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Years ago, when I was in law school and just starting this web site, Olamic came onto the scene with their damascus fixed blade knives. They actually reached out to me, to see if I would write an article on their knives for the site. I agreed, as I thought it was pretty cool that a knife manufacturer actually cared about what I was doing, and they ended up sending 3 knives over for examination.
Buy the Wayfarer 247 at BladeHQ
Due to some intellectual property complications on their end I was asked not to proceed with the article, but I still had the chance to check out the knives. They were cool, but never something I would have bought for myself. In fact, not even Olamic knows who buys those things. Ultimately I boxed them up and sent them back at their request.
Since then Olamic has continued to make damascus fixed blades in Russia, but they are best known are their high end folders. Olamic means “everlasting” and their motto is “Never the Same”. That’s because they offer the knives in a near infinite number of configurations. Even their logo is the infinity symbol. Pretty cool.
Originally their folders were true custom pieces, and they still make custom knives, but the Wayfarer 247 is more of a mid tech knife. What I mean by that is the basic parts are pre-machined in Italy, and then the folders are completed by hand in California.
This is a high end folder with the basic model starting at $375, but most of them are priced at $500+ with various hand worked finishes. At that price, it’s no wonder it has taken me this long to buy one of these knives. But plenty of people buy them. In fact they appear to fly off the shelves. The high praise intrigued me, so I ponied up and acquired a 247 for review.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Wayfarer 247 has an overall length of 8.125″, a 3.5″ blade, and it weighs 5 ounces. The knives are made in America. This is a larger EDC knife. Olamic recently came out with the Busker, which is more of an urban EDC knife with its 2.5″ blade. I’m sure the Busker is more practical as a daily carry, but the Wayfarer caught my eye with its sleek lines.
The 247 comes in your choice of blade shapes. I went with what Olamic refers to as their “original drop point”. It has a high flat grind, a long swedge, and a fine clipped point. My blade has been given an excellent satin finish, but you can also get the blade stonewashed, coated, or two tone. The grinds are pretty crisp, and the edge is neat and even. There is a sharpening choil so you can easily sharpen the knife all the way to the heel. It’s a nice functional blade shape.
For blade steel we have M390. I think that’s all they are offering the knife in currently, as I don’t see an option for blade steel on their website. That’s fine by me as M390 is good stuff. Relatively easy to maintain, excellent edge retention, good toughness, stainless, it has a proven track record as a high end knife steel.
I bought this knife used off the forums, and it came with what appears to be the used factory edge. The prior owner had nicked it in a couple spots and it was quite dull. So to bring the edge back I started out with my DMT Diafold to work out the nicks. I then switched to the ceramic rods from my Sharpmaker.
At that point it was pretty sharp, certainly a workable edge for my basic purposes, but I decided to hone it on my new Spyderco Golden Stone. This is an ultra fine ceramic stone with an interesting ducks foot shape. I thought it would be good for my kitchen knife given the stone’s size and unique configuration, but at this point I’m using it on all my blades. I was able to get an extremely fine hair popping edge with this stone. It is truly an excellent stone and I look forward to reviewing it in the future.
The moral of the story is despite it’s high hardness, M390 is an easy steel to maintain. If I can get it sharp most people will be able to. The knife has held a good edge and has worked just fine for my usual EDC tasks, which these days is mostly opening up cardboard boxes containing cigars and more knives. It makes great carrot sticks as well.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle is where things start getting interesting. This is a full titanium framelock. Just like all their other knives. You have a wide choice of finishes. My particular knife features holes in the show side slab, a bronze anodization, and their “kinetic earth” finish. The hardware has been anodized as well. The end result is a unique knife.
Everything has been beautifully put together. The titanium slabs are thick, and everything has been nicely finished. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the floating backspacer. It’s a cool detail, and has been given the same finish of the rest of the handle. Another detail is the custom pivot. I’m happy to say Olamic includes a pivot tool with each knife. The pivot looks good, but it’s a little more fiddly to adjust than a regular torx or allen pivot, as the tool has a tendency to slip out of the pivot. At least when I’m using it.
Another cool detail is that you can order replacement sets of hardware for your knife. My guess is that this is mostly for those that want to change up the look of their knife, not so much replacing missing hardware, but either way you are covered.
Let’s turn to ergonomics. This is a comfortable knife. First off, it’s quite thick, clocking in at .46″. The thickness combined with the sweeping full size handle gives you plenty to grab onto. The knife fills your hand, and Olamic has done a great job knocking down any sharp edges. The Wayfarer almost feels like a cold stick of butter in your hand. It’s not slippery, but it is extremely smooth and comfortable. It feels unique when compared with everything else in my collection.
The simple handle design provides one groove for your index finger to nestle into place. Plenty of room even for larger hands. I suppose if you run out of real estate you can always graduate to the full size custom Wayfarer, but that may require a second mortgage. Rounding things out is a short run of jimping on the spine of the blade. The jimping captures your thumb nicely, and strikes a balance between providing traction without blistering your thumb.
The pocket clip is another interesting detail. The clip borrows heavily from the designs found on the Todd Begg Steelcraft Bodega. Olamic licensed it, so no worries there. The clip is a slab of titanium secured by 3 stand offs and then for retention you have an oversize ceramic ball bearing pressed into the titanium.
The end result is a highly robust pocket clip. Spring tension is excellent, so strong I sometimes have trouble getting this knife into my pocket. No worries about it falling out accidentally I suppose. It’s a good stiff pocket clip, and another high end detail.
