El Diablo


Oct 26, 1998
I received my first Elishewitz today, a Diablo from Larry at KnifeArt. I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a Bolster Lock ever since I first saw it when the Janus was introduced a few months back.

I think that Allen has come up with a real advancement in the liner lock field with this concept. By removing the scale over the top section of the locking bar he as added the reliability of the Integral lock to the design, allowing your grip to naturally re-enforce the lock. Of course, the spring section is milled out to 1/16th of an inch, so the lock strength isn’t increased over his standard liner lock models. But after a certain point strength becomes moot, and what I really look for is reliability. The Bolster Lock allows him to use a variety of scale materials on his handles and alleviates some of the concerns over liner lock failure that seem to plague so many of us. The lockup on this knife would please the most hardened Sebenzanista, and by that I mean little old me

Looking beyond the locking mechanism, the overall fit and finish on the knife is excellent. Smooth, easy opening action on a huge pivot pin, with ambidextrous thumb lugs that double as the blade stop. The flat ground California clip blade has a long, strait edge and a surprisingly low point, with the stonewashed finish that has become my favorite. As to sharpness, I’ll leave the analogies alone and simply state that the bare sections on my left arm have increased dramatically since I received the knife today.

The knife is surprisingly compact at 4-1/2” closed and 7-3/4” OAL. The blade length is 3-1/2”, with 3-1/4” of that being sharpened edge. The knife has an attractive and practical double bolster construction, only offered in the Elishewitz line on this knife and the Janus, with both a centered and off center thong hole built in. The carbon fiber scales are slightly contoured and have a very nice feel to them, and should be rugged enough for hard use. The handle edges and interior of the scales are anodized a deep, midnight purple-blue that matches the tip down mounted clip.

The clip. I am not known to be fond of pocket clips on my tools, and I doubt that I will be using the one installed on this knife. It does have an odd but pleasant shape with a radiant star pattern cut into it, and I was pleased that its low profile and high placement does not interfere with the grip on the knife. It certainly won’t turn me to the dark side, but it is by far one of the best designs for one that I have laid eyes on. Fortunately, a nylon belt/shoulder harness sheath with the Elishewitz symbol on the flap was provided for people like me. I wish that every maker would do the same, custom or production, as it allows more versatility in deployment. A very nice touch that is much appreciated.

Larry Conelly, owner and operator of KnifeArt.com, worked closely with Allen in developing this knife, and they should both be very proud of their accomplishment. Considering the quality and unique nature of the knife, it is a real bargain and a true jewel to add to my collection. As I said in the beginning, this is my first Elishewitz. It won’t be my last.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA

Dear James:
I have over the years read a lot of reviews and I have to say that yours is one of the most complete and well written one (I am not saying this because you are talking about my knife).
I do appreciate your kind words and am glad that you enjoy your new knife.
Should you have any question, do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you.
Allen Elishewitz

I have been eyeballing this knife for awhile, but I couldn't decide whether I wanted it or not. You sold me! Now, I have to get one in January. Another Elishewitz.

Great review!

A very well written review James.

Sounds like a great knife.

Ron Knight
Scottsdale, Arizona
Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback.

Allen, thank you for putting your time into the project. I will be sure to be in contact if I need any further information on this knife or the rest of your line.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA

James -- I have a Diablo. How did you read my mind long distance? Your fine review is right on. I know you will enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.
Great review, thanks!

When the bolster lock first came out, a few people had noticed that when the locking leaf closes in on the scale, it looks like that's a prime area for getting a bad pinch. Does this happen at all? Can you try closing the knife in a variety of ways and see if there's any way you can get pinched between the bolster and leaf? Thanks!

Allen -- Just about every folder of yours that I've seen has a flat sabre grind. If I'd like a different grind -- hollow grind, say, or full flat grind -- is that available?

Joe, the gap was an initial concern of mine as well. The CF scales on the Diablo extend 2-1/2” up the length of the handle, and when the bar travels to the locked position there is no opening at the top of the scale, just a narrow gap beneath it, like you’d find on any standard liner lock. If the scales were longer and traveled further up the cutout to create a smaller “bolster” area, an opening would be exposed, but that is not a case on this model.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA

The Diablo looks awesome. I'm thinking about getting an Elisheqitz bolster lock.

