Kevin Johnson (aka LeftyEDC), YouTube Knife Reviewer and Co-Owner of Divo Knives – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 312)
Kevin Johnson, aka LeftyEDC on YouTube, and also co-founder/owner of Divo Knives, joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 312 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
Kevin has a YouTube channel where he reviews knives and enjoys the knife community. He is a self-proclaimed “Left-handed knife nut and EDC connoisseur!” He had reviewed a few knives designed by Colin Maisonpierre and realized they had similar tastes in knives. He drew up a knife for everyday carry and showed it to Colin. That was the beginning of the Stout and Divo Knives.
Divo Knives contracted the OEM work of QSP to produce the first batch of Stout folders. Divo will bring many more designs to the knife market using the best OEMs available.
Divo Knives is a boutique pocket knife and EDC brand created by two enthusiasts turned designers. And interestingly, the knives in the Divo line will all have beer-themed knives.Kevin Johnson (aka LeftyEDC), YouTube Knife Reviewer and Co-Owner of Divo Knives is my featured guest this week on episode 312 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Not only is he a knife reviewer, but also now co-owner of Divo Knives! Click To Tweet
Kevin Johnson LeftyEDC and Divo Knives
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.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Kevin Johnson of Devo Knives or Kev from Lefty EDC Knife and Gear Review channel on YouTube for a little over a year and a half.
Kev has been offering his take on folding knives and other EDC gear from a lefties perspective.
He's that guy they're talking about in knife review videos when they say sorry lefties.
If the clip doesn't swap to the other side now, this perspective is important to represent.
In the knife review world.
But even more important is a steady supply of ever more savvy knife designs and designers to dream them up.
That's what happened when Kev met Colin and they started Devo Knives.
We'll find out all about the birth of one of the coolest sheepsfoot folders to hit the market.
The Devil Knives Stout and we'll get to know Kev right here.
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Kev welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
How's it going?
It's going great.
Congratulations on the release of Devo Knives's first knife, the stout.
It's come out to a lot of really great reviews.
We're really happy about that.
And, uh, we're excited.
So OK. All right, we're going to.
We're going to dig into the whole process of an enthusiast turning into a knife, company owner and designer.
But first we got to find out a little bit about you.
How did this obsession with knives blossom in you?
That's funny, because when I talked to you about doing this, I was trying to think of an answer to that question because I really don't have a good one like my grandfather didn't.
Have a you know a buck 110 on his hip and taught me how to whittle sticks and whatever my dad's not into knives, nobody in my family really is.
I think I got kind of into the gun hobby or firearm hobby.
When I was like 18 or 19 and I kind of went down that rabbit hole for a while and that led me to YouTube.
That led me to people like nothing fancy and whatever, and that led to knives that led to Nick Shabazz and that kind of blossomed.
The whole knife thing for me and then COVID kind of put it into OverDrive.
So that's kind of you know how I got to being in the knives.
And then yeah, I always had knives, but I didn't start collecting them.
That's a bad word, but that's kind of the term people would use until you know.
A few years ago, four or five.
And then like I said, COVID just, you know it went on sport mode and and you see your output for YouTube just spiked.
Is that what you mean?
I mean like buying.
I didn't have a YouTube channel then.
You know, I just I had like a bug out and I had, I think a ZT oh 450. You know, as of like 2019 something like that.
I had that in like 4 other knives like a Kershaw and whatever and then COVID hit and I don't know.
I guess we people just had a lot of time or and that's when I started.
You know, watching a ton of YouTube and trying different knives and it just kind of like went bananas from there.
Went from 5 to you know 80 in a year.
It's like you know.
And then it's game over.
And then at some point I just decided to start recording it I guess so well.
I have to say I'm a little bit surprised.
Just in that that you're a new collector and we're going to get to A to.
You said collecting is a bad word and we're going to get to that in a second, but I'm surprised that you're very new to it because the design the stout from Devo knives you are.
1/2 of Devo knives and you gave me the opportunity to check out the stout recently.
I just sent it back.
I was just mentioning before we rolled here that was.
Absent minded it would have been cool to have it right in hand as we speak during yeah, but in any case it it seemed to be a very I mentioned up front, a savvy design.
It's got a lot of what lifelong knife nerds want out of a knife, but before we get to any of that, you said collecting that's a bad word.
What do you mean by that?
Because if you looked in this room, I think that might be the term.
Yeah, I don't know.
I just for me.
I just feel like collector means you you have a lot of something I guess right?
So it is accurate.
But like I don't collect like.
Just to have things or like have safe Queens or whatever and I'm really quick to sell things and trade them.
That's kind of how I keep things moving.
You know, that's how I get to review a ton of stuff and handle a ton of stuff.
You know, I'm not made of money.
So you know trading and selling and you know it's almost like.
When I unboxed a knife, it's like in that unboxing.
I have to decide if I'm keeping it.
I don't know why my brain works that way, but it's like I'm thinking about everything I like and don't like about it, and I don't let it sink in like I just have to, you know.
So there's a ton of knives.
That I've unboxed and sold like.
20 minutes later cuts.
So I don't know that's why I say it's a bad word, but it's accurate.
It's just, you know, I wouldn't call myself a collector.
