Evan S. Nicolaides, ESNYX Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 510)

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Evan S. Nicolaides, ESNYX Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 510)

Evan S. Nicolaides of ESNYX Knives joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 510 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Evan S. Nicolaides, ESNYX Knives: The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 510)Evan has been making pocket knives since November 2014, mostly of the slip joint variety. Whether designs original to Nicolaides or reproductions of old Sheffield, England, patterns, Evan strives to make each knife a work of functionally precise art.

Combining aesthetics with utility is part of what drives Evan’s knife-making passion and continues to push the advancement of his craft.

In the game for less than a decade, Nicolaides has racked up an impressive roster of awards, including “Best New Knife Maker” at Blade Show 2019, “Best Custom Slip Joint” at Blade Show West 2022, and the same award in 2023 at Blade Show Texas.

Evan also has original designs made in premium materials by Reate, to include the BeerBuster and BeerBuster Jr, Work Horse and Barracuda.

Find ESNYX Knives online at www.esnyx.com, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/esnyx, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/evan.nicolaides.

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Evan S. Nicolaides of ESNYX Knives, who has been making pocket knives since November 2014, joins Bob on Episode 510 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Share on X


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The Knife Junkie Podcast is the place for knife newbies and knife junkies to learn about knives and knife collecting. Twice per week Bob DeMarco talks knives. Call the Listener Line at 724-466-4487; Visit https://theknifejunkie.com.
©2024, Bob DeMarco
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Announcer [00:00:03]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your host, Bob, the knife junkie DeMarco.

Bob DeMarco [00:00:16]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast. I'm your host, Bob DeMarco. On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with custom pocket knife maker and designer, Evan Nikolaides. Evan, the founder of Esnix Knives, has been making and designing slip joints and traditional folding knives since 2014. In that decade, he's reached an obvious level of mastery in design and build, and that is evident at first glance. His repertoire includes everything from his own unique slip joint patterns to modern takes on old Sheffield patterns, and perhaps most impressive to me is absolutely luxe knife centric multi tools. Bringing things back down to earth, as of recently, the average knife junkie can get one of his, one of Evan's Esnix Knives made by the knowing makers at RIOT. We'll find out how Evan got this place in his career in only 10 years.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:08]:
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Announcer [00:01:36]:
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Bob DeMarco [00:01:44]:
Evan, welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:01:46]:
Hey, Bob. Thanks for having me.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:48]:
It is a pleasure. I've been admiring your work since, I don't know, I I would say since for the last 3 years or so, and, especially your custom work, blows me away. We're gonna talk about all this and more. But, first, I wanna ask you about the name Snyx.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:02:07]:
Yep. So it's kind of a play on my name. If you see the sign right over here, it's Evan s Nicolaides. So, I figured it'd be kinda hard to fit that on a tang of a slip joint, so I stylized it, shortened it a little bit.

Bob DeMarco [00:02:23]:
Alright. That works for me. I I like it. I saw the NY. I was like, does that have anything to do with nah?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:02:29]:

Bob DeMarco [00:02:30]:
Alright. Cool. I like it. Esnix Knives. Well, as I mentioned up front, you've been making pocket knives for about 10 years, according to information on your on your site.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:02:41]:
December 2014, I think I made my first first knife. Yep.

Bob DeMarco [00:02:45]:
Well, tell tell me how you got started. What what gave you the gumption to to jump in?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:02:51]:
So, I was kinda, looking for a hobby when my buddy got me into pocket knives. I was doing some woodwork and, like, whittling and stuff at the time, and I ended up, getting into them through Great Eastern Cutlery Knives. He inter he showed me a, traditional boys knife from GEC, and I fell in love with it. Up to that point, I had really only carried guys for fishing and, you know, some, you know, had one in my trip in my car or something like that, but never didn't usually carry one in my pocket, but that really spoke to me. Ended up doing some research, looking into certainly collecting a little bit and found this old Shell Barlow on, on eBay for, like, $4. I didn't know what I was getting. And when it when I got it, it had this shell of handles on it, so they were hollow. I was like, I bet you I could put some new handles on it.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:03:55]:
Swapped those out. Had a lot of fun doing it. Got involved in blade forums, and posted some pictures of of that knife and a couple others that I've done that to and people really liked it. So I kept doing it and ended up selling modified knives on blade forms, and doing that over and over again. Bought a ton of GECs up and modified them and sold them on blade forums. Got to the point where I was doing absolutely everything on it but making the blade in the spring. You know, soldering my own bolsters, doing mill relieved liners, doing hand grips, finishes on the blades, and everything. And, I figured, you know, may as well.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:04:37]:
So that's when I got into it.

Bob DeMarco [00:04:39]:
That's, that's pretty amazing. I I think of people like Jeff Blaueld and, with tough knives and, and also, Bergvitz knives. He started out that way too. What a great way to get to know, all the the best and worst of the various knives that you're taking apart and really get an idea of how you wanna go forward. What was it about the first, TEC boys knife? I have a couple, one of which is my favorite slip joint period in my collection besides the one my grandpa gave me. What is it about that GEC, that first one that that, made you fall in love? What was it about it?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:05:18]:
I don't know. Up to that point, I hadn't really handled life with what felt like soul. You know what I mean? I had some nice Gabon Ebony and the walk and talk and just the the feel of it, you know, the nice sheepsfoot blade, I it just spoke to me. I don't know. I wasn't I had modern knives, but I wasn't really into them all that much. You know, I just used them as a tool, but that was just like, I don't know. Just spoke to my soul, and I fell in love.

