Tag Archives | Vosteed

Review: Vosteed Hedgehog

The Hedgehog is one of the best knives to come out of Vosteed yet. They seem to be completely unafraid to try new things and this knife is a prime example.

Specs

You can see the full specs at Vosteed.com. The most relevant specs are listed below.

Blade Length: 2.99″ | 76.00 mm

Overall Length: 7.11″ | 180.60 mm

Blade Thickness: 0.138″ | 3.50 mm

Blade Material: S35VN

Weight: 4.02 oz | 113.90 g

Opener: Back Flipper | Thumb Stud | Fuller

Lock Type: Top Liner Lock 

Observations from Use

The big star of the show is Vosteed’s take on the Compression Lock. This lock is a Spyderco invention on which the patent has now expired. A handful of companies are trying their hand at them and Vosteed’s take is very innovative. They have added a button that is affixed to the liner and passes through the show-side scale for easy access (see following two images). The result is a lock that has the crispy tuned detent of a liner lock, the easy finger-safe action of a button lock, and the brute strength of a compression lock. If you can try one of these in person, do it. It’s impressive.

The detent on this knife is just about perfect and it pairs well with the slightly heavier blade to create reliably snappy action. I can use the fuller to flick it open with all four fingers, it rockets open with the thumb studs and low profile flipper tab, and it lands home with a satisfying thwack when closed. This knife has very well-tuned action.

So, it’s fidgety and the lock is strong but does it cut? Yeah. It cuts. I found it to be an excellent chore knife. The S35VN holds an edge well and is nice to see on a knife around this price point. The tall flat grind provides aggressive cutting geometry at the edge. The modified sheepsfoot blade has a gently sweeping belly and an easy to access tip. This knife wants to work.

All that cutting power is backed up with very good ergonomics that lets you really push behind the edge. The handle is hand-filling and offers great grip thanks to the frag pattern milling. The Hedgehog offers a generous finger choil so you can choke up right behind the edge for control.

There are also a lot of refined details if you go looking for them. The liners are nested into the handle scales and HEAVILY skeletonized to reduce weight. This knife may look chunky but its weight is kept in check. There are extra machined details in the large barrel spacer, pivot, and two different patterns of blade jumping. The blade finish is Vosteed just flexing on everyone – it features a belt satin primary grind, a sort of hand-rubbed satin on the flats, and light bead blast in the fuller. Vosteed is clearly setting this knife apart at the more premium end of their line.

It is difficult for me to come up with criticism of the Hedgehog as it was seemingly designed specifically to appeal to me. It is exactly what I like in a knife but there is one thing I would change. The blade jumping on the spine of the knife could stand to be finer and I think it could be extended a bit to help with control of the tip. However, the chunkier jumping that Vosteed chose is effective and fits well visually with the design of the Hedgehog.

Overview

The Hedgehog is a stylish, refined, fidget-friendly EDC knife that also happens to be a hard-use, rugged work knife. It pulls of both with equal aplomb. Vosteed seems to have this type of lock, the Top Liner Lock, thoroughly figured out and they are already using it on other knives in their line like the much-loved Raccoon. It will be interesting to where else they can take it.

Vosteed.com

Vosteed Hedgehog on Amazon.com

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Review: Vosteed Thunderbird

The Vosteed Thunderbird seems to be designed with a deep love and understanding of what it takes to make a great knife for the EDC market. It’s large but slim and light. It’s fidgety but functional. It’s aggressively styled but refined. And, it has all the little touches that the knifyest knife guys will geek out about.

In short, the Thunderbird is Vosteed’s love letter to EDC knife aficionados.

Specs

The Thunderbird is available in MANY different sizes and versions. In short, I have the 3.48″ blade version with Topo handles and S35VN steel. You can learn more about the specs of this review sample (provided by Vosteed) and other variants at Vosteed.com.

Observations from Use

The Thunderbird is one of Vosteed’s more premium offerings and it shows. The impression is one of refinement, sleekness, and attention to detail. Some knives are smooth. The Thunderbird feels all but frictionless as the blade swings through its arc. It feels… fancy.

This knife is so slim and light for its size that it brings to mind classic EDC knife designs like the Benchmade 710 or 940 (but at a fraction of the cost). It has that same sort of large-knife-that-carries-easier-than-a-small-knife vibe. In that sense, it is sort of optimized for everyday carry.

And while you are carrying it, you can rest assured you will be able to access it… all the ways. It back flips, front flips, slow rolls, flicks off the fuller, wrist flicks, and more. It does all of these opening methods exceedingly well thanks for plenty of jimping in the right places and a well-tuned detent on the Trek Lock.