I'd just say I'm an enthusiast or something like that.
But it's all the same.
It's just semantics, right, right?
You know, I I really respect what you said.
Now I would love to be that person that disciplined person.
You open the box.
Even so, me I I will fall in love with the idea of a knife that just so happens I fell in love with the idea of the SOCOM Bravo and I'm very happy.
To have it because I I love the real thing but there's a a real chance with any knife that you get all excited about and then you lay out money for that.
You are just convincing yourself like when you look in the mirror.
You're like you know when did Brad Pitt move into the house?
Oh that's me you know you see what you want to see so I I I do worry about that.
Yeah no I. I do that all the time.
I mean I buy knives.
I'm super excited about and I get them and they just don't work for me or they don't work in general and I'm not the type of person that convinces myself it's good, so I'll just **** on it.
And you know, I'll sell it or trade it.
Or you know, whatever, it depends on the situation, but.
I just had the the new sevi button lock Chevalier that came out the six foot one.
Yeah, yeah, and I was so excited about it.
I don't get super excited about budget knives, but like sometimes I do.
It depends on the knife, right?
And that just looked awesome because I had the one before it, the conspirator and that knife was like really well made and put together and it just it was a drop point and I just thought a sheep's foot would be awesome.
So they announced that I bought two of them.
I was really excited to get them and I just was like super let down.
I was like 2 days ago.
I got him in a box of them and it was just like they just felt like somehow they were half the quality of the.
You know it's the same company making it with the same materials but somehow it just felt lesser.
It was very strange.
So those are both gone, but you know it happens all the time, so I don't know.
It's just weird that we get so excited about something like that.
And then you know it burns your ****.
The opposite happens too.
You know, I get something and it is as good as I think or better.
And then it's you know the opposite effect.
You get the you get the the new knife high off of that you know, yeah yeah.
And oftentimes there's so much pressure.
To like something that you're supposed to like, you know like what if?
What if you got a Roosevelt then you thought it stunk.
You know you you you, you'd be like no, no, I'm wrong about this or or the Konig areas.
No, I'm wrong.
This is a great knife.
I'm the fault.
I am at fault here, you know.
I mean the the the ability to to offload is great, so now the ones that you keep.
What are you looking for for your reviews?
Obviously the ones that that review the best are going to be the ones you're more likely to keep, So what what's the criteria for your reviews?
You know, I like all different stuff, but I like sheepsfoot blades, mostly because.
Like it's hard for me to keep a knife that's not a sheep's foot.
I keep looking over here because my knives are over there, but it's hard for me to keep a knife that's not a sheepsfoot because everything I do.
Requires a sheepsfoot like.
It's just easier with a sheepsfoot blade.
I opened packet like I don't lie to myself right?
I opened packages.
I cut shipping labels out to send packages.
You know I cut open so I pop zip ties.
I do stuff like that.
I cut a little bit of cardboard like you know, I don't skin animals like you know, there's just things I don't do that a drop point or a clip point might be good for for me.
A clip point looks amazing.
I love a Bowie.
But functionally, it's the opposite of what I need because the tip is going up, you know?
So I like a sheepsfoot blade.
Good action, you know I have to have, you know, drop shut most of the time needs to happen and then detents are like my main griping point on knives like it.
Just if I have like kind of a test where I kind of test it to just where the detent breaks and if it deploys all the way and locks up, you're good.
If it doesn't, it just kind of flops out then.
It's not good, even though I know you can just pull the flipper tab harder and it'll flip out.
It just bugs me.
Just one of those things.
So detents are really big for me.
You know the lower on the list honestly is like cutting performance and.
You know, obviously I want the grind to be good and I went the blade to be sharp, but like it doesn't have to be.
You know a TRM Adam Super slicer for me to love it.
So I don't know those would probably be the top things and esthetics.
You know, it's gotta look good too.
I'm a, you know, superficial kind of guy.
Yeah me too like looks are huge.
They do play into it and they can get me to like a knife that's maybe otherwise lacking compared to others.
You know I have plenty of spydercos have 13 spider costs that go mostly ignored even though they're great knives because there are others that that get my my heart racing.
A little bit faster, you know the aesthetics they do, they do matter.
They do matter, so now this is something that becomes evident.
Looking at your knife, the stout.
Now this is I want to find out about how you collaborated to make this thing happen.
But looking at this, it is a. It's an awesome blend of utility and looks because that blade is really good looking with the especially with that swedge and that whole nose portion.
And then it dips into that thumb swell and it's all crowned on the back so it's very comfortable.
And and you're locked in and in two different positions there.
This is a. This is something else so tell.
Tell me about the design.
Tell me about the birth of it and then how it is that you connected with Colin Maison.
Pierre, I think is a man and and and tell me about how that all came to pass.
The the reason you know it's funny.
The reason this kind of exists is because what a my good friend Jake bearded gear did his knife the lift concepts avant.
Obviously, with Ryan rumor and it kind of like inspired me, I guess to know that you know some schmuck on YouTube, could you know, throw his a design together and actually make it happen?
So I just was like you know what, I'm gonna draw a knife.
So I drew a knife on a notepad that looked like absolute poop like a 5 year old drew it and I'm like sending it to a few friends.
I'm like hey what do you think of this right?
