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Munko Knives Paul Munko, Colorful Filth Graphic Design - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 373)

Paul Munko of Munko Knives and Colorful Filth Graphic Design – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 373)

Paul Munko, graphic designer (Colorful Filth Graphic Design) and knife designer of the Kizer Comet and the upcoming Kizer Clairvoyant, joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 373 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Munko KnivesPaul is an artist, creating logo, marketing and product designs for through his Colorful Filth label. He has created logos, stickers, and more for companies like Olamic and Flying Shark Knives. His artwork has also appeared on four limited edition runs from Northern Knives

Paul’s first knife — the compact Kizer Comet — was released to much fanfare in early 2022. Prior to creating the Comet, Munko was known mainly as a graphic artist, and his artist’s eye gave the Comet a stylish look that balances old and new visual cues.

Paul’s new design, a larger more robust button lock called the Clairvoyant, is in the prototype phase with Kizer. While the Clairvoyant still benefits from Munko’s artistic background, it scales up the size and leverages a totally different blade profile and locking mechanism.

You can find Paul Munko and Colorful Filth Graphic Design online at as well as on Instagram at and

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Munko Knives Paul Munko of Colorful Filth Graphic Design is my guest this week on episode 373 of #theknifejunkie #podcast to talk about his Kizer Comet and upcoming Kizer Clairvoyant. Click To Tweet
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Paul Munko, Colorful Filth Graphic Design And Munko Knives - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 373)

©2022, Bob Demarco
The Knife Junkie Podcast

[0:00] 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. I'm Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with designer Paul Munko, a graphic designer with his own company, Colorful Filth.
Paul has been designing logos, concept art, marketing materials, and products for all manner of company for years, but only in the last year or so has he stepped into the realm of knife design.
His Comet, a stylish sub-3-inch bolster lock EDC by Kaiser, burst onto the scene and was lovingly embraced by the knife community. He's got a new Kaiser knife design in the offing that excites me a lot.
It covers a lot of different bases as well. We're going to talk all about that and find out how this graphic designer became a knife designer and an up and comer right here.
But first, like, comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell and download the show to your favorite podcast app so you can listen to it whilst on the go. And as always, if you want to help support the show, you can do so on Patreon.
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Paul Munko, welcome to the show, sir.
How's it going, man? Thank you so much for having me. Oh, it's good. It's good.
It's great to have you. We were talking right before we started rolling about, well, you're a graphic designer and this is the approach that brought you to the knife world and it's very interesting.
Actually, my sister, I have a lot of very close people in my life who are graphic designers, incidentally or coincidentally, and it's cool to see someone break from the two-dimensional,
to the three dimensional like real design, product design.
Well, before we get there, Tell me a little bit about your art.
And how you became an artist, have you always been an artist? And tell me about your approach.
Yeah, definitely. So ever since I was young, you know, I was never like the athletic guy for sure. You know, I've never cut any sports or anything like that.
I was always really into music. So like playing music instruments and drawing.

[2:47] Those two things I never thought would necessarily be something I could make a career out of.
But I kind of just I guess through through a little bit of luck and a little bit of hard work, I've been able to turn that into what I do most of the time, along with the marketing, along with all those things as well.
And yeah, just art has always just been definitely a passion for me. I figured out how I could do it in kind of a more commercial sense instead of just drawing pictures kind of for fun.
And then it just kind of spiraled into working out a bunch of cool projects, doing things like skateboard graphics and sticker designs and logo designs and things like that.
Yeah, that's for all of the artist types I know, and I guess I include myself in that, I've had a steady job for a number of years now, but a lot of people who make their lives creatively,
cobble it together with a lot of different jobs working for different people and then frequently having your own company as well. And I think that that kind of experience, working for a bunch of
different people and working for yourself, gives you a really broad knowledge of kind of how to proceed with the business side or the career side that you really want to get into.

[3:56] Absolutely yeah i'm very fortunate where i work currently which is like i was telling you earlier is the office right now. I'm really like a full service marketing agency and you know we do a lot of digital marketing website design things like that.
I'm very good friends with the owner of the company and so we get to work on a lot of projects kind of in tandem where i could take on clients of where i work. I'm getting the branding logo development or any kind of like brand strategy.
So it's a very kind of like symbiotic sort of thing that really allows me to work on any of the fun design projects that I enjoy while of course still maintaining my career where I work.

[4:35] With the actual design and the actual art, you have to do things for clients and you have to do what they want and get their message across and then you get to do your own expressive stuff.
You have a company of your own colorful filth and I was going through your website really really cool stuff. I mean you have everything from murals that, or I'm not
sure if that's the right term, decals that go on to pro scooters and skateboards to really gorgeous just straight-up artwork. Thank you. Yeah, oh you're welcome. So how do you, what kind of niche does colorful filth fill,
both for you creatively and out there in the market? It's definitely interesting, right? So I was always into that very kind of visual sort of like,
skateboard-esque kind of graphics with the things that you would see maybe on some stuff from like 80s, 90s skate decks. And then just kind of incorporating that in something that's like very vibrant. I've always thought that kind of the,
juxtaposition of things that are realistically like dark thematically, but done in some very vibrant and kind of out there colors just kind of create,
something interesting, you know? And it's definitely, it's a relatively narrow market but it's a market that I enjoy and it's the kind of thing where I'm doing these projects as kind of you know.

[5:52] In my free time. It's something that I enjoy and it's something that I'm very fortunate that there are other people that also enjoy it as well.
That juxtaposition of dark content, dark meaning with colorful illustration is interesting.

[6:12] I've always liked that contrast too. I mean, you see stuff like that pop up in movies and art. And when I was in college, I listened to the Smiths a lot, old man from England and it was the same thing. Very dark when you listen to the words but.

