Each knife maker has his/her own flair, designs that when you see them are like fingerprints of the maker. Rob is no exception, the striking blade angles, compound grinds, and aggressive elements make these knives stand out in a crowd. The KAOS is a production version of Rob's Mayhem model, and it's a perfect reproduction.
The KAOS sports a titanium handle, premium M390 blade, and new top liner lock. The overall length is 8.39", has a handle length of 4.93" and a blade length of 3.46". Vosteed has always produced high end cutlery, but this is taking things to another level.
The knife comes in a cute little box similar to a Pelican case, bright orange (per Vosteed theme) and has the company logo on both sides. Flip the tabs up and inside this foam vault you'll find the common Vosteed microfiber cloth, sticker, and the KAOS in a plastic sleeve. The experience is cool, feels like opening a briefcase to expose a ton of cash, thankfully you're not spending a ton either when picking up this knife.
The handle on the KAOS is made of T4 titanium, this material has always been seen as the perfect knife handle material. Titanium is lighter than steel while retaining a lot of the strength characteristics of steel. Plus, titanium doesn't rust, it's nonmagnetic, and it just has that cool factor to it. It's allowed this knife to come in at only 5.4oz, for a knife of this size it feels balanced yet has a noticeable heft. The slight arc and palm swell make the handle super comfortable; I don't perceive any hotspots or areas that might cause a problem. The handle is faceted all around, with a shallower angle where your fingers wrap around. I dig the channels cut into the handle, they're aesthetically pleasing, and add some additional grip both against your hand and fingers.
This design features Yue's new top liner lock, which is similar in function to the Spyderco compression lock. Both locks work like a liner lock, but the locking face is on the top of the knife versus below. Liner locks themselves have proven to be reliable and have become a mainstay in the knife industry for decades. Moving the lock to the top has a benefit of keeping the system away from your fingers. Fingers are in the way when closing a knife that have a liner lock, this can become dangerous during accidents that involve lock failure. Moving this lock to the top avoids such a potential issue, and unlocking is easier thanks to the button release. Compression locks are disengaged by pulling the lock to the side, Yue has added a button to the top lock to make operation even simpler.
The blade on the KAOS comes in either Wharncliffe or sheepsfoot, the one I have is of the Wharncliffe style. Wharnies come to a more acute tip than sheepsfoots, this may make for a pointier tip but allows for greater detail work. This profile is a beast, coming in at 3.46" and 0.16" thick it's able to take a lot of abuse without being classified as a hard use folder. 3/4 of the blades 1.24" width is ground nice and thin so it's a heck of a slicer. The compound grind near the heel of the blade is interesting, I've not used this area much due to the blade being very tip centric and lacking a belly. The blade sports the same milling as the handle, it might be more for looks but would work good when pinch gripping. The finger choice is more pronounced than on other Vosteed knives I've tested, it's a nice feature and it allows me to really choke up on the blade without fear of my fingers being too close to the edge. Jimping on the spine is minimal but provides adequate grip where my thumb lays and further down the spine allowing me to lay my index down for some precise cuts.
Deploying the KAOS came be done via your thumb, rear flipper or Spidie flicking. All methods work extremely well and combined with the easily accessible top lock make it fidget friendly. The milled clip is super nice, I appreciate the fact that it's shallow near the anchor point. Too many milled clips are thicker in this area and can make it somewhat uncomfortable against your palm. I'm a sucker for Vosteed's steel clips, but this is well executed. There enough spring tension to keep it secured to my pocket without it being too tight to clip one handed.
I absolutely love the KAOS, it oozes quality and performs like a knife twice its price. Only negative I could say, is it's a little scary looking to non-knife people. When people see it, I get a wow that looks awesome, or gasp like I'm about to ask someone for their money. I don't think it's that aggressive looking, maybe it's the blade shape. I love this collaboration with RS Knifeworks and look forward to what else these guys cook up.