Those of us who grew up during the 80s ninja craze remember Sho Kosugi movies like Revenge of the Ninja and Pray for Death, The Masters TV show, the comic book heroine Elektra, and the list goes on. The Americanized mashup that gave this historical figure superhuman skills and supernatural powers inspired many a young boy to take up the martial arts. In fact, when I asked C. Carmack how he got into martial arts and knifemaking, he answered, “What boy growing up in the 80s didn’t want to be a ninja?”
Carmack is the owner of SP Knifeworks/Carmack Design, a company that offers handmade blades and thematic apparel. Carmack began studying the martial arts at a very young age, earning rank in Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo, Kickboxing, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, and Krav Maga. Like the bushi of Japan, Carmack understood the need to temper his martial side exercising his creative side through drawing, painting, linguistics, and an appreciation for the arts in general. This synthesis of martial prowess and artistic ability eventually led Carmack into knifemaking roughly five years ago. The EDC3-Fighter Custom is one of Carmack’s most recent creations. The knife is constructed out of 3/16” D2 tool steel with a Rockwell hardness of HRC 58. The 4 ½” recurve blade has a low, saber-ground edge and a high, flat-ground tip, making it highly functional as both a cutting and thrusting tool. The blade is acid etched, which brings out the character of the steel and give it a nice finish.
Carmack began his knifemaking journey as an apprentice to Master Knife Maker Steve Ryan, who is known for his heavy-built, ergonomic blades. The influence of his mentor is evident in the EDC3 with its relatively beefy blade design. That’s not to say that the EDC3 is oversized or heavy. On the contrary, the EDC3 is very light and with an overall length of 8.75 inches, it is suitably sized for everyday carry (or at least as suitable as a fixed-blade knife can be). The full-tang EDC3 is adorned with Richlite handle scales. If you are like me, you are probably wondering, “What on earth is Richlite?” At first glance, it looks like wood. To be completely honest, I thought it was wood until Carmack told me otherwise. Richlite is a made from recycled paper and phenolic resin. This extraordinary dense material is water-resistant, has low moisture abortion, is resistant to heat and fire, and is extremely durable. Its density and consistency make it an ideal for detailed laser work like that found on the scales of the EDC3.
The laser engraving that accents the handle scales is unique to every knife Carmack makes. The one sent to me had a beautiful eagle in the fashion of the SP/Carmack logo. If you look at Carmack’s Instagram page, you will find everything from detailed imagery to decorative lines and patterns appearing on his handles. This variety makes every Carmack knife a true one-of-a-kind. The EDC3 comes with a custom Kydex sheath with a Blade Tech Tek Lok attachement. The sheath can be mounted in a variety of positions, allowing the user to have full customization of their blade rig.
My experience wielding this knife was quire pleasurable. The EDC3 is light and fast, perfectly suited for thrusting and cutting. The bevel geometry makes for an exceptionally durable edge and the recurved blade cuts very well. I did a little bit of post-production sharpening to hone the edge with a convex grind. This complemented the EDC3’s blade design nicely and made it freakishly sharp. I spent some time working the EDC3 on one of my Rubber Dummies Silhouette Targets. This self-sealing, 3D target makes an excellent targeting dummy for live-blade training, allowing the user to deliver full force cuts and thrusts against a solid media. I then moved on to my favorite blade training device, the pell, and gave the knife a good beating against the solid wood post. The EDC3 performed flawlessly and felt great in my hand the entire time.
What really took me by surprise was the water bottle cut testing. Thick blades like the one on the EDC3 tend to have a hard time slicing through the thin skin of a 16 oz. water bottle because of the drag created by the thick blade. This didn’t hold true with the EDC3. It sliced cleanly through the water bottle with as much ease as my thinnest blades. This is a testament the excellent blade and edge geometry Carmack has put into the EDC3. I highly recommend the EDC3-Fighter Custom to anyone looking for a versatile fixed-blade fighter that is small enough to conceal, but large enough to get the job done. You can find more information about the EDC3-Fighter Custom and other Carmack Designs by visiting the of SP Knifeworks/Carmack Design website. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook. Photo Credits: Chad McBroom