The Future is finally here! We have waited a long time to say that about the first integral knife from Reate that started hitting the streets in January 2017. It is no secret that we tend to ride the Reate knives bandwagon, and do so with a smile. Reate has produced several of our favorite production knives over the past few years, and it does not look like they are going to stop that trend anytime soon.
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For those unfortunate few who may not be aware of Reate as a brand, they are a high-end production knife manufacturer specialized in caged bearing flipper pocket knives. Located in China, David Deng has owned and operated Reate since its inception. The Reate Future shows off the capability of his shop along with the collaborative elements David has been able to forge with others. Designer of the Future, Tashi Bharucha entrusted this special knife to be made by Reate, just like several other notable knife makers and designers before him. Did we mention that the Reate Future is an integral?
- Blade Length: 3.75″
- Overall Length: 8.75″
- Closed Length: 5.0″
- Weight: 5.6 oz
- Blade Material: Bohler M390
- Handle Material: Titanium
- Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock
- Deployment Mechanism: Flipper
- Country of Origin: China
- Price Range: About $650+
The Reate Future sure looks good on paper. Keep in mind that this is a mid to large folding integral flipper, so the weight and overall size is not going to be diminutive.
After opening the standard style white box that enclosed the Reate embossed logo on the semi-soft zippered carry case, we were amazed. Our knife was tucked away in the cutout compartment of the pouch with just about 2 inches visible, but boy were those 2 inches something to behold.
Clad with MoKuti inlays on both sides of the perfectly machined handle, our Reate Future was adorned with an integral titanium slab with mokuti on the top faux-bolster section as a cutout/inlay as well as on the pocket clip. The remainder of the knife appeared titanium grey, with machine finishing that would rival custom knife makers. These knives were limited in release, so we were fortunate to get one, let alone the specific style we wanted. Others with DLC coated, partial carbon fiber, partial marbled carbon fiber, and Damasteel blade options were also on offer.
Back to the knife at hand. Getting a full glimpse of the Future (yeah we worded it that way on purpose) for us was almost like opening up that briefcase from the movie Pulp Fiction – with a glowing shimmer cast on our face as we gazed at it in reverent disbelief. Ridiculous as it may sound, this knife truly made us feel special. We removed it from its case carefully, ripped away the plastic bag it was further packaged in and held this knife for the first time.
The feel of the knife was wonderful. Dare I say almost perfect for mid to large handed folks. The handle contours a bit down in the back making for a downward swooping element that we rather enjoy. We can see how some however may not like this style, but to each their own. Forward position hand grip seemed very comfortable. As we moved Reate Future integral knife to the reverse position we were even more enamored with the style as the downward swoop made for a great place to perch a thumb. The ergonomics for us were great (though we had yet to cut anything at this point). It only seemed to get better once we used the flipper for the first time revealing the large 3.75 inch M390 blade steel with hand-rubbed satin finish.
Feel in Hand
As we started to describe earlier in this article, the Future feels very nice in the hand and seems to feel special for lack of better description. The look and feel of the knife is distinctively Tashi, and that is indeed a very good thing. The flipper tab was very easy to access with a large cutaway which allowed excellent feel to operate the flipper.
The flipper basically melds into the blade tang which certainly provides for a unique look. The small fuller groove make the knife look finished and contrasts with the look very well. As for the flipping action itself, we can tell you that it is very smooth and very authoritative. The 3.75 inch Bohler M390 flat ground blade swoops up with a very definitive motion. The lockup is bank-vault tight, and lock-bar rests at about 35 percent. This is really not all that different in feel to many other Reate knives as the ceramic bearings he uses, along with the detent and tuning David Deng provides for these knives is exceptional.
When closed, the tip of the blade rests at what appears to be exactly center between the integral titanium slab. The knife appears almost dangerous even closed since the swan shape of the butt of the handle looks like it could be used to adjust someone’s perception if you get our drift… blunt trauma anyone? Unfortunately, nothing is truly perfection. The Future is no exception to that statement.
What makes the Reate such a clean looking beautiful knife that any knife enthusiast would enjoy looking at and collecting, also makes it very slippery and tactile-less (okay, we know that is not a word, but you get the idea). Even with that out in the open, it should also me noted that the handle design allows for an excellent grabbing hold in the forward position. Meaning that although the knife is slippery as rolled out backyard Slip-N-Slide in the summer, the Future is also shaped in such a way that for most non-water related tasks it may not really matter as you can grab this thing hard and still maintain comfort. Let us test this thing out for real and see how it really performs.
Real World Testing
This is not a daily carry EDC for us. Sure we have carried it for several weeks on and off, and will continue to since we really enjoy the knife, but it was never meant to be a serious EDC in our rotation. We purchased this knife for our collection first, and as a user second. So it should come as no surprise to you that the testing of this knife will be a bit limited to standard chores and suburban EDC duties only. No hard use cutting or rust educing tests have been performed on the Reate Future. But what we may lack in those aspects, we make up for in true real world carry usage over the course of several weeks.
Let us start with the pocket clip. It is a bit long but given that ours in made of Mokuti that is not an issue for us… just more beautiful Mokuti for us to look at. It is 3D machined, and is not a deep carry, but holds in the pocket very well. However, getting into the pocket is a two-handed affair that for us required at least several seconds of effort each and every time. Getting it out of the pocket is a bit easier, but also not a perfectly easy transition for us. The clip is very tight. These sorts of things bother us, as they make it harder to use the knife and gain access to it at the drop of a hat.
