This weekend our special is something a little different and very exciting: a vault find from Buck knives. This knife, the 503ELK, was made in 2003, back when Buck was still in their old factory in El Cajon, California.
There’s a really simple elegance to the handle design that makes for an attractive aesthetic, with the hand matched and hand polished elk antler handles nicely offset by the nickel silver bolsters. But possibly the coolest feature here is when you open the knife, the blade has been hand-engraved with Chuck Buck’s signature and dated for 2003. No two signatures are alike, no two handles are alike, so despite being a production model every single one of these is a totally unique piece. In the Buck tradition this is a really nice, functional gentleman’s folder that you’re going to be able to get a lot of use out of.
Blade opens easily using the fingernail nick and is held securely in place by the lockback mechanism. It’s the classic drop point shape and comes in at 2.375”. While the handle is only 3.375” long, its shape allows for a quite comfortable three-finger grip style. This low profile size also makes it a really unobtrusive everyday carry option.
Overall, the Buck 503ELK is a solid gentleman’s folder with some serious history behind it. It’s not often we see truly one-of-a-kind variety in a production knife, and we’ll definitely never get more of these in stock. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
This week on Spotlight Series we’re going to check out the QTR-5FTT folding karambit from QTRM5TR knives. With a vicious design and overbuilt frame, the Theodore, “T.C.” Calvin is a great tactical addition to anybody’s collection of folders.
The QTR-5F is only QTRM5TR’s second karambit design, after the QTR-2F, or B.A. Baracus. This model improves on that one in a number of ways, most noticeably the easier one-handed opening and more thumb-friendly frame lock. You get a nice deployment using the thumb slot, thanks to QTRM5TR’s sealed ORB pivot system. The blade is a 2″ hawkbill made from BD-4P stainless steel, and is held in place quite securely by the beefy frame lock.
Both the blade and the back side of the handle sport QTRM5TR’s Texas Tea black stonewash finish for a slick tactical appearance. The presentation side is outfitted with a G10 face scale to enhance your overall grip. Hand feel on this model is very comfortable, in either a forward or reverse grip. There’s some heavy jimping on both ends, and the finger hole is large enough to accommodate hands of most sizes, even in gloves. The low profile on the pocket clip ensures there are no hotspots to speak of.
Pocket clip is reversible, enabling a left or right side, tip-up carry. It errs a little on the side of too tight, but as such rides very securely. The finger hole sits above the line of the pocket, making for a swift, simple draw.
Overall, QTRM5TR has started to refine their sensibilities when it comes to a folding karambit, resulting in the stylish, functional QTR-5F in Texas Tea. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
This week on Spotlight Series, allow me to introduce some knives that basically need no introduction: the new Benchmade Griptilian models. The Griptilians are one of Benchmade’s best loved knives, and this latest iteration admirably carries that torch.
While you may feel like you know the Griptilian backwards and forwards by this point, Benchmade has thrown in some nice new features to make these ones worth the upgrade. Chief among these is the first-ever use of G10 handles in a production Griptilian. These are predominantly smooth to the touch, with a patch of pronounced diamond texture to enhance grip. The classic handle shape and size are maintained, so handling is as comfortable as you expect from this model, with ample jimping on the spine to allow for extra purchase.
The G10 is a matte gray with really stylish blue accents, which pair perfectly with the blue barrel spacers for an attractive overall appearance. The drop point blade is available in two finishes, a satin or a matte black. The black is my personal favorite for the way it contrasts with the lighter grey handle. You can get both finishes in a plain blade or with partial serrations.
Blade is deployed via the ambidextrous thumb studs, with an ultra smooth, easy action. An alternate method is to depress the Benchmade-patented AXIS lock and give a flick of the wrist to send the blade snapping out. The blade steel also gets an upgrade this time around, with a CPM-20CV stainless steel construction. The blade is held securely in place by the AXIS lock, which is totally ambidextrous.
The deep-carry pocket clip is reversible, allowing for left or right side, tip-up carry. On the whole this knife is very friendly for left hand users in a way you don’t often see with production models.
Overall, these new Griptilian models do an excellent job of taking the Benchmade design you know and love and adding sufficient value to make this one really worth your time. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
This week on Warehouse Hunts we’re taking a look at the new Dragon line of kitchen knives from Yaxell. Yaxell has been one of the leading knife manufacturers since 1932, and they’ve carefully handcrafted the Dragon series in Seki-City Japan.