[6:26] Sort of presented in a jubilant way and it's kind of a sneaky way to get people to.

[6:33] Confront things they might not want to think about. Definitely, definitely. Yeah, it's honestly just a lot of fun I think. I think that being able to just take, you know, like I love horror obviously you can tell by like the stuff that I do. I love horror movies, I love horror video games,
and just turning that into something graphical that isn't just necessarily like, you know,
a photo of a dark room or something, that's something that's traditionally scary.
Doing it in sort of a more illustrative way has just always been something that I've found fun. You've done a couple of specialized scales for the banter, the Wii banter.

[7:09] And the Benchmade Bugout. I saw a really cool exclusive.

[7:13] Design that you did not just on the handle but on the entire blade and It struck it strikes me speaking to you now and hearing about that sort of light dark influence that that.

[7:26] That aesthetic or that approach is really good for knives and the knife world because People you know,
It's like the knife world ten years ago emerged out of this long period of black and gray knives knives, silver blades, black G10 handles, and suddenly there's blue and then there was red and then just, you know, everything opened up.
And oftentimes you'll see skulls or that kind of motif on a knife, but to mix it with those colors that everyone's kind of jonesing for, I think is a great approach.

[7:58] Thank you. Yeah, yeah, that's definitely part of my thinking with it. Because I definitely, when I'm doing stuff, especially in the knife realm, one of the things that I'm very conscious of is I don't like giving the perception of knives is like these murdery weapons kind of,
things because some companies like to market things that way,
you know, and of course, there's a lot of people who aren't really into the community perceive them that way. So when,
it comes to the stuff that I actually put on the scales, I still try to retain some of that weirdness that kind of like off color sort of artwork, but not make it too, like, you know,
aggressive or like military or something like that. Like if you look, let me see if I can pull this out. This is one that we did with Northern Knives. They're the company that I collaborate with all the time to do these like art-based collaborations.
So this is one that we did on the Spidey Chef. So this is like anodized, laser engraved, and then I think they do some clever masking stuff to make sure that some of the raw titanium is still retained. I don't know how much he's going to focus on that, but he has like a little cut up fish platter. He has a little knife down there. But if you turn it around,
can see that he's uh he's become the the meal because we got the wow little chunk taken out of his helmet and the thing kind of flowing and like it's still it's It's still dark, it's still weird, right?
But it's not like.

[9:15] Overtly aggressive, I guess, is kind of my approach to that kind of thing. Yeah, and it's actually pretty to look at, and you know, and then you see what it is, it's like, oh.

[9:24] But yeah, that's pretty cool. And I also like that sort of old-timey flash style art. I don't know if flash is the right word, but it reminds me of kind of stuff you'd see, you know, illustrative stuff you'd see in the early part of the 20th century. That really appeals to me.
Thank you. Yeah.
So were you always a knife guy leading up to this?
So I always thought they were cool. You know, my dad was always working in the yard with them, and I was like, oh, that's a cool knife you're using for whatever. And I had little ones like growing up.
But I'd say that my kind of obsession, I guess, with the industry definitely started maybe four or five years ago.

[10:03] And it was really random, honestly. We were so we were going on a trip. Me and my roommates at the time were going on a trip to pick up a dog and like another state is a 14 hour drive.
And, you know, of course, on that trip, you make your way into all the different kind of gas stations that present themselves to you in the Midwest as we're getting over to like Ohio.
And, you know, I see these giant displays of these these crazy, you know, not good, but crazy looking knives and like, oh, this is interesting. Right. Like there's there's even though these are like not the best, which I didn't know at the time, there's thought behind this.
And there's like there's this cool, like artistic elements to what people are doing with these.

[10:39] So, since I was the passenger and I wasn't driving, I literally just spent like 10 hours just researching like knives, essentially. Like what are the good companies I started learning about like Benchmade and Spyderco and stuff.
And I started just kind of seeing what makes things good, what makes things bad and why I shouldn't buy one of these cool ones from the gas station. And then from that, I just started buying them.
The first knife that I bought was the Spyderco Tenacious. And I was just like, wow, like this is actually, you could tell that even though this is obviously the least expensive model. It's quality, you know, it's interesting, it's an interesting industry and then
just did more research, got into all the different subreddits for knife collecting, kind of saw the crazier side of things that people are posting, things like Elijah Eicham designs and things like that.
And I just really gravitated towards functional art. I think that was what was the most interesting aspect to me, is the fact that this is something that you could have every day,
it's useful, it's a useful tool, but you could really kind of go sort of outside the box and make it visually appealing as well.

[11:41] I think it's beautiful that it was gas station knives that reeled you in. And I know you're not the first person, but you're coming at it from a professional artist's perspective.
And you see all these gas station knives and we've, maybe we've all, hopefully we've all seen the displays and the rest stops.
And I was, I just incidentally just took a road trip and was hoping to see those and did not, though I didn't go to my usual gas station on this particular route.
But I think it's beautiful that you were reeled in by that because it's, you know, in a sense, it's cheap and tawdry, but it's also, like you said, it shows thought and it also shows
that there is a large, there's a large enough customer base out there to justify manufacturing them in the first place. So there's something there. Definitely. Definitely. So I think in In most of those cases, those knives are assisted open.

[12:41] I want to get to the Comet, which is not assisted open, which the Comet is a very, very refined design, both to look at and in hand.

