Ichiro of Seki 関住維知郎作

Hattori Ichiro

Ichiro Hattori (Born 1939- 服部 維知郎)is a renowned knife maker in the city of Seki, Gifu Prefecture Japan. Seki is the most internationally well known of several cities famous in Japan for it’s history of cutlery and craftsmen going back some 800 years. He was born into a knife maker family and began his craft at the age of 18 in his father’s factory “Masahiro”, founded in 1932 and still one of Japan’s largest makers of culinary knives as one of the well known “3M”s (Masahiro, Masamoto, Misono).  In 1971, Ichiro Hattori started his own business Hattori Hamono K.K. (Hattori Cutlery Co., Ltd.) to pursue his interest in sporting knives.


post-250-004318800%201287991856_thumbIchiro Hattori’s name is well known among those in the knife industry for his OEM work for major U.S. Knife companies starting in the 1970s when Peter Kershaw contracted with him to produce the 10×0 series of fixed blades such as the Deerhunter, Elkhunter, Moosehunter series as well as the classic 1050 Folding Field, and the Model 1070 Trooper and Special Agent daggers as well. Browning also had Hattori make their classic Sportsman series of fixed and folding hunting knives such as the 3718 and 506. In 1983 Browning planned to create a limited edition damascus knife and Ichiro Hattori was involved in the creation of a knife  made using Stainless Steel and Nickel Silver forge welded in layers. This was designated Browning model 3816 Double Edged Damascus Hunter and was produced for a mere two years 1984/85 before rising costs forced it’s termination in 1986/87.

DSC_0346_zpshcmuby72 (Kershaw Model 1007 Trooper)

BrowningDamascus_S (Browning Double Edged Damascus Hunter)

Perhaps the most well known knives made by Hattori are the fighting bowies for SOG Specialty Knives of Santa Monica California, which were reproductions of a design originally created by Conrad Ben Baker for MACV-CISO Special Forces operations during the Vietnam war. Hattori made the S1 and S2 bowies from 1986 until 2005 when SOG Knives moved their production from Seki Japan to Taiwan. These along with other Seki made SOGs are in high demand as collectibles. Hattori also made four Vietnam commemorative knives for Boker of Germany which were marketed only in Europe. Hattori also made a number of models for many other companies such as Parker, Beretta, Al Mar Knives, Katz, Junglee, Jet-Aer Corp (G96 brand), Tekna, Valor Corp Miami, and The Cutlery Shoppe’s Gryphon brand.

s1%20horizontal SOG S1 Bowie

R: 171 G: 255 B: 160 X:47888 Y:53648 S: 0 Z: 20 F: 338


Hattori only manufactured the high end quality models for his overseas customers, a practice still continued to this day. While most of his OEM work is now historical, Hattori still manufactures all of the fixed blade knives for Fallkniven of Boden Sweden, and several of the larger Sanmai Mai III knives for Cold Steel Inc. of Ventura California. Hattori has also provided his Cowry-X damascus blades for use by the custom knife maker Anthony L Marfione (Microtech) as well.


(Fallkniven Northern Lights NL1 THOR and Cold Steel Trail Master Sanmai III)


(Fallkniven Northern Lights NL5 IDUN in Cowry-X)


(A.Marfione “Troodon” using a Cowry-X Sanmai Damascus Blade by Hattori.)



As word of the quality and fit and finish of Hattori made knives increased, he began marketing knives under his own brand in 1993 which are in high demand by collectors from around the world. And as he only produces occasional limited runs Hattori knives are invariably always difficult to acquire. Hattori has made knives using a wide variety of steels both Carbon and Stainless over the last 45 years, but in recent years his work has centered around laminates using VG10 and high performance powder steels like 3G(SGPS) and Cowry-X. Ichiro Hattori developed the Nickel Stainless Damascus and holds a patent on the Laminated Steel Product. While he refrained from making culinary knives for many years so as not to conflict with his family business he has made three lines of cooking knives as well.


(KD Series Cowry-X Nickel Stainless Damascus)


No longer made and considered one of the most sought after culinary knives by collectors.



(HD Series VG10 Nickel Stainless 63 layer damascus)

A Damascus series made in collaboration with Ryusen, no longer available.


FH Series VG10 Special Cocobolo

A series based on a design submitted by members of the former kitchen knife subforum of Knife Forums.

The few Japanese style (wabouchou) models that were made were not in the traditional carbon steels but in the Cowry-X powder steel.



Hattori also makes the Nenox series of Stainless knives for the Nenohi brand.



Ichiro Hattori’s skilled craftsmanship is respected not just in Japan but by many knife makers around the world. Well known for his dedication to achieving perfection, willingness to face countless sessions of trial and error, each knife he makes is subject to the most severe control and his motto of “No Compromise” earned him the title of “World’s Best Knife Craftsman”, and he was given the “Excellent Skilled Craftsman Award” by the Seki City Cutlery Association. In 2010 he also received the “Contemporary Master Craftsman” and “Outstanding Knife Making Technician” awards from the Government of Japan Ministry of Health.


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Bird and Trout Knives, Bob Lum designs

The smallest Hattori fixed blades may be termed “Bird & Trout” or even “Gentlemen’s Knives”.

The Model HA-02 and HA-03 are named the “Fisherman’s Lover”, or “Amago”. Designed primarily as an Angler’s utility knife, it has a 2 1/2″ satin polished semi-drop point 0.118″ thick blade in Aus8 with an overall length of 6.3″. The HA-2 offers a Mahogany handle with Nickel Silver rivets.

Img634 HA-02

The Model HA-03 is a skeletonized version of the same dimensions which drops 0.7 oz from the weight.

HA-A3 HA-03

The same models with a variation in tang are made as OEM for Katz Knives. Described as XT-80 Steel which is Aus8. The Walnut handle version adds a bolster, and both models add jimping.

Katz Kitty Caper – Walnut with leather sheath.

Walnut Kitty Caper

Katz Kitty Caper – Skeleton with nylon cordura sheath

Kitty Caper2


HA-02 and HA-03 in Aus8, Medaka.