These nine knives are all sold separately so you can build your kitchen set however you see fit. The real main-stays you’re going to want are of course the paring knife, utility knife, and chef’s knife. The paring knife in this line has a 3.5′ blade, useful for peeling, trimming, and other finer tasks where you need a lot of control.
The Chef’s knife is available in two sizes, an eight inch or a ten inch. These are going to be your real workhorse kitchen knives, perfect for larger cutting tasks, and the curved shape of the blade lets you rock the knife to make for really easy chopping. The utility knife hits that Goldilocks sweet spot, handling jobs that are a little too big for the paring knife, but too small for the full might of the chef’s knife.
Besides the must-haves, the Dragon line has five other, more exotic blade shapes for those of you who get serious with your cooking. There’s a 6.5′ Panini knife and a 9′ bread knife, which both sport scallop serrations, and the Panini knife has a nice rounded tip making it perfect for spreading condiments. There’s also an 8.5′ Nakiri for chopping herbs and vegetables, a seven and a half inch santoku, and a 9′ slicing knife.
This whole line is drop-forged, using BD1N stainless steel, which has a Rockwell hardness of 63 for really terrific edge retention. There’s a very attractive satin finish to the blade, which is nicely offset by the polished black micarta handles. The FDA-approved micarta is extremely heat-resistant, and non-shrink to maintain that seamless hygienic fit and finish, with a sturdy triple-rivet construction. The straight back and curved belly of the handle enable a really comfortable, confident hold.
There’s a lot of great variety here and a superior build-quality, making the Dragon line an excellent option to build or expand your kitchen. To learn more about these knives click here. To see our full inventory, visit knifecenter.com
The sleek blade shape and its black DLC finish make this a really attractive knife. Those in the knife community will instantly recognize this as being designed by Ken Onion, and the blade bears a screen printed Ken Onion signature. The blade style is perfectly complemented by the polished G10 handle. In the interest of gearing this knife towards outdoor use it comes with a stylish USA made leather sheath with belt loop. Big points for the general presentation on everything here.
Blade is 6″ long, but with a 6.25″ cutting edge thanks to the upswept fillet style. The blade is constructed from BD1N nitrogen steel and boasts a Rockwell hardness of 63, so you won’t be needing to sharpen this one very often.
Ken Onion’s signature drop handle style allows for fantastically ergonomic handling. Since the G10 is polished it doesn’t really afford any textured grip, but it’s not necessary thanks to the control bump here towards the front of the handle. This bump ensures that everybody’s going to get the same secure, precise grip with their forefinger and thumb, regardless of their hand size. The hold provided by that shape enables a very nice slicing angle.
With a limited-run Ken Onion design and a remarkably solid construction, this fillet knife is perfect for all manner of outdoor applications, and the only place you can find it is right here at KnifeCenter. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
First up is the lower cost of the two kits, the Kuro pack, which rather unsurprisingly features the Kuro assisted opening flipper, as well as an arrowhead neck knife. The Kuro is a stout mid-size flipper with a comfortable Zytel handle. The Zytel is textured with an eye-catching pattern that not only looks cool but provides quite a solid grip.
The Speedsafe assisted action deploys the blade very quickly and easily. Blade is a 3″ Americanized tanto with drop point, sporting a slick Black Oxide finish. It’s held in place with a solid liner lock. Rounding out this model’s features is a three-way pocket clip, which can be positioned for left or right-side tip-up or right-side tip-down carry.
The neck knife featured in this kit has a solid two inch arrowhead style blade with double edges. The handle isn’t the most ergonomic neck knife I’ve ever held, but it feels reasonably comfortable and sports a lot of jimping to enable safe handling. Included is the requisite plastic sheath with bead chain for a convenient all-day carry.
Next up is the Starter Series Pack, which contains two really rugged flippers with full stainless steel construction. This of course makes them a little on the heavy side, but also makes them durable beaters for abusing in your day-to-day life. The larger of the two has a really comfortable hand feel, while the smaller one is going to get lost a bit in bigger hands.