[12:52] Obviously, whatever inspired you from those gas station knives, you sort of pared it down to the very essence with this design.
Tell me about how you sort of took the actual shift to designing a knife now. I'm not just doing the scales, not just doing the art, not doing stuff on the periphery, but I'm making the knife or designing the knife itself.
Tell me how you arrived at that and what your design goals were with it.
Definitely. So one of the things that I think was really cool is that throughout kind of like creating artwork and things, I did end up doing a lot of work for Eugene from Olenek Cutlery.
And him and I talked frequently and he's kind of the first person who told me like, hey, you should sketch up some knife designs and see what we come up with.
And I did. And I did it for months and months and like wasn't really happy with anything. But then eventually I kind of got to a point where I was like, I had very rough approximation of what I wanted to do as far as the knife silhouette in general.
It definitely wasn't the Comet yet, but I felt like I was getting to a point where I had created something that I was happy with. So the reason that I ended up working out with Kaiser, which actually really worked in my favor, the first collaboration that I did with Northern Knives.

[14:04] Was on the Kaiser Uprising. So that's this guy right here. It has my name on the pocket clip or whatever, this was kind of the first thing that we did.
And so kind of being that this was the first, I guess, art on a knife related project, it just it felt like, you know, I should reach out to Kaiser, I should tell them, hey, I did this project like two years ago, I'm thinking about designing a knife and, you know, here are my ideas and stuff.

[14:27] And then just kind of organically from there, it just happened and I got to work with their team, kind of show them my designs and just kind of bring in the idea of the comet to be what it is today.
So what were your goals in the design?

[14:42] Like what kind of knife did you want to make? Definitely. So I wanted to make something that was a gentleman's knife for the first one. So something that's relatively small, something I could bring into this office and nobody's going to be freaked out by it.
But I also wanted to have something that is different, especially since we were kind of catering more towards the more budget friendly side, which calling a ninety dollar knife budget friendly, I guess, is different than it was a couple of years ago.
But, you know, we wanted to kind of cater to that and I wanted to make sure that I could do something to make it.

[15:12] Value like you're getting value from you have a titanium clip you have cool materials and I wanted it to be something that was not just your average budget knife you know as far as like you can kind of see like you're running the mill. I'm saying that are really sick ten a month or something I wanted I wanted to be some sort of style to it so a lot of the design keys here are kind of.
Art deco inspired a lot of the kind of the lines and the curvatures here with that whole sort of art movement so I know the kind of the expanding silhouette over here.

[15:43] And kind of the way the clip kind of ties into everything as well. So I just wanted to make something that was affordable, something that had interesting materials and just kind of stood out in that sort of like budget place especially since it was my first design I just wanted to make sure it was something that was unique to kind of my preferences essentially.
Okay, don't put it away. Hold it up. A cool thing about this is you get to come out with your first knife and you get to, I don't mean get to, I mean you thoughtfully create a knife that looks,
high end. It looks like a high end knife. It's a bolster lock which A, I love the way it looks, but B, I love the way a bolster lock functions especially, well, always. I love it better than
than just a regular frame lock because I'm not worried about fat fingering the lock and not being able to open the blade.
So I think that was a great choice, but it also looks good.
But see, I lost my train of thought here. What was I getting at with this?

[16:48] With this design. Oh, what I was getting at is it looks very luxurious. It looks high end, but it's a $90 knife. I was shocked to find that out. It comes in a number of different color ways.

[17:00] With different anodizations, which makes it look more expensive, and different color titaniums.
Or, I mean, micardas. I think that was a smart thing because you could come out of the gate with with that knife all super high end and charge 300 bucks for it.
And people would be, you know, who's Paul Monco and why should I love this knife besides the fact that I love the way it looks?
So smart decision there. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, we wanted to make sure that we can keep it as interesting as possible.
So like this one, there's two variations. This one has the black linen micarta with the copper bolster and the pivot collar.
There is the green linen micarta with the brass, which is definitely, definitely a cool one.
And then the one that's kind of a, kind of a curve ball is this one is actually made with a sort of antique brass finish. I think they do some kind of coating on it and then like tumble it.
And then this is actually denim. So Kaiser has something where they do their whole like denim series of knives and different denim scales and whatnot.
And yeah, we just kind of ended up throwing this into the mix. Originally it was only supposed to be these two, but we, we kind of, they thought this would be a cool idea.
They ran it by me, I was like, hell yeah, more variations the better. And honestly, it ended up being my favorite one. I think that this one's super good.

[18:19] Which one has been the most popular? So probably the denim. And the reason I would say the denim is because with the denim one,
I think it's like $4 more, but you get this knife roll. Like every denim one comes with this with this denim knife roll. So it holds, you know, like three, I guess potentially six if you have like small ones and like a pan or two.
And it's a really good value add. And it's just something that Kaiser, I know, does frequently with, well, pretty much all the time with their denim series knives.
And, you know, when you think about spending four bucks more and having something that actually provides more utility, I think that that has really resonated with a lot of people, too.
I love the look of the green micarta with the brass. It reminds me of sort of World War Two kit, you know, with the with the olive drab canvas and the brass fittings. That's my pick. But I gotta say adding that blue to the mix...

[19:16] Takes the knife into, well, obviously, it just makes it, you know, the black and the black and then the green,
they do have a tool and sort of almost militaristic feel, but then you add the blue to the line and it sort of, I think that was a good move.
It softens it a little bit and, well, makes it more appealing to more people.
Definitely, definitely. Yeah, it really works out and one of the other things that I was conscious of too, when I was kind of coming up with all of them is, you know,
I think that it definitely, especially like you said, with these two, it kind of lends itself to this sort of, this sort of like, it's almost rustic aesthetic, right?
Like it's a very, not very traditional, but it's a traditional inspired kind of blade shape. Having this bolster makes it sort of traditional.
So having these traditional materials with micarta and brass and copper, it gives it a certain look.
But at the same time, you know, if in the future, we were to do something where this was like a, more like the clairvoyant with like carbon fiber scales and a titanium sort of bolster.

