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10 New Production Knives by Custom Designers in 2020

Jonathan Tayag
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10 New Production Knives by Custom Designers in 2020

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If you want the very best for your EDC, often the best choice is to pick up something custom made by a knife designer who takes quality and craftsmanship to the next level. Many EDCers and knife enthusiasts consider high-end custom knives to be the holy grails of collecting, and their unique designs, exotic materials, and premium build quality that put them a cut above what you can generally find with standard production knives. But quality doesn’t come cheap, and for many EDCers the price of admission alone can keep these knives more aspirational than accessible.

In the past few years though, there has been a trend around EDC brands teaming up with custom knifemakers to release production knives based on their high-end, custom design counterparts. And because of that, you can get a real deal with custom knife aesthetics and design language to be had at a fraction of the cost. More and more of these kinds of knives are coming to the market, and to help you find your next daily driver we’ve put together this guide to our favorite production knives designed by high-end custom knifemakers, and we’ll highlight what makes them special and deserving of a place in your own everyday carry.

Spyderco Smock

Spyderco Smock

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon fiber G10 laminate handle scales
Button Compression lock
Grip choil on blade for close up precision knife work
Specifications
Blade Length
2.875" wharncliffe
Blade Steel
CPM-S30V
Weight
3.64 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$$
The Spyderco Smock has the namesake of custom knifemaker Kevin Smock, and this particular knife is a design based on Smock’s own custom SK23. Just like the original, the Spyderco Smock features a modified wharncliffe-style blade that’s great for everyday cutting and slicing tasks. New to the this version of the knife however is the signature Spyderco hole in the blade that allows for easy one-handed ambidextrous manual opening and complements the low-profile front flipper tab opening well. The blade length has also been sized down slightly to 2.875" long, but the steel remains the same with premium CPM-S30V being used in both versions of the knife. Its hardy (and unique) button compression lock helps eliminate blade play during rough use, and it allows for both sides of the handle to be adorned with beautiful carbon fiber G10 laminate scaling too.
Kershaw Emerson CQC-11K D2

Kershaw Emerson CQC-11K D2

Purchase
Key Features
G10 handle scales
Frame lock
Wave-shaped opening
Specifications
Blade Length
3.5" saber ground clip point
Blade Steel
D2
Weight
5.8 oz
Reviews


Price
$$
Kershaw has has a long collaboration with Emerson Knives, and recently they’ve opted to give their popular production designs an upgrade from basic 8Cr13MoV stainless steel to D2 tool steel. That upgrade gives knives like their CQC-11K even better potential sharpness and edge retention while still being immensely affordable. Aside from the upgraded steel, the CQC-11K features the same great design inspired by Emerson’s original Rendezvous knife, with its beefy 3.5" saber-style hollow-ground clip-point blade that makes for excellent slicing, a solid stainless steel frame lock that holds everything in place during use and the grippy G10 handle scale that allows the user to hold on to the blade even when things get wet. But the biggest feature that sets this apart from the rest of the knives on this list is Emerson’s signature wave-shaped opening, which catches on the seam of your pants pocket as you draw the knife, opening the blade in a single motion for your convenience.
ZT Anso 0235

ZT Anso 0235

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon fiber handle scales
Slip joint non-locking
Tip-up right handed deep carry pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Length
2.6" flat ground spear point
Blade Steel
CPM-20CV
Weight
1.8 oz
EDC Rating: 5
Newly Released
Price
$$$$
You probably know Zero Tolerance more for their high-end production tactical knife heritage, but in 2020 with the ZT 0235 they’ve dipped their toes into making beautiful but practical modern gents knives with the help of custom knifemaker Jens Anso. The 0235 features a 2.6" spear-point blade that deploys with a traditional two-handed nail nick mechanism. But unlike the traditional gents knives of old, the 0235 features super-premium modern CPM-20CV stainless steel, offering far more hardness and edge retention than your grandpas’ trusty old pocketknife ever could. While the 0235 doesn’t lock, opting instead for a slip-joint mechanism with double detents for safety, it’s still capable of handling small to medium sized tasks with ease while remaining generally legal to carry in more restrictive places.
Benchmade 601 Tengu Flipper

Benchmade 601 Tengu Flipper

Purchase
Key Features
G10 handle scales
Liner lock
Flipper opening
Specifications
Blade Length
2.77" flat ground tanto
Blade Steel
20CV
Weight
2.67 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Jared Oeser is best known in the community for making custom Japanese tanto-inspired folding knives, and his collaboration with Benchmade with the Tengu flipper brings you exactly that: a folding knife with custom design chops with all of the quality the cachet of both names provide. Unlike most Benchmade knives, the Oester Tengu features a flipper tab opening, and with it you can easily deploy its 2.77“ 20CV stainless steel blade. A strong liner lock holds the blade in place during use, and the extensive G10 scales give you firm control over the cut as well. The knife forgoes a standard pocket clip in order to maintain the sleek design aesthetic inherited from Oeser’s original Tengu design, so for your carry convenience the Benchmade Tengu Flipper comes with a handsome leather carrying case for your pocket.
Strider x Pro-Tech SnG

