Mikkel Willumsen Crafts First Integral Custom

Mikkel Willumsen has finished creating the VITO, his first integral folding knife. Willumsen crafted the VITO with a series of painstaking, time-consuming machining processes and it has given him a taste for integral knife making.

In terms of dimensions, the VITO is a mid-size, utilitarian design. Its blade measures 3.5 inches long and is a tame drop point shape. Willumsen’s handle lines are correspondingly clean and simple, flared out at the pivot but arcing and tapering to a narrower butt end. A flipper knife, the VITO’s tab is long but low profile, and the blade rides on a custom bearing pivot.

The VITO’s integral handle is a single, continuous piece of titanium, with the only screws being the one for the frame lock insert and the pivot; according to Willumsen every component of the Vito is custom made. “[An integral] has been a plan and dream since I got my CNC machine in 2016,” he tells us. “It’s not easy to do, there was a lot of planning and drawing on the computer before I came up with a design that worked.”

The difficulties inherent in making an integral became clear as Willumsen started work on the VITO. Cutting the blade channel directly into a block of titanium takes a long time. Willumsen wanted to work with a carbide end mill which requires a meticulous even more time-consuming process. “You can only go 0.01 inch in at the time, otherwise the cutter will break,” he explains. It takes an hour and a half to cut the blade channel for each knife, and that leaves plenty of other work to be done including surface grinding, calibrating the channel to keep it centered, setting the lock pin, and adjusting the lock stabilizer.

But now that he has broken the integral barrier, so to speak, Willumsen is sold on the style. “It is a lot of fun to make and I think that most of my folders in the future will be intergrals,” he says. We just saw a limited release through We Knife Co. of a production Sugga model, and a souped up variation could follow. “The next design could be a Sugga integral. Let us see what the future brings.”

Willumsen says that the Vito will be available in two different configurations. The ultra premium version (see feature image above) comes with a Damasteel blade and the elaborate carbon fiber inserts. The standard version will have an RWL-34 blade and simpler inlays or an option for a plain titanium build. Willumsen says that spots are limited, and is taking orders now.

Knife in Featured Image: Mikkel Willumsen VITO

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