[20:16] I think it would almost give it a completely different aesthetic while maintaining the same, literally everything else the same as far as the silhouette, the lines. So I think it can be a little bit of chameleon depending on the materials that we actually use for it.
Yeah, yeah, you could basically change the mood of it just in one stroke. The blade shape you mentioned, so it's a long clip point. I mean, that's what I call it. I don't know exactly how you would define it.
Yeah. To me, it's got that long clip and that's very appealing to me.
Tell me about when you were designing the blade, the kind of uses you were thinking of for it.
Definitely. So being that it was, you know, meant to really be something that you can carry in an office, carry anywhere and not intimidate people. I wanted to make sure that it was good for just your day to day, you know, cutting threads, opening boxes, open food packages, you know, very basic food prep like cutting an apple.
But one of the things that actually I was really conscious of is sharpening it. So I use a guided sharpening system, I use the KME, and I wanted to make sure that, you know,
I just wanted to give a really nice area for purchase for that little clamp on the system here.
So that was definitely a big consideration there because I know that maintaining a knife is also something that's very important, and if you have a knife that's a pain in the ass to sharpen or a pain to disassemble and relubricate and stuff.

[21:43] At least me, I'm less likely to carry it, I'm less likely to use it because I know once it's kind of run its course, I have to do a lot to it.
So I wanted to make sharpening easy as possible. If you know where you're putting your clamp, you're going to know every time just based on kind of where the grind is.
And then also the whole knife can be disassembled by just removing this screw and then the pivot screw. So clip screw doesn't matter, this screw doesn't matter. You can, in two seconds, you can take both the screws out, clean out everything. It's very easy to maintain with particular consideration.
Now I misspoke before, I said it was a bolster lock. It's a liner lock, I'm not sure why I was thinking bolster lock.
I think just because there's a bolster on it. But it is a liner lock, which makes it even smoother.
There's been a big move back, I don't wanna say back, there's been a big move towards titanium liner locks.

[22:34] Like full titanium knives, but with liner locks instead of frame locks.

[22:39] Just, I think it's because of the premium that's put on action.
And if you're not interrupting the action with finger pressure on the lock, it's gonna feel ever more luxurious.
And let's be honest, that's what that action is about. It's the luxurious feel. Tell me about the prototyping process.

[23:01] Because I played with this knife at a blade show, very, very smooth.
And so action has a lot to do with the appeal of this knife. And that's something you can't see through pictures.
So tell me about the prototyping process and what it was like to receive your knife back for the first time and the kind of tweaks you may have sent back to them in that process.
Yeah, it was such a surreal experience getting to get in the first one. I mean, even the second one, seeing that prototype come in, does anything that becomes three-dimensional, like an object I could see physically is just the coolest thing.
So we only really went through one stage of kind of like prototyping as far as the R&D is concerned.

[23:40] They sent me one of them. There was a few things I wanted to change. Mostly in the prototype, they actually had this screw that's in the scale in the bolster. I don't think I have it with me.

[23:50] Unfortunately, but that was really the only main difference. There was that and then I just wanted this grind to be a little bit more steep so that when you put it on the KME, you don't kind of get that like smile thing right away. But yeah, I mean, beyond that, it was a very simple process,
really because when I'm designing knives, you know, I'm not an engineer. I don't know necessarily how to make this function properly, like, give it a good action, right? I don't know, like, lock geometry like that. When I design something, it's very much visually.
So how do I want it to look from this side, from this side, from the top, you know, open, close, whatever, what lines do I want to line up? So I mock all of that up and sort of like,
vector and then their team during their R&D, during the prototyping stages, you know, they know all that stuff for so they're able to basically make a 3d version of that
let me know what in my design will work what won't work and this one had a lot of I had a lot of help with as far as like functionality the clairvoyant the
second one I think I learned a lot through this project so I knew a little bit more about what would fit where and stuff like that but yeah it was a big learning experience they definitely helped guide me in the right direction to make sure that like action was solid and even with the first prototype the the action was phenomenal, especially considering the price point.
So yeah, it was a really great experience for sure. Do you think you're going to expand the line with a mini or a plus size?

[25:16] I'm just curious. I love the design. I think it would make a great plus size design. Thank you. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing too. There's two things that I really want to do with
the comp. Three things actually. I want to take kind of where it is in its current state and do sort of an upgraded materials version. Something kind of similar to where the clairvoyance is right
now. I think that would be cool. I would like to do a front flipper version because I think that if we were to kind of just, you know, do a nice little nice little roll there and then clip this
off I think that that would be really nice and I think that the open silhouette you know minus that that flipper tab could also be very clean and then also yeah a bigger version
I think would be great because that people definitely have asked for that the two biggest complaints that I've heard is it's too small and then I actually heard a lot of people don't like the clip which I'm totally cool with I like it but I totally understand why people wouldn't.
What what don't people like about the clip?

[26:08] So some people think it's too large for the size of the knife, which I understand it definitely could be shorter.
The reason I did it this way is again, just from like a design standpoint, I just wanted this part, you know, the tip of the clip basically to line up with this curvature right here.
So that's why it's that long. And also, you know, some people think that since this is my card on brass or copper, that the titanium clip is just a little bit out of place. So, and I can see that too.
I like it still, but I understand both for sure.
I would not, well, I haven't held it, so I can't speak, I haven't commented or used it, I should say, I haven't used the knife.

[26:53] So I can't comment on the length of the clip. But I would disagree with the titanium assessment.

[27:02] A, you could always, if you need it to look like the bolster, you could anodize it have it anodized.

