Caswell Morphing Karambit Debuts on Kickstarter

In the age of the modern folding knife, innovation usually means a new design silhouette, different blade or handle material, or occasionally a clever modified lock or opening mechanism. It’s becoming harder and harder to truly innovate when to most it appears that everything that can be done, has been done. But, in the summer of 2016, Joe Caswell sent us a video of a new karambit, his Morphing Karambit, which reimagined the modern folding knife to deliver benefits that no other can lay claim to. That video reached well over a million people on the KnifeNews Facebook page and remains our top performing video of all time. Today, after 18 months refining the design, Joe Caswell launched a Kickstarter campaign to offer his Morphing Karambit to the world.

When it was first revealed, people gravitated towards the unique mechanical innovation that allowed the knife to open with a single squeeze. The Morphing Karambit will debut as the only folding knife you can deploy while keeping your fingers wrapped around the handle. “Even among knife people, something I hear a lot is, ‘I don’t even like karambits, and I have to have this,’” Caswell says. The blade is already on the ‘must have’ radar of many knife enthusiasts. But with Kickstarter’s widespread visibility, Caswell chose to introduce the Morphing Karambit on the crowdfunding website to also draw in buyers from outside the community. “There’s a pretty strong gadget factor that has appeal beyond traditional knife fans,” says Caswell. “People who might incidentally have a pocket knife will probably look at it and think it’s awesome.”

Caswell revealed version 2.0 of his Morphing Karambit last August. He reduced the complexity, increased the overall strength, and shrunk the knife’s footprint by a considerable margin. The Kickstarter model, which will be produced by Millit Knives, carries over many of the features from that design: 3V tool steel, a gently-curved sub 2.5-inch hawkbill blade, and a black-coated steel body and blade. “There will be a small but notable improvement to the internal geometry and Torx Screws instead of slotted screws on the adjuster side. But otherwise, it’s going to be identical,” Caswell tells us.

Caswell says he’ll produce as many Morphing Karambits as Kickstarter backers buy. A limited number could also be offered to the general market after that. But he notes this premium, semi-custom Morphing Karambit will not be available on an ongoing basis. “We’ll make enough for every backer and maybe some small numbers afterward, but eventually these will be gone.”

Caswell tells us he is also hard at work finalizing an import version of the Morphing Karambit that will be brought out by a major knife brand sometime in 2019. Obviously, there will be material differences between the premium Kickstarter version and the budget-friendly import model, but Caswell candidly notes the innovative mechanism will be shared between the two. “In some respects, the two versions complement each other. I really wanted to provide an opportunity for everybody to get this knife,” he says. “The Kickstarter build is for the people that prefer a premium, USA-made version, built with the best materials and processes to the most exacting standards.”

This pair of releases will be the last iterations of the Karambit for now as Caswell turns his attention to other morphing knife projects. “My next one will most likely be utility/tactical/EDC-style knife, with four main pieces instead of five,” he says. But the new project isn’t just about a new blade shape. Caswell envisions a mechanical reinvention that can become a platform for himself and other makers to experiment with. “It will be more adaptable to other knife styles,” he tells us. “The locking method is quite unexpected, elegant and structurally fantastic. It’s an exciting evolutionary step that will increase the concept’s flexibility into other knife and tool genres.”

Knife featured in image: Caswell Knives Morphing Karambit

Join knife companies and subscribe to the KnifeNews email.
They wouldn't subscribe
if it wasn't awesome.
(No spam, only great content)