Eugene Kwon YouTube Knife Reviewer — The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 92)

YouTube knife reviewer Eugene Kwon is this week’s featured guest on The Knife Junkie Podcast (episode #92). Kwon does some great knife review videos, including his “Dashboard Reviews” and “Are We There Yet?” series on YouTube.

Kwan and Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco enjoy a fun conversation about knives, talk “tip up vs. tip down,” and Eugene shares a knife story along with the knife speed round.

If you’re not yet subscribed to Kwon’s YouTube channel, do so now so you don’t miss any of his videos!

YouTube knife reviewer Eugene Kwon and I have a fun conversation about knives and knife collecting. Give it a listen -- you'll be glad you did! Click To Tweet

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To listen to past episodes of the podcast, visit theknifejunkie.com/listen.

 

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

* Transcription is generated by artificial intelligence (ai) and is not edited. There may be some errors. Thanks for understanding.

Eugene Kwon 0:00
I do feel like I have an impact but more as a chorus member not as like a soloist. So a lot of times I'm just giving my opinion and I discovered that yeah two other reviewers or or three other Instagram influencers, whatever you might want to call them. They have the same perspective same idea. And so it just ends up confirming to the maker Yeah, this is definitely something that needs to be changed. Yeah, so I think I'm more of a chorus member than a soloist

Announcer 0:31
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your hosts Jim Person and Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco.

Jim Person 0:45
Hello Knife Junkie and

Jim Person 0:46
welcome to episode number 92 of The Knife Junkie podcast. I'm Jim Person.

Bob DeMarco 0:51
And I'm Bob DeMarco.

Jim Person 0:52
Welcome to the show. Welcome to the knife junkie Podcast the place for knife newbies and Knife Junkie to learn all about knives. And knife collecting here from knife designers, makers, manufacturers, YouTube knife reviewers anyone who loves knives. That's what we're all about on the weekend interview show. And we've got a another YouTube knife reviewer with us today, Bob. Just an interesting, interesting interview. I really am looking forward to it

Bob DeMarco 1:19
We had Eugene Kwan on the show and he's one of my, my new favorite YouTubers. Not that he's new, but I'm new to him. Relatively. I've been listening to him for about maybe six months listening slash watching. And he he can just really articulate things about knives that, you know, he'll say something and I say I wish I said that. I wish I I was able to clarify my thinking that way. And I just I just generally love his reviews he does. He has two series. One of them is called dashboard reviews where he reviews a lot of new knives and prototypes. I mean, this guy gets his hands on prototypes. like crazy and he reviews them in his car and they're just they're great. And he also has another review another series called Are we there yet that I also love where he handles these prototypes and actually talks about them and what improvements could be made and and this and that and yeah, so Eugene Kwan great YouTuber, and it was great to catch up.

Jim Person 2:23
That interview is coming up next but I do want to remind you that Bob's YouTube channel can be found at The Knife Junkie comm slash YouTube and that's where you'll also find the Thursday night knives live video show where Bob and special guest co host every Thursday, go into the weeds and talk knives but it's also your chance to join in via the comments section. And or on the show. If you have a knife to sell. The Knife Junkie is opening up is Thursday night knives alive show platform to use so you can come on all you got to do is head Have a webcam and a microphone and show off that night if you want to sell and talk about it and all free of charge Knife Junkie comm slash YouTube you can find it Thursday nights at 10pm Eastern also on The Knife Junkie Facebook page at The Knife Junkie comm slash Facebook

Announcer 3:17
Do you use terms like handle the blade ratio Walking Tall hair pop and sharp or tank like when you are a dork and a knife junkie

Bob DeMarco 3:26
So Eugene, thank you so much for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast. I appreciate your coming on.

Unknown Speaker 3:30
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. Excellent. Excellent. So

Bob DeMarco 3:35
let me start the conversation by asking you an invasive question and that is what did you have in your pocket today?

Unknown Speaker 3:42
Well, today I had something in my pocket that I hadn't had on any other day. I had just got this out of the mail. It was my long awaited sharp by design. Avoid the one that I ended up pre ordering had the damaged steel blade and the PVD coated handle with that large aspiration going down the body. And yeah, I think that the pre orders for this actually closed around Thanksgiving last year. So it's been a long wait and then of course with the virus and everything everything got slowed down even further. But yeah I got this out of the mail today and it hasn't left my pocket or my hand since his knives to me are just man they're they're way up there in the master class.

Bob DeMarco 4:30
Yeah, he does some great work. I would one day love to somehow come upon an archangel because that

Bob DeMarco 4:37
yeah, that is like

Bob DeMarco 4:39
the most beautiful folding knife ever, ever built. Yeah, I'm concerned.

Unknown Speaker 4:44
Yeah, he's got this amazing eye for classic lines and not just good lines but the right proportions to curves and transitions. Something about his knives look very modern, but at the same time, really preserve very classic kind of design influences. I think so. I don't know. It's just I could I could stare at a shark by design knife all day.

Bob DeMarco 5:05
So are you happy with it are your expectations met by this particular knife?

Unknown Speaker 5:09
I'm very impressed because in the mailbox today was also one of the prototypes for his fully custom void XL. He sent a couple of them out to a few different reviewers and so it was my turn to check it out. And the difference between the two Aside from the obvious differences of size and you know, some design touches that needed to be tweaked for the production versus the custom see from some of those differences, these two knives are extremely close. I was very impressed with what react was able to accomplish and this isn't this isn't their first rodeo with Brian Of course they they have gotten used to his design style as well as some of the different unique quirks that he CNC is into his knives and all that, like the detent Yes, exactly. So I was just gonna say that I think that the detent on this void is even closer to the customs that Brian makes out of his own shop than any of the other production collaborations have been so far. And you know, those other ones the evil typhoon and the micro typhoon they were very close you know, so it's just cool to see react continuing to improve on their ability to work with his designs,

Bob DeMarco 6:26
is that reality being offered in a in exotic materials exotic Steel's and such.

