Arclight Review

Oct 3, 1998

After having received Darrel Ralph’s Arclight directly from the man at the 2000 S.E. Custom Knife Show this past September; I’ve used this knife quite a bit. The following is a quick and dirty review. I’ve found most of the neck knives on the market today to not be ergonomic in the handle department. The Arclight’s handle is quite ergonomic for a knife of its size. The curves of the handle accommodate the user’s hand very well, instilling a sense of both confidence and control when in use. Darrel makes this knife in two handle versions – skeletonized (hence the inspiration for the knife’s name) and with handle scales (micarta mainly, but he can use any other materials at the buyer’s request). I’m not too fond of skeletonized handles on a fixed blade, so I opted for the micarta scales. The scales add more meat to the handle and make it feel more comfortable in the grasp, yet still is thin enough to not print underneath a shirt or make the knife too heavy. The scales are securely fastened to the tang via a pair of Torx® head screws and sockets, very similar to what maybe used in a folder pivot. The blade material is S90V (new name for 420V), a current favorite of mine for using knives. The recurve drop point blade is very reminiscent of the Apogee’s blade, providing plenty of belly to facilitate slicing tasks. The blade sports a field grade satin finish to help conceal scratches that occur from use and from sliding in and out of the Concealex neck sheath (more on the sheath later). For added control, there are traction notches cut into the blade spine to place your thumb or index finger on.

So far, my Arclight has been used as a general utility knife – opening mail, packages, and such. The blade is mall enough to make the knife compact, yet will handle sizable cutting tasks easily. It has also seen use in the kitchen as a paring knife and to cut up meats at mealtime. The combination of handle design and blade design work together to make the Arclight a pleasure to use no matter what the task at hand is. I’ve really enjoyed using it so far in the kitchen setting. Sometimes there is some food preparation tasks that you can only do with a small knife, and the Arclight fits the bill well. Daily carry of the knife was as pleasurable as it is to actually use. The sheaths for the knives are custom fabricated by Elite Tactical Carry Systems. The man behind ETCS is Bob Bailey, who is Darrel’s stepson. The knife slides easily into the sheath and it locks up around the first 1/3 portion of the handle for a secure carry. Two brass rivets hold the sheath together and are conveniently spaced to accept a Blade Tech Mini Tek-Lok fastener for belt carry as well. Nice touch! A beaded ball chain is supplied to carry the Arclight around the neck. As mentioned before, the knife does not print underneath a shirt so discreet carry is very possible. I’ve even worn the Arclight with button down dress shirts and ties. Accessing the knife is as simple as undoing the button closest to the handle. Reach in, grab handle, and pull. The knife then comes free of the sheath. Overall, the sheath work is excellent quality. The Arclight pops out with a firm tug on the handle, no worries about the knife dropping out, which is good especially if you wear the knife while running or biking.

In all, the Arclight is my favorite neck knife. It’s a good looking knife made of premium materials and is engineered and built to perform. What I’d like to see is a bigger version of this design, maybe a 4 or a 4 ½ inch bladed version, worn as a belt knife. The very characteristics that make it a great neck knife will also make it a great belt knife for camp utility/hunting. Getting back to the neck knife version, Darrel has an eye for designing knives that have an interesting mix of performance and good looks. Now that Camillus Cutlery Company is also offering their version of the Arclight, everyone can afford to own one be it a production or custom one.

For an image of the knife and sheath, go here:

Proud member of AKTI, NCCKG, NCKK, and SCAK

In memory of James K. Mattis
Dex I totally agrree with you this is a great knife, and would be very nice in any size. I have used the he ll out of mine and like it more and more as I use it. Mine doesn't have the traction notches onn the spine and I don't miss haveing them at all. In fact I think I like it better this way. I also have the plain steel handle and it works great. I have even cord wraped it and took it off I like it better without. Great desogm DDR, one very happy owner.
I just bought two from Darrel at the show yesterday.
Awesome little knives


You are right on the money.

This little knife features an extremely ergonomic handle and a fine cutting edge. It rides very comfortably and unobtrusively beneath a polo shirt and begs to be used.

While I haven't used mine in the kitchen, it has accompanied me to work many a day and done the various and sundry tasks that entails.

A fine knife from a fine maker.


Live Free or Die

Blues' Knife Pix
db - If I understood Darrel correctly, he told me one time that he is putting traction notches on future Arclights. When I use the knife I always find myself resting my thumb or index finger on the spine, so I had Darrel to cut some in at my request.

Proud member of AKTI, NCCKG, NCKK, and SCAK

In memory of James K. Mattis
You're welcome, Dexter. After handling these new Arclights, I'm feeling the urge for one with carbon fiber handle scales and torx screws.

I picked up my Arclight from Darrel Fri. at the NYCKS. Now, this is the first neck knife I have ever owned, but not the first one I have ever seen. Mine has blue/black G10 scales, and feels great in the hand. I haven't had the chance to use it much yet, considering I've been at the show most all weekend, but this will get carried and used. Is there anything Darrel can't do, I mean everything from the Michael sword, balis, stilettos, Apogees, EDC's and now a very affordable neck knife? I think the Camillus Arclite is great, but consider also owning one right from his shop. Well, buy the Arclight of your choice, but buy one

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
The Pic above of Gregs neck knife is the latest version.
I have decised to go from screws to through tubes in the handles, also traction grooves.

Ill post some pics later of the newest version.

I am also thinking about a larger version .. Any thoughts here?

Thanks for the kind words.

Web Site At
New projects and pics to look at !!!!

[This message has been edited by Darrel Ralph (edited 11-13-2000).]
Man! Now Dexter's reading my mind.
A slightly longer Arclight with carbon fiber scales would be great.