Neo-classic Cutters From Vehement.
The modern tactical knife movement deserves a lot of praise for its design and technological innovations — which seem to grow with each year — but these knives will have to wait to achieve the lasting impressions only time allows. Only knives of yesteryear can stir emotions, tug at the heartstrings and warm the cockles. Vehement Knives lives in both worlds. Exquisitely sculptured handles and bolsters with a hat tip to the designs of wars and hunts long past are the stuff of which Vehement cutters are made.
Custom knifemaker Matt Martin builds his neo-classical knives out of his Longmont, Colo., shop. Growing up in Arizona, Matt had an attraction for knives at an early age.
“I was raised by my mom, she didn’t have the extra money to keep me well-stocked with high quality knives,” Matt tells us. “Eventually, I just started embellishing any knife I could get my hands on. It wasn’t until 2007 I started making knife-shaped objects. In 2009, I decided to give knifemaking an honest try. It wasn’t an easy beginning, as I had to teach myself everything about making knives. To me, they were the tools of men. They were the only tool capable of both defending and creating. It’s a very primal thing to hold a knife.”
Martin is no stranger to using knives on a day-to-day basis, working much of his early career with a piece of edged steel in his hand.
“I’m trained as an Unexploded Ordnance Tech. Knives are to us what hammers are to framers. There’s no better test for our knives than to constantly be chopping limbs and digging bombs out of the Earth. I have more of a handyman’s background though, giving me problem-solving skills. That’s all knifemaking is. The best knife in the world is hidden in your raw materials — it’s just a matter of being clever enough to coax it out.”
Matt has an added incentive to pursue his career as a custom knifemaker.
“My biggest influence is easily my family. What better motivation to produce a quality product? The more successful our business, the more time I get to spend with my wife and daughter.
“I cannot say enough about the two ladies in my life,” Martin continues. “If the grinder is the heart of our shop, my wife Jenna is the right hand. She does about 90 percent of all customer correspondence, all of our product ordering, as well as project tracking. Without her I couldn’t make a sincere go at this. And then there’s my daughter, Dio. Her real name is Dionicia Marie, named after the matriarch of our family. Her namesake was married to one of the founding pioneers of the state of Arizona. Dio is captivating to everyone who meets her — me included. The biggest reason I am pursuing knifemaking as a career is to be in her life more. Digging bombs keeps me away from home, grinding steel keeps me close.”
Hat Tip To Tradition
Traditional, old-time knifemakers have a deep influence on Matt, as witnessed by his fine work here. He relates, “If I could make a knife as tough as a Randall, with the fit and finish of a Bob Loveless and do it all as fast as Bob Engnath … I guess I’d be doing pretty good. It’s good to have goals!”
His reputation as an ordnance technician has obviously spread among people of the same feather.
“Our EOD/UXO dig knife is by far our bestseller. We just completed our first government contract for these. They’re pretty specialized tools, but the bomb techs seem to like them. We also have a special forces following with knives like our new Proteus model, which was designed for — and is carried by — active US Navy SEAL’s.”
The Proteus’ Micarta handle features all the right curves and blade grinds to hearken back to the days when fighting knives were every bit as eye appealing as they were effective. If the Proteus is more knife than you need, the Vehement Omega should provide ample poison to the well. The Omega is a bulldog of a fixed-blade, medium in size with a partial hollow blade grind, which leaves the tip thick and wide for exemplary piercing and prying.
If you want a knife to really rev the gut, check out Martin’s 101’er. Stacked leather handle, nicely sculptured bolster handle and butt cap and a blade screaming “fighter” are the hallmarks of this modern classic.
“Our 101’er was designed for a trooper in the 101st Airborne. It’s a big knife and she gets big looks wherever she shows up,” Martin says.
Martin’s take on the dagger is every bit as heart thumping. His Combat Dagger is a modern rendition of the legendary WWII Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife shaped to simplistic perfection.
Then there’s the Vehemoth, a battle blade in a class of its own. A modern Chinese war sword on a steroid rage, the Vehemoth is a study in ancient blade grinds melded with modern componentry. And if you’re in need of a sword, the Vehement Gladius is a clean, modern take on the original Roman sword known for wreaking havoc throughout Europe and Africa.
EOD Dig Knife
Broad Steel Appeal
As you can see from the wide range of models in these pages, diversity is definitely a Vehement strength.
“Our customers vary from carpenters to Armed Service personnel and everyone in between,” Matt informs. “Easily, the most frequent comment we get comes from the substantial feel of our knives — they’re durable yet comfortable. Occasionally, we get photos from the field of our knives after they’ve taken a beating; it really gives me a warm feeling. We simply want to put out a product folks can depend on and might even be proud to own. I can honestly say our knives are not for ‘ounce counters.’ They’re built for extreme duty and lean to the heavy side.”
Price ranges on Vehement’s fare range from $134 for their small Fang model to $289 for the mid-sized Omega. Larger models such as the Proteus start at $270, and the nicely decked out 101’er checks in at $374. These are typical prices for handmade knives and you won’t be disappointed in the sheer quality and craftsmanship Martin pours into each one. These are customs, so expect a lead-time on delivery. According to Matt their lead-time averages anywhere from six to 10 months depending on the complexity of the knife. Regardless, a Vehement in the hand is worth the wait and you’ll be rewarded with a knife worth a lifetime of cutting pleasure.
By Pat Covert
Photos: Chuck Pittman, Inc.
It’s a family affair in the shop, with Matt’s wife,
Jenna and daughter Dio important parts of the business.
For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/vehement-knives, (928) 951-2964.