Got something to say about me or my knives and want to tell the rest of the world? Send it to me and I'll post it up here.
Bernd from Germany:
Today I got my first American Kami, a small fixed-blade knife that fully conforms to the German weapons law: It’s called “short MRZ-T”; DJ has shortened a standard MRZ-T as I had asked for – the result is a 3-finger-knife that fits into the front pocket of my pants.
I love this knife. Although it is relatively small, it appears “full-grown” due to its broad blade.
Concerning the maker: This knife demonstrates that DJ Urbanovsky really knows his job. What I already knew before: DJ is finally an American knifemaker who (a) still accepts orders, (b) accepts customers “special requests” in a very willing and committed way, (c) has a reasonable price / performance ratio, and (d) communicates pretty well, that is: he answers e-mails promptly and in detail, even “offtopic” is not an issue.
And before I forget it: For an American knifemaker, his lead times are sensationally short. For my modified MRZ-T, I had to wait just two months. The second knife I have ordered (a Buru Hitsu) will surely take longer, but for sure not as long as another fixed that I ordered from one of his colleagues about one year ago and whose completion is still not in sight."
The knife came on Sat. I LOVE it! The blade is wicked and I love the grind. You do some very BADASS work my friend. The little "waves" on the back of the handle are perfect! It feels great in a reverse grip and I feel like I have a ton of control over the knife.
I received my knife on Saturday and am more that pleased. I own several other brands of knifes (Busse, SwampRat, Strider, Spyderco, MercWorx, SOG, ColdSteel, etc.) and this knife feels better than any of those. I know I exchanged a couple of knifes before I found the right one. I appreciate you working with me. Thanks a lot DJ.
Just dropping you a note that I got the knife today and it’s fantastic. I gotta say you’re one of my favorite makers simply because you manage to do all of the following things:
A) your work is technically fantastic
When you start to do folders, balis, and whatever – I feel sorry for the other guy.
I had a friend of mine, G.G., order your first Spontoon for me. I still have your email informing him that mine is the first one that was made and heat treated correctly.
Got my knife.
This thing is F%@#ing sick! I love it. I'd stay and chat but I've got a slick new blade to put to work. It's awesome... even better than I had imagined. Thanks a million!
Hey D, I Got It. I Love It. You Da Man!! I Will Be Back Bro!!
Got it a few minutes ago. Awesome blade! Nice weight, great finish, scales are perfect, etc, etc. Great job all around! Nice chunky chopping edge too! She's a mean biatch who might get used to scare the dreggs away from my alley again....LOL One flash of her and they'll hi tail it right outta there.
You, my friend, are the MAN!!! She is much more beautiful in the hand than in the pics. I will love her and cherish her and make her happy. I promise. No bullshit dude. I am very happy that I contacted you and had you make my first custom. You are without a doubt the most personable custom maker that I have talked to. I attempted to contact a couple of others, but did not meet the same friendliness and enthusiasm that I did with you. So, thank you. That made the whole process worth the wait. I have definitely found a custom home. I will always compare this experience with others in the future. Thanks again.
Special Forces Soldier S:
I'm sitting here stroking the most beautiful work of art I've ever owned. It was definitely worth the wait and I'm sure it'll be a loyal companion in the days and months to come. Once again, thanks for all of your hard work and dedication to getting the job done.
I own a MRZ-T it's a beauty feels good in your hand (nicely weighted) and it's just the right size.
The sheath I would like to see have a kydex clip included on it so you can simply hook it onto a pant or belt. Too many knife makers assume we all wear belts, you guys may but I'm a gal and I wear em sometimes but need something more convenient.
I have a T necker and a ECT on order and have been patiently awaiting their arrival, Not quite sure when the stork is gonna arrive with them, but I'll leave some milk and cookies out for him, opps that's not right. Whatever!! patience is a virtue and these knives are worth the wait. I am looking forward to your folders D.. MAKE THEM SOON!! I know they will be cool.
