Phantom Steelworks Skin Walker Knife Review
Phantom Steelworks is the name that Chris Martin releases his knives by, and as you can tell from the name, the knives are pretty bad ass and he makes no apologies for his extremely polorizing designs. The Skin Walker, as this knife is called, is a truly interesting knife design. It features a wharncliff blade, with a very short cutting edge, and the blade only opens to a 55 degree angle.
The blade is CTS-XHP I was told, though I am not 100% sure because it was purchase pre-owned. Its sharp as all hell, and features a variation of Chris’ “murdered” finish on the blade flats. Since the blade has a lot of flats due to the design, its a cool looking feature.
The blade grind on this example is very thick, which is evidenced by the very wide secondary bevel – you can clearly see this in the pics. The primary grind is a flat grind, with a satin finish. One of the first comments almost everyone says when they open the skinwalker for the first time is, “Is that all the way open?”. It definitely is a strange feeling knife to open the first time because it stops so early. I find this uniqueness charming.
The handle also features the “murdered” finish with bead blasted lows and polished highs. Its a nice looking and feeling finish, feeling a bit more smooth against my hand than a typical finish of this kind. The polished flats just make the handle comfortable enough without feeling rough in the hands. The handle is sufficiently large, around 4″ long and fits my medium sized laws with room to spare. The geometry of the knife design for me immediately brings up other self-defense designed knives like the Kabar TDI Law Enforcement and the Spyderco Spot. While most knives with this type of overall geometry are fixed blades, Phantom Steelworks has decided to execute the design in a folder, and it is successfully done in my opinion.
The solidly built framelock engages early, and leaves a lot of room for wear. It is also quite a long lock bar, which I always somehow feel are more reliable than shorter designs.
Fit & Finish
This knife is finished very nicely. The sculpted Titanium pocket clip is awesome, and features the murdered finish that is present on the rest of the knife. To be honest, I though that a fully sculpted clip was a pretty nice feature at this price point.
The knife exhibits no blade play, and the blade runs on nylatron washers. I would have liked it to have IKBS or another bearing pivot system like his flippers do. I am not sure if he offers this with a bearing pivot or not, but I would expect that he does.
Overall this is a damn cool knife that likely will not be for everyone. I think that the Phantom Steelworks knife designs are already polarizing enough as they are, and the Skin Walker simply isn’t for everyone. I love unique designs that knife makers let their creativity shine through on, and while it may be their Magnum Opus, it may not be everyone else’s favourite flavour and I’m okay with that. I’m not sure if that’s how Chris feels about this knife, but for me this is an attractive design that speaks to me, and when I saw it I had to have it – and I am very happy I bought it!
Blade Length: 3.00″
Overall Length: 7.00″
Weight: 4.8 oz
Blade Steel: CTS-XHP