Folding Knives: New Sleek, Lanky And Able Options

Folding Knives: New Sleek, Lanky And Able Options
Czech designer Ondrej Nemec collaborated with Spartan Blades to produce the Spartan-Nemec folder, intended to be practical and versatile in the EDC role as a tool for common cutting jobs. The 3.5-inch blade is flat-ground CPM S35VN stainless steel. Country of origin: Taiwan. MSRP: $209.99-$295.

Sleek new factory folders fuel consumer demand.

There’s a lanky breed of factory folder fueling consumer demand, and several notable entries in the genre are turning heads. Accomplished designers have teamed with knife companies to meld form and function with select materials to accomplish a sleek, majestic look exhibiting comfortable carry and easy deployment.

CRKT Stylus

CRKT Stylus
The lightweight aluminum handle of the CRKT Stylus features a ridge line that brings a dimension of safety, preventing the knife from twisting in your hand. The 3.18-inch blade is 12C27 stainless steel. Country of origin: USA. MSRP: $75.

The high-powered combination of BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Ken Onion and Columbia River Knife & Tool has resulted in the Stylus, tailor made for a man or woman on the move who appreciates quality attributes in an EDC knife with great aesthetics.

“The Stylus is made to tackle just about any EDC task you can throw at it,” related Doug Flagg, CRKT vice president of marketing and innovation. “Boxes and letters are, of course, no match, but the blade has some paring knife characteristics so that it excels at peeling and even piercing tasks as well.”

Flagg has carried a Stylus for months and attests to its ability to make short work of straps, clam packaging and even a steak. “We went lean with the Stylus to balance form and function, really,” he added. “It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to carry, but it also has a certain panache that makes a statement any time you pull it out of your pocket.”

The lightweight handle combines strength with minimal weight. Texture adds purchase and control with a ridge line that brings a dimension of safety, preventing the knife from twisting in your hand. Fine 12C27 stainless blade steel and assisted opening with the Ikoma Korth Bearing System (IKBS) add to user enjoyment.

CRKT Stylus features an assisted opening blade
Designed by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Ken Onion, the CRKT Stylus features an assisted opening blade and a linerlock, and opens and closes via the Ikoma Korth Bearing System (IKBS). Pocket clip: stainless steel. Closed length: 4.15 inches.

According to Flagg, Onion wanted to create a simple, streamlined pocketknife that could act as sort of an office EDC to be carried in a shirt pocket, fifth pocket or standard pants pocket. “Across the knife world, Ken noticed a movement toward cleaner, leaner, more simplified designs that were a different approach compared to his typically large and more flowing knives,” Flagg concluded. “With the Stylus he was really trying to emulate that and have some fun with something new and unique.”

Coast Products Founder Series

Coast LX500
The LX500 in the Coast Founder’s Series is a design by Todd Ernst and David Goldman. The 2.85-inch tanto blade is flat-ground 9Cr18MoV stainless steel and the handle comes in a choice of black (shown here) or green canvas Micarta®, aluminum and titanium. The deep-carry, rollover-style pocket clip is reversible.

The Founder’s Series from Coast Products is a design collaboration between Todd Ernst and David Goldman, and it hit the mark with the intent to produce an elegant executive knife. “Based on feedback from customers and when looking at our offering, we wanted to design something that would not necessarily look like a knife when in a shirt or pocket,” explained Doug Hutchens, Coast sales operations manager.

“A knife designed to flip open must have a combination of correct geometry, minimal weight in the blade, and ball bearings at the pivot to create minimal friction to facilitate easy flipping,” Hutchens noted. “The tanto blade style is also popular and provides good looks. Then, without sacrificing strength in the frame, we designed the Micarta®, aluminum and titanium handle choices to keep weight at a minimum.”

The variety of handle materials makes buyers checking out the Founder’s Series feel like kids in a candy store. Hutchens noted that each material is attractive, strong and designed to give the customer variety in aesthetics. “That’s so they can choose the style that they like best,” he said. “Another customization was the pin color in the end of the knife handle, which was designed to be visible when carried in a pocket. At purchase, we provide two pin color options for the customer to further choose their own styling. The red pin is a nod to the red Coast ring trademark, which you’ll find on most every Coast product.”

Coast Founder’s Series LX502
The LX502 iteration in the Coast Founder’s Series sports a blackened blade that secures via a linerlock and a stonewashed titanium handle. The red pin in the handle butt is a nod to the red Coast ring trademark found on most every company product. Closed length: 4.25 inches. Country of origin: China. MSRP: $49.99.