Speaking of the Trek Lock… Vosteed’s version of a plunge lock or button lock has really come into its own. This one is solid as a rock and has been spine-whacked when it was brand new and again after several weeks of use – no problems.

My favorite thing about the Thunderbird is the blade. It has a wild but useful compound grind that is something like a traditional tanto meets a harpoon. The long straight edge portion of the blade is very thin behind the edge and offers a ton of cutting power. The belly/tip portion is flat ground to put more meat behind the useful tip. A small swedge grind is added to make the tip especially acute while still strong. This knife cuts.

The GT-Mascus handle material used is interesting. It is very smooth but still has a similar grabbiness to something like polished G-10 or linen micata which I like. It has an almost tacky feel when your hands are slightly damp which is reassuring. Vosteed uses this material on several of their more premium knives and now I see why. It offers grip without shredding pockets.

One of the cooler touches that Vosteed adds to each version of the Thunderbird is a little special something in the backspacer. Some have glow-in-the-dark material or some might be a space-agey metal like titanium. In this version, they offer a chunk of solid brass or copper. Mine has started to patina with use which is very cool and will someday (probably) look impressive on Instagram.

Most of my nitpicks on this knife come down to me being a curmudgeon. First, if the harpoonish thumb ramp was just chopped off the blade, it would be even more slim in the pocket. Second, the chunk of brass in the butt of the knife adds weight. A piece of contrasting GT-Mascus or even anodized aluminum would weigh less. But I admit that both of those changes would make the Thunderbird feel a little less special and a lot less cool.

Wrap Up

The Thunderbird is the kind of knife that comes around when a knife maker intimately understands their target market. It’s practical, functional, easy to live with, refined, and looks cool in an Instagram flat lay. I can see why they continue to iterate on this design because it seems to have it all.

Vosteed is, as of the time of this writing, offering 20% off many knives for Mother’s Day.

Vosteed.com

Vosteed on Amazon.com

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Review: Vosteed Ankylo with New Vanchor Lock

The Vosteed Ankylo has a lot of momentum right now. It’s a new knife with a promising new lock, its all over my feeds, and it met its funding goal on Kickstarter in 30 minutes. That’s hype and all signs point to the Ankylo living up to it.

Specs

Blade Length: 3.18″ | 80.90 mm
Overall Length: 7.75″ | 196.90 mm
Blade Width: 1.22″ | 31.00 mm
Blade Thickness: 0.134″ | 3.40 mm
Blade Material: Elmax
Blade Grind: Flat
Blade Style: Reverse Tanto
Blade Finish: Black Stonewash / Satin / Stonewash
Hardness: HRC 60±2
Handle Length: 4.57″ | 116.00 mm
Handle Width: 1.06″ | 27.00 mm
Handle Thickness: 0.563″ | 14.30 mm
Handle Material: 6061 Aluminum
Color: Black / Green / Gray / Orange / Blue
Weight: 4.76 oz | 135.00 g
Opener: Front Flipper | Back Flipper | Thumb Hole
Lock Type: V-anchor Lock
Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
Pocket Clip:  Non-reversible | Stainless Steel
Carry Position: Tip-up
Knife Type: Manual Folding
Designer: Yue

Observations from Use

The Vanchor lock that is debuted on this knife is the recipient of most of the hype but, first, I want to talk about the Ankylo as a knife. It has dominated my pocket since I received a prototype for evaluation. Vosteed’s take on the reverse tanto blade shape has everything you want for an EDC knife – a strong and useable point, plenty of sweeping belly, a tall flat grind, and a reasonably thin edge.

The choice of Elmax steel made my day. Elmax is underappreciated and underused as a blade steel. It has very well-rounded characteristics with solid edge holding, toughness, and corrosion resistance while being easier to sharpen than many other super steels which I appreciate.

Accessing the blade is easy thanks to the multiple deployment options baked into this knife. It has a front and back flipper, neither of which add any width to the knife which I love. They also both have great jimping. The large thumb hole works like a champ for any deployment method you would want – slow rolling, thumb flicking, or reverse flicking. The Vanchor lock provides a very well tuned detent to support all these opening methods and the action is kind of unique. It’s very smooth and moves freely with somewhat of a buffered feel that is hard to describe – you need to try it. I think that feel might come from the magnet in the lock.

This knife fills and melts into the hand in multiple grips. The handle is long enough that average hands will be able to hold it with the index finger in the finger groove or choke up to the flat ahead of the finger groove… or choke up even further to place the index finger on the large comfortable finger choil. None of the opening methods get in the way of your grip because they all tuck cleanly into the handle when the blade is deployed (this is one of my most appreciated design elements that Vosteed incorporates into several of their knives).