I got # 16 Diablo a couple of days ago and couldn`t agree with James` accessment more.
The bolster lock is one of those ideas that make you want to smack your forhead and say "why didn`t I think of that".It locks with the same authority as a Sebenza and the ability to have scales really classes things up.It is the most size efficient knife I have ever seen .The clip is short and does not look like any other knifeclip.Even if folks notice it,the word tactical won`t scream out at them.I think this knife bridges the gap between gentlemen`s folder and tactical folder.I know some of you may doubt that any 3.5" Elishewitz folder could ever be considered a gent`s folder,but reserve judgement til you hold one.
Now all I need is someone who can replace the carbon fiber scales with some nice wooden ones.Any ideas?


[This message has been edited by davidb415 (edited 01-25-2000).]
You might want to go directly to Allen about that. He has started using a Laminate Wood Composite on some of his knives, you can see one at KnifeArt and at Arizona Custom Knives.

They are set up now with CF bolsters, but who knows?

James Segura
San Francisco, CA
StJames,DavidB415 you guys are absolutly right.This is one of Elishewitz's best work.The knife is a beauty.The blue anodizing on the edges of the scales.Even the intregal titanium handles.I've been getting tired of the common bead blasted titanium handles.The pivot pins even look better than SpeedTech's Synergy and thats saying a lot.The action is smooth and I love the stonewashed blade.Allen came up with a great variation on the intregal lock.
Stjames, your review of the Diablo has convinced me to buy #21 just today! Can't wait to get it in 2 days. Maybe Diablo owners should have a gettogether with Allen sometime! I really enjoyed your review and I'm sure my assessment of the Diablo will be comparable to yours! Thanks Stjames and most of all, Allen!
Maybe we can meet at the Blade show and do a "Diablo Salute" and get some pics.

I invested into one of Allens knives. It is a mini-spectre with green G10 handles, tooling on the bolster and a 3 inch blade.
It is my first integral (bolster) lock.
To put it short it is my favorite knife. I open it "mindlessly" with my left and right hand while driving, watching tv etc..
To answer the gentlemans question about getting pinched... no I haven't ever.
The knife is not only flawlessly designed in ever aspect I can eyeball, it is an art piece.
I am glad to hear so many other people who enjoy Allens knives
Thanks for posting
James, I know how you must feel. I just purshed a Persian form Allen and I must concur with you. Thas is my first true custom.
A Persian with Mokume bolsters and Cocobolo scalesand blue Ti liners. The workman ship is the best I have seen in a while.
Every one here knows how I rave about the SpeedTech Synergy. I now have a hard time deciding which one to carry!! Thank You Allen.....
James, I know how you must feel. I just purchased a Persian form Allen and I must concur with you. Thas is my first true custom.
A Persian with Mokume bolsters and Cocobolo scales and blue Ti liners. The workman ship is the best I have seen in a while.
Every one here knows how I rave about the SpeedTech Synergy. I now have a hard time deciding which one to carry!! Thank You Allen.....

[This message has been edited by netcruiser (edited 02-03-2000).]
My #17 Diablo arrived today-thanks Allen and Larry at KnifeArt.

This is an excellent example of fine craftsmanship. Beautifully executed and functional. It feels great in the hand.

Received it and a Crawford Janus-both bolster locks. So simple, but so effective. These are great knives! The Diablo will definately be a regular carry. Janus is too pretty to carry.

Thanks for the info St. James


[This message has been edited by Daniel (edited 02-02-2000).]
Daniel, I just got #21 today too! Thanks again to everyone especially St. James, Allen and Larry. Words or review's can't describe this knife enough. I've been reading up on the reviews and they don't compare to actually seeing and playing with it in person. The pictures I've seen on Knifeart don't do this knife justice. It's also my first true custom (although I have others on order) and I am truly impressed.

Does anyone know how many Allen made that are numbered and how many he's making unnumbered? When I called Knifeart they said they have 21-26 available, but on the website they mention only the first 25 will be numbered. Allen if you're out there, how many do you plan on making? Thanks!