Orion Knives David Kam – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 368)
David Kam of Orion Knives joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 368 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
David started collecting EDC gear including knives in 2017, and began his BladeBanter YouTube knife review channel in 2018, after being an active contributor to other review channels. Once David’s knife preferences were crystalized, he created Orion Knives and a premium-feel folder called the Solaris, for less than $100.
Fascinated with mechanisms and workmanship, David set out to make knives with a high-level of engineering and design finesse. His Solaris model was an early “enthusiast-designed,” China-OEM-produced folder, designed around its button lock/flipper action. Orion recently released the Scorpio, a sweet little clip point EDC with a unique look and build around the same button lock action as the Solaris.
The company’s logo features the three stars that make up the belt of Orion, the favorite constellation of his three boys. The company’s motto is, “Invest in Your Lifestyle.”
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content.David Kam of Orion Knives is my guest this week on episode 368 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. I'm excited to chat with him about Orion's Solaris, Scorpio and Cetus knives. I know you'll love the knives and this podcast too! Click To Tweet
Orion Knives David Kam
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 368)
Bob Demarco ©2022
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 David Kam of Orion Knives.
[0:25] David's love of EDC gear, especially folding knives, led him to become a very active player in the knife community, with his BladeBanter YouTube channel, his Apex Passaround group, and ultimately with his knife designs and company.
[0:39] His first knife, the Solaris, came out to much well-deserved fanfare as a beefy, stylish, fidgety EDC built around a very well-tuned button-lock flipper, something that was quite unique at that time.
David has a new knife out built around that same awesome action called the Scorpio, a cool little clip point and micarta charmer.
Plus, Orion's got another totally different prototype called the Cetus. Now in the works, I have it in my hot little hands and we'll check that out.
We'll catch up with David and a lot more from Orion Knives, but first be sure to like, comment, subscribe and hit the notification bell and download the show to your favorite podcast app.
And as always, if you want to help support the show, the Knife Junkie Podcast here, you can go to Patreon. The quickest way to get there is to head over to theknifejunkie.com slash Patreon.
Ever visit the knives online in the hopes of satisfying your need to possess them in the real world? Then you have a problem.
You are a knife junkie.
Hello, David. Welcome back to the show, sir. How's it going, guys?
[1:42] On guys!
Thanks for having me back. Oh, it's my pleasure. My pleasure. Well, like I mentioned up front, I've had a chance.
You sent me these two knives to check out and I greatly appreciate it. The Scorpio and the Cetus. We'll look at the Cetus a little while later, but this is your newer knife release and I want to congratulate you on this.
[2:06] You've really taken and run with the success of the Solaris and given us something similar but very different and really cool.
Yeah, I think so. Because it's just kind of an iteration or kind of just locking things down a little bit more. Because then that one has just a little bit more things like the crown line, there's the folder on it.
So it kind of just takes up a notch from the Orion side.
[2:33] Because for the knife side, at least for me, I don't intend to have like 10,000 different models out there.
I want to kind of treat them more like a car company. So that's where I want to have things that meet different purposes and then kind of stay with that because Acrola from 1980s does not look like Acrola from 2022.
So that's kind of where I'm going to be sticking with that and kind of sticking with the name.
So if you like the Solaris, the Scorpio, Cetus, then those are going to be kind of names that will stick with, at least that's the plan.
That's actually a very interesting concept and to compare it to a car company who, you You know, like the Corvette has been around for a long time and it's looked very different,
in its major iterations, but each time it's awesome.
And so to do that with these knives, I think that's a really cool idea. I mean, we, with designers such as yourself, it seems like, or companies in general, it seems like you can go two ways.
And we talk about that on the show a bit. You know, you can go the Tops route and have 50 million models, all awesome, all available at once, but that seems to take an incredible amount of bandwidth or something. Or you could be more like a Chris Reeve Knives and have a couple of models that you, like, year after your dial in over and over.
[3:54] Yeah, definitely a good comparison there. And that's probably more so the route that I want to go in as far as more Chris Reeve style instead of the topside. I mean they do a great job with it. They still do OEM work as well. So eventually maybe if I do a fixed bike maybe I'll tune up with them.
Oh yeah, I love tabs. So I want to talk a little bit about your use of the button lock flipper.
I mentioned upfront in the intro that when the Solaris came out just a couple of years ago, a well-tuned button lock flipper was a rarity. I think maybe the Pro-Tech,
I know the Mordax had been out at that point, I'm not sure about the Malibu,
but other than that, we hadn't seen this influx like we see now with some of our favorite brands.
What keyed you into the button lock and what were some of your challenges making the flipper mechanism work with a button lock?
Yeah, I mean that was one thing. Because in CRKT, the Titec II was kind of the baseline of where I really liked the knife. It had a lot of deployment methods and everything. And then as you learn more about it, I mean the tolerances on that knife, I appreciate them making it.
[5:07] But just the tolerances haven't gotten better over the years. So it's kind of just has a little bit more slop to it and everything.
Uh, and then, uh, that's where that started from. And then I just liked that mechanism so much.
Uh, and then it was a very much a, uh, a process to get things done. Uh, because I'm at least with the OEM, uh, they hadn't had a button lock before.
So there was kind of like, well, this is how it should operate.
And then they send me a video of it and just say, well, you press the button and it doesn't fall down.
Like, well, something's wrong there. You might want to adjust something here or there. And it took, I think it was about six months, kind of back and forth. They go, okay, well, this is how I want to
build. This is how I want it to operate. And then so it's progressed. So it's actually gotten to a point where the, like the Scorpio, I feel, has gotten to the next level, a little bit more refinement to it. And then as I'll do that, you know, kind of go back to the Solaris as well,
and then kind of work with some of those requirements too.
Just kind of go back and forth and lessons learned from the Scorpio can be applied to the Solaris.
Yeah, because I mean, this is where it kind of started out.
I mean, this is the 3D print that I started with and this is the first time I got the experience knife, but drew it up, I did 2D and then the 3D side.
So it's not too much different. I mean, this is from 2D to the actual knife and there's one of the options available.
[6:34] So it's actually stayed pretty true to that. So that was a nice thing to do.
