Frank Niro Mother of Pearl Fighter Knife

Reviewed by corwin99 on May 23rd, 2008


This Pearl Fighter from Frank Niro was my first knife from this fantastic maker from BC, Canada. This is probably the first really fancy knife I’ve ever bought, and because Frank has such affordable prices, I was able to get it at a time when I was not able to spend as much money on a knife. This is probably one of the nicer Niro’s I’ve seen.

I hate to admit it, but [in 2007] Frank’s knives were not quite as good as far as QC as they used to be. When I compare the earlier knives I’ve handled like this one (circa 2003) to the new ones I saw in his most recent batch [in 2007], the new ones were not quite as good. If any collectors see this they may be angered by my statement, but that’s just my observation. Your milleage may vary as they say. Edit: I’ve edited this above statement to clarify that this knife is BETTER in quality than the later pieces around 2007 I handled (and 1 which I bought) from Frank. This pissed Frank off, and well, he tries to convince me that my opinions and experience don’t matter down there in the comments.

This one was custom made to my rough specs many years ago, and since then Frank has completely stopped making anything even roughly made to specs. He just makes what he likes and you have to snag it before someone else does. His work is very pleasing to the eye and he does really nice carving and fluting on the mother of pearl handles.

This persian fighter than he made me is outstanding and the finish on it is immaculate. I could not find any flaws in it, and when there was oxidation on one of the bolsters after having it for a year I sent it to him and he fixed it for me no charge and shipped it right back. Lock up is good, though not something I’d ever test out.

The liners and knife along with the full backspacer are completey fileworked and annodized all over, including the inside of the backspacer. In my opinion he chose some great color combinations and the front and rear matching curved bolsters are very nicely done. Frank does go all out: Gold plated screws, ruby thumbstud, curved damascus bolsters, fluted mother of pearl handles, fully fileworked liners and backspacer, damascus blade.

If I could make one complaint, is that his grinds are very polished down, and I would have liked to see some definition in them. Otherwise, an exceptional custom blade at a bargain price.

Blade steel: Heat Colored Damascus
Handle Material: Mother of Pearl
Bolsters: Heat Colored Damascus
Liners: Titanium
Blade Length: 3 1/2″
Overall Length: 8″

30 Responses to “Frank Niro Mother of Pearl Fighter Knife”

  1. Frank niro Says:

    It’s always great to hear or read that someone is most pleased with one of my folders which by the way is all that I make. Thanks much. I do have to correct that remark that my work isn’t quite as good as in the past. As a matter of fact buyers who have purchased my folders over a period of yeats have stated that while some of the styles I make are the same or simuilar they have found the workmanship to be of a much better quality and more refined. Perhaps your observation of my workmanship was based on looking at only one or two more folders of mine. To see several recently completed go to Frank Niro

  2. Frank niro Says:

    I have just completed another “requested” folder for a collector. I do about five or six a year. In fact these really aren’t concidered custom made but are folders that are totally acceptable to what I want to make. I believe all of these, at least in recent years, have come from buyers that already have one or more of my knives.

  3. corwin99 Says:

    Hi Frank, sorry for the delay in response, however my remark was based on seeing the entire batch at Ron Lockhart’s place, which was about 10 peices. Based on what I saw before, I felt your work was better in the earlier peices I saw… seemed more care was taken on each individual knife. Whether or not that is anyone else’s experience, I cannot say. This is my experience from comparing 3-4 knives from about 5-6 years ago, to around 10 knives made in the last year. I still think your work is fantastic for the money, and considering your prices have not changed from 6 years ago, I think that is great value.

  4. rglassma Says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the respectful comments that were made with regard to Frank Niro’s work “then and now”.. I have been bestowed the responsibility and honor of marketing Frank Niro’s folding knives. I can honestly say the his work is absolutely exquisite. I have approx. 400 handmade knives in stock. I can honestly say that the quality of Frank’s work rivals the work of many of the best knifemakers in the industry today at an extremely reasonable price.

    We have over the last 1.5 years handled, photographed, displayed and recommended (not to mention sold) many of Frank’s knives. They have become extremely popular, the workmanship is wonderful, the fit and finish is wonderful, and Frank is a wonderful person to work with. It is one of my great joys in this business to have the honor of calling Frank my friend and partner.

    Every client that has purchased one of Frank’s knives has been absolutely delighted with it. What else could we ask for.

    If you would like to see the work that Frank has been supplying to us, please feel free to visit our website at We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

    Keep up the incredible work Frank.


    Bob Glassman
    Custom Knife Gallery of Colorado

  5. corwin99 Says:

    With all due respect, as a marketing agent for Frank’s knives, it would not make sense for you to say anything but that.

