Frequently Asked Questions

1) This knife looks very different. What is it like to use?

Hold either hand up, fingers relaxed, with the back of your hand towards you. Put your thumb along the side. If you were wearing your HideAway, your thumb would now be along the thumb ramp, and the metal capsule would be around your 2 fingers. My buddy Seth calls this an "inverted grip". The blade would be above your fingers like a claw coming out of the back of your fingers.

Now, you can then do other things with your HideAway on without dropping it. You can hold a flashlight, hold a gun, hit with a palm strike, grab onto something for balance, or even swim. One person put his on and typed for 15 minutes when he first received it ;-). Another person sent me an email how it's the fastest DVD security tape removal tool in existence, because didn't have to keep putting it down and picking it back up between cuts.

Deployment is a quick yank. See "Sheaths" for feedback on deployment times and carry methods.

Day-to-day in your favorite carry method, it is light enough to forget about it until you need it.

With this knife, your wrist does not have to be canted at a weakened off angle to hold the knife straight out like it does with almost every other knife. Your wrist can stay in an inline, locked position when using your HideAway.

This one is tough to explain, but it seems that it would be more difficult to accidentally cut myself with a HideAway. This is because of the way you grip most knives vs the HideAway. For example, to accidentally cut inwards, you would have to do the equivalent of hitting yourself with the back of your fingers. Of course with humans, all variations of accidents are possible or probable. It's just harder to make a mistake with that orientation vs a normal knife edge coming out of the side of your palm.

2) Why did you design this knife?

a) Because I could find no knife with a small enough overall size that was also easily deployable and retainable. I know I could probably not deploy a folding knife in a high stress situation. It is fun to practice opening folding knives. However, I don't want to rely on being able to do that in a high stress situation. I also wanted a knife retainable to the extent that if I were hit and my hand had to relax, the edge would not drop.

b) Because I wanted a knife that would make me want to keep it close by and accessible within seconds always. A lot of SD-minded people talk about their weapons but reality is very few would really have something handy enough if they needed it.

Why is this, when being unprepared and getting hurt is so awful? Some people underestimate just how bad things can get. This happens for very logical reasons - breathing too much climate-controlled air, living in a suburban womb of safety, or being saturated by Hollywood's sanitized portrayals of violence. Others do not underestimate how bad it can get, but they also find that carrying a weapon constantly and consistently to be very challenging. Life is already full of a lot of challenges. I wanted this knife to make it much easier to be prepared for those times when an extra edge could make a big difference. And of course for when you are fishing or gardening or climbing, and it would be really convenient to hold on to something else at the same time when you need to cut something.

"Quickly accessible" means hidden in plain sight. Independent of what I was wearing, I wanted quick accessibility to the knife. Behind my ID badge, under a collar, inside a pocket, inside a waistband. As a customer who is an orthopedic surgeon said, "This knife passes the 5 second test. You forget it is there after 5 seconds."

Read "The Concept" and "A Cut Above" for more on why I have spent so much time evolving this knife and carrying systems for it.

3) What are the HideAway's specs?

Materials are either the new S30V stainless steel or 6AL4V Titanium. I have started a waiting list for Stellite HideAways, which will be custom-ground by Mick Strider. I will require a deposit for Stellites since the material is so incredibly expensive. Introducing another process variation complicates things for me a lot, but some people are complete Stellite addicts and have been asking for it for a while. Mick was interested in doing Stellite HideAways, so I finally said OK!

All HideAways are ground on both sides. I decided against chisel grind (ground on 1 side only) after reading and talking with lots of folks and doing some cutting tests on cardboard with both.

I now offer Tungston Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) coating by Bodycote in North Carolina. The first DLC-coated Midnight HideAways have shipped and folks seem to really like the DLC. I'm offering these for only $10 more.

Hardness maven Paul Bos heat treats all my S30V.

Edge length varies some based on size, who grinds them, etc. I want to keep the straights under 2" in length. The blade length of some of the curvys and hybrids are almost all b>over 2" though because of the curves, so if that poses a legal boundary keep that in mind.