But yeah, definitely button locks are very finicky. So they're not as straightforward as some would like to hope for. It is a little bit of finicky lock, but it's a good lock, I still like it.
I like it a lot and it seems like everyone likes it a lot because they have now become very, very popular.
You know, my entree into button locks was mostly through switch blades, automatic knives. Oh, definitely, yeah.
But before I ask this question, I just want to ask quickly, you mentioned the OEM. Is it the same OEM with the Solaris and the Scorpio?
[7:17] Yeah, Solaris and Scorpio are both with QSP. QSP. Okay. So I want to talk about this setup here. And usually I don't get technical, but it's interesting to look at this.
Is the same setup as the Polaris, I mean as the Solaris I believe, in terms of you know you have the flipper tab way forward and then just behind that you have the button lock and then just behind
that the pivot and then kind of much further back at the flipper tab and then of course you have the puller. All of these ways you can open up the knife, this angle right here is what interests me,
having that flipper so far forward. Tell me a little about that.
Yeah, definitely. Because for myself, for the flipper tab, I found that at least...
[8:06] What's my thought on it? Basically, you have a little bit more pull on it and you get a little bit more travel because if you have a flipper type kind of at the bottom side, you're going to very a little travel.
But when you actually use it on the top side, so I mean, you have basically all this travel that goes down and that's where it's kind of a hit or miss because some people like it, some people don't.
But that's where I like to have that type of pull for it. And then that's also where people have issues because they feel that, well, this thumb stud should be closer.
Well, I can't have it closer because everything that you move within a design, you have to move something else.
So if you say that you want the thumb stud closer, it's like, well, then I have to change the handle.
So I have to pull this back, I have to change where the pivot's located. So even with this basically front, front toil, which you don't get on too many of the knives. you see a choil that takes up a good deal of the blade.
That's kind of how I designed the original Scorpio, I mean the Slurris, and that's where it moved into the Scorpio, because the Scorpio was going to be the mini Slurris, but my wife said it does not look,
like the other knife, so why are you naming it the same thing as a, eh, bra bra bra, right?
So, changed it up a little. Well, I think, well, lots of things, but on that point, I think the blade does look kind of Scorpion-ish.
You know, it has that vibe and I gotta say, thank you for putting jimping up there on the clip.
[9:35] I know it's very useful for utility cuts and uses, but I just think it looks cool.
I really like it. That's part of what gives this to me such a unique look. I'm a huge clip point fan and I happen to be going through a huge Bowie knife phase right now.
So anything clip point really gets to me, but the jimping, just the look of it, The jimping, the crown spine, and the fuller here all coming together at that front portion just looks amazing.
Yeah, and I don't see it very often for that because even I added, it's a little bit harder to see on this one, but there's a little bit of kind of a drop area.
So you probably see it more a little bit more on yours, but there's kind of a place for your thumb to land. So when you actually have your thumb up here, it actually lands up there.
[10:20] And that's one thing I don't really see on too many knives as far as having jimping all way up on the actual clip point. So that was, I kind of took it off on some of like, I saw it on
some hunting knives, but not really too much on other regular EDC knives. So that was one thing that helped out with even not like draw cuts or plug cuts. So if you actually just want to go,
in just a little bit, you can kind of just go up a little bit and actually kind of.
[10:46] Of adjust as far as how deep that cuts in going to the box.
[10:49] Yeah, because when you're worried about cutting whatever's in there and you're just yeah So uh this when did this knife when did the scorpio get released?
[11:00] Scorpio I forgot which month but it did come out this year So especially about once a year i'm coming out with the zine the sedis that we'll talk about later That was I was planning on having this year. It's probably going to be a 2023 model for that guy,
Okay, so before we talk about the Cetus, let's just talk about your overall philosophy for the company for Orion.
I know your tagline is invest in your lifestyle, or that's one of your taglines on your website. What does that mean and what are your goals with this knife company?
Yeah, I think that's I guess the The big thing is like to make a big company actually actually have it be something that I can,
Live off of because right now I mean it is still a hobby thing. I'm reinvesting the money back into it So would it be nice to be a curse on a bench made Chris rebe type of knife company?
Yeah, it would be still a lot of headaches probably for a lot of that but I just want to be able to to still enjoy it, still have a usable place for a knife.
And that's another reason why I don't have so many models is I want to have just a purpose and why is it in the market? Why would this even exist? Is it just another drop point that's out there?
And that's kind of with the trajectory of it.
[12:29] If you went from Kickstarter to the second run of the Smarse and then the Scorpio.
So it's just kind of progressed and then being able to kind of look back and see, okay, well, like I would think about there's like, okay, that's going to cost a thousand dollars. Like, oh, man, that's going to be a lot of money.
And then now it's a kind of a different mindset of like, okay, that's going to be a thousand dollars. Yeah, I can see that. And then you spend it.
And that's where I'm kind of allowing this.
[12:56] Thanking the community for it. It allows their support to be able to kind of keep on going because without them enjoying it, telling their friends, buying some of the products,
and I just couldn't move forward. Well, that's what I was actually asking about. The very last part. A big part of your company seems to be, at least with the three knives I've experienced,
one a prototype and two, you know, the Solaris and the Scorpio, is that you aim to make some kind of luxury goods, we'll call them that because they're beautifully made,
stylishly designed and great tools for what they are, pocket knives.
But you're making them affordable, you know? These are things that are... And you're... Especially with the Solaris, and I imagine this will be the same thing, but you're making them very, very customizable.
Which is something that we see in much higher-end knives, like Hinderer knives, for instance, kind of pride themselves on that.
[13:56] Tell me a little bit about what it takes to do that.
[14:01] It's a lot, because that's where, with anybody that sends me an email, I reply to those, but then people go, okay, well, can you just make one without a Fliprotech? Can you make one with this color, that color, change the certain section?
[14:17] I would like to, but then the investment on that is hundreds of units.
So if the market's there for it, great, then I can do that. But that's where it is a bigger investment than just being able to do like a 3D print of it.
[14:33] And then I don't have in-house manufacturing, so it's just not a matter of kind of changing a few things and doing a different cut. So it is working with that OEM process or OEM process.