    I can show very close up photos of the chipped edging around the drilled holes for the screws in the mother of pearl, I can also tell you that the lock did not engage properly and required me to have the knife disassembled and adjustments made in order to make it lock up properly. Additionally, the fileworking on the back was not perfectly symmetrical. This is all fine, given the price I paid. I held the knife in hand before purchasing it, and I happily paid the price. However, and I stand by this statement – his work in this last batch was NOT as good as the first folder I received. Period.

    Maybe it was just that batch… maybe the ones after are better. I don’t know.

    But I’ve owned a lot of custom knives, and unlike Bob or Frank here, I do not have a vested interest in making sure that his knives do not get any negative reviews.

  6. Frank Niro Says:

    Well then, that was then and this is now. You wrote “maybe the ones after are better. I don’t know.” And, I wrote “buyers who have purchased my folders over a period of years have stated that while some of the styles I make are the same or similar they have have found the workmanship to be of a much better quality and more refined.” I’m certainly not judging your ability to comment on what you bought in the past, but rather stating that the work I’m now doing now is certainly concidered to be more advanced and of a higher quality. Bob Glassman’s remarks were not made on those folders made several years ago but those of my present work that he has had and those that are now in his possession. I know that even with all the knives he handles his observations are entusiatic for my work, but also because of the high quality of makers and the number of them there is’nt a need for him to committ to such approval of my work out of hand. Frank Niro

  7. Bob Glassman Says:

    I stand by my comments and must mention that I just received four more pieces from Frank. I feel like a kid in a candy store!!! These four piece are just wonderful!!!! And Frank sure puts lots of embellishments for a very reasonable price. My understanding is that Frank considers knifemaking to be a labor of love… I can tell you, I consider marketing them to be a labor of love for sure..

    Wonderful work Frank !!!!

  8. corwin99 Says:

    Hi Frank,
    I purchased this knife from you in October of 2007, so about 1 1/2 years ago. Yes, the knives you made in the last year might be better, I don’t know. I do not have the means to purchase a knife from you every month just to find out.

    The other peice I purchased from you was about 5-6 years ago, and in my opinion, is better built that the last one I bought. Yes that was then and this is now.. what can I say? You are sitting there writing this defensive reply and trying to discredit my reviews because you cannot accept the fact that I said something negative.

    I love both the knives I got from you, I puchased both my knives from you through your dealers, not second hand. I am customer of yours and you are basically telling me that what I say means nothing because you may have improved in the last year – not very good PR. I never asked for anything from you, I simply call it like I see it.

    I could post plenty of pics showing the flaws in the last knife that I purchased from you, that are not present in the first knife. Chipping in the screw holes, etc. I did not feel it necessary to broadcast the imperfections in your knives that loudly. If you want, I could. This knife was made 1 1/2 years ago.. not several years ago.

    In my opinion a good maker in his replies would have asked that I send the knife back to see the flaws and correct them, rather than just sit there and type in defensive and spiteful reponses denying that you could have had any decrease in quality. Not that I care enough about them to send it back. I knew they were there when I bought it, but like I said.. its a beautiful knife either way.

  9. Frank Niro Says:

    I did not discredit your review !!! I said that was then and this is now so why are you critizing Bob Glassman when you admit to not seeing any of my present work.
    Hey if I could call back all of my past work and bring it to a point of work quality I do now that would really be something special that every maker would like to do. I did do some recolouring when you asked and even when you thought it muight be a chargeable thing I did it at no cost to you and was pleased to do it. What you have is past work that at that time I was just as committed to doing the best possible work as I do today. You saw flaws in the work and they are still there. My present work may have flaws or errors as well, but as I did then, I do my best work that I can now give. Certainly it’s etter than what I did in the past. I sure wish I could do some of the work I see my peers achieving. If i’m not, I will strive to get to that quality. Frank Niro

  10. corwin99 Says:

    1 1/2 years ago is not that long ago, but arguing what the definition of “recent” is pointless.

    I’m not so much as criticizing him as saying that a salesman’s opinion of a product he sells might not always be the most accurate.

    I appreciated your recolouring of the bolster that had oxidized for me. Thank you very much. I thanked you then, and I’ll thank you again.

    At any rate, now you agree that your work might have gone downhill from 5-6 years ago to about 1 1/2 years ago. So I’m glad we are all agreeing. I don’t have anything of yours from the last 1 1/2 years, and it’ll probably stay that way.