These two are also outfitted with the Speedsafe assisted opening mechanism, and while neither open as quickly as the Kuro, it’s still a very swift action. You have your choice of flippers or thumb studs with this duo, but in my opinion opening with the studs is a little awkward, especially on the smaller knife. Both blades are drop points, in 3.5″ and 3″, each held in place with some seriously sturdy frame locks. The pocket clip on the larger knife is removable but cannot be repositioned, allowing for only right side, tip-down carry. The smaller knife’s clip allows for left or right side tip-up carry.
Overall, these two kits offer up some great variety at really affordable prices, making them perfect gifts for knife newcomers and enthusiasts alike. To learn more about these products, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
This week on Spotlight Series we’re taking a look at the Balance line of flippers from Maxace Knives. Maxace, a division of the Stedemon company, is a pretty new brand, but if they keep turning out knives like this they’re going to definitely be one to watch.
Maxace is all about stripping away the distractions and focusing on a simple, elegant design manufactured with care. As such, the Balance isn’t anything Earth-shattering in terms of its appearance; it’s an attractive, basic folder built with some serious finesse.
The craftsmanship at play really manifests itself in the action on this piece, which is unbelievably smooth thanks to Maxace’s patented double bearing pivot design. There’s a thumb hole that lets you deploy the blade with no trouble at all, but the real winner is the flipper. This is an ultra fast and snappy action that’s super satisfying. Blade is 3.5″ of VG-10 stainless steel in a flat ground drop point with stonewash finish.
With the exception of the stainless steel liner lock on the back side, handle is full G10, even the backspacer. The Balance lives up to its name, avoiding the pitfall of feeling blade-heavy when dealing with an all-G10 handle. The balance on this model is terrific. Handle is reasonably large with a nice thin shape to it, leading to very ergonomic handling and carry. The G10 has a really heavily textured groove pattern which provides more than ample grip. There are four color options, with the G10 handles available in a standard black, desert tan, OD green, and a pretty wild translucent green.
The pocket clip is a simple design but very tight for a secure hold, but still manages to slide on and off pretty smoothly. Clip is removable but not reversible, allowing for right-side, tip-up carry only.
All things considered, the Maxace Knives Balance is a solidly constructed flipper that focuses on performance without trying to reinvent the wheel. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our full variety, visit knifecenter.com
This weekend our special is Leatherman’s Skeletool multi-tool. Owing a design debt to the Freestyle, the Skeletool manages to keep a slim profile and light weight while still packing in a solid set of tools.
Probably the most useful feature here in the day-to-day sense would be the outside accessible blade. Thanks to the thumb hole this is a one-handed opener with an easy action. Blade is a healthy 2.5″ long, made from 420HC stainless steel, and sporting partial serrations. There’s a liner lock present to keep the blade held firmly in place.
The next most obvious feature is of course the Leatherman standard pliers. This is a nice and sturdy set of needle nose pliers with built in wire cutters. With the tool open we can now access the screwdriver tip. This is pretty cool because with a press of this button we can remove the bit and flip it around for a wider Philips head. Turn the tool over and we’ll see our flathead bit nestled in the other handle.
There are two carry options here, the primary being the pocket clip. Thanks to the slim build the Skeletool is very unobtrusive in the pocket. There’s also a carabiner to let you hang it off your belt loop or a backpack or something. It also doubles as a bottle opener, though with all the other tools present could a bottle cap have REALLY stood in the way of your thirst?
At this point it goes without saying that Leatherman is the leader when it comes to quality multi-tools, and if you’re looking for a compact EDC multi-tool with a bunch of great functionality, the Skeletool is hella cool. To learn more about this product, click here. To see our full variety, visit knifecenter.com
This week on Warehouse Hunts we’re going to take a look at the Premium line of Gerber Gator knives. These USA-made fixed blades and folders are tough, high quality knives designed to perform equally well in wet or dry conditions.
The original Gator debuted in 1991 and was voted Blade Show’s most innovative knife of the year for its revolutionary design and commendable functionality. In the nearly 25 years since, the Gator and its little brother, the GatorMate, have continued to be some of the most popular and reliable American made knives in Gerber’s arsenal. The Premium Gator line uses that legacy as a springboard and takes things to the next level with a top-notch build and ultra stylish new look.