I wish I can't see it.
I had it on my Instagram though, but this did not look good on a notepad and.
I sent it to Collin cause I had just reviewed his Kuby royal design.
That came out last year, and that's How I Met Kyle.
I or Colin, sorry, not Kyle.
We just been talking on on Instagram because I had wanted to check this out and he sent me one to review.
I reviewed it and then I sent him that drawing randomly.
And he's like he's like, hey man, I can, you know I can mock that up for you if you want and whatever.
So he did and he's really good at that.
Like he's a graphic designer by trade, so he put it together and it was like 10,000 times better and he put his little touch on it.
And you know he was just like here's a design, you know whatever.
And I was like well.
Now it's yours too, you know.
I mean, he put his, you know.
He put his aesthetic on it and everything, so that's kind of how it just randomly started and then you know we just started contacting OEM's and went off on the project.
That is a lot harder than it sounds going from, you know a piece of paper to an actual knife and selling it.
But it was all just a big learning process.
And then in between we've, you know, worked on a bunch of other designs we have in the works and.
Yes, started a company and and all that good stuff, but it all just started with me thinking I could draw.
So what does the collaboration process look like between two knife enthusiasts?
You you indicated that maybe your your artistic skill wasn't quite what you wanted it to be, and what was it like doing this collaboration?
Yeah, I mean we were.
We work very well together, which is a very good.
You know it.
It depends on the project like on the stout.
I originally drew the design and I sent it to him.
He renders it up in illustrator and then we kind of go from there and just tweak little things and and kind of figure out what we want to do and then ultimately it ends up going to, you know, the manufacturer of the OEM.
They make their changes to make it actually work.
Better and then you know it's a whole back and forth process but.
You know there's some designs where he'll just send me something and be like here's, you know, a design I'm working on and then I'll give him, you know, things to tweak or whatever, and we just kind of work it out back and forth.
It's honestly really easy that part.
I I work for.
I work a lot in a creative, collaborative environment and and it's great when it's going great and then and then when it's not you, you really rely on speaking the same language to get to the bottom of things.
And that's where having two knife enthusiasts.
You know comes in handy.
You can explain and he can explain to you what were your.
What were your design goals and and how did you?
How would you say that they materialized here?
So honestly I just wanted.
I think this is what any.
Designer would tell you on their first design is.
Want the knife that they would want to EDC?
Like that's you know their first knife is always going to be that and then you kind of from there you do like ooh this would be cool or this would be cool to try.
And you know now we have like a slip joint design and you know we're talking about doing a backlog and it's like.
You know it's different than what I would want, you know, but on the first one, it's just kind of like what do I want in a knife and what do I like about other knives?
And you kind of just, you know, put it all into one.
This one is a kungu knives prototype.
This isn't the one that we're going with.
We have QSP, but I don't have one right here.
QSP is doing the final production, but.
You know I wanted a a sheepsfoot blade because I cut shipping labels out all the time and I opened packages honestly.
The kind of thumb swell right here that was.
Initially I put the harpoon on there because I thought it looked cool.
And then I got the prototype in hand.
The 3D printed one and I was like, damn, that's really comfortable and it worked out, you know, but that wasn't by design really.
I guess it was by design.
But you know what I mean.
I obviously wanted the 5050 choil kind of deal, so you got more.
You know, blade length out of it, but you still get a full big, you know, comfortable choil and then we wanted a neutral handle just so it works for everyone you know, especially on a first design, the kind of thought there was, we want to hit as many people as we can, and initially it was a 3 1/2
And once we got the 3D prototype we were like maybe we should dial it down to three and a quarter.
And because it's like the sweet spot, you know?
I mean it is.
It's going to work for most people.
You know there's, I know a lot of people who are like 3.5. Nope, not going that high.
And then I know people who are like 3 inch.
I'm not going there but 383.3 it's like it'll work.
You know, unless they have absolutely enormous hands.
Well, that's a that's a sad realization I've come to recently.
You know, really three and a quarter really is the magic spot I've missed out on so many great knives because I'm a 3 1/2 to 4 inches.
That's right, because you know when I started got collecting folders they were all big and and that's what I kind of got used to.
And then what's all these little small?
But I, I love all designs, but I have to come up constantly with new justifications and not to buy something.
It's 3.2. But for years has been good, but it's it's failing me now.
I've been getting a lot of knives in that size range recently because some of the greatest and most useful designs are right there.
Yeah, I mean when I when I got into knives, you know I was hesitant to even go over three and a quarter 3 inch was kind of this.
The spot like I didn't see a need for three and a half inch blade.
Like you know, working in office like you know, I'm not again, I'm not out like skinning deer or anything like it.
Just need a knife to play with because I think it's cool and open some stuff and when I need a knife I have a knife, right?
But I don't need something huge and it's been the opposite for me where I've sort of branched up, you know and tried bigger things.
I usually end up the things I keep are in that 3:00 to 3:00 and 2:45 and a half.
I have some huge knives but.
You know there's not many that stick around for sure.
You're wearing something obscene company T shirt that JK that's good friend of the channel hero sticks alone that to me a few months back and man that was a knife that I came up with a good excuse.
I'm like you know that I don't like the clip so I don't know.
I'm not going to pursue it.
