We are very excited about this knife for a lot of reasons…
Our goal in making this knife was to produce a US-made, affordable workhorse knife that featured the same revered locking mechanism that Bill McHenry and Jason Williams created. This type of lock, which was patented and used only in Benchmade(™) and HK(™) knives for 20 years, has been time-tested by knife enthusiasts and others who have subjected them to all kinds of abuse on jobsites and on outdoor adventures for the 22 years it has been on the market.
The HK Axis (™) was consistently one of the most popular knives on Massdrop. Members consistently purchased hundreds of the full-size and mini versions (combined) every month, until it was discontinued late in 2016. Since then, I’ve been on a quest put a knife like this back in the hands of our members. At first, I tried to bring it back. When I learned that wasn’t possible, I set out to make something new and better and still affordable. I didn’t know how that would be possible at first, but then I met some willing partners who were just as excited about this idea.
First, we needed a US manufacturer who was willing to take on the project and able to execute the precision engineering and machining required to make a knife like this work - and not just work, but work well and reliably with every open and slice. Shane and Josiah at Millit Knives were fantastic partners on this project. They and their team of expert machinists spent many late nights at the shop milling stop pins, bending pocket clips, fitting springs, grinding blades, etc. Also they have the coolest shop dog I’ve met - but if you visit, be ready to throw the ball...a lot.
When we first approached Millit about the concept, we didn’t yet have a designer in mind. But, lucky for us, they were already collaborating with TJ on their Torrent model and had a good working relationship. It’s possible to make knives with designers and manufacturers who live in different countries and may not even speak the same language, but it sure is nice when they live miles away from each other and already share the same love for their work and speak the same design language. When Shane recommended TJ for the design, it was a no-brainer. That’s when things really got started.
TJ Schwarz is truly a pleasure to work with. He’s won awards for design innovation from a very young age, and been selected to design other knives by companies like Millit and CRKT. It was a privilege to have him as a partner, from the first sketch to the 3D-printed modeling, all the way through prototyping and filming his interview. Despite being incredibly talented, he’s also quite humble. During design revisions, he stuck to his design principles but listened with an open mind - we talked a lot about handle curvature and ergonomics, and how that affected the placement of the thumb stud. Ultimately, we had the prototype 3D-printed so we could evaluate it, which led to the slight lengthening of the inner curve to give pinky fingers, especially for those with larger hands, fit comfortably and grip firmly. I learned a lot, and we had fun spending time with him in Idaho to film the video you see on the page.
By joining this drop, you will also get to meet TJ and have a chance to ask him questions during a live Q&A that we’ll host in Apri. Also, TJ is going to hand-sign up to 1000 prints of his sketch of the Perpetua that we’ll mail to everyone while the production is underway.
Please note that final production versions will differ in some small but important ways from our prototype shown. The first and most significant is that the stop pin will be much shorter, so that it doesn’t protrude from the scales. It will also go through a tumbling process to soften the edges of each ‘tier’ so that it’s more comfortable in hand and in the pocket, but still easy to open. (photo below).
Community members also contributed to this knife’s refinement. We reached out to get feedback and, based on the comments, we made the following adjustments to the prototypes:
1) Increase the clearance between thumb stud and scale for easier opening
2) Soften the cuts on the jimping for a more comfortable thumb rest area
3) Increase blade length to maximum allowed within the handle
These were great suggestions. We appreciate this feedback, as well as TJ’s willingness to make the changes and Millit’s ability to execute them. THIS. This right here is what we are all about. Taking good stuff, making it better, asking the community how to make it great, finding awesome manufacturers to work with us and make them affordable. Sincere thanks and appreciation are due to everyone involved, and to you for making this possible!
Carry On -- Jonas