It is usually pretty easy to spot a knife design that custom knifemaker Bill Harsey had a hand in. The first sign is, even when it is relatively small, it will still look man-sized. As anyone who knows him will tell you, Bill fits the stereotype of an “Oregon logger”—right down to his XXX-large hickory shirt, wide as an ox yoke at the shoulders. The second feature of almost all Harsey designs is they are straightforward, highly practical tools without a lot of “theoretical martial arts” bells and whistles added to simply make the knife look different from others on the market. The instant I saw the knifeart.com press release photos of their new Italian Fantoni line, I knew the “HB 01 Tactical Folder” was a Harsey design!
Fantoni is an Italian cutlery company, founded by Renzo Fantoni in 1980. Renzo has a background in stainless steel metallurgy and mechanical design originating from his experience in the production of precision forged engine turbines for power stations. Renzo’s son, Massimo, is an integral part of the family owned business. Turbine engine blades, like knives, rely on precision to allow for a lifetime of safe and effective use under extreme conditions. Serving as their exclusive dealer in the U.S., knifeart.com recently sent an evaluation sample of the Harsey HB 01, along with two versions of their Dmitry Sinkevich-designed “CUT” folder, one a “flipper” and the other with a thumb-hole opener.
The Fantoni HB comes in two sizes—the 01 with a 4.25-inch blade and the 3.13-inch on the 02. Handle options include G10 scales in a choice of desert tan, black, or green over a titanium frame. All blades are S30V stainless at a RC of 60-61. Weight for the larger model, 5.9 ounces, and 3.1 ounces for the 3.13-inch version. Suggested retail prices run $285 for the 01 and $235 for the 02. The CUT models also come with S30V blades, titanium frames, and G10 scales. Both versions feature upswept 3.5-inch blades, which should make the model ideal for field dressing big game. Suggested retail prices run $375 for either opening methods.
There is almost always a subtle perfection to a Harsey designed folder. You can start with the blade, which is slightly over an inch across at the base with a wide primary edge bevel that makes for very efficient cutting. The blade pattern is a hybrid between a straight clip and a drop that centers the point perfectly for thrusts in defensive situations. I’m not a very big fan of all those hooked blade cutlery gadgets currently being promoted for self-defense, if for no other reason than they have very little use in my daily life otherwise. Bill’s blade style will skin a buck, whittle a point on a stick, slice a sandwich, or hold off an attacker with equal efficiency.
See more at Knifeart.com.