[27:09] B, pocket clips to me, they kind of exist in an abstract space. Yes, they're on the knife and they need to be harmonious with the design, but when you see them, they're in your pocket.
Most usually, they're hanging out of your pocket. So they kind of exist in two different worlds.
To me, ultimately, it's like if it doesn't bother my hand, I kind of don't care.

[27:39] Yeah, and I totally get that too. And that's kind of one of the main reasons I wanted to go with the titanium.

[27:45] Wire clips are great. Traditional kind of like bent steel clips are great from a function standpoint.
I just, I don't think they look the best. And also I just think that having like a flat surface like this is just a much less of a hotspot than like a bent, traditionally cheaper sort of bent clip.
Okay, so let's talk about your new design, clairvoyant. We covered it on this show on the midweek supplemental a couple of weeks back,
and it's a very exciting project to me. It looks different. It looks, you know, it's not a sophomore jinx where, you know, sometimes people's second knife looks exactly like their first knife,
and you don't get that at all here. You have a different size, different form factor. Tell us about the clairvoyant. Yeah, so this one, this is I think where I got a little bit more comfortable with the process, right? Like I had a better idea of what can be done. And so I just kind of like,
if you look at the size difference, it's pretty ridiculous. But so I wanted to do something instead of kind of like a slim down kind of pokey sort of blade, I wanted to do something that was a little bit more of this like S curve to be used as like a real realistically like a food prep kind of knife. And I just wanted to go a little bit more interesting, I guess, like with the line works,
I wanted to see where I could take it as far as the curvatures here and the different sort beveling that's going on and definitely with the clip it's got you know some interesting sort of.

[29:14] Sort of just machine work done there. Yeah, I wanted to make something that was still true to what I like, of course.
I love things that have a bolster. I love things that have a pivot collar. I just think that those two things together look awesome.
And I wanted to make sure it was still...
You could tell that I thought of it, but I wanted to go a little bit more out there with the player point, essentially.

[29:40] Hey, Paul, can you mute that bell? Sorry about that. Oh, that's okay.
Oh, it's my computer. Oh, oh. So I also, okay, so bigger form factor, totally different style knife, and it's interesting that you say, you're thinking more kind of along the lines of food prep right now, because yes, that makes sense to me.
Of course, I see everything through my weapon lens, and I like the way that sits in the handle. It's a slashier kind of affair than the Pokey Affair of the Comet.
So looking at it through that, it also looks like it fits the hand beautifully, but you're actually discussing the practical use of it. And yeah, it looks like it would be a great blade to use, great blade and handle setup to use against a flat surface doing that kind of cutting.
Definitely, definitely. And yeah, I think that from that kind of standpoint too, like it definitely does kind of fit that role.
It's definitely a bit more aggressive looking. There's a couple of changes that we actually are making in the final production version. So like these screws are going to be T8 as opposed to T6. We're adding some jimping here so that you have, you know, kind of better grip.

[30:49] And then just to make it fit a little bit better in the hand, because, you know, there's definitely people out there with larger hands than me.
We're going to make this sort of choil just a little bit, just a little bit bigger, but like the overall curvature, like as far as where it actually seats in your hand when you're holding it, it definitely, It's definitely comfortable, which I'm super happy about.

[31:10] So very different ergonomics than the Comet. The Comet is very neutral and this is less so. This kind of puts your...
It kind of guides your fingers into position. Was that a purposeful change?
Yeah. So I think that kind of just what comes with the territory of having something that's a little bit strange like this, like having this sort of bent angle here and then the curvature down here,
I feel like just to make it go to the right place essentially in your hand, it's a good idea to just kind of at least put some sort of guidance.
There's going to be a little more clearance here too so that you're actually able to choke up on it if you wanted to in the production version.
But I think that just the weirder something gets, the more you kind of have to think about where your hand is supposed to be.
Because if you introduce something that's a little too abstract with no guidance, you know, it just might not always fit into the hand perfectly every time you grab it.
I've been thinking about this in terms of how handles accommodate curved blades, whether they're upswept or like hawk bills. And because I've been gravitating towards.

[32:22] Kind of out of, now this doesn't mean any love is lost, but kind of out of the Emerson in sort of ergonomics or some of those cold steel handles.

[32:34] That have all the choils and kind of into a more neutral handle style, just in my personal liking and the kind of knives I draw and doodle.
But I always wonder like, doesn't the handle have to somehow accommodate that curve with its own curve, which would have to be kind of opposing,
the curve of the blade A and B to just look harmonious in design.
I don't know if any of that means anything to you, but.
No, no, definitely, definitely. It definitely makes sense, because if you look at, you know, obviously if this was just like straight across this way, this blade wouldn't fit.
You'd be cutting your hand every time you close it. So there definitely is sort of like that balance, I think, where you could either kind of have two options, right, so if you want your blade to be like taller, right, and you want to give it that sort of extra space,
you can either curve the back or you can just make it so that I guess it technically would close a little bit less and make the blade taller like this way, like sticking out of it, but then it becomes really thick in your pocket.
So I prefer the sort of like curved idea for that. Yeah, yeah, and it looks really comfortable.
You know how sometimes you can just look at a knife and know that it's gonna melt into your hand. So in this one, you're using different materials. It's a little higher end in terms of what you're getting at. What materials are you looking at?

[34:00] So the original plan, I was hoping we would be able to use fat carbon but.

[34:06] I believe on this first batch we're going to be doing kind of like what this is just like a shredded carbon fiber And then we have the titanium back spacer bolster and pocket clip But I'm like 99% sure that we're also going to be doing.

[34:21] At the same time a more budget focused version That's gonna be more similar to the material set in the comment Which I'm actually really excited for because I think it's gonna be the same kind of thing where you know Just just changing those materials up. I think we'll give this a very different aesthetic,
having this be like brass or something in the micarta.
Yeah, it'll give it a different aesthetic and it'll also really broaden your customer base.