Unknown Speaker 6:32
So the only the only real full dress configuration is the knife nuts podcast exclusive. So yeah, I think you had to preorder that a while back but that's still being worked on right now as of this recording, so it should it shouldn't be too much longer, but you know, everything got super delayed in China for understandable reasons, but That's still in production. But that's looking really nice as well. It also features a unique blade shape that wasn't available in the original preorder run this kind of clip point that has the same cutting edge but a different spine than the regular production points that we've been seeing.

Bob DeMarco 7:16
So it's got a little bit more of a buoy shape from the opening hold down to the

Eugene Kwon 7:20
kind of this aggressive clip towards the front. It really gives it kind of a mean look, I like it a lot.

Bob DeMarco 7:26
So is this a frequent thing makers sending you their prototypes? The last video I saw of yours was the bureau engineering knife. And that also was a prototype. Yeah. So how does that how does that work in and do you feel like you have an impact on what on the final product?

Unknown Speaker 7:46
I honestly speaking I'm kind of surprised that makers are willing to send me prototypes, just because my channel isn't the biggest channel out there and I don't have the flashiest videos but Whenever I ask or sometimes I am approached. People do respond positively. And they say, yeah, sure, I'd love to send out a prototype to you or anything like that. So, yeah, it kind of does surprise me. But the way that I kind of approach things is if I'm following someone on Instagram, and I see that they're coming out with a new design, if they have some prototypes ready, I just asked if there's like a list to be put on for pass around. And most of the time people just want more buzz around their knife. So they're willing to say yes, but there are a few makers who will actually reach out to me and just say, Hey, why don't you take a look at this, let me know. But about two thirds of the makers that I and designers that I've done, kind of prototype previewing for they've also got on the phone with me or or talked with me through DMS and stuff like that about things that I think they should change for the design. I do feel like I have an impact but more as a core Member not as like a soloist. So a lot of times, I'm just giving my opinion. And I discovered that. Yeah, two other reviewers or or three other Instagram, influencers, whatever you might want to call them. They had the same perspective, same idea. And so it just ends up confirming to the maker. Yeah, this is definitely something that needs to be changed. Yeah. So I think I'm more of a chorus member than a soloist. But yeah,

Bob DeMarco 9:25
yeah, a specialized chorus, though. I mean, you know, there, people are not going to send out their prototypes just to people because they have numbers, they're going to make sure that this person is looking for the right things, and that this person has the right temperament to review their knife before it's ready for Showtime.

Unknown Speaker 9:42
I guess that's true. That's true. Yeah. Because you don't want to send a prototype to someone who might be known for just totally tearing down products for the fun of it. And

Bob DeMarco 9:53
also, just singing the praises of everything all the time. Oh, my God, this is so cool. Right. So cool.

Eugene Kwon 9:58
Yeah, it's not very constructive. At that point Yeah, yeah,

Bob DeMarco 10:01
exactly. So I was weren't you're out on the west coast, correct? I am. Okay. So what is it like out there to be a knife lover where all these amazing knives are made, but there are a lot of crazy knife laws.

Unknown Speaker 10:15
Yeah. So, you know, the interesting thing about California is that, even though there's a pretty strong stigma against guns and gun ownership, and there are a couple of restrictive knife laws, for example, according to my understanding, this is not legal advice. Of course, no one should take it this way. But according to my understanding, any balisong or switchblade slash automatic with a blade of over two inches in length cannot be carried in public. There are a couple of laws like that. And then depending on what municipality you're in, like if you're in LA, I think things change a little bit more, but actually up here in Northern California in the Bay Area. Not only are the laws a little bit less restrictive, but even the Law enforcement officers that I've talked with and, and been fortunate enough to interact with, they've all been very just open to say, you know, use your common sense kind of thing. So even though it would seem like California is a very restrictive place with regard to knives, I haven't found it to be the case that carrying has gotten me into any kind of trouble or too many hang ups with that. Really, the big thing is I just can't carry some models that I really like. In addition, I actually recently got on board with the Bay Area knife collectors Association. And it's got members like Jim Oh young, some other reviewers like therapeutic edge and women carry knives, you know, a bunch of other Bay Area locals gathering together once a month and sometimes even between meetings for dinner and stuff. That's been a lot of fun. So through that, I've been able to meet a dozen two dozen other fellow knife nuts within the immediate vicinity. So that's actually been Quite a lot of fun.

Bob DeMarco 12:01
So, do you think the knife laws are the restrictions or kind of has that informed what you prefer to collect now and I want to find out a little bit about your collection. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:15
So my collection it, I would say that it has had some influence because I've just gotten to the point where I want to collect knives that I can carry and enjoy throughout the day, you know, I used to collect just everything possible, like I wanted just to taste a little bit of everything everywhere. So I had a bunch of autos I couldn't carry had a bunch of other knives that just wouldn't be practical to have on me. But I liked having them because I just wanted to see and try and understand what would make someone want one knife like this or what would draw someone to a design like this. And so it was more of a kind of an exploration. But at this point in my collecting with a second baby on the way, I've had to be a little bit more frugal. And so now my knives have to do double duty. They have to be interesting to me, but also carry herbal and usable at my workplace. So,

Bob DeMarco 13:16
right, right, well, best wishes. Oh, thank you.

Unknown Speaker 13:18
Yeah, yeah, I'm trying to see if they'll let me cut the cord with one of my they didn't let me last time. Well, what would it be? Ooh, what would it be? It would probably be my konak areas right now. Yeah, that's the first one that comes to mind. Although there's a couple others that would definitely make the cut. No pun intended. Yeah, yeah, that's the one that is kind of freshest on my mind, because it was my most recent big addition to my collection. I ended up getting one of the first batch Gen four style 50 sevens. So it's like, I think a batch of 20 of them and I got number 12. So that was a really Big addition to my collection what what distinguishes style 57. So style 57 has its own unique milling pattern on the show scale as well as the lock scale. They have used that pattern on other non style 57 knives I believe. But the style 57 has evolved into its own kind of tour de force of what Kony can do in terms of fit and finish and milling operations at a larger scale. So a style 57 won't be quite as fancy or as nice as a full custom that Bill konak hand walks through the whole shop, but it definitely is I think the top of what the company is able to do at again a larger scale like 20 3040 knives or so but this batch happened to be just 20 the I have yet to have konak areas myself and

Bob DeMarco 15:00
I was trying to make myself not like it so that I wouldn't, so that I wouldn't have to get it but people keep, it just keeps coming back up. So how do you decide what to what to keep? You know, tell me, tell me what you decide to keep and how you decide what to review. It doesn't seem like your channel like you're just grabbing anything that's coming by for content, you really seem to have a taste and a through line. What is that?

