Spyderco Lil’ Lum & Pattada

This week on Spotlight Series we’re looking at a pair of new Spyderco folders that just came in. When put next to each other our two selections, the Lil’ Lum and the Pattada, could hardly be more different, but they both share Spyderco’s expert craftsmanship and elegant styling.

The late Bob Lum was a custom knifemaker whose specialty lied in adapting classic Asian blade styles into modern knives. One of his most popular collaborations with Spyderco was the Lum Chinese folder, based on the classic Shilin Cutter folding knife. This new model, the Lil’ Lum, brings back that design in a more pocket-size profile than its predecessors. The Lil’ Lum was manufactured in Seki Japan, boasting a VG-10 stainless steel blade and textured G10 handle scales over stainless steel liners. The pocket clip, also stainless steel, is reversible for left or right side tip-up carry.

Despite the diminutive size, the Lil’ Lum offers a really comfortable hand feel thanks to the extremely curved shape of the handle. There’s some nice chamfering along the top of the blade, letting you comfortably rest your thumb anywhere you want, which contributes to a nice overall sense of control. Blade deployment via the Spyderco round hole is as smooth as you’ve come to expect from the brand, but too stiff to flick open with any speed. The blade is 2.38″ inches long with a flat grind and a cutting edge a little under two and a quarter inches. The leaf shape gives you a good bit of belly for some nice cutting power.

Our second knife is an all-new Italian-made model, from Spyderco’s series of knives inspired by popular international styles. This knife, the Pattada, is based on the traditional folding knife of Sardinia, the largest island in the Mediterranean. The long, slender design and distinctive blade shape recall the regional styling while putting a Spyderco twist on it. The G10 handle scales have been 3D machined for a smooth, slick finish. The handle is built over stainless steel liners, and the gentle curve and indent near the back make this extremely comfortable in either a forward or reverse grip. With a 4.77″ length, this is a perfect handle for folks with larger hands.

Action on this one is much snappier than the Lil’ Lum, making it great for a quick middle finger deployment. Blade is manufactured from N690Co stainless steel, coming in just a hair under 4″ and sporting a full flat grind. Like the Lum, this blade is locked in place with a stainless steel liner lock.

Living on opposite ends of the spectrum, these two knives ably demonstrate the wide range of products Spyderco is putting out, and both would be a welcome addition to any knife collection. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com


This weekend our special is the classic K.I.S.S. folding knife by Columbia River Knife & Tool. We all know what the acronym K.I.S.S. usually stands for, but in this case it’s the similar but softer “Keep It Super Simple,” which was the guiding principal behind this stripped down design by the late Ed Halligan.

The K.I.S.S. debuted in 1998 and won the Blade Magazine Imported Knife of the Year award for its groundbreaking construction. The elegant design is literally just two pieces of bead-blasted stainless steel that fit together perfectly to make just about the simplest folding knife possible. In the closed position the blade is sealed against the handle, so despite the knife missing that presentation handle scale there’s no danger of cutting yourself on this model.

Blade deployment is handled using the thumb stud and it’s a surprisingly smooth action. To look at the knife you’d expect a one-handed opening to be on the awkward side, but it’s actually very satisfying. The only downside is that this one is not particularly friendly to lefties. The blade is 2.25″ long in a tanto-inspired shape with a chisel grind on the front and flat on the back, which is what grants you that “seal.” The fit and finish is really nice, with the framelock snapping beautifully into place and keeping the blade securely locked out.

The ultra slim design makes it equally comfortable to clip the knife to the pocket or let it float free. One of the other cool features is that the clip can pull double-duty as a money clip. Finally, the lanyard hole at the butt of the handle can obviously enable the use of a lanyard or let you turn this into a keychain knife.

All-in-all the oft-imitated but never equaled CRKT K.I.S.S. lives up to its name and is an excellent option for a low-profile knife with some extra functionality and a sleek appearance. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Kershaw Oso Sweet

This time on Steal of the Week we’ve got a Kershaw knife that is frequently called oh so sweet… Because that is actually its name. That’s right, we’re taking a look at the Oso Sweet – a compact, lightweight flipper that offers up an elegant alternative for a basic everyday carry.

Handles are glass-reinforced nylon with… Wait, how did this orange one get in here? Hang on. Okay, handles are glass-reinforced nylon with a “scale” pattern that adds to the knife’s unique aesthetic and provides a pretty solid no-slip grip. The GRN and thin stainless steel liners are what make this such a lightweight model, which is great for limiting hand fatigue and preventing the carry from getting to obtrusive. To that end, the pocket clip lets the knife set nicely in the pocket, making for a comfortable, secure ride. The clip is reversible for right-hand carry only, letting you switch it from tip-down to tip-up.