And that's one thing I want to talk about too as far as those differences, because there's a difference between OEM and OEM. But that's where it's just a lot of different things. You try and.
[14:56] I think it's still a matter of like, the the Solaris was like my knife that hopefully people like, and then I'm trying to kind of stand on it. I still want to like the knife but I don't want
to make something that I just dislike. Although sometimes the market kind of has something that they like a lot and it's like okay well I'll just make one but I do want to make something that I
like. So I see what you're saying. You don't want to be influenced too much by the market. You want to to be the influence on the market.
Yeah, what's missing from it? So that's where it's just like, what's the purpose of it? I think something that still stuck with me when I was still just doing the Blade Bender side,
I did an interview at one of the Blade shows with Leon Ma and he was like, what makes you different?
[15:48] I mean, that's kind of the reason it was like, why are you even in existence? Why are you there as far as the, and that was the YouTube side, But kind of the same thing goes for the knife side.
It's like, why am I doing this? What niche is it? What is it bringing to the market and not just another knife?
Yeah, I guess you have to really auger down.
[16:11] As someone who likes all knives, ranging from all budgets and all styles, I could see it being, I don't know, difficult to.
[16:23] To just kind of pick one lane and stay in it and master it. But this concept of having a couple of designs and working those and part of what I was asking you before was about the customization. Not only do you make these,
multi-row bearings, super knives affordable, but they're also like Solaris, very customizable.
Tell us about some of the things one can do if they have a Solaris and they want to make it more their own.
Yeah, I mean even on the table here as far as some of this information goes. So this is like a hydrodip like Nico He's normally at like the artisan booth. So he does hydrodipping. So that's something that's available here. It's on a G10,
So a different backspacer here might add a lanyard at some point I'm personally not a lanyard person and that's why I just said well for the size of knife,
I didn't go with it, but yeah, you can change pivot colors, back spacers also have worked with Chroma Scales.
So Chroma Scales is the one that did this one. So this is the Scorpio, but this is with the frag pattern. So this is a 3D printed scale.
So that actually allows for a lower batch and a lot more customization as far as the colors, patterns, and everything that can be printed for it.
[17:41] And that's just a plastic one. actually it does drop the weight as well so it's actually even less than the carbon fiber because the carbon fiber is this one so between the g10 and the chroma scale with the chroma scale back
spacer it drops like 0.8 ounces so it is still not as rigid as a carbon fiber or a g10 but it is still a useful device for it and even for the pricing like i think it's a fair price for like a carbon
fiber at $35. I think the majority of them go for about $65 plus for a carbon fiber option.
[18:18] So it's just something that everybody wants to make a knife of their own. It's kind of nice to be able to take your knife out of your pocket and not have the exact same one that everybody else does. And those are the kind of the options that I want to have for that. Yeah. I mean,
I couldn't agree with you more. Just like we have, we all have our favorite designs out there,
their favorite production designs.
But to have one, you know, I have a couple of knives with custom scales, especially Emerson's.
And I prize those because they're just a little bit different, but it's the same knife everyone knows and loves, but it's mine, it's my version.
And before I ask you about OEM versus ODM, I wanna say thank you for putting a lanyard option on the Scorpio. I am a fob guy, I take them on, put them on, take them on.
But I like the option, especially on a small knife, to me, not only for extracting and for,
Feeling it in hand, but I don't know it's sort of like jewelry for the nut little knife itself So I appreciate that and I didn't want to add a post to it. So that's why I mean you see on it I mean doesn't have a post so it's not like the hole that's driven aside and that's one thing I don't like about like the pair three,
As far as they kind of relocated the lanyard hole for the pot I mean the relocated the pocket for the lining hole. Yeah, and it might do that So that's why it's kind of a pain one there the lanyard hole you could you could drive a truck through,
Yeah, yeah, but take the guts out of it. I tried to.
[19:43] Initially because I'm not a lanyard person I was trying to like take the whole paracord and shove it in the hole It's like it was just very frustrating. So just take the guts out a little bit and then notice this right here,
Yeah, yeah, you can take it out and burn it make it pointy and stick it through. Yeah. Yeah, so you You mentioned OEM and ODM.
Well, explain what OEM is and then what's the difference with an ODM.
Yeah, OEM and ODM. It's kind of almost melted a little bit, but originally the OEM side was really you're just taking every specification, every part, and then they're just making it for you.
The majority of the knives, even with my own, I don't take every little piece down to the angle of the lock face.
I might ask for adjustments here and there, but I'm not taking it to that level.
So really it's, in essence, a lot of the knife designs that come out are ODM, is Original Design Manufacturing, and not OEM, where you kind of give them all the information, all the tool paths, and they just make your parts.
So that's kind of those in a nutshell as far as OEM and OEM. How do you employ the two differently when you're bringing one given knife to market?
[20:57] Yeah, I think that's a lot of where the ODM side, if you use that term, is the majority of what happens with it is then you can really take a napkin drawing and a lot of the companies will take that,
and then they'll produce a knife out of it.
They won't, you won't be telling them, okay, well I want the lock face to be at a one degree angle and this needs to be at this point.
It's like, okay, well, this is my design.
Then they kind of convert it over and then they make it and then they give you a prototyping. So this is what I want to make. So that's more of an OEM style, but it's kind of melted a little bit as far as like it's almost spoken to in the same light now as far as OEM.
[21:37] Yeah, because it seems like a lot of the OEMs when we're talking to various people about it, they have a lot of designers of their own who are there to translate whatever the design specs that come in on a designer to make it flow with their manufacturing process.
But also there are guys like me who have great ideas drawn in the margins of their legal pads at work and you know you just want to Xerox that and send it over to them and see what you can do with this. So that would be more the OBM way.
That would be it and that's just from what I've known about it and that's kind of what I've kind of gathered as far as what I put together. So definitely I mean If people disagree, let me know in the comments too, then we can discuss that.
But that's been my idea as far as that difference between the OEM and ODM side of business.
So you've been working with QSP on the production of the Scorpio and the Solaris.
