Jul 3, 20176251 views

Ferrum Forge Falcon Review

Two months ago, Massdrop graciously sent me a sample of the Ferrum Forge Falcon knife to get my feedback. This is a knife that looks, feel and handle like a custom knife, but comes with a production knife cost; it’s made in a trinity collaboration with Ferrum Forge and We Knives.
I finally was able to sit down today and write this review after a two months delay, due to extensively traveling for work on my part. So, apologies to Massdrop and their wonderful product managers for this late review. By the way, I jumped on the Crux eyes closed when that drop started, and I cannot wait to see what else the Massdrop-Ferrum-We trio will come up with!
When I opened the Massdrop package, my eyes widened. This beautiful titanium knife (full disclosure: I cannot control myself next to titanium objects!), was numbered (I got #0006; one more unit up and I would have had the James Bond one!), and truly looked like something made in custom workshops. It’s more akin to a Sebenza, than to a knife made in a volume manufacture. Although when I write “volume”, let’s be clear; I bet we’re still talking humble numbers. I am sure We Knife will not produce anywhere near the amount of knives that, say, Victorinox or Opinel will, and that’s a good thing! I am all for small manufacturing that involves human labour, rather than highly automated mass market factories, whether in the US, Canada, or anywhere else abroad.
for the little story, I later was the absolute first buyer when the drop opened, so I’ll wait and see if the final production knife has differences or not.
DESIGN
The overall design of the knife is, in my opinion, very original, and really highlight it’s Ferrum Forge ADN. A bit of aggressiveness and elegance come together with smooth chamfers and beautiful soft edges, for a perfect modern EDC look. For sure, it’s not a gentleman’s knife design (The Crux will be, I think), but it’s not a military or tactical design either. It’s both at the same time!
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The size and weight are perfect for pocketing; the 2.9-inch drop-point blade has a nice soft choil, perfect for index finger placement. The spine has a concave jumped thumb ramp for a natural thumb rest in a forward grip, with a bit of jumping just before the thumb rest area. The jimping and choil are smooth and feel natural to handle, without any hot spots. Everything has been designed so that this smaller knife - I like smaller knives! - feels comfortable and natural in hand.
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BLADE
The blade shape looked a bit odd to me in the beginning due to the concave shape of its spine, as I prefer traditional drop point blades. The thumb hole initially put me off as I thought it should have had curves made to mimic and accompany the curves of the handles, but I very quickly warmed up to it. The more I handled the knife, the more I came to like and admire the shape for being more “modern”, bold and distinctive, without being aggressive and tactical in its design (not a fan of "tactical" and "macho" designs in knives to be honest). This blade mixes traditional and modern design, which makes it unique; in the end, that’s what’s to really like about it.
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(next to a cheap steak knife for size comparison)
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The flipper tab allows you to deploy the blade easily, with the absolute right amount of friction and smoothness blended together; smooth, yet snug as it should be! It’s a joy to deploy, as if the blade was deploying through butter, but with the perfect amount of retention. I can’t stop playing with this when I have it in hand. All you need is a quick flick, and the blade opens with an authoritative “click” which is right on spot as far as tactile feedback is concerned! The knife locks up solid and exhibits no blade play in any direction. It engages and disengages with fluidity, ease, and with a very satisfactory tactile feedback.
Even if it’s on the smaller side, the blade still handles beautifully due to the choil and thumb rest, which are all perfectly positioned, at least for my grip. Again, the thumb ramp also helps with manipulating the knife in forward gripping situations.
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When I look closely at the lock’s coupling, I see just a small amount of the frame lock blocking the blade, compared to other frame locks I have; I am not sure if this means you must not use this knife for harder tasks? Or if that is perfectly normal, and no worries to have? To be honest it seems to me that most of the tasks will not be a problem for this knife as, again, everything is firm and does not feel flimsy. Edit: based on the excellent feedback I was provided (see comments after my post), all point out to the fact that the lock is of great quality and there are no concerns to have (which is absolutely not surprising, as everything is of super high quality on this knife! 👍).
