Bad Blood Rising
Hallmark Cutlery’s Hot New Sean Kendrik Line.
All it takes is a spark to start a bonfire. HallMark Cutlery has made overtures to make waves in the crowded tactical market for several years. Now they’ve finally caught fire. Their new Bad Blood line is not only exciting, with special appeal to the oft-ignored youth market, but also easy on the wallet, which has a broad appeal to many budget-minded knife users in a down economy. The formula for success is not new: team up with a hot custom knifemaker and produce affordable production versions of his hot models. HallMark found the right person in Sean Kendrick, and the Bad Blood series has been off to the races since.
HallMark Vice President Jessica Hall tells Handgunner how the collaboration came about. “We were set up at the same knife show in late 2010. My brother, Jacob (President of HallMark) was walking the show, looking for new designs. Sean’s knives were unique, different from the rest of the tables at the show. Jacob and Sean immediately hit it off and the relationship grew from there.” Sean adds, “I had been approached by other companies, but nothing really panned out. HallMark has a reputation of producing high- quality products. They were serious to work with me and I felt comfortable in moving forward with them.”
Sean, the product of an artistically gifted mother and mechanically minded father, has been making knives since 1998. “I like to make practical and useful knives that can be used in any situation,” says Kendrick, “from hard combat, to a skinning and field knife, or a knife to carry in your pocket. A lot of my customs, already in the Bad Blood line, are being used overseas for combat.”
Bad Blood Spiraling Demise
Kendrick Spiraling Demise
Getting Down To Business
The Kendrick line would need a name and, after a little brain cracking, the Bad Blood mantle bubbled to the top. “We did a lot of research to see what was already being used,” says Jessica. “Bad Blood is representative of the look and style, and general aggressive style of the knives.” The Kendrick designs are named after custom versions in the knifemaker’s stable, with wicked designations like Fire Spitter, Harbinger, Spiraling Demise and Partisan Nano.
One trademark of HallMark is making affordable knives, and the Bad Blood line is no exception. Like many knives on the market today, they went offshore for production to keep retail prices at an affordable price point. According to Jessica, “The Spartan was the first knife we started working on. It’s one of Sean’s oldest designs and has stood the test of time. We launched the line with three folders and three fixed blades. We have already added three more fixed blades and another folder, scheduled to come out late 2012 or early 2013. I’am really excited about the next designs. I think the second round of the Kendrick/Bad Blood line are game-changing designs which will push the boundaries in the knife industry.”
Bad Blood Harbinger CC
Bad Blood Splitter
Bad To The Bone
One look at the Bad Blood line and it’s easy to see why the line has taken off. Kendrick’s designs exude an assertive attitude without sacrificing utility, a delicate line that when ignored can turn a working knife into a shelf knife. The knifemaker’s most popular design is the Spiraling Demise folder.
“I can hardly keep up with the demand for that knife,” Sean confides. Fortunately the production version is readily available and HallMark did a great job in translating the factory version from the original (see photo comparing the two side-by-side). The Spiraling Demise features a wicked upswept trailing point or “Persian” style blade with a nice-sized flipper for ambidextrous access. The curvaceous handles are durable G10 composite with a textured surface for enhanced grip.
Next up is the Fire Spitter, a stout flipper-based folder with all the style and grace of a bulldog in a meat locker. The spear point blade, a tad under 4″, sports a re-curved lead edge and is saber-ground on the backside for enhanced penetration. The ample sized handle will give comfort to the biggest of mitts and the textured G10 scales offer excellent purchase. For those wanting an easy to conceal daily carry, the Harbinger will fill the bill. With its graceful drop-point blade, the Harbinger has fluid lines and a slim cross-section. This is a good-sized folder that will fit flat in the pocket, with a deep-conceal clip for even greater stealth.
There’s a lot to like in the Bad Blood fixed-blade lineup as well. Kendrick’s Spartan design has more curves than a Himalayan mountain road from tip to tail. A healthy 4.75″ re-curved clip point blade makes up the business end while 5″ in smoothly sculpted G10 handle sits in the driver’s seat. This knife can handle a myriad of field chores and serve as a voracious backup to boot. If the Spartan is more fixed-blade than you need, the Partisan Nano may be just the right fit. About an inch smaller overall, the Nano sports a wide clip point blade with a forward finger choil and a contoured, lightly textured G10 handle. This is a knife that can skin or fight, your choice.
Radical may be the best way to describe Sean’s Raiju design. The Raiju’s handle favors the Spartan in looks, the wicked chisel ground Tanto blade makes its own statement. The 4″ blade is wider than typical Tantos and the grinds are nice and deep. Geared more for combat and self-defense, the Raiju may just scare the pants off an offender before the match begins.
Bad Blood Spartan
Bad Blood Raiju Slim Line
Bad Blood Partisan Nano
Easy On The Budget
If you like what you’ve seen of Bad Blood’s knives so far, you’ll be even more impressed with the price. Jessica informs Handgunner, “The MSRP for the folders is $54.99 and the fixed-blade knives — all which come with a Kydex sheath — range from $79.99-$89.99.” At those prices you can outfit yourself with a folder and a fixed blade for under a hundred bucks, with enough leftover to buy a box of ammo for your pet firearm. Such a deal!
By Pat Covert
Photos By Chuck Pittman