I retuned from Shot this year with a fist full of goodies, a pile of business cards and all types of contacts that needed attending to. But I also returned to a Very Wicked little gem of a knife in my mail box via Chris Martin of Phantom Steel works. That knife being the Phantom Bladeworks War Thorn.
The week that followed the Shot Show had been demanding to say the least. With emails bouncing back and forth, calls being made and received, sorting through photos to post to the blog all the while the Phantom War Thorn has sat in close proximity, seeming to look at me as I looked back at it. The words "come and play" seemed to echo in my head. Countless times I was compelled to draw the knife from its sheath and marvel at its Terribly Wicked long and lean modified Wharncliffe blade, the fit and feel of the grooves of the G10 as they followed off of the handle and on to the blade. Then, I would put it back down to answer the phone, send an email, respond to an email… and the process would begin all over again.
After a week of full throttle networking things were finally winding down to a manageable pace. I finally managed to pick up the knife and give it the attention that it disserved. This started with an examination of the fit and feel of the knife in hand. This knife has two things written on it, Chris Martin on the relief section of the blades edge and "Danger" written all over it!
The War Thorn is available in a number of variations. For a better idea of Chris Martins work and the multitude of options, I encourage you to visit his website or search him out and “friend him” on facebook.
My particular War Thorn is the "standard" model with optional "rippers" that provide a texture to the side surfaces and spine of the blade.
The standard issue is hand ground from .1875 thick D2, is 8.625 oal with 4.15 inches of cutting edge. One element that I found incredibly attractive about the War Thorn was that the G10 brought the over all width of the handle to only .44 at the thickest point that I could find. Handle thickness may of course vary as a custom production or per specific request. My request was for a lean mean fighter and that is precisely what I received.
The ergonomics of the War Thorn design are fantastic, particularly from the Fast Action Fighter perspective. A deep index finger recess combined with a handle that flairs in height ever so slightly into the grasp of the minor digits of the hand and rests comfortably against the bottom cushion of the palm swell.
It is evident that the War Thorn is a strong and particularly capable implement for thrusting and slashing applications. The angle of dissipation to point is dramatic enough for substantial penetration and blade length is more than ample for any CQKC confrontation.
Notably, I also found the War Thorn to be fantastic for Reverse Grip Edge Out. This being my preferred grip configuration, it was both a pleasure and a relief as this grip facilitates methods best suited to my particular style of knife fighting. Although each individual may utilize any given implement in an entirely different fashion, I am confident that most will find the War Thorn suitable for what ever that fashion might be.
On Chris Martin
You will find that Chris plainly states on his website (phantomsteelworks.com) that he "just started making knives a little over a year ago". I cannot say that I took much note of that statement until I received the War Thorn and began gathering my thoughts in regards to the review.
The bottom line is that I simply had to ask him what exactly he means by that. I might have asked firstly, how long he had been making knives full time, and to my surprise, suddenly that one year figure was cut in half! I then asked how long he had been experimenting and working at it before he went full time with knife making. Chris responded six to eight months… This I didn't know quite what to make of as the knife in my hand did not seem to reflect the work of an individual quite so new to the craft.
I do not fancy myself a knife maker. I am however a designer who prototypes his own stuff. I cannot guess at the particular angle of the learning curve for most, what I can say is that I was in no way capable of producing a knife of this quality in such a sort period trial and error.
Chris reveled that he had been picking the brains of numerous knife makers before taking the plunge and investing in some serious equipment. But with some serious equipment in hand, he got started and has never looked back.
Chris is also influenced by Bio-Mech art and most anything macabre. This influence comes across in his menacing designs. Chris Martin is most definitely of the new school variety. It was his design craft that originally caught my attention and with his willingness to shake things up just for the sake of seeing what happens, there could be a Max Venom Phantom Steelworks collaboration in the not so distant future.
If you are in the market for a combat ready custom edged weapon that is not going to break the bank it might be time for you to take a look at what’s available from Phantom Steelworks!