Home Authors Posts by Elwood Shelton

Elwood Shelton

First Look: Work Sharp Ken Onion Knife & Tool Sharpener MK.2

The work-horse tool gets some upgrades.

Work Sharp’s Ken Onion Knife & Tool Sharpener has been keeping knife enthusiasts’ edges sharp for a decade. A good run, by anyone’s measure. But the device’s time is up as the company welcomes the dawning of a new era—the Ken Onion Knife & Tool Sharpener MK.2. I’m sure some of you saw that coming.

Thankfully, Work Sharp hasn’t reinvented the wheel with the refresh of this time-tested multitool. Instead, the unit maintains many of the features that made it popular in the first place but offer a few notable enhancements that sharpeners and makers should find welcome, including a MK.2 Elite model with grinding functions.

Chief among the enhancements is the MK.2’s speed control, now offering seven preset speed settings to provide consistent and repeatable results. A new torque control delivers consistent power, even under load. To make the sharpener easier to dial in, Work Sharp has included a very clear amber LED indicator light for the belt speed selection for quick and precise adjustment. Furthermore, a scope click adjustment knob on the sharpening guide, with detent clicks, allows users to adjust in half-degree increments by touch. Incidentally, the guide is adjustable from 15 degrees at the low end to 30 degrees at the high, hitting nearly every angle for both knives and tools.

The MK.2 also comes with leather-lined angle guides that offer protection for knives during sharpening. Users will also note a lockout belt tensioner on the sharpening cassette that helps make changing abrasive belts fast and simple. The Ken Onion MK.2 will come with five grits to accommodate the full spectrum of sharpening from repair to ultra-fine polishing.

Ken Onion Elite MK.2

As for the grinding, the Ken Onion MK.2 Elite model has some interesting aspects too. The redesigned grinder attachment quickly and easily mounts to the power base without tools or calibration. Once attached, the grinder boasts on-the-fly motor speed control and continuous run time. Additionally, an adjustable, three-position convex pulley system allows users to customize their grind profile depending on personal preference or the type of knives being sharpened.

The Ken Onion Knife & Tool Sharpener MK.2 boasts a $200 MSRP for the base model and $300 MSRP for the Elite. While the original sharpener has been a standby for a long time, the new addition to the Work Sharp lineup should prove sharp.

Check Out More Knife Drops:

Factory Drops: New Knives Hitting The Market This Spring

Five knives fit for EDC to the outdoors.

Does the flow of new knives ever cease? Lord, I hope not.

Midspring is as good a time as any for knife companies to drop new models, variations and what have you. And with this round, we have five new blades from three manufacturers worth a gander.

These knives range across the board, from a very collectible outdoor option to a bevy of affordable pocket pals. Even if they don’t exactly tickle your fancy, these blades are worthwhile window-shopping fodder.

Kellam Knives Harriet70

Kellam Harriet70

Puukos are bread and butter at Kellam but its most recent introduction of this style of belt knife might prove better on the mantlepiece than on the hip.

Dubbed the Harriet70, the classic design is a tribute to Harriet Kellokoski, the wife of Kellam’s headman  Jouni Kellokoski, for her 70th birthday.

There are a lot of nice points on this limited-edition knife, but what jumped out for me immediately was the handle—more exactly its wood.
In this case, it’s arctic curly birch, darkly dyed and lightly oiled for the finish.

The curl pops and plays a beautiful counter to the nickel silver bolster and polished stainless-steel blade.

With 3-inches of wicked-sharp steel to play around with it’d make a solid hunting or fishing option, one dripping with class.

CRKT BOT Deadbolt

CRKT BOT Deadbolt

I can never complain about a design that puts fast deployment at the forefront of its engineering. Hence the BOT Deadbolt hits a sweet spot for me.

Assisted open with IKBS bearings, the action of this flipper doesn’t disappoint with the drop-point blade winking out in the blink of an eye.

