Pimped Nano in the house - The biggest little knife I know
If you've been reading my on-going reviews about knives, you'll be familiar with the law here in the UK and carrying knives. If your not, its quite simple. You can carry a folding knife if it has a blade under 3" and is "non locking" which means, when the blade is in the open position it doesn't lock, something similar to a "Swiss army knife" for instance.
I've carried a knife ever since I was a kid. Back then it was a little bone handled, two blade gentlemans folder, given to me by my Grandfather. These days when I'm out on the hills, up a mountain or hanging on the side of a crag shooting I tend to carry a multitool, but for EDC (every day carry) When I'm in the studio or travelling I still like to carry a small folding pocket knife. The modern equivilent of that old folder I carry is a Boker Nano 42 a funky looking little knife which was originally designed by American knife maker David Curtiss.
If I lived in America there seem to be literally hundreds of custom knife makers turning out my ideal blade, small and chunky, with a good weight to them. But for a guy living in Sheffield, England an "American Custom" can be quite hard to come by! First up, like anything "custom" you have a reletively high price tag (now I'm not saying the knives aren't worth the money, because I think they are), but living here in England I have to add on import duty and VAT. So, lets say I want to buy that Dave Curtiss Nano, it sells, depending on the finish for between $175 - $500, which seems quite reasonable. But once I add on Vat at 20% and import duty, even the cheapest knife is now looking more like a $250 - $275 and it's not quite as desirable as it was, but hey! So your sitting at your computor with your finger hovering over the "Buy Now" option and you decide to go for it! You hit the button and up pops the legend "out of stock" Yep, I quickly realised that it wasn't quite as simple as wanting the knife and having the money to pay for it, you've actually got to find one for sale. Every major website I looked at was "out of stock" and couldn't offer any information as to when they would be available! Some popular brands like Medford have a minimum wait time of around 14 months!
I couldn't wait, I never can once I get an idea firmly embedded in my mind. So I had a bit of a re-think. I knew the type of blade shape I liked, I knew the size and weight I'd ideally like it to be and for all intents and purposes it kept coming back to the Curtiss Nano. But as we've already discovered it wasn't meant to be.......BUT you can buy a Nano made by the German knife manufacturer Boker (a collaboration with Curtiss) here in the UK for the princely sum of £46.95, thats approx $70. The downside, as I previously mentioned is its weight, it feels very light, too light for what I ideally wanted - this was when it got interesting! MODS
I'd always been aware of knife modifications, in fact I remember as a kid watching my big brother trying to re-shape the huge blade of a Bowie knife. Why not Pimp a blade I already owned? So I set out with new found "gusto" trying to find someone who specialised in "modding" knives. It wasn't long before I came up trumps on Instagram. I typed in #knifemods and up popped 1,732 posts, unfortunately for me most of them were once again in the USA (America is a big place and they like ther're knives) A couple of the posts featured the Nano, bingo! They looked just like the sort of thing I wanted and offered that bit more weight in the handle, looked really good and essentially I could decide exactly what I wanted doing to the knife. So I contacted one of the guys and agreed on the modifications I wanted doing. That was about a month ago and I'm waiting with bated breath for news on my blade. I'll obviously still have to pay import duties, but it'll be a fraction of the cost.
In the meantime I kept myself amused flicking through photos on Instagram. There are some really amazing knifes and knife makers, as well as some prodigious collectors out there, I also started to take more of an interest in "Mods" Thats when I came across @nuttergrindingmetal Who had just posted a photo of what looked like my perfect "Nano mod" A new, all metal Damascus handle (scale) and matching pocket clip, with a rock pattern blade and bronzed hardware. In fact he'd posted 4 photos of different Nano's that he'd worked on and were now all up for sale, and he was based in the UK. So I sent him a message, I had lots of questions. He replied almost immediately and was very gracious with his time outlining the various options he offered. Three days later a knock on the door signalled the arrival of my knife. Well packaged, containing the knife and custom pocket clip, as well as the original clip. I could tell straight away I was going to love this tiny knife and after amost a week of carrying it around in my pocket and using it for various tasks I haven't changed my opinion. If anything I love it more.
It has a Super sharp blade made from 440-C stainless steel which is just a tad short of 2" (1"7/8th's) the handle is a beautiful contoured Damascus steel as opposed to the usual G10 (for all intents and purposes G10 looks and feels like plastic) and above all it's weight in your hand is 4.6oz's (130g) compared to 2.9oz's (82.21g) for the "Off the shelf" version, which is why I love this little knife. Its definately the biggest little knife I know.