The scalpel style utility Medaka2 features a 3″ VG10 blade with black linen micarta handle.


KD30 Medaka2 with 3″blade and Medaka1 with 2 1/2″ Cowry-X Damascus blades.


KD30 Medaka 1 and 2 in Cowry-X Damascus and desert ironwood.

KD30 Ajime


KD30 Ajime1 and Tsuchime1. Both single piece scalpel type construction.


KD30 Ajime 3 Cowry-X 2 1/2″ semi drop point blade with 4″ handle.


KD30 Ajime3 with 2 1/2″ blade, Ajime2 3″ blade and Ajime1 2 1/4″ blade.


KD30 Tsuchime3 with 2 1/2″ blade, Tsuchime2 with 3″ blade and Tsuchime1 with 2 1/4″ blade.


KD30 845 Cowry-X Damascus Mahogany 2.95″ blade.


H-841 in jigged bone and  H-845 mahogany in VG10

hattori-841b-1 H845 VG10 3″ blade.


KD30 H841 and KD30 H845 Cowry-X Damascus in Brown, Red, Amber, Green bone handles.

Bob Lum design-

In 1992 some 20 knife makers formed an Outdoor Knife Section (Sporting Knife) within the Seki Cutlery Association. To promote their products to the global market in 1999 they chose to collaborate and market models under the brand name “Seki Cut”. Several Japanese and American custom knife makers came aboard and contributed their designs.  The renowned U.S. knife maker Bob Lum (1943-2007) offered a few of his hunter designs and the fixed blades were made by Ichiro Hattori.



The Hunter Series offered a VG10 blade, brass bolsters and cocobolo handles. The SC-120 Large Hunter with a 4″ modified semi-skinner blade. The SC-121 Personal Skinner with a 3″ blade.


The SC-122 Trout and Bird with 3″ blade, and SC-123 Caper with 2 3/8″ blade.


The Light series offers the same designs but reduced weight with no bolster, a black micarta handle with 8 brass pins. The SC-126 Personal Skinner Light, SC-127 Trout and Bird Light, and SC-128 Caper Light.


Personal Skinner and Caper combinations allowing the carriage of both models to maximize their design utility.



Cold Steel Large Sanmai Knives

Black Bear Classic first appears in the 1995 catalog, although it may have been introduced earlier.There are literally hundreds of versions of this classic knife made by many custom knife makers but Cold Steel introduced this model as an affordable version of the famous W.R. Loveless subhilt fighter.


The first model designated 14BBC was made in Taiwan and marked  “400 Series Stainless”. However the catalog description stated that the blade was made with steel imported from Japan, and the technical description states: ” Blade Length 8 1/4″ Overall length 13 1/2″ Thickness 3/16″ Weight 12.7oz. Aus8A Stainless Steel Blade, 300 Series Stainless Guard, Black Linen Micarta Handle. ” It came with a black leather dangler sheath with a sharpening stone pocket and a Norton Fine India Stone.




In 1996 a version with the top of the blade unsharpened was introduced as the 14BCCCUT but lasted only one or two years.

In 1997 production was changed to Seki Japan and became model  14BBCJ. The ricasso was then marked “Aus8A Made in Japan”. This model remained unchanged until 2005 when the leather sheath was replaced by a synthetic secure-ex sheath.

14BBCJ2000 2000 Cold Steel Catalog




The following year in 2006 Black Bear Classic became a  VG1 core Sanmai III model and has remained in production unchanged since with the same designation 14BBCJ.





The Cold Steel Black Bear Classic made by Hattori, Seki.

The R1 Military Classic

Another well know homage model offered by Cold Steel was the R1 Military Classic, which was based on the Randall Model 1-7 Fighting Knife.

RabdalMOd1-7 Randall Model 1-7

Introduced in 1993 as the Model 14R1, it was manufactured in Taiwan alongside the Black Bear Classic and likewise marked “400 Series Stainless Made in Taiwan” on the right side of the blade. The guard was 300 Series Stainless and the handle was black linen micarta. It came with a classic brown leather sheath with a sharpening stone pocket, a feature which was retained throughout the life of the model.



Overall length 11 5/8″  Blade Length 7″ Blade Thickness 3/16″ Weight 9 1/4oz.

In 2000, the production changed from Taiwan to Seki Japan and was re-designated Model 14R1J. The blade was now marked “Aus8A Stainless, Made in Japan” on the right side of the blade.






In 2006 the Aus8 model was replaced by the VG1 core Sanmai III model, retaining the 14R1J model number designation. Production of this last version ended in 2012.



With the Cold Steel R1 having been discontinued, this design remains available as the original Randall Model 1-7, as well as the Blackjack Model 7. Whereas the R1 was available only with the black linen micarta handle and VG1 core laminated blade, the Randall 1-7 is offered in 01 tool steel and 440B Stainless, and the Blackjack Model 7 is offered in A2 tool steel. Both offer a wide varieties of handle material and style options, whereas the R1 did not.

BJmodel1 Blackjack Model 7 with pommel.

The Cold Steel Tai Pan


The Tai Pan was introduced as a dagger version of the successful Tanto in 1995 as the model 13D. The unusually wide blade of the Tai Pan reflected Lynn Thompson’s observation that the traditional dagger design, such as the Fairburn-Sykes had such a narrowed tip that under stress it lent itself to breakage, The Tai Pan was designed to overcome this weak point in the dagger design..

Overall length 13″ Blade length 7 1/2″ Weight 10.8 oz Aus8 steel Made in Japan.



In 1998 in addition to the model 13D, the Imperial Tai Pan was introduced.

1998taipan1998 Cold Steel Catalog

Instead of the standard Kraton handle it used a traditional Japanese styled handle using Samegawa (shark or rayskin) with  cross patterned silkcord. The blade was a 161 layer damascus, with 80 layers on each side. The core is presumed to be Aus8. The guard, bolsters and pommel was polished 300 series stainless.









In 2007 the Aus8 Tai Pan was discontinued and replaced with the VG1 Sanmai version and produced until 2015.


Tai Pan construction.