    2004 – Frank Niro’s Work was Great Quality
    2007 October – Frank Niro’s Work was not as Good as before
    2009 – Frank Niro’s Work’s Quality unknown to me, but his dealer and himself says it’s great and the best he’s done. I have no comment on this.

  11. Norman Says:

    Mr. Niro, I must say I’m a bit disappointed on your response with a review that was for the most part in your favor. Seems you have no tolerance for constructive criticism at all for your own customer who has purchased more than one of your pieces.

    Having read your above reaction it has tainted my desire to consider your knives. I much prefer to purchase a piece from a humble artisan that cared enough about his art to consider any and all criticism. Then in turn put forth the energy to look in on improving it or offering to rectify the issues.

    As I see it it’s not just about a pretty knife. It’s also about the person who makes it.

  12. Frank Niro Says:

    First off, I’m certainly not a “humble artisan”. I do this work for myself and that is the very reason I do not take or try to make custom orders.I do not do it because I have to, but because I want to. I am me. My work is me. I move ahead by always trying to make a better knife each time I start. and those that know me also know I never brag about my work but rather stand and listen to any comments from all who see my work. I certainly believe that to correct errors or short comings in what I make is essential, but why wasn’t I asked to do that when the folder was purchased? There was no note made that I wasn’t asked to do that.
    The criticism was for work in the past that this buyer owned but when it came to the point where it was being made on my work of today without having even been seen then certainly a respons was necessary. Why should I allow unsubstantuated comments or innuendos on both the long time experience of Bob Glassman and my present work go without replies? Not me. Frank

  13. Frank Niro Says:

    By the way, why is it that people don’t give their full names in this forum? Frank Niro.

  14. corwin99 Says:

    People can give their full names in this forum if they would like to. It is NOT the norm for users to use their full names in ANY forum. Not sure how many forums you visit, Frank, but given your statement I would say not too many. It is typical for Knifemakers and Dealers to use their full names because their names are often marketing vessels and they sell their wares using their names.

    No, Frank, you are right. You are far from a humble artisan. You say you listen to comments but right now all I hear is you trying to discredit (yes, you ARE discrediting my reviews) by saying that they are invalid because they are based on work from 1 1/2 years ago. I don’t see how that makes ANY of my statements irrelevant. I am reviewing knives from 1 1/2 years ago and previous, and my statements are ONLY in regard to knives from that period. I never claimed to say that your current 2009 knives are of any quality good or bad because I have not experienced it.

    What I have said, and the reviews are DATED, if you missed it, that the knife I received was of POORER quality than the knife from 5-6 years ago. Your quality, in MY opinion, had gone downhill between the two knives.

    This is based on my direct purchase of the knives. I couldn’t care less what the quality of your knives are now. I don’t want to buy them, and I’m pretty darn sure that you don’t want me buying them either.

    At any rate, you can deny that my review has any substance because I criticized the quality of your knife. I did not ask you to correct any shortcomings on the knife when I bought it because I assumed them as part of the knife… what does this have to do with the fact that they are there? I saw them when I purchased it, should I call Ron back and say, hey Ron, I bought this knife knowing it had shortcomings, and I want to complain about them? No. If the shortcomings were bad enough that I did not want the knife I never would have bought it, but the fact remains they exist, and I pointed them out.

    You simply cannot accept the fact that I did.

    Unsubstantiated? So you are saying that my comments have no substance? Excuse me Frank, maybe I need to take close ups of all your flaws on the knives you have made, and post them on every knife forum I am on, and also post your wonderful comments here and see what others think. Good Day.

  15. Frank Niro Says:

    I quote you on the remarks made by Bob Glassman. ” with all due respect(?), as a marketing agent for Frank’s knives , it would not make sense for you to say anything but that.” You condemn my present work out of hand, and the honestly of Bob Glassman to boot and are in fact spoking of him in such a maner so as to say he is not a reputable business man. Because you were not satisfied by what you saw in the past you continued into the present with I can only say are snide and untrue remarks totaly without investigation in the present work I do. What you have not seen you should not be passing judgement on.
    Once again it is not your remarks of the past that are irrating . Nor do or did I deny those problems existed. I am saying your approach to extend your outdated observations into the present as you did after Bob Glassman’s reply was totally unjustified.
    As to you not buying more of my folders, why should that be a concern of mine when you condem the honestly and sincerety of a well known, respected dealer and how you have attacked my present work without seeing it through saying Bob Glassman’s opinions were of no value ?
    I’m involved with two forums where at the end of any comments I may place I have “Without collectors there would not be makers.” I repeat that now. Frank Niro

  16. corwin99 Says:

    I did not condemn your present work at hand. CAN YOU READ, Frank? The review was dated May 2008. GET WITH IT.