Bob DeMarco [00:05:53]:
Yeah. There there is something about, well, the the connection to the past with slip joints, to me, materials. Because when you mentioned the, the boy's knife, the first GEC I got was a number 15, and it was a farmer boy's knife. And I had a a full size spay blade along the clip point. And the autumn jig bone scale is to me that, like, I could stare at it for days. And that's what drew me in.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:06:25]:
Yep. I've got a a stash of TC Barlow in my in my drawer over there, like, 70 of them or something like that. I love that pattern. Love a barlow. Love a classic knife. It's just there's something to it.

Bob DeMarco [00:06:42]:
Okay. So you've been modding, pocket knives, doing everything except the blades. So decide you're gonna start making blades. How how did how did that work?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:06:52]:
Well, while I was modifying, I mean, I had a full time job. It was, you know, a Bob that just happened to make me some money. And I basically reinvested everything into getting better and better tools. I mean, they they work great. They're harbor freight tools. That first knife I ground was, like, on a 1 by 42 used Craftsman belt grinder. So, so I'd upgraded from the 1 by 30 Arbor Freight. And, yeah, it it just, you know, by that point, I'd gotten comfortable enough doing modifications and everything.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:07:36]:
I felt like I had a good understanding of the geometry of the knife. Come to realize I didn't when it came to designing vital stuff, compared to, I guess, what I've learned over the years. And, yeah, I just, you know, just a growth on on what I love doing.

Bob DeMarco [00:07:56]:
So, you say that once you started designing your own stuff, things that you thought you knew, presented themselves differently. Yeah. How so?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:08:06]:
So, that was a quick learning curve, basically. After those first when I when I told people that I was gonna start making custom knives, I basically took on, like, 10 organs immediately. And, each one of those was a different knife design, and I didn't really know how I was gonna design them. I think I was just scribing them on like, drawing them out on paper and sticking it to steel. Well, I quickly learned that my my geometry was all wrong, all my proportions were all over the place, you know, my pin locations and the size of the tang and how it sat in the knife and all of this needed refinement. That was like a quick lesson. So I started drawing them on the computer, so I could get the idea of how things were gonna sit in different positions. And from there, just, you know, tune things up better and better as I went along.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:09:08]:
But, yeah, that was like, okay. I can't just wing it with this. I need to be able to see how this is gonna look, how these things are gonna fit together, where things are gonna sit in what positions and everything. You know, because if you've got a different angle on the back of your tang when you're designing a knife and, you know, take that into consideration when you're putting it together, you know, you're not gonna have it sit at 90 at the half. It might be sitting at a weird angle, and it doesn't look right. And I wanted it to look right. So, yeah, took that next step into into the design elements of it.

Bob DeMarco [00:09:46]:
So was it those 10 initial orders breathing down your neck that, inspired you to look into CAD? Or

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:09:54]:
No. I I I still haven't I still don't work on CAD. I actually got this program called, SketchUp, and one of the one of the programs in it is called layout. So it's it lets me draw on 2 d and rotate off a set point, and that's pretty much all I needed. So I could rotate the the blade around the pivot, and that's all I wanted out of the program, and I use it to this day. I'm really fast with it, and I just I haven't taken the time to learn CAD or Fusion 360. I've got I'm staring at it right there. There's Fusion.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:10:34]:
I'm the best Fusion, but I just haven't taken the time.

Bob DeMarco [00:10:37]:
It seems like a slip joint in particular wouldn't require it. Whereas as soon as you start adding a folding lock bar that comes in at some angle, you know, and then now you're dealing with things that are off that 90 degree sort of, format. I could see needing that 3 d, but it's kind of inspirational to hear that, that you are making the stuff you're making and designing it on a relatively simple thing. It, it, you just need to see how to make it, how to put it together, but really it's coming together in your hands or with your hands.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:11:15]:
I mean, I've gotten more advanced in my designs. You know, I'll at first, it was just the profiles with, you know, the the pivot the the holes for the pins. And then, you know, then I'm designing where I'm gonna put the nail nick and the swedge and the plunge line. How I'm gonna lay lay the plunge on out. Then designing shields and, you know, ulcers and making the whole thing look like a finished knife in the drawing, you know, as a 2 d monochromatic drawing, but, to give myself a better idea. And, Yeah. I mean, it's it uses similar aspects, as, you know, AutoCAD, but it's just what I'm used to, and I'm so fast with it that I just I can't stop using it. I I it's like if I if I want you know, I I'd have to take a lot of time to sit there and work through another program to get as efficient as I am with this one.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:12:21]:
It's just like, is it really that worth it for me to do that? Eventually, it will be. I'm just not haven't made, you know, taken that step yet.

Bob DeMarco [00:12:35]:
Well, right now, it's the right tool for the job. If you were, if you were doing CNC milling, which I don't think you I wanna ask you about your process, actually, tell Yeah.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:12:44]:
I don't. Yeah. Because I

Bob DeMarco [00:12:46]:
guess you would need that kind of, you know, ability to program and that kind of thing. But, so tell me about how you make you come up with a design. Now I'm gonna make this knife. We I can't remember speaking to a slip joint maker on the show. Strange as that may, sound though, you know, designers for sure. But tell me how you make a slip joint and how you make a slip joint.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:13:10]:
So, start on the computer, whether it's, you know, coming up with a new design or whatever. I what I what a lot of guys do and what I used to do is I used to print it on adhesive paper, cut it out, and stick it to steel, and then go, cut it out on the band saw. But I got a laser, a fiber laser, about a year and a half ago. And that's been a game changer because I could now laser my patterns straight onto the steel. It's, you know, a permanent mark unless I grind it off. And it lets me, you know, since my guideline's straight from my drawing, I don't have paper that's ungluing and shifting around.