Thin but mighty, the Founder’s Series is up to the rigor of daily use. Hutchens commented, “All knife design is a compromise with purpose. The length of the handle allows the butt of the knife to be captured by the user’s palm easily and quickly. Because of this there is no need for large finger grooves or guard projections. Lock it into your palm and it is very secure in your hand.”

Spyderco Ikuchi

Spyderco Ikuchi
The Ikuchi is a mythical Japanese sea monster, and the Spyderco knife of the same name and its flat-ground blade of CPM S30V stainless steel is built to weather whatever your everyday cutting needs may be. Blade and closed lengths: 3.26 and 4.35 inches.

Paul Alexander and the Spyderco design team have created a long, lean gem in the Ikuchi, distinctive with its scalpel-like blade boasting the company’s trademark hole. Alexander looked at a number of traditional knife patterns while scheming the Ikuchi, including the Texas toothpick and French laguiole.

“The Ikuchi design came from two distinct drivers,” Paul remarked. “First, I wanted to explore some designs based on more traditional patterns, but evolving and modernizing. Second, I wanted to create a piece with decidedly different blade geometry than the other collaboration pieces I’ve done with Spyderco. On the latter front, I was looking to design a pocketknife with a much narrower/shorter blade and width/height.

“I decided to take the narrow blade concept to the extreme, working to conceal the entire blade width within the handle scales when closed. The idea was that a knife this size would inherently take up a minimal amount of pocket space, strongly feature the handle shape, and create designs unique among Spyderco offerings.”

The thin nature of the Ikuchi handle makes the knife responsive in your hand while maximizing a user-friendly experience. Alexander explained, “The thin handle, without any features to lock any fingers into a set location, makes the knife more grip agnostic and easily repositionable in the hand. But thin handles can cause some difficulty for folks that may have limited hand dexterity, or lost some of it.

Spyderco Ikuchi profile
In addition to its Japanese name, the Spyderco Ikuchi combines elements of the Texas toothpick and French laguiole for a truly international design. Handle: carbon fiber/G-10 laminate. Lock: Compression. Country of origin: Taiwan. MSRP: $244.

Both are true of the Ikuchi, but seeing as it’s meant for EDC and light-duty tasks, I don’t find myself overly concerned when using the knife appropriately and responsibly. The handle material was Spyderco’s call but I admit I’m a sucker for carbon fiber scales, and the textured, peel-ply carbon fiber [Spyderco uses] is a great blend of aesthetics and grip without adding much mass.”

Spartan Blades Spartan-Nemec

Spartan-Nemec carbon fiber
Also available in sculpted carbon fiber and a blackened blade, the Spartan-Nemec has a stainless steel pocket clip that’s deep carry and ambidextrous. Lock: linerlock. Closed length: 4.5 inches.

Czech designer Ondrej Nemec joined Spartan Blades to produce the Spartan-Nemec folder, intended to be practical and versatile in the EDC role, a tool for any common job. Compact and easy to carry in a pocket, the Spartan-Nemec is a snap to deploy and makes light work of cutting boxes, envelopes or tape.

Nemec grew up in his father’s workshop, and Ondrej’s steady commitment to quality knives led to the founding of his Acta Non Verba knife company over 10 years ago. “The knives he designed in the past are similar to the quality and size of Spartan models, making him a good fit for Spartan while bringing a new flair to what we do,” related Curtis Iovito, company president.

Looking good always helps says Iovito of the smart, lean lines of the Spartan-Nemec. He adds that the knife incorporates features such as a secure locking mechanism, comfortable grip, and ambidextrous design for easy use by both southpaws and right-handers. “The biggest advantage of the design is that it stays out of your way when in the pocket,” Curtis smiled.

User ergonomics guided the Nemec design, making it ideal for quick and precise handling. The length of the handle contributes to stability and ease of control. In combination, the design elements produce an efficient everyday tool that can act as a backup in special circumstances, too.

“Although made with everyday tasks in mind, the knife boasts sufficient length to serve as a viable defensive tool in emergency situations,” Iovito indicated. “This contributed to our decision to incorporate a flipper mechanism facilitated by caged bearings and a strategically positioned flipper tab, ensuring readiness for such scenarios.”

Iovito also notes that the Spartan-Nemec’s inspiration was a “larger counterpart,” the KA-BAR Ek Models 4 and 5. “Originating from KA-BAR, this larger knife has been scaled down to create our folding version tailored for everyday carry,” he said. “While the concept of a penknife is not groundbreaking, we are confident that our rendition stands out as a well-crafted and reliable tool.”

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