VG1 Sanmai Tai Pan

The Outdoorsman –

Believed introduced in 1985/86, the Outdoorsman is often considered the highly overlooked great “hunting knife”. The first version designated Model 18 had jimping along the latter part of the spine and no bone breaker section.






The second generation which appeared in the 1988 catalog retained the jimping but added a “bone breaker” section to the middle of the spine.


2nd gen Outdoorsman

Second Generation Outdoorsman.

The Outdoorsman was discontinued sometime in the 1990s and did not appear again until 2001 as the third verssion designated model 18H. It keptt the bone breaker but the jimping was reduced to the side jimping just before the guard. The blade was solid Aus8.

18H aus8

Overall length was 11 inches with a 3/16″ thick 6 inch blade. Total weight 9.9 oz.

The fourth version introduced in 2007 was the same as the previous but the blade was changed from solid Aus8 to VG1 core Sanmai.





In 2015 Cold Steel ceased production of a number of VG1 Core Sanmai model knives in Seki Japan due to costs. Alternate production was started in Taiwan using other steel materials. The Sanmai Trailmaster continued to be made by Hattori, whereas the Sanmai SRK, Recon Tanto, Master Hunter continued to be made by Kinryu, Seki.

In 2018  due to the high demand for Sanmai models, old Steel commenced production of a number of Sanmai models, such as the Magnum Tanto, Taipan etc in Taiwan using a VG10 core laminate.

As of 2018, only the Sanmai Trailmaster continues to be made by Hattori in Seki Japan.






The Cold Steel Tanto

Cold Steel Inc. of Ventura California was largely responsible for having introduced the “Tanto” on a large scale to the U.S. Although they may not have been the first to do so, and the Cold Steel design differed slightly from the traditional Japanese Tanto, to the extent that it has come to be known as the “American Tanto” design over the years, it was Cold steel’s marketing of their product that has made the term “Tanto” an integral part of the knife world since the 1980s. The result being that there is hardly a knife maker today that does not include a Tanto design, or several, in their product line.

The Cold Steel Tanto was introduced in 1981. With a blade length of 5 3/4″ it was marked “400 Series Stainless”, believed to be Aus8. A Sanmai version with an Aus8 core laminate existed as well and was likely the predecessor of the Master Tanto.

Early models-Left Side: Tanto, by Cold Steel, Ventura Calif. Right Side: Made in Japan. Later models-Left Side: Tanto. Right Side: Cold Steel, Ventura Calif, Made in Japan. There were some models which did not have “Made in Japan” on them and there is speculation that some of these early Tantos were possibly made in the U.S.

13A 13A early

13Ab 13A Later

There were special editions as well.

The Cutlery Shoppe Special Ops edition of the late 1980s had stainless fittings rather than brass, was serial numbered and came with a leather or kydex sheath. The left side ricasso had “Tanto” and a serial number.


A “10th Anniversary Tanto” was offered in 1991.  The left side of the blade was marked “10th Anniversary Tanto 1981-1991 Cold Steel”, and the right side had Lynn Thompson’s signature and a serial number.  They also came with a certificate of Authenticity.  1000 were produced.



There was also the Hoffritz version which, like all knives the company sold, simply had Hoffritz printed on the left side blade.

The Master Tanto Model M13B is believed to have been introduced in the mid 1980s at least the name. It retained the 5 3/4″ blade, brass fittings but used the Aus8 core Sanmai steel, and three variations are known.

MT1 Ver 1

MT2 Ver 2

The third version was introduced in 1993 and the fittings were changed from brass to stainless. The blade length was also increased from 5 3/4″ to 6″.

At the same time the standard Tanto also switched from brass to stainless fittings ad became the model 13AN.


In 2001 a special edition of only 40 pieces using Aus10 was offered.


The Magnum Tanto model 13M had an 8 3/4″ blade in “400 series stainless”, fittings in 300 series stainless and ws the first Tanto to have the full guard shaped like the “Tsuba” (guard) on a Japanese sword. The Magnum Tanto is unique in that unlike other and later Tantos, it has chamfering- a raised spine ridge, rather than a flat spine top.


1980s Aus8 Magnum Tanto



1989-90 Aus8 Magnum Tanto

This model gave way to the Magnum Tanto II (Mod 13MBII) with a 7 1/2″ blade introduced in 1990-91. It was produced in Aus8 until 1994, while a Aus8 core Sanmai model was produced until 2005.

After 2006 only a VG1 core Sanmai version was offered.




Magnum Tanto II in Aus8


Magnum Tanto II in Sanmai Aus8 core.

Magnum Tanto IX(Model 13MBIX) with a 9″ blade and Magnum Tanto XII (13MBXII) with a 12″ blade were introduced in 1998.





The current Master Tanto, Mangum Tanto II, IX and XII are all Sanmai with a VG1 core since 2006. The words VG1 appear on the ricasso. These have been and continue to be made by Hattori.


The Cold Steel Tanto in it’s various forms has been a prominent recognizable knife and has appeared in movies several times over the decades.


“Wanted Dead or Alive” 1987


“Black Rain” 1989


“The Wolverine” 2013

Making the Cold Steel Magnum Tanto at Hattori Hamono K.K. (Hattori Cutlery Co., Ltd.) Seki, Japan.

Installing the guard and bolster





Applying Epoxy



Ready for Handle and Pommel


Final finishing after polishing




Cold Steel Magnum Tanto II_SklDiyUptown

From Seki Japan to Ventura California.


Special thanks to John Lauffer for his research and the Cold Steel Forums, Photos courtesy of Hattori Hamono K.K. Seki, Kasumi Knives, Moscow.




The Big Bowies, Trailmaster, Thor.


Hattori’s largest Hunting knives are the H160-1 and H160-2 Bowies. The 160-1 is convex ground whereas the 160-2 is hollow ground. Blade material is Aus8. Handle is leather washers and stainless steel guard and pommel.



H160-1 Convex Grind


H160-2 Hollow Grind


Over the years there have been suggestions that Hattori was the maker of  the Cold Steel Sanmai Trailmaster and the Fallkniven NL1 Thor based upon appearance, components, grind, and dimensional similarity. Those knife enthusiasts and collectors certainly have a keen eye.