What's it been like working with them? Yeah, I mean, it's been a good process. So it's still been kind of that back and forth. Again, when we're going through the original button lock, it took a little bit longer just because they were doing frame locks and wire locks.
[22:50] So they didn't have, and they just brought out a button lock under them, which is like a going through it if you're exclusive, but there's currently, they didn't have a button lock in their lineup.
So it was kind of having to explain and show what I wanted to do, how it should work.
And then when I was actually handed them knives, because in one of the shows they actually came out from China, so I was actually able to bring of my button locks and you're well this is the button locks available this is kind of how I want the work. This is how everything, how it should lock up when you press the button, it should drop.
[23:26] Because it's really you don't have in that tension on there. So yeah, it was definitely a process to get through everything and actually get it going.
So you actually brought the button lock to QSP, it sounds like.
And now they just came out with a button lock. I think they have you to thank. I mean, it's similar.
I have one. I bought one. So I'm going to try and actually, I think some of the parts are the same. so I can actually switch out some of the parts. The button has a little bit of a different design on it that I can actually put on maybe to the SLAR, so I'm gonna check on that.
But yeah, it's the button lock. It was around, I mean, I wasn't the first one to bring it out.
There's still the, say, side, one guy that used to work at Gerber, whose name I'm losing right now, but he's an organ, and then there's, I think there's Kaiser and Tangram.
Really, Tangram had a really good button lock.
It was off of Kaiser and they were kind of ahead of the game. I mean, if they had just stuck with it a little bit longer, I mean, they were ahead of CBB and everybody else when it came to that.
[24:32] But I think a lot of it came about, I mean, even I think women carry knives and stuff. So it's like, I started, I kind of kickstarted a little bit and maybe that's the case, but it's not obviously.
Yeah, the, actually what I was suggesting was that you actually helped QSP cut their teeth on making these button locks.
And I think that's actually pretty cool. That's kind of the back and forth nourishing of this community, you know?
Lots of people with fresh design ideas, going to people with a lot of expertise, but maybe not the ideas, and then you bring that together, and then everyone's benefiting.
[25:13] Yeah, good. The Cetus, let's talk about this knife. Let me give you my impressions. Yep, go for it.
Because I haven't made the video yet, but thank you, it's an honor to have a prototype in hand. This knife strikes me as, this is a full-size knife, bigger than I would imagine both the Solaris and the Scorpio.
I know it's bigger than the Scorpio. It seems like a purpose-designed utility knife with that tip down and with that edge angle, that downward edge angle, pull cuts and cutting straps,
and using that point and everything.
So it seems like a really great full-size utility knife, but...
[25:53] When I got it in hand, I was like, ah, it's a good nunting. It's a it's a little curved Sickle like sword from my pocket like to me this reminds me of that. You know what I'm talking about, right? Yeah. Yeah.
[26:05] I think you've showed it off on one of your other live streams. Okay Yeah, but yeah, I mean definitely the size difference between it and.
[26:13] That was definitely a purpose as far as that downward angle does really when you're actually cutting into things I mean This is where I mean, it's right there as far as I mean, tip and most people really just cut Amazon box and whatnot.
So, I mean, that's really what that's there for. And I'm sure I mean, even for yourself, you find other reasons.
Oh, that would be a great other tool for something else. Yeah.
But that's really where it came about as far as that goes, because I wanted to have that downward tip angle, but I was like, how am I going to fit that in there?
I was like, I don't know how that's going to work. So I was just kind of playing around with it some time and it kind of came about as in actually Buck of all places came out with a similar like downward angle and I was like,
oh! And so that's kind of where I kind of ran with it. I got my paper and started drawing it and everything else. I was like, this is the way to go. And that's kind of where this came from.
[27:03] Also though, in addition to that downward angle, the overall arcing shape of the spine from the pommel to the tip gives the whole thing, even though it's a very gentle and nearly neutral
handle gently curved and nearly neutral handle the overall arc on the spine gives it almost a pistol grip effect so if you were to end and the fact that the
point is low on the blade if you were to use this in a thrusting motion for whatever purpose the tip is right is right where you need it to be without
having to bend your your wrist in a in a weird and unnatural way so I think this This is a very interesting design and I can't tell...
[27:46] I can't tell exactly what you were thinking when you made this. Were you thinking both utility and tactical?
A little bit less tactical because I'm not a tactical guy in a sense, but then that's where it goes about the people like yourself that actually works with the knives in that manner.
So it works out well that way because actually in some sense I had a tactical idea because so it's not a bolster lock.
I call it almost like a modified frame lock. So it actually does have the full cover that goes across the whole thing, but it does have the exposed frame.
So when you're actually holding onto it, that's going to actually engage it more than sometimes liar locks. If you grab it too much, then you're actually going to be disengaging it, which is not a great thing.
[28:30] So that's where I kind of made this cover a little bit less. So you can actually still possibly grip it.
Right. that your squeezing fingers still have room to push down on the lock bar there.
Yeah, so you're still gonna be engaging it when you're grabbing it, and also when you're actuating it, I mean, you can put your fingers anywhere on this and not actually mess with that frame lock at all.
Yeah, and that's a huge deal for me because that's very frustrating.
I find on thinner bodied knives, you go to flip it and it's like, ow, and it doesn't come out and you hurt your finger.
Yeah, very cool. different, totally different placement of the flipper tab. You have the flipper tab far forward here, and here you have it further back.
[29:18] You have it jimped all the way around the tab, which is important, I believe. And then you have it after this, and I believe that's why this is a good flipper. Even with the flipper tab behind this, is that you have that sort of...
Yeah, it's a follow through. So, I mean, you kind of start with one place and you just fall in through, and you have to fail up there, but...
But yeah, you just follow through on it, and then it actually, the flipper tab will hide in here, so that's where it goes.
So again, going back to design, so if you go and say, okay, well, I want the flipper tab higher or lower, it's not gonna work once it's open as far as where that flipper tab lands.
Right, right, because it nestles inside the finger guard. That's another thing I mentioned before that I like.
I also like these covers because it's sort of elegant solution to having an ambidextrous pocket clip without having a little notch,
cut in there that is unsightly or that you have to make a filler tab for, anything like that.
