action due to ceramic bearings. Yet again a detail mostly found on more expensive knives. Also the detentball is made out of ceramic. 

The solid framelock is easy to get to and release

The lock on this knife has all the attributes that a good frame lock needs in the shape of replaceable lock bar insert and an over travel stop. The latter is hidden within the pivot which is both good looking and effective. The lock itself is very easy to get to and release. But you better not do it with the blade pointing upwards. The blade is smooth enough to be a free dropper with the detent out of the way and the blade lacks finger choil so keep the fingers away or else it will bite you. In this case it's nice that the lock bar acts like a brake, a light shake and the blades glides into place.

Function-wise the lock is entirely without negative remarks. Easy to disengage and rock solid without any blade movement in any direction. Exactly like it should be.

To Carry

The clip on this knife is a nice example of a good fusion between looks and function. It is characterized by being a milled clip with two distinctive tokens. First it is skeletonized which really makes it fit the theme of the knife. Secondly it is attached with a hidden screw from the inside.

And even better, it functions really well when pocketing the knife. It keeps the knife in place without showing too much of it even if I personally prefer an even more subtle appearance. But the damned metal loop for a lanyard attachment can feel pointy if you hit it with the hand. Another reason why I don't like it. 

Not the best in the world but good enough especially considered that it
is a sculpted clip. But because of that a little too much of the knife
is visible for my liking

All outer edges on the handle are well chamfered and the weight isn't deterring either with around four and a half ounces. Considering that the blade measures over 3,7 inches and most of it is edge that ratio is quite comparable. 

To Conclude

I started by saying that this knife represents value for money. How much money you might wonder? Well that is hard to tell since they are mostly sold on eBay auctions. I payed around 43$ if my memory serves me correctly. Even with taxes and custom fees that's rather inexpensive considering that you for that money gets a rather sizable modern folder made out of decent materials such as TC4 titanium, D2 steel and equipped with ceramic bearings and detent ball.

The spaceship has landed. TS45 Phalanx offers a very modern approach to knife design

What characterizes Phalanx is however not the price but the many and well executed details. One had been good, two splendid but here are more than that. First you can find the for the type of knife almost mandatory elements such as:
  • A titanium handle that can be disassembled
  • A frame lock with replaceable lock bar steel insert and   
  • A blade running on bearings opened via a flipper 
Add to that:
  • Elaborated milled handle sides
  • A two tone finish on the blade
  • More than one way to open the blade without compromising aesthetics 
  • Overtravel stop hidden in the pivotcollar 
  • A clip that is both sculpted, skeletonized and has hidden screws 
  • A skeletonized lock bar 
This knife is also of consistently very high quality. Maybe surprisingly so for the price tag. All surfaces, corners and edges on this knife is exemplary chamfered, rounded and sanded. There are no negatives in that area. The same goes for the blade grind. The Phalanx is simply put well made.

A knife from Two Sun that surprised me positively on many levels

Even better is that you besides a distinct look and a lot of features get a blade that cuts and pierces good and a handle that in function is booth simple and ergonomic.

Are there nothing to critique, nothing negative about the Phalanx? Sure, but not so much in it's category, especially not price category. Most things are done right. Possibly with exception for those who wants really snappy action in their knives. Otherwise my recurrent criticism of metal handles in general and flippers as opening mechanism lurks in the shadow. That obviously goes for this knife as well. Metal feels as it does in hand and I prefer for instance micarta especially in cold weather. Most flipper knives suffers from protruding metal parts and limitations in varying the opening speed. Even if the poking parts of this knife is minimized.

It also has a look that I don't think appeal to everybody.

Then there is the objection that many Chinese brands lacks a bit of identity. They are often somewhat anonymous. But that is partly explained by them being new on the world market. Only time will tell which brands will survive and thrive and which will fall into oblivion. 

But except from that this knife is a solid buy and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.


Length overall: 215 mm
Length folded: 120 mm
Weight: 127 g
Blade length: 95 mm
Blade thickness: 3,8 mm
Blade steel: D2
Handle: Titan, TC4
Lock: Frame lock with over travel stop

Produced by: Two Sun, made in China

PS. Two Sun is trying out an interesting way of naming new models. From the beginning the knives are just given a designation, in this case TS45 which stands for in what order the model was produced. Thereafter they have organized competitions on Instagram. Best name is rewarded with a knife and the honor of naming a knife. A very cleaver way of naming your products. 

/ J - likes one sun so why not two?

#knivesandbikes #aliaspostmortem #knivigtvarre 

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