Andrew Demko Releases First Production Knife under His Own Label

Huge thank you to Matt Bando for generously providing the images and video in this story. Matt also designed the packaging for the AD20.5. You can check out Matt’s work at his website and on Instagram.

Andrew Demko, custom maker and longtime collaborator with Cold Steel, has taken his leave of the company and is focusing on custom and production lines in his own shop. The first full production release in this lineup, the AD20.5, is getting ready to release and features Demko’s Shark Lock mechanism.

Towards the end of 2020 Cold Steel founder and CEO Lynn C. Thompson announced the sale of the company to GSM Outdoors. When we spoke with GSM in December, they told us that both Thompson and Demko would remain aboard; but Demko says that multiple considerations ultimately led him to leave the company. “At this time I am not working with Cold Steel, but wish them the very best success. With the huge success of the AD20 model and the timing of the sale of Cold Steel, I decided it was time for Demko Knives to expand,” he tells us. “I hope to increase both my in-house made knives and this new Taiwan-made product.”

The AD20.5 comes in two different blade shapes

The AD20.5 will be kicking off the Taiwan-made line. It is a hard use folder with a 3-inch, AUS10-A blade that aims for best-in-class strength. The muscle comes from the Shark Lock, another Demko original. The Shark Lock debut in 2020 on the MG AD20, but Demko notes that its origins go back many years. “The Shark lock is a long ongoing project that I started over ten years ago. It is based on the same principals I used on the Cold Steel Ram Safe lock.” Progress on the Shark Lock actually led Demko to another idea that he pursued for a while. “While working on the Shark I switched to the Scorpion Lock, then after the Scorpion Lock’s successful production by both Demko Knives and Cold Steel I went back to refine the Shark.”

The Shark Lock’s ‘fin’

The concept may have been in place for a long time, but in the refinement stage the project became complicated. “Designing a lock is not that hard,” Demko states. “What is hard, is designing a lock that will have the following : lock up securely, be easy to unlock, be impact resistant, be strong, and be manufacturing friendly.”

The Shark Lock mechanism is situated on the spine of the knife and operated with a ramp-like ‘fin.’ Opening the blade makes the spring-driven lock arm move up and then into a notch in the tang, situating it beneath a lock pin. This range of movement is noteworthy. “[It] is unique in that the locking mechanism moves¬†forward and back while also moving up and down,” Demko tells us. “This allows for a greater sized blade tang, making better machinal advantage in a specific area.” And because the drive spring that moves the locking element up into the locked position is contained within the locking arm itself, it won’t be subject to dirt and grime. “The Shark is very comparable to most Tri-Ad locks for its size and weight,” Demko adds. “The AD-20.5 has been tested to 875 inch pounds of torque, this is a very impressive number for a 3.5 oz. knife.”

If all goes according to plan, the AD20.5 will be available next month at Blade Show 2021 in Atlanta. “I hope to reach a retail of $150.00 and assume this model to be available through all my dealers soon after,” says Demko. While you’re waiting, you can check out a video of the Shark Lock in action below.

Knife in Featured Image: Demko Knives AD20.5