It's nice it just kind of slips under there and that's that. And the screws of course are recessed.
[30:25] Because you listen. These covers here now you have G10. This is a steel frame lock right? It's steel on one side aluminum on the front. So the show side is aluminum.
So just to drop the weight down a little bit. So if I went steel, steel would add a little weight to it. So yeah it's an aluminum front side. So this front side is going to be aluminum and then And then the backside is that steel frame lock for it.
So eventually if it does well, we'll do titanium and everything. But that's kind of, I guess, going back to like the goals of things that like my goal for a model is to rival a large company in what they would consider successful.
So most of the things that I've sold so far, it's nice, it's good.
If it was probably like a very large organization, they'd be like, well, that's the worst selling knife that we got in the lineup, let's drop it. So that's where I kind of wanted to go to that.
You have on the Scorpio, you have a very, very thin behind the edge, a flat grind, right? That's a flat grind. Yeah, flat grind, yeah. So on the Cetus, you've gone with a hollow grind, or at least in this prototype.
Yeah, it will be a hollow grind, yeah. Okay, so why?
[31:43] Everybody likes hollow grinds, so this goes I guess to markets. So I mean, yeah, the life of your blade with a hollow grind, you're going to have a lot more life on it.
With that cutting, you're going to have you see the front of it, then it kind of doesn't have that drag across the rest of the blade.
That's one reason why I actually do like a flat grind in a sense though, because then when you're cutting it, it has a very even push where you're not having to kind of guide the blade and actually guide itself.
So that's one reason I like the flat grind but a hollow grind is a nice knife for cutting It was a nice knife for the life of a knife because it doesn't back enough,
There's really once you start sharpening it then it starts to get better and better and get that bigger You know thickness and then it might not cut the way that you want it to.
[32:29] This sorry if I'm flipping it too much But this one I really really like the fuller flipping on the Cetus So I haven't heard of, at least that I know of, an aluminum, half aluminum, half steel,
frame lock knife.
Is this something new or is this something that's been happening under the radar? I think it's been around. I don't know too many that do it, but it is something that's been around for that setup.
Yeah, you can't do aluminum against steel. That's when I first saw the buck.
I should probably grab it too, but the buck one is that same style as far as that aluminum and steel.
Because in the industry I thought it was aluminum because like everything I saw on it is called the Highline.
And now I was like, okay, well, aluminum frame locks.
[33:19] How does that work? And then like I didn't see any inserts or anything. I was like, that doesn't work. Does it?
And then it came out as like okay that's a frame lock on the steel on the one side okay all right because i have recently and now i can't remember exactly where it was i have heard of an aluminum frame lock uh and i was how does that work and that one has an insert but,
now i can't remember what that yeah that was a case knife case marilla and a case um another one out there but it's like a bear river i mean they made a few different ways but yeah that's a That's a minimum one as far as a crane lock.
That's right. And for those of you who don't know, David also has an encyclopedic knowledge of these knives.
I mean, of the kind of knives we all know, love and collect because you two are a collector and a reviewer.
Though now that you're running this company, I think you're more of a knife company guy. So the knife, the Cetus you have is in all black and you have a wood, wood covers on,
this, which I have been, you know, I've been talking about this for a while now.
I'm just into it right now. I'm into wood on handles, natural materials I love.
But wood, this looks so nice. What kind of wood is that? And tell us about the options you want to see the Cetus come out in.
[34:38] And this is going to go around with the same type of customization. Initially, it's going to be a G10 or wood. probably gonna be like a 10 dollar premium. Now I forgot the name of this one. It's like a,
white wood or something, at least what the OEM was saying as far as it goes. And now I kind of looked it up and say, well, what is that? I never found the actual like what type of tree it is,
but that's what they were calling it, a white wood. But that's going to be what this is. And it's really a simple design for it. So yeah, eventually I can see doing like a carbon fiber and doing like the full titanium one as well.
Oh yeah, I mean the possibilities are endless with something like that.
When you can just put covers on there and then when people get enthusiastic about it, like I know they did with the Solaris, people start making their own scales and that kind of thing. How do you feel about that as a knife company owner?
Other people making parts for your knives, I don't know how common that is with your knives, but how do you feel about that?
I think it's good. I mean, even with Ben, what he did, I haven't gone that far. I mean, anybody that asked, I had two people ask about for the Scorpio anyway, for the actual step file. So they actually don't need to start from scratch.
So I gave it to them to do three 3d prints for.
So anything that's really good. I mean if.
[36:05] I think anywhere across the market, if you're going to have aftermarket, it helps the manufacturer as well because then they have to have the base of it to have the part.
So you still, I mean, it works out both ways. If you can have a market for it, for the aftermarket, then that will help the OEM.
Yeah. Yes. That's what I never understood about, well, I'll name them companies like Hinderer, you know, like when I remember they went after a scale maker. Who was it? RC Blade Works, I think, a few years back.
And I have some of their scales for a couple of my hinderers. Great scales. And the thing that vexed me always was, this is something that gets people excited about your product.
[36:47] Why don't you embrace it? Why wouldn't you embrace it? You can't expect to have a lock, a hammer lock hold on every single thing that touches your knives.
And if you have people who are so excited about them that they want to collect them and make sorts of different parts for him. That's a sign of success, I would imagine.
Yeah, I would think so. That's one thing that eventually I want to get a little bit thinner because kind of going off of like why like people say, oh, that's way too thick. I don't like it because of how thick this knife is. It works well for a small knife. But if I do make it thinner,
I mean, that's where it goes about with the collars. The collars, I'll have to protrude it out a little bit because the material underneath of it is going to be very thin. So I won't have
that same type of color. So there's a few different things that go into it, even the hardware itself. And that's one thing kind of going in the mindset of, I guess, more of a car company style. A lot of these parts, so if you have, if you have a Slars, maybe,
people knew, maybe people don't, but a lot of these parts are interchangeable.