Unknown Speaker 15:30
I would say that what I review is a little bit different from what I end up seeking out to keep for myself. So maybe I'll start with what I review. My criteria is actually pretty simple, at least simple to describe, but maybe not always easy to to achieve maybe. But for me if a knife has at least one strong characterizing feature that I find makes it stand out from a group, then I'll be interested in reviewing it, it doesn't have to be a great EDC knife, it doesn't have to be like the fanciest materials, it doesn't have to be just kind of, I guess perfect in every way. But if there's something unique about it, that that's something I want to explore, because, again, kind of going back to what I had mentioned before, what what got me really into collecting was these little things that would be different between one knife and another and it would just make me wonder why why make that choice? Or why make that change? You know, why go down that path as opposed to the other path? You know, why a drop point versus a sheep's foot, you know, why a side opening auto versus a out the front those kind of choices. I mean, I think we we make them just very instinctively, intuitively subconsciously. But it's interesting to me why someone would want to go with one choice versus another and that usually is enough of a hook to get me to Request a knife to review or or even buy one so that I can review it and try to understand it. I think a good example of this was, well maybe the unex stream example of this was I don't know if you remember this knife but it was a it was a one made by wee knife coast called the double helix.

Bob DeMarco 17:15
Yes, I do remember that.

Eugene Kwon 17:17
Yeah. Kind of a quirky odd closing.

Bob DeMarco 17:19
Odd lock.

Unknown Speaker 17:21
Yeah, yeah, it had those exposed titanium cold coil springs on the outside of the handle of steampunk. Almost, but browsable steampunk. Yes, exactly. Yeah, something like that. doesn't strike me as a very practical everyday carry, you know, it's not a knife that you're going to want to be relying on if you were in a real emergency situation or something. But it's a very interesting knife to me just because of that opening and closing mechanism. And that was enough for me to go out and put down the money and and get it in to see if I can possibly understand it. I ended I'm not keeping it. So maybe that says something about what he decided to keep. But I was willing to take the bath that I did on that just to try and understand what the knife is about.

Bob DeMarco 18:09
Well, it seems like you have two series you have dashboard review on your YouTube channel that is you have dashboard reviews, and you have Are we there yet? And it seems like are we there yet? Which is a great that well explain what are we there yet is and tell us a little bit about that?

Unknown Speaker 18:28
Yeah, sure. So I think the dashboard reviews are pretty self explanatory. I just review knives in my car. kind of a weird setup but the Are we there yet is is just kind of a play on that whole road trip mentality of hoping to get to a destination and and seeing if it was worth the drive. And that plays into the whole idea of checking out a prototype of a knife, you know, so the knives had a cover in that series of videos is are all prototypes or knives that are in early pre production stage. And so the idea of the knife is there the thing that's supposed to You know, be its major hook, it should already be present. But it might have fit and finish issues, it might have some other kind of geometry issues, engineering issues. But I'm willing to look past all that to see if I can understand the idea behind a knife. And if I can, then hopefully I can convey that and help other people decide whether it's enough of a good idea to get them to preorder the knife.

Bob DeMarco 19:23
Yeah, I mean, that seems like an especially useful tool to not only the buyer but but the maker too, because, you know, if they're not responsive, if they're not listening to what people are saying it will show, you know, in very concrete terms,

Unknown Speaker 19:39
it's very much and in the commenters and on YouTube, they're not shy at all about letting people know what they think so

Bob DeMarco 19:46
you had one recently and I can't remember the name of it, maybe you'll you'll pick up on it. It was it was a dramatic tanto blackened read the Necro Yes,

Unknown Speaker 19:57
yeah, dramatic arcane design. You

Bob DeMarco 20:00
Is that thing I have one major design gripe with it, but that is a cool knife but definitely not for everyone.

Eugene Kwon 20:09
Right, exactly.

Bob DeMarco 20:11
So I'm the guy that Neckronot it I could see how it's a polarizing design first of all it's a tanto and a lot of people a don't like them or are somehow convinced that they're not good EDC blades. I think they are I just think maybe for maybe for different applications or what have you. I think they're, I think they're probably good out in the outdoors too. But who knows, I'm not an outdoorsman.

Unknown Speaker 20:35
Yeah, I was surprised about about that knife and how much I enjoyed it really. I think one of the big things for me, is just because during my day job, I'm just breaking down so much cardboard. I need a knife to be able to slice and typically titles don't really offer that but I think the ratio of the forward section to the rear section of the Tonto I mentioned This in the video. It's about a 5050 ratio. And so that ended up kind of approximating the the curvature of a typical drop point for me. So as I was cutting through, I was actually surprising myself by how easily it was going. I do think that design is is a bit polarizing it if you look at it, it looks like a knife that should be in a video game. Yeah. It even has that kind of aesthetic to it. Right? The coloration? Yes, exactly.

Bob DeMarco 21:26
Yeah. So my eye actually was was, you know, when I saw it in the thumbnail, I was like, God, what is that? And I really I fell for it pretty quickly. Except I didn't like the big the big lock bar thing over by the pivot. I thought that was a little Oh, sure. A little clunky, but at the same time, this is prototype phase it

Eugene Kwon 21:47
right. It's

Bob DeMarco 21:48
something different but it also reminds me a little bit of the same proportions of the, of the Lee Williams flipper that you did recently. Actually, you know that it looks like the hit satsu Oh, that Oh, the the Christopher

Eugene Kwon 22:04
Christopher will right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bob DeMarco 22:06
Yeah. Yeah, that same sort of long drawn out tanto