Bob DeMarco [00:13:51]:

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:13:52]:
So then I cut them out, drill the holes, do any, if I need to, surface grinding before heat treatment, cut my nail nicks in so then I've got my blade and my spring ready for heat treatment, take it through the heat treatment process, straighten them out, surface grind them, and then I start working on my liners. So I'll have my liners, which I'll if if it's a prototype pattern, I'll laser that out as well and cut it out. Once I've kinda dialed the pattern in, I will get them water jet because I don't really see the point of standing in front of a band saw for hours and hours and hours just cutting steel. It's kind of, you know, it's not cost effective, where water jet's relatively cheap, and I don't you know, there's not much skill to cutting a band cutting steel on a band saw. Yeah. So, yeah, then I'll I'll, laser my pattern, my liner pattern onto the steel as well. Actually, I've got one. Some examples over here.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:14:57]:
Give me one second. I'll grab one.

Bob DeMarco [00:14:59]:
Sure. One thing I I'm curious about, which we'll we'll, double back to is the heat treatment of the spring and the blade, and are they different?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:15:11]:
About that. Oh, no problem. So this is actually for the exhibition knife that I'm bringing to you at Leiva. Oh, yeah. You can see how that's lasered on there?

Bob DeMarco [00:15:27]:

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:15:28]:
I've got lock bars over here. I actually had to buy a bigger lens for my laser in order to to laser this. That's how big this knife is. This is the biggest knife I've ever I'll have ever made, and you can see the size of those.

Bob DeMarco [00:15:48]:
Yeah. This is this is gonna be a cool knife. Yeah. I could I could see the the blade, It it kinda reminds me of a bayonet. It's got that bayonet sort of grind because of that long swedge. I know it's, I know it's, at at it looks like a kind of a take on a classic, spear point.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:16:08]:
Yep. It is. And so it's, it's one of those old Sheffield multi blade knives. Right? So it's an exhibition fishing knife, and it's got a giant spear blade. It's 7 inches closed. Wow. Huge knife. Wow.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:16:25]:
Biggest knife, biggest holding knife I'll have ever I'll have ever made. So it's gonna be fun.

Bob DeMarco [00:16:32]:
So is this, is this a a new pattern that you're trying out, or is this a commission? Or I I don't even know if you do commissions, but, I mean, is this,

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:16:40]:

Bob DeMarco [00:16:40]:
how did this come about?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:16:41]:
One, I'm just, you know, continuation down my line of making crazy knives that I shouldn't be making.

Bob DeMarco [00:16:49]:
You should be. You should be making all the hang on. Before we move on, there's something I don't wanna forget to ask you, which is, the spring and the blade, you know, you're cutting out of the same piece of steel, but do they get heat treated differently?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:17:00]:
Yes. So there is a different temperature for the spring and the blade. So you're trying to hit different hardnesses for them. For example, with the blade, you might temper it at, 350, 400 degrees, and the spring might be, depending on the steel, you know, 1100, 11.50, something like that. And, yeah. There's also I've got liquid nitrogen over there for cryo treating, that helps continue the conversion, through the heat treatment process and, refine the, what's it, convert the austenite to morstentite or the other way around. I forget which. And I'm not a metallurgist.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:17:46]:
I just

Bob DeMarco [00:17:46]:
I trust you either way.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:17:49]:
Yeah. And then from there, profile everything, start start working on the timing of blade, which is, you know, the open half and closed position, try to get that as flush as possible. And once I've got that going, I start building the handles. So I've got my 2 liners all if I'm soldering bolsters on, I'll do that. I'm doing a shadow pattern, I'll glue the, the scales on. If I need to process the material, which I do most of the time because I like using vintage, materials with, vintage, my car does and whatnot. Mhmm. I'll I'll mill them down to thickness, glue liners on it, g ten liners if I wanna add some color and then glue them on with the steel or titanium or whatever I'm using, and then get the shape down.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:18:44]:
Right? So that I've got my profile of my handle, and then I'll measure for the shield. So I'll make sure to line that up, try to get that as dead center as I can, take it over to my pantograph, which is right there. K. And cut my shield out and cut the pocket for the shield of the handle, drop that in. And at that point, that's usually when I go grind my blade. So, after I've got my handles kind of finished, I'll do the last little bit of the timing for the tang because once you've got the scales on it and you drill them back out, things move just a little bit. So you wanna redo the timing on the tang to make sure that it's perfect. And at that point, I go and grind the blade, hand rub, and put it together.

Bob DeMarco [00:19:38]:
So, is there is there a part of that process where, I think I've heard it called hafting or Yep. Where where you're kind of making everything uniform?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:19:49]:
Yeah. So that's when we, usually right after I put the shield in. So, once the shield's in, if I've gotta do, like, shadow blushing or anything like that, after that, then I go and I shape the handle. And depends on how there's a bunch of different ways you could do it. I've done flat and chamfered handles. I've done here's a pretty cool shape to a handle that I've started doing on this nice

Bob DeMarco [00:20:17]:
Is that tortoise shell?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:20:19]:
This is actually bakelite. See that that ridge that goes down it? Wow. Yeah. So that's cool. It just gives it some cool angles to it. Yeah. But this stuff's awesome. Look at that.

Bob DeMarco [00:20:37]:
That is gorgeous. What is this model?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:20:39]:
This is my stingray pattern. Let's see the blade. Oh my goodness.

Bob DeMarco [00:20:45]:
Yeah. I was looking at this one in particular, on your Instagram. Yeah. That that, what do you call that? Is that a wharncliffe or is that a Yeah.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:20:55]:
It's like a modified wharncliffe. Beautiful. Yeah. Thanks. It's got a stop pin in it, which lets me get rid of the tang. You can see that normally there's a tang here with a kick.

Bob DeMarco [00:21:10]:
Mhmm. I'm gonna

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:21:10]:
put a stop pin in it, allowing me to kinda sink that into the frame and get that much more edge out of that.