The clip was not an issue in person and that was the comfiest coziest and a little big knife at 3.25 inches.
The one I had.
What is it?
I guess three and a half 3 1/2 but ohh man it's light.
What a great knife.
It's a great knife.
Yeah I don't have one.
I had like I've had three or four I think, but I've ended up selling the clip to me.
So I'm left handed right and I carry all righty knives back left pocket because I can carry them where the blade is against the seam.
I can grab it with my left hand and it's just kind of worked for me because like halfway through last year.
I had I had gotten a Trevor Burger LXK.
This is a smaller one that urban but and I carried it in my front left pocket.
I still did that and it opened up at one point and I went right in there and it just got me right between the webbing and it went in like 1/4 of an inch or half an inch.
So ever since then I'm like I'm not carrying a righty knife in my front left pocket ever again.
So I carry back left pocket and that clip.
On the J Cape, it's shaped like a lightning bolt.
It's just terrible to get in your your pocket your back pocket.
That's a little bit looser than your front pocket and you know what I mean and you don't have as good control because you're not looking at it.
You're just kind of like shoving the knife in.
So I just had a lot of trouble with that clip and that's why I I've never kept them.
But I kept buying them because it's so cool and it looks great.
The actions great.
The freaking sounds that thing makes.
Are ridiculous, but yeah, but they did make a new clip that doesn't have the shape.
It's like a normal clip with a lightning bolt, sort of like pocket and it still has it, but it's more functional.
I didn't even mind the actual lightning bolt clip when I got it, it was just all all misgivings melted away with that right.
One thing that that the Scout shares with that knife is a hollow grind.
Now hollow grind is my has always been my preference and and and since long before I knew why I I just always used to like the way it looked.
It reminded me of a straight razor.
It had menace, you know, I've been.
I've been into knives since I was less mature than I am now.
And you know that stuff mattered.
And then later I realized wow and they really cut, you know, really, really well.
So how did you decide on a hollow grind and and tell me what your plans are and and and also the blade steel.
Yeah, so the hollow grind.
I just love a hollow grind.
It's kind of born from getting a lot of riat made knives and they do such a good hollow grind that it kind of got me hooked on it and so that's what we wanted and it is.
There's just certain things with Chinese OEM's that.
It's just a battle and hollow grinds is one of them.
There's some OEM's.
It turns out a lot because we've been dealing with like.
Five or seven OEM's at this point with different projects and things.
And you know more than half of them.
It's like you want a hollow grind.
They push back and they want to do a flat grind, and I think it's because they can do a CNC flat grind.
They can just computerize it and have the machine do it and hollow grind.
I think just takes a little more skilled labor that maybe some of them don't have.
So it's just like a battle in with QSP who's doing the production it went from.
You know, we can't do it to, you know we will do it on half the prototypes and then they did it on on.
They accidentally did it only on 2 prototypes and then it was a very shallow hollow grind and just progressively through like four or five months.
I've gone from they can't do a hollow grind to now in final production it's going to be like a nice.
Deeper hollow grind what I want.
You know what I mean?
This one on this prototype is really good.
From from kunwa.
It's kind of hard to see that the hologram.
I don't know how to show you a good angle.
Maybe that's a good angle right there.
The tip a little bit, but it's going to be roughly this deep, which is really good.
The one you checked out the one you're reviewed.
Which by the way, thank you for taking the time to look at it.
That one had the hollow grind, but it's it's shallow so it's gonna be deeper than that, which I think it'll make it slicer.
It'll make it, I think, better for EDC.
It won't be as you know, stout, so to speak, but I think the trade off is.
Positive because again the knife.
It'll do some.
It'll do harder work, but it's meant to just be kind of an everyday carry knife, right?
Right for the for the the purposes you're mentioning, hollow grind is absolutely the way to go.
You're not using this to button through sticks or anything like that.
This is not a survival knife, though it could be.
But but just to have that utility OK, now tell me about.
OK, you mentioned the.
The fact that you use a tip a lot in the kind of work you do and that led to the sheep's foot, tell me this, why not a Warren Cliff?
So first, if I had my my way, I would.
I think I would have done a Hawks bill first, but I just knew it wouldn't sell so we didn't do it.
But a hawksbill is just for me.
It's the perfect play sheet because it's just going to.
It has an excellent just really stout tip that's going to, you know, do everything I need, which again, is basically all tip.
And then you know if you need to pop a zip tire, get behind something you know you can hook it.
With the bill, but if Sheepsfoot is kind of like, you know, second best in terms of that.
And to me, I just think a sheepsfoot looks better than a Warren Cliff, so it's mostly functionally they're to me.
They're pretty much the same.
I mean, you're going to get straighter edge on a warning.
But a sheep's foot just looks better, so I'm in this one.
I I gotta say this one does.
I'm ordinarily way more partial to a worn Cliff, something with more of a point.
This one has a nice point for a sheep's foot.
And yes, yeah, that's a cool one.
Yeah, that's nice.
That is quite a a nice point.
I do like that but but the the addition of the point with the hollow grind it is just 100% good to go and then you you chose 20 CV.
Tell me about that choice.
Yeah, so it's again, I'm pretty, you know, basic guy here, but I just didn't want to do M 390. That was the thought behind it was everybody does M390.
