But I liked the idea of the brand’s concept of swappable, customizable handle scales. And I loved the fact that the knife was made from my favorite tool steel, D2.
But that review was really only a “first look,” and I wanted to go deeper. So it set me in motion.
In the time since, I have had the opportunity to test and review pretty much everything Knafs has released. As a knifemaker, I’m drawn to Petersen’s work because he enjoys talking about his craft. That makes my job easier — I get to find out why he decided to design something a certain way, or why he chose certain materials.
It’s the kind of insight you hope to have, but rarely get.
With the Lander 2, Petersen saw an opportunity to make the knife better. He made it bigger, improved the lock mechanism, and upgraded the steel. But the Lander 2 also carries over a lot of the design language from the original. It still allows the user to “fast swap” the handle scales; offering up the CAD files for free, so you can manufacture your own. And if that’s not enough, you can buy nearly every part of the knife separately to keep it up and running for the rest of your life.
In short: I’m not sure what Mr. Petersen is up to, but if I had to take a guess, he’s on a mission to make everything just about perfect. In its sequel to the Lander, Knafs found a way to bake in all the most sought-after materials and features a folding knife can have in 2023 — except the lanyard hole (wink). Best of all, you don’t need to take out a mortgage payment to get one of these folders in your hands.
- OAL 7.40”
- Blade length 3.25”
- Blade steel S35VN
- Blade shape Drop point
- Grind Flat
- Hardness 59-61 HRC
- Lock type Clutch lock (Crossbar Lock)
- Carry Deep carry, left or right hand, tip-up
- Weight 2.9 oz.
- Price $130
- Size-to-weight ratio
- Clutch lock
- The fat-bellied S35VN drop point blade
- There aren’t aftermarket scales available for it yet
- I haven’t used SolidWorks or AutoCAD in at least 5 years
- Don’t tempt me
Knafs Co. Lander 2 Review
Design & Features
Made for Knafs by Kizer Knives, the Lander 2 is composed of G10 handle scales with a stainless steel sub-frame and a drop point, stonewashed S35VN blade.
It features Kizer’s version of the crossbar lock, the Clutch Lock, for smooth opening, lock-up, and closing. And it carries a thumb stud for increased ease of use. In the month or so that I’ve had the Lander 2 in my grips, I’ve only used the thumb stud once or twice. Engaging the Clutch Lock has proven to be a more effective, if not impressive, way to open this bad mamma jamma.
As with the original Lander, the handle scales on the Lander 2 can be swapped out for whatever your imagination can conjure up. Scale-making for the original Lander became something of a cult hobby. So there’s no doubt in my mind that people will dust off their 3D printers, CNC machines, and even waterjet tables to make custom scales for the sequel.
The first thing you notice about the Knafs Lander 2 is how smoothly it opens and closes. This is a common occurrence with knives that have crossbar locks, but it’s not usually this smooth. At that risk of sounding silly, I would call this action “eager” — as if it were spring-assisted.
For a while, I was fixated on flipper folders. Their prominent tab made knife opening easier and more fluid than the industry-dominating thumb stud. But the Lander 2, with its smooth and eager action, requires very little force on the thumb stud to get the knife to swing into action. What’s more, pulling back on the clutch lock can get the blade to pop open to nearly 45 degrees, held vertically, without flicking your wrist. Like I said: eager.
The second thing you notice about the Lander 2 is that there’s no “obvious” lanyard hole. I like to run a lanyard off a folding knife with a deep carry pocket clip. I find that it makes pulling the knife out of my back pocket easier; especially if I’m wearing gloves. And while I realize that part of the demand for a deep carry pocket clip is to keep the knife hidden, it’s never been a concern of mine.
Live free or die, am I right? (Take it easy — I live in Connecticut.)
Otherwise, the Lander 2 fits really well in my hand. All four fingers rest easily in the handle well, and my thumb finds its way naturally to the jimping on the back of the blade. I’m excited to see how it performs under duress, especially with the big swooping belly of its drop-point blade.
In the Field
The first thing I did with the Lander 2, once I got it out and about, was add that much-needed lanyard. It’s a personal preference, but it serves a purpose and I am happy I was able to use the rear barrel spacer to make it work. With that out of the way, I spent a month with the knife as my EDC and the experience was excellent.
Connecticut has had nothing but crappy weather since the beginning of November, so most of my experiences with the Lander 2 were in slippery, wet conditions. The G10 scales and their great grip came in handy, especially when I was cutting or slicing. I like to collect evergreen clippings this time of year for medicinal means and a festive look. It’s always a wet and sticky job, and I’m happy to say it was a positive experience.
And with the new year, I switch over from ProBars to meat and cheese during my adventures. This is where that big belly on the Landers 2’s blade came in handy. There’s nothing like an efficient knife that knows how to prep some kielbasa and cheddar on a random picnic table, rock, or log.
In regard to carry, the Lander 2 sits deep in your pocket, hardly noticeable. For an EDC, 2.9 ounces is a nice weight. In fact, considering the materials and size, I think even the most dedicated minimalist would find room for this knife.
After everything I did with the Lander 2, the S35VN steel really endured the harshest test. There were situations where I had no choice but to put the blade away wet, seemingly for days. But I can happily report the blade looks brand new.
It wasn’t phased by water, sap, dirt, kielbasa grease, or cheddar cheese.
A Note for Tinkerers
Though I didn’t test out different handle scales on the Lander 2, I still appreciate the whole idea. Aside from being able to make them yourself (if you have the means), there’s no doubt in my mind that companies like Chroma Scales and Flytanium will start making their own sooner rather than later.
Regarding those replacement parts, Knafs offers a complete line of maintenance products as well. From tools to lubes, you can get everything from Knafs and save on shipping. It’s a cool concept that other brands have done, but not as extensively.
If Ben Petersen set out to make the ideal EDC knife in 2023, he’s done one heck of a job. The only thing he could have done differently was use MagnaCut steel and this knife would have embodied all of the themes in folding from that year. That said, I am glad he went with S35VN, as I personally like its redeeming qualities for outdoor use over MagnaCut; especially at this price point. It’s easier to sharpen and will hold up to corrosion better.
At nearly 7.5 inches with a 3.25-inch blade, the Lander 2 lives right inside the ideal EDC size range. People with smaller hands might feel that it’s a bit oversized, but no one will ever consider it undersized.
Where that may not be important for a knife you leave in your pack and only bring along when you need it, it’s very important for a knife you carry around in your pocket all day.
Ultimately, if you’ve never heard of Knafs before, or had the opportunity to experience a knife designed by Petersen, the Lander 2 is a great place to start.