Bob DeMarco [00:21:19]:
I love how the pivot pin I'm sorry. I just noticed how the pivot pin also follows that arc, the whole thing. Man, that is that is something odd.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:21:28]:
That shield does as well. Goes all the way down.

Bob DeMarco [00:21:33]:
So bakelite is a is a form of old micarta? What is bakelite again?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:21:41]:
It's like, like the original plastic, I guess. It's pretty tough stuff though. So I was pleasantly surprised when I started working with it how durable it is, and, I thought it was gonna be you know, start, like, melting and burning when I was using it. That wasn't the case at all. It's pretty tough stuff, holds its shape really well. It doesn't move all over the place when you're working with it, and, it's it they've held up. The ones that I've put together, I think the last the first one I made was for Blade last year. And as far as I know, that's held up well.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:22:25]:
I know another one's held up.

Bob DeMarco [00:22:27]:
It seems to take a real nice polish too.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:22:30]:
Oh, beautiful polish. It finishes really nicely, and it doesn't scratch up as easily as you'd think either. So it's I've been pleasantly surprised by it.

Bob DeMarco [00:22:40]:
So when you're you're a, custom slipjoint knife maker who does multi bladed, knives. And, and I wanna, I wanna talk about the, your, your multi tools. But first, just in terms of making a slip joint that has, say, 2 blades or 3 blades, does that present, I saw a beautiful congress style or it looked kinda like a Congress, on your on your, Instagram and made me wonder, does having another spring in there and having, another, group of tools change the calculus make it a lot

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:23:17]:
more difficult? Oh, yeah. One thing that Tony Bo has always said was that if you start getting bored, add another blade. Yeah. I like that. It just completely complicates everything. Once you start have to once you start having to crank blades to get them out of the way, offset grind things to make sure that everything clears, it it adds a total totally new element. And, you know, 2 blades on the same spring have to clear each other. Yeah.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:23:53]:
It's it's a lot more complicated.

Bob DeMarco [00:23:55]:
That sort of grinding is very, it's amazing to me, or I don't know if it's grinding, but that sort of blade design where you're making one that kinda cants off one way and one Yep. And then they nestle in there. That's, so do you do all that kind of, planning also in, that in, SketchUp?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:24:15]:
Well, I I'm I'm just looking at it from the profile. Right? But I know how I'm gonna crank them over depending on what kind of knife I'm doing. Say it's like a cattle knife, which is a 3 blade, similar to a Stockman, but the blades aren't in front of the master blade instead of behind it. That just adds another element of complexity to it because you've gotta make sure you can access all of the nail dicks, from the DeMarco side, which would be the the front side or show side of the knife. You just need to know how much you're gonna shrink

Bob DeMarco [00:24:51]:
it over and then you've gotta take into consideration the thickness of the plate stock, the thickness of the center liner, and then kind of figure out where you want it to sit in the frame so that it's not gonna hit either of the blades around it. So did you, embark on making multi bladed or at least 2 bladed knives because you got bored or felt like you kind of had, mastered the single blade and or is that the kind of knife that you've always loved and couldn't wait to make?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:25:27]:
Yeah. I I I did it because I didn't know better.

Bob DeMarco [00:25:31]:
Fantastic. Didn't

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:25:32]:
didn't know that I had no business making a split back Whittler for my, you know, 20 something it's knife. I I didn't know. Because I just love those knives. I I love, multiplated knife. You know, I used to carry them all the time. They're just the the, complexity of them fascinates me. And, the the history behind the tooth is really cool, and, like, the the very deliberate purpose to the knives, and that that becomes even more interesting when you start looking at the super complex Sheffield exhibition knives and stuff like that and what they were doing with these knives 150 years ago, 200 years ago, making these extremely complicated knives with, you know, on stone water wheels by candlelight, basically. It's Jeez.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:26:29]:
Nuts. What

Bob DeMarco [00:26:31]:
what were what were they making? What how did these multi plated, knives originate, and what were they for?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:26:37]:
Well, they had a lot of different purposes. Like, for example, the one that I'm working on for the show, I've got an example of a smaller one here. This is a, exhibition fishing knife. So this you've got a locking main blade on it. Mhmm. And you've got 2 tools here. So you've got a this is basically a saw, but it's a descaler with a hook remover and then a pin blade here. So this alone is like a lock back whittler basically, which is already complicated.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:27:16]:
And then on the back, you have a corkscrew and a leather punch and then a flat head. Wow. And then, just for fun, on this side you've got toothpick, tweezers, and over here, under the scale, a set of scissors.

Bob DeMarco [00:27:41]:
Get out of here. That is so cool. Who made this?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:27:44]:
This is, Wasserhold. George Wasserhold. Sheffield, England, probably really early 1900.

Bob DeMarco [00:27:54]:
Wow. It's in looks like it's in amazing shape.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:27:57]:
It's in great shape. I was really lucky to find this example, for me to be able to check it out and kind of model the one that I'm building off of that.

Bob DeMarco [00:28:08]:
You called it an exhibition fish knife. That what does that mean by exhibition?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:28:13]:
I think that's just what the well, it comes at a it, I found it in the Sheffield exhibition knives book. Which is I mean, sent me down this rabbit hole, that's just I love I love making these things, but it's just like sent me down this path, this trajectory that I can't pull myself away from because I love doing it. Yeah. Yeah. They're they're just fascinating knives. But, yeah, I've I've kind of been combing through there over the last few years. Like, one of these days, I'm gonna have to make this night. I'm gonna have to make this night.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:28:54]:
And took the plunge for I think it was for Blade West 22. That's when I made the first knife I wanted to out of that book, and I've kinda picked one from there for each show I've gone to since then. And now I'm starting to design some, of my own designs based off of, you know, those old Sheffield knives. So there was one that I made for arts and metal show. Oh, let's see. This is based on my stingray pattern. Yeah. And I called it the stingray sportsman.

