One to Watch: Kingdom Armory Mini Samaritan Production Knife
Tony Sculimbrene 10.21.13
I just previewed a production Ti framelock, the Excelsa, in the last One to Watch, so another Ti framelock might seem a little too similar. But this is no ordinary Ti framelock. The Mini-Samaritan is a production version of a custom knife made by Dave Rydbom, DBA Kingdom Armory.
Dave ascended the ranks of custom makers through a reputation built on staggeringly tough fixed blades. They had very aggressive blade shapes, some looking more like a butcher’s cleaver than the standard bushcrafting fixed blade. They also had very thick G10 handles with incredibly aggressive milling, something like an Anso pattern on steroids.
After making his name, Dave turned to making folders with the same aesthetic, and his fans grew to a legion on USN. Often accentuating his butcher blade shape with a Spyderhole, the knives were beloved because they were functional, made with premium materials, implemented with a fanatical devotion to fit and finish, and looked truly BAD ASS. If you were trying to curry favor with the head of biker gang, a big game hunter, or a private military operative, a Kingdom Armory custom folder would definitely do the job.
Confirming Dave’s status as an elite custom maker of modern knives, he has collaborated with TAD at least twice, making both a folder and a fixed blade Dauntless.
But Dave’s designs are not all over-the-top Klingon limb cleavers. There are a slew of functional and subtle designs in the Kingdom Armory gallery. The Mini Samaritan is one of them.
The Mini Samaritan has a pronounced belly and a concave spine, giving it a very useful blade shape. Translating this into the production knife is genius. It hits the perfect blade length at just under three inches and has the titanium framelock we are all supposed to adore. (I do adore it, but I am little tired of it.) It also has a thumbstud and an excellent over-the-top pocket clip that is highly reminiscent of the Benchmade clip on the Emissary. The knife’s looks are set off with a crater textured faux bolster, a nice touch to remind you that this a Kingdom Armory knife and not a Sebenza, for example.
The big thing for me about the knife’s design is the broad sweep blade. Most knives have the blade and the handle in line with each other. This is fine, but dropping the blade below the line of the handle gives you an excellent approach to material. By dropping the blade and giving it a huge belly, you get a lot of the benefits of a recurve with NONE of the sharpening hassle. The blade approaches the material to be cut at a very aggressive angle. Not only does this help with cutting, but it also looks pretty wicked.
This is not a budget Ti framelock. Instead it is on the other end of the spectrum, clocking in at $400. Dave’s book has been closed for more than a year, and the wait on a custom folder is 24 months. This might be the only realistic way of getting a dash of that Kingdom Armory look in your pocket without waiting 600 days.