There's M 390 fatigue.
Again thinking what?
What are people going to buy right?
I like M 390. I have no issues with it, but again, it's sort of like people are just bored of it.
20 CV is literally the same composition as M 390, But it's an American steel.
And some people just like it better for some reason, which is odd, but for three it's just not as it's not on as many knives, so we wanted either 20 CB or ELMAX would have been my my preferred steel.
Well, actually my preferred steel would have been Vaxxed, but nobody can get the stuff.
So then it was elmax or 20 CV and they could get 20 CV.
So we went with that.
Well I I like and appreciate your going with 20 CV because it's an American steel and you know you're right.
M 390 is on every that's kind of like a calling card the way a titanium frame lock was a fact.
But also on something like this who's prescribed purpose is everyday carry and use.
I think just like with all, with this kind of knife and smaller knives, I like the Super the harder super steels because they do get more use.
And you know I have a big collection of larger tactical style knives that I prize and they're all wicked sharp.
But you know it's not like I'm out there like I use my cube vagrant more than most other not you know.
So the the the thought of having 20 CV on the stout and having it pretty much good to go all the time and then occasionally you you will you strap it and occasionally touch it up on a route or something like that.
It makes the most sense to me.
Yeah, I mean, as long as it's done well, you know that's another sort of battle with OEM's.
It turns out is heat treat.
Have a fought like a three week battle with QSP on.
Going up one HC like the the recommended from Crucible is 59 to 61 and to me it should be 60 or above right?
Like obviously not something crazy, but what I wanted was like 62 or 63 because that's from my research and like I even talked to Lauren Thomas and like just tried to get information on it and it just seemed like 6263 would be the optimal range.
You get the best out of the edge.
Attention, but you're not getting it too hard to where it becomes brittle or whatever, but the OEM's just they go off the recommendation and I guess somewhere I don't know.
Crucible says if you hit this range this could start happening or I don't know.
So it was just this long battle and I just wanted to get over 60 like I wanted 60 to 62 and just could not get them to budge like they would do it if like ultimately they were like we'll do it.
But we're not gonna be responsible for anything.
So is this where a thin that's kind of sucks to hear?
We're not going to be responsible, but this is this where a thin, hollow grind comes in where they excuse me, were they nervous about making a thin hollow grind and making it harder than prescribed?
I didn't get that response.
I mostly got the steel could start yellowing or tips could break easily and again, we're talking about 118 RC, which they're probably going to end up at the lower end of the range anyway.
So like I just didn't see why, but I'm not going to be there.
Like watching them do it so I just couldn't take the risk you know or we couldn't take the risk and say go ahead and do it and then if anything happens you know now they can just say well it was the heat treat and then you know it's on us.
Yeah so I had to concede so it's 59 to 61. The prototypes were both at the two that were tested were both at 60. Which the the coded one was 59, but you have to deduct an HRC for the coding.
So it was 60. As long as they're 6061, I'm happy with it.
You know, I just I don't know from what I could tell.
If it's like 5758, that's when you're in trouble, right?
And you know, of course, the range is 59 to 61, but I just wanted to kind of knock it up one, but I lost the battle so but I won the hologram battle, so I'm I'm.
I'm betting 500. Hey that that hollow grind, even if it's not as deep as you want.
I know you're going to get it as deep as you want it, but even.
Even if it were, how it is on the prototype right now, it's still better than a flat grind and it's so yeah, it's just it's so nice to cut with.
It is really nice to cut with.
I was surprised how good this night actually got.
I was actually surprised that like how good the knife was in general.
I know it sounds kind of weird, but.
I've never designed a knife.
I've never you know really had anything like done anything like that before, so it was a very cool experience to do it and then actually get the prototypes in hand and be like.
Damn, it's actually like is good, you know.
I don't mean that like Tooting my own horn type of way, I just mean like it was.
I don't know, it was just kind of cool.
Yeah, I know what you mean.
You trumped something up, you put it on paper.
You figured it out with someone else and you made it happen and you're holding it in your hand.
It can now cut stuff and now you're selling them like that's a big deal, especially if you've never done something like that before.
You also another design choice that I absolutely love and this is something that is a sort of a newfound love.
Then the stout helped hammer this home, but bolster locks.
I love bolster locks.
They are everything should be a bolster lot as far as I'm concerned because you can slow roll without worrying.
I fat finger knives all the time.
You can flip if if that had a flipper which it does not, but if it had a flipper it would be no problem.
Same thing with the with using just the thumb on a slow roll or just flicking it in there which is not the most comfortable for me.
But you can still do it because it's a bolster lock.
Is that why you chose that?
So we chose the bolster lock because I'm left handed and again.
To me, a knife needs to just operate, so one of my things that we were talking earlier about what I what I want in a knife when I review it, or what I keep and a lot of it is, can I pick the knife up and operate it without having to do a bunch of adjustment?
Because that's something that bugs me as a left handed person.
Like just a right-handed frame lock, right?
You pick it up and your thumb is right on top of the lock bar.
If you go to Spidey flick, which.
This knife was designed basically to spitefully.
It works with a thumb, but you know we designed it to do this.
