Kitchen Knife Guru Makes a Frame Lock Culinary Folder

Custom kitchen knife maker Quintin Middleton is bringing out the Ona, a large folder designed with and for culinary professionals.

The culinary world has its own specific suite of demands, and there are a suite of common kitchen knife blade shapes designed to answer those demands. Middleton’s original inspiration came from one of those shapes, the santoku. A broken santoku kitchen knife sparked the idea that a truncated riff on that blade shape could retain a lot of its utility while being significantly more portable. Although Middleton’s reputation is based mainly on kitchen knives, the Ona is not his first-ever folding knife release. “I’ve had other folding knife designs I have made in the past. I’ve made slipjoint folders and friction folders,” he tells us. “Actually the Ona started out as a friction folder.”

To keep the Ona useful for pro chefs, Middleton outfitted this knife with a massive, 5-inch blade. A blade of this length has obvious implications for carry weight (more on that below), but most importantly it allows the Ona to perform well across multiple genres of culinary chores: slicing vegetables, working on garnishes, and even small scale butchering all fall within its capabilities. The pivot is dropped down the handle to put the cutting edge well below the user’s grip, just as things would be on a typical fixed blade kitchen knife. The blade steel is S35VN, which brings lots of stain resistance to bear (an important trait for any knife working around food) as well as above average edge retention.

The pivot on the Ona is noticeably dropped compared to an EDC folder

The ergonomics here are simple. A finger groove does its usual job of indexing and retention, while also providing a secondary pinch point for certain types of pinch grips favored by chefs. Both scales are made from titanium slabs, and the titanium frame lock is capped with a steel insert to account for potential wear over time. Although it has a lot of visual elements in common with modern EDC folders, the Ona isn’t really meant for that role. “Yes, the Ona is large knife. It’s has a 2” wide blade.” Middleton says. At 8.2 oz., it is very heavy compared to even other large folders. But Middleton also notes it is made to be carried by the professionals it was designed for, and compared to a knife roll it is much lighter. “This knife was designed around traveling chefs and outdoors men, backpackers and bartenders. It has a pocket clip. The knife is sleek and very comfortable in the pocket.”

Middleton has the Ona up for crowdfunding until August 6th, 2021. Its goal has already been reached. It is expected to ship in November. Although non-backers won’t get the Kickstarter price, Middleton says that his culinary folder will be an ongoing element of his portfolio. “I will continue with this knife and evolve it over time.”

Knife in Featured Image: Quintin Middleton Ona

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