High Tech, Award-Winning Knife Returns for 20th Anniversary

WE Knife Co. is bringing back a cult classic knife for their 2019 lineup, the Synergy 2. This is an updated version of an award-winning knife that was in many ways ahead of its time.

The original Synergy released in 1999, designed by engineer Jim O’Young. The Synergy was O’Young’s first knife, and was originally created to hone his skills in SolidWorks more than anything else. “I created it as an exercise to learn the program,” O’Young explains. “I wanted to push the system to its limits and create a knife with a fully 3D-surfaced, ergonomic handle.”

He teamed up with a machine shop to make and sell the Synergy under the company name of SpeedTech, which made it the first production knife to be designed in SolidWorks. But O’Young’s knife pushed the envelope in other ways as well. “It was a button lock, with a floating bearing pivot, and an integral aluminum handle,” O’Young tells us. These features may be familiar to users today but when the Synergy came out, they were cutting edge. “The design incorporated all this cool stuff in 1999 and was way ahead of its time.” SpeedTech even attempted an early, web-based sales system and a ‘Build Your Knife’ interface to let buyers customize different elements of the knife. These high tech features helped the Synergy reel in the Most Innovative American Design award at Blade Show 1999.

The original Synergy and its Blade Show Award

As it turned out, the Synergy was the only knife O’Young and SpeedTech designed; the company moved on to other, non-knife projects after that initial success. Less than 200 Synergys were made and for a long time the only way to get one was to go hunting on the secondary market. But as the years went on O’Young eventually met up with WE and decided the time was right to bring the Synergy back – in an updated form.

“I was happy with the original design but as time went on, the state of the art in the knife industry changed and it was time for an update,” he tells us. The Synergy 2 features a textured titanium integral handle and a frame lock, flipper tab instead of a thumb stud, and the steel has been given a considerable bump up from 154CM to M390. The blade length is 3.4 inches, and O’Young’s drive to make a top tier slicer means a fairly rigorous hollow grind is in play. “I imagine it as a performance-based EDC tool for someone who wants something different. It is a functional piece of art,” he says. Multiple variations will be available, including a choice between a trailing point or a tanto-style blade and plain titanium or carbon fiber-inlaid handles. Damasteel models will also surface.

By a happy coincidence, the Synergy 2 is releasing at Blade Show 2019 – 20 years on from the award-winning debut of the original. “It couldn’t have come out at a more historic and sentimental time,” O’Young notes. “It’s kind of a fairy tale scenario.” Does he see the possibility for a repeat win for this historic update? “The competition for awards & sales is really tough and there’s a lot of great knife designs out there. But I think that once somebody sees and feels the Synergy2 they’re going to love it.”

Knife in Featured Image: WE Knife Co. Synergy 2