Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V

Posted by CliffStamp 
R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 10:50AM
R. J. Martin Modulator :



-S110V, R. J. usually lists them as 61/62 but has run it at 63 as well

Webpage : [rjmartinknives.com]

Not a lot of use videos, most are just lookys :


and flippers :

There is some commentary but mainly a fit/finish/action type of thing :

I should have it in a couple of weeks.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 12:55PM
R. J. is an interesting knifemaker. A little bit of history :

Les Robertson was one of the first to push R. J. on the forums/internets at the expense of Phil Hartsfield (who was scandi-ing before the word was used). Les would often use Phil's work to promote R. J.'s but putting them side by side on tables/shows as Phil's reputation was already established and Les would challenge people not to say that R. J. was doing much better work (fit and finish wise only, no one would argue Phil's performance - this was early internet back in the days when people said forging "compacted" steel and similar).

R. J. did however quickly develop a reputation for :

-extreme sharpness

By extreme I mean that people who themselves were known to discriminate would often say that his knives were the sharpest they had seen. At that time though R. J. was doing a lot of single-chisel bevel grinds so the included angles were very low so he had an advantage over many other knives in comparison and he was also using a much lower carbide steel (frequently A2). I was tempted many times to get one, but really have no use for such knives. He eventually started making folders and quickly developed a reputation there.

R. J. never had the background promotion of :

-sniper - uber/operator

His knives sold simply because of the finish, level of customer support and simple artistic flair, though it was rare to find anyone complain about performance - but it was also rare to find anyone talk about performance as they didn't use them commonly either.

I am curious about the steel mainly, but also wished to own one of his knives to support the maker as he is one of the few who makes knives from a metallurgical background and doesn't have a huge hype engine pushing his product.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 02:18PM
It looks well made, the steel is interesting and it has a gentleman's knife look to it that I like, but man this looks like soooo many other knives on the market now.

I would really like to see some new designs that aren't tacticool. At the risk of sounding like a shill, cKc knives is one of the few, new, makers that is coming out with distinctive looking knives.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 02:56PM
How does this fit in with you're opinion of frame/liner locks?
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 03:50PM
How does this fit in with you're opinion of frame/liner locks?

This is one of the areas where production knives easily dominate custom knives which do not have access to lock designs beyond basic liners and lock backs. Yes I would like to have this in a compression lock but you either have an R. J. Martin in an integral or you don't have one.

Although it's sad that many of them are not really bieng used

It is just the nature of the market when the price is at that level. At some point you stop paying for the knife and you are paying for nothing more than the name, which was a large part of why I wanted this as noted, I wanted a knife from R. J. Martin. This is more of the look/design I wanted :

However if I was going to get one then I was going to get a S110V blade as well for interest in that steel as how R. J. hardens it.

I would really like to see some new designs that aren't tacticool.

R. J. always was a tactical based knifemaker, it is just the market he chose to work in, there are lots of makers that didn't of course, but the market used to be heavily tactical, even know it is so dominant but both the conception of the maker and the aesthetics of the knife to a huge extent. How else can you explain why people like Medford can be so extremely costly and in demand but yet you can't even have a discussion about performance without the channel being closed down and comment locked. If the products worked and there was no issue of it then you would just say it and move on.

P. J. Tomes does nice non-tactical work :

and uses nice steels, 12C27 long before it was cool to do so back when people thought it was "basically cheap 440A" .
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 06:40PM
New folder designs :

Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 08, 2013 08:45PM
Gavko made a real good design using the spacer and the pin to hold the blade in place.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 09, 2013 06:47AM
The interesting thing about Mike is how he has become successful when he has basically violated all of the standard marketing :

-doesn't over promote his knives, just demonstrates them
-doesn't make up metallurgical jabber
-no operator background (he is actually a tradesman and states it openly)
-doesn't try to ride the operator background of others (ninja's use my knives, ...)
-no claim about massive experience, perfection etc. (he openly talks about mistakes, issues, ...)
-no hesitation about having his knives used

One of the things I am curious about is how much does his niceness / personable nature attribute to his success as no offense to his knives as they do work well and it is obvious he is serious about knife performance and the above folder video shows that - but if you interact with him even a little it is almost impossible not to just like the guy.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 09, 2013 07:39AM
He came along at a very interesting time when pimping was the big YT thing. It still is but a lot of bigger "reviewer" channels started to talk about it and show off some very skillfully done pieces.
All of a sudden you had a kid (ok he is around my age but compared to most people he is still a very young guy) that had the testing and performance like Kyley and yet unusual designs that often had that pimped out look.

Just one spark like that is enough to get people interested. And now there are those who rag on him for lack of operatorness (is that a word?) but he is honest and openly says that there is room for improvement. That is the very refreshing.
Another aspect is that he has fun. It's natural and he enjoys it. Sometimes it's hard to see how much people like knives. Just look at yourself Cliff or Kyley as examples. You wouldn't be doing everything you do if you didn't enjoy it but it's not always the easiest thing to notice.
Gav on the other hand is like a 3 year old on a ice cream treasure hunt in a cardboard fortress.

As for the lack of tacticool knives, hell if he needs it I'll get him in touch with quite a few of former spec ops and tech ops guys. At least one of whom was a scout sniper
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 12, 2013 05:20PM
Some more shots :


I don't have this yet but a friend does, it is 0.011 to 0.015" (max) at the edge so it is definitely a knife.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 15, 2013 04:17PM
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 29, 2013 09:24AM
This is a less technical question, but it is something that has been bothering me a bit since I had mentioned that this knife looks like so many others and Kyley replied...

I don't know if it looks like a lot if knives, or perhaps a lot of knives look like it.