[34:44] Because that might be a knife that someone is 100% about and they get the titanium version, or it might be a knife that someone's 85% about.
And they're like, you know what, I'll get the, I have 10 other knives I need to get this year, or this month, or whatever. Your time is.
So let me get this brass one and if I love it, I'll trade up to the high end materials.
I think it's cool that companies like Kaiser, I think, are open to, this is what I've gleaned from talking to a bunch of people, are somewhat open to you coming to the table with ideas for materials.
But ultimately, I guess, if you're under their label, they have to decide what's best for them. Is that how it works?
Yeah, so there's definitely, it's definitely like a conversational kind of collaboration. So, you know, I'll give them my ideas. Like, so, you know, this, these two were my ideas as far as the copper and the black micarta and the brass and the green micarta.
And then they throw this idea at me.

[35:47] And it has a lot to do with like material availability, you know, ultimately, because if it's something that where they're just licensing the design for me, there will be instances where they're going to want to use kind of what they have on hand. if they don't really know what the demand's gonna be for something and making that investment into a huge,
order of fat carbon or something like that.
But yeah, it's a very collaborative approach, right? I basically tell them what I think would be best and if they can do it, then we do it, and if not, they'll give me the option, or a couple different options to sort of pick from.
Do you, as a designer, do you get tempted by what you know are trends like the super steals, for instance? Is there a temptation to want everything to be in M390?
Um, not entirely, honestly. I mean, like so much is out there in that material. Like I'm more.

[36:39] In it for me at least as somebody who's looking at it for more of a visual aspect. I'm kind of more concerned with What makes it look different? So like for me, you know,
personally at when I'm designing something in my head if I could do a trade-off and keep the price low because I don't Want to be making something that's like $400 because that's just not my target demo I think for most of the stuff that I'm doing maybe in the future But for right now, I think that like I kind of want to stay in this sort of area like sub 200.

[37:04] You know if I could put a little bit more into making it look really unique you know, as far as like having some sort of really cool like snake skin, fat carbon or something.

[37:13] And you know, maybe take a step back from like the best deal on the market right now.

[37:18] For me, that's a fair trade off because I'm definitely like a visual person. But I do know that there's people out there who would rather just have like slab G10 and, and some like crazy,
steel on there as well. So it's kind of depends who you are. Yeah, yeah. And I think I think I think those of us who actually use M390 to its maximum.

[37:39] Are vanishingly few. I think like most of us, we just like to know that for whatever amount of money we're spending, we are technically getting the best.
Whether or not that actually means anything, it doesn't matter. I am not so much like that.
I know that I've gone through severe periods of that, but I feel like I've come out on the other end kind of remembering why I started loving knives in the first place and it wasn't for the material choices.
You know, so, so if I, it's, for me, I'm also very visual and, and, and it is the visual ultimately that, that will draw me to something.
And then from there it's like, oh, I love having this in my pocket and I love it when I need to use it and that kind of thing.
But yeah, yeah, for me, they are little pieces of usable art.

[38:27] The button lock. This was a cool thing to see when I first cracked open that knife news story and saw this. I was like, ooh, this looks like a button lock. And then I did a little reading and indeed it is.
Tell me about your choice to go with a button lock and what you like about it.
Definitely. So I have a couple of button locks in here. I think the coolest one I have is definitely this one. the slim pickings from Alliance designs.
And I just love how it functions. Like I always thought it was really cool.
And then one thing that I noticed about this is you kind of have the same benefits that you get from designing something around the concept of a liner lock because you can make the scales symmetrical, right?
Like whenever you're going to have even a bolster lock or if you're going to have especially a frame lock, there's a big trade off there as far as like, you know, you can't really make the clip side look like the show side because there's this huge sort of moving piece that needs to be a certain way.
So for this one, you know, knowing that I wanted to do something different than a liner lock, it seemed like based on the shape of the bolster that a button lock would make the most sense because I could retain that sort of symmetry on both sides.

[39:41] So did going from that, going from designing a liner lock to a button lock, did that present any particular design challenges to you or was that more for the engineers to work out?

[39:55] So I do a very rough approximation when I'm doing kind of my design works.
Like I design everything transparent first so that I can actually see where the lines are intersecting, like where the blade is touching with the actual button itself.
So I'll look up basically like a template of like how a button lock works and then kind of build off of that concept.
It was a little bit more challenging for me just to figure out like how much clearance would need realistically for this to come in contact with the button, which I'm looking
at and not the camera. But like, so where it kind of connects right here, making sure that the handle is slim and not like have this huge hump on it. So there was like some
challenges but honestly, I feel like this was a little bit easier than the liner lock because you don't really need to figure out like that that access point as much because you know, I've definitely held a lot of liner locks or frame locks where just there's not enough space to really like get your finger in there and disengage the lock.
Yeah. Where with this is just, you know, as long as the button's there, it's going to disengage just fine.
Yeah, yeah. That access to the lock bar has has become a big talking point in a lot of people's reviews. I think thanks to Jared Neve, he always brought that up. And now I bring it up and I noticed a lot of people bring it up. It is a thing, you know, you have to unlock the knife.
And since we are.