Finally, we can talk about the Vanchor lock. This lock does exactly what you want a knife lock to do – lock up like a vault. The Ankylo with its Vanchor lock seems to have no play at all, in any direction. Not only does the Vanchor lock provide a lot of lock surface area but the large pivot assembly requires larger diameter caged ball bearings which coupled with the all metal construction make this knife feel like a fixed blade when it is deployed. Most knives on bearings can be flexed at least a little bit… not the Ankylo.

The heart of the Vanchor lock is a steel bar with a large lock plate on one end (all one piece). The steel bar is mounted inside the knife scale much like a nested liner lock so the lock plate can flex toward the blade. However, instead of locking against the tang, the lock plate mates into a groove at the base of the blade. When locked, this solid steel bar would need to break or deform for the lock to fail.

This design provides a few interesting benefits for end users and even knife designers. First, it is button-actuated which brings with it a lot of ease of use /fidget-factor for left and right handed users. Second, its detent geometry is very much like that of a liner lock which makes it easy to achieve a strong, crisp detent to support all fidgety-goodness that can be designed into a button lock knife.

When it comes to new knife locks, only time can tell the whole story. We can’t know yet how this lock will fair over the long term, exposure to pocket lint, sand, etc. but it certainly seems like a promising mix of strong, reliable lock-up with the user-friendliness of a button lock.

No knife is perfect and there are a few changes I would like to see made that are really just my preferences. First, it would be nice to have milled pocket clip on a chunky knife like this. I like Vosteed’s stamped clips but a milled clip would suit this knife. Second, I would like to see the large lock button recessed a bit more. It is large enough that you will always be able to find it so making it even more resistant to inadvertent contact seems like a win-win.

Wrap Up

The Ankylo is a knife worthy of an exciting new lock. It would be easy to loose sight of the fact that this is just a great knife in all the hype around the Vanchor lock. That said, the Vanchor lock does deliver. It has strong lock up, a great detent, and is as easy to use as any button lock. It will be very, very interesting to see where this lock turns upon next.

You can learn more about the Ankylo on Kickstarter. Learn more about Vosteed at Vosteed.com.

Review: Vosteed Mini Nightshade with New Aluminum Scales

I’ve been fortunate to handle several Vosteed Cutlery knives at this point and the Mini Nightshade is still in my top 2 (alongside the Raccoon). The Nightshade series knives, with their unique Shilin Cutter shape, are the knives that really exemplify what I like about Vosteed – great functional shapes and materials, great prices, and some really bold designs.

Vosteed provided the latest version of the Mini Nightshade for me to check out.

Specs

Blade Length: 2.60″ | 66.04mm

Overall Length: 6.31″ | 160.37mm

Blade Width: 1.13″ | 28.28mm

Blade Thickness: 0.098″ | 2.49mm

Blade Material: 14C28N

Blade Grind: Flat

Blade Style: Shilin Cutter

Blade Finish: Stonewash

Hardness: HRC 60±2

Handle Length: 3.71″ | 94.33mm

Handle Width: 0.89″ | 22.6

Handle Thickness: 0.437″ | 11.10 mm

Weight: 2.16 oz | 61.10 g

Opener: Thumb Stud

Lock Type: Crossbar Lock

Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing

Pocket Clip: Reversible | Stainless Steel

Carry Position: Tip-up

There are other finishes and handle materials available but my review sample has a black-washed blade, green aluminum handles, and gold accents (thumb stud and backspacer).

Observations from Use

I have already written in-depth why I like the Mini Nightshade in the previous review which I suggest you check out. In this review, I’ll focus on the differences with this new aluminum scale version.

I expected this would just be a scale-swapped version of an already great knife but I was surprised to find that the aluminum scales changed the character of the Mini Nightshade a lot. The new scales are slightly thicker than the original G-10 version. It’s enough that you notice a difference. That extra thickness with the great machined texture makes this new version feel a little more capable… more ready to work.

Speaking of the texture, Vosteed gets a gold star for how they executed it. They machined a scalloped pattern into the scales that provides great grip out near the edges but tapers down to smooth at the center of the scale. This means the clip rides on the smooth part of the scale making it very easy to take in and out of the pocket. This is such a clever touch that works and looks great.

This version of the Mini Nightshade feels more substantial in the hand in part due to a slight weight increase but it is still an absolute feather-weight at just 2.16 ounces. That is incredibly light for an all-metal knife.

The Mini Nightshade was already a refined, gentemanly knife but this new version received even more refinements from Vosteed. The deep carry clip is now nested into the scale and they provided a filler tab for the side that is not in use. They even took care to slightly extend the thumb studs to account for the thicker scales. That is some solid attention to detail.

