Hogue Inc., founded in 1968, is a company best known for quality firearms-related accessories. Aaron and Patrick Hogue now run the family business. In 2009, Hogue expanded their product line to include Hogue Knives. They immediately sought out and brought aboard a legendary knifemaker in Allen Elishewitz.
The collaboration of the Hogues and Elishewitz resulted in the EX Series of Extreme Folders in 2010. Upon seeing the finished knives, I bought an EX-01 late last year and have been infected with the pride of ownership ever since.
Texan Allen Elishewitz began making knives in 1988. He has been a Recon Marine, is a martial artist, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. His knife designs are functional, tactical, and artistic. A tough trio to reconcile.
What immediately struck me about the EX series were the ruggedness and beauty. The Extreme Folders are “overbuilt,” as Hogue says, incorporating oversized pivot points, stop pins, and button locks. The 3.5″ blade stock for the EX-01 is .150″. Thick indeed. Blades on most 3-4″ folding knives are usually .125″.
The 154CM steel is cryogenically treated and runs in the 57-59 Rockwell hardness range. To subdue the surface, yet give it an attractive finish, the blades are stone tumbled. An EX-01 can be selected in either a tanto point or drop point profile. Either have a false edge up top.
The edge geometry of the EX-01’s flat ground blade is efficient. I won’t bore you with a list of things I cut or hacked. Suffice it to say that the knife delivers on its main function as a means to part objects into smaller objects. Sharpening was easily accomplished on my Spyderco tri-angle sharpener.
The beefy push button lock is backed up by a manual sliding safety that secures the blade in the open position. The button lock also engages as a detent, holding the blade closed with the proper amount of force to allow a firm push on the ambidextrous thumb studs to open the knife, but give enough mechanical resistance to keep the blade in check when folded.
The handle I chose is Hogue’s green G-Mascus G-10 material. G-Mascus is Hogue’s in-house patent pending Fiberglas/epoxy laminate that imitates Damascus steel in its visual depth and bullet pattern. On a personal gun, I have a set of Hogue’s P226 grips in green G-Mascus. They match my knife very well.
The knife’s G-Mascus is machined to provide structure without the use of a separate backspacer. Because of the G-Mascus’s feather weight, the EX-01 has a blade heavy balance that makes the knife feel like both a solid tool and a formidable weapon.
In my hand, the forward relief cut of the lower handle acts as a finger guard in the saber grip. My pinkie finger falls into this same groove in a reverse grip (edge out), while the handle shape supports my thumb. The ergonomics are just right.
The G-Mascus is aggressively textured and gives a good hold wet or dry. There is monstrous jimping at the upper base of the blade and G-10 to apply added cutting pressure or for a Filipino thumb forward fighting grip. At the tail end of the handle is a slot and pin that can act as a lanyard mount for those with retention issues.
Elishewitz’s signature spoon-shaped pocket clip is tumble finished and reversible on the right side for tip up or tip down carry. Sorry Lefties, no such provision on the opposite flat. The Hogue and Elishewitz logos are nicely laser engraved on the blade and spoon.
My bottom line: I can buy into the “overbuilt” hype. I do not own a folding knife that is this solid. (I have a truckload of folding knives.) I do have issue with Hogue’s shill catcall that, “The EX-01 is an over-engineered tool whose sole purpose is performance.” Bull. Elishewitz designed a very pretty, over-engineered tool. That is dual purpose, I reckon.
With an MSRP of $199.00, I found my EX-01 for $156.00. I find that a great price for a Made in the USA knife that is constructed like a Peterbilt dressed in an AC Cobra’s wardrobe.