Designed by Flavio Ikoma, the knife also features the Brazilian’s innovative lock—the Deadbolt—which relies on two lugs for extremely strong lockup.

This a much larger knife than what the Deadbolt is usually found on, intentionally so, since Ikoma was aiming for an overall robust system from tip to pocket clip.

CIVIVI Elementum Utility

CIVIVI Elementum Utility

Quietly, there’s a utility knife war brew in the knife world. I, for one, say it’s about dang time.

An oft-overlooked corner of the blade world is getting some much-needed attention with the latest enhancement coming from juggernaut CIVVI.

Essentially a flipper/folder utility knife, the Elementum Utility offers perhaps the most important aspect of this class of knives—single-hand deployment. And it delivers it not in one, but three ways via kicker, thumb stud and button lock—if you like flicking out your blade.

CIVVI also delivers a bit of panache with the line, offering the replaceable-blade knife in a slew of colorways on its aluminum handle.

CIVIVI Primitrox

CIVIVI Primitrox

Even without looking at the branding, I think most knife aficionados would have sussed out this is a CIVIVI… or WE or Sencut. It just has the look, design points and action of the tirade’s knives and is close to several other options that already exist in the company’s catalog.

The one that comes to my mind is the WE Saakshi.

However, the Primitrox comes in a bit bigger thanks to a larger 3.89-inch drop-point blade.

The extra steel works to the knife’s advantage giving it not only a more robust design but more mass that flings the blade forward when opening.

I have to say, the handle options on the knife are nice as well, particularly the Guibourtia wood scale option, which gives the Primitrox a dignified look.



I have to confess this knife intrigues me. Of course, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to get geeked up over a dagger—or dagger-style—blade.

A Rob Saniscalchi design, the RS71 takes the deadly-looking blade style and tames it down for EDC with plenty of style.
But plan on having plenty of pocket space to tote it around, because the CIVIVI borders on behemoth with a full 4-inch blade and 9.31-inch deployment length.

The knife fills the hand, yet the contoured handle makes it very manageable.

I also like the grooving on the scale, which gives it more purchase in the palm and a downright distinctive look.

Check Out More Knife Drops:

CRKT Soldotna Commemorates Company’s 30th Anniversary

Fixed-blade hunter finds its roots a knife gifted to CRKT’s founder.

CRKT is 30 years old this year, but who’s counting candles? Apparently, the company, because it’s commemorating the milestone with the release of a little something. And what better way for an outdoorsy brand from Oregan to mark an anniversary than with a hunting knife—a dang slick-looking one at that.

Shake hands with the Soldotna.

Designed by renowned craftsman, guide and all-around outdoorsman Russ Kommer the knife is a bit of a team effort. With the Soldotna, CRKT partnered with the master blacksmiths at Vegas Forge in Nevada to make the blade’s Damascus steel and worked with TOPS Knives in Idaho to manufacture the knife. It comes with a full-grain leather sheath with a belt loop and stud closer, which is hand-made in Idaho. Yet, the design itself is pure Kommer.

The Soldotna’s roots lie in a custom knife the maker and backwoodsman created for CRKT founder Rod Bremer. As the story goes, it was a gift for Bremer’s grandson who had a particularly special hunt planned. The name of the knife, interestingly, comes from an Alaskan town near the Kenai River where Kommer and Bremer would angle for king salmon together.

Soldotna carbon steel
In addition to the limited edition, CRKT is offering a carbon steel version with a tan canvas Micarta handle.

As for the knife itself, it’s designed as a do-all hunting knife boasting a 3.5-inch drop-point blade, with a flat grind. It has enough belly for skinning detail but is svelte enough—particularly at the point—to handle more fine jobs in the field.

Ergonomics take the front seat in this extremely manageable knife, with a slight palm swell in the walnut handle to ensure it fills the hand. Furthermore, there’s a slight curvature near the finger guard, a safety feature that locks the knife in hand and prevents slipping. Well thought out, to say the least.

