At some point in your cutlery addiction, you will decide you need a custom folder. They are exceedingly expensive and hard to get, even if you have the money.
And there is little chance that you will get to handle one in person before you buy it. And if you want a knife from the hottest makers, guys like Michael Burch, Tom Mayo, Tony Bose, or Ron Lake, the wait can stretch into years (if ever, Tony Bose recently closed his books permanently).
The key to getting a handmade folder is to find a maker that hasn’t exploded in popularity yet. If you can you will get an amazing knife for not much more than a high end production blade.
That’s the way it was when I purchased my first Steve Karroll folder, an EDMW (Every Day Modified Wharncliffe). Time and finances forced me to sell that little gem, but when I got a second chance at one of his folders I took it and have never regretted the decision.
Karroll SES Custom Knife
Karroll is a knife maker from Rhode Island and he has gotten substantially busier since I bought my first folder. The second, a model he calls the SES, has been part of my knife collection for more than two years now and every time I carry it I am reminded why I like it so much and why it’s worth some time and cash to buy a handmade blade.
The knife is a tiny tank with a massively thick blade of S35VN steel, Crucible’s successor to S30V. It’s an excellent all-around performer and has held an amazing edge over the years. The handle design, with its contoured G10 and titanium framelock, is one of Karroll’s hallmarks. It is palm-filling and comfortable but short.
To make up for that and to give you a nice place to grab the knife when it is in your pocket, Karroll includes a nice lanyard. When the knife is in hand that bit of cord and the bead make the entire handle just fit right.
And then there is blade shape, a highly complex reverse tanto. It’s here where you see the touches of a true craftsman. The grinds are virtually perfect, crisp and symmetric.
Over the years, I have used the SES quite a bit, outdoors, around the house, doing EDC tasks, and more. It handles all of this with ease.
And the best part is that every time I pull it out of my pocket I know that it is something unique, something that was made for me, and something that was made by hand by a person with talent and passion.
Steve Karroll SES
- Price: Each model is unique; mine was $475 two years ago
- Steel: S35VN
- Blade Length: 2 1/2 inches
- Overall Length: 6 1/8 inches
- Weight: 3.80 ounces