Dimension comparison:

Hattori H160-1 Aus8
Overall: 375 mm (14 3/4″)
Blade: 242 mm (9 1/2″)
blade thickness: 6.8 mm (0.267″)
Weight: 465 g (16.4 oz)

Cold Steel Trail Master VG-1 core laminate (San Mai III).
Overall: 14 1/2 ”
Blade: 9 1/2″
Blade thickness: 5/16″ (0.31mm)
Weight: 17.502 oz

Fallkniven Northern Lights “Thor” NL1 VG-10 core laminate
Overall: 15.15″ (385mm)
Blade: 254 mm (10″)
blade thickness: 7mm (0.28″)
Weight: 520g (18.4 oz)

The Hattori H-160 series and the Northern Light series share the exact same stainless guard, leather handle, pommel and screw, with different spacers.

admin-ajax NL1 and H-160 guard

DSC_0791 pommel and screw

The current Cold Steel Sanmai Trailmaster uses a different stainless guard in the same shape as the brass ones used on their Carbon Steel models.

DSC_0793 NL1 and VG1 SM TM

However the early Aus6 and Aus8 core Sanmai Trailmasters used a stainless guard that is exactly like that of the H-160 and NL1 except that it is a mm or two thinner.


Early Aus8 core San Mai Trailmaster.

Aus8SM1 Old style guard.

admin-ajax Aus6 TM and VG1 SM TM

The Fallkniven Lights NL1 Thor was introduced in 2002 and is the largest of the Northern Lights series. Originally shipped with a brown leather sheath with a Viking helmet logo, it now ships with a black leather one. There is little to say about this model other than that since it’s introduction it has been considered by many to be the best big bowie available today.





Left to right: Hattori 160-2 Aus8, Cold Steel Trailmaster Aus6, Hattori 160-1 Aus8, Cold Steel Trailmaster VG1 Sanmai III, Falkniven NL1 Thor VG10 Laminate.

The Cold Steel Trailmaster was introduced in 1987-198 and consequently has a long history, and a considerable following of it’s own. The very first ones were both made in the U.S. and in Japan with Carbon V, Cold Steel’s proprietary name for the carbon steel used. The ones made in Japan at this time are extremely rare.  These early Trailmasters had a convex grind but then changed to a flat grind.



Very early Japan made Model 16C

The Trailmaster is a the classic big bowie with a 9 1/2″ blade, 14 1/2″ overall, a blade thickness of 5/16″, a full guard and a kraton handle. These dimensions and basic features have not changed over 28 years, although blade materials and country of origin have varied.

In the 1990s Cold Steel offered another Trailmaster made in Japan using “400 Series Stainless” designated 16JS. This is called the 1st generation stainless TM and was only produced for a couple of years. A 2nd generation 16JS was made 1998-2001 using Aus6.  It had a convex ground blade, called a rolled edge in the catalog, similar to the current VG1 Sanmai model. Early versions were marked on the ricasso, whereas later models were marked on the blade near the spine. These versions closely resemble the Sanmai version except that the word “Sanmai” and lamination line is missing.



Aus6 blade model 16JS early version.



16JS later version.

rsz_1clipboard01 (1)

2001 Cold Steel Catalog showing Carbon V, Stag, Aus6 and Sanmai Trailmasters.

DSC_0797 Aus6 and VG1 SM TM

In the 1991 movie “Flight of the Intruder” a black bladed Trailmaster with black micarta scales was used. Cold Steel followed up that movie appearance with a limited edition run of 500 serial numbered knives.







The vast majority of Trailmasters during this period were the familiar Carbon V Made in USA models made for Cold Steel by Camillus.

In 1998, Cold Steel introduced a San Mai version, using the original Aus8 core.



Model 16JSM. Early San Mai with Aus8 core.

In 2006 following the bankruptcy of Camillus, Cold Steel turned to China production using SK5, then switched to Taiwan production. In 2007, the Sanmai blade went from an Aus8 core to VG1 now called Sanmai III.


Present day Trailmaster Sanmai III VG1 core made by Hattori. The Kraton handles used by Cold Steel now have larger surface protrusions than the original ones.


The Cold Steel Recon Scout is a smaller version of the Trailmaster, much in the same way that the Fallkniven NL2 Odin is a smaller version of the NL1 Thor.


Cold Steel Sanmai III Trailmaster and Sanmai III Recon Scout.


Fallkniven NL1 Thor and NL2 Odin.

A Comparison of the specifications:

Cold Steel Recon Scout-  Length Overall 12.5″ Blade Length 7.5″ Blade Thickness 0.31″ Weight 15 oz Blade Type VG1 core Sanmai III (laminate) RC 56-58

Fallkniven NL2 Odin- Length Overall  12.72″ Blade Length 7.87″ Blade thickness 0.26″ Weight 13.44 oz Blade type VG10 core 420j2 Laminate RC 59

Like their larger brethren, these two are made by Hattori. However Cold Steel discontinued the Sanmai III Recon Scout in late 2014.

The Recon Scout was introduced later than the Trailmaster in 1990, and all version made were black, except for the Sanmai III version in satin. Made by Camillus USA in Carbon V until 2006/2007, Cold Steel switched to Taiwan manufacture using Japanese SK5 which continued until late 2014 when the blade material was changed to U.S. made 01 steel. The Sanmai III version was introduced in 2007 with the VG1 core and was made for 7 years with the convex grind by Hattori.

UPDATE 2018:

In 2015 Cold Steel ended most of their VG1 Core Sanmai model manufacturing in Seki Japan. While it has been renewed to some extent in early 2018 under Taiwan manufacture, the VG1 Sanmai Trail Master remains the only Cold Steel knife still manufactured by Hattori, Seki Japan.

Special thanks for research and photos provided by John Lauffer and the Cold Steel Forums.



In 2016 Fallkniven introduced a new large Bowie under the name of Modern Bowie. The blade and constructions follows Fallkniven’s Pro series using a laminated Cobalt Steel considered an upgrade to a VG10 core. This model, along with all of Fallkniven’s fixed blades, is made by Hattori, Seki Japan.