Unknown Speaker 22:10
Right. Right. Both of those knives were interesting to me because I did want to kind of test that idea can a tanto can an aggressive Tonto or a dramatic Tonto, as you put it really be useful day to day. And yeah, I do think that the Necronomicon was surprising and its usefulness. The his the it wasn't the Hisashi but it was similar to the CR Katie Hassan su is the OCF the OC f 002. That one, I found that once I kind of corrected the edge bevel that came on it from factory it also performed very, very nice. I I love carrying that knife. It's just a lot of fun. It's kind of a typical for me. Because I don't typically carry such aggressive. But yeah, I still really like using that. And man, it's super tough towards the tip. That's one of the things that I love about tantos. You don't feel any of that hesitation going in there. And just digging into something with that tip. I want to find out what your criteria are for your breakdown of a knife for how you judge a knife. Whether or not it's to your tastes, what are some of the things that it absolutely must achieve? For you to you know, I think this is ugly, but if you like the design, this is a stellar knife. What are those details? Hmm. So I feel like this is something that I'm still in the process of discovering for myself. In that earlier stage I told you about where I was just kind of buying anything that caught my eye and just was even remotely interesting. I think that was just a lot of me, kind of getting the sense and lay of the land but I would say that I'm at a point now where I'm actually just beginning to settle in on what I personally like or don't like, for a knife, generally, as I think back on, on the knives I've reviewed and enjoyed. I think the lines need to make aesthetic sense to me. I do feel like you know, as much as I appreciate spider COEs philosophy of designing knives in the dark, you know, for economics, necessarily more than appearance, as much as I appreciate that. And you know, Spyderco was like my first love one of my first major crushes in the knife world. As much as that is true, I do feel like a knife needs to have some visual balance to me. I want to be able to say that I know what the designer was, like had in his mind with what he's doing with this line or that line or this transition. Why is he placing it here? Why is she directing the curve this way or to this degree, I want to be able to get a sense for that even if I'm wrong. I want there. To be at least some sense of cohesion to my eye. I know that's a very kind of subjective thing to say. But that's a big important thing to me. And actually the NEC or not is a good example of that. Even though the lines are not lines I would have personally drawn. The design itself is very cohesive,

Bob DeMarco 25:18
Got an internal logic.

Unknown Speaker 25:20
Yes, exactly. And I like that I like that consistency about it. I do also feel like I'm just naturally drawn if I'm going to be get a little bit more specific. I'm naturally drawn to clip points and drop points. And I think that comes from the more practical side of things. I'm finding that again, as I'm trying to balance you know, the needs of my family and my own hobbies. I need my knives to do that double duty I need them to be attractive to me, but they also need to work well. And I just find that clip points and drop points tend to do that better than other more wild kind of compound grinds or, etc. You know, yeah. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco 26:00
Oh, it's so useful up at the front for this job and so useful back towards the back of this job. It's a multi tool.

Eugene Kwon 26:07
Yeah, exactly.

Bob DeMarco 26:10
So, blade centering lock stick, bad clips are there. What are the things that really really stick in your craw make you want to send it back?

Unknown Speaker 26:21
Ooh, yeah. Well lock stick is a major thing. And I have run into that with a few of my knives I think more and more. The whole lock bar assembly thing I think is just really fraught, because you have on one hand, companies are trying to make their knives very safe. But then on the other hand, you have a consumer base that really wants that kind of drop free, free dropping action, you know that that's supposed to speak to a certain level of quality right? And I totally get that I totally get the thrill of having a knife just getting shut because of how smooth it is and everything. But I feel like that tension between both sides has worked resulted in knives that, yeah, just either don't lock up very safely, or just aren't very fun to use. And so, yeah, I have encountered strange lock bars lock stick as well as lock bar engagement, that's Gosh, less than the thickness of my hair, stuff like that just really drives me nuts. I want a knife to be reliable. I don't need it to have the strongest luck in the world by I want it to do a consistent job at what it's supposed to do. So that kind of stuff does bother me blade centering is at this point in the game. I feel like especially when you look at what the severe V's of the world variable to accomplish. You when when you look at what overseas production is able to achieve. I just feel like centering should be a basic expected, like alignment and you're exactly right. Yeah. So I'm not going to drive a car off the lot and say, Well, you know, the keeps drifting to the right I guess that's fine. Right, exactly. And I got to do that at home. Yeah, so that's why I actually don't even address some of those topics in my in my video. I don't necessarily draw attention to it because to me if it's not centered, it's worth mentioning but if it is centered, I mean, you should just expect that you should just expect a centered blade you should just expect a consistent lockup I think that a pocket clips though I'm a lot more lenient on I don't mind tight or, or even, you know, very low pocket clips. That doesn't bother me too much. Even if a decent amount of the knife is exposed, it just doesn't really bug me all that much. I feel like there's pros and cons to having deep carry versus non. I don't even mind tip down To be honest, I know that that's going a little bit against the common grain. But I think that's largely said that on this pie, though, All I know right yeah I get so much flak for that but I'm among my friends but yeah I don't mind tip down because to me I'm willing to just take the couple minutes that it takes to ingrain the muscle memory into your hand there's

Bob DeMarco 29:14
a new alliance design knife that's tipped down I can't remember that just yet. Looking that doesn't look it's not exactly my my thing but it's a It looks like a beautiful little work of work of design art. And it's tipped down and I thought how audacious it's like

Eugene Kwon 29:34
wow it's very bold

Bob DeMarco 29:36
Yeah, they're you know, they're putting themselves in the in the rarefied air of the only two acceptable knives with tip down which to me is the military and the and the SOCOM

Eugene Kwon 29:46
and the SOCOM Of course. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco 29:48
Because I like you know, high speed, low drag, you know, that's kind of my bag.

Eugene Kwon 29:52
There you go.

Bob DeMarco 29:54
So, you mentioned the high end Chinese manufacturers. I'm not sure how long You've been a knife lover, and I guess I should know by now. So maybe you can tell me that too. But what have you seen the injection of these high end? Knife manufacturers from China in particular, in the knife market, what have they done? How would they helped us? What have they done?

