This review is diving into some new territory for the blog, but something I've actually wanted to do for quite some time.
People that love analog writing tools generally also love to carry unique and useful other items with them, their "every day carry" so to speak (or EDC). This could be their wallet, a watch, a pocket knife, and of course, their favorite pen. All of these things come together to create a core of daily utility which is such an interesting topic.
And, it seems that people willing to buy a nice writing instrument also appreciate your non-traditional, non-run-of-the-mill type products like handmade leather goods, custom products, and other bespoke pieces that are connected to a specific artisan or craftspersons. Over the years I've tried to incorporate handmade goods or goods from small business owners into my every day life and I always appreciate them more.
It may not be all the time, but I want to incorporate more product reviews into The Clicky Post that fit this segment.
For our maiden voyage into the world of EDC, I'll be revisiting a maker I reviewed this last week, Darriel Caston of D Caston Design.
In the recent review of his Titanium Retro Pencil currently on Kickstarter, I mentioned that Darriel's extensive background and reputation has been in custom folder knives that he designs and produces.
He kindly sent me one of his most recent designs, the SpaceX folding knife, a product he has been collaborating on as a possible standard issue for the SpaceX team. (Yes, THAT SpaceX...) I am thrilled to give this knife a review and to showcase his exquisite work, so special thanks to him.
I had seen pictures of the SpaceX that Darriel had posted on his Instagram feed, but once it was in hand I was pretty taken aback by it. There are a few nice knives in my collection, but I feel that pieces like this take function and art to a completely different level.
Also mentioned in the previous review, Darriel's design vibe is very futuristic and space themed which provides it a unique, but also timeless style. This knife has the look of something that would be used hundreds of years in the future on a space cruiser by the crew. It looks like science fiction, but is reality.
There are so many products in the world that are purely utilitarian, play it safe, or follow traditional design trends. Seeing pieces like this are inspiring which is a bit hard to explain. He isn't just trying to sell you a knife like everyone else, but is seeking to create an experience, maybe even an emotional one.
Does this idea appeal to everyone? Maybe not, but for those that it does, these designs resonate powerfully.
In size, the SpaceX is actually an extremely compact blade. Closed it is only 8cm in length, 2cm wide, and 1cm thick including the clip.
It feels lightweight, but is built like a tank. Everything is tight, sturdy, and it moves like a precision instrument when in use.
For this particular variation of the SpaceX, he went with an all-matte, textured titanium for the scales, framelock, and clip. The overall finish and attention to detail really is impeccable. While using the knife I find myself constantly looking over the intentional cuts, lines, and textures, all of which came from Darriel's mind.
Interesting elements like how the lines on the scales line up with lines on the blade whether open or closed.
In spots, the knife handle has intentionally crisp edges, but are not sharp to the touch.
The knife incorporates a double-pump, half stop mechanism on the blade for safety. I really like this feature as the blade is razor sharp.
What this means is that when opening the blade there is an initial stop at 90 degrees when both opening and closing, which then requires an additional movement to fully extend or close the blade. This is so if your fingers are between the handle and the blade, the blade stops before nipping them.
This is accomplished by a tiny ball fitted to the frame lock that catches a hole in the blade as it is turning on a radius.
The blade is made from CTS-XHP, a special steel high in carbon, chromium, and is corrosion-resistant. The blade is a 6 grind, and is close to what is called a "razel", but with a special design by Darriel. Razel blades have two separate edges, but no point.
The center of the blade has a machined channel specifically for assistance in opening the blade (works really well), but also adds some visual texture.
Matching with the compact size, the blade is a comfortable 5.5cm.
The clip is extremely sturdy and easy to use. It connects tightly to the handle due to an intentional indent and is then fastened with a star head screw.
I love the shape of the clip. It is machined with multiple angles and curves to create several non-uniform facets, but come together nicely. Clip design is sometimes an afterthought for many products, or seem out of place, but this one fits well with the knife.
He also makes a clipless version of the knife.
To protect the knife during carry, Darriel sent out a handmade, custom leather snap holster that can connect to a belt loop. Since the knife is so small, the holster is quite conservative in size as well and the fit is perfect.
The snap holster is also stamped with D Caston Design's rocket logo, the same as appears on the inside of the frame lock.
I've really enjoyed using and putting together the review for this knife. Not only because it is an impressive and incredibly made product, but it allowed me to branch out and write about something new and share some of Darriel's awesome work in the process.
Being a small-batch, small maker knife, the price point on the SpaceX is on the higher side with this model ranging in the $400+ (completely reasonable in the custom knife market...), but for someone looking for something extremely unique, Darriel's work may be a nice place to look.
Thanks again to D Caston Design for sending the SpaceX to review and share.