Strider x Pro-Tech SnG

Purchase
Key Features
7075 aluminum handle
Plunge lock
Automatic opening
Specifications
Blade Length
2.875" flat ground drop point
Blade Steel
154CM
Weight
4.95 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$$
You can tell a Strider knife when you see it, even with his collaboration designs like with the Strider + Pro-Tech SnG AutoKnife. It’s the perfect combo: a bold tactical knife with excellent ergonomics and grip from Strider, and Pro-Tech’s excellent automatic opening to complete the package. The 7075 aluminum handle conforms to the shape of your hand, and the blade itself has extensive jimping on the spine with a sizable choil on the blade that allows for a choke grip on the knife for extra control of the tip when you’re making delicate cuts. And the stonewashed 3.5" 154CM stainless steel blade isn’t anything to sneeze at, with a long belly for slicing and a pronounced tip for excellence at piercing tasks.
Kizer Lundquist Contrail

Kizer Lundquist Contrail

Purchase
Key Features
G-10 handle scales
Liner lock
Lanyard hole
Specifications
Blade Length
2" flat ground sheepsfoot
Blade Steel
154CM
Weight
3.08 oz
EDC Rating: 4
Newly Released
Price
$$
Justin Lundquist is known for making quality compact everyday carry knives, and the new Contrail designed in collaboration with Kizer Knives delivers on that rich experience. Like some of his other designs the Contrail is extra small, with a 2" sheepsfoot blade in quality 154CM stainless steel and a 3.125" handle which features grippy G10 scales to maximize your grip on the knife. The Contrail is also a good option for you if you’re not a fan of flipper-style knives, thanks to its more traditional thumbstud opening.
Artisan Cutlery Centauri

Artisan Cutlery Centauri

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon fiber / Titanium handle
Frame lock
Front flipper opening
Specifications
Blade Length
3.5“ flat ground wharncliffe
Blade Steel
Damascus S35VN
Weight
3.71 oz
Reviews


Price
$$$$
Ray Laconico has put out some beautiful custom knives, but the Centauri designed in collaboration with Artisan Cutlery has to be one of his most eye-catching yet. It features an intricately-forged premium damascus steel blade with CPM-35VN stainless at its core in a wharncliffe shape that retains a fine point for piercing tasks. The handle is made out of titanium on one side and the carbon fiber scaling on the other helps keep the knife lightweight at 3.71 oz. The front flipper design of the knife helps keep it streamlined in the pocket while minimizing the chance of the knife accidentally opening in your pockets.
WE Knife Co. Isham ÆternA

WE Knife Co. Isham ÆternA

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon fiber and titanium handle
Lateral bolster lock
Flipper, thumbhole opening
Specifications
Blade Length
3.25" modified wharncliffe
Blade Steel
M390
Weight
2.62 oz
EDC Rating: 5
Newly Released
Price
$$$$
Elijah Isham custom knives have a trademark design language that looks straight out of science fiction, with wicked lines mixed with organic curves. The ÆternA, designed by Isham in collaboration with WE Knives, delivers on that aesthetic, but with the premium materials that make it a great EDC knife as well. The blade is a hybrid utility style made out of Bohler M390 stainless steel and with a hollow grind that improves its cutting and slicing ability despite the extended straight edge. A small clip swedge at the tip helps with piercing through material like cardboard too, helping the versatility of the blade in practical action.
GiantMouse Vox/Anso ACE Biblio

GiantMouse Vox/Anso ACE Biblio

Purchase
Key Features
Canvas micarta and stainless steel handles
Liner lock
Flipper opening
Specifications
Blade Length
2.875" flat ground drop point
Blade Steel
M390
Weight
3.77 oz
EDC Rating: 5
Newly Released
Price
$$$$
The only thing better than one custom knifemaker collaborating on a production knife design is two custom makers working on the same project. And that’s what you get with the GiantMouse ACE Biblio, made in collaboration with both Jesper Voxnaes and Jens Anso, two of the most well-regarded custom knifemakers in the business and each separately responsible for more than a few iconic EDC knives. What you get is a stout EDC folding knife with a canvas Micarta handle and a premium Bohler M390 flipper blade with a versatile drop point blade shape that’ll make short work of all of your everyday cutting, slicing, and piercing work without issue. The Micarta handles offer plenty of grip, but the ergonomics of the knife are further enhanced with dual finger choils: one on the blade and another on the handle, both allowing for an ergonomic and secure grip on the blade during use.
MKM Voxnaes Isonzo

MKM Voxnaes Isonzo

Purchase
Key Features
Stainless steel and FRN handle scales
Liner lock
Thumb hole opening
Specifications
Blade Length
2.25" flat ground clip point
Blade Steel
N690Co
Weight
2.47 oz
EDC Rating: 4
Newly Released
Price
$$
The Isonzo is a compact utility-oriented collaboration design between Maniago Knife Makers and Jesper Voxnaes, featuring a stout 2.25" clip point blade with a curved belly that improves its slicing power especially for close up delicate work. The thumbhole opening allows for easy one-handed ambidextrous opening, and it’s big enough that you can actuate it even with gloved hands. The large lanyard hole in the stainless steel handle allows for attachment of a lanyard, letting you use it as an extended grip along with the FRN handle scales for more control over cuts. And because the knife itself is made out of respectable Bohler N690Co stainless steel, you can count on this knife to be your daily driver through thick and thin.

#mkm #giantmouse #we-knife-co #artisan-cutlery #kizer #pro-tech #strider #benchmade #voxnaes #anso #zero-tolerance #emerson #kershaw #spyderco #buying-guides #knives #2020-new-edc-knives-on-the-market #best-custom-pocket-knives see all



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Discussion (1 total)

Anson ·
Correction: the Blade length of the Spyderco Smock is closer to 3.5" which is a big difference to the 2.875" you stated. That difference is huge when it comes to EDC. Many EDC blades are usually </=3".