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I occasionally get asked if I will ever review custom knives. To be honest, I don’t have the money for custom knives, but they are definitely on my radar. I think that is true for a lot of people visiting the site, so I won’t be reviewing a ton of customs any time soon. That said, I think they are awesome, and I certainly wouldn’t mind sharing one occasionally, so I am very excited to show off this very cool custom knife made by Sergey Rogovets. Sergey is relatively new to the knifemaking scene, and it was actually his lovely custom handle scale work that originally caught my eye and prompted my to interview him over a year ago. Born in Moscow, Sergey moved to New York City when he was 17 to work with his father as a jeweler. Ever since he has been working as a jeweler, and he likes to make things in his free time, including customized zippos and scales for production knives. Recently he has begun to make his own custom knives. We have been exchanging emails over the months, and I recently took him up on an offer to check out one of his latest creations.
What we have here is a knife he calls “Titan.” It is a very beefy knife, and was born out of Sergey’s long time love of hard use blades. He wanted to make a knife that was meant to be used and abused, and it features some of his own signature twists. It’s a simple design, but it is very well executed with high tolerances. It is my pleasure to feature the work of this up and coming maker, and I am delighted to offer the Titan as my very first review of a custom knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
Sergey’s Titan has an overall length of 8-3/4″, has a 3-3/4″ long blade and it weighs around 7 ounces. This is a larger knife, but not outside the realms of EDC for those who appreciate bigger blades. It is simple, rugged, and over built. This overall theme trickles down into every facet of the knife.
The blade shape is a simple drop point. The blade has been given a high flat grind, neatly ground with with a very nice edge. Despite the thickness of the blade, the knife is still a surprisingly good slicer, and it arrived shaving sharp and ready for work. Since this one is on loan from Sergey I didn’t put it through a ton of abuse, but it zipped through cardboard without an issue. The blade is ground from a 4mm thick piece of steel, and despite there being no swedge, it holds a good amount of steel to the tip.
Sergey selected A-2 steel for the blade. A-2 is an air-hardend tool steel that is mainly characterized by its toughness, but it is also an easy-to-sharpen steel that will hold a good edge. The chromium content in A2 is only around 5% (opposed to the 13% required for a steel to be considered “stainless”). I haven’t had any issues with rust, but A2 will rust if you neglect it, and it can also develop some patina – especially if you use it on a lot of acidic foods. To me, that is part of the character of a knife like this. Sergey says this one was heat treated to around 59HRC. I think this was an excellent choice for a heavy duty knife.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
Sergey was especially concerned with the handle when he designed this knife. He wanted something simple and straight, so the knife could be comfortably used in any grip for any kind of job. He went with full titanium for this handle, and it feels quite substantial. Construction is simple, with a couple beefy stand offs, but everything is solid and well put together. All the edges have been contoured, and if you look closely there is a little texture where he sculpted the titanium a bit. He gave this handle a tiger stripe flame anodized finish. To be perfectly honest it’s not my first choice, but being a custom knife I’m sure it could be finished however you want it.
In hand the knife does just what Sergey designed it to do. I found the Titan to be comfortable in both forward and reverse grips, with no hot spots to speak of. He cut a little jimping into the thumb ramp, and it does a great job holding your thumb in place. The handle is very comfortable and allows the user to get a lot of work done.
The pocket clip is a simple piece of flame anodized titanium. It has great retention but it is still very easy to insert and remove the knife from your pocket. For a large knife like this the Titan carried well. It isn’t a knife that you will forget is in your pocket, but for such a big and heavy tool I had no complaints.
Deployment and Lockup
The Titan makes use of a pair of ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment. The thumb studs are well placed, and I can easily flick the large blade open. The knife is extremely smooth thanks to over-sized phosphor bronze washers. I was actually very impressed with how fast this big blade moved. It has been really well done. The pivot is also over-sized on this knife, and can be adjusted with a flat-head driver.
Lockup is extremely solid. The Titan makes use of a large titanium frame lock and the knife makes an extremely satisfying “thwack” as the lock falls in place. One thing I forgot to mention in the video is that Sergey has actually cut out part of the titanium on the lockbar and inserted a piece of stainless steel, so the tang of the blade actually comes in contact with steel, not titanium. What this does is prolong the life of the lock. This is where Sergey’s abilities as a jeweler really come into play. The execution is flawless and the lock is exceptionally reliable. Lockup is extremely early and the blade is without play.
Sergey also installed a carbon fiber lock-bar stabilizer. This prevents the lock from over extending when being disengaged, preserving the longevity of the lock once again.
Sergey Rogovet’s Titan – Final Thoughts
Well, I’d say “Titan” is an apt name for this one. What an absolute beast of a knife. Handmade from top notch materials by a true craftsman. It really doesn’t get much better than this if you are looking for a custom knife that is meant to be carried and used. It is a simple design, but Sergey’s attention to detail is what really makes it work. The lock has been flawlessly executed. The blade centering is perfect. All the machining is dead on. The devil is in the details with this one, and it elevates the utilitarian design into a functional work of art.
Additional information on Sergey’s work, including more knives and pricing information, can be found at his website SR-artdesign.com.
Sergey also told me that he is offering anything in stock on his website for 20% off if you mention BladeReviews.com. This offer is good until May 1, 2012 so if you like his work, feel free to let him know that I sent you.