And if you did that with a frame lock, it would just get completely locked up, and there's no way you're going to flick it out so a bolster lock just negates that issue, but you still get.
To me I still love A-frame lock.
I just think it's a little sturdier than a liner lock.
I just enjoy the action.
This is going to sound weird but I like having that hit my nail and then drop shut.
I have really jacked up thumbnails because of it, but I enjoy it and you you don't get that with other lock.
Obviously a liner lock but.
You know if it was like an axis lock or backlog, you wouldn't be able to really do that.
So that was kind of the thinking, so lefties can use it.
That's why we also did the reversible clip.
This one I was testing the lynch clip and the Ripps garage tech replacement clips for wire clips for people who don't want a wire clip, you can get a milled clip.
But yeah, we wanted to make it lefty friendly and the bolster lock does that, so that's one of the reasoning there.
I was talking to Brent Smith, Baldman knife and tool.
We were talking about he.
He works on cars for a living and he likes wire clips because he can go in and out of cars, hit the steering wheel, hit the and not gouge them.
And I thought that was a very interesting.
A take on why the the wire clip is so valuable.
I just like them just I just like them right?
But why did you choose them?
I just have found wire clips to be the most functional.
They just work.
They go in pocket really well.
They come out of pocket really well.
I've never had a wire clip that I've been like.
It's too tight or that's too loose.
You know, like why are clips just work well and like you said you bang into something?
It'll do less damage to the thing you're hitting and less damage to the clip.
And the other reason is most of the time, if you see a wire clip, it's reversible.
So to me that meant that somehow it's easier to have a reversible clip when you use a wire clip versus a middle clip.
So I thought it made more sense to do that.
Plus with the wire clip, as long as you do the spacing right, you can get options like this or rips garage tech.
That's literally a milled clip.
You can get timascus ones like.
So people can still fancy up their knife with the milled clip if that's what they really want, but you can't put a wire clip on them.
A knife that has a milled clip.
You know it's kind of like and then you got to design A clip that works with the night.
I don't know.
I think mild clips are good when they're done very well, but it's hard to do them well, and that's another thing.
Again, it's like our first design, I just wanted to get things right and the wire clip is just kind of a safe.
Joyce, if you want to look at it that way.
It's also hard for a user to do anything with a milled clip that isn't perfect.
You know, with a with a with a spring clip, you can bend it a little.
You can take it off.
You can tweak it, but I'd be I'd be hesitant to do that on an expensive milled titanium clip, so let's talk about.
So you you chose QSP as your OEM for the staff, how what?
What was the deciding factor would you say?
So just in general, like in my you know career and everything.
I am very big on communication and it's just really bothers me when you don't get responses or they're delayed or you know just poor communication.
It's such a simple thing, but it's critical, right?
And we did work with two OEM's on prototypes.
Kunnu being one of them and they did it.
You know they did a good job on the knives.
Kenwood did as well.
Lose QSP, I'd say QSP like crushed it and kunwa did good.
You know like I don't have anything.
You know negative really to say about them.
They've been fine.
We're actually working with them on something else.
But QSP was like.
You send them an email, you get a response that night.
Now they're in China, so it's always gonna be kind of an overnight thing if you catch them at the right time.
You can kind of go back and forth a little bit, but usually it's like I shoot off an email.
They respond to me at 3:00 AM and then I shoot up an email.
Then they respond so it can be a little frustrating going back and forth on small details like I'm just trying to explain this one thing like hey, there's a sharp corner here, right?
And I want it to be chamfered in production.
That could take me 3 days just to get that squared away, you know, so it's just kind of like stretches everything out.
You're not just like on a phone call or text messaging back and forth where you can, just, you know, go back and forth and figure things out.
It's a kind of a process.
And having quick and just good communication.
It makes that so much better now if you look at OEM's like QSP or best tech or you know riat, you could throw in there.
They cost more right?
You're paying more for the knives, but this is kind of what you get with that.
You get a higher level of service.
You know the product is also fantastic.
But to me I I'd rather pay more and get.
Excellent communication, then pay way less and not get that that yeah you'd be biting your nails the whole time.
This is already a nerve wracking.
Venture, I would imagine not inexpensive, I'm sure.
So tell me about how this talk a little bit about how you, once you you decide.
OK, this is the OEM for us.
They're going to produce it for for the cost we want and all this.
How do you go about the the pre-order and that whole thing?
Tell us how you released the knife to the world so.
We made sure we got as many prototypes as we could afford, right?
So we ordered four, which again first knife me and Colin are paying everything out of pocket for this right.
Trying to make this happen.
So we paid.
I think like 1200 bucks for four prototypes from QSP.
So we did again.
We used other OEM's for prototypes, but.
We paid 1200 bucks for prototypes.
We wanted to get enough so we could send them around to reviewers like you and I guess myself.
And we got him in first step was are they good?
Because like if they're not good enough for me, I'm not going to sell them.
I'm not going to send them around.
I don't need feedback if I don't.
If I don't think they're good, right?
So that part, if you watch, you can watch my unboxing of the prototypes from QP.
My first time seeing him and I was just like blown away, you know which?
It was one of those moments where I had high.
Expectations and it worked out, you know.
So from there it was.
I'm going to send these out as quick as I can to as many channels as I can.
I went on marketing OverDrive right?