    I did not take Bob Glassman “to boot” and I did not say he was not a reputable businessman. I simply stated that it would not make sense for him to say otherwise. It is like a Honda Dealer telling his buyers that Hondas are no good, it wouldn’t make sense. I did not say that what he said was untrue, I simply alluded to the fact that as a dealer of your knives, his reviews are NOT impartial and that he has a vested interest. Can you deny this?

    My observations are NOT outdated! They were fact, and they STILL are fact! Your knife from late 2007 IS STILL of poorer quality than the one from around 2003-2004. I inspected several of your knives from both these times periods and felt the same way about all of them. I said nothing about your 2009 quality, but the work I saw from those dates is accurate, and is STILL accurate. I own peices that substantiate everything I’ve said.

    I have not written a review of your knives in almost a year, I don’t see how i am extending ANYTHING to the present.

    Grow up Frank, learn to take some criticism.

  17. Bill Maxwell Says:

    Having looked at the pieces provided by you retailers I see that the style and workmanship has changed over the 20 years I have seen your work. The art knives you produce now are fantastic blends of colour and material not just the well made working knives you made years ago.
    Good to know you are still well and strong willed as ever.

  18. Frank Niro Says:

    Hello Bill.
    I certainly would again enjoy some contact with you.

  19. Frank Niro Says:

    Corwin,since my last posting showing my email address I’ve had three emails from people who have asked me if you returned the second knife to Ron, or myself for adjustment or refund and asked if not why? It’s a good question that you never did address.
    I’m very pleased to say this contact with one of these people did bring about a sale one of my upscale models tht the buyer was most pleased with.

  20. corwin99 Says:

    Good for you, Frank. I’m glad you learned from this experience and have now lightened up and deal with customers in a respectable manner, and are able to generate some sales for yourself. Having seen my post I am sure you are even more careful about the product you produce.

    No I haven’t returned the knife to you because I don’t want to be bothered. The quality is not as good as the first one, but like a restaurant I don’t return my food because it was better last time – only when its crap. I never said your knife was crap.

    But I’m glad I was able to help you further your business by improving your products.

  21. Frank Niro Says:

    Boy are you worked up !!! You are getting even more disrespectful as we go along. I see this as the result of you realizing that my comments about you staying with the old and not moving on to new knives as time goes by is irritating you. It should. You are still handing out HISTORY for what should be current knife reviews. As well don’t talk about your openness when you ban people from a forum you have set up to receive comments. I believe you are the one with the wild mouth going. You did send Buckwheat9011 a terible email calling him names. I’m wondering if he is going to get a lawyer involved? It is in print you know and from you. Regards !!! Frank Niro

  22. corwin99 Says:

    I don’t know buckwheats email address, so how could I send him an email? Yap yap yap, lawyer lawyer lawyer. Go spend your time making knives.. maybe you’ll improve.

    Blah blah blah. Its like your mouths moving, but nothing coming out makes any sense.

    You’re just a childish person who is obviously pissed and worked up about this trying to act like you got your cool when you’re just peeved because someone critisized your work. Nothing’s changed, same old Frank Niro.

  23. dannyb71 Says:

    wow!frank you giveing out your customers private information is totally un profesionanl and down right stupid!you are obviously a misserable person.i think sumone should pay u a visit buddy,maybee give you a bit of what ur tring to give!then you would think agin about giving out peoples personal information to nutjobs !as a buying member of the cutlery comunity i will defiently be spreading the word about your unethical behavior to your customers and i sincerly hope you grow up!this is not highschool mr.niro you cant tell your buddies to go beat up the people you dont for u corwin i belive you tell it like you see it and your review was spot on!now, mr niro i would be glad to recive a vist from your lapdog bukwhet !

  24. Jon Says:

    EDIT: Frank Niro has publicly admitted to giving out my personal information (From when I purchased a knife from him years ago) to a friend of his whom he has implied is going to pay me a visit because I publicly shared the negative experience with his knives. This is a veiled threat, and Frank Niro is as far as I am concerned an unethical person who theatens his customers. I highly recommend AGAINST buying any of Frank Niro’s knives based on principle.
    I’ve googled up every aspect of this lil’ donnybrook,
    and the reason Niro gave out your info had nothing to do with your review,it’s because YOU MOUTHED OFF at and called the guy in question a “douchebag”,publicly,on You-Tube.
    I’ll be the first to say Frank shouldn’t have given anyone’s info out,
    but the fact remains you DO need a back-hand smack in the mouth.
    You’re a little 8 year old,standing in the school-yard mouthing off and then whining because you might get bitch-slapped.
    You said your piece,and Frank retorted,but you had to go on and on and on…
    Shut your cake-hole you whining punk,go crawl back into your momma’s basement and stick to playing Atari,
    leave the sharp and pointy things to us grown-ups.
    Oh,and dannyb71,
    you remind me of one of those slow kids who stands off to the side kicking sand with a lil’ turd in your shorts…
    Niro didn’t “tell his buddy to go beat up on people”,
    that guy wants to do it all on his own.
    You come across like an illiterate lil’ snot-nosed punk who hasn’t even the sense to use spellcheck,beaking off about a review on a knife you probably haven’t seen in person,
    so why don’t you stay down in YOUR momma’s basement,reading that pile of Playboys you’ve stolen from your daddy.