CRKT is only doing a limited run of the damascus Soldotna, with only 200 pieces up for sale. One of these beauties will set you back $500. However, if you don’t have that sort of change floating around your couch cushions, CRKT is offering a Cerakoted carbon steel Soldotna at a much more affordable $200. Note, the carbon steel model has the same specs as the Damascus, except in steel and handle material, which is tan canvas Micarta.

Soldotna Damascus

Soldotna Limited Edition Specs
Blade Steel: Damascus
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Finish: Acid Etch
Blade Length: 3.53″
Blade Thickness: 0.13″
Overall Length: 7.63″
Weight: 3.00 oz.
MSRP: $500

Soldotna Carbon Steel

Soldotna Carbon Steel Specs
Blade Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Finish: Cerakote
Blade Length: 3.48″
Blade Thickness: 0.12″
Overall Length: 7.63″
Weight: 3.30 oz.
MSRP: $200

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

First Look: Bear OPS Unveils the Double Clutch IV

Bear OPS introduces the 4 ½” Double Clutch IV. An out-the-front automatic engineered to meet the demands of EDC carry.

Bear OPS has been on a roll in 2024 with a couple of drops early this year. However, its most recent introduction is perhaps its most intriguing, if for no other reason than it’s an automatic—and those are always interesting. Especially when it’s a pocket-friendly OTF, such as the Double Clutch IV, priced right to make it a viable EDC option you won’t be afraid to scratch the paint on.

Don’t get me wrong, the $290 price tag is still steep for many, but measured against the rest of the out-the-front market the knife comes in competitively priced. And Bear OPS hasn’t skimped in making a fairly rough-and-tumble option. Particularly opting for good ol’ D2 steel for the Double Clutch IV’s 2.5-inch blade and aircraft-grade aluminum for the handle. For those not in the know, D2 is a long-used knife material—a high-carbon tool steel, with both good wear resistance and toughness, as well as respectable corrosion resistance. Arguably there are new options with better qualities, but D2 still holds its place.

As to the blade profile, Bear OPS offers two options, tanto and drop point. In both cases, the blades are straight-edged but have some nice points that accentuate each design. The drop point boasts a wide belly, giving it plenty of slicing surface. While the tanto has a fairly sharp, but abbreviated tip, which should make it a puncturing pro.

Double Clutch IV Drop Point

The Double Clutch IV’s action has a crisp deployment, facilitated by an understated—yet functional—thumb slide. It’s just about the right size for the small knife, not protruding so much as to cause an errant fire, but prominent enough that you won’t fumble to get the knife into action.

The knife boasts aluminum milled handles that not only enhance its toughness but also contribute to its ergonomic design. With grip ridges for added traction, these handles provide a comfortable and secure grip in any situation, ensuring optimal control even when wearing gloves.

Despite its robust construction, the Double Clutch IV remains remarkably concealable, seamlessly integrating into your everyday carry apparel. Whether tucked away in a pocket, duty belt, or plate carrier, this knife remains discreet yet readily accessible, ready to defend and protect at a moment’s notice. And at a scant 3.3 ounces, it won’t bog you down.

Oh yeah, it also comes outfitted with a pocket clip for tip-down carry and a lanyard hole, a slick feature that might help get the knife into the fray.

Double Clutch IV Specs
Blade Styles:
Tanto, Drop Point
Blade Material: D2 Tool Steel
Handle Material: Aircraft Aluminum w/grip ridges
Rockwell: 59-61
Closed Length: 4 1/2″
Edge: 2-1/2″
Weight: 3.3 oz.
Extras: Automatic, Pocket Clip provides for Tip-Down Carry, Lanyard Hole
MSRP: $290

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:

2024 BLADE Show Texas Custom Award Winners

See who took home the hardware from the custom knife competition at BLADE Show Texas

With its roots in fine custom knives, BLADE Show Texas tends to draw the top names in makers. In turn, the custom knife awards competition turns out to be a heavyweight slugfest of some of the country’s most accomplished blade artisans. The 2024 competition at the Feb. 23-24 show lived up to this expectation completely.