Handle shape is pretty standard for Kershaw, with a slight hump on the back and a pronounced index finger indent making for some nice ergonomics. You do feel the liner lock a bit on your index finger, but it’s not too noticeable. Typically I find the pocket clip to be something of a hotspot on knives like these, but the unique shape of this one flows really nicely with the palm.

Blade is deployed of course via the flipper, and the Speedsafe assisted mechanism makes for a swift and snappy action that feels really solid. You’re looking at 3.1″ in a nice slender drop point, with a hollow grind and a satin finish. The aforementioned liner lock keeps everything firmly in place when the blade is deployed.

As a no-frills, EDC-style blade the Kershaw Oso Sweet really fills the bill, especially if you’re looking for something with a little bit of unique styling to it. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

TUO Cutlery Black & White Series

This week on Spotlight Series we’re doing something a little different and taking a look at a new line of kitchen knives by TUO Cutlery, from the folks that make Kizer Cutlery. TUO is an acronym for “Technology, Utility, and Originality,” and it’s these attributes that inspire their elegant, ergonomic Black and White series.

To go for the low-hanging fruit first, the series is called Black and White for the variety of handle styles available. You can get these knives in either black or white, and both colors have two distinct flavors. Each color has a matte or mirror finish option, so there are four different handle styles to choose from. Aside from the handle finish, materials and construction are identical across all versions of the knives.

The handles are manufactured from a smooth resin that feels really nice in the hand. The unusual handle shape is reminiscent of the Chroma Cutlery F.A. Porsche knives, and offers a similarly ergonomic user experience. Besides being extremely comfortable, the shape makes it really easy to manipulate these knives and turn them around in your hand, granting you a lot of dexterity with your preparation.

Blades are all full-tang, and various sizes depending on the knife’s intended purpose. The line offers the standard range, featuring a 3.5″ paring knife, a 5″ utility knife, a six inch Santoku, an 8″ chef’s knife, an 8″ bread knife, and a 12″ slicing knife, each available separately. All have been drop forged from 440 stainless steel and feature a 15 degree cutting angle to retain their sharp edge.

The sleek styling, ergonomic handling, and wide variety of options all combine to make the Black and White line an enticing run of kitchen knives from TUO Cutlery. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com


This weekend our special is a little blast from the past – the Wasp folder from Columbia River Knife & Tool. The Wasp is a production adaptation of knifemaker Howard Viele’s classic Vasp, and as an entry-level knife represents a comfortable mix of easy functionality and elegant artistry.

Wasp is an accurate name for this one given the rather unique shape of the handle, which resembles the abdomen of the fierce insect. The handle is comprised of a pair of thick stainless steel liners, over which sit some pretty groovy blue and black G10 scales. This gives the knife a distinct aesthetic, without having to sacrifice on ergonomics. There’s a good hand feel to this model, with the shape flowing well with the palm and fingers, and there’s a subtle index finger indent and thumb ramp, granting fine control.

The blade is deployed using the removable thumb-stud, which has a rubber tip for extra purchase. The positioning of the stud makes it a little difficult to reliably flick the blade out quickly, but it offers a very smooth slower deployment. The blade is a 3″ drop point with a hollow grind, easily identifiable as a Viele by the three holes along the top edge. Both the blade and the stainless steel liners have a clean bead blast finish, which I always enjoy. The blade is held in place by a liner lock, and when it’s closed down you’ll note that there’s actually pretty nice centering on this model.

The final feature worth mentioning here is the pocket clip, which is ultra slender and low profile. It’s a really comfortable carry, the only thing I’m not super fond of is how much the knife sticks out above the pocket line – though that does make it really easy to draw quickly.

All-in-all, the Wasp is a really nice collaboration between Viele and CRKT, and the current pricing makes it a dynamite EDC for people who want something with a little classic flair. To learn more about this knife, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

SWIZA Swiss Pocket Knife Multi-Tools

This week on Spotlight Series we’re taking a look at a new line of Swiss Knives from SWIZA. SWIZA is a Swiss company that has been manufacturing watches and luggage for over one hundred years, but this is the first time they’ve dipped a toe into the knife market. For being their first time out this is a really solid knife, representing one of the first radical reinventions of the Swiss-style Knife in some time.

What most differentiates this from something like say a Victorinox is the handle. It’s got a subtle, ergonomic curve and soft-grip rubber handle scales that make for a really comfortable hold when you’re using the knife. The knife is really easy to draw using the thumb hole, and it’s very nearly 3″ long, so this is all in all a nice blade for your everyday cutting tasks. The other cool feature with regard to the knife is that it’s actually got a liner lock to keep it in place, which you deactivate by pressing in on the Swiss Cross.

