Grant & Gavin Hawk Conjure Up the Gearhead

Grant and Gavin Hawk are teaming up with Mantis Knives to produce their novel Gearhead model. The new knife’s centerpiece is a planetary gear system opening, which utilizes a series of gears to send the blade rocketing out.

The Hawks have always been a fan of industrial, gear-heavy knife designs. But when they set out to make the Gearhead they wanted those gears to be functional, not just a visual flourish. It works like this: three gears are set inside a larger ring gear. Instead of pushing a thumbstud or depressing a flipper, users push a lever in, across the handle instead of out from it [you can see a video of Gavin opening the Gearhead here]. With those three smaller gears working in unison, it doesn’t take a lot of pushing to get the Gearhead open. Turning the lever ⅙ of the way around the ring gear rotates the blade a full 180 degrees, from closed to open and secured with its liner lock. Although the same could be said for many of the Hawk’s designs, the Gearhead required an unconventional approach even by their standards. “We had to get creative to make this work. It’s not like any other knife, it’s more or less unique,” Grant notes.

There’s obvious visual panache to the Gearhead that should appeal to any lover of unconventional mechanisms. But it does bring one concrete advantage. “It opens very quick and fast,” Grant continues. “To the uninitiated observer it might look like a switchblade, but there are no springs in it.” The Hawks readily acknowledge, however, that the Gearhead is not meant to be the most practical cutting tool in the world. “We have two extremes: there’s the MUDD on one end which is designed for hard work, and the Gearhead on the other,” Gavin explains. “It’s meant to be cool and interesting more than anything else.”

Though geared (pun intended) to the enthusiast who will simply savor its uniqueness, the Gearhead comes ready to work with a functional blade made of AUS-8 blade steel. Working with an overseas OEM, Hawk and Mantis are putting out the steel frame Gearhead with four different blades (Drop point or tanto, partial serrations or plain edge), and five handle variations – meaning that shoppers have a total choice between 20 configurations.

A model like this would seem to cry out for a custom version from the Hawks themselves. The father-son team tell us they have their hands full with requests for their Deadlock automatics. But they’ve confirmed plans to grow Hawk Knives this year: more employees and more machines are in the pipeline. The ultimate size and destination of this growth has not been settled on yet, but one possible outcome is that it will free up work time for custom runs of projects like the Gearhead. “It’s a possibility someday. It would be fun to do a project like that,” says Gavin.

The Gearhead is expected to arrive by March.

Knife in Featured image: Hawk Knives/Mantis Knives Gearhead