Bob DeMarco [00:29:34]:
So this has a corkscrew, an awl, a, fingernail, file and tool, a little Yeah. Wharncliffe.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:29:42]:
Yeah. It's got a little hawksbill, like a manicure blade, the, yeah, leather punch, the corkscrew, and it's hard to tell, but the spring mechanism here is really cool because it's the main spring, it almost acts as a whittler over here. Oh, yeah. Instead of having a center liner, this spring steps down on both sides and acts as the liner for the other two blades. Or all the other 4 blades, actually.

Bob DeMarco [00:30:14]:
Is that an innovation of yours or is that a technique you're borrowing or

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:30:19]:
That's I was pulling a little bit of something out of multiple different knives in that scene. Okay. And kinda putting it all together with my own spit on it.

Bob DeMarco [00:30:28]:
So in innovation, that's that's pretty wild that you're innovating on something so kind of, old and, you know, we we use its, sort of ancestors now, you know, I carry was army knife all the time. This is, this is sort of like the pre that, there there's one on your website, I believe, that, when I saw it, this is the one that really made me, like, really fall in love with your multi bladed kinda knives. It looked like something that would be, in a picnic basket to me, in the 1800 somewhere, you know, with big hats and old clothes and stuff. It just had, that's why I said luxe. To me, it just looked like it because it has an ivory looking knurled kinda little patch on on one of the scales, and it has a corkscrew and all of the things you would need for a very civilized, thing.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:31:26]:
I think that's this one here. So this one would be it's got I've Westinghouse Iverite bicarda, and I it's got checkered handles. So I do this a gun stock checkering on it. This is based off of there's one page in that book. It's got a lot of these sportsmen sportsmen knives. Hey. And I kinda pulled some features from a few of them that I liked and combined it to make this one.

Bob DeMarco [00:31:57]:
So on the backside, I see those 3 tools, projecting out of the same pivot and all a corkscrew, but what's the one in the middle?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:32:04]:
The the one in the middle is called a gimlet. It's kind of like a drill bit. Okay. So you can kind of, like, set a hole in wood. You can kinda drill into it. You could also drill in the leather, and, yeah, it's kind of like a cowboy knife to a degree or just, like, you know, working on a on a forearm, for you to be able to do all sorts of stuff. There's Yeah. One that has just like this, but with a hoof pick that wraps wraps around it.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:32:40]:
That's called a horseman's knife. So this is very similar to that one.

Bob DeMarco [00:32:45]:
Are these regular models that you make or is that No.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:32:49]:
These are one offs. The the One off. Yeah. They take take a while to make, and they only make probably, like, 3 complex knives a year like that.

Bob DeMarco [00:32:59]:
So I'm not asking for me. I'm asking for a friend. But, do you do custom orders, or or is this,

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:33:06]:
not not really. I kinda make things as I like to as I go along. But I am gonna be trying something new with, like, a waiting list for my site where you can sign up for the waiting list, but instead of just, you know, being on the list and being offered whatever the next thing is that I made, I'm gonna break it down by different categories and different patterns, and you'll kinda be able you know, I'll have, like, 5 spots for this pattern, and you can sign up for that specific pattern if you want that, and that'll help me organize it and kinda give anybody signing up, you know, a little, you know, little bit of a customized option for what they want. And I'll offer things like if you want want it to be together and together. I think I'll break it down into those 2 categories for each cabin, but I think that'll be a cool way to do it moving forward. They can probably get open that up late this summer.

Bob DeMarco [00:34:04]:
Yeah. I like I like that idea because it's, or I, I could see how from your perspective, it would be a great way to do it because you can line up line certain things up, like line up a certain amount of customers. Yep. You can, you can kind of guarantee that you're gonna make 5 of these, 5 of these, 5 of these, so you can kinda, organize, your product production that way. And, and also it gives people a little bit more of a chance, to get your work.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:34:32]:
Yeah. To get what they want too. Right? Because the way I've got it set up now with my waiting list, I'll make a knife and then offer it to the next person in line, and what I've been finding is that they're like, oh, I was really hoping for a beer buster, or, oh, I was really hoping for a workhorse or something like that. And I'm like, well, alright. I'll mark down next to your name what pattern you want next time I want you know, next time I make one for the waiting list, I'll offer that up to you and see what you like. And, I think it'll save me a lot of time emailing person after person and then up until somebody comes up that wants that knife, that pattern specifically, you know, and and like you said, it'll help me organize. Like, if I wanna make 5 of this knife for the 5 people on that knife's waiting list I could do that make things easier I think for everybody.

Bob DeMarco [00:35:23]:
That's that's one thing that I always like hearing about how people's, business model evolve, and by people, I mean knife makers. How how they kind of, well, how the business end of things grow. The but, you mentioned the beer buster. That's one of your, probably the first pattern that I was like, what is this? You know, cause I come in and out of slip joint phases. I collect everything And, I'd say like every 2 years I get hot and heavy with slip joints. And, I think the last time is is when I fell in love with the beer buster. Tell me about your, we talked about some of your real exotics here, but what about your, kind of work a day patterns, your stingray? What else do you have? Beer buster and

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:36:08]:
Yeah. The the beer buster was my original, like, my first original design, and I designed it because I didn't wanna have 2 blades on the knife where we, you know, instead of having a cap lifter blade, I wanted to put it in the handle, and I wanted it on a working knife. So I was like, what better knife to put that on than on a on a the sodbuster style knife? So I did that, and people liked it, and they kept making them. And, yeah. Now there's I've got production models on the beer buster junior and on the beer buster, So that's pretty cool.

