I first met Jeff Freeman at the Blade Show in Atlanta in 2017. I had seen some of his knives on the internet and looked at his website and was intrigued by his designs. Here at Lantac Knives I am always looking for the next great undiscovered maker or brand that brings an outstanding quality product at a decent price. I contacted Jeff and told him that I would be at the Blade Show in June and might be interested in picking up his knives for my website. He was interested and I told him I would come by and we left it at that.
I decided when I got to the show to go by his table and look at his knives, handle them, look at fit finish quality etc. without telling him who I was. If I did not think the knives were up to par I would just pass on them. When I picked up the first 451 button lock folder and flipped it and looked at the quality, I was blown away. There are allot of flipper style knives out there made by some very well known names, these are in a class by themselves. I proceeded to look at the fixed blades, the grinds, balance and ergonomics and was again blown away. I introduced myself to Jeff and we talked a bit about his background, my background and how he made his knives. We have a bit in common both coming from an engineering background and having been firefighters also. Jeff was in the military and then a wildland firefighter in Oregon, that is were the 451 comes from in the name of his knives. That was his crew’s call sign. He then went to work for Gerber and ended up the lead design engineer for them for a number of years. I basically bought him out at the Blade Show on the spot. That was the start of a relationship where I became a dealer for his knives. I have sold many and everyone that gets one is very happy with it.
Jeff left Gerber and now designs and builds his own knives at his own shop. He designs his knives using a solid modeling software that I am familiar with and I know it’s capabilities. It is amazing what all you can do with it. He is also a master machinist and his shop is equipped with the latest in CNC machinery. Jeff builds his knives using CNC machinery for every task he can. This equals extremely tight tolerances, details and fit finish. The grinds are precise and equal on both sides, the button lock is smooth and locks vault tight. The blade is running on caged bearings and swings free when the lock is depressed. You can flip these effortlessly, or simply depress the lock and flick you wrist and the knife is open. Jeff builds the 451 folder with an aluminum chassis or a titanium chassis with blades of D2 or S35VN steel. He has a G-10 insert in one side of the handle available in various colors which the user can change. I have been working with Jeff to bring some new Ti handles out that I should have very soon. They will be a Ti handle with no insert, Ti handle with a Freeman Logo engraved, Ti handle with a Lantac Knives logo engraved and a Ti handle with a Crusader Cross engraved. These are going to be very cool.
On a personal note about Jeff’s blades he does his own heat treatment and has it down to a science. My son has been carrying one of the D2 blades for over a year. I think we have only touched up the edge once and the thing still shaving sharp. The D2 blades take quite an edge and hold it very well.
A word on Freeman’s fixed blades is that they are awesome. They exhibit the same level of precision and quality with an excellent design and balance. Jeff’s background as a designer, firefighter and machinist have taught him what really works and how to build one hell of a fine knife.