So we got him out to like I don't know, we must have hit like 15 or so 20 channels before the pre-order even hit.
We got them in early March.
We set the pre order for April 9th so we had a month to send them around.
I was trying to keep people to like three or four days with them at that time.
And then we, you know, had to build a website which we already kind of had in the works.
But you know, we started dialing it in.
Then we had to do, you know promotional video, backpack be helped us with a video on that.
I reached out to I had awesome suggestions from viewers.
Actually I had multiple people reach out to me.
One guy said hey, why don't you contact knife news and I was like.
Life news it's not a bad idea, so I reached out tonight news and lo and behold, the guy was interested and we did a sort of interview and he made an article about the stout that posted like the you know, like 5 days before the pre-order I had another guy hit me up and say you should talk to Jim
You know he does reviews pretty quick and he might like it, so I never talked to Jim Skelton.
I reached out to him and he's like yeah, sure he dropped his.
I don't know two days before the pre order or something, so we kind of got lucky a little bit there.
But you know I sent it to everybody.
I could talk to everybody could post it about it a good trillion times.
You know, just went hard and.
Then on April 9th we, you know, open the website up and prayed.
And it went well.
We sold out in like 13 hours.
Yeah, it was like freaking amazing to just have that happen.
I don't know what I was expecting.
I just like our goal was to sell enough to order them and just anything after that was cake, right?
You know, that means we're not making any money like we're actually going to be losing money.
But at least, hey, we get to, you know, make the knives and have it be real.
But you know our expectations kind of got blown out of the water and people loved the knife and ordered it and.
You know, and then we've been making changes along the way so that whole time we were, you know, gathering feedback from reviewers and taking in suggestions and whatever we could do to improve the knife we were going to do, right.
So you know, we knocked down some sharp corners.
We decided to go for the deeper hollow grind kind of fought that battle till we won.
We adjusted the clip to take these replacement clips.
The QSP prototypes didn't.
We updated some spacing on the lock bar.
This one has the lock bar access kind of cut out right here, and the Q SP one didn't have that.
We added that we made some other small changes and that was all just community feedback like it was awesome to get that kind of feedback and there were a lot of those things I hadn't even thought.
Like that the sharp corner up here above the the lock bar.
I had never felt it in my hand, ever, but I had, you know, a couple people mention it and and then I'm kind of feeling the knife and I could see how you could hit that corner, you know?
I I did notice that too, but the only way I noticed it is because I was rubbing every single surface.
I was like man, it's so nice it's not just chamfered, everything is rounded.
If just such a comfortable night and then that was the one little spot and I was like oh and then and then you sent me a text that day saying oh we're going to knock off this one sharp corner and I was like that we're going to go hollower and so so are are you guys headed to Blade show in June and
and what's what are you expecting from that?
So we actually we got a table for Blade show, so we'll be there.
I'm working on getting like the you know, tablecloth and all that stuff made right now, but we won't have any knives to sell because we don't have them yet.
They should be here hopefully in August, but we did send 4 prototypes to the knife motors and we're going to have them pimping out.
And then we'll do something.
Maybe auction them off.
Or now I don't know what we'll do.
We'll do something with them.
Cool so we can.
At least, you know, get a few of them out there and have something at Blade show.
Hopefully we have other prototypes by then.
I don't know, you know, it's a month away at this point and but we do have two designs in prototype phase with Cuba that are supposed to be done by then.
We have another one that's an exclusive.
It's a design we license to a dealer.
We might have those prototypes by then.
I think that would be it by then, but we might.
We have three other design prototypes there along with the stout, but yeah, we're just going to go and, you know, have fun and check everything out and it's going to be our first time, you know, exhibiting and not attending my first time going was last year.
So yeah, me too.
Yeah, you'll get to meet your adoring public.
And and and to really get like get that.
I mean that'll put wind in your sails.
I could imagine because a lot of people have checked it out and that now a lot of people are really looking forward to it.
What about dealers?
Do you guys have any dealers lined up or how are you going?
Straight direct sales?
So on the pre order we did direct sales for 350 of them.
Those are the ones that sold out and then the following Wednesday, urban EDC supply did.
A pre order as well.
We gave them a certain amount of units to sell.
They actually still have a few.
I don't think there's many left but we had a lot of my car to ones altogether and that's they only had my car to.
So if you still want one, there you go.
You can hit up urban EDC supply, but so they'll have them.
They'll probably get more when they come into.
I have another dealer that I'm pretty close with.
White Mountain knives.
They'll probably have some when they come in.
And for the stout, I think that's it.
I mean, we're not opposed to working with dealers.
Obviously if we sell direct, you know we we make more off of it.
Which is good because everything we're making is going right back into new designs and you know, we're not like we haven't taken any money out and put it in our accounts or it's all going right back in.
You know we're trying to just build this until we can maybe go full time in a year or two.
So it's just kind of all funds are going in there, but.
We do have a dealer exclusive that we're working on.
And I can't really, you know, talk about it.
And then we have another one we license to a dealer coming out.
So we're definitely working with dealers and we have nothing against if dealers reach out and they want to, you know, buy some.
We'll definitely be open to it.
That'll be fun at Blade show I think to, you know, talk to dealers and make those relationships.
