Could the Dan (1 and 2) by Viper Tecnocut be the perfect EDC knife? It was during a meeting with Tommaso Rumici (the designer of the Dan) about a completely different fixed blade design of his, that Tommaso produced a Dan 2 from his pocket and handed it to me. We were still talking knives, but now onto something very different. Intended as an easy to carry, and as widely ‘EDC Legal’ as possible pocket knife (due to size and lack of a lock), the Dan gets so much right, it was an instant hit with me. Since then I’ve not been able to put it down. In this review of the Viper Dan 1 and 2, I take a very close look at this knife and why it works so well.
A few more details:
What’s in the box?:
The two knives in this review were provided without packaging or any accessories as they came directly from the Viper Tecnocut display stand at IWA 2019. This also means they have been handled and ‘played with’ by hundreds of people during the show, so might not be in perfect condition.
A good look round the Dan 1 in Zircote Wood – Things to look out for here are:
As you take in the details the quality of finish is clear, along with how sleek and efficient each of the design elements are.
A good look round the Dan 2 in Burgundy Canvas – Things to look out for here are:
Getting a sense for the different handle material, but the main difference is the wharncliffe blade of the Dan 2.
Explained by the Maker:
As I mentioned in the introduction, while at IWA 2019 I had the good fortune to both be introduced to this knife by, and able to talk about it with, its designer Tommaso Rumici.
Tommaso presenting the knife to me:
Rather than repeating the explanation, I’d recommend you visit Tommaso Rumici’s write up of the Dan here, where Tommaso gives you the background story of this excellent knife, including where the name came from.
With kind permission from Tommaso, here are a couple of his concept design sketches for the Dan.
The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.
Take note of some results, like the rolled cutting edge length, and thickness behind the edge, which are particularly relevant when comparing the Dan 1 and 2.
The blade is made from N690 steel.
What is it like to use?
It’s a really unusual design, being a cross between a friction-folder and a slip-joint. The Dan can be opened two-handed, or one-handed and although the opening/closing torque of the slip-joint mechanism is nothing to write home about, the protruding tang sits nicely under the thumb allowing you to hold the blade open.
This knife (either blade style) has actually converted me to pocket clip carry. Before ‘Dan’, I had not found a knife/clip design I felt comfortable with. It HAS to be deep carry, sticking up above the pocket edge is no good (for me). Then there is the clip and handle texture combination. My biggest complaint is how vicious most knife clips, particularly the underlying handle surface, are to the pocket material and edge; way beyond the need to hold it in place, and in some cases almost impossible to fit it onto the pocket or get it off again. If you like ripped pockets, great, but not me.
Instead the Dan (both handle materials on test), has the deep pocket carry clip with a clip spring strength that holds, and has not let it go astray, yet is easy to fit and remove. The handle material finish is smooth without being slippery, so provides some grip but is not overly abrasive to the pocket material.
I’ve been carrying this knife daily for 9 months now – pocket clip carry – totally unheard of for me.
Using the short tang (shorter than most friction folders) to open the knife one handed does require some care and concentration as it is very easy to turn the knife into your thumb pad (as ably demonstrated in the photos) and have it bite you. It does require a determined and positive approach to keep from cutting yourself.
Is it perfect? Clearly, as I’m about to show, for me it is not quite there, as I have made a couple of small modifications.
However the initial inspiration for this modification was entirely due to UK EDC carry law – a cutting edge less than 3″. Proven by many cases, this is typically a measurement of the cutting edge being rolled along a ruler, not the straight line measurement. With its sloping back handles, the Dan also has a longer cutting edge than blade length. Combining these factors, the Dan 1 falls foul, by 3mm, of the UK EDC legal carry requirement. I decided to rectify this with a Dremel and remove 3mm of cutting edge while at the same time creating a sharpening choil (which I prefer anyway).
With the success of the Dan 1 modification I decided I needed to do the same to the Dan 2 though this did not have the same EDC legal issue.
For me these are both now the closest I’ve yet found for a perfect EDC legal folding knife. OK, nothing is perfect, but these knives are superb!
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.
Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.
I’m trying something new this time and starting with what doesn’t work so well, so I can finish on a more positive note
What doesn’t work so well for me
The Dan 1 having a slightly over-long cutting edge for UK EDC Legal.
One-handed opening can be a little hazardous.
Things I like
Easy to carry streamlined design.
Deep-carry pocket friendly clip.
Ambidextrous pocket clip.
Widely Every-Day-Carry legal friendly (check local laws).
Choice of blade shape and handle material.
Blade tang can be gripped to prevent accidental closure.
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