Originally I picked this blade length because it fit within the Fibonacci ratio for optimum strength, and also because there are many other very popular self-defense knives with a 1.5-2.0" blade length. I figured since so many people carried them, they all couldn't be wrong. I did my own non-scientific testing to validate that, since that line of reasoning doesn't always pan out. It did in this case.

I could go bigger and stay within my design boundary of the Fibonacci ratio, but for the intent of this knife, bigger is definitely not better. Even slightly bigger pushes the form factor beyond that which can be concealed behind an ID badge, under a lapel, easily on a keychain, in a pocket, without thinking twice about. With the HideAway's form factor, you get the most blade with the most concealability and retention that exists.

I also feel that bigger is unnecessary because of the testing I did on meat (rump roast, ribs, etc.) I am not very strong. I have no martial arts background. I have taken tons of firearms training (my HK rocks), and am much more comfortable and skilled now with guns than knives. A 1.6" straight HideAway made cuts clear to the board that had a 3" thick piece of rump roast nailed to it. How can this be? I wondered that myself when the blade hit wood and I stuck a ruler into the meat. I did not expect that. It's called flesh compression.

The important things are this:

1) Have a weapon. (~ 95% of all people don't)

(feel free to ignore 1) if you are the Incredible Hulk and are always going to be stronger and faster than someone trying to hurt you.

2) Have it accessible within seconds (most of remaining 5% don't)

3) Train with the weapon (still less of the 5% don't)

4) If the other person is faster or stronger and you sustain a hard blow, don't drop the weapon in either use or deployment. (etc...)

A blade length difference of 0.5" has not yet appeared on the list of what is important in saving your life.

I enjoyed illustrating this point to a police officer and my shooting buddy for Thursday night IPSC-type drills. I ran into him off-duty at the supermarket. Before he knew what was happening, I had frisked him and tapped the inside of his ankles with my foot. (I'm sure he could have stopped me if he had wanted to.) But my point was: He was not carrying his big Glock or any gun. I was carrying my J-frame .38 UtB. So of course I told him, "That's OK, you can call 911 while I take the door."

4) Can I order a sheath with my trainer?

Definitely.

5) How can I pay?

With almost any credit card or PayPal. PayPal does my credit card processing. So you will see their name pop up, but that doesn't mean you have to pay via PayPal, it just means they are going to process your credit card transaction. You'll need just a username and password to pay via credit card; not a funded PayPal account.

6) When do I pay?

When you receive an email from me, which will be after the knife is complete but before sheathing. I'm not comfortable taking any money before the knife is complete because the custom knife-making time frame is too unpredictable. Sheathing is custom and takes 4-6 weeks. (All HideAways include a custom neck sheath, aka a "bikini sheath".) Occasionally people flake-out and never pay. That's the downside of accepting reservations from people I don't know. I need to know if someone is going to flake out before sheathing happens because then I lose less.

7) I see that my knife is at sheathing. What is its status?

When I send your knife for sheathing, it is typically in a batch with 25 others. It will have a label on it with the sheaths that you have paid for. Most people seem to order 2-3 sheaths, so that is 70+ sheaths. As described above, every sheath is custom-fit to your HideAway. Sheathing takes 4-6 weeks. There's never been a knife lost yet! If I haven't received a knife back in 6 weeks, I would ask my sheathmaker to re-measure each one to make sure it is yours to help locate it. But so far that's not been needed! Please be patient. These "little beasts", as folks who try to sheath them affectionately refer to them, are difficult and time-consuming to sheath relative to other knives.

Sheathing is one of the most expensive, most time-consuming, and most unpredictable part of my process. I stay on the verge of wanting to offer only 1 sheath, because it is such a pain to track and make sure that when everything gets sent back to me, that each HideAway has the right sheaths. However, I know that having many options for carry that fit into your life makes it easy to always be prepared. Therefore, I keep working on more options. Someone really needs to invent something better than Kydex, because the thermoforming process per knife takes wayyyy too long. But right now, that's the best option.

8) Do you accept money orders?