There are four different versions of this model available, each with a different tool-set. As a base, all four of them include the knife, as well as an awl or punch, and a pair of stainless steel tweezers. You can get this base model with your choice of corkscrew or Philips head screwdriver on the back. The next one up throws in a can opener and bottle opener, and again you can choose whether you want one with a corkscrew or screwdriver. The tools have a hole rather than the fingernail nick, making it easy to draw them without hurting your fingers.

Each one of these different tool configurations is available in red, white, blue, or black, so there are sixteen distinct options available. With this level of customization and a really solid feature set, the SWIZA Swiss Knives are great multi-tools, and SWIZA is definitely going to be a brand to watch in the future. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

KA-BAR & ESEE D’Eskabar

This weekend our special is something pretty cool – a neck-knife collaboration between KA-BAR and ESEE. Ethan Becker of KA-BAR and Jeff Randall of ESEE decided to combine the best of two of their most popular designs, resulting in the USA-made Eskabar, manufactured by KA-BAR. The Eskabar, or D’Eskabar in the case of this version, puts the KA-BAR Becker Necker blade on the ESEE IZULA handle, making for a unique fixed blade design that is more than the sum of its parts.

One interesting thing to note is that this is a sterile version so there aren’t any company or model markings anywhere on the knife, just a clean stonewash finish. The handle is skeletonized in IZULA tradition, but you can always purchase zytel handle scales for it, or just paracord wrap it. If you’re not sure how to wrap a handle you can click the annotation here to check out our quick tutorial for paracord wrapping the IZULA.

Even in its skeletonized form, the handle is perfectly comfortable, thanks to its nearly 4″ length and ergonomic shape. The pronounced indent for the index finger gives you a nice guard for really safe handling. As I mentioned earlier, the blade is the Becker Necker blade, which gives you some extra length over both versions of the straight IZULA. It’s a drop point blade with a flat grind and a fair bit of belly, enabling some nice slicing action. The whole knife is manufactured from D2 tool steel, an upgrade from the 1095 steel of both the IZULA and the Becker Necker. The D2 is where the D in D’Eskabar comes from.

The sheath included here is one of the most solid I’ve seen. It’s a friction release that the knife slots into extremely tightly, and then a latch flips over for that extra layer of security. The sheath has a bunch of lanyard holes and the package includes a length of cord so you can carry this one as a neck knife.

All in all, this collaboration between KA-BAR and ESEE has turned out a perfect candidate for an affordable fixed blade EDC, and the sterile stonewash finish and enhanced steel make this one a must have. To learn more about this product, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Kershaw Leek

This time on Steal of the Week we’re responsible for more Leeks than Edward Snowden. The Kershaw Leek is one of Ken Onion’s most famous, best-loved designs, and the wide variety available within the line makes it an enticing option for first-timers.

The most striking thing about this knife initially is its extremely slim profile, which makes it one of the most comfortable folders you can carry. The slender frame and complete lack of hotspots let it virtually disappear in your pocket, and the large pocket clip holds nice and tight. The clip is reversible to allow your choice of tip-up or tip-down carry on the right hand side.

The Leek’s extreme slimness doesn’t stop it from being a comfortable hold, though. The long, narrow handle has an ergonomic shape that feels good in either a forward or reverse grip. The smooth shape means there isn’t much in the way of grip beyond some jimping at the base of the blade, but you never feel like you aren’t in control of this knife.

Blade is deployed one of two ways, using either the dual thumb studs or the flipper. The SpeedSafe assisted opening action ensures a swift, snappy action either way, but I suspect the flipper is going to be the preferred method for most due to the ease-of-use. The blade is a 3″ modified drop point, great for both slicing and piercing tasks. For those with rougher cutting in mind, Kershaw produces a combo blade version as well. On the Leeks with stainless steel handles the blade is locked in place with a frame lock, while the models with aluminum handles, like these colorful anodized ones, have a liner lock instead. There’s also a safety switch at the butt of the handle to keep the blade from being deployed when you don’t want it to be.

The other really cool thing about the Leek is the sheer variety of styles available. Of course you have the classic look with the full bead blast finish, as well as the ever-present tactical black finish. Beyond those more basic variations you have the aforementioned anodized titanium color models, Damascus blades, a really wild rainbow finish, and that’s not even all of it. There’s enough variety to whip serious collectors into a frenzy.

With its sleek design, high functionality, and ease-of-carry, the Kershaw Leek is one of the quintessential EDC blades. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Benchmade Barrage & Mini-Barrage

This week on Spotlight Series we’re taking a look at the new Benchmade Barrage and Mini-Barrage. These Warren Osborne designed assisted-openers have been favorites for quite some time, and now in 2016 Benchmade has heard the demand for full G-10 handle scales.