I have some just from you know, the reviewer, world.
You know that I talked to a lot but meeting some other folks.
I think it will be.
Be a good time.
Yeah, I mean most most definitely this is the kind of a guidance counselor question, but what do you guys like?
Hope, what do you hope?
First of all, you got to tell me the meaning of Devo knives and then what do you hope it to be, say in 10 years or when it's matured?
So the meaning.
This is silly, but my my nickname is the detent diva.
Because I'm a little bit crazy about detents and we're trying to come up with a name and like we just were struggling and Colin messaged me.
He's like, hey, what about Devo knives and I was like what the hell is it Devo right?
And he said Devo is a male diva and I was like alright and I don't know.
We just kind of rolled with it and then we.
We decided to do all beer related names, so this ones the stout we have.
We have the growler, the mash, we have, the barley, and we have another one called the buzz.
Those are all in.
All the ones we're working on right now, so we have kind of a theme going, which makes it a little easier to name stuff.
Yeah, and I mean in 10 years that's you know I'm looking at in a couple years.
I'd like to be doing this full time so we're not just like doing one knife.
And then you know, we're just going to keep making that and I. I get.
One side of that which is, you're taking a design and you're perfecting it.
You're making it better and you're just coming out with reiterations of a great night making it better and better.
I get that right, but I can do that and do other designs right?
Especially with two of us.
I think it makes it.
A little easier, so we you know we have a lot in the works.
If all goes well.
You know we have what once we have like 5 knives in the works right now that are getting prototyped in some sense.
So we could have all those released by sometime next year and then we keep going that rate.
We should be able to, you know, build it up to where in two years is my goal to be doing it full time.
And then who knows where it goes from there just.
You know, I don't know if we'll end up being like spider cover or something, but if we ever get the chance to bring you know, production into, you know, in-house, you know that's a whole topic.
We could talk about is China versus US.
The short kind of synopsis of that is, there's no options here, so there's really no way, especially when you're just coming from the ground up and trying to build something.
You don't really have an option to use an OEM here, but we would love to at some point or start doing it ourselves.
You know if we can and learn.
But yeah, you know, just keep cracking away and hopefully it becomes you know full time thing that's my goal right now.
Sounds good, yeah, I was happy to hear that Devo is a male diva because that's what my wife calls me when I'm being precious about.
Really, yeah, you're being a devo.
No, I'm not.
No, I'm not.
Where are my cucumbers?
So since you are you're not only a a knife designer and a proprietor owner, operator of a of a knife company.
You are also a knife reviewer.
Therefore you are.
Subject to my speed round at the end of this year.
So they're just one one word answers and I will supply you with those.
Are you ready?
Yeah ready fixed or folder folder, flipper or thumb stud.
I don't like flipper sorry washers or bearings bearings tip up or tip down.
Tip up the good one good one tanto or Bowie.
For that secondary point, right for utility, yeah, exactly hollow ground or flat ground, hollow, full size or small.
Full size gentlemen's knife or tactical knife, gentlemen's knife automatic or Bally song.
Automatic riat or Reich?
Where you at?
Benchmade or Spyderco?
Neither a Spyderco Savi or Kaiser.
Actually now Kaiser me too.
Mill titanium or spring clip.
Alright wait, yeah mill, titanium or spring.
Carbon fiber or micarta?
Finger choil or no choil finger choil come on.
Gotta have a choice.
Yeah, I know I know form or function.
I'm with you there.
It's hard to admit, especially in this club for me.
But yeah, you know, I get it.
There's definitely some shame there for that, but why can't it be both?
Like thank you Sir.
And then last but not least, your desert island knife.
Now this is not for your survival on a desert island.
This is the one knife you get to keep for the rest of your life and you already get the stout so don't don't include that.
Well, I have two of these, but.
It would be the rosy.
You've got two of them, a yeah.
If you make me pick one I guess.
I'm trying to get a third one, but this would be the one I'd pick.
I think this one?
Yeah, that's milling that is a beautiful man.
I had the opportunity to check one out.
It was it was Jakes, actually he loaned me his man alive.
That was such a sweet knife and what a what a generous loan out that was.
Well, Kev, thank you so much for coming on.
The Knife Junkie podcast.
It's been a pleasure to talk about this evolution of Devo knives and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.
And thanks again for loaning me that stout.
What a sweet knife it is indeed.
Thanks for having me.
It was great.
Is my pleasure alright, Sir?
Take care, have a good one.
Have a knife you want featured or reviewed.
Call the knife junkies 24/7 listener line at 724-466-4487 and let us know.
There he goes, Kevin Johnson.
Kev from Lefty EDC.
There are a couple couple of stouts from Devo Knives left on urban EDC.
Go check that out post haste.
It might be gone by the time you're hearing this, they might be gone.
In any case, it was a pleasure meeting him and like I said, experiencing his knife experience.
Other great interviews here every Sunday.
And of course there's the Wednesday supplemental and Thursday night Knives.
Our live streaming show.
If you want to become a member.
Through patron Patreon and you want to help support the show, you think what we do here is valuable.
You can scan that QR code or just go to the knife junkie.com/patreon.
So for Jim, working his magic behind the Switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco, saying until next time don't take doll for an answer.
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