Bob DeMarco [00:36:42]:
Is is that your most popular model?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:36:46]:
I don't know. On the production knife side, the Workhorse has been the most popular, and that they just did an amazing job with that knife.

Bob DeMarco [00:36:57]:
Alright. Let's talk about that. You say they, you're talking about rehab. Yeah.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:37:00]:
Yeah. Let's see. Oh, excuse me. So this is the prototype. The production lock oh, here. Actually, these are coming out at blade. So I've got the frame lock

Bob DeMarco [00:37:16]:
workhorse. Oh, that is cool.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:37:19]:
So this one, I mean, they they have black DVD. I actually ended up sandblasting it and anodizing it in the MaxLacer, but, yeah. These they did an amazing job with these. The action is incredible and the, the micarta version actually won best in show at Way Texas

Bob DeMarco [00:37:44]:
for the

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:37:44]:
Jack Turner dives. That that was a nice surprise. Congratulations. That's Yeah. Thanks.

Bob DeMarco [00:37:49]:
That's awesome. Well, what what has it been like working with Riyadh? How did that how do you go from laboring on these jewels and then relinquishing your work to a company? How does that work?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:38:05]:
Well, I was, I've been first of all, they've been great to work with. Their quality work is amazing. I didn't really,

Bob DeMarco [00:38:17]:

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:38:19]:
I wasn't really planning on having any knives made in China. Once I saw the quality and the price of them, I was like, that how how could you beat that? They're making knives nicer than some custom guys. You know what I mean? It's Oh, yeah. It's incredible. So I started out with the beer buster junior and I did a short run where'd the big drop at? Say, early 22, like a small batch of them, those did well, and then got some more orders in and they've been kinda rolling through ever since. You know, they take about, like, a year, a year plus, to get an order in. But, yeah. So then we've got more that are coming out here soon.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:39:10]:
Here's here's another one that's dropping next week. This is the tarpon. So this is the next slip joint model coming out.

Bob DeMarco [00:39:20]:
Look at that. So this is a slip joint. If you're listening, it kind of has a what kind how would you describe the handle? Man, that's

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:39:27]:
It's a it's like a curve jack, trapper style, bigger knife. It's about 4 and an eighth inch. Let me check. I think it's 4 and an eighth. 4 and a quarter close. M390 hand rubbed satin blade with a long pull, and a nice cut swedge, integral titanium bolsters, and a checkered g ten handle. So if you've seen my Barracuda, this is like it's big brother. Just really nice checkered g ten, really grippy, nice snappy actions, Beautifully flush.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:40:09]:
They did an amazing job.

Bob DeMarco [00:40:12]:
God. That looks nice. So that that is g ten. Is that green? I I can't quite tell.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:40:16]:
It's gray. It's like Oh,

Bob DeMarco [00:40:17]:
gray. Okay. It looks kind of like the titanium a little bit.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:40:21]:
Yeah. It Yeah. Yep. But it's heated, and they're nice.

Bob DeMarco [00:40:26]:
Let's look at the, the blade real quick. I I I really like this blade. It's seems like a very useful, design. You've got, kind of 2 straight areas. It's almost, got the utility of, an Americanized tanto in kind of a way, because, after the the the belly, there is a belly, so it's not really like that, but you've got 2 straight portions that both seem, really, really, useful. And then you've got the point just dropped a little bit, with that swedge. It looks like you can get into NED. You can pierce anything with this.

Bob DeMarco [00:41:04]:
I I really like the blade design.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:41:06]:
Yeah. Thank you. This is yeah. It's it's a shape I've kinda carried over to a few things. So I've got it on my my beer buster, my workhorse, and on this one that just so weird notes. This was a little bit longer and more slender, the workhorse, and beer buster, a little bit more aggressive. But, yeah, I really like that. It's I call it more of an aggressive drop point, I guess.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:41:34]:
But, you know, as I've been putting them out, people are calling it, like, tanto ish, I guess it is, but it does have that little bit of belly Yeah. That you can do a little bit of work with. I think it I think it's a great all around blade shape.

Bob DeMarco [00:41:51]:
You know something I haven't noticed much of, are clip points. You you don't seem to do many clip points. So am I right? Yeah. I see a lot of straight, like, worn clips, a lot of straight edge. I see, drop points. And then on that one, Stockman that's on, your landing page at your website, it's got, it's got this really cool sheep's foot, on it and a sharp pointy sheepsfoot.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:42:17]:
Yeah. That one's the native blade. So that's based off of, that main blade is based off of Jared Oesner's mated pattern. It's got that santoku style blade, but I do have a clip point design. That one I just finished the other day. Here it is. That's my snook pattern.

Bob DeMarco [00:42:41]:
Oh. What is that handle, first of all, before you open it?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:42:45]:
Roofline jig bone. So some bone I jig and dyed myself. Beautiful.

Bob DeMarco [00:42:52]:
Is that sort of a mahogany color?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:42:55]:
Yeah. It's it's like an amber with Oh, yeah. Amber with some nice dark brown in the recesses. But, yeah, this has got almost a trailing clip.

Bob DeMarco [00:43:09]:
Oh, yeah. That's like a that's exatique. It's a it's got a little bit of a, I don't know, Persian y feel.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:43:17]:
Yeah. A little bit. That is stunning. And this is the second version of it because I put the I saw the stop bin to get that extra blade length.

Bob DeMarco [00:43:29]:
So some of them you use the kick, some of them you use a a stop pin?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:43:34]:
I've actually redesigned them all except for the Barracuda to have to stop them now just because, I mean, you get so much more blade out of it. Like, I I could just do a batang back there. I put my mark on the spine.