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Anyway for me it’s not a problem as I will certainly not abuse knife #0006. Number #2367 perhaps, but not #0006.
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CARRY
If you find yourself EDC’ing and carrying this knife, you will not be able to look at at and understand why it is a knife barely costing more than $110. It truly looks, feels, and handle in the same category as a Sebenza or other such high end knife. There is simply no sign that this is a more affordable knife, made in a factory rather than on a craftsman’s workbench. I love the blade finish, a smooth and bright satin, which catches light beautifully. The titanium is as beautiful as I have seen on the best knives, and it does not have any clear coating; that means the titanium will exhibit small surface scratches on its external layer, but these will “self-heal” with time (Google it; titanium oxidizes and has a “self-healing” capability for minute surface scratches).
Of course the grip will be a bit more slippy than on a knife with, say, G-10 handles; but again since I believe this knife is not purposefully designed for hard tasks, I personally do not mind (but if you use your knives in a wet environment, you might want to switch to another knife).
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CLIP
Titanium allows this knife to be fairly light in weight (100 g), and that’s a good thing for portability. The way the clip is designed, the knife is not completely concealed while in a pocket. I myself never use clips, but I understand some really love them so it could be a detail that displeases some. I understand some laws in the US forbid people to carry knives if they are partially visible, so I would say the clip would need to be redesigned for the knife to be lawful in all situations. Personally since I don’t use clips, I prefer the subdued design of this clip to a big stamped metal clip with a large hook. Admittedly, you can change the position of the clip for left sided or right sided use (I haven’t tried).
STEEL
S35VN is a great premium steel, so I have nothing really to add! At this price point, it’s incredible to be able to benefit from such a high end steel, as this is a great knife that would still be wonderful, even with a lesser grade of steel! It makes me wonder then, why so many manufactured knives at this price point are so bland, generic and of lesser quality, or use cheaper steels.
CONCLUSION AND TL;DR
In finishing, this is a fantastic knife, a no-brainer purchase! If the Massdrop-Ferrum-We trio offers us more knives tat this price point and at this level of quality, it’s safe to say you can buy them all without any hesitation! I know I will!
TL;DR summary: an EDC titanium custom knife you always wanted, at affordable production price!
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DougS63, GeeLee, and 56 others
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It's a great knife, when FF comes out with the Pro line they will have a Fortis 2.0 that looks almost like a scaled up Falcon. That's a good thing, as the only thing I would change is to make it bigger.
I've got #0018, I don't think I have ever warmed up to a knife the way I have with this Falcon.
It gets better and better with time, the ergos are perfect, the action and detent is perfect, never loosening, just breaking in beautifully, and the chalky bead blasted titanium now feels soft and smooth, but grippier than regular smooth titanium.
It's a perfect knife.
As you have already learned, the early lockup of the Falcon is a good thing. Frame and liner locks are strongest when the lock bar stays as close to parallel to the blade and the opposite scale as possible, that way any force exerted on the lockup is acting against the straightest possible axis, it helps avoid lock bar deformation.
Omniseed
One of the stand outs to me is the incredible grippy feel that you really don't even pick up on until it's in the hand. Nothing is perfect but this is a great direction to work towards......I put it down and after picking up a half dozen nicely made knives and this handle as small as it is still stands out.
Now that you have had you knife for a while, are you experiencing the same decent and lock bar issues others have? I haven't received mine yet, but I've been reading some comments by those who have, and it's distressing.
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Okay, thanks 👍
tlblakburne
What issues?
It's a stiff knife and takes a long time to break in, but in framelock terms that means it will be a long-lived and rugged knife.
Mine is still very stiff but it is also increasingly smooth.
When will this knife be available again?
DM77
Mine has just shipped!!!!!
DM77
They're available now I think
Looking to buy one if anyone decides they would sell after they recieve one.