[41:15] Since we are in the realm of luxury, why do you have to struggle to close the damn knife? You know, it's not it's not out of, you know, making it more stout for the job or anything like that.
So you may as well have that be a consideration. That's funny that you mentioned that, because that is one thing, a thing that I did notice about the comet. Very easy to unlock. And, you know, I don't have particularly large fingers, but those guys, you know, with sausage fingers trying to get into a little tiny frame lock is like, give them give them a chance.
It's tough, yeah, it can be very difficult. And so I just, ease of use in just kind of like every regard was definitely, honestly for both models, was just kind of the most important thing for me, at least when thinking of kind of like the locking mechanisms.
You failed to mention the fidget factor of a button lock. I mean, and then this is a large blade, what is that, 3.6 or 3.75?
Yeah, it's like 3.6 and it's definitely, yeah, it's a fidget animal for sure. I do this all the time, drives my girlfriend absolutely crazy. That's what it's for, man. Yeah.

[42:21] Yeah, and when you have a large blade like that, it's always better, like with an axis lock or a button lock, if you're into the fidget, it's that, you get that weight.
Yeah, that's great.
Is that going to be hollow ground? So the prototype is, but they did notice when kind of doing some testing on there, and that there were some stability issues with kind of where the grind cuts off and having it be this hollow.
So we did have to kind of go with a more flat ground approach for the actual production version, just from like a durability standpoint.
I wanted to keep a hollow ground, but I'm kind of just taking their word on it because they did say like, you know, we had the tip break on a couple of them already, just from, you know, just from testing things. So, you know, I'd rather, as much as I like a cool hollow grind, like where is it?

[43:09] Like this guy right here like the hollow yeah fantastic um as much as I love that I Again, I want it to be usable I don't want people to have this huge beefy kind of again more aggressive kind of style knife,
And it's like oh, I got it so careful.

[43:26] Yeah, yeah exactly. It's like the yo the yo Jimbo slash yo jumbo I love those knives, and I love the hollow grind they come to such a fine point that if they weren't sort of first function for cutting flesh,
I'd say this tip is way too dainty.
And I've dropped plenty, well I've dropped my Yojimbo, a couple of them.
Tip in, I always land tip first, you know. Yeah.
So, your, well first of all, now I'm distracted by that Brian Brown you pulled out.
Oh, it's great, it's so good. Yeah, what are some of the other knives that lend inspiration? That is beautiful.
Oh man, yeah, this thing is such a great job with this. And Rayat did a great job with it too.
Inspiration. So definitely anything Atlantic I love because they're just super out there, the way that I'm out there.
So I have this busker that they made for me. Wow.
With the kind of the running joke is it looks like a pickle, but it's a sick busker.
They actually made the serial number. I don't know if you can read it, Colorful filth on the on the back spacer.

[44:38] You could see two here, you know, they do the whole kind of s-curve thing to have that nice, you know Kind of lower cutting edge. This one's super cool. Also from them. I have the,
247 which is sweet. Yeah, that's awesome super aggressive looking kind of thing which which I do love I do love it. But um, yeah a lot of their stuff I'm trying to see what else. I have so many things in here.

[45:05] This one's pretty cool. This one definitely, I think that I definitely drew some inspiration as far as kind of the clip design on the clairvoyant from this one. This is the Shiburkov Scout I want to say. I'm pretty sure it's the Scout.
I don't know why I'm like blanking on it, but yeah, they kind of have that cool sort of like beveled.

[45:22] Clip action which gave me a little bit of inspiration as far as the beveling and something like that. So I mean definitely different but all cool stuff. Yeah, yeah I love the beveling on the clairvoyant clip that looks really nice and that's also that has a function too you know if any of us,
any of us who drive cars know that you're every once in a while you're rubbing up against the car or rubbing up against something with that pocket clip and to have that have those angles there not only looks good but it can go easy on the world around you if you're a klutz.
Definitely. So I want to kind of bring it back around branding strategy and marketing. That's something that you specialize in as a you know in your everyday career, your non-knife career.
How has that awareness and that mastery translated into your knife efforts?

[46:17] So I think that has really helped me kind of establish a specific demographic, like a specific type of person with specific interests, just so that I can make sure that I'm catering
to, I don't want to say one group, but just catering to a group that I can really do everything I can to please, because it's hard to please everybody.
So kind of knowing, doing a lot of market research just on my end as far as just being part of the community, you know, watching a ton of different views from a ton of different
channels, being really involved with the Reddit communities and things like that. It's just given me a lot of knowledge as far as, you know, how do I find the people that are going to resonate with my ideas the most? Like how do I make those people as happy as they could possibly be?
How would you define your key demographic?

[47:07] Good question. So I think that they're definitely similar to me in the same vein is you know, it's it's more of the As much as I love the whole I mean, I love weapons,
But I think that as like carrying a knife and carrying something being that I'm usually in an office environment I think that a lot of people who are kind of into you know Maybe the rustic flair who are into kind of like the carrying a tool kind of thing,
And just carrying something that's useful but also kind of has those sort of elegant design cues in it That's kind of how I am typically with the things that I have on a day-to-day basis.
And I think that that, with the way that I edit my photos, with the way that I kind of present the imagery that I take of them, I think it kind of falls into that particular,
you know, almost, I don't want to say jewelry, but like I think of it almost the way like you would take photos of like a watch or something.
Yes. You kind of build this lifestyle around it of like, oh, like maybe you're camping with it and you're using it as a tool and like, you know, getting your firewood ready or something,
You know, just kind of that image and that aesthetic is kind of what I've tried to build around what I'm doing so far.
Yeah, or maybe you're sipping whiskey in your dark den, you know, reading a book and it's sitting there on top of your cool leather wallet next to your watch.
Exactly. It really does fit into that whole, you know, the whole knife collecting. A lot of us are pen, watch lovers, leather lovers.

[48:31] You know, just lovers of these different kind of mechanisms and little machiney type things.
And that's where, that's to me what a gentleman's knife is. So definitely, like I look at the Comet, yes, and that fits that role. planet.