With all that said, once the knife is in your hand the flipper is very reliable and quick. It is very comfortable to use as well as to disengage. The lock bar is very easy to push over and the knife basically falls on its own weight once you get past the detent.
We used the knife to cut open some boxes received from online orders, and several children’s toys with those awful anti-theft plastic crud that seems to be packaged with everything smaller than a breadbox these days. It was like cutting through swiss cheese with the Future. The flat ground blade is one of our favorites, and is a very versatile cutting shape. We should also mention that the Reate Future was screaming sharp! We often tend to touch-up production knives after an initial test of the stock edge, but this was an exception. We did not need to touch this thing at all. It was scary sharp. The blade is a beautiful thing to behold. Awesome grind, edge, and overall shape, not to mention really nice hand-rubbed finish, and crowned (rounded) spine.
The blade shape is classic Tashi, and the usable cutting edge of about 3.55 inches extends very close to the open specs of the 3.75 inches. This makes the blade to 5.0 inch handle ratio pretty solid overall. Even the weight of the knife at about 5.57 oz. which is not exactly super-light works well with the hand to assist in forward cutting motions.
Speaking of forward motions and cutting, we did try this knife out in the kitchen. We though the blade stock might be a bit thick for this task, but we were incorrect. It really works very nicely as a mini chef’s knife. After some testing, we felt confident to cut everything from fruit, veggies, and meat with the Future. It was very competent in the kitchen. We made sure to only cut on our favorite BOOS cutting board as we did not want to prematurely degrade or even roll the knife edge. The result is we used the Reate Future for all of our cutting needs in the kitchen for 2 days straight and it performed admirably.
If you are the kind of person willing to take a 650 ish dollar knife for a spin in the kitchen, this one is certainly one to consider as a permanent fixture in the kitchen. But as capable as it is in the kitchen, take care not to get the knife handle too wet as our initial suspicions of the Reate Future having a slippery handle are accurate. On the other hand, the knife handle design does a great job keeping your fingers far from the blade while cutting at any task.
We can’t say we cut all that many things with the Future, but we can tell you that what we did cut with it was no match for this knife. It can cut through things with ease. We would suspect that the Future would pass any test we throw at it, and would likely excel at cutting things such as rope.
In the high-end production integral knife game, we have seen several competitors, all with rather solid offerings. To us, the Reate Future may be at the top of the bunch, but we are not accounting for price, or personal usage needs. Depending on the variation of model, the Future can range from the very upper 400’s all the way to about 800 plus smackers. Even still, the Reate future seems to be sold out just about everywhere to our knowledge, but perhaps you may find one or two lingering around an online reseller somewhere. Otherwise the options are to look in the secondary market, or consider one of these competitive offerings listed below.
Rike Thor 3 (BladeHQ) – Recently tested and reviewed here, The Rike Thor 3 is the third ‘Thor’ named integral flipper offering from Rike in as many years. The knife attempts to be less beautiful as we see with the Future, and instead be more hardcore EDC and tactical purposed. We thing the Thor 3 with the cool futuristic aesthetic and M390 blade steel match up rather well against the Reate Future. At about 550 bucks for the Thor 3 you may not be saving any money, but it may be more accessible to purchase. Collectors may want to consider the Future, whereas true EDC users may want to consider the Rike Thor 3 as a serious contender.
Spyderco Nirvana (C199TIP) (BladeHQ) – It’s hard to compare production integrals without discussing the Nirvana, a collaboration between Spyderco and Peter Rassenti. Unlike the other competitive offerings, the Nirvana is not a flipper, but it brings to the table S90V steel that some might consider one of the top attainable super steels. At about 450 bucks, this knife has been considered by some as a must buy, and others as a must pass. However you want to look at it, it is indeed a competitor to the Rike Thor 3, and an imposing knife in terms of its size of blade and shape. We personally like the Nirvana, but might consider the Thor 3 a more usable knife for EDC.
Rowdy HiTech – Another Tashi Bharucha designed collaboration is the Rowdy HiTech mid tech knife. Though not an integral, this knife offers much of the same style and feeling of the Reate Future. With manufacturing performed by Gerry McGinnis who is a respected custom maker in his own right, this unique collaboration offers a 3.5 inch CPM-154 stainless steel clip point blade. For those looking for the Tashi design, but want a lighter alternative to the Future, this titanium frame-lock flipper is an interesting option at about 575 bucks. For those who are also all about made in the red, white, and blue, you will be pleased to know that these knives are (partially) hand made in the USA.
We have fallen in complete love with the Reate Future. It looks amazing, feels amazing, and seems to have the chops to be a true EDC, if you are able to stomach the idea of pocketing a knife of this cost on a daily basis. The idea of owning a Tashi integral custom knife personally appeals to us. Given that such a knife may cost well over two thousand dollars, the Reate Future is an amazing option that seems to check all the boxes. Additionally, we feel this knife will be collectible… if that does anything for you one way or another.
David Deng has proven that a production integral knife can blur the line between custom knife and production knife. The Reate Future integral style flipper exemplifies production knife making, and truly pushes knife manufacturing further into the future, today. We are really happy to have one of our own.
The Good: Awe-inspiring design, operates wonderfully, feels amazing in hand, uber-unique
The Bad: Overly tight clip, slippery handle
Bottom Line: Fine example of production manufacturing at its best
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