Hattori Hunters

The pinnacle of Master Hattori’s Hunters are the KD30- Miyabi and KD30-Hana series. The Miyabi series are 11.3″ overall with a 6 ” blade. The Hana series are slightly smaller with an overall length of 10.25″ and a blade length of 5.25″. These models are available only through custom order.




Cowry-X is a powdered alloy developed by Daido Steel Company and considered to be the next generation of cutlery steel. It contains 30% carbon, 20% Chromium and can be hardened to HRc 65-68. Master Hattori uses this Cowry-X as the core edge, constituting 26% of the blade thickness. The beautiful Damascus design is created by applying a forged 30 layers of Nickel and 30 layers of 429j2 stainless to each side, for a total of 121 layers. All KD30 series are forged and hand crafted personally by Master Hattori.

A number of smaller Hunters are also available in the KD30 series.


KD30-104 and KD30-101 in cocobolo.

Hattori All Purpose Hunters – Classic designs produced by Hattori in sizes ranging from the 4 ” to the 6 1/4″ model.

HAseries HA6 Series

HA6-1 HA6-1W

HA6-4 HA6-4L 4W

Aus6 Hollow ground blade, solid brass guard and aluminum pommel, available in Mahogany or Stacked Leather handle.



YssSeries YSS Series

Hitachi Aogami No.2 (Blue Paper No.2) carbon steel blade, stainless guard and pommel. YSS stands for Hitachi Metal’s Yasugi works called Yasugi Specialty Steels, where carbon steels like Shirogami, Aogami, Kigami variations are produced.

The YSS-1 was OEM made at one time for a company called MZ Craft.

hattorimzcraft1YSS-1 MZ







KD30 -1A  Cowry-X Damascus, nickel silver guard – Custom order


The Hattori Urbane Hunters – In 2009 Hattori at the age of 70 introduced his line of 4″blade VG10 core 420j2 laminate drop point hunters with Nickel Silver guard, 7 pins and featuring his preferred “Hamaguri-ba” convex grind. Fallkniven fans will recognize these familiar features.


HT-70SWC in White Dupont Corian, HT-70BM in Black Micarta and HT-70SCW with Cocobolo handles.


H-70HBM Micarta and H-70HCW Cocobolo a Hidden Tang weight reduced version.




KD30-HT-70BM and KD30-70CW are in Cowry-X Damascus with full tangs.



K30-HT-70WC White Corian handle full tang.

In 2015 a Hidden Tang version of the KD30 -HT70 series was introduced combining the lighter weight with a Cowry-X 121 forge layered Nickel/Stainless Damascus blade.



The H-70 Series feels quite familiar to the hand for Falkniven F1 users.

More Hattori Hunters:


The H-201, H-104, H-102 once made for Winchester and H-101 once made for Browing all in VG10 and Cocobolo. The H-102 was also made for Parker’s Custom Series in Damascus as well as the H-101 in Damascus for Browning.


The Winchester H-102. This one has the number 01790; on the right side of the ricasso and marked 440 STAINLESS. The handle is made from German silver, black and white spacers and green Dymondwood / Pakkawood between.

hattori-kd30104-1 KD30-104 Cowry-X

hattori-kd30101-2KD30-101 Cowry-X


The H-359 Loveless Drop Point in Cocobolo once made for Beretta, the H-109 Drop Point in Mahogany, once made for Sharp, and the H-300 Drop Point in Ebony once made for Valor and Precise. All in Aus8.

preciseDS1 Precise Deerslayer


H109 Drop Point Hunter 3 1/2″ Aus8 once made for Sharp in the late 1970s. This model has been made with and without the “Ichiro” chopmark.

hattori-109-4 H109


The H-31, H-30 and H-29 once made for Kershaw. All in VG10 with Cocobolo.


The HT-05 “Dream Hunter” is a very popular Hunter sometimes described as a Chute Knife. A reverse curved hollow ground Aus8 blade, nickel silver bolster and black linen micarta handle.




The H-700 in Aus8. A model that actually goes back to the 1980s Parker Custom Series.

hd700aVG2 Damascus

The Hattori YH Series Special Carbon Steel Hunters

A Series of Bowies made by Hattori but never made as OEM are the three models of the YH series, the YH-1 and YH-2 with convex grind and the YH-3 with a Hollow Grind. What makes this series interesting and unique is that Hattori used a carbon steel, Hitachi YLB2 an alloy tool used for making bearings. and described with a composition of 1.1-1.2 Carbon, 0.3-1.0 Chromium, 1.25-1.75 Tungsten. The blade is 7″ long and 0.275″ thick with a nickel silver guard.


YH-1, YH-2 and YH-3.



Convex ground YH-1



YH-3 Hollow ground

Ichiro Hattori made just two of each and has declared that he will not be making this model again.

Although the grind is not the same, in terms of general appearance and balance, the Hamaguriba YH-1 resembles a hunter version of the A1 and A2 series made for Fallkniven.














YH-3 with “Bone Breaker” spine

The HN-10 Nordic Hunter. Solid VG10 blade, hamaguri-ba, black micarta handle. Although it is slightly larger with a 5.11 inch blade, the grind lines are very reminiscent of the widely popular basic thermorun Fallkniven F1 model.




This model was made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the oldest company in Norway,  Bergans, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing and equipment to civilian, police. military and special forces customers. It came with a Certificate of Authenticity and leather sheath in a presentation box, the cover of which is the famous Birkebeiner painting by Knud Bergslien depicting two Vikings with King Hakonsson as a young boy.


A rarely seen model is the Hattori SV-501 Survival Knife which was designed and made for Sheares Technologies PTE. of Singapore The knife was 10.24″ overall with a blade length of 5.51″ and a thickness of 0.196″.






The SV-501 design survived in a less tactial “Hunter” form as the HD-3 Command Knife.


Blade is VG2 core Nickel Stainless Damascus, 5.7 inch blade, stainless guard and pommel and mahagony handle.


This magnificent custom KD-104 knife was made by Hattori with Cowry-X Damascus using ivory for the handle and the Bulino engraving was by Attila Harmat of Hungary.






