Last Updated: September 3, 2016
We are in the midst of another Italian Renaissance. This time around it’s not a blossoming of politics and art, but of steel and titanium. The Italians are making some absolutely beautiful knives, and I can think of few examples that typify this as much as as the Fantoni CUT Flipper. At its core the CUT Flipper is a meat and potatoes knife. It is sturdy and well made, unpretentious, and intended for real use. Yet this knife has been elevated. The elegant design coupled with a fanatical attention to detail lifts the CUT Flipper from object to art.
The CUT Flipper has been on my radar for several years. Carried by boutique purveyors and retailing for around $400.00, the CUT Flipper has eluded my grasp for some time. This is a collaboration between Fantoni and Dmitry Sinkevich, the same designer who brought us such things as the Zero Tolerance 0454 and many Shirogorov designs. The problem with the ZT 0454 and Shirogorov flippers is that you can hardly find them, let alone find them for a reasonable price. The CUT Flipper, while no means widely circulated, can still be found at retail (at least at the time of this article and for the past few years – Fantoni has never been known for high production volume). That places the CUT Flipper at a unique spot in the marketplace, and practically begs for a closer examination.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The CUT Flipper has an overall length of 3.5″, has a 8.375″ blade, and weighs 5.3 ounces. This a larger knife meant for work. Some might call it a tactical knife. It’s obviously too big of a knife to carry around in an office setting, but it works fine with jeans and could certainly be an EDC item if you like carrying larger knives. There isn’t anything wrong with viewing this as a collectible either.
The blade shape of the CUT Flipper is an upswept modified drop point. I really love this blade shape, and I think it is part of the reason why I gave the Kershaw Turbulence such high marks. You have a high flat grind, swedge, and a neatly applied edge. The finish on this knife is very nice. It’s a high polish with a stonewash over it (or maybe a stonewash that was then high polished – hard to tell really). Regardless the blade has a deep luster that looks great and hides wear. It’s also a low friction finish, and it helps the blade slide through material.
Fantoni went with tried and true CPM S30V for their blade material. I have no complaints with the steel selection. I’ve had some issues with S30V in the past, but done right S30V is a proven steel. Here Fantoni has heat treated the blade to 60-61 HRc, and the knife takes a nice working edge that touches up easily on a strop or my ceramic rods. The CUT Flipper isn’t super thin behind the edge, but it thins out enough to be a capable slicer. It’s a good compromise between strength and agility. The upswept tip is strong, but the steep angle means that it isn’t my first choice for clipping coupons or other fine tip work. All in all, the blade lives up to its namesake, and it performs if you are looking to put the CUT Flipper to work.
As an aside, I know that Renzo Fantoni, the founder of Fantoni Knives, is a big fan of super steels. Don’t be surprised if Fantoni ends up producing a limited run these in S125V or some other insane steel.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle of the CUT Flipper has a lot of really nice details – there is lot for a collector to admire here. 3-D machined slabs of G10 rest atop thick cut pieces of sandblasted titanium. All of the edges have been painstakingly radiused. At the end of the day construction appears simple, but that is only because they have pulled it off so flawlessly. I love the oversized hardware and how the backspacer was finished and slots around a lanyard pin. I’ll try to do my best with the pictures, but you really need to examine one of these in person to get a true feel for the workmanship.
In hand the CUT Flipper feels fantastic. It’s a larger knife and the handle is pretty thick, so those two factors add to this, but the slight pistol grip to the handle shape leave great spots for your palm and thumb. There is a a run of mild jimping that looks nice and serves its purpose, while the rest of the knife is devoid of aggressive texture. This knife feels natural in the hand and I had no problem breaking down boxes and carving up 2x2s with this.
The pocket clip is a simple bent titanium clip, and is given the same sandblast as the liners and laser engraved with Fantoni’s subdued logo. This is a small detail, but I like the choice of domed pocket clip screws – even they seem to be of very high quality. It is a sturdy clip that holds the knife steady, and reasonably low in the pocket. The handle is tapped for ambidextrous tip up carry, a nice nod to this knife’s utilitarian roots. At 5.3 ounces, the CUT Flipper is definitely something that you will notice in your pocket, but I don’t think the weight or the way the CUT carries is unreasonable given the size and construction of the knife.
Deployment and Lockup
The CUT Flipper is obviously a flipper style knife. If you prefer a non-flipper variant, check out the aptly named CUT. The flipping action on this knife is not something to write home about. You need to pushbutton (preload) the flipper to ensure a speedy and complete deployment, and that is a mild let down for such an otherwise fantastic knife. Still, the CUT Flipper is quite smooth and I still enjoy opening and closing it ceaselessly, periodically pausing to admire the blade or the gentle play of titanium and G10.
The CUT Flipper is a liner lock. The generous titanium liner engages fully and the blade locks up solidly and without play. It looks like Fantoni may have heat treated or carbidized the lock face, as there is slight discoloration in the last quarter inch of the liner lock – right where it meets with the tang of the blade. Performance of the liner lock is excellent and the blade centering is dead center.
Fantoni CUT Flipper – Final Thoughts
I can think of few folding tactical knives that have that holy trinity of form, function, and uber tight finish work. Some may argue that the “holy trinity” is just that: the Chris Reeve Sebenza, the Strider SnG, and the Rick Hinderer XM-18. Having owned two out of the three and handled several XM-18’s, I think the CUT Flipper belongs right next to these standard bearer blades. The CUT Flipper may not have the track record (or the marketing effort) of these other knives, but it certainly has the design chops, build quality, and functionality of these other knives.
This is a knife I have been drooling over for some time. Sometimes when that is the case I get a little underwhelmed when the actual knife arrives. Not so with the CUT Flipper. I think I actually like the knife more now that I have it. The CUT Flipper hangs with the best of them and has earned my wholehearted approval and recommendation. If you are at all on the fence about this knife, my suggestion would be to buy it with confidence. You will not be disappointed.
I would recommend buying the CUT Flipper at KnifeArt, as they are Fantoni’s only US dealer. However, their stock is limited. I would also recommend purchasing the CUT Flipper at Amazon or BladeHQ, however, neither retailer seems to carry Fantoni Knives. Regardless, please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.