What’s really remarkable about Koss Workshop’s designs are that they’re devoid of any CAD work, fancy automated machinery, or any smoke and mirrors. Every single thing he makes in his US-based workshop relies on standard billets of metal, mostly hand-drawn stencils, and regular cutting, forging, and polishing equipment. Everything Koss does is manual, from cutting or forming the individual billets, to finishing the knives, polishing the blade, and assembling/shipping the end result. More so, he documents everything on his YouTube channel, so you can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each individual object he then sells on Etsy.
For the Shift Folder Knife, Koss decided to make a knife with a retracting blade that moves up and down a rail built into the handle. There’s a clever snapping mechanism there too that causes the blade to fix in its closed or open position. Everything is made in-house from a combination of titanium and brass for the handle, and W1-7 high carbon steel for the blade.
Designer: Koss Workshop
It all starts with the blade – a double-edged drop-point cutting edge that Koss cuts and grinds from a sheet of carbon steel. Known for holding its edge better than regular steel, this metal works really well for its particular use case. Koss carves a linear notch into the center (which will support the blade’s sliding mechanism, before grinding down both the edges to give the blade its immaculate sharpness that can cut both ways.
The handle, on the other hand, uses a combination of titanium (for its stiffness), and brass (for its unique color and ability to patina). Sandwiched between the titanium and brass halves, however, is a cleverly machined steel sheet that comes with a notch just like the one on the blade. However, the notch has two steps in it – one at the front and one at the end. This allows the blade to ‘snap’ into open and closed positions, giving you a convenient single-handed experience without any hassles or complicated parts. The mechanism provides enough resistance that you can use the blade without it sliding back into its handle.
To assemble the entire thing, Koss just puts the pieces together and then fastens them with a set of hex screws. The screws sit flush against the handle’s surface thanks to the fact that Koss added a countersunk crater in all of them, and to operate the Shift Folder Knife, a broad brass knob sits on the handle, providing a fair bit of contrast against the titanium sheet behind it.
Koss’ knives don’t come cheap. This one sold for $220 on Etsy – but then again, each knife is handmade and Koss doesn’t make more than one unit of any design, making each one unique. It’s a business model that works for him, given that almost every single knife he adds to his Etsy store gets sold out within just hours!