Artisan Cutlery Steps into the Ring

New knife company Artisan Cutlery is gearing up with a sizable initial catalog of models. It plans to go the distance and compete with the big names by prioritizing accessibility and adventurous knife design.

The Yangjiang, China-based maker has been readying its catalog of more than 30 initial models for nearly a year. Widespread availability is just around the corner. “We’re trying to swing out of the gate with a big catalog of very well made, very interesting knives,” says Artisan’s U.S. Representative Russell Soffiotto.

Artisan’s budget models sport G-10 handle scales and D2 steel, with high-end counterparts built from titanium with M390 or S35VN blades. Hitting a middle point between the two are knives that retain the S35VN, but instead of titanium have G-10 scales with carbon fiber overlays. Many models are expected to transition between all three tiers, with an offering at each. “We’d like to do that with most of our models in the future, if their construction allows for the transition,” Soffiotto notes. Prices range from $70 to $300 depending on the model.

Artisan Cutlery Cobra

Soffiotto is frank about the difficulties gaining recognition in a market full of quality manufacturers, many of whom operate in similar price brackets and play with similar materials. But he says Artisan chose an aggressive approach to design to distinguish its knives. Flamboyant blade shapes, bold anodization choices, and an unconventional aesthetic will pioneer the signature Artisan Cutlery look. Knives like the Osprey (main image) and Cobra (above) tweak popular styles to headturning effect. “A lot of these knives are fun, dramatic, and interesting. They show our ability to make more intense knives.”

Artisan plans to take its aggressive styling even further. “We’re trying to stir the pot a bit,” Soffiotto explains. Their latest prototype is the Auto-Bali, which combines the rotating handle scales of a balisong with button-operated, automatic deployment. The knife can be opened by flipping it like a normal balisong, but also fires out like any automatic.

This Auto-Bali is a very early prototype, and may never make it into production. But Soffiotto says it’s a statement of intent. “This is how we go about our designs. We want to make waves.” If it does become a reality, it would have to be as a candidate for U.S. production due to legal restrictions on importing balisongs. “It’s all very much up in the air,” Soffiotto says. He tells us that Artisan also acknowledges the possibility of collaborating with outside talent. “We’re very interested in talking to American designers, very open to that possibility in the future.”

Knife featured in image: Artisan Cutlery 1803G Osprey

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