Unknown Speaker 30:20
So, I definitely think that these Chinese makers, so I started collecting in about 2013. So it hasn't been all that long. I've always been around pocket knives. I grew up in Indiana. So the Midwest is very comfortable with that sort of thing. But it wasn't until I moved out to California, ironically, that I actually started really getting into knives. But yeah, I guess 2013 was just a little bit before the whole revolution led by the knife CO and re are in some of these others Kaiser and all that. And then of course, the second wave that hit was the introduction of their more budget law. Like civivi, Kaiser Vanguard, you know, these, these lower price brands that still achieved extremely high levels of fit and finish and tolerance and such, I think that was one of the major things that they've done is really put American companies on notice to say that we can achieve this, we can do this at this price point. So kind of either either put up or shut up, and I know that's a little bit harsh, but I feel like there there is an immense pressure coming from, from these Chinese factories for American companies to kind of step up and, and see if they can not necessarily woo back because I don't think they've lost their customers, but to really kind of date their customers again, you know, seduce them a bit more and, and, you know, kind of rekindle that love because it's just so easy for people to say, Well, if this knife has these features and these materials, but it's coming in, yeah, nice. Well, you know, it's hard to argue you know,

Bob DeMarco 31:59
but that I feel like you've seen the reaction from Gerber and from yuck. And from SOG in the last 10 years, definitely saw this year, where they're, they're revamping their designs and adding colors and, you know, adding a little joy, you know? Yes. And and, and not only joy, but also the manual action and things that are being done for way less money. So do you think do you think Alliance and millet and companies like that will sort of pick up the torch over here in the United States and be the the the OEM to the knife stars here? Do you think companies like that will start sprouting up in in competition? Well, you know, you see, we is putting out so many different knives from so many different designers. Right. There's a market for it. So wondering if America will pick up the mantle. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:54
you know, I do think that the Chinese OEMs the factories, you know, and that's really it. What they're aiming to do, right, they're aiming to put out really audacious knife designs with incredibly intricate milling patterns, really high end materials and all that. But the real real purpose behind all of that was just to say, Hey, we can do this for you guys, if you want to give us a design, if you give us your design, we'll make the knife for you. Because they knew that that's where the real money was going to be in the long run, or at least, I think that that's their that was their philosophy. And so, yeah, not only did it kind of wake up some of these big companies, but I think it also clued a lot of designers into the idea that, oh, I don't need to go through this big company in order to get my idea into people's hands. I can work with one of these OEMs and that, in turn, I think will inspire a lot of American companies to say, Hey, we can actually do this too. We have all the machinery and all the skill and and know how to do this and we're local, we're domestic. So yeah, I do think that the future is bright for American OEMs I am very excited to see actually pro tech mom. See if maybe they'll be able to step in and fill some of that void but

Bob DeMarco 34:08
It seems like they already are right you know with it. Yeah. Tough. The tough knives, the new art form slim foot and a number of others.

Unknown Speaker 34:18
Yeah. Ferrum Forge. They ended up doing collaboration. Well, yeah, they feel like MORDAX. Yes. Yeah, yeah. Now, if they can branch out from the button lock, if they can start doing a really great frame lock designs, which I think are just, you know, they've been hot forever. And there's no sign of that slowing down. I think they'll really be able to connect with even more designers and custom makers. But you know, it's just it's just tough because in the US, we have robust labor laws, and we have a lot of things that that go into hiring employees and making sure that you know, they're making a living wage and all that and that's all wonderful. So, is it the easiest thing to jump to maybe not, but I do feel like it's it's an open avenue for at least some companies.

Bob DeMarco 35:06
I remember reading a quote years and years ago, Steven Spielberg saying, you know, in the future, every little girl and boy is going to have a video camera in their pocket and they'll you know, you won't have to go through the studio system to make something brilliant.

Bob DeMarco 35:18
And that that came to mind when I about Brian NATO You know, he here's a guy who's making these incredible knives and doing very well and doing it all out of his garage, you know, that he retrofitted to fit his giant mill. So in a way that's kind of begun to happen in this industry. And and who knows, maybe as tabletop CNC is, you know, become a thing and, and who knows what's going to happen with 3d printing? Maybe everyone's going to be or, you know, maybe it's the sort of thing where you can be producing these things at home.

Unknown Speaker 35:54
Right, right. I think that's a really exciting future. And you do see other companies So we're getting into that like, brown knives out in Seattle as well as a whole blade works, you know, in Iowa and you know there's there's a knife that I'm in the process of reviewing by a father and son team called skiff made blades. And so Steven skiff, I think he might be the son, I might have that incorrect, but I'm still working through my research on it. But this knife so that he, he makes all of the blades and he custom finishes every single one by hand. But then all the handles are CNC by his son. They live a couple of hours apart, they collaborate together, they make sure that these knives come together as one piece and they're just really fantastic knives. I mean, I'm just so blown away by that

Bob DeMarco 36:45
got to check that out. skiff made knives.

Unknown Speaker 36:48
skiff made blades. Yeah, it's Oh, yeah, that's Yeah. And so actually, if you're into collecting or if you ever handle like higher and small batches, Custom frame lock folders, you know, bearing folders, the bearings in them have a very high chance of coming from the skiff workshop. They make some parts as well, that they sell just in bulk like to

Bob DeMarco 37:13
how they came.

Unknown Speaker 37:14
Yeah, yeah, a little bit like that. Yeah, yeah. trm is another great example of some of these smaller companies who are kind of forging their own path. I do think that the side effect of this though, is going to be that there'll be just a lot of as it becomes easier to produce knives, you'll probably get a lot of knives that maybe maybe should have gone through a little bit more of a filtering process. Ah, yeah, you know, yeah, cuz right now the market is just very crowded as it is. But I feel like it's only getting more crowded. And it's getting difficult to keep up with all the new knives that are coming out.

Bob DeMarco 37:51
Yes. And but I also feel like the the knife buying public is growing. And,

Eugene Kwon 37:57
yes, demand is increasing too. Yes. And I

Bob DeMarco 37:59
think That evidence of that, like companies like quiet carry and James brand and knives that I affectionately call hipster knives, you know, like, but but that, you know, they're well made and they're, they're very, very deliberately designed. And the fact that there's a market for that, you know, for people who want those kind of knives and that fits their lifestyle to me just means it's an expanding market. And that's definitely a cool thing. And anything that normalizes the regular carry of knives. You know, not just a knife, but Oh, yeah, I have this for this and that for that and this just for fun, you know? Yeah. Anything that normalizes a good one. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 38:45
yeah. Yeah, there's this knife that I was able to check out called the rently Finch. So rently is a kind of a newish company, but the people who are running it have been in the watch world for a very long Time. And so yeah, they just they just prototyped and then began releasing three models and the Finch is one of them. This little worn cliff is a cute little knife. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. It's a great, you know, small pocket knife. But uh, what really struck me about it was inside the box is this little instruction manual, that not only tells you how to operate the knife, but also gives you like, nine or 10 rules for handling a knife like never hand a knife to someone. Make sure it's close. Right, yeah, cut away from the body, you know, so you're reading this and you're realizing, oh, this is a game that someone who might have been into their watches but now wants to get into some kind of EDC gear, other kind of EDC gear. So it's cool that they're actively pursuing on kind of a virgin market, so to speak.