In practice the 247 carries well for it it is. This is a big chunky titanium frame lock folder. The chunkiness makes it feel great in hand, but the Wayfarer 247 will never carry like my Spyderco Dragonfly, or even my Native for that matter. But the strong clip keeps the knife securely in place. It’s not a deep carry clip, but must of the knife buries discreetly in the pocket. That’s about all I can ask for.
Deployment and Lockup
This is a titanium framelock flipper. There is a lot of competition in this space, but Olamic spent the time to distinguish their knife from the rest. They utilize caged bearings, a ceramic ball detent, an internal stop pin, and a detent ramp. A detent ramp is a small groove or chamfer milled into the tang of blade. What it does is make the action a little smoother when you close the knife. Rather than the ball detent hitting the tang jarringly, this groove makes rentry smoother and easier. Its details like this that help set the knife apart.
And the knife does have a different action than anything else I own. The detent ramp and other details give the action of the 247 an almost hydraulic feel. The blade practically “whooshes” open as if there were a pneumatic piston inside. The blade fires hard no matter what, and the action is smooth and glassy. The detent is strong, but the detent ramp and thick handle smooth it out whether you are opening or closing the knife. Opening and closing the blade of the 247 is a uniquely satisfying experience.
Here is a shot of the detent ramp:
Moving towards lockup, we have a titanium framelock with a stainless steel lock bar insert and an internal stop pin. The internal stop pin is another interesting feature. It makes for a simpler design (no visible stop pin), and it works well. There is zero blade play in this knife. No lock rock, no lock stick, no side to side, no nothing. It’s a perfectly executed framelock. You would expect that at this price point, and Olamic delivers.
Here is a size comparison with the ZT 0609:
A final point is the blade centering. My blade is perfectly centered. I noticed that the pivot came loose during testing causing the blade to wander. and I was able to tighten it back up to true without a problem.
After publishing the review I decided to disassemble the knife. The 247 was straight forward to disassemble. You can see that in addition to caged bearings, there are stainless steel washers to prevent the bearings from wearing into the titanium handles. Reassembly was easy and the knife came back together perfectly.
Olamic Wayfarer 247 Review – Final Thoughts
Olamic’s goal for the 247 was to build a top shelf titanium framelock flipper that can be customized to the end user, yet still sold at a reasonable price. By and large I think they have accomplished that. I detect very little in the way of compromise here, and that is reflected in the build quality and price tag. Every aspect of the knife has been lavished with attention, from materials selection to engineering to finish work, it has all be carefully considered and expertly executed.
Where the 247 really stands apart is in its ability to be factory customized. A handful of years ago “modding” knives was all the rage. You see less of that these days, but the success of knives like the 247 show that people still care enough to want to have a customized knife. The standard 247 is really a blank canvas, and Olamic will do whatever you want with it. Of course it quickly gets expensive, but that doesn’t seem to deter people.
So that begs the question, a knife like the one shown here retails for approximately $500. For that amount of money, would you rather have the 247 or 2 high end Spyderco’s or ZTs? When I plunked my 0609 down next to the Olamic, I could see where the extra money went. Olamic has succeeded in creating a unique feel for their factory custom framelock flipper. The ergonomics and action are unlike anything else I own. The ZT is an excellent knife for the money, but there is no comparison. Especially if you get a base model 247 for around $350. At that price you get the exceptional flipper action and ergonomics without the additional cost of the extra finish work.
And Olamic doesn’t seem to be competing with these major brands anyways. They are essentially building the Chris Reeve Knives of flippers. Actually, I’m not sure if that is still a fair comparison. While CRK may have shown us what was possible with a high end production folder in the early 2000s, Olamic shows us what’s possible today.
Some will scoff at the robust price tag, but this is a high end knife. It simply isn’t aimed at the price conscious. If you want a titanium flipper framelock with uncompromising quality and the ability to “make it your own”, then the 247 is an excellent choice.
Olamic Wayfarer 247 – From $375.00
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Andrew Jackson says
Olamic makes a good knife, that’s for certain. I had one of their first runs, in elmax steel instead of m390. The pivot wouldn’t stay locked down though, and after a few flips, it would have to be readjusted.
I really found that to be unacceptable for a $500 medtech knife. Very dissapointed.
Hopefully, the latest models don’t have that problem.
Dan Jackson says
Thanks, Andrew. I haven’t had any issues with the pivot. I noticed mine did eventually loosen during the review, but I got the knife used. I tightened it up, and haven’t had an issue yet. When I took the knife apart for the review I noticed that they didn’t use thread locker, which would be an easy fix if the pivot chronically loosened. Personally I wouldn’t consider it to be a big deal. I’m sure Olamic has some sort of position on thread locker, and their decision not to use it. They seem to have considered every other issue.
Not at all familiar with theses knives but they are vary nice looking I hope there is some real quality in them for the price I could almost pay for a nice handgun or a used car lol. But they do look like knives not like some of these over priced toys like spyderco or benchmade zI hope to see one soon
Dan Jackson says
They aren’t cheap, but they are exceptionally well made. Definitely not something anyone “needs”, but if you appreciate high end pocket knives there is a lot to like here.
Greg Hill says
Great review, Dan! I just purchased a beautiful blue inlay wayfarer and can’t wait to receive it! Love your comment about using your knife to open packages & cigar boxes! That’s basically what I use mine for! Take care!