Three Rivers Manufacturing TR-BT1000
Tony Sculimbrene 09.15.14
When OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) step out from behind the veil, we are often treated to some amazing original products. When Lionsteel first made its own run of knives, we got some awesome integral knives. When San Ren Mu made its own knives, we were treated to a host of affordable and familiar looking blades. So the story of OEMs making knives is always fascinating to watch, the manufacturing equivalent of the knife modder becoming a custom maker. So when a truly under the radar OEM started making its own knives in my own backyard (just over 50 miles away), I took notice. Right now Three Rivers Manufacturing (a subsidiary of Halpern Titanium) has four models: a pair of fixed blades, a small slipjoint that looks incredible, and the knife shown above.
The TR-BT1000 pictured here is a collaboration between Three Rivers Manufacturing (TRM) and the legend himself, Bob Terzuola, and it is sold exclusively through True North Knives. The name is pretty obvious, but just in case you missed it: Three Rivers-Bob Terzuola 1000.
The specs are insane for a first offering–the blade is CPM-154 with a titanium framelock, both good choices. The weight is quite good at 4.6 ounces, light for an all metal knife running a 3 5/8 inch blade. There is an elegant carbon fiber backspacer. The grind is a flat grind, and the blade is stonewashed. As you can see, the handle pattern is quite striking with two different sunbursts carved into the titanium, giving the knife a bolstered appearance. It also happens to show off just how good TRM’s machining capabilities are. Compare the TR-BT1000 to the machining on something like the Wilson Combat “Starbenza,” and you realize that TRM is not a beginner at this and that they took extra steps to really push the manufacturing up to a level one expects with a Terzuola knife.
Produced in small numbers exclusively for True North Knives, the TR-BT1000 has all of the hallmarks of a Terzuola design. There is the obligatory thumb disk–if it’s a true Terzuola it has to have thumb disk. Then there is a long simple blade shape, again something the TR-BT1000 has. And finally, there is the fuller in the blade. Going down the Terzuola design checklist, you’ll see ever box is checked. This is no mistake. TRM’s guiding principle is honoring their partners. Whether it is the fidelity to form show in their handles for Spyderco Mules (found here) or their complete embrace of the Terzuola aesthetic, TRM tries mightily to fully embrace the work of their partners.
As a collaboration with Bob Terzuola, the TR-BT1000 is a sweet offering. Though it’s not cheap, retailing for around $695, it has a lot of the features folks look for in Terzuola knives. It also seems like a very good representation of what is possible for large knife retailers. True North Knives has something unique here. No other retailer is offering exclusive custom collaboration blades. But the most important thing from the perspective of the market is that the TR-BT1000 is its role a herald of things to come from TRM. If this is one of their first offerings, get ready.