Bob DeMarco [00:43:50]:
You know, I I, until this conversation, had never thought about that. I've made the distinction. I've I've, noticed the difference between a modern slip joint using a stop pin and a traditional style slip joint using the kick, but never realized why I just, you know, but the fact that the Tang on a traditional does take up a big chunk of blade length, and you can go all the way to the edge or all the way to the, bolster Yep. If you're using the stop pin.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:44:21]:
I mean, a lot of people that use a stop pin will still have a little tang there, but, the laser is kinda what got me start doing that. And it started with this design too. So I was like, I I really wanted to design the knife based off of the boy's knife with a a a straight edge, and could it get it to work right with the kick because I was worried about over travel and blade wrap. And, so I designed it with a stop pin, and then while I was at it, I just pushed the tang back and got, you know I'd recently gotten a laser, so I was like, I'll put my mark somewhere else. You know, I've got a laser now. I don't need to stamp it on something. And I got, you know, you get like mix of quarter inch of edge. It's great.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:45:14]:
But and you can drop it down in there low and not have to worry about it, the edge hitting the hitting the back spring. It's I mean all around It's not technically, you know, traditional, but I think it's an improvement.

Bob DeMarco [00:45:31]:
Yeah. Yeah. And that to me as a slip joint owner who sometimes spends more than he should on something, you wanna know that when it's closing and you hear it the wax shot, that there's no way that that edge Yeah. You know, because there how many times do you do you check that edge just to make sure that did I hear blade wrap?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:45:50]:

Bob DeMarco [00:45:50]:
Yeah. You're that you totally, divorce yourself from that at that point. I I wanted I wanna ask you about, you mentioned when you started making knives, it was a hobby. You had a day job. It it evolved. You really worked into it through the modding thing. 10 years later, you have a successful knife company. Do you still have your day job? Is this a full time job? How has your business grown to this point?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:46:19]:
Yeah. This is this is what I do know. I've been full time again now for about couple years. I think right around 2 years. And, yeah, before that, I took a 2 year break from summer 2019 to summer of 21, that I got back into it. I was still doing some real estate stuff. I was, doing, like remodeling and, for with investment properties and whatnot. And, got back into knives and made, you know, completely switched over.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:47:03]:
I I I got the bug again. So Well,

Bob DeMarco [00:47:07]:
how would you how would you compare this industry to the industry you left?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:47:13]:
It's totally different. You know, I was doing, I was still working with my hands which was nice, but, there wasn't no. There there is art, I guess, to remodeling a house or something like that, but it's not the same thing. Not even close. This is a lot of fun. Knives are it's a crazy industry. You don't know what direction it's gonna go, especially when you start thinking about the production model side. You have no idea which way the market's gonna go.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:47:44]:
And, you know, you think you you pick something like black micarta, you think it's gonna be a nice neutral always popular thing, and then all of a sudden black light car does not popular anymore. You're like, what? How did that happen? You know? Carbon fibers back in, and then as soon as, you know, if you try to chase it, it's not gonna work for you. Because by the time you get something to market based chasing off a trend, the trend's gonna be gone. It's gonna be in a completely different direction. I think you just gotta do do your own thing. Go the way you wanna go. And if people like your stuff, they're going to like your, you know, that's how, how you do it. If you keep trying to chase the market, you're never going to catch it.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:48:27]:
It's like zigging and zagging. You don't know where it's gonna go. It's very marketable today. I've just found that the best way to do it for myself is just kinda make something that I like and put it out there and, see how people respond to it. And it's up to we've all gotten good reception so far, so I'm pretty happy with it.

Bob DeMarco [00:48:49]:
I I think that, really knives, custom knives really have to be well made. If they're well made, there are enough knife junkies out there. I'll say enough knife. People like me who collect, who, if they like your design and it's well made, I'm not saying you're gonna have a thriving career. I'm not saying you can even do it for a living, but, there will be people to buy your knives if it's well made because, man, I have seen some crazy designs, and I'm like, but this guy's a full time knife maker and, and they're, they are super, super well done. It's just the designs are like, I can't imagine owning 1 myself, but there are people out there who like this design and just knowing that it's well done, is the, is the deal sealer,

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:49:41]:
if you will. Yeah. Exactly. I mean, there's wild stuff out there that, you know, isn't my taste at all, but somebody loves it. You know? Maybe a lot of people love it. And, yeah. But it's kinda like, you know, it's art. You like what you like, and, if you, the the best art comes from yourself.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:50:06]:
You know what I mean? It's it's something that you like. You're not trying to force it. It comes naturally, and you put it out there. And, if it's, you know, if it's done well and designs, somebody's gonna like, you know, not necessarily everybody's gonna like every design, you know? Not every design is good, but it's it's it's I think when it's, comes out naturally, it is a better design. You know, it's it's one from your passion and what you love to do, not something that you're trying to force. You know what I mean? I think it comes out, you know, it's, turns out better in the end.

Bob DeMarco [00:50:52]:
And if you're dealing with production schedules, like, at least a year out, like you were saying with Riyadh, and you're trying to chase the material trends, that that could be tricky. You know?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:51:03]:

Bob DeMarco [00:51:03]:
To by the time your production is is, ready to ship to to the end end line user, you know, those those materials are totally out, man.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:51:12]:
Right. So yeah. And that that's something, more new to me, that I'm starting to figure out. Like, for example, on these, I just really liked the checkering. I love checkering on a handle. I think it's some of the best grip that you can get on a knife handle, and, I don't see it out there too often. It's something I've been doing on my customs for a while and and they were able to check her G10. So, like, alright, let's go for it.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:51:42]:
So we'll see. People have liked them on the Barracunas so far. And, yeah, these are coming out, I think, next week. An aggressive price point too. We're trying to get them up to, like, 265.