[48:46] You know, I've been trying to define gentleman's knife recently, and I used to think it was just light and slender and small, but that is not the case. And I discovered after I got the finch knives, buffalo tooth, it's their modernized version of the, of the, of the elephant's toenail,
you know, the big broad. So anyway, it's a, it's a big knife and it's broad and, but it is all gentleman's knife. So I've been reconsidering, you know, it's a low-hanging fruit to say,
light and slender and you can wear it in slacks. Yep. It's more of a spirit. I think so. Yeah, I absolutely agree. Like it's, you know, certain materials or certain design cues that kind of
lend itself to something that would be, you know, like the beveling of a watch log or something like that. Like it's just, yeah, it's building this sort of specific aesthetic that doesn't necessarily,
you're right, need to be tied to size or functionality.
It's more of just, what is it? How does it look? How does it fit into the lifestyle of somebody who wears this would make sense.
So then where do you see Monko design going in terms of your product design?
Do you see yourself dipping your toes into these other interesting areas like watches or pens or whatever your other material fetishes are?
Definitely those two are them. And I mean, I would love to, you know, I think that really, you know, I have ideas for everything. I think a big part of it would just be finding.

[50:13] The people right like i really i really got lucky um just because of just how legitimately interested i got in in the knife industry very fast you know i mean i was collector for a few,
years before i even started working in the community as an artist um and you know i really started to enjoy it i really started to like everything about it and so you know it's it's a lot to do
with who you know you know any collaboration is going to be about who you know what connections do you have who can i talk to and present my ideas to um if given the opportunity i would I would love to do something pen related or watch related would be crazy too.
That's super intricate and interesting to me.

[50:48] But yeah, I mean, there's no plans for those things just because I don't know who to approach for it. But if it was presented to me, I would jump on any of that heartbeat.
And in terms of knife makers out there, now this is just hypothetical, but who would you like to collaborate with? Oh, I see right there you collaborated with Brian Brown.
But in terms of on a knife itself, if the opportunity ever arose to collaborate with another knife maker to make a knife, what would that be?
So there's two. Or who? It would definitely be Ian, for sure. I love his design.

[51:25] And then also- Ian Pekarski of CMI. Yeah. His stuff is really cool. I love everything that he does. It's definitely a dream goal of mine. Someday I'll definitely buy a knife from him.
One of his custom pieces. But yeah, no, he has a very, very unique design language that I really like.
And then on top of that, definitely some sort of collaboration beyond just artwork and creating a knife with a landmark, I think would be really cool.
Because I think as far as like, I guess they're kind of all over the place as far as like their mid-tech, their custom,
but just in that general realm, I think that what they do as far as all these like kind of extra things, like the holes and this like stone just milling and crazy dremeling and stuff,
They go as out there as like my head goes when I start thinking about certain things.
So I feel like we'd be able to do something really cool.

[52:13] Yeah, those knives, those olamic knives have each one seems to have its own signature. Like each one, you know, is so handled, you know, by an artist and I'm not sure exactly how it works there.
But each one seems like an individual work of art and I would imagine that that resonates a lot with you.
So in terms of knives now, just the future of Monko knives, what kind of body of work do you want to have, you know, in the future when you're looking back?
I just want to have a bunch of stuff that I'm really happy to kind of have in my pocket, honestly. So I have, you know, I have these two technically because the clairvoyance can be out soon. I do have two more projects that are kind of in R&D stages right now.

[52:58] And I'm just I noticed that I kind of gravitate towards like different features, right? And really, ideally in my head, I want to create a knife that kind of fits the mold of each thing, right? Like I want to create a wharncliffe.
I want to create a front flipper. I want to create maybe even an automatic someday or something. Like I want to have something for everything, I think, really. So what would this type of knife look like if it comes out of my imagination?
I just want to hit all those different points.
OK, so Paul, let everyone know how they can keep up your work and the best way to find out about developments.
Absolutely. So you can definitely follow. I have a ton of Instagrams. The important ones right now would be for my artwork, you can follow me at Colorful Filth. For any of the knife specific stuff,
you can follow me at Munko Knives. And then also I do have a newsletter that you can join and subscribe to. So if you go to, click on the newsletter tab. You can put in your
email address and I'm definitely not spamming with it. I don't think I've sent one out in like three months, but whenever there's a release or whenever there's something cool and exciting kind of kind of happening, whether it be a Northern Knives project or a new product dropped on my end as far as like Munko knives.
You know, I'll send out an email blast, some, you know, do some giveaways and stuff on there as well.
Yeah, those three places I would say are the best place to kind of stay in the know.
Great, well, some really exciting stuff coming from you, Paul Munko. Graphic designer turned knife designer.

[54:25] Well, you didn't turn, you just added that to your plan of play. and also just really, really great fine art as well.
So Paul, thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast. It's been a pleasure meeting you.
Absolutely, thank you so much. The Get Upside app is your way to get cash back on your gas purchases.
Get Upside is an app you put on your smartphone and whenever you need to get gas, search your area for savings, claim your discount, fill up your tank, and then take a picture of the receipt with your phone.
And that's it, you've just got cash back. Visit forward slash save on gas to get the app and start saving. Again, that's slash save on gas.
You know you're a knife junkie if you love your knives more than your spouse. There he goes, ladies and gentlemen, Paul Munko,
who just goes to show, never underestimate the power of gas station knives to inspire, because without gas station knives, we would not have Paul Munko on this show.
So it was great to meet him, and I really look forward to checking out the clairvoyant.
I hope you are looking forward to checking out next Sunday for another great interview. And then of course there's Wednesday, the midweek supplemental and Thursday, Thursday night knives 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time right here on YouTube, Facebook or Twitch.

[55:41] For Jim working his magic behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying until next time, don't take dull for an answer.
Thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and review at
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