The Model HA-03 is a skeletonized version of the same dimensions which drops 0.7 oz from the weight.

Thanks to SOF Gmbh Germany, British Blades Forum, and Lutz Krempf, Germany.

Gryphon Terzuola Combat Knife

The reknowned knife maker Bob Terzouola, a name synonymous with the terms “tactical” and “combat” in the knife world designed and made a fighter knife while in Guatemala in 1983 which was designated the M30 Battle Guard.


The first production version of this knife was introduced in 1990-91 as the Gryphon Model M-30A1. This model featured a plain edged bead blasted blade in ATS-34 and a zytel handle and was made by Hattori for the Cutlery Shoppe.


The Gryphon M-30A1 had an overall length of 11.25″, a blade length of 6.25″ a hollow ground ATS-34 blade of 3/16″ thickness and RC 58-59 that came in a beadblasted or satin finish. Unlike the original Battleguard or the other M30 variants that followed later, it had a UV stabilized black checkered zytel handel.

The M-30A1 was sold either with or without a Spec-Ops nylon cordura sheath. Both this knife as well as  the smaller M10  were often coupled with aftermarket custom tactical kydex sheaths.






A smaller version the M10 in ATS-34 also a Bob Terzuola design was also offered:


Current Gryphon M10 in VG10 –5655805


The M30 model was also made by Camillus as the CQB 1 (Close Quarter Battle) between 2000-2006. The first versions used ATS-34 hollow ground and grey powdercoated with a full tang design and canvas micarta handles. The blade was marked CUDA (Camillus Ultra Design Advantage). Later the CQB1 switched to 154CM and a satin finish blade. The serrated version was designated CQB1S. A smaller version with a 4″ blade was also offered as CQB2.

Camillus CQB1

After 2007 when Camillus went bankrupt, Meyerco obtained the rights to make the CQB 1. Under Meyerco, while the use of 154CM was retained and the now flat ground blade received a stonewashed finish.


The Terzuola Battle Guard survives today in the M30 by Olmaic Cutlery of Mountain View California, a company existing since 2010 specializing in Custom Damascus knives.



This collaboration model between Olmaic Cutlery and Bob Terzuola uses high carbon vanadium Damascus hand crafted in Russia and was introduced in 2013, exactly 30 years after Bob Terzuola designed this knife. 22 units were made in Damascus and 12 in D2.

Special thanks to Jeff Loffer, The Cutlery Shoppe.




Dive Knives

The now famous skeletonized dive knife was designed by Ichiro Hattori and sold by TEKNA of Redwood City, CA, starting in the 1980s as the Tekna Ocean Edge T-2200. It had a length of 7 1/2″ and a blade length of 3 1/2″ making it an ideal “boot knife” on land. The skeletonized handle resulted in a total weight of 3.6 oz. The blade material was described as “Chromium Stainless Steel”, most likely 420j2, a very low carbon stainless that featured strong resistance to corrosion. The sheath was made of “Black Cycolac ABS”.



1980s T-2200




Hattori has long ceased producing this knife for Tekna, who until 2012 had been offering a serial numbered U.S. made version using 420.



Hattori versions in 420j2. Black version is fluorine resin coated.


Hattori model 496 “Shirokuma”. 4 1/2″ hollow ground blade in Aus6.


Hattori 568 4 1/2″ 420j2 blade with Stainless steel bolsters. Black version is fluorine resin coated. The H568 is unique in having a V-grind on the right side and a fully flat grind on the left side.

This model was at one time OEM produced for T.S. Corp., a Scuba/Diving Outfitter in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, in both the black and satin finishes.






Some of the T.S. Corp knives were sold as the “Viking” model.



Hattori AK61 and AK61b in 420j2. Stainless steel guard and full tang.


AK61G andAK61P.



dacor1 dacor2

The AK61P appears to have been made for DACOR in the 1980s as Model 7214-00.


A variant is the HA-BDI/BDA “Boy’s Dream” which had a plain edge fighter style with swedge. Attesting to its popularity as a standard boot knife an optional leather sheath was also offered.

Special thanks to Lutz Krempf, Germany.


Beretta, Valor, Parker, G96, Sharp

Beretta is a globally known Italian firearms manufacturer, the full name being Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta. A family owned concern with a history that goes back to it’s first firearm in 1526, Beretta is the oldest existing firearms manufacturer in the world. Beretta today is far better known for it Model 92F semi-automatic pistol in 9mm, designated M9 that was adopted by the U.S. military in 1985 and remains in use to this day in by the U.S. and other militaries and police around the world. Like other firearms manufacturers, Beretta relied on outside knife makers to produce a line of knives to complement their firearms.

Apart from the now highly collectable Beretta daggers, the Model 201 R.W. Loveless design licensed 4 inch blade drop point hunter was made by Hattori.

Beretta Loveless DP hunter

Beretta Model 201 Aus8 blade and Quince handle. A Stag handled version was also made, as well as a serial numbered limited edition model with a deer depiction on the blade in a wooden presentation case.








Beautiful deer engraving, serial numbered in presentation case.

Hattori continues to manufacture this model as the Hattori H-359




Valor Corporation of Miami Florida existed from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. In it’s time, it was a prominent seller of low cost firearms, ammunition, firearms related accessories and a large importer of knives from various Seki makers. While Valor’s knives covered a wide range of types, a few models were of high quality and stood out. Valor’s copy of the Gerber Mark II dagger, as well as the leather handled 373 were adopted as official knives of two separate US Army Special Forces units.

Valor marketed some models made for them by Hattori, some of which bore his name etched on the blade and some which did not.


The Valor Model 359 was also a Loveless based Drop Point Hunter, but with a tip dropping slightly lower than the Beretta 201. Some models had “Hand Made by Ichiroh” etched on he blade with a serial number on the other side.



“Ichiro” spelled “Ichiroh”.


While some Valor model 359s did not have any etching on the blade.


Present version, the Hattori H-300 Aus8

A folder known to be Hattori made is the Valor 360 Super Sport.