Yes, with a $3 fee, but I really really really prefer credit card or PayPal payment. Why would I have this preference when online payment has a transaction fee that I have to pay? Because payment by money order ends out costing me a lot more. Why?

- I travel a lot and have someone handle my mailing out and picking up of mail. I pay for each additional trip to the bank to deposit something.

- Money orders are very error prone. People don't remember to include shipping cost, or make it out to the wrong payee, or don't follow the instructions on the online form and never email me a copy so I don't have a record of what was paid for online. They end out costing me so much more time in fixing the errors.

9) Do you accept personal checks?

No.

10) Will paying in advance help speed up my order?

No. I have let some people pay in advance who wanted to hedge against unfavorable fluctuations in the dollar vs their currency, or to help maintain marital bliss ("Honey, after next week, I promise I won't spent more money on knives!"), or people who just admitted they weren't great at budgeting and wanted to make sure they could pay me. If this is the case I definitely appreciate the honesty and am OK with taking money in advance, because by the time your HideAway is finished, I have already paid a lot of bills to get it there!

11) Do you ship internationally?

Yes - via USPS Global Express and Global Priority. They pass it off to DHL in many countries. It takes forever to fill out those customs forms in triplicate. Most international purchasers are interested in my knife for use as a Fishing Knife, so that is how I label it on the customs forms. Many thanks to the creative Barry Neubauer for creation of the cool fish logo with just the right attitude. On the Fish's side is a little FS. I am also including a FREE sample of a rubber fishing worm with all international shipments while supplies last.

Logo on Intl forms

Free sample Power worm while supplies last



If you are ordering from outside the US, I definitely need your phone number for the customs form. If you are inside the US, it is optional, but has been useful for quick clarifications on sheathing.

Can US customers get a worm too? Noooooooo, please understand that the worm is for my International customers only since this type of Power Worm can be very difficult to obtain outside the US.

12) What is the status of my order?

Check out "My Order Status". I spent a lot of time making that for you to use. People really like checking their dots! I get emails almost immediately when they change with people saying "Hey my dots moved!" Movement of your status dot will definitely be non-linear. Kind of like my gas tank indicator, which for the first half of the tank moves 1:1 with distance, but then for the second half of the tank seems to move much more quickly.

13) Hey - my order status doesn't show the knife that I have on order!

Now grasshopper, this is because you aren't "logged in" under the same email address that placed the order. What is written next to the Greetings word? Is this your correct email address? If not, you need to click on the "I am not... [your email]" link to log in as you. 100% of the time so far this has been the cause. I need to make that more obvious on the screen, but am not sure how to do that.

14) How long will it take for my knife to be done?

That varies a lot. A couple people have had < 24 hour turnaround if I happened to have a knife on-hand that was already sheathed. Some people have had their knives on order for 9 months. The fastest way to get a HideAway is to reserve a Straight and specify "Any Artist". I have put more of the Straights in-process because I like that one the best and a lot of people are ordering them. It's stabby, trivial to sharpen, and great for both utility and SD functions.

I always get extra (non-reserved) knives from makers. When I do, I send an email to everyone with a reservation whose size matches the one available but who have a different knife reserved. So far these emails have taken up all extras, but I'm hoping to have some available in inventory soon.

But remember, the fastest way to get a HideAway is to reserve a Straight and specify "Any Artist". It's stabby, trivial to sharpen, and great for both utility and SD functions.

15) I wear my HideAway every day, and want to get my wife one for her birthday. How can I discretely get her HideAway measurement?

Wow, you have me stumped on that one. "Honey, I think your fingers are looking a little unusual. Can I see what your 2-finger circumference is?" (Have a better idea? I'll post it! :-)

OK, this idea just in (July 2, 2004) from Anthony Perez, with a small amount of editing by me: "Hey, honey, I was reading in Modern Woman that a leading indicator for future osteoporosis in women can be inferred by a certain ratio. Let me get the circumference of your index and middle fingers, held together, of your dominant hands....just because I love you SOOOO much. ::kisskisskiss:: "

16) Do you ever sleep?

