Hawk Knives Beefs up Utility Blade with the Latch Lock Mechanism

[Image Credit: Mitchell Cohen]

Grant and Gavin Hawk of Hawk Knives are readying for production of the ShortCut, an enthusiast-grade replaceable blade utility knife. The ShortCut is the debut platform for the Latch Lock, a revision of one of the Hawks’ most famous past creations.

In recent years, companies and makers have been turning to the replaceable blade knife concept, historically a more consumer-oriented product, and giving it a makeover fit for enthusiast level carry and use. Gavin Hawk weighed in on this growing popularity, saying it comes down to ease of maintenance. “In all knives the consumable part is the blade, but it’s not always easy to replace the blade of your favorite EDC.” Even discounting total blade failure aside, advanced maintenance poses problems of its own. “Even with light use the blade will need to be resharpened, but resharpening can be problematic,” Hawk continues. “Because of this people tend to be careful with how they use their knife.” Utility knives, by contrast, aren’t maintained so much as completely renewed every couple weeks. “When you do replace the blade it’s like having a brand-new knife.”

The ShortCut has a spring-loaded, sculpted titanium pocket clip

Of course, the 2.26 ounce ShortCut, being a Hawk Knives product, is a far cry from the average utility knife. It’s a flipper, so it can be operated entirely one-handed like other modern EDC knives. Furthermore, it comes equipped with a mechanism that may look familiar to longtime fans of Hawk Knives’ output. “The Shortcut has a mechanism that is an adaptation of the Ti-Lock, that we are now calling the Latch Lock,” Hawk explains. If you remember, the Ti-Lock was the unusual, spine-riding lock on the now-discontinued Chris Reeve model of the same name. The locking arm moves a cross-bar into a notch on the blade spine; to disengage the lock, users simply push up on the bar. Hawk tells us this updated version went very smoothly. “We actually got pretty lucky with the design process and testing of the mechanism. I’d say right out of the gate we were 90% there. Although the last 10% was tricky. . . which was trying to get the correct lock angle and detent angle.”

Unlike many of its peers, the Shortcut is purposely designed without a quick-release mechanism for the blade. Hawk says he prefers the more secure nature of this setup, which gets rid of blade play and provides nearly the entire length of the razor for use at any time. Replacing the blade is by no means onerous, either, requiring just a quick twist of a T8 Torx driver.

ShortCut prototypes were on display at the USN Gathering earlier this month, and the Hawks are setting things up for a full production run. “We’re hoping to send out a newsletter very soon to start taking deposits, with delivery starting a few months after that,” Hawk says. He indicates that how many ShortCuts will be made, and for how long, depends on the customer response. “It really all depends on demand. I currently have one Haas milling machine that is going to be dedicated to making these, if demand is strong, I’ll end up adding more machines. At this time, I’m looking at a retail price of $475.”

Knife in Featured Image: Hawk Knives ShortCut

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