Again, etched “Hand Made by Ichiro” and serial numbered on the other side. Marked 440 Stainless on the box. The weight, construction and locking on this knife is equivalent to the Kershaw 1050.

From the 1960s through the 1980s James Parker of Tennessee was a dominant name in the knife business. At one time he was the owner of WR Case and Sons Cutlery and was responsible for the design and development of the Case Classic line. Under various labels such as Parker Cutlery, Parker Brothers and other brand labels like American Blade, Parker Eagle Brand, as well as Parker-Frost, Parker-Edwards and Parker-Imai, as well as the Bulldog Brand, Parker imported an enormous number of knives from Seki. He went as far as to build a factory in Seki with Seizo Imai.

While the majority were folders mostly traditionals of varying degrees of quality, they sold a line of fixed blades and folders called the “Parker Custom Series”. The two Seki knife makers that are known to have made models for this line are Ichiro Hattori and Tak Fukuta.



This is a model very similar to the current Hattori H700 but with the difference being in the grind with respect to the false edge.


Another difference is the full tang of the Parker which is not tapered in later models.

Some knives had “HandMade by Ichiro” and a serial number etched into the blade rather than the written “Parker Custom Series”.

DSC_0741 HandMade by Ichiro  S/N 0359

Parker later offered a Collectible version in a presentation box with no sheath. The grind line of the false edge was cornered and the tang became tapered.

Around 1986 Hattori also made the H700 for the German importer and distributor C. July Herbertz, who at that time period contracted for knives to be made in Germany, Italy and Japan with their company stamping on the blades.


The same nickel stainless Damascus pattern as used on the Browning Damascus Hunter was used.



The Hattori H-700 today in Aus8



HD-700 Spiral Damascus Hunter DX – VG2 core with 321 layer Nickel Stainless Damascus, Nickel Silver guard and pins, Mahogany handle.


A rarely seen Damascus Parker Custom Series knifePD6



H-102 Presentation Master Hunter II ATS-34 blade Nickel Stainless guard and Pommel, Cocobolo handle.


HD-2 Master Hunter DX- VG2 core with 321 layer Nickel Stainless Damascus. Nickel Silver guard and pommel, Cocobolo handle.


Not many of these Parker Custom Series knives are seen today compared to the number of folding knives.

G96 was a brand owned by Jet-Aer Corporation of Patterson, N.J. which started in 1973 and remained an active importer of knives into the early 1980s. Jet-Aer Corp still exists today as a maker of Gun cleaners and lubricants, but they dissolved the knife division many decades ago. Most if not all of the G96 brand knives are copies or closely based on popular Buck models, both fixed blade and folding. G96 brand copies of the Buck 110 are fairly well known.

The Buck 119 is an American classic having been introduced in 1961, although some sources report an earlier date of 1955. It’s clip point design has established itself as the classical “American Hunting Knife” for decades and the model is still in production today.


Vintage Buck 119 Special.


G96 Model 940.

Jet-Aer Corporation contracted with Hattori to make a number of fixed blade models for the G96 brand. While the designs were obvious copies of well known Buck models, among knife owners there arose a common opinion that the steel used in the G96 knives was better than Buck’s blades. G96 blades, unlike other Japanese imports at the time which had “400 series”, “440 Stainless” or “Surgical Steel” on the ricasso G96 knives were unique in being marked “Rustproof steel”. The instruction sheet that came with G96 knives merely stated “”knife makers choice knives are made of a special rust proof steel that combines the edge holding ability of high carbon steel with the easy care of stainless steel. when properly sharpend they will hold their razor sharp edge through long & repeated use”. There has been speculation over the years as to the type of steel used from Aus6 to ATS-34, but Jet-Aer Corp, long divorced from the knife business is unable to clarify this point.


G96 offered other Buck based versions the 9XX series, as well as the full tanged 3XXX series.


Mod 920

G96900box Mod 900


Model 950 Skinner


Different handle version G96 Model 3010


Presentation box with instruction sheet.


Hattori 6000/1000 discontinued.


G96 Model 940, Hattori Model 1700-A, G96 Model 3010

1700 H1700A & H-1000

Extreme clip point variation-Model H100


The 1700A is the Buck 119 design whereas the 1700C is the Buck 124 Frontiersman design.

The Hattori 1700A was originally made for Valor Corp. Miami in the 1980s and sold as the Valor Model 1700-B Original Bowie.


There were at least two configurations, one with Valor stamped on the right side ricasso, and another which simply had “Original Bowie” printed on the left side ricasso and “Hi Stainless” “1700B Japan” on the right side.




Current Hattori 1700A below:



Another U.S. Importer of knives in the late 1970s to 1980s period was “Sharp”. They offered a number of Seki made fixed blades but one that is noteworthy is the Sharp Model 1000s.





The same knife was also imported and sold under an unidentified label with an “M” inside a star as a brand mark.





This model survives as the H-109 Drop Point Hunter, with a 3 1/2″ Aus8 blade, Nickel Silver Bolster and rivets, rounded and shaped grained Mahogany handle with brass lanyard hole.



Fallkniven of Boden Sweden

Peter Hjortberger and his family established a knife retail business in Boden Sweden in 1984. With an eye to fullfilling the Swedish Air Force requirement for a pilot’s survival knife, they established a separate company Fallkniven in 1987. While Sweden has a long history of steelworking and knife making, the type of knife that was sought could not be fulfilled with the local craftsmen. For this reason Fallkniven contracted originally with Linder of Solingen Germany to make the F-1 model using ATS-34, after the original F1 prototypes were made in Japan.


(Photo: Linder ATS-34 F1, Hattori solid VG10 F1, Hattori VG10 laminate F1, Linder Super Edge I.)

In time Fallkniven sought other makers in Europe and the U.S. who could manufacture knives with their preferred materials and to their strict standards at a cost that would allow bringing it to market. Only Hattori Seki stepped up and suggested a  new steel heretofore not widely used; Takefu Specialty Steel’s VG10. In mid 1997 Hattori started making the F1s which were solid VG10. Later the VG10 core with 420j2 side laminate was introduced, and Fallkniven claims a 20% increase in strength over the solid VG10 blade with well over 200 lbs of lateral strength as tested by Lulea University, Sweden.

