Elishewitz knives - good/bad/otherwise?


Platinum Member
Jun 29, 1999
I own a couple of Allen's knives and in general find them to be interesting, creative, and well made. Certainly, a welcomed change from the standard black and grey tactical knife.

Over the years I have heard all sorts of comments on these knives. Some swear by them while other point to inconsistent quality problems. What is your opinion on these knives?

In previous years, I had mixed feelings about Allen's work. On the plus side, he mixes his own excellent sense of style with great ergonomics, and *still* ends up with a top-notch working design. Often knives are great working knives or very beautiful and stylized, but not both, but makers like Allen (and Darrel Ralph as another example) combine these traits nicely. On the down side, we'd check Allen's knives year after year, and often found inconsistent lock-up on liner locks and small fit&finish blemishest.

I saw Allen at a show recently. He's really come into his own as a knife designer, with a unique and compelling style. The advantages I cited above are even stronger now. I played with a number of knives at his table, and to the best of my recollection the liner locks all locked up well. Better yet, he also had bolster locks and monolocks, both of which appeared to be very well done. So I'm not worried about his locks anymore, although on principle I'd stick with the bolster lock or mono lock. In fact if you're an Elishewitz fan I think you must have a bolster lock, since it's typical of his strongest traits: take one of the best lock formats out there, and tweak it so you can make the knife prettier. Note this is all based on an at-the-table examination, I haven't put them through their paces.

I was intent enough on examining the locks that in all honesty I can't recall what I thought of the fit & finish. Certainly nothing jumped out at me as being particularly bad.

His knives are a little thicker than what I like for everyday carry, which is the only reason I don't own one.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 12-26-2000).]
I am rather fond of Allens work, and have had no quality problems whatsoever. I own two monolock and four bolster lock models and each one locks up solid and has excellent fit and finish, great designs and blade grinds as well. It would be nice if he offered more variety in steel choices besides 154-CM and Damasteel, but he does make a lot of different designs to choose from, and I love the bolster lock.

James Segura
San Francisco, CA
I also like Allens' work.I have 9 or 10 of his folders both linerlocks and monolock.They all lock up solid and none of them have any fit or finish problems.I can recommend his knives without any hesitation.Although I agree with stjames,it would be nice to have a larger selection of blade steels to choose from.

Some pics http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=926098&a=6763257

I think that in assessing Elishewitz's work, you have to be mindful of his production process. I don't believe that he uses much in the way of CNC type of equipment and the result is that his knives have more of a handmade feel. I had a small Persian of his that I really liked, I ended up trading it because I thought it was too pretty to actually use. Although it was grerat knife, the tolerances on this knife did not have the kind of precision fit that one would find on a Sebenza for instance, that, however, is not a slam on his quality. I just think that handcrafting has a different qualitative look.
Thanks everybody, you are going to make me blush...
I take all your comments to heart and have been trying over the years to trully refine my knifemaking techniques. I would love to use more steels. When I began making knives, I would use 10 different steels for blades. But as my business grew, so did the number of shows that I attended. All of this combine with my collaboration with Benchmade made me realize I had to make choices.
I have had to simplify some of the choices that I can give my customers. So I have picked what are in my opinion the best all around steels which are 154CM and Damasteel. I am aware that they do not hold an edge like the CPM steels or are not as corrosion resistant as 440C, 12C27,... but they are the best of both worlds.
To give you a sneak peek at what is new for next year (I have not shown or told anyone else until now!): I am going to stick with my designs introduced in 2000, but I am truly working on tolerances. For example, all pivot pins are measured and put into containers of .0003" increments and they are polished. The pivot pin holes in the blades are lapped with diamond paste. The hole is about .0007" larger than the pivot pin. The holes in the handle are +/-.0003" of the pivot pin.
I have just purchased a very specific and expensive machine today, I only know of 3 makers that own this machine besides myself: Michael Walker, Ron Lake and Chris Reeve. This is a lapping machine. This machine's olny purpose is not to get part flat, but to get them absolutely flat (liners, handles, bolsters, blades...).
With all of this and then some, the fit, the finish, the action, the knives themselves will be even more refined than ever. I am not saying that the knives that I have made are bad or inferior but there is always room to squeeze out a little improvement.
Wish you all a Happy New Year.
See you in 2001!
Allen Elishewitz

You are telling us your knives are going to get even better! Just added another of your knives to my collection yesterday afternoon; it looks like I may have to up my budget for your stuff for 2001.

I have a Neo with G-10 insert and rate it to be one of the best among my small collection of custom knives. I really like Allen's blade profiles but secretly hope for a new direction in handle design and scale material (less CF stuff). I asked Santa for an Elishewitz with a Persian blade for Christmas but he (Santa) only laughed and told me that he wanted one for himself.
Picked up my first Elishewitz at the recent New York Show. A Djinn--CF scales--liner lock. Quality is first rate. A beauty. The quality and value are definitly there.
I think it should also be pointed out that Allen's customer service easily matches the high level of his craftsmanship. I purchased a gorgeous NIB Persian bolster lock with CF inlays from the late great James Mattis at Blade West this year. I really loved every detail and appointment of this knife, but after a couple of days it became apparent to me that the folder was just a bit too small for my large hands.

I contacted Allen and Valerie to see about upgrading to the larger size Persian, and to make a long story short, Allen happily agreed to exchange mine and make me an exact replica in a larger size. Much to my surprise and delight I was only charged for shipping. I received the new folder a couple of weeks ago (and about a month ahead of schedule) and couldn't be happier. The overall smoothness of the action is actually an improvement over my Sebenza (if that's possible
). I can hardly wait to see what the next round of improvements will yield.

Semper Fi

Wow, Bronco. I think you're supposed to keep these sweet deals a secret.

I'm considering selling some of my production stuff so I can purchase an Elishewitz Persian.
Under normal circumstances, I would keep quiet.
But, the whole point of the post is that Allen and Valerie don't know me from Adam, and therefore I have to assume that they treat all of their customers this way.

Semper Fi