With backgrounds in the U.S. Marine Corps, criminal justice, and martial arts, you just knew Allen Elishewitz would make…custom watches. Huh? Well, he does make handmade watches and pens, but his award winning knives are what made Elishewitz a rising star. His latest collaborations with Hogue reflect his style and aesthetics. I bought a Hogue EX-01, in green G-Mascus, to see what the hype was about.
Hogue Inc., maker of gungrips and accessories since 1968, began a professional relationship with Elishewitz in 2009 with the intention of producing what they called “high-end sporting cutlery.” Hogue Knives’ EX line, for EXtreme, was the payoff. It includes four folding knife variations and a fixed blade.
The EX-01 was introduced in 2010 and is the flagship of the fleet. It comes in a tanto or drop point and with aluminum or G-10 handles. Blade lengths in the EX-01 are either 3.5″ or 4.0″. Hogue Knives are Made in the USA. That proclaimed, Hogue’s blades are flat ground from American 154CM steel, RHC to 57-59. The blades are cryogenically treated, given a nice tumbled finish, and hand sharpened. My 3.5″ drop point has a smooth non-reflective surface. The cutting edge is ever-so-slightly recurved, adding a little belly toward the tip. Hogue and Elishewitz are smartly laser engraved on the blade’s swedge.
Hogue makes their aluminum handles from Type III anodized 6160-T6511 aluminum. You get to choose between matte black and matte OD. I’ve never really liked aluminum as a handle material. The cold, dead feel of the metal in my hand is just less than welcome. Now G-10 is a different story.
Hogue handles wear what they call G-Mascus, a G-10 fiberglass/resin laminate with a visual resemblance to Damascus steel. Hogue calls this particular pattern “bullet.” G-Mascus has the durability and tactile feel of G-10, but adds an eye-popping look in either black/gray or green/black/gray. G-10 is impervious to chemicals, grippy, and warm in the hand. I have a lot of black handled knives, so I went with green G-Mascus.
Elishewitz appears to have wanted the EX-01 equal parts art and machine. As such, it is a sexy beast. The G-Mascus handles are liner-less, but two massive steel inserts provide an anchor for the oversized pivot. Blade lock up is achieved with a deep and sturdy plunge lock. That is backed up with a manual sliding safety switch to prevent the blade being unlocked under hard use.
The giant pivot, stop pin, and plunge lock are all heat-treated stainless steel. I cannot overstate the strength of the pivot point and lock up of this knife. It is literally the strongest production folding knife I have ever handled.
Hogue’s EX-01 handles have great ergonomics, with an indentation for the index finger, grooves for the thumb up top and still more grooves for the ring and little finger down below. The handle, where the index finger finds a home, is properly relieved so either thumb may find the dual thumbstuds.
A lanyard pin hides in the butt of the handle for those who wish to add a useful loop of paracord or a decorative knot and bead set up. EX-01 stays fixed to your pocket with Elishewitz’ signature spoon shaped clip. It is a tip up/tip down affair. In keeping with the strength theme, the clip screws into metal inserts in the G-10.
Hogue Knives EX-01 folder is much less like a production knife and more like a handmade one. The quality of the materials and finish are far and away finer than a $199.95 MSRP would dictate. I purchased my EX-01 for $167.75 from Grand Prairie Knives. The EX-01 is a great example of when the collaboration between artist and manufacturer places a smile squarely on the face of the end-user.