Bob DeMarco 39:49
Yes yes And kind of from watchmakers, to me, that's, that's a, those are good. bonafides You know, it's like, right, right, right. They know something about precision. They know something about design. What do you what do you see as the future of you know, we've we've gone now these are big bold movements that you know, for me, it was tactical folders. It's always tactical folders for me but you know in terms of the big trends tack and then and then the frame lock titanium frame lock folders and then and then we kind of go into the like slip joint era and, and EDC and I feel like that's kind of where we are. What do you see the future of regular EDC knife carry?

Unknown Speaker 40:39
Hmmm, that's a good question. It reminds me of this quote by Bob loveless that I'm sure you know, knife guys have seen over and over again, but he describes carrying a knife or using a knife as an atavistic experience where you are able to in that moment kind of slough off all the modernity that surrounds you. And go back to your caveman. Yeah, roots, you know, you're basically you and this tool. And I've been thinking about that cool a lot. And I feel like these big trends you're talking about, kind of reflect some, I don't know if this is getting a little bit too abstract, but in my mind, I think that these big trends reflect like the momentary psyche of, of the buying public, you know, so that whole period of being interested in tactical knives, I think that that was there was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of danger and a lot of desire to be prepared in a militaristic kind of way, especially around the early 2000s, late 90s and all that, you know, and so it makes sense that the trends and the tastes started moving in a more tactical direction. When we started seeing the normalization, so to speak of, of knife carrying take place. I think that The buying public especially as it kind of, you know, put some distance between itself and events like 911 you know chronological distance not necessarily emotional but feeling like okay, we're safer now we're okay. economy's good people are getting jobs, things like that people started kind of getting more into the idea of having yeah these everyday carry knives that they can invest a little bit more in and and you start seeing that trend shift a little, this is just how I'm seeing I'm probably incorrect but I

Bob DeMarco 42:30
think you're I think you're dead on that makes that makes total sense to me, but go on.

Unknown Speaker 42:35
And I think right now with with the economic downturn, you know, ever since, like everything started slowing down a bit, and people started being a little bit more frugal with with their money. I think that's why these overseas companies with their less expensive knives have become so popular because it's hit us at the right time. We want to save money, but we still want a quality product, you know, so we're not Going for necessarily the super expensive knives all the time, there's a lot more interest in, you know, these bang for your buck kind of knives, knives that are fantastic in terms of their design, maybe they have some lesson materials, but they're able to bring that design to you in a much lower price point. I feel like that's kind of been really exciting to people these days. But as we, you know, kind of recover from these economic downturns as we, as we start to feel like, you know, we don't have to worry too much about making ends meet the next day. As a society. You know, I feel like we're going to start seeing more of these higher end features in in what used to be only like custom level nice, trickling down into the more attainable price points, you know, so I think one example of this and I would say CVV is a little bit ahead on the curve in this, but they have a few of their models. though they're doing in these rosewood handles and like a Vg 10 core Damascus blade, it's a Chinese Damascus. It's not necessarily the most gorgeous Damascus. But it is a stainless Damascus. And that kind of luxury that used to be associated with four or 567 hundred dollar knives now being pocketable at $75. You know, that's, I feel like we're gonna start seeing more and more of that kind of trickling down of higher end materials. So I feel like a Yeah, just more inexpensive fancy knives are going to start appearing on the horizon. And I don't know how he necessarily personally feel about that. But I feel like that's kind of where it might be going.

Bob DeMarco 44:41
I think you're, I think that makes sense. And I'm glad that I'm glad that I am no longer feeling like I'm the curator of a museum who must have, you know, a sample of each because, you know, my my eye is, you know, attracted to a lot of different things. designs and, and there was a time where I just wanted to have everything and, and luckily and and got a lot of it and I've been selling it off and you know, in epic snuggle bunnies words reducing and refining that's kind of my mission because there's so much out there to tempt you I mean, you know what's 50 bucks for another civivi you know what's that sweet little thing? Yeah, I love the I love the little the chronic right now that's the one that I keep opening up on a page. I'm like, I do not need to spend 50 bucks on a knife. I know I'm not gonna carry because it's too small, but it's so cool.

Eugene Kwon 45:36
I'm totally with you on that. Yeah,

Bob DeMarco 45:38
that's what goes on in mind. So, before we wrap, I like to do a little speed round. And, and you know, kind of kind of shows me the cut of your jib. Let's lets everyone know exactly where you stand on a lot of very, very important issues. And then and then maybe when we're done if you have a knife story, something short funny. Something harrowing something where I've saved the day or, or just a funny story from the office. Okay, first the speed round to get your mind going. Hmm Okay, so it's about 15 questions, one answer word. Okay. Fixed or folder

Eugene Kwon 46:17
folder

Bob DeMarco 46:18
flipper or thumb stud.

Eugene Kwon 46:20
I'm gonna say flipper on this, but it's like 6040

Bob DeMarco 46:23
that's not an answer. No

Eugene Kwon 46:25
flipper.

Bob DeMarco 46:27
washers or bearings.

Eugene Kwon 46:29
Ooh.

Unknown Speaker 46:31
Oh man. Well, bearings. I do prefer bearings.

Bob DeMarco 46:35
Tip up or tip down.

Eugene Kwon 46:39
Okay, like I said, I, I'll take either

Bob DeMarco 46:44
but what do you prefer? You got to

Eugene Kwon 46:45
personally prefer I got I got to pick one.