Not much. I work full time, travel often for work in the US and beyond, and for another year or so, starting in September, I'll be in grad school trying to complete a degree that was interrupted.

However, I am online lots and very interested in your feedback and thoughts. I generally respond to email within several days whether I am here or overseas, and try to get completely caught up over the weekend.

16) How are the HideAways selling?

Well.

At first I was very convinced that this design was something that not many people would be interested in, because in the design process I ended out not following most of the advice I was given by people who knew lots more about knives than me, and because it took a long time to find a knife maker interested in making it. (Thanks to my buddy SouthNarc for referring me to the talented Mickey Yurco who made the first one from my garage CNC milled "green soap" prototype.) I finally just said, "Screw it. I'm making this for myself."

Also because it is so unconventional, I didn't think traditional knife folks would like it. It seems like a lot of traditional knife folks do like it. Knife connoisseurs seem to order 3: a double-edge straight, a hybrid or a curvy, and a titanium.

It's a total thrill to have so many people ordering them and receiving them and to hear the feedback from when someone first gets their HideAway. Please read "Customer Feedback" for detailed reviews.

Financially I would not call it a huge success because margins are very low per knife because of cost variability between batches. The per-knife cost for something is always reasonable. But the batch fees can make one HideAway cost double the next. For example, the batch fee for vibratory tumbling is $400 to run the monster machine for 8 hours, whether I do 1 or 300 at a time. Thank goodness I'm not depending on this to pay the rent! If I factored my time into this I'd definitely be in the negative.

My favorite part has been working with the finishing artists, hearing feedback from customers, especially their first impressions, and talking with them about their ideas for how it can be used or other sheathing options. I am lucky that the best of the best have taken an interest in my knife. They are incredible men and have added a lot of joy to this project.

My least favorite part has been the several people who have never paid, and getting things ready for shipment out. For non-knives, the 13-year-old son of the woman who handles my mail is helping me with order fulfillment. The politics of the knife industry is also like walking in a field full of land mines. You think you are walking on green grass, and boom. I have little patience, no time, and no mental energy for that. Thankfully my very wise collaborators try to steer me away from the landmines. As the adorable Jerry Hossom counseled me, "[FrontSight], it's great that you approach everything from a different angle. But the next time you have an epiphany, please call me first."

I'm going to keep doing this as long as it stays more fun than grind. I finally have my 7, which is what I really wanted to begin with. Also, most of the people whom I know and really wanted to order one have done that and their orders are in the pipeline.

17) What's next?

I'm focused on sheathing. The state of sheathing today is very dissatisfying to me. If the purpose of a sheath is to protect the human from the edge and the tip, and to make it ready for deployment, why does a sheath have to add so much bulk and weight. There should be something better.

Lastly, I have designed something related to facilitating weapons deployment. A manufacturer built the prototype, and the prototype worked perfectly. My unofficial HideAway advisory board members were all thumbs-up on the concept. Ken Onion and attorney Bill from Pittsburgh gave me advice on how to approach the patent process. This is not specific to the HideAway, but all current HideAway owners will be able to take advantage of it immediately. Right now I am looking for a different manufacturer to mass produce it. The first one became spooked when they learned that what I had designed could be used by law-enforcement.

The latest addition to the Sheaths models offered is the "Bro Clip". Essentially, this is a suspender clip with a FANG on it. Much more secure than your traditional suspender clips. I had been using these with sheaths for bra-attachment. My sheathmaker Ken Brock figured out a way to make the Bra Clip something that wouldn't need a separate sheath for it. This makes it much lower cost, and attaches on to any Bikini sheath! I was trying to think of a more masculine sounding, since you XY's might be squeamish about ordering something called with the word Bra in it (but one deputy sherriff already did!!). Ken suggested we call it a "Bro Clip." Ken hereby gets 5 points for that quip and demonstration of wit.

Thank you for your interest in my knife.

HideAways are custom fit to your hand for retention and speed. Please measure twice.
Payments are welcome via Copyright 2003-2005 Artemis Defense Systems All Rights Reserved