[37:54] Yeah. Yeah. So, so the reason for that is not trying to be cheap. just I would like to have like a part spin that is not
every single knife has a different part. So if you have a collar, it'll work on the other one. If I do add a lanyard to this one, I might have this on this knife. So then you can actually,
if you have it customized, then you can, okay, well, I want to change it from this knife to this knife. I want to change these colors to this knife from this one. It's something that's available to
it. And that's kind of what's the plan for it to have a little bit more customization because Because initially when I was making this knife, I was going to actually make a small version of this knife and actually allow you to change the handle and also the scale to make it smaller,
but it didn't really work out.
So that's where it kind of came up. Well, that concept of having kind of off the shelf parts for not off the shelf parts for Orion knives.
I think that is a great idea for everyone involved or for both parties involved. It makes for very efficient business and manufacturing on for your side.
And then for the knife junkie or for the collector.
[39:12] Oh man, yeah, of course. I mean, that's great to have two Orion knives and know that I can swap. Well, if they're both Solarei, I mean, yeah, that you could swap 100% of the parts, but,
even going between two different models that you could swap a lot of those parts.
People love that. People like making Franken knives. I know I do, you know, taking the best parts of the favorite parts of different knives that fit together and, and do it. So I think that makes sense all around.
[39:42] And that's where like the hard part about for me is like, I'm always chasing, like it's hard to not compare against other folks, other companies.
And then that's where I have a hard time with, cause I'm like, well, this company's coming out and like, they sell it in like five minutes or something. And I was like, well, I mean, I have it.
I haven't sold out of my products. and users trying to kind of.
[40:04] Not compare myself to much to other people because I feel like I've been successful but it's kind of like always pushing the margin of like, okay, what is success? What is it to be an actual designer, an actual company?
Because it almost feels like, well, I'm not there yet. I'm like, I got a ways to go still. Two things on that is I think that when,
I would imagine that when you sell out your knives immediately, that's a lot of pressure because you want to repeat that.
[40:35] And when you stop repeating that, it might feel like, geez, no one loves me anymore because I'm not selling out in 20 minutes. So I could see both sides of the coin being both frustrating and thrilling.
[40:50] Selling out quickly or having a stock that you can always come back to and that's always there that people can buy because there's also, as a knife collector, nothing more frustrating than missing the drop,
are not having 355 bucks available when that drop comes through, and then you gotta wait for the secondary and all that.
But knowing that a company like yours has stock is exciting. And then the other thing about comparing yourself.
[41:16] It's like Jordan Peterson says, don't compare yourself to other people, but compare yourself to yesterday, who you were yesterday and what Orion Knives was yesterday.
And as long as you keep doing that little incremental growth, That's how you build a foundation.
[41:32] Yeah, and I can see that you just try and not get caught up in the weeds of all that. But definitely, definitely so. But yeah, it's been a good run. It's been something that I didn't
want to do a lot of the pre-orders. That's why the Scorpio really was funded off of the Solaris. So I had it available and just something that was when I released it was like,
okay, if you want to buy it, it's here. Yeah. It's not a you want to buy it. Okay, it'll be six months, it'll be three months. One thing that I mentioned about the Solaris on one of my live feeds recently was how, okay, for me this is not in my wheelhouse, this is smaller than most of the,
folding knives I collect, though I've recently been getting more into smaller knives, but my primary carry is always larger, it's always around a four-inch blade, that's just what I prefer.
[42:25] And then my secondary would be something this size say for instance But to me and I do not have giant hands So I would say that that my point will probably count for people with giant hands even more,
But this being a smaller knife, I like the width of it It feels good and controllable in hand and it that goes for some of that this one
I just did a podcast on tiny knives my ten favorite tiny knives And this this was too big to be on the list, but I do mention this as as a smaller knife that,
has a really really good feel and,
grip because of that width and I mentioned a number of other knives that I think are successful in in micro or small versions because.
[43:09] The makers maintained the full width even though they had to make everything else smaller that full width counts especially with a three finger grip or or compromise grip like that.
Yeah, you got smaller.
[43:22] Yeah, I mean, I think that's a good thing with it. Anybody that's handled it when I was in the kind of prototyping stage really liked it. So it's been a good model. The reviewers that have seen it so far have had positive things to say about it. So that's always nice to hear from the community as far as what they think about it.
[43:42] And then just enjoying the product. What role would you say the community has had in, and by the community, I mean the knife community,
has had in, well, in your embarking on this business venture, but also in your success?
Yeah, I mean, it couldn't be done without them because everything was based off of just the channel when I started the BladeBender channel and then when it rolled into just meeting other people, other channels, other community members because I mean, at least in my area,
I'm starting to know a little bit more people in the Salem area, but I mean, really, as I show,
show somebody a knife and then you talk about it and they kind of give you kind of a blank stare and you're like, yeah, okay. But the community helped a lot because it's something
that was able to support where I wanted to go. I give the motivation to try it. And then that's kind of grew into being able to kind of grow things and actually continue on with
different models because if it wasn't there and I was just not in the community and not,
talking with other folks, it would probably be a lot harder to launch a knife and a knife brand and a knife model because nobody knows you.
You don't have that personal relationship with people and honest feedback because then I mean, if I created a knife that was...
[45:09] Very ugly, horrible to feel in hand. Action was terrible. And then you only had people around you is like, yeah, do it. It's an amazing thing to do. That would be a horrible thing to do. So that's what's nice to kind of send it around, get that input. And then just hopefully, you're able to do different models. And going back to even, I used to invest in your lifestyle, because the lifestyle of every person is different as far as what you're looking for, what you like, what you need. And then that's kind of
where that goes because initially there was the push button as far as the original button locks,
but it's kind of expanded more than that. And that's why when you invest in your lifestyle,
is the next one is a frame lock, which is not a button lock and it can be pushed.
But that's kind of where that progressed and changed. So having started Blade Banter Channel and having and knowing people in the community as you started up Orion knives, you have like a built-in focus group, you know, which is nice and,
unlike a corporation out there who's trying to assemble a focus group, you know that they're all experts or at least aficionados in their own tastes in knives. So what kind of, or how much,
Which did their feedback affect the final designs of, say, the Solaris or any of them?
[46:35] The only thing that I remember as far as a major feedback that was kind of a design thing is initially I wasn't going to have pivot collars.
