Radical Designs & Unique Collaborations Heat Up Knife Sales.
Down economy? You sure couldn’t tell it by the masses who attended the 2012 Blade Show & International Cutlery Fair in Atlanta, Ga., in June.
Joyce Laituri, Spyderco marketing director, aptly compared the health of the cutlery industry to that of the firearms market.
“All knives are selling hot right now, from small gent’s folders to large fixed blades,” Laituri said. “Firearms customers are highly likely to purchase accessories — and knives are an ‘almost required’ accessory for shooters. For every type, style and quality firearm, there is an equivalent knife. Although not completely joined at the hip, traditionally when the firearms industry is healthy, the knife industry is flourishing, too.”
Boker USA CEO Dan Weidner is proud of the new Boker Plus Nano,
designed by custom knifemaker David Curtiss.
Laituri points to Spyderco’s Native — now in its fifth generation — as a crowd pleaser, a status it has held for years. The Native 5 lockback has a slim cross section and is just shy of 4 inches when closed. Visit www.spyderco.com.
Alicia Hunt, Benchmade Knives’ public relations coordinator, agrees that cutlery sales are booming.
“All of the Benchmade brands are thriving, and we’ve seen major growth and success in the HK (Heckler & Koch), Harley-Davidson and Lone Wolf product lines,” Hunt said.
One of Benchmade’s hot sellers is the HK Conspiracy. A bit over 4 inches closed, the Conspiracy has a wide profile and onerous drop-point blade. Visit www.benchmade.com.
CRKT’s Ken Onion designs have been major sellers since the custom knifemaker came on board as a collaborator.
“The knife industry has been growing consistently, and we’ve been trying to meet the demand for innovative, quality products with items such as our new Ken Onion Foresight,” said Lindsey Phelps, CRKT sales manager, international markets.
At 8.69 inches overall — 3 1/2 inches of which are all blade — the Foresight is a large tactical folder. Visit www.crkt.com.
SOG Knives has a best seller in their new Slim Jim folders. Pure minimalism at its finest, the Slim Jim and its big brother, the Slim Jim XL, are hardly an 1/8 of an inch thick, yet house nice-sized AUS-8 stainless steel blades — at 3.18 and 4.18 inches, respectively — that roll out using SOG’s patented S.A.T. assisted-opening system. Visit www.sogknives.com.
Hallmark Cutlery has a winner on its hands with their new Bad Blood tactical designs by custom knifemaker Sean Kendrick. With model names like Fire Spitter, Harbinger, Spiraling Demise and Partisan Nano, the line offers some wicked designs. The fixed-blade and folder line will appeal to young knife buyers. Visit www.hallmarkcutlery.com
CRKT’s Lindsey Phelps holds the new Foresight tactical folder, a Ken Onion design.
Edged Crowd Pleasers
The much-anticipated Hogue EX-02 tactical folder has arrived — and fans of overbuilt tactical folders will be delighted. Designed by Allen Elishewitz, the EX-02 is almost a dead ringer for the noted custom knifemaker’s Tank model. Drop-point and tanto versions are available, and Hogue’s patented G-Mascus G10 handles come in a variety of color choices. Hogue also rolled out the EX-03, a budget-friendly version of their first tactical folder, the EX-01. Visit www.hogueknives.com.
The Boker Plus Nano is a small knife that can play with the big boys. Designed by knifemaker David Curtiss of Curtiss Knives, the Nano has a surprisingly functional 1.89-inch blade with a handle of sturdy frame-lock construction. The front side features a chunky bright green Zytel Scale, with a beefy pocket clip on the rear. Visit www.bokerusa.com.
Kershaw rolled out its new Cryo II, a pocket-friendly tactical folder designed by knifemaker Rick Hinderer. For assisted-opener fans, the company announced two special editions of their Blur model featuring green and brown aluminum handles, plus another with carbon fiber inserts. Visit www.kershawknives.com.
Chris Reeve revealed his 25th anniversary Sebenza, and fans will be very pleased. The most obvious visual change is the addition of a second finger groove on the handle. Not as noticeable is an improved bearing system that decreases friction, along with a slight increase in thickness of the blade steel. Visit www.chrisreeve.com.
TOPS Knives’ XcEST Bravo snub-nosed fixed blade has been a great success, and the new Delta folder version should also attract attention. The XcEST Delta features a 3/16-inch-thick N690C carbon steel blade and blue/black G10 handles. The company has also produced a knife — dubbed the Wolfhawk — for use with BattleBlades’ innovative Picatinny rail-mount sheath. Visit www.topsknives.com.
Wilson Tactical shifted most of their offerings to company-branded collaborations a couple of years back, and the move has been a great success. Their latest offering, the C.U.B. (Combat Utility Blade), is a custom fixed blade by knifemaker Steve Woods. This impressive midsized belt knife features a 4-inch 154CM drop-point blade with 3-D machined G10 handles. Visit www.wilsontactical.com.
Darrel Ralph’s HTM mid-tech series have been a boon to the custom knifemaker’s followers who are on a budget. New to the HTM line is a design by another noted knifemaker, Randall King, in fixed-blade form. The Desert Enforcer is a tour de force in sleek styling, premium CPM S30V steel and 3-D carved G10 handle scales. Visit www.darrelralph.com.
Hogue has gotten into knives in a big way. Neil Hogue exhibits the
EX-02 designed by Allen Elishewitz.
Joyce Laituri (left) presents Spyderco’s new Puukko, while Michael Janich
shows off the new Native 5 lockback folder.
Sporters On Fire
Southern Grind of Atlanta introduced its line of Bad Monkey folders. These knives feature ample 5 1/4-inch carbon fiber handles, and are offered in drop-point and tanto blade styles with optional black or tumbled satin finishes, available plain or serrated. Visit www.southerngrind.com.
White River Knife & Tool of Coopersville, Mich., manufactures traditional and modern fixed-blade hunting knives, plus tactical models. The White River Caper, with a 6 3/4-inch drop point, has an easy-to-grip handle featuring a deep index finger choil. The knife’s 3-inch blade is versatile enough for skinning medium-size game, yet can handle delicate chores like caping. Visit www.thewhiteriver.com.
Last year, we reported the untimely passing of noted outdoorsman Ron Hood, which occurred shortly after the release of his first collaboration with Buck Knives. The talented Hood had a second fixed-blade design on the drawing board. The Hood Punk is 11 inches overall with a 5.7-inch clip-point blade. The .175-inch-thick blade is constructed of 5160 carbon steel with a dark gray powder-coat finish for rust resistance. This knife will be a hit among Hood fans. Visit www.buckknives.com.
By Pat Covert