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Sidewinder knife's tactile folding mechanism is pure kinetic theater

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Everyday carry (EDC) specialist Craighill has teamed with avant garde design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams to create a truly unique knife. Inspired by the snake of the same name, the wavy Sidewinder flipper does away with the typical fixed handle, relying on motion from all its components to open while shifting shape ever so slightly in the process. We’re not sure it’ll prove the most practical knife inside the big glass case, but it’s certainly an attractive, pocket-sized piece of functional art.

Established in 2011 and named directly after its two founders, Chen Chen & Kai Williams design studio has long explored new ways to use traditional materials and supplies, often inspired by the type of fantastical visions children have when pretending an everyday household item is something much cooler. In the case of the Sidewinder, Williams was inspired by the parallel ruler that fascinated him as a child of two architects, conjuring up images of an expandable pivoting sword blade.

A quick flick of the back tab, and the Sidewinder pivots to life
A quick flick of the back tab, and the Sidewinder pivots to life

Craighill

A sword isn’t the most practical piece of design for adult life, but an EDC knife? Much more useful and marketable. To make it happen, Chen and Williams reached out to Craighill for the engineering help needed to make the idea reality.

Like a parallel ruler, the Sidewinder features identically sized halves connected by a pair of hinges. But the knife introduces several unique elements, including, of course, the blade that emerges during the opening motion, plus the wavy shape of the halves that nest into a solid handle.

Sidewinder knife action
Sidewinder knife action

Craighill

The knife opening is activated by the flipper tab sticking out beyond the spine, causing the blade to rotate open and the two halves of the handle to separate and move slightly in opposite directions, interlocking in an opposite orientation – the “lower” side becomes the “upper” and vice versa. It happens quickly but is quite mesmerizing to watch in slow motion. The opposing stone-washed and black PVD-coated stainless steel handle colors further highlight the unique movement.

We’ve seen a few knives with multi-pivot openings over the years but nothing quite like the Sidewinder.

As for the basics, the Sidewinder features a 2.5-in (6.4-cm) 12C27N steel blade kept in place by a liner lock for a total open length of 6.75 inches (17.2 cm). It weighs just 5.6 oz (159 g) and folds down to a 4 x 1.5 x 0.5-in (10.2 x 3.8 x 1.3-cm) package that’s ready to drop in a pocket. Craighill promises heft that feels “authoritative in the hand” but not overly weighty or unwieldy.

The Sidewinder features a 2.5-in blade and 4-in handle
The Sidewinder features a 2.5-in blade and 4-in handle

Craighill

The pivoting action probably won’t be the most practical for those needing a knife for critical daily tasks, but this “enigmatic kinetic sculpture moonlighting as a knife” was really imagined more as a knife for people who wouldn’t ordinarily carry an EDC knife. It also makes a bold statement piece for a desk or shelf.

Craighill launched the Sidewinder this past week for a price of US$178. See it in action and get a little more of the backstory in the video below.

Meet the Sidewinder Knife

Source: Craighill via Gear Patrol


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