Olamic Cutlery

Design Dynamos!
26

Soloist

The most sought after tactical knives typically fall into two categories: overbuilt bruisers and stylish slicers. Olamic Cutlery of Visalia, California is one of the rare companies who deliver both, and they do it in a very unique way. Their company motto is “Never The Same” and when you look at their web page you’ll understand why. They never make the same knife twice. Sure, like any cutlery company they have model lines, but the incredible array of color and texture techniques these design dynamos have in their arsenal — from anodizing and special coatings to hand texturing and decorative machining — is simply astounding.

Headed by Eugene Solomonik, Olamic Cutlery is a family business formed a decade ago in 2010. Eugene, with the assistance of custom knifemaker Michael Vagnino, kicked off the folder end of the Olamic operation in Visalia while his father began making fine fixed-blade knives back home in Russia.

Rainmaker

Whippersnapper

Creative Perfection

Eugene Solomonik is living the American dream. What does he enjoy most? “Being able to exercise both aesthetic and functional creativity on a daily basis while offering a tangible product to people who can truly appreciate it for generations to come,” the knifemaker tells Handgunner. “There is something very cool about an item that many consider art yet it also has a pure function. On top of that there is a deep historical significance to the ‘concept of the blade’ both in the context of it being man’s oldest tool and the effect it has had as a weapon.”

Job one at Olamic is to make a sturdy, durable and long lasting knife. “Olamic means ‘something that lasts through eternity,’ thus the infinity symbol logo,” Solomonik informs. “Our folding knives are semi-handmade in our small Visalia, California shop, one at a time.” The company is small (3–5 employees) and you’d be hard-pressed to guess all of their knives are not full-blown customs.

“As of today we have three main lines: handmade Damascus fixed blades from Russia, semi-custom folders of frame-lock design and full custom folders with liner-locks, no CNC. The fixed-blades are generally traditional hunting knife designs, both full tang and hidden tang. Part of the line are higher end, more modern/experimental designs, with very fancy steels. The folders are all in the technically tactical or EDC categories, mostly flippers, or have multiple opening methods. We try to add one to two folder models per year. Keyword: Try.

“For the fixed-blades we have about six recurring models and then hundreds of one-offs or limited batches,” Eugene continues. “We make semi-custom folders that follow our ‘never the same’ mantra, which means that first we engineer a solid platform of a knife while sticking to the basics — comfort, performance, deployment, etc. — and then we have literally millions of ways to finish one. Most folders at launch are offered in multiple blade shapes as well.

“The Wayfarer 247 introduced in 2016 has been our most popular model,” Somolonik lends. “It’s a very robust, comfortable, all-around EDC frame-lock with a timeless appeal, infinite build variants, four blade shapes, and enough — but not too many — features. Its main features include things like caged bearings with a thrust washer, a floating backspacer and an internal stop pin. But the main feature is that it is very comfortable in-hand.” Other popular models include the Whippersnapper, Busker, Swish, Rainmaker and the recently introduced Soloist.

Olamic blows through a ton of Titanium, the main component used in their handle frames. For steel they use a variety of upscale exotics. “We started with Elmax on the early Swish,” Eugene notes, “then moved pretty much entirely to M390 for the Busker, Rainmaker and Soloist lines. Now we’re using CPM 20CV for the Whippersnapper and will continue with it. These days I am incredibly impressed with this 20CV, it heat treats well, and is very fine and consistent.”

Wayfarer

Swish

The Olamic Allure

Olamic Cutlery has a rock solid base that keeps coming back for more, so what’s the allure? Easy question. When you can buy a rock solid semi-custom as good as a custom in a one-off finish, why wouldn’t you? The variations are staggering, from dark tactical and understated good taste to a wide array of razzle dazzle. The Olamic customer’s only challenge is making a selection, plus they offer customers the ability to “build their own.”

We asked Eugene to tell us about his customer base. “The diversity of our customers surprised me, actually. There is definitely no single type, and Olamic owners can be found all over the world, in all walks of life,” Solomonik explains. “It makes sense, too, since if we were to call it ‘weapons collecting’ then that goes back in human history. Most major museums usually have an armory section. I see people who are hardcore knife collectors and want something different, younger EDC community guys who maybe don’t have a ton of knives but love carrying/using them, those who want a high end truly bespoke item, those who are in the ‘buy it for life’ mindset, and who just want one of something, but the best version of it — the list goes on.

“Our customers like the balance of performance and customizability packaged in comfortable timeless designs,” Eugene adds. “And of course the myriad of our unique finishes/executions, material choices and blade shape options. What seals the deal is they can attain this quickly while being involved in the process.”

We get the impression from Eugene these design dynamos are having way too much fun at their job, but that happens when you can please so many different types of customers with such a dazzling array of options. Think of it as a candy store for adults. The artisans at Olamic Cutlery make some mighty fine knives.

For more info: www.olamiccutlery.com, [email protected], [email protected]

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