Bob DeMarco [00:51:56]:
Oh, nice.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:51:57]:
That would be nice.

Bob DeMarco [00:51:59]:
Is it safe to assume that we're gonna see more, folding, liner locks, frame locks in your future, in the next next future?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:52:11]:
Yeah. Well, I started making my own, modern folders, I call them. First ones I made, I brought to Blake, Texas. So I made my first liner locks with custom ones. And, I've got more on the bench right now that I'm bringing to Atlanta. And I've got a lot of production projects going on. Another one that we're releasing in Atlanta. I'm working with Justin Lundquist.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:52:39]:
We're starting, we started a little company together, Daedalus LifeCo. Oh. And we've come out his father. Yep. Exactly. So we've come out with a little lighter lock, front whisperer.

Bob DeMarco [00:52:54]:
That is sweet. And it's that's got sort of that, trapper style handle. That is beautiful.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:53:02]:
So this is like, modernized, you know, modern traditional style, checkered aluminum handles on it. Oh, I love aluminum.

Bob DeMarco [00:53:14]:
This seems like a match made in heaven. I've never spoken with Justin, but just looking at his designs and, and your designs, and they both have a sleekness and a modernity to them. Yeah. And his reach forward and yours reach backward, I mean, in time Yeah. In a way. It seems like a very good pairing.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:53:36]:
Yeah. And we get along great. And, yeah, we're coming at this one. You know, the the the market's really saturated right now with $300, kind of boutique knives. Yeah. So we're trying to come at it, a little bit more aggressive. You know, we went with aluminum handles instead of titanium, 154cm instead of an m 390 or s90p or something like that and come in the market, at a $150. So Wow.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:54:10]:
That's what we were going for with this. And, yeah, we've got a mill that clint, hidden lanyard pin, a fuller on both sides so you can spidey flick it.

Bob DeMarco [00:54:23]:
So what's it, I mean, you said you guys get along very well, but you both have very strong design styles. What is it like designing a singular item with someone else who has their strong style?

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:54:38]:
Well, I it just came together. We pretty much agreed on everything that we put on the knife. And I was like, what do you think about this? Like, I love it. Alright. What do you think about this? Yes. Okay. Let's do that. Alright.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:54:49]:
What about this? I think that's a great idea. And it kinda just worked together and you can see it's designed in a little bit. You can see some of my design in it. Yeah. But it kinda comes together as a new thing even though we both have that little bit of modern traditional blend in our work Yeah. And in our designs. So I think it works works out great. I'm looking forward to getting these out there in the people's hands and seeing what they think, Seeing the final product and putting it out there in Atlanta, that's gonna be very exciting.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:55:23]:
And then future projects from there.

Bob DeMarco [00:55:26]:
Well, we know, Blade Show is in your immediate future if you're listening to this, as it's, being released. It's actually next week because this will show will be airing June 2nd. June 2nd.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:55:37]:
Did I lose it? Oh, no. I gotta get back to work. Sorry.

Bob DeMarco [00:55:41]:
I should never do that. I caused a little panic there. But, I just wanted to say what's in your further out future? How do you see, you know, as we wrap here, how do you see ESNIC's, in in the far future? Far future? Or, I mean, you know, how do you want this to evolve? I I want to

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:56:05]:
have knives produced here in the US, whether if I open up my own shop and have some CNCs running, to start a US manufacturing company here, or working with somebody, but I want to that's what I wanna do. I wanna produce knives here, super high quality stuff, based on my designs and then also continue making my customs. So, yeah, that's that's I love that. That's where I wanna take it. Whether, you know, whether even if it's just, you know, me and another guy running the CNC and do it kind of like a Mac knife, machine assisted customs. If it's if it's that, that's fine. But if, you know, if I can get a kind of a shop running and putting out good quality work and try to keep it, you know, reasonably priced but, you know, hot top quality, that'd be that'd be ideal. I'd love to

Bob DeMarco [00:57:05]:
do that. I think that's what, people like myself always love to hear because, especially if you're, you know, acquiring a lot of knives, sometimes you just want something from a designer and you need something from the CNC shop. But knowing that you're still working by hand making these, awesome little slip joints and actually awesome large slip joints like that exhibition fish knife you're gonna be bringing to Blade Show, I think we're all gonna be psyched about that. Evan Nicolaitis of Esnick Knives, thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast. It's been a real pleasure.

Evan S. Nicolaides [00:57:40]:
Thank you.

Bob DeMarco [00:57:41]:
Alrighty, sir. Take care.

Announcer [00:57:43]:
Discover the number one reason why the shockwave torch is the most shocking self defense torch ever. The knifejunkie.com/shockwave.

Announcer [00:57:53]:
Ever visit the knives online in the hopes of satisfying your need to possess them in the real world? Then you have a problem. You are a knife junkie.

Bob DeMarco [00:58:02]:
There he goes, ladies and gentlemen. Evelyn Evelyn? Evan Nicolaides of Esnix Knives. Man, do yourself a favor, and if you're going to, to Atlanta, check out his knives, in person. That's he's gonna be one of the first people I visit because I realize I have never, held one in hand. I've just gawked at them online. And also keep your eyes peeled for the many, or or for the growing number of Rihat, models coming out from him. So very exciting, looking forward to that. Be sure to join us next week for another conversation, Thursday night knives on Thursday, and of course, the midweek supplemental.

Bob DeMarco [00:58:41]:
For Jim, working his magic behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying until next time. Don't take dull for an answer.

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SOS Emergency Sleeping Bag
Survival Saw
Wilderness Survival Skills Course
Work Sharp
Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener
“The Essential Skills of Wilderness Survival” Book

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