Bring it back please! I want a second one! :)
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Definitely! I am a bigger fan of bringing back production, than outsourcing. However most of the American companies didn't give a shit about people when they designed their 'streamline strategies' aka aggressive capitalistic practices, and unfortunately created a trend that is hard to fight. Apple is the worst of them.
Bobraz
Truth!
If you don't mind, could you tell me who to contact at Massdrop about doing reviews? My experience is mostly writing watch reviews but I have done a few for knives. Not trying to steal your gig but I am just an enthusiast who has a passion for knives and the rich body of culture, history, materials, and technique around their manufacture and use.
Axeguy
To be honest, it's a "don't call us we'll call you" situation, I think.
For me, it all started after I'd been doing reviews by myself for a while, for the pleasure of it, with my own purchases. I was just being very active on Massdrop (I'm on Reddit too), putting lots of meaningful comments, having fun giving my advice and opinion, being constructive and civilized, while still being opinionated.
I know, it sounds like I'm a dork with too much time on his hands, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am a busy IT professional, but I was trained as an industrial designer, and I still have a passion for well designed and well thought-out products. So I naturally love to exchange on these topics and subjects with other enthusiasts, and as a result every day I spend some time (usually 30 mn, not much more) on Massdrop and Reddit discussions (in the bus, while waiting in line, waiting to pick up the kids, etc.).
This just got me to a point where I got credibility, plus lots of followers (even the Massdrop founders! Just find the post about the origin of Massdrop to understand why) and endorsements (those "thumb up plus" icons below the post). Eventually the Massdrop product managers noticed my contributions and reached out to me (as they do to others) for bouncing out ideas, a few times.
They may or may not reach out again to me in the future - I sure hope they do -, but at the end of the day, the product managers are the ones deciding who to reach out to in the community of enthusiasts, not the other way around.
While I don't feel at liberty divulging names, all the Massdrop products and category managers can be openly found - and engaged in dialog - on the discussion pages and on the "Massdrop Hub" and "Talk" pages... So contribute as much as you can! 👌
Bobraz
Thanks a lot for your reply and insight! I appreciate the time you took out of your day to share your experiences: it encourages me to contribute more to our community.
Is it November yet?? :)
That samurai butter knife.
IvanSpendalot
You mean the dollar-store steak knife?
Bobraz
Yeah.
When are they going to ship, it seems like I have been waiting to receive this knife forever and a day.
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Got a notification today that the first 500 have been produced and are ready to ship from WE to Massdrop. The remainder will also be well ahead of schedule.
Droid1963
I saw that also, I'm super excited for this drop and can't wait to get mine.
Mmmwwwaaahhhaaahaaa!!
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Tasselhoff
Would you say you and this knife have a close Bond?
ButtsMcGee
You would need a man with a golden gun to pry it out of my dead hands!
Excellent review. I'm a reviewer on another forum for mostly firearms and related EDC gear including knives, flashlights, etc. Much of the gear I review and post there, I purchased from Massdrop. I carry several items I picked up from Massdrop and show them off routinely with my buddies in the various clubs and associations I belong to.
I just recently received another titanium knife from Massdrop, and I have this one you reviewed on order; can hardly wait!
For a long time now, Massdrop has done a much better job of the descriptions, details, photos, frankly everything. Massdrop seems to be getting stronger and stronger and better all the time.
I would love an opportunity to do a pre-release review of one of their products. I'm probably best suited to review knives or flashlights; but anything they send me for review, I will quickly become an expert and provide a professional review.
Thanks again Bobraz, just like Massdrop, keep up the great work!!
:D
Is there going to be another drop of this? Is it possible to do a wharncliffe similar to the masterblaster but at this same price? CTS-204p steel, camo g-10 with dark acid wash blade.
Start shipping! Im waiting for ages...