As is Gator tradition, the handles are rubberized and just a bit tacky to enable a supremely certain grip. The handles on both the folders and the fixed blades are just a hair larger than before, making for a comfortable hold with a lot of room. There’s a gentle overall curve and a super smooth index finger indent, so these feel really ergonomic.
Blades get an upgrade this time around, too. Instead of the 420HC of previous models, these are CPM-S30V stainless steel, which is going to be more resistant to corrosion and holds its edge better. The machine-polished, semi-mirrored finish gives these knives a much slicker aesthetic than their ancestors, especially on the fixed blades with the bolsters. Blade variety among the two fixed blades includes a standard drop point and a drop point with gut hook. On the folders you’re looking at a clip point and a clip point with gut hook. All of them are a solid 4″ long.
Deployment on the folders isn’t the smoothest because of the light stop in the middle of the rotation, but it’s simple and effective. That said, a two handed opening is probably going to be the preference for many users. As with the rest of the Gator folders, the blade is held in place by a sturdy lockback.
There are no pocket clips on these folders, but they come with a really handsome, durable leather pouch with belt loop. The two fixed blades of course include a sheath with the same high quality leather construction.
All in all, the Premium Gators bring Gerber’s beloved, acclaimed design into the 21st century in just about the most stylish way possible, while still maintaining their American made legacy. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our full inventory, visit knifecenter.com
This time on Steal of the Week we’re going to take a broad overview of the Steel Will brand. Established in 2008, Steel Will may be a newer company, but they’ve quickly impressed us with their high quality output of tactical fixed blades and folders.
We’re going to start with a look at the Sentence line of fixed blades, which boasts an impressive variety of eight different models. There are four blade styles available, a 5.33″ tanto with a flat grind, a 6″ tanto with a hollow grind plus a bit of a recurve, a 6″ clip point, and a drop point that’s about 6.75″ inches long. These are available in either a satin finish or a tactical black.
Handles are G10, in black with the black blades and an OD green with the satin finish. There are some heavy grooves machined into the G10 which provide a really solid grip, enabling an overall hand feel that is as secure as it is comfortable. The full tang tapers down into a thick glass breaker tip with lanyard hole. Each knife in this line comes with a Kydex sheath, which has a paracord wrap enabling a little extra grip and giving you some bonus emergency paracord.
Next up, we’re shifting gears from those absolutely massive blades to something more compact. The Censor is actually my favorite Steel Will fixed blade. The curved pistol grip is really ergonomic and feels great in the hand. There’s a lot of jimping along the spine, and the heavy diamond texture on the Zytel scales make for very confident handling, in forward or reverse grip.
This line just has three different blade varieties. There’s a clip point, a modified drop point, and a spear point with false top edge. All three are again full tang with glass breaker and lanyard hole, this time made of AUS-8 stainless steel. The Censor knives also include a Kydex sheath.
Now we’re going to get fancy with our next line, the Gekko. If the previous knives represent Steel Will’s more utilitarian tactical designs, the Gekko take things to a more elegant place. Made in Italy, these knives boast an upgraded steel and micarta handles. The handles have a great rounded shape, and the tang itself has been chamfered for a tremendously comfortable grip. Both of these fixed blades are drop points, in 4.33″ and just a bit over 5″. These knives include a really beautiful hand-made leather sheath with belt loop.
The Gekko line also features our first folder, which is every bit as nice as its fixed blade counterparts. Handle is nearly identical, with the same micarta scales and much the same shape. Blade deployment is handled using the dual thumb studs and it’s a really smooth action. I usually prefer a flipper on my folders, but this opens so easily I don’t mind its absence on this model. There’s a nice wide, deep-carry pocket clip, which is reversible to allow for left or right side tip-up carry.
And to round out our selection we have one more Italian-made folder, the Onrush. This is a great compact tactical knife suited for everyday use. While we have the clip point version here, a tanto is also available, both of which are three and three quarter inches long. Handles are G10 with some healthy texture, and there’s some pronounced jimping along the spine to facilitate both a forward and reverse grip. The pocket clip enables left or right side tip up carry, or if you’d rather carry it on your belt the package includes a cordura sheath.
As you can see, Steel Will offers up a lot of variety, and this is only a few of the lines they have available. To learn more about the brand, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com
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