Eugene Kwon 46:49
Okay, who am I? You know, I'm actually gonna say these days. I like tip down

Bob DeMarco 46:57
I love that. We have renegades on the show. that's cool

Bob DeMarco 47:01
tanto or Bowie

Eugene Kwon 47:03
Bowie

Bob DeMarco 47:04
hallowed ground or flat ground

Eugene Kwon 47:05
hollow all the way

Bob DeMarco 47:07
I agree

Bob DeMarco 47:08
full size or small

Eugene Kwon 47:10
actually full size more into the full size knives.

Bob DeMarco 47:12
gentleman's knife or tactical knife.

Unknown Speaker 47:15
Hmm and this is tough. I know I know the church that I pastor would prefer the gentleman's carry because they don't want to see me preaching with his giant you know? Yeah, but as I prefer the tactical knives I think Yeah.

Bob DeMarco 47:34
Automatic or baileysong

Eugene Kwon 47:36
automatic

Bob DeMarco 47:37
zt or we

Eugene Kwon 47:39
Oh, that's tough.

Bob DeMarco 47:41
Yeah, yeah. By Design.

Eugene Kwon 47:44
Yeah. ZTE are we

Unknown Speaker 47:47
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for ZTE. Yeah, so ZTE, I'm gonna go with ZTE.

Bob DeMarco 47:53
Okay benchmade or Spyderco

Unknown Speaker 47:56
Spyderco in this case.

Bob DeMarco 47:58
Okay, real steel. steel or steel will?

Unknown Speaker 48:02
Oh, hmm. You know, I actually haven't had too much experience with real steel. Um, I have had very good experiences with all the steel wheels, so I'll go steel will,

Bob DeMarco 48:12
okay, milled titanium or spring clip.

Unknown Speaker 48:17
I actually prefer spring clips. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco 48:21
Finger choil or no choil. No oil.

Unknown Speaker 48:24
I if you'd asked me that two years ago, I would have been completely the other way. But yeah, I've changed my mind no choil.

Bob DeMarco 48:32
So do you kind of feel like the handles the handle and the blade is the blade near the twain shall meet?

Eugene Kwon 48:37
Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 48:37
I think so. And, and I feel like, you know, sometimes get that choil really good. You know, like the PM2, for example. You know, the the Manix the manix 2, like they they're designed they're purpose built for you to use that choil or not. So it works in either direction. But there's some times I don't like it when a knife forces me to use a choil

Bob DeMarco 48:59
meeting. I feel mentally appeal. Yeah, yeah. And I don't like watching a hallmark movie. Exactly,

Unknown Speaker 49:03
exactly. Yeah. And I don't like a I don't like when I'm using the handle of a knife and prefer to use a handle but then I have this gaping hole, you know where there should be cutting edge. So yeah, yeah, I've come around on that. Mm hmm.

Bob DeMarco 49:18
All right, so a form or function.

Unknown Speaker 49:21
If I'm being honest, I'm a shallow guy. I like that form.

Eugene Kwon 49:27
look good.

Bob DeMarco 49:29
You know, I, I I'm with you. I'm in that camp. Okay, so desert island knife and this is one knife for the rest of your life

Eugene Kwon 49:39
One knife for the rest of my life.

Bob DeMarco 49:41
Oh, geez. Doesn't mean that you're on a desert island to survive with it. But Sure, sure, sure.

Eugene Kwon 49:46
Huh? Well,

Eugene Kwon 49:50
oh, man, this is tough.

Eugene Kwon 49:53
Gosh,

Bob DeMarco 49:54
I'm going to hold you to it too. And then you have to send me all the rest. Think carefully.

Eugene Kwon 50:00
You know, I'm gonna go with

Unknown Speaker 50:03
with a pretty safe answer. I think that the the one if I had to reduce down to just one knife that I wasn't afraid of using or wasn't afraid of the secondary value or whatever it might be, it would probably be just the Chris Reeve sebenza Yeah, we'll just go for that, you know, interest. Yeah,

Bob DeMarco 50:20
yeah, I like hearing that it because I'm not sure if it would be mine, but it might. But it is, you know, still one of the one of the knives I reached for just for that it's so solid. It's so pleasingly solid and nicely engineered. Yeah. But it's so understating, you know, yes. Compared to a lot of the other stuff.

Unknown Speaker 50:41
timeless knife, it's gonna be Yeah, it's just, it's gonna be the next buck 110 you know, maybe not as as carried, you know, just because the 110 was relatively inexpensive. You've been accounting for inflation, but it's one of those classic designs that will stand the test of time for sure.

Bob DeMarco 50:59
See you saying we're You're not gonna see it in clamshell packaging at all. No.

Eugene Kwon 51:02
Yeah, me. Please, please, no long

Unknown Speaker 51:08
Tim ends up having a kid who just decides to break bad and turn the company.

Bob DeMarco 51:15
Chris Reeve gas station knives inc. So, before we close, Eugene, do you have a knife story you could regale us with?

