Pro-Tech, founded in 1998 and currently running an 8-person operation in their Sante Fe Springs, California, plant has collaborated with Allen Elishewitz for a second joint project after the success of their earlier DORU folder, but this time it’s a solid fixed blade that I’d equate to the military’s now-iconic go-anywhere small unit transport vehicle, the HUMVEE. Neither the new Spindrift knife nor the Hummer that replaced the even more iconic Jeep several years back are built for looks. Both are built with certain features intended for tough times in tough places, and to hold up to situations and terrain that would send a high-end Lamborghini or a handmade $3,000 mirror-polished, gold inlaid, be-jeweled, mastodon-tusk-handled custom cutter screaming into the safety of the nearest auto or knife show where producing oohs and ahs is job one. Like the Hummer (the real Hummer, not the brightly painted soccer mom version), the Spindrift (which takes its name from a sniper term for the Magnus Effect that causes a drift in downrange travel from the bullet’s spin) is constructed for rugged performance and “pretty” wasn’t one of the design parameters.

Teamwork

Collaboration in the knife world can take several forms, ranging from minimal participation by the company involved to a more hands-on, step-by-step approach as the design evolves. It can also run in either direction, where a well-known designer has an idea for a specific knife but doesn’t have the capability to manufacture it in volume himself and approaches a name-brand mass-production manufacturer to produce the design, or where an established production company wants a new model and approaches a well-known outside custom maker/designer for the pattern. In this case, Dave Wattenburg, Pro-Tech’s founder and owner, wanted to step beyond his company’s normal range of automatics and offer his customer base a new fixed blade. The positive DORU experience with Elishewitz left a good impression, so he was Wattenburg’s choice for the new model.

Late last year, Elishewitz was approached with a general “something beefy, something mid-sized, something that could function in a military role” request, and roughly six months later he submitted sketches for consideration. After some tweaking in both directions to make sure the concept was adaptable to Pro-Tech’s machining capabilities, the final pattern was accepted, the Spindrift name suggested by Elishewitz was adopted, and the knife was scheduled for production. The first limited run of 160 units started showing up in the summer of this year, and our test sample was number 80 from that run, in the SD3 version.

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