Ben Petersen is a bit of a magnet. His enthusiasm for knives and knife-making is just as addictive as it is admirable. Everyone who interacts with him gets jazzed about what he’s bringing to the market. Petersen came up in the knife world through Blade HQ and CRKT, but soon his passions grew into his own brand, Knafs, which he currently runs with his wife, Athena.
Knafs first hit the market with the Lander knife, a stellar folding knife on its own ground. But what was important about the Lander was that Knafs openly supplied the CAD files to its scales, so folks like you and I could design and 3D print our own custom scales.
The company went on to launch the Baby Banter, Banter, and Big Banter. Over this past summer, it successfully crowd-funded a sequel to the Lander, and in 2024, it will launch the Cedar, a pocket knife destined to get the Swiss Army knife crowd excited.
But this review isn’t about any of those gems. This is about Knafs’ release of its first-ever fixed blade, The Lulu — 6¾ inches of Scandi-ground MagnaCut steel, wrapped in Micarta.
In short: With the Lulu, Knafs created a knife that is easy to approach, fun to use, and worthy of the next generation of knife enthusiasts. Of course, the old guard would still find all sorts of cool stuff to do with it — like design your own custom scales.
- OAL 6.75”
- Blade length 2.95”
- Blade steel MagnaCut
- Blade shape Drop point
- Grind Scandi
- Hardness 62 HRC
- Sheath Kydex
- Weight 3.8 oz. / 5.9 oz. w/sheath
- Price $230
- Raw MagnaCut steel
- Micarta handle scales with a proper palm swell
- Overall size
- The ability to make custom, open-source handle scales
- Difficult to think of any cons
Knafs Lulu Review
Design and Features
Designed by Petersen and manufactured for Knafs by White River Knife & Tool, the Lulu is made from a 6¾-inch-long, 7/64-inch-thick piece of raw MagnaCut steel.
It has been Scandi ground and has a drop point profile, which allows it to be both effective and universal. The Micarta scales have been shaped to provide a palm swell, allowing for increased grip and ergonomics, thus allowing it to be used under duress for an extended period in all weather conditions.
In fact, the more you sweat, the better this Micarta will get!
For all points and purposes, the Lulu is a bushcraft knife with a Puuko flair. This is showcased in the arc of the handle and the swelling of the handle scales. And, let’s not forget its size and utilitarian execution, demonstrated by the blade shape and grind.
Like the Lander, new Lulu open-source handle scales can be machined or 3D printed to add a little custom flair to the knife. Although, the Micarta scales look fantastic from the factory.
I received a short email from Ben that stated he was working on his first fixed blade, made in the USA from MagnaCut and Scandi ground. He asked me if I wanted one to mess around with. Being a fan of his work, as well as MagnaCut, Micarta, and a good Scandi grind, I jumped on the opportunity.
But I had no idea what he was sending me. I hadn’t seen the knife or its specs.
The Lulu arrived a few days later with supporting documentation, a bundle of fatwood, and some woven rope. Additionally, there was a note from Ben stating that he’d just gotten back from a trip to Colombia, where he used and abused the Lulu. His goal with this knife, he said, was “a camping, whittling, backyard fire tool.”
The minute I opened the box it came in, it felt like he met and exceeded that goal.
The Lulu is a small form-factor knife, in comparison to some of the other bushcraft knives I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. It has a homegrown look — as if someone was custom-making them in their workshop. If you’re not familiar with White River Knives, this is very on-brand.
The knife instantly felt good in my paw, where my thumb instinctively found its way to the spine jimping. I have a wide hand, so the handle all but disappeared in my grip, which is a great indication that it’s not going anywhere while I’m working with it.
The Kydex sheath that comes with the Lulu is designed to be worn on your belt, but it could easily be strapped to your pack, or even worn around your neck.
Knafs Lulu: In the Field
The day I received the Lulu, I spent the afternoon and evening in the yard with it. I had a bunch of pruning to do around the yard to make sure my flowers come back next year, and I had plenty of paper to burn. So, I sat by my firepit and shaved down a bunch of that fatwood to start a fire.
Then I wandered around the yard, deadheading flowers. Something got into me and I found myself sitting by the fire, caught up in the moment, making a lanyard from the rope Ben sent along.
The next day, my girls and I went apple picking and pumpkin hunting, and took a nice foliage-filled hike. I found myself using the Lulu more than the Benchmade in my back pocket. At 6¾ inches, the knife lends itself to be useful for almost anything. It was fantastic for slicing up apples while we roamed through the orchard, and I plan on using it to carve the pumpkins we picked.
My 10-year-old daughter is getting into knives. Her mother hates it, but that’s OK. Her affinity for knives, from afar, is remarkable. God willing and the creek don’t rise, she has all the makings for becoming a third-generation knifemaker.
She felt very comfortable cutting and whittling with the Lulu that night sitting out on the deck. The blade edge is wicked sharp, but the knife as a whole is not intimidating.
That said, if you’re looking for a belt knife for your kids so they can get used to carrying a knife in the great outdoors, the Lulu will answer that call. With the ability to make custom scales for it, your kids can make it their own and their affinity for good knives can begin.
The Lulu comes in two versions, both of which utilize MagnaCut steel and Micarta scales. The first, which I tested, is raw MagnaCut. What makes this unique is that the steel is completely unfinished, aside from the grind. That means it’ll be rough and pitted in the parts that weren’t machined. It looks stellar.
The second version is PVD-coated MagnaCut. This steel has been finished before it was coated and sharpened. The end result is a wicked clean-looking black blade.
Optional Leather Upgrade
I originally had a shout-out to Ben in this review, urging him to offer a leather sheath for the Lulu. It was going to be my one big complaint.
Just before publishing, however, he launched the webpage for the Lulu. And lo and behold, it features a leather sheath that you could buy if Kydex isn’t your thing.
I think the Kydex sheath included with the Lulu is fantastic. But aesthetically, to complete the picture (in my mind), the Lulu needs a leather sheath.
Knafs ‘The Lulu’: Conclusion
The Knafs Lulu is big medicine in a little package. Full-tang MagnaCut is a force to be reckoned with and, as long as you maintain it, will give you decades of reliable use.
The properly swollen Micarta handle scales will provide a great grip for any type of hand — with or without gloves, wet or dry. And the Kydex sheath will make it easy to carry to and fro, wherever you go.
What really impresses me about the Lulu is the price tag. For $230, you can pick up a full-tang MagnaCut knife, made in the USA. For all those other knife companies blaming MagnaCut for the increased price tag on your knives, that ship has sailed.
Overall, the Lulu is a simple knife that can do everything you challenge it to do. I have enjoyed my time with it, and I think I will for a little while longer. But, eventually, I will pass it along to my daughter so she can be prepared to enjoy many more adventures with me, and eventually many on her own.
Teach your children well.