The standard Barrage comes in at a pretty large 4.8″ closed and sports a 3.6″ inch blade. By comparison, the mini-barrage is only 4″ closed, with a blade just under 3″, which doesn’t sound like a big difference until you see the two side-by-side.

Size notwithstanding, both knives offer essentially the same handle shape, so the best one is going to be determined by your personal preference. I find I like to have a handle that’s longer than the width of my hand, so the standard Barrage is my favorite of the two. That being said, you can’t go wrong with the Mini either, which nests in the palm really nicely and offers a great cutting angle. The all-new gray G10 handle scales are 3D machined for a comfortable, secure grip. They’re built over skeletonized stainless steel liners and even a steel backspacer, making this one sturdy son of a gun.

The Barrage was the first knife to feature the AXIS assisted opening mechanism, so it’s no surprise to see it still in action here. The dual thumb studs give you an ultra-responsive, satisfyingly fast action. There’s a simple safety slider on the spine of handle, press down and slide up to lock, then back down to unlock.

The blade also finds itself with an upgrade on this version, now manufactured from CPM-S30V stainless steel rather than the previous 154CM of most older models. The drop-point blade is available with or without partial serrations and in either a satin or tactical black finish, meaning between the standard and the mini you’ve got eight options available.

Speaking of options, you’re looking at a reversible pocket clip that allows for either left or right side, tip-up carry. The smooth shape slides into the pocket with no trouble, and the clip gives you a really secure, comfortable ride.

While there may be no real design surprises in store with this new batch, Benchmade has still managed to make a great EDC even better with this suped up Barrage. To learn more about these knives, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com

Pohl Force

This time on Steal of the Week we’re going to be taking a look at Pohl Force knives. Pohl Force was founded by knifemaker Dietmar Pohl, and specializes in combat, tactical, and outdoor survival knives. They produce a wide array of folders and fixed blades, so we’ve selected a few that exemplify the best qualities of the brand.

Our first model, the Bravo One, is a stout, customizable folding knife that would make an ideal EDC. It shows up in the box as a two handed opener with a deep fingernail nick, but includes the necessary hardware to turn it into a one handed opener with ambidextrous thumb disk. The action is smooth and easy enough that you can get a comfortable one handed open even without the thumb disk, so this is a really fun one to open. The 3.26″ blade is held in place with a lockback mechanism, which features the Boye dent to make it easy to find and disengage.

Handle is a little on the small side, so if you’re looking for something slightly larger you’ll want to move up to this knife’s big brother, the Alpha. That said, it’s still quite a comfortable hold thanks to the overall shape, and there’s a choil and some jimping present for a nice sense of control. The handle material is a coyote brown glass-fiber reinforced plastic with some heavy 3D texture lending an assured grip. Pocket clip on this model is reversible for left or right side, tip-up carry, and it features a nylon lanyard with a stoic little skull bead.

Next up we have the Romeo Two, a vicious mid-size fixed blade. The Romeo Two is the smaller of the Romeo knives, sporting a four point six inch blade in comparison to the Romeo One’s six inch blade. The spear point blade features partial serrations on both sides, and is actually manufactured from titanium rather than stainless steel. This knife was designed for use by mine divers and battlefield clearance technicians, and titanium was chosen for its anti-magnetic properties as it’s less likely to trigger a mine or set off magnetic detonators. A side effect of the titanium blade is a really light, comfortable hand feel.

The handle is also the glass-fiber reinforced plastic, again with 3D texture present to aid with grip. It’s a very good size and shape for even large hands, and the finger guard enables very safe operation. The Romeo Two features a flexcord safety lanyard and comes with a MOLLE compatible Kydex and nylon sheath.

Finally, we’re going to check out one more fixed blade; the Quebec One survival Bowie. Dietmar Pohl puts his own unique spin on the classic design, turning out a fierce fixed blade that was overbuilt to the nines by LionSteel in Italy. The Quebec One has a continuous full tang, with a 7.6″ blade manufactured from Sleipner Tool Steel.

This model has an unbelievably ergonomic handle, with indents for each finger granting you a ridiculously secure hold. To contribute to that sense of security, the Quebec has an even more pronounced double finger guard than the Romeo. Handle scales are a 3D milled G10, and are of course removable to allow for paracord wrapping. Like the Romeo, this model also features a flexcord lanyard.

Sheath on this one is German kydex, with a MultiLock belt loop that is adjustable to multiple different angles. The knife slots into the sheath very securely, with thumb pressure on the back necessary to successfully draw the knife.

These are just a few selections from Pohl Force’s wide array of folders and fixed blades, all of which were carefully constructed with hard use in mind. To see the full range of Pohl Force products, click here. To see our entire inventory, visit knifecenter.com