Welcome to today's interview, where we have the pleasure of speaking with the knife designer Rob Saniscalchi.
His knives were not just tools but works of art, visually appealing and crafted with precision to ensure outstanding performance and endurance.
Join us as we delve into his creative process, inspirations, and the fascinating journey that has shaped his career.
The first question is from Yue Dong：
From the RSKAOS to the Morel & the Griffin, to the Terminator & Orca, the more I look at your works, the more I am amazed and fascinated by them. Can you share with me how would you define your styles (as a Warhammer 4K fan, I feel Ultramarine will love your knives), and what inspired you to create them?
Rob: This is a good question. I really don't know if I have an as-defined set style. I just make things in a way that feels right to me or that I think the build would want. Some things I prefer like faceted handles with flat tops over radiused handles with small chamfers, why? I couldn't tell you I just know I prefer it that way and like the clean look of it. I think my style is no particular style and more a collection of things I like and things the build wants or needs. Sometimes I want it to look old or distressed, other times I want it to look traditional or futuristic or classy, or any number of variations. I just go with what feels right, they just come out however they come out most of the time.
As for inspiration, it can be anything. Sometimes it's a shape I see, a place I go, or even a song or experience. For example, the Orca was designed on a napkin in the backcountry of Olympic National Park after spending the day with the J and K pod orcas on a whale-watching tour. I was so blown away by them I just felt like I needed to get something on paper asap. From there it evolved into what it is today. Inspiration for me is easy, I love what I do so it's all around when I'm looking for it.
Daniel: Congratulations on the collaboration! I want to start making knives soon, and I want to know what led you to become a full-time knife maker.
Rob: Hey Daniel, firstly thank you very much. As for your question, I would say it's just something I knew I needed to do. I was always into knives as long as I can remember. As soon as I figured out I could steal them from my dad I was hooked. Making them was just inevitable at some point. One day I just tried it and from there I never stopped. It wasn't easy but I stuck with it, ruined a lot of tools and materials but eventually, it all came together. In the beginning, I would take friends' phones at work and share my page with their friends' lists on Facebook just trying to spread my workaround. After about a year and my work steadily improving I decided it was time to quit my regular full-time job and go all out for knives. Everyone I knew thought I was crazy but I always knew I could do it. It was as natural to me to take the leap to full-time as breathing. So I put my 2 weeks in and never looked back.
Matthew: First of all, I am going to buy all your Vosteed collab knives (/crying wallet), those are the coolest knives I have ever seen. I want to know which design is your favorite.
Rob: Hi Matthew, my condolences to your wallet sir, lol. That's a hard one, I'm very indecisive on this topic but if I had to choose only one Vosteed I think it would be the Gator so far. To me, it's just a great all-around knife. I have 2 now and use them every day, it's a useful shape, great size, easy to carry and just look killer. id love to see one with Ultem scales lol wink*Yue.
Charles: Super into your work, they don’t look like anything I’ve owned, and I have hundreds of knives, how do you come up with so many designs?
Rob: Hey Charles, thank you very much! I get asked this a lot and I think it boils down to a few things. I love to make things, it doesn't really matter what it is so long as I can have fun doing it I'll make just about anything. Secondly, I think it's just OCD, I constantly think about knives. How to make them better and design different tools or processes. What tweaks i can make to make it better or I'll see something in daily life that sends me down the rabbit hole of a new design? it's like an obsession in many ways.
Kale: When it comes to steel and handle materials, do you have personal preferences? I’m curious to know what will be a master’s choice, thank you!
Rob: Hi Kale, for me I have many preferences. I guess it depends on the application. big choppers I love a good old-fashioned high carbon like 52100. The folders I prefer are stainless so something like a nitro-v is perfectly fine with me, takes a stupidly sharp edge, and is easy to maintain. if I didn't have such easy access to sharpening then maybe I'd lean more toward a Magnacut or something along those lines. but for me, my go-to is usually nitro-v or aeb-l. I guess I'm a little basic on steel.
For handle materials I like micarta, I like the versatility of it. it can be polished smooth or blasted grippy. Finished flat, satin, or glossy, it works great when combined with other materials or inlaid into titanium and the like. It comes in hundreds of colors, combinations, patterns, and materials from linen to paper or rag and everything in between. it's just all around a good strong material with near limitless application. I'm a big fan.
Santiago: I handled both Griffin and the RSKAOS at the Blade Show, they are AMAZING! I am super stoked about any future collab between you and Vosteed. Yue said you’re his cornerstone partner, and what will be the next knife in line?
Rob: Hello Santiago, thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed checking out the upcoming knives! I want to say the next in line will be the Morel but we have some tweaks to make on that one yet. It may be a fixed blade next, we have quite a few in line as of now so it really all comes down to what the team at Vosteed wants to pull for the next release.
Collective Question from All Vosteed Crew Members:
Hey Rob almost everyone at Vosteed is a fur parent, we want to know if there are any interesting or funny stories you can share about your pets. I’ve seen your dogs and cats on Instagram. They are so adorable! I’d love to hear some memorable moments with them.
Rob: Hi everyone, yes I do love all my fur babies. They all have their own personalities and bring us a lot of joy. My cats are a little special and we got them in a slightly non-traditional way. They are Devon Rex's (aka monkeys in catsuits) so they're a little odd looking which I love but both were bartered for with knives! Nothing like trading knives for cats. Charlie and Angel are their names. We picked up Charlie first in 2015 while down in Atlanta for Blade Show and the next year went back for his sister Angel. She's the only animal I know that has gone on a plane. Trust me holding onto a small cat you only met hours earlier while in airport security is not an easy task but she made the trip just fine in a carrier down by my feet. Charlie had to settle for a 12-hour car ride back home the previous year.
As for the pups we have Stella the Bernese mountain dog and Bowie the golden retriever. They're both over 100lbs and love to wrestle like bears in the house so it can be a bit much sometimes. Bowie goes for a swim in the neighbor's pool almost daily and likes to sit at the swim-up bar like a human waiting on a cocktail. I am not joking. Stella doesn't swim so summer is always a battle with keeping Bowie dry and Stella cool. She very much prefers to hold down the couch and be a more civilized air-conditioned type of dog.