The Perfect EDC Blade?
Checking out the Interloper from Night Watch Knives
I’m a little late to the game when it comes to Night Watch Knives. Alex Harrison has been perfecting his craft for a few years now, but it was only recently that I was introduced to his bladework. I have to admit that the first time I saw his sort of jacked-up looking handles, I didn’t know what to make of them. They’re distinctive, no doubt, but is the design just a gimmick?
Well, we’ll get to that in a minute.
When it comes to buying custom or semi-custom knives, there are three main qualities I tend to look for:
Aesthetics: Is the knife attractive in appearance? Is it something I’d be proud to own?
Quality: How well does the knife perform? Is it ergonomic? How well is the design executed?
Value: Do the craftsmanship and materials justify the price?
In many cases, you’ll get two of three. The knife might look great and function superbly, but you’re going to pay through the nose. Or the price tag might be quite reasonable and the knife looks really cool, but you might not want to actually use it…or even take it outdoors. Could be that the knife handles incredibly well, and has a very attractive price, but it is kind of blah in the looks department.
Alex manages to pull a hat trick and nail all three at once. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a deal with a crossroads demon somewhere in his recent past. Honestly, he just shouldn’t be this good this early in his knife making career.
Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing I noticed about the Interloper was the handle design. The two-finger choil is unique, no question, and it looks pretty cool. The handle is scalloped where it meets the blade on either side, again adding to the unique appearance. The scales are rounded from top to bottom as well as tapered from blade to butt.
Speaking of tapered, the Interloper features a tapered tang, getting quite thin toward the bottom. In addition to giving the knife a cool look, this reduces the overall weight by a fair amount. The scales are affixed by adhesive as well as a nice mosaic pin. The lanyard tube at the base is a nice touch, too. On this model, there are yellow liners under the scales, giving a nice pop of color.
The AEB-L steel blade has what Alex calls a “War Wash” finish, which is a custom acid-etch. The edge is hollow-ground and ridiculously sharp.
The Interloper is 7.0 inches long, with a 3.25-inch blade. It weighs a mere 2.4 ounces. For perspective, that’s less than three AA batteries.
This is a very attractive knife, something that punches weigh above its weight class in aesthetics.
The moment I picked up the Interloper and held it in my hand, I had one of those “Aha!” moments. I absolutely, completely understood the handle shape and design. It just locks into your hand like it was custom fit. I’m serious when I say that the ergonomics of this knife are out of this world.
The scallops near the blade allow you to hold the knife in a very comfortable pinch grip, which is excellent for a wide range of tasks. In fact, you’ll find yourself instinctively going with that sort of grip often with the Interloper.
I’m not exactly sure what Alex uses in his sharpening process, but I’m fairly certain it must involve some sort of esoteric techniques taught only on mountaintops by ancient masters. That’s just how incredibly sharp the knife is right out of the box. If you needed to shave electrons from an atom, the Interloper could handle the job.
Overall, the quality of the build and the execution of the design with the Interloper are absolutely impeccable.
Here’s the thing. The base price for the Interloper is $325.00. If you handed this knife to pretty much any experienced knife maker, someone familiar with the amount of work required to create the quality and aesthetics present with this blade, they’d probably quote you at least $100 higher.
Alex works on his own, in his home workshop, turning these knives out one by one. He’s not shortchanging the materials, the design, or the amount of work put into each blade. When he comes up with a new design, he typically seeks input from other makers in his circle to get their thoughts. To those outside the knife world, that might sound odd, to ask for opinions from those who would might be termed competitors. The reality is that the knife community is pretty tight-knit and most makers consider one another to be colleagues, if not actual friends. By seeking this design input, potential problems are usually worked out well before the steel hits the grinding wheel. In a very real sense, the end user gets the benefit of not just the individual maker’s expertise, but the years of experience of other makers as well.
The value here is incredible. I could easily see this knife going for a much higher price without any question from experienced buyers. This is a knife that will not just hold up to use but that could be passed down to the next generation after many years of loyal service.
Not Too Big, Not Too Small
I’ll admit that I have an affinity for smaller fixed blade knives. Given a free and open choice between carrying a folder or a fixed blade for EDC, I’ll go fixed every time. The problem is finding something that’s large enough to be useful but small enough to be comfortable to carry everywhere. I mean, sure, if you’re headed out into the field and you want to carry a five-inch blade on your hip, no one will think twice when they see it. Wear the same knife in an urban area, such as if you work in an office environment, HR might want to talk to you.
The Interloper hits that sweet spot right in the middle. It has enough blade to be practical and useful, but is so lightweight it disappears in the pocket or on the belt until it’s needed.
This is one of the best EDC knives I’ve had the pleasure of owning and using. I absolutely cannot recommend it highly enough.