A Folding, Fixed Blade: LiquidMetal’s Innovative New Knife

“It’s already pretty sharp out of the mold, but we sharpen it more,” says Matt Martin, Marketing Manager for LiquidMetal Technologies. The company recently began selling a knife on their website called the LiquidMetal knife. Remarkably, the knife is made up of only 2 pieces plus a stainless steel clip and doesn’t require any additional hardware. The main piece is a hollow blade and handle, essentially a fixed blade knife on its own. The second ancillary piece acts as a locking blade guard and when flipped, doubles as an extension of the handle. Both the blade/handle and the guard/extension are made of identical material: LiquidMetal’s alloy, the result of its proprietary manufacturing process. The two pieces fit together using what Martin refers to as a ‘barrel hinge lock’, LiquidMetal’s patent pending mechanism which leaves only a 0.0005″ space between the two parts.

Liquidmetal knife gif

“We’re just a metal parts manufacturer,” says Martin. “This is the only knife we’re probably ever going to sell. We have our own metal forming process and the knife is an example of the capabilities and benefits of that process”. Among other applications, the company also recently produced a component used to make the new Omega watch that 007 wears in the latest James Bond film ‘Spectre’.

The LiquidMetal process is somewhat similar to metal injection molding, a technology Kershaw experimented with in 2005 on a knife called the Offset.  The knife was a Ken Onion designed folder with an injection molded blade. But, LiquidMetal Technology’s process is more advanced, and doesn’t require the presence of a binder or a secondary shrinking step. The technology offers the design flexibility of injection molding combined with dimensional tolerances equivalent to precision machining and a metal that is stronger, more flexible, and more resistant to corrosion than conventional steels. The alloy is harder than titanium but 53 Rockwell C is as hard as the material can become for now, according to the company.

LiquidMetal Knife

The knife project was set in motion when Miltner Adams, a design studio that collaborated with Boker in the past, approached the company with the idea of using the LiquidMetal process to produce a knife. “They came to us and said ‘we want to design a knife with you guys’. The knife is a collaboration between us. They came to us with a 6-7 piece knife and our engineers reduced it to the two pieces it is now,” says Martin. Miltner Adams also distributes the LiquidMetal knife but in a non-anodized version. The technology may catch the eye of knife manufacturers, because fewer parts reduces assembly steps, product defects and the costs of producing each product.

The LiquidMetal knife bears some resemblance to the DPx Gear HIT Cutter released in 2014, which also uses a folding blade guard but requires additional hardware rather than the barrel hinge lock and provides added grip rather than an extended handle when open. At $320, the LiquidMetal knife doesn’t come cheap, but Martin points out it could be offered at lower prices if made in larger production runs. “The bulk of the cost is the tooling,” he says. The company has grown to a staff of 25, the majority of which work in Research & Development.

Knife feature in image: LiquidMetal knife