Jack Farmboy, which was a part of the community, he actually is on with Giantmouse now. He was talking about pivot collars and he was like, yeah, that actually might look pretty nice.
So that was one thing that really helped out with it because some of the other ones, there was little tweaks here and there, but it was still like you take in the information and well, this is still what I like and what I want to put out.
That's where it was like even with the lanyard, even some people said, well, I didn't buy the knife because it didn't have a lanyard on it.
It's like, well, I didn't want to put a lanyard because I didn't feel like it was necessary.
Yeah, and it's kind of like, wow, I mean, everyone's got their taste and that's it. There's no accounting for taste, but to me it's crazy that someone wouldn't buy a knife because there's no lanyard hole.
Because you can buy a drill. No, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. I would never dream of doing such a thing.
[47:35] You can always do that. It's very nice. Yeah, exactly. So you have a bunch, not a bunch, but you have other things to support the lifestyle and actually you sent this to me and I'm grateful because I think it's so cool.
This is an Orion Knives and I looked at it and I was like, ah, reminds me of the old days with the CDs and then I opened it up and I'm like, oh my God.
This beautiful case with this totally plush, I called it the walls of a 1970s custom van.
Yeah, it's so lovely and the way they're counter-positioned so that they don't rub each other. And then you also sent me, it's right over there, I still have to get it.
[48:17] Put together with my girls, but also a little wooden version of one of your knives. Yeah.
Well, I was going to ask you about your merchandising ideas and how you want to proceed with this stuff too, because I really like the... And you also have a knife care kit.
I like all of the sort of extra accessories and ancillary stuff that you get in the knife world.
[48:43] Yeah, I mean, I went with this one because I didn't really find something that most times you're not other than going to like blade show or something, you're not going to take
your entire collection. So really, I felt like four was a good size. This this fits into a priority mail, small priority box. Yeah. So people that share knives and shove
it in there, it's a little tight, but it still fits and you can still take it in there. So you can send her out knives to your buddies and everything else and they can check it out and then yeah to have it kind of flip side as far as not being able to kind of touch,
each other helped out a lot and then it's lined on the inside too so inside the pocket,
is lined and this is one thing that like in I guess another design aspect it's like when.
[49:29] I first got in prototype wise it was just way too thin and I was like how am I going to communicate how this is going to fit or what size I want this so I was like you guys have have snicker bars and then I was like
Can you get a snicker bar like that? I want to fit a snicker bar So this is actually something you could do if you want to carry candy bars,
So can candy bars as well so you can fit a snicker in there So that was really what I used for a base size,
For the night and it fits balisongs. So I had some balisong folks check it out Oh nice, so so even for some larger knives it will fit in there It'll work for the smaller ones the big ones, but yeah, can bars,
Well, yeah, it works great with my large friend my like my Spartan Harsey folder goes in there my XM 24.
[50:18] Little snug with the flipper tab on the outside pocket because that's such a huge chunker but You're you mentioned Bally songs which are traditionally just longer knives bigger knives. Yeah, and that's good. Yeah, that's pretty cool,
Yeah fit in there. So it's so this is part of the lifestyle and.
[50:36] So what kind of things do you think?
Obviously knives are the core, but what other kind of things do you want to get your hands on? Eventually, I think some of the thought is like, I almost want to have an Orion product for things that are my EDC.
It's kind of a thing in the back of my mind as far as what I want to do.
And then so that comes down to make a pry bar wristwatch, things like that. that's kind of lifestyle type of things. But it's just it's just going further into it and trying to
figure out, okay, well, where's that going to fit? How am I going to service that? I'm not a knife maker. I tried to get into Timex watches. Like I bought like a whole lot off of eBay and I tried to fix them and I got one working and then I broke it and it was like, I'll push it aside.
So I don't know if I want to get into like many factory watches and everything else, but I like watches. I'm not deep into it. This is just a Timex watch here, but I still like them. I still
like to have it. I had a smart watch at one point and I just, it's not the same. So I like to have an actual watch. But anything with the brand, it's like...
[51:48] It's taken a shot and seen if it works. Because even though like for this one, like it's a cool idea for the wooden knife kit and this is USA made. It's the same people that make the Spyderco
knife and some of the case knives. So it's a USA made product. This has been one of my biggest failures. I thought it would be one that would be good for Christmas. I brought it out last year
for Christmas, I sold very few. So it's still available. Yeah, it's still available if people want to pick it up. But it is an actual functioning knife. You can use it for like your kid's first
knife or some type of kit you want to put together. But yeah, this is probably by far the biggest failure I've had so far as far as the knife brand. That's interesting to me because there's a company
Keckler or Kleckler or something. They're a knife company. But a few years ago, they came out with of the plastic of a back lock folder.
It was like a recurve tanto.
Yeah. And I bought two and put them together, you know, pink and purple, put them together with my daughter.
And those were kicking in her like little purse and just around the girls rooms for years. I don't know what happened to them at this point, but that's what this is about to replace.
And I mean, CRKT has theirs. Yeah, I think it's such a cool idea.
[53:08] I mean, it's a great merchandising idea. I think so, but I think the marketing side where I failed on it and where some of the other ones might be more successful is I don't have a knife like this yet.
[53:21] And I say, yeah, because I plan on doing that. Oh, that's a good idea. So it's not really like dad or mom gets to have the real version and you as the kid can kind of go along with them and you have your wooden version.
So that might be where I failed on that. Well, you haven't failed yet because they still exist and they still can be sold.
They still can be. Actually, I was thinking it was this. I was thinking it was this in a more generalized form. You know, you don't see the jimping and the flipper tab, but, oh.
So, so marketing may maybe that yes, yes, no, no. It wasn't, it wasn't that case.
[54:00] It can be now. It can be now. Yeah. So, so yeah, you can have those in the Scorpio and then your kid can have the wood inversion also at a point.
Or they can just have the Scorpio. No, no, no. Yeah. Yeah. Dull it a little bit.