If you haven’t tried something from the Vosteed Nightshade series, you really should. This blade shape is incredible. It holds material in the cut and gives easy access to the point like a sheepsfoot or warncliffe style blade but also offers belly for slicing and draw cuts like a drop point or leaf shape blade. It’s unique and useful.

Wrap Up

This is new version of the Mini Nightshade from Vosteed builds on the back of an already great knife. The proven cutting geometry, useful blade shape, lightweight, and compact design are still there but with some additional refinements, new texture, and a great new look. This is my favorite version of the Mini Nightshade to date.

You can see the whole Nightshade range at Vosteed.com. Now is a great time to check them out as many of their knives are up to 20% off for Easter (no code required).

The new Mini Nightshades are also on sale and available at Amazon: Mini Nightshade on Amazon.com

Review: Vosteed Mini Labrador

The Vosteed Mini Labrador might be a lot of things. It might be Vosteed’s best value for money to date. It might be their best fifth-pocket knife to date. It might be their best gentleman’s knife to date. Let’s take a look at the newest offering provided by Vosteed for this review.

Specs

  • Blade Length: 2.73″ | 69.30 mm
  • Overall Length: 6.23″ | 158.20 mm
  • Blade Width: 0.72″ | 18.40 mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.098″ | 2.50 mm
  • Blade Material: 14C28N
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Black Stonewash
  • Hardness: HRC 60±2
  • Handle Length: 3.50″ | 88.90 mm
  • Handle Width: 0.72″ | 18.30 mm
  • Handle Thickness: 0.374″ | 9.50 mm
  • Handle Material: Titanium
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 1.93 oz | 54.80 g
  • Opener: Back Flipper
  • Lock Type: Frame Lock
  • Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
  • Pocket Clip: Non-reversible | Titanium
  • Carry Position: Tip-up
  • Knife Type: Manual Folding
  • Backspacer Material: Titanium
  • Designer: Yue

Observations from Use

The specs above don’t tell the whole story of the value that this knife offers. The handle has full titanium construction including the milled pocket clip (which is great by the way) and backspacer. The blade is 14C28N which is as good as it gets for value steels. The lack bar features a steel insert that also includes an integral overtravel tab. These are materials and construction that is normally reserved for knives well above the $69 price point of the Mini Labrador.

This tiny fifth-pocket knife is built like a lot of knives costing 2-3x as much… but tiny is the operative word. I think everyone I have shown it to has made the statement that it was smaller than they thought it would be (and that is important to know if you are considering buying one). The specs given by Vosteed are spot on but somehow the knife seems smaller than you are prepared for. I think that is part of the success of the design as a gentleman’s knife that can still do some real cutting as opposed to a jack-of-trades EDC knife or a work knife. This knife is visually smaller than you thought it would be and yet medium-sized hands can get a 3 or even 4-finger grip for real work. It’s voodoo.

This knife is SOOO slim and SOOO light (under 2 ounces!). Normally, I would say something like, “It’s a joy to carry.” But that would indicate that you are actually aware that you are carrying it which seems unlikely with this featherweight. It’s perfect for the fifth-pocket of jeans thanks to plenty of clearance under the clip or dress slacks where it won’t weigh down lighter or thinner fabrics.

The Mini Labrador is an aggressive cutter. The blade has a full-height flat grind, thin blade stock, and is very thin behind the edge. The point is very acute which I think is especially useful on a gentleman’s knife.

This knife has a single opening method, a back flipper. It works very well inspite of how tiny it is thanks to a perfect detent and very smooth action. My example started smooth and only became more smooth as it broke in. It is smooth enough that it will drop shut with some light shakes and that is noteworthy when you consider how lightweight the blade is.

Normally, I try to have some constructive criticism for these knives but I am struggling to come up with anything for the Mini Labrador. In terms of a gentlemen’s knife design, this is a great success. It is an actual tool first, slim, light, and easy to carry while also being classy and a great value. I would love to see Vosteed try more titanium frame-lock folders, maybe some that are larger with more opening methods.

Wrap Up

If you are looking for a high-value knife that is as easy to carry as possible or something to carry at the office, this is a great option. If you just want a fifth-pocket knife that is built like a tiny tank, this is a great option. Vosteed has made some great small knives like the Mini Nightshade and Chipmunk but if you want something that works hard but is truly small, this is what you are after.

The Mini Labrador is currently available at Amazon (sold out at Vosteed.com): Vosteed Chipmunk at Amazon.com

You can learn more about all Vosteed’s offerings at Vosteed.com.

These two images may help give a sense for how compact this knife is. The Mini Labrador is similar in blade length and overal length to the Chipmunk but it is signiificantly slimmer and lighter. The Chipmunk (top) seems more like an compact, jack-of-all-trades EDC while the Mini Labrador (bottom) comes across more as a svelte, compact, gentleman’s knife.

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