Daniel Winkler is comparable to the likes of the world’s greatest artists, but this artist applies his craft to steel and iron. If you are not aware, Daniel Winkler is an American award-winning custom bladesmith based in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. He is also a certified master bladesmith with the American Bladesmith Society, and was designer and manufacturer of the knives and tomahawks used in the 1992 motion picture The Last of the Mohicans.

Considered by most knife aficionados to be one of the top 10 custom bladesmiths in the U.S., Dan has been forging custom-made knives and tomahawks for over three decades. A few years ago, he started furnishing custom fixed blades to members of the Naval Special Warfare Command/Special Forces community. His Winkler II Series is dedicated to those men in-theater.

Up to this point, Dan has primarily made Bowie-style blades. Now, he’s come out with a folding-knife line. Folding knives? Yes. Dan Winkler is making a folding knife. It’s like hearing Mazerati is manufacturing a small Fiat-style electric car. They just don’t do that.

However, Winkler Knives’ folding Model F-1 and F-1B are what you would expect: perfection.

F-1 specifications:
• 3 1/8” CPM-3V Blade
• Textured Green G-10 Handle
• Titanium Liners and Belt Clip
• Stainless screws
• Ball bearing Pivot
• Flip opening
• Liner Lock
• No-Glare Blasted Blade with Black Oxide “Caswell” finish

F-1B specifications:
• 3 1/8” CPM-3V Blade
• Carbon Fiber Handle
• Titanium Liners and Belt Clip
• Stainless screws
• Ball bearing Pivot
• Flip opening
• Liner Lock
• No-Glare Blasted Blade with Black Oxide “Caswell” finish

What makes these folding models most intriguing is the way they’re made. Dan uses the same process as the DWII series in creating the blade. The steel is not stainless, it is CPM-3V.

image002-630x540

It is great steel with good edge-holding properties, wear resistance, and lateral strength. The ball bearing, assisted by the ball detent, makes for a really smooth, positive flipping action. The titanium locking liner gives the mechanism extreme durability. The Caswell finish is much like Parkerizing: It does prevent some corrosion, but the user still needs to keep it clean and oiled. It is very lightweight, and just a finely made blade. It cuts through the toughest rope with ease; it’s a very handy and durable tool when needed in and out of the field. I asked Dan why the sudden need to make a folding knife.

His response:

I had a lot of people ask for a Winkler Folder. I used to make rear-lock, friction-and-slip joint folders as part of my Forged Knife line. I feel like there are a lot of fine liner-locking tactical designs out there but nothing I really felt like was designed with function first as the inspiration. What I have tried to do is design and produce a knife that works like I want a folding knife to do. I kept it lightweight by using titanium, carbon fiber, or G10 so carrying it would not be uncomfortable. The thumb rise on the blade spine helps with leverage in heavy cuts. The full-blade bevels and wide-blade profile helps keep cutting drag to a minimum with a small, easy-to-carry knife. And I located the pocket clip so the knife could be carried safely within easy reach. All in all, I wanted to make a functional everyday carry knife for those that can’t or choose to not carry a fixed-blade knife. I have carried one every day for the past four months and have never had a folder that worked better or was easier to carry and deploy.

This folding knife series lives up to the Winkler reputation and stays true to the brand’s craftsmanship. If you are thinking about adding a quick, sensible tool to your kit, the F-1 or F-1B should be on your list.

Cheers,
Erek Sanchez