Liong Mah Celebrates Fifteen Years in the Industry with High-Tech Integral

Presented by Liong Mah Designs

Liong Mah is celebrating 15 years designing knives with the super-premium XV folder. This latest collaboration with Reate makes a long lost Mah design come to life with authentic custom touches.

The XV began life 10 years ago as an unnamed custom project that never materialized. “When that didn’t happen it just waited for the right time,” Mah tells us. Bringing the ambitious integral out now into the high-end production market meant updating it with some current Mah signature touches. So the new XV debuts with a 4-inch modern tanto blade, a low-profile flipper that disappears when open, and a stylish sculpted clip. “I refined it with some of the design cues I am doing now,” says Mah.

“I reduced the weight by sculpting the handle as much as I could and milling the outside,” Mah continues. Deep, ventilated pockets cut into the front and back remove a lot of material, but Mah went even further, turning to a technique perfected by fellow maker Michael Burch. “Burch had been doing the milling on the outside, and I asked if I could do something similar.” Mah ended up with a sinuous, slender handle that is as striking as it is strong. The milling helps keep the weight down too. “The result is a large 4-inch bladed folder with an integral handle weighing in at 4.7 ounces,” Mah says.

Mah’s collaborator Reate always utilizes semi-custom methods in making their production knives. But for the XV they pulled out all the stops. The blades were hand ground, and the integral handle subjected to a lot of hand finishing. Each ambidextrous sculpted titanium clip was handmade. “[The clip] had to follow the curvature of the handle.” Mah tells us. “And the only way they could do it was to individually form the titanium by heating it up with a torch.”

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Mah feels that the XV is the perfect tribute to the fans who have kept him going until now. “This project, like all my work, is to thank everyone who supported me for all these years.” Mah confirms that he has no plans to rest on his laurels and intends to keep on bringing out new knives. “It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to design works and have people use them on a daily basis,” he says. “I hope that I continue to have their support and to continue to provide them with great work.”

The XV is expected to be ready by December at a price of $500.

Knife featured in image: Liong Mah XV