I Designed a Pocket Knife!
I've handled a lot of pocket knives over the past 8 years. I've carried hundreds of them and analyzed deep details of their construction, marketing, and product life cycles. I don't feel like an expert, but I've got strong opinions about my pocket knife preferences. In fact, I've got enough opinions that I drew up my own. Presenting the Banter. A WE Knife designed by Ben Petersen (hi mom!).
In August 2019, I left my job in the knife industry to begin a new 9-5 professional adventure outside of pocket knives. This also opened the door for me pursue ideas I've wanted to create in the knife industry. I added a knife mouse pad to my lineup and continued selling my knife poster. And I started sketching.
The Design Process
When I started drawing the Banter, it was as simple as thinking about all the knives I've carried and putting their best attributes on paper. I was strict in making it simple. I traced my sketch in Illustrator, made some technical modifications, slapped some dimensions on the thing, and sent it off to WE in China.
From there, WE's design team, Aodin, Calvin, and Shi made it magical. I was blown away as they took my sketch and input it into Solidworks. We went back and forth ironing out the details, and 60 emails later (thanks for putting up with me, Angel!), they started making the prototypes. The WE team was incredible in their engineering creativity and expertise. I knew what I wanted; they knew how to make it real. When I received the prototypes in the mail, I erupted in an unbroken string of "Wow" for 5 full minutes. They made it just like I wanted.
Wait... It Looks Like...
The knife on my shop mat? That's because it is. I took the design and slapped it on a mouse pad first, then waited (un)patiently while WE was busy making the actual knife.
On Reddit, the people wondered what knife it was. It's got a familiarity to it that I love. I've had people say it looks kind of like a CRKT Squid or Benchmade Sequel. Absolutely. I took the pieces of all the knives I loved and put them into a simple package. This knife has a Protech pocket clip, a Spyderco G10, a CRKT blade shape, a Benchmade size, all combined with the quality of WE. It's the conglomerate of all the things I love. This knife should feel like something you've seen before, but can't quite place.
Why WE Knives?
Because they are incredible human beings. A few years ago at Blade Show, I went to dinner with Joe, Angel and Tina of WE Knives. They were tired from the show and jet lagged from the flight. But we dragged them to my favorite place in Atlanta and filled them full of corn bread, sticky barbecue, and tart lemonade. During the course of the meal, we laughed, talked, and swapped pictures of our families. In his soft-spoken intensity, Joe shared the story of how he started WE Knives. I was captivated. And completely impressed. One day I hope Joe will share that entire story publicly. As for me, I walked away from that meal understanding that WE Knives is incredibly serious about quality and consistency-- those are the reasons they exist as a company. Joe's knife making ability and unassuming humility are both remarkable. When it came time for me to send in a knife drawing, I knew WE would do it right. And they did.
How Much Will it Cost?
It's going to be about $120. If you're reading this and can't believe anyone would ever pay that much for a pocket knife, welcome. You're uninitiated and I'm glad you're here. Let me explain: that's actually a very reasonable price for the manufacturing quality and materials used. Consider a bar, or blank, of the S35VN steel used on this knife: a 12 inch piece runs about $50. That's without the other components and any manufacturing. It ain't cheap, but it holds an edge like you wouldn't believe. This knife costs $100+ because it's a precision tool made in a precision factory with precision materials. Quality costs.
When Will it be Available?
WE is shooting for the end of May 2020 with the first models available around Blade Show. I'm still amazed I could send in napkin sketches in September and have a knife in hand in December. Speedy delivery! That said, manufacturing-- good manufacturing-- takes time, so if it's longer, just wait (un)patiently for a bit. It's coming.
WIUG, Knafs, WE-- I'm confused
Here's how it works: you're reading this post on Knafs.com-- a website and brand where my wife and I make weird knife schtuff and sell it. Anything that we design, make, and distribute on our own is Knafs branded. However, I'm working on designing a few things that others make and distribute. That's where WIUG (What Iiiiiiissss Up Guys) comes in. It's my maker's mark and personal brand. So, in the case of this new knife, WE is the manufacturer and brand, Banter is the model, and it is a Ben Petersen design, so it's got a WIUG logo on it.
So there you have. Follow me on Instagram or subscribe to our email list (bottom of the page) to keep in touch. The party is just getting started, and I'm stoked to have you along for the ride.