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Bassie
That's a shame. Those of us who ordered the Kwaiken back in April are still waiting for ours to ship, and will be for another month or so. And this drop started a long time after that one. So you're going to be waiting some more.
iLoloC
I have had another knife drop, closed and received. It was also built by WE. Im just impatient
I have graduated up to this knife(have a bunch of Kershaw's, CRKT, etc.). I am waiting eagerly for this knife, more so from your excellent review. Also, just received a Maserin. I like the attention to detail of better knives. Champaign taste - beer budget
Nice review. You mention that the clip might be positioned for tip-up carry, but isn't the knife you're reviewing already set up for such? If you meant that it might be set for tip-down carry, there are no mounting openings near the pivot that I can see. Just looking a bit of clarity because I do use the clips on my knives. Just saying.
BTW, this clip appears to be a real step up from typical Ferrum Forge offerings. I own two--an NTAC and a Septer--and the clips on those models are pretty bare bones, just simple titanium bent into a workable but not too glamorous shape. Those clips are anodized and they work fairly well, but they're nothing special. It's worth noting that this clip is quite a bit nicer than what one finds in a lot of FF custom work.
highbob
You are right, this knife is already tip-up! D'uh. It was left handed / right handed that I had in mind, which has nothing to do with concealment. I'll fix that! (agree 👍🏼 on the clip, it is gorgeous)
" At this price point, it’s incredible " at no point do you mention the pricepoint...on massdrop of all sites
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Which is, "barely costing more than $110." Quite the snarky one, aren't you, with set expectations how people will phrase things. Your comment adds NOTHING to the discussion. Take your own advice.
Of course not, I was just basing it off the reviews I've seen in the past that generally include the price in their final thoughts, didn't mean it as a personal attack like these complete strangers took it as for you
Can you easily deploy and disengage the blade manually using the thumb hole?
hatman
Yes, it's fairly easy, without being too easy to risk accidental disengagement. It's one of those details that I find incredibly well thought out at this price point!
Bobraz
Excellent -- thanks.
You shouldn't have to worry about the low amount of lockup. It's actually a hallmark of more expensive blades to have very little lockup.
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Hellreaver
People obsess over having "early lockup", something like 10% of the lockbar surface engaged with the tang. The concern leading to this demand I often see cited is that wear on the lock surface (or more rarely blade tang) will eventually cause the lockbar to drift and the blade to develop rotational play.
However, as long as the lock is designed right and the lock surface treated to the correct hardness this won't happen even with initial lockup as late as 50-70% (the Spyderco K2 and Slysz Bowie being examples typically in this range). If 10% or less is required to ensure the longevity of the knife, that in of itself raises questions about the knife's quality, as well as safety given that the lock could be much more easily disengaged by accident with a small jostle.
Just my thoughts on the issue. Generally I'd advise a 20-50% lockup, but your mileage may of course vary. As previously stated much depends on the design itself and quality of manufacture. Also a note on the Falcon: the lockbar as a whole appears to have an early lockup, but the lockbar insert is about 60%-70%. I'd consider that mid-late since the rest of the lockbar surface isn't intended to ever be used. Given that lockbar inserts are used to allow for a very hard lock surface (hardened steel as opposed to carbidized or carburized titanium), I'd say the lockup looks perfect. I highly doubt wear will be heavy enough to cause drift, so utilizing most of the insert's surface makes sense, which is arguably the point of inserts. It's also possible that the insert can be replaced if wear was to occur, though you'd have to ask the guys at FFKW.
MDDoge
Thanks for the great comment. I did edit my post! Great info to know.
Someone pay it forward to me, haha.
Would be interesting to read a review with a month or two of daily carry.
Did you get in on the drop for another one? One safe queen, and a user?
namhod
Absolutely!
Thank you for the detailed review. Having sampled the same knife (#0006) I can wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. Can't wait to receive mine.
Theroc
Wait, what!? You handled this one too! I thought Massdrop sent a few different samples to a few people for review, not the same one!
Bobraz
Sure, and I passed it on to another member, pay-it-forward style.
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