  25. Jon Says:

    dannyb71 Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    …as a buying member of the cutlery comunity …

    it disturbs me deeply that you are allowed to go forth into the world,
    unsupervised,and buy knives…
    …mind you, it’s not that United Cutlery fantasy daggers are really all that dangerous,
    but still…

  26. corwin99 Says:

    Wow, you sound like a real tough guy.

    You may have googled everything about this, but you don’t know the facts until you’ve heard it from both sides. You’re going around passing judgement like you’re better than everyone else.

  27. Jon Says:

    naw, not me.
    I’m a pussy…
    (they say you are what you eat, right?)

    Before you even start with me boy,
    I’m not taking sides:
    Frank should have simply stated his case then walked away to leave you
    beaking off in the school yard.
    You could have done the same.
    But,you both decided to engage one another in a shit-flinging contest:
    you flung the first fist-full and he returned fire.
    It takes two to fight,and both end up spattered when the dung gets flung,and the end result stinks and leaves a lingering mess.
    I read your first bunch of reviews and you had your tongue so far up his ass you could taste corn,
    and if you had issues with the quality of some work,you should have addressed them to him in private.
    You state that you DIDN’T have issues with the level of fit and finish at the time of purchase,due to the price paid,
    so why did you decide at a later date to make a public statement regarding same?

  28. Jon Says:

    Oh,and I’m not passing judgment,
    I’m OBSERVING what’s been put in print.
    I ain’t no better or worse than anyone else;
    I screw up as much as anyone,and I have the same lapse of judgment
    as anyone, but what I don’t do is what you’ve been doing.

  29. corwin99 Says:

    I don’t even know why I’m explaining this. I didn’t think his knife was shit, I liked it enough to buy it, and it cost quite a bit too. All I said in the review was that I didn’t think the quality was up to snuff with his previous knives that I had seen and the one I owned.. that the batch was not as good. I examined the whole lot. How does that mean my tongue is up his bum tasting corn??? Maybe in the world of custom knife reviews you have to be nice to everyone and never point out the flaws, and I never realized it.

    I didn’t have an issue for the price I paid, I said that it wasn’t as good as his older stuff! Its like me saying that the Old Microtech knives are better than the new ones.. is that something I have to send in private to Microtech? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making that kind of statement in a review.

    PS: You’re doing more than observing.. if you were just observing you wouldn’t be telling me what I did right or wrong, you’d simply be observing. You are passing judgement whether you like to admit it or not. Not that we all haven’t done it plenty, and hey – its a free country, you can pass judgment on me if you want 🙂

  30. Jon Says:

    No,I’m not passing judgment.
    I’m observing,and passing my opinion on what I’ve seen,
    and yes that’s a very line line,but it’s there all the same.
    And I haven’t accused you of claiming certain knives to be shit,
    I acknowledge 100% that all you’ve done is to remark on the fit and finish on certain knives as not being on par with the rest.
    Which there’s nothing wrong in doing.
    But,like I said;you bought the knife as is,without complaint,
    but then,later,decide to publicly comment on it…
    That’s the issue I’m having with it.
    By doing so,you may very well have adversely affected his only means of living.
    If you have an issue with a knife enough to make a public comment,
    you should give the artist a chance to redress the issue first,
    and if they tell you to go pound sand,then by all means make a public comment.
    You didn’t do that.
    You posted something that could impair his only means of support,
    in effect,threatening his livelihood.

    In fact, you stated “I did not feel it necessary to broadcast the imperfections in your knives that loudly. If you want, I could.”
    …buddy,the moment you hit Send on your initial comment, that’s exactly what you did.
    What you SHOULD HAVE DONE is to send the knife to him asking if he could address the flaws.
    If he told you to suck eggs,
    THEN you’re entitled to take umbrage, and publicly vent.
    You committed a transgression against him the moment you mentioned the issues you have publicly,without giving him a chance to make them right.