LIONSTEEL

SR-1 A


Italians have a long history of designing and forging beautiful cutting instruments. The city of Maniago, just like the German city of Solingen, has been the hotbed of innovation in this space for centuries.

LionSteel has been run by the Pauletta family since the 1960's and have built a reputation of crafting exceptionally well-finished pieces of very high quality. This is due largely to their investment in high tech machinery that enables them to explore new knife making processes and techniques.

The SR-1 series is a result of this innovation-driven approach; a groundbreaking one-piece, sculpted aluminum handle incorporating a clever rotating lock design, the patented Roto Block™.

This strikingly modern looking knife comes in a variety of handle colors and has a smaller SR-2 sibling. It also comes in the much costlier Titanium version for an even sturdier and more high-end option.

The knife was designed in collaboration with 'Molletta', a progressive Italian designer favoring digital tools such as CatiàInventor and Solidworks for sculpting his pieces.

LionSteel really have their shit together in the branding department. The packaging is super nice, their brand identity reeks of style. If you splurge on the Titanium version, you will be given the deluxe wooden box treatment. I'd go as far as to say that they have the best looking overall brand package in the industry, maybe followed by TAD. They could use some help with their sad website, though. 

Behind the scenes

I asked Michele "Molletta" Pensato about his collaboration with LionSteel:

 CEO Gianni on the phone while Molletta is eavesdropping at the LionSteel offices.

CEO Gianni on the phone while Molletta is eavesdropping at the LionSteel offices.

"The collaboration with LionSteel started in 2004.  In 2005 LionSteel produced my first ambitious project, the Nexus 7, a one piece FR-4 (a glass-reinforced epoxy laminate) handle with a tool steel blade. 

All my experience with designing and producing one-piece handles was finally put to good use in the SR-1,  which means "Senza Ritegno"  "without restraint" - an ambitious folder made from a single piece of titanium with a frame lock and  Sleipner steel blade with a heat treatment that I developed. The result is a very fine grade (ASTM 11.1) tough and sharp blade. After a year of intensive testing prototypes made from different steels, we developed the  aluminum handle."

 

Michele Pensato - aka ‘molletta’, his nickname in Italian – is a very active designer with years of experience. His previous life as an excursion lover and a passion for archaeology had him spending most of his experiences in the great outdoors, where he soon got to understand how a great knife should really be and what it should be capable of achieving.
— LionSteel official site
 

AESTHETICS

★★★★★

Molletta has his own, unique style. His blade shapes are very generous and his handle shapes, especially the front quillon are immediately recognizable throughout his work.

The lines in the blade are simple and beautiful, as are the sculpted grooves in the solid aluminum piece. Little finishes like the main pivot details inspired the name of this site - it is truly a magnificently designed knife. It is also one of the few knives that has a lock side more attractive than the traditional "presentation side"

There's a nice balance in the overall look, of a serious but civilized user knife.

 

ERGONOMICS

★★★★

Feels great in the hand. The handle guard protects your hand and gives you a great, firm grip. The aluminum feels great, although it doesn't have the warmth of, say, micarta or wood.

It is easy to open one handed and just feels smooth and schmelllty in your hand.

 

FIT & FINISH

★★★★★

Great attention to detail. Truly a nicely polished piece of kit. No flaky parts, no hollow sounding G10. Every screw and pivot looks great. The Roto Block looks like a vault. 

Beautiful packaging - makes a great gift.

 

RUGGEDNESS

★★★★

By forging the entire handle piece from one solid block of aluminum (or titanium), LionSteel have minimized the number of parts and components going into the knife. It just seems rock solid - the steel reinforced frame lock does the job and the thickness of the D2 blade should not disappoint. D2 is no joke - it took me an entire weekend to re-profile the blade by hand. Granted, I am pretty crap at grinding. An extra star for the brilliant and easy-to-operate Roto Block locking mechanism.

 

USEFULNESS

★★★★

A very versatile blade shape and a fairly manageable size makes this a great all-round folder. It is on the verge of being semi-socially acceptable just because of it's good, sleek looks. Especially the more colorful options.

The pocket clip makes it almost disappear into the pocket with very little steel showing.

 

FONDLE FACTOR

★★★★½

This is almost the perfect fondle knife. It flips and locks up with an immense KLAKK. The sculptured wavy texture of the handle looks and feels great.

It has just the right weight - it really feels like a solid, dependable tool.

My lock was a bit sticky and not overly straight forward so that dinged it half a star.

 


PIVOT SCORE

★★★★

The SR-1 is a great example of what I love about knife design - a solid tool, built for no bullshit work, really thought through and exceptionally made.

No cookie-cutter, lazy flat slab of G10 with a pirate-inspired blade shape here. There is nothing lazy about this knife.

I think the price is very decent for the aluminum version. You can buy it at Blade HQ.

At a glance:

  • Blade Length: 3.7" (94 mm)

  • Blade Thickness: .177" (4.5 mm)

  • Blade Steel: D2 Tool Steel

  • Overall Length: 8.31" (211 mm)

  • Handle Material: 1 Piece of Solid Ergal Aluminum, Black

  • Locking Mechanism: Frame Lock with Hardened Steel Insert

  • Includes Adjustment Tool and Removable Pocket Clip

  • Weight: 5.56 oz (158 g)

  • Made in Maniago Italy

  • $200.00

 

More resources:


GOES WELL WITH

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 Review by Sir Ronald Heathrow

Review by Sir Ronald Heathrow


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