The judging hall buried in the catacombs of the Ft. Worth Convention Center was packed to the gills with exceptional specimens in 12 categories. To say the 3-judge panel had their work cut out is an overstatement as large as the Lone Star State itself. But after much debate and some furrowing of brows, this team of custom knife experts came up with the top picks from each category.

This included Best Of Show (and Best Bowie), Mike Quesenberry’s dog-gone outstanding bowie knife—a creation that sucked the air out of the room. A testament to how competitive the competition was, the judges for the first time awarded “Contender” awards in three categories for knives that were worthy of top honors, but were just edged out of the highest award.

Best Of Show: Mike Quesenberry

Edited CustomBestOfShow
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Art Knife: Mike Quesenberry

Edited Art
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Bowie: Mike Quesenberry

Edited Bowie
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Bowie Contender: Franco De Souza

Edited Conteder_1
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Damascus: Franco De Souza

Edited Damascus
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best EDC: Karis Fisher

Edited EDC
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Fighter: Franco De Souza

Edited Fighter
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Folding Knife: Jared Oeser

Edited Folding
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Hunting Knife: James Rodebauh

Edited Hunting
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Hunting Knife Contender: Peyton Ramm

Edited Contener_3
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Kitchen Knife: Harvey Dean

Edited Kitchen
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Slipjoint: Tim Robertson

Edited SlipJoint
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Slipjoint Contender: Phil Jacob

Edited Contender_2
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best M.A.C.K.: Princeton Wong

Edited MACK
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Of The Rest: Jason Knight/Winburn Steel

Edited Best of the rest
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Check Out Previous Custom Award Winners:

2024 BLADE Show Texas Factory Award Winners

See who took home the hardware in seven categories at BLADE Show Texas

Over the years, the BLADE Show Texas Awards contest has proven among the most competitive of the triad of shows—perhaps only second to Atlanta. The 2024 event was no different with the factory section of the Feb. 23-24 drawing in cutting-edge designs and hot new takes on the age-old technology. It’s an understatement to say the three-judge panel had its work cut out for it deep in the bowels of the Fort Worth Convention Center in picking the best of a very accomplished field. Yet the experts did, choosing winners in 7 categories—including Best Of Show, ESNYX’s EDC folder. Get a gander of it and the other top picks from the ever-growing blade shindig from deep in the heart of Texas.

Best Of Show: ESNYX

BestInShow ESNYX
Photo: SharpbyCoop


Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best American Made: Heretic Knives Wraith

AmericanMade Wraith by Heretic Knives
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Imported: George-Elishewitz EK folder

Imported George-Elishewitz Ek folder
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Fixed Blade: Vero Engineering Myelin

FixedBlade Myelin Vero Engineering
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best Folder: Vero Engineering Lux

Folder Lux from Vero Engineering
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Best of the Rest: Reate EXO-Utility

BestOfTheRest Reate
Photo: SharpbyCoop

Check Out Previous Factory Award Winners:

Case Knives: Bevy Of New Knife Drops For The New Year

Case Knives is celebrating its 135th year with some top-notch new knives.

Creeping up on a century and a half of knifemaking, Case seems to feel its oats still. Or, that’s the way it seemed from the prolific 135-year-old Pennsylvania manufacturer’s recent releases at the 2024 SHOT Show, held in January in Las Vegas. The company had a full-court press of drops at the gun and outdoor gear hoedown, with a bevy of new lines, releases, collabs and model iterations. This should prove sweet music to the army of the brand’s collectors.

There isn’t space enough to cover every whipstitch of what Case is bringing to the table in 2024, but we’ll take a gander at some of the company’s weightier introductions for the coming year. There’s a little bit of everything for case fans out there, from classic patterns with new twists to brand-new knives that strike original ground.