The larger A1 was introduced following the F1 and similarly, it too was originally introduced with a solid VG10 blade.

image001 Solid VG10 A1

Apart from the blade marking, the grind line at the ricasso differed from the current A1s. Additionally, the Country of Origin was stamped as well.

DSC_0123_zpsw66hhfq5 DSC_0119_zpse1mpdhoh

In 1995 the Swedish Air Force after much testing adopted the Fallkniven F1 as the pilot survival knife.

F1S1A1 VG10 Core 420j2 sides laminates

In 2000 the F1,S1 and A1 models were tested by the  US Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuexent River Maryland. The F1 and S1 were accepted for use by USMC and USN aircrews. The A1 passed all tests but was too large for the aircrews’ survival vests. However the A1 is known to be in use by Special Forces units of the U.S. and other nations as well.



In late 2015 Fallkniven introduced three new models, the F1 Pro, S1 Pro and A1 Pro. While based on the F1 and A1, these new models offered a Laminated Cobalt steel blade and a stainless steel guard. These models with slightly different grinds and thicker blades are even more rugged than the original series, which remain in production. The Pro series come with an improved sheath which allows for connections, a DC3/DC4 sharpening stone all in a waterproof carry case.

F1 Pro

A1 Pro

And in 2017 a new large Bowie with a 10 inch LamCos blade was introduced as the “Modern Bowie”

Modern Bowie

While Fallkniven truly got off the ground with a “hard use- no frills”military application in mind, in 2002 they introduced the Northern Lights series aimed at the civilian market with a traditional guard, stacked leather handle and pommel.


Fallkniven’s success may be attributed to their philosophy which differs from that of many major knife companies. Their emphasis on design, the best materials, the best manufacturing skills and extensive product testing results in a product that inevitably costs more than their competitors. But to many buyers the difference in final quality and performance justifies the price. Fallkniven is perhaps the only knife company that openly discloses that all of their fixed blades are made by Ichiro Hattori. Furthermore, Fallkniven actively supports the development and use of the top grade steels beyond the VG10 laminates such as SGPS (Special Gold Powder Steel) as a core with 420j2 sides laminate, 3G (SGPS core with VG5 laminate- VG5/SGPS/VG5, ie; “3G”),  Laminated Cobalt Steel and Cowry-X that Hattori advocates, as well as his favored “Hamaguri-ba” (convex blade grind) in their product line. The end result is a knife brand which may very well be the best production knife available today.


TK1 3G Mahagony


TK1 3G Cocobolo


TK3 3G Cocobolo


Micarta F1 VG10 full tang


F1 Micarta 3G Limited Edition


HK9 3G



Northern Lights NL5 Idun Cowry-X Damascus

Fallkniven website:


Special thanks to Mikael Wallin, Sweden.

The Fallkniven Story – 30 Years

By Peter Hjortberger, Founder, Fallkniven A.B.








Browning Hattoris

While Browning is naturally known for it’s firearms, it’s knives are also well known to collectors. A number of models were designed in the late 1960s for Browning by a young Gil Hibben decades before Rambo III or Star Trek movies made him famous. Designated the Sportsman’s Series they were outright hunting knives, both folding and fixed blades made to complement Browning’s firearms in the field. Like many other U.S. knife companies at the time, Browning had knives made in the U.S., Germany, Italy and Japan. As a result one may encounter some of the oldest same or similar models with a different country of origin. This shift in country of origin reflects the economics of the post WWII world.


BRus4018F Made in U.S.A.

506germ Made in Germany

DSC_0734-1 Made in Japan



Of all the knives that Ichiro Hattori made for Browning,  one of the two most prominent models would be the 1970s Sportsman Model 3718.

The Browning 3718 was a Drop Point Hunter with an overall length of 7 3/4″ overall and a blade length of 3 1/2″. Steel was described as 440 by Browning at the time but later disclosed to be Aus8.  The 3718 long discontinued by Browning was made by Hattori in later years in a VG10 version and a Cowry-X Damascus version. A model designated 3717 is Hattori’s adaptation of a Japanese Kiritsuke tip (sometimes called a reverse tanto in the U.S.) to the 3718.

HATTORIBANDT 3717/3718 in VG10


At one time the H-3717 was made separately with a single bevel for right handed and left handed users.

Img1302 KD-3717 Cowry-X

Img697 KD-3718 Cowry-X

The other famous model is the Browning Double Edged Damascus Hunter.



rsz_scan0002 (1) Cover of “Book of Knives” 3rd Edition 1988

In 1983 Browning approached the Seki knife makers with an idea to make a one time limited edition damascus hunter based on one of Gil Hibben’s designs. Up to that time the making of a damascus blade involved the forge welding of iron and steel in alternating layers that often resulted in a costly and not very rust resistant final product. To meet Brownings requirement a new kind of damascus was created; not using iron, but stainless steel and nickel silver forge welded in 200 layers. The final result with it’s surface grain, beautiful pattern and high luster was such that Browning changed it’s plans and decided on extending the limited run designating it the Browning Model 3816. However only two models were produced over two years as the US Dollar to Yen exchange rate in 1986/87 made further production prohibitive.

DSC_0740 Model 3816

The knife was sold as the Model 3816 Browning Double Edged Damascus Hunter, with a mahagony handle and stainless steel guard and pommel, and a retail price of $350.00 in 1985. It came in a wooden lined presentation box, no sheath, and a certificate issued by Browning on Wa-shi (often called rice paper in the U.S.) and was serial numbered to 1000.  Overall length was 7 1/2″ and the blade 3 5/8″. The Model 3816D was the same but with engraving on the guard.


The second model was a concurrent run of 1000 knives called the Browning Damascus Classic Hunter.


This design survives today only in the Hattori Presentation Master Hunter I models, one in ATS-34 and the other in 120 layer nickel Stainless Cowry-X Damascus.

H-101 H-101 in ATS-34

KD30-101b KD30-101 Cowry-X


hattori-kd30101-2 KD30-101 Cowry-X