The Incredible Story of SNECX Tan and His High-Tech IFS-20

A 30 year-old man who goes by the name SNECX Tan got the knife world’s attention after he released video footage of the IFS-20, a truly high-tech custom knife. Inspired by firearm design, the IFS-20 is put together – and stays together – without a single screw. This may sound like the ambitious project of a seasoned veteran, but incredibly, the IFS-20 is Tan’s first ever design. One of two IFS-20s available sold at auction for a whopping $8,100 over the weekend, and a second auction will follow shortly.

A knife enthusiast with exacting standards, the Selangor, Malaysia-based Tan dreamt up the IFS-20 in response to problems he experienced with other knives. Screws came loose or stripped out. Blades went off-center. Threadlocker was a necessity in several instances. “I asked myself, ‘Is this how knives are supposed to be?’” he recalls. “A knife where you don’t have to worry about things coming loose or falling apart – it couldn’t be impossible.”

Tan produced just five IFS-20s, and has no intentions of making more. Although it has led to commercial interest, the project was always meant to be a personal one. Tan simply wanted to bring his dream knife to life. “Just to be totally clear: I made the IFS for myself,” he tells us. Of the three he kept, one is a safe queen for his collection, he uses another for torture testing, and the third is his personal EDC.

Most knives utilize a layer-style construction. But the 3.6”-bladed IFS-20 employs a frame and a sub-chassis held together by unique pin-style hardware. Pieces interlock with one another to form a stable 4.4 oz. knife that stays centered and never loosens with use. Tan warns that quick disassembly of the 18-component IFS-20 only comes with training. “It’s like a puzzle,” he says.

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Tan’s next knife, the Buster, will contain more traditional hardware, but he’s using the opportunity to test a new ‘floating pivot’ invention. The pivot assembly will rotate within the handle to prevent the screw threads from unlocking. If you can’t afford to spend four figures on a knife, you’ll be pleased to know that Tan hopes to take the floating pivot into a standard production model. “It sounds like a crazy idea, but if it works it can be adapted for production knives.”

Knife featured in image: SNECX IFS-20