If you have several knives to choose from that look very similar, and they perform at generally the same level, but one was more-or-less the original design, would you prefer that knife over the rest?

I'm having a hard time describing what I'm getting at...

I guess I'm asking if you care if the knife is an original or a copy. Are you willing to pay extra for an original if they are the same otherwise?

I've asked myself this and the answer is... yes, most of the time I would be willing to pay extra for an original design over a knockoff or similar knife. How much extra is going to subjective and based on several aspects, but in general the answer would be yes.

So... is RJ Martin the designer of what I would call the modern folder? One that looks like, well this RJ Martin?

Chumgeyser on Youtube
E-nep throwing Brotherhood. Charter Member
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 01, 2013 06:40AM
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 01, 2013 02:00PM
What makes the design of the Modulator specifically tactical? Aside from a very stupid sounding name, it appears to be a practical and efficient folder. Is tactical being used as an actual description (well designed for combat, fighting and killing) or is it bullshit marketing applied to an exceptional product?

I assume the following details make the design tactical: drop point, recurve, high hollow grind, flipper, integral lock, thumb ramp, secure reverse grip.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 01, 2013 03:03PM
Its probably has the second fastest way of opening a folding knife, which is the most important part of having to use a knife in a fighting manner.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 01, 2013 04:06PM
What makes the design of the Modulator specifically tactical?

That is a question people have been asking since knives used the label because anything you can think of to attach to it is found on knives which are not labeled, designed or marketed as tactical. A few tactical aspects of knives :

-wave opener, for extreme rapid response

But this could easily be argued to be equally useful for emergency duty.

-high strength locks, Spyderco for example has a specific CQC rating

Again this could easily be argued to be for heavy utility.

But the argument could at least be made in some respect for those aspects, however :

-one handed
-integral lock

I don't see any of those inherent as tactical.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 02, 2013 05:21AM
In knives tactical refers to the adjective definition which is basically being used in actual (military) combat, it is an adjective applied to the objects used in war thus there are tactical clothing, vehicles, guns/scopes, knives, which would all be different than non-combat versions. As an obvious example some tactical knives will have :

-nonreflective blades
-no markings or place of origin

In the cutlery industry while in the beginning it likely had some actual meaning as people were making knives under various military specifications and for actual military personnel on request once it became a sought after label and people started asking for it "do you make tactical knives" then makers/manufacturers just adopted it to catch that market.

It is no different than "custom", at one point it matched the actual definition of the word, but it has degenerated into a marketing label and now is no different than saying things like "blazing hot wings", this is used even when the wings are not actually as hot as open flame obviously, it is just a label used to get attention.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 09, 2013 07:07PM
Some shots of the internals :

Even when all the screws are fully removed the knife is actually perfectly functional and you can use it with just a little lateral play :

I would not recommend doing it for obvious reasons, but it is a interesting example of precision of build.

These are the roller thrust bearings. A curious thing happens if you really loosen up the pivot because those housings will come out of the milled surfaces in the handles and they start to rotate around and you get the friction of them instead of the actually cylindrical bearings when the pivot is fully tightened.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
July 14, 2013 09:24AM
I spoke to R. J. to confirm, there are blind pins which hold in the backspacer, however the disassembly as intended allows the blade to be removed and the pivot cleaned, though it isn't trivial to get the bearings back into place.
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
March 07, 2015 02:22PM
Re: R. J. Martin Modulator - S110V
June 06, 2016 12:47AM
I have one knife of his, the 10.5" RJ Martin Blackbird from the "Vanguard" series he did in the early 2000s.

It is the best made and the best designed survival knife I have ever seen or owned. Unfortunately, the edge bevel base is 0.040", which places it much below my Colin Cox or Randall in usefulness, both being around 0.020", and one of my Liles being 0.030".

The problem is made worse by the hollow grind and peculiar compound curve plunge line, which puts thinning the edge out of the range of most professional sharpeners (without huge cosmetic revisions at least).

Because it is a hollow grind, the edge does not thicken as the blade sinks into the wood, so at 30 ounces the chopping performance is pretty spectacular, over double that of a San Mai III convex edge Trailmaster... Slicing suffers more from edge thickness than chopping does... The effort required for wood-slicing tasks, however, is generally not to be under-estimated on all knives...

I mitigated this edge thickness flaw with large tall bevels, over 1/8" in height, bringing the angle down to something well under 15 per side. It took dozens of major sessions to finally get there. The bevels are very tall, but still look good.

Another serious initial problem with this knife is that, despite the thicker initial angle, its edge made slight wire edges chopping on Maple in less than a few chops (it was possible to choose a chopping "spot" on the blade, and the wire edge would instantly appear in that area) , while other thinner knives went on without such damage in the same wood (Lile, Randall, Cox).

I initially attributed this poor showing to the S30V steel, but after a few dozen heavy sharpenings done by hand, with the angle now much lower and the bevel much higher, it appears enough of the initial steel has been removed, and the strong tendency to do wire edges has completely disappeared. Edge holding is now quite good. I consider this knife "fixed", but it needed quite a layer of steel to be removed for what seems to me like correct edge-holding performance.

The knife has a very interesting satin finish, with very regular, sophisticated "washed out" heavy grind lines that makes scratches very easy to erase by running 600 grit sandpaper parallel to the more major grind lines. It is a remarkable effect that totally erases visible scratches, as they get lost in the taller more deeply-set "peaks". I have actually never seen such a finishing effect before, limited here to the knife's hollow grind, but I would not be able to demonstrate its appearance with photos.

I still prefer the thinner edge of my Colin Cox, my favourite knife, but I would have to say the RJ is objectively the most remarkable knife I have ever owned, both in design and precision of execution.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/06/2016 12:48AM by Gaston444.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login