Unknown Speaker 51:24
Oh, man. Um, you know, the thing is I don't have too many funny knife stories. I just have a lot of really dramatic ones. Oh, yeah. I got into collecting knives actually, because, you know, I'm a pastor during the week. I have a different day job. I work at a surplus store during the day. But for the rest of the week, I I you know, Pastor a small congregation. And so when I first started pastoring, like every week, I just got so many boxes. I had so many boxes I needed to open just because I was ordering books constantly commentaries on Different parts of the Bible are just, you know, helpful guides for people things like that. And so I was just opening box after box with my keys and eventually decided I needed to upgrade into this right. I need to get like a box cutter. So I went onto Amazon and found like a box of 20 cutters for like 10 bucks. And then I saw a car Katie, it was a gram raizel one of the collaborations he'd done for them, but the small one it was the mini gram raizel with ram horn scales. Just this totally um you know, not useful plate. But yeah, I just fell in love with it. So I thought you know, this box of box cutters is 10 bucks this this car Katie is 25 I'm going to splurge and so I bought this knife for $25 I thought wow, this is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a knife. How am I ever going to explain this? stuff? right and so I get this knife and Yeah like the ram horn scale on it was splitting down the middle it was it was just in bad shape out of the box but I love that thing so much and yeah, I mean I I couldn't use it to do anything but it was still I mean in my pocket every day and then one day you know I happened to go go fishing and it ended up getting a little bit of salt water on it and of course just totally corroded up you know that eight cr 13 mo v just really couldn't handle anything. And so I got it home and the clip started falling off and it was my fault I should have known but yeah, it was just in pieces. And I was beside myself I couldn't understand how could a $25 knife be so you know, susceptible to corrosion and all that and of course I I didn't did my research I watched about 200 and nothing fancy videos and then realize oh, like I was Kind of swimming in the shallow end of the pool, you know not to say that it was a bad knife, or that Sarah Katie is a bad company. I'm actually a big fan of Sarah Katie. It's just, I was expecting it to perform beyond its capacity. Right? And that's, that's what kind of got me into researching knives and looking into them. And, and so it's funny because as I got deeper into my job as a pastor, I got deeper into my collecting as as, as a hobbyist, you know, and as an enthusiast and so a lot of my church members started coming up to me like, Is that another knife in your pocket? How many knives do you have? And there'd be there'd be Sundays where I'd be up at the pulpit with like three knives strapped on me somehow. Yeah, I just walked out the house that way. So everyone's like preparing. are you delivering a scary sermon? You know, like, are you you have beef with someone at our country? No, no, no, it's just I'm going crazy over here. Don't worry about me. But yeah.

Bob DeMarco 55:00
I just learned about this amazing thing. And now I'm checking it out.

Eugene Kwon 55:04
Exactly. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco 55:06
So it all started with a Graham raizel crkt

Unknown Speaker 55:09
with a grahman raizal I still have it. It's one of the few knives that I haven't sold or gotten rid of. I did fix the knife, but it turns out that, you know, I picked up some tricks along the way. So the knife works fine. And I understand that it was really my false expectations that were driving my dissatisfaction with it. But still have it love it. Take it out every now and then and play with it.

Bob DeMarco 55:30
So that was your first what was the very most recent knife that you bought?

Unknown Speaker 55:35
Uh, let's see here. So the most recent knife that I purchased, you mean purchased or got delivered? Okay, got delivery? Yeah. Got delivered would be the the sharp by design voide. Yeah, with the damaged steel.

Bob DeMarco 55:49
Okay, so what are you looking forward to being delivered?

Unknown Speaker 55:51
Okay, what am I looking forward to being delivered? So, um, the big delivery that we're working towards is our second baby Theodore. Right, right, of course, of course a big thing. But beyond that, yeah, I'm really just gunning for a skiff made blades, production semi production knife. So I'm not sure, I think I think I've been great greenlit to share this in my YouTube review. So I think I'm pretty sure I can share with you guys here. But if you've been following the company, or even if you haven't, they've, they're planning on announcing a new model at blade show, provided that of course, it doesn't get canceled, but I'm sure they'll figure something out. But around that time, they're planning to announce a new model that's going to be in the 3.25 inch blade length kind of range. And that's just kind of my ideal size. So looking forward to that, given what I've seen from them and the culprit that I have to review right now. I'm just, I'm just assuming that that's going to be an incredible knife. So I'm really Looking forward to that that's kind of on the horizon I would say I do also have a sebenza 31 on pre order now there anything about it and I am gunning for of version four hold Spectre so yeah I got a few things that I'm working towards. Yeah,

Bob DeMarco 57:16
I saw some really cool production pictures of the 31 today Oh yeah. With the micarta natural micarta inlays Yes, yes

Unknown Speaker 57:23
that natural micarta looks fantastic. I have I have a black micarta on pre order that just waiting on So Tim, if you hear this, you know, feel free to speed that up for me

Bob DeMarco 57:35
buddy Yeah, I know he's swamped eugene kwon . Well, we will keep our eyes out for for that review in the in the in the near future. I know you got a lot coming up in the offing, but we will keep our eyes out for your video. Thank you so much for thanks so much for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast was real pleasure to get to meet you and find out behind find out about the man behind those awesome reviews that I can Can't stop watching.

Eugene Kwon 58:01
I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me, man.

Bob DeMarco 58:03
My pleasure.

Announcer 58:04
I got a question or comment called a knife junkies listener line at 724-466-4487.

Jim Person 58:11
And we're back on episode number 92 of the knife junkie podcast and just a articulate well spoken just fascinating interview Bob. I thought with Eugene Kwon.

Bob DeMarco 58:21
Yeah, yeah. And he something about the way he has set up his knife life reminded me a little bit of Jim Cooper, the photographer where, you know, Eugene just keeps getting prototypes and such. One of the my reflections on Jim Cooper's interview is the fact that he set himself up sweetly, he takes great pictures. Therefore, people send them his knives. So he gets to, he gets these conjugal visits with amazing knives for about a week and then he returns them and he can really soak them up without having to buy each one of them to experience them, which is what some of us do, and Jean seems to have set himself up the same way makers in trust him with prototypes and and they really want to hear what he has to say because you know as you mentioned he's he's very thorough in and are are in in articulating the pros and cons of a knife and I love the language he uses and I'm going to try and adopt some of it

Jim Person 59:23
okay that sounds good I look forward to seeing those new and improved Knife Junkie videos

Jim Person 59:29
all right The Knife Junkie dot com slash YouTube that's where you'll find all of Bob's knife reviews and other videos that he does Bob wrapping it up here on the show today find a word from The Knife Junkie.

Bob DeMarco 59:41
Just don't take Dull for an answer please

Jim Person 59:43
always love that one for Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco I'm Jim the knife newbie person. Thanks so much for joining us on the knife junkie podcast.

Announcer 59:52
Thanks for listening to the knife junkie podcast. If you would the show please rate and review it review the podcast calm For show notes for today's episode additional resources and to listen to past episodes visit our website The Knife Junkie calm you can also watch our latest videos on YouTube at The Knife Junkie comm slash YouTube check out some great night photos on The Knife Junkie calm slash Instagram and join our Facebook group but The Knife Junkie comm slash Facebook and if you have a question or comment, email them to Bob at The Knife Junkie comm or call our 24 seven listener line at 724-466-4487 and you may hear your comment or question answered on an upcoming episode of The Knife Junkie podcast

 

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