But yeah, even, even the USA made as far as like even the maintenance kit. So this is one that is Chapman manufacturing. So it is USA made. So even
the blow mold is also USA made. The only thing that is not USA made is the actual bottles. So the bottles are made in China and I think the tips are made in China. But all the tools in here, all the drivers, this little ratchet, these,
little finger drivers. So this kind of takes the place of your screwdriver because I even have the little Phillips heads in there and then the little other drivers.
[54:49] So just trying to get, so that was the plan to have a USA made product.
[54:54] And then this also is not a good seller. So I'm just trying to figure out why. So I think I'm going to include this one is normally an optional kit for it. So this is kind of the pro tech.
So this is like Chris Reeve. So Chris Reeve bits. This is like a Medford bit, which is like a T25 Right for this new pivot and then like these are gonna be the ProTech bits,
So I'm thinking about just putting that with the kit because because at the price I was selling it before I did raise The price a little bit because I was literally Basically giving these away and I still wasn't selling them too well. So so that's where like again the.
[55:36] That's my fault because marketing side, I need to build something that excites people enough to go out and buy it. So I failed on that and I'm still work on it.
And I still like the kit and it still is a useful thing for me. I use it for my knives as far as maintenance on it.
And it's USA made because they've been all the other knives, all the other bits that people love. They're not made in the US.
[55:59] They're German. They're China, Taiwan. This is a USA made company for all the products in there.
Well, and I will remind you, you haven't failed. You just haven't succeeded 100% yet with it.
Yeah. And it's learning, it's growing, it's learning. It's like, which way do I go and what could I have done better? And then that's kind of changes with different product lines and everything.
And what's the value in it? Because I mean, people will pay like 200 bucks for a driver. Oh man.
And they won't pay $80 for a full kit. I'll tell you what the value of that is, is that it's the full kit.
I mean, I have all of that stuff, but it's been put together piecemeal and the quality of my knife tools, knife maintenance tools vary because I've picked them up catch as catch can.
You have a full kit available with everything in it, including lubrication and all the tools that you need.
And it's all of the same good quality. So I don't know that to me is the selling point.
Let me ask you this, We were talking about kids and just to kind of bring it all around for a full circle.
Tell me about how you came up with the name Orion and, and your, your beautiful logo.
[57:11] Yeah. Uh, some people still think it looks like a barbed wire, which I'm okay with that because that's really, uh,
something that's very distinct as well. Uh, but, uh, triplet boys, uh, they're nine now. Triplets boys, triplet boys. Yeah. I'm nine years old.
Uh, so, uh, so if you have three kids, I'm not trying to downplay having three kids because it's still difficult, still has the struggles that you have with it.
But when you have three learning, doing things of the same age, you don't have the older sibling helping out the younger siblings.
So it is a struggle. And even I just learned that, what is it?
Nick Rugey, also he's designing a knife. Yeah, triplets that are in high school now, so you can survive and everything. So yeah, so that came about.
I saw the logo itself.
[58:06] Of Orion knives is three stars. So that's actually their favorite constellation as far as the boys is Orion constellation and it's three stars. So it really symbolized them. So really it's three,
boys, three stars. So it kind of grew into that. And even if you see the pivot of the Slarce, the Scorpio, the pivot actually has three holes in it. Kind of looks like something that that would be like a universal or a customized bit.
But I mean, that's three holes in it as well. So it kind of, it goes along that line and that's really where the name came from, as Orion Knives.
And it's cool because it's Orion's belt from which he hangs a knife, no doubt.
Yeah, probably so. Yeah, 4D underwater chest, man.
[58:55] Well, David, I'm excited about, well, I absolutely love the Scorpio and I'm really excited about the Cetus.
And what's exciting to me is not only do I like this knife and think it's really cool and compelling,
for both utility and then my ideas, but also it shows a marked difference and a flexibility in your designs.
It's very different from your other two designs.
And that's a part that I find very exciting too, because it shows that you've got scope, or range, I guess is the word range.
And I look forward to seeing where that takes you. Yeah, and hopefully, so I'm still working on a USA model.
[59:35] That one, I haven't released photos of or anything like that, but hopefully that will do better than my maintenance kit and my wooden knife.
But I will advertise that it is gonna be premium because USA made is not inexpensive.
So hopefully people take that journey with me. I might go back to Kickstarter with it. I might do a pre-order, but that's, I'm gonna be doing a button lock, USA made product.
Yeah, do you have any idea when you would announce the American OEM? sure people will be excited to find out who that is.
Yeah, I'm actually working. Actually, I will. Okay. All right. Keep us on tenterhooks. Yeah, I will later. But yes, I'm working with somebody. There's not very many OEMs in the United States.
So if people know of other people, I mean, boost that market up and everything.
Because there's very few. I tried when I was bringing up the Solaris. I was trying to do a USA made and I just couldn't find it.
[1:00:35] But I will be announcing that. I don't have the prototypes in hand yet. I have the design, I have the language for it, but I just don't have it in hand. So once I get there, then I'll maybe come back.
[1:00:48] Outstanding. I look forward to it. David Kam, thank you so much for coming back on the Knife Junkie Podcast. It's been a pleasure, sir.
Yeah, appreciate it. Get upside and start earning cash back. Download the app at theknifejunkie.com slash save on gas and start saving.
That easy. Earn cash back in seconds. Download the Get Upside app right now at theknifejunkie.com save on gas. Do you use terms like handle to blade ratio, walk and talk, hair pop and sharp,
or tank like? Then you are a dork and a knife junkie. Okay, there he goes ladies and gentlemen, David Kam of Orion Knives. One of the things we talked about that I appreciate so much about his model of doing business is that he has models on hand.
So if you like his knives, you can actually go to the website and buy them.
And who could ask for more? Go check that out at orionknives.com.
And of course you can check them out on all the usual social media spots. And also check out the Blade Banter channel and some of the videos up there about his taste in other knives.
[1:01:59] All right, ladies and gentlemen, that does it. Be sure to check in with us on Wednesday for the midweek supplemental.
Thursday night for Thursday Night Knives, 10 p.m. standard, eastern standard time, right here on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
And enjoy the conversation. For Jim, working his magic behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying, until next time, don't take dull for an answer.
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