Bridgeline Series

Not wandering too far off the beaten path, Case’s newest series of knives offers some nice updates for users seeking a modern knife. At the vanguard of the line are the Highbanks and Longhouse, both of which should prove excellent everyday carry options with the chops to handle most tasks thrown in front of them. Each features aluminum frames and bolsters, screw construction, ball bearing pivots, deep-carry pocket clips and CPM-20CV steel blades.

Case isn’t shying from the use of powdered steel for its blades, and the choice in these knives offers up a premium option used in a number of higher-end production knives. It’s similar to D2 and other tool steels—respectable toughnesss and edge retention—but with the added benefit of improved corrosion resistance.


Case Highbanks

Certainly a break from the tried and true, the Highbanks veers to the more traditional in the Bridgeline Series. Namely, because the knife is a non-locking folder bosting a nail nick and a Wharncliffe blade. Still, with the high-performance blade steel and the choice of Micartia or hardwood grips, this certainly isn’t your granddad’s jackknife. I particularly like the handle ergonomics of the Highbanks, tapering nicely to the blade and fitting the hand just right. Spoiler… so does the Longhouse.


Case Longhouse 2

Here we see Case move its design a bit more forward with the flipper Longhouse. The liner lock boasts plenty of blade, a clip-point profile with a beef spine that should help the knife stand up to any job put in front of it. However, the hand mimics the Highbanks, giving the knife a timeless look I’d wager many Case fans will appreciate.

Chris Taylor Hunters

Teaming up with renowned custom knifemaker Chris Taylor, Case has cooked up an intriguing hunting-knife collection. This year, the partnership unveils three unique fixed blades, each a fairly unique take on the must-have outdoor implement.


Case CT1

Crafted to exude rugged dependability, the CT1 showcases a top-tier Nitro V steel Clip-point blade. Known for its outstanding edge retention, corrosion resistance, and easy maintenance, Nitro V steel ensures that your knife remains ready and reliable whenever and wherever you require it. Case gives the knife an OD green burlap Micara handle, a plus for a hard-use knife that will likely be used in inclement weather. The CT1 also boasts aggressive jimping on its spine, so you have a solid contact point on more forceful cuts.


Case CT2

Cutting a much sleeker profile, the CT2 has the most modern feel among the CT hunters. Built around a resilient S35VN steel drop point blade, the knife doesn’t offer as much belly as the others in the line. But with a defined point, should prove at pro at perforation. The carbon-fiber handle is a nice touch, adding to the CT2’s modern looks, and proves very ergonomic and nimble in the hand.


Case CT3

Tailored for the wilderness, the CT3 has more of a traditional hunter profile. Constructed from premium 1095 carbon steel, its specialized coated skinner blade boasts razor-sharpness, facilitating precision cuts and providing a sharpening advantage compared to many other steels. Outfitted with a hunter orange handle, the nice part about the CT3 is it will be difficult to lose in the woods.


Case Razor

Case is commemorating its 135-year legacy by dusting off a real classic eye-catcher—the Razor. Reintroduced from the Case XX Vault, the knife is available in two patterns: a single-bladed version featuring a broad Clip blade with a distinctively curved tip, and a two-bladed variant with an additional Pen blade. Available in over a dozen handle styles, such as Smooth Abalone, Micarta, Smooth Brown Maple Burl Wood, and Sawcut Jig Caribbean Blue Bone, the Razor is a great Case throwback and a fantastic knife for the company to pay homage to its rich history.

Check Out Our Knife Reviews:


Must Read Articles

Read this before you make a knife

Knifemaking 101 – Read This Before You Make a Knife

  by Wayne Goddard My experience has taught me that there's nothing like digging in and getting started. I've often said the hardest part of the...
how to forge damascus steel

How to Forge Damascus