Header Photo: Terrain 365 knives with Terravantium blades are heading out to the field for testing. Top to bottom: The new STS-AT framelock folder with black G-10 scale (framelock side is titanium); the new Mako Flipper-AT with titanium handles; and already in their collection, the Otter Slipjoint with Marine Gray G-10 scales.
Terrain 365 recently launched two exciting new knife designs: the STS-AT framelock folder and the Mako Flipper-AT framelock folder. Along with their existing Otter Slip Joint, a refined take on an old pocketknife standard, Terrain 365 asked us to run these knives through the Overland International paces for feedback and review.
Co-founders Patrick Ma (of Prometheus Design Werx) and Michael Vagnino (holder of the coveted Master Smith rank from the American Bladesmith Society) created Terrain 365 with the express intent of developing high-quality outdoor edged tools that hold up over extended field periods without regular maintenance. Attaining this high bar, with a focus on rust-free gear with long-term, edge-holding capabilities, is no easy feat.
To meet these goals, the Terrain 365 team dug deep into metallurgy and developed the proprietary Terravantium. This dendritic cobalt alloy has other uses and has appeared in small batch and one-off custom knives before. However, high material costs and sourcing precluded practical use in production knives. Terrain overcame these hurdles and has been able to secure volume quantities of this trademarked super-alloy blend.
Terravantium takes to the usual knife-making processes like milling and grinding, and it doesn’t require heat treating. It’s more brittle than stainless steels used in the same application, so these blades shouldn’t be used to pry open seized shut NATO fuel can latches. What end users also need to know is that Terravantium completely resists rust, is non-magnetic, and holds a keen working edge even after extended field use. Although divers and EOD personnel will take note, the main idea with Terrain 365 is to supply a wide array of discerning field users with high-quality production knives.
Knives for Testing
The STS-AT framelock folder (STS = Sea-to-Summit, AT = all terrain) has a tactical appearance, with a custom folder and classic design underpinnings. Terrain 365 clearly researched legitimate deployed-in-the-field knives, as exhibited by their choice of the timeless Bob Loveless/A.G. Russell chute (parachute) blade design. The STS-AT blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for deployment. Luminous inserts in the studs provide for low-light visual indexing. Custom-machined titanium screws secure the black G-10 handle. The blade pivots on ceramic bearings. So far, so good.
The Mako Flipper-AT is a compact, no-nonsense framelock design inspired by the Mako shark. The appearance is sleek, like its namesake. The titanium handles, screws, and pocket clip keep it lightweight. The use of a flipper for blade deployment makes the design naturally ambidextrous. The blade has a modified harpoon-type point profile and seems handy enough for most daily chores requiring a sharp edge.
The Otter Slipjoint knife, one of the original Terrain 365-developed knives, is a remake of a very old folding pocketknife design dating from the 1600s. This G-10 handled rendition of the timeless Barlow pattern seems great for travel, especially in locales where locking mechanisms on pocket folders are prohibited. The nail nick on both sides of the modified spear point blade makes for handy opening. With the Terravantium blade and titanium and stainless hardware, it appears ready for overland and expedition use.
Ma and Vagnino approach their knives partially from an academic perspective, with a focus on the benefits of this unique metallurgy. But the idea isn’t to introduce an exotic alloy and supersede stainless metals for knife making. Their aim is to get durable, edge-holding, rust-free blades into the hands of serious field users. I have been long-term testing their Nautilus-Alpha for dive applications and appreciate the opportunity to work with these folders in the field and report back with my observations.
Browse the full collection of edged tools from Terrain 365 here.