I have nothing but praise for your operation & product, high quality at very fair prices, a really good practical knife, tough as old boots & built to survive! I've seen plenty of 'Tactical' knives, many worse, but very few better than yours. A product you can count on. I didn’t know when I ordered my knife what I was going to get, but I was prepared to take the chance & I'm very glad I did. Let's be honest, what has an Emerson (for instance) got that your knives haven’t? Apart from the 4 figure price tag, exotic steels & the biiig advertsing campaigns, NOT MUCH! You certainly deserve a wider audience.
Package arrived, safe and sound. The KNIFE is very cool, unbelievable, incredible!! I am BLOWN AWAY by how cool it is! I was anxious to see how it would look and I was totally stoked!! You did a great job! Nice job on the serrations and the grinds. And the holes line up perfectly for my small Tek-Lok, no matter which position I put it in. You are incredible about remembering and doing all the details we originally spoke/agreed about (to be very honest, I was half-way expecting something small to be forgotten, because almost every time I have had a project done, something is usually left out, accidently).
For me, it was a tough wait, but well worth it!
All the things you mentioned that you DO when it comes to "details" is what sets you apart from the next tier level down of knife makers. You ARE the MAN!
Thanks again for your incredible work. You ARE what customer service is ALL ABOUT. I will be more than glad to tell/show folks and point them in your direction.
American Kami Products I own:
Blade – Very balanced design. Blade down-turn puts the cutting edge below grip placement, so hand is well protected and more force is applied to the blade. K-Bit’s started out as Pakistani utility knives, but evolved into more of a martial arts orientation. DJ’s add’s back strength to the blade without sacrificing it’s usefulness.
Slabs – G10 material. Handle fits my hand perfectly, like it was made for it. With the small finger placed in the pommel ring, the remainder of my grip fits flush to the guard and my thumb fits the indent on the blade side. Could not ask for better. Handle ergonomics makes for quick and positive retrieval. The divots in the handles creates a strong/friction bond to the hand.
Construction – Excellent. This is a prototype, so would have expected some flaws.
Overall Look – DJ’s work always has that artistic flare and well-conceived design to it. I have tried to re-engineer it and think that possibly a longer blade might be nice (see black handled K-BIT on website, DJ appears to have thought of that as well).
Usefulness - I carry it with me for camping, replacing my previous camp knife, as it is lighter, yet just as strong. Makes quick work of getting kindling, etc... But the reason I bought the K-Bit, as well as it's intended use, is for personal security. Praise the Lord, have never had to use it in that roll. Knife and sheath fit comfortably in the back pocket of my jeans. Throw my cord jacket or P-coat on and you'd never know it was there.
Sheath - . The Kydex sheath seems to be grown to it, as snug as it is to the blade. Also with all of the access points, etc.., makes for quick lashing to my backpack as well.
Downsides - None really. Has gotten scuffed, used in mud and water environ’s. With a little attention and oil, still looks pretty new. It is 1095 steel, so it will rust if you don’t pay attention to PM, but a small price to pay for the edge retention and strength of the blade.
Blade – great shape and very useful. There is a small indent just for your thumb, DJ seems to put a lot of attention to detail into his designs. This locks the blade to your hand very well, which is not easy to do on such a small knife.
Slabs – Found the G10 slabs worked well between my index finger and thumb, with my main finger on the back of the blade. This is one blade I think needs the extra heft of the G10 slabs.
Construction – Fit and finish are exemplary. Small, yet very solid. Not a flaw on it anywhere. Proud to show it off to friends and family.
Overall Look – Perfect. You have got to see one to understand. I didn’t realize it was so small until I got it in the mail. But got over that real quick once I started working with it. In this day and age of everyone having large tactical knives, I think this one rethinks that social theory.
Usefulness – Loved this little blade, very useful, easy to carry. Created woven paracord binding to hang from around neck. Worked great until a bro of mine saw it. Gave it to him as a Christmas gift (we grew up together, rock-climbing , flying, etc..), he didn't go for the can of spam instead. :>) Now he’s not such a good bro, just kidding! He now uses it for his daily pocket knife in construction and won’t leave it laying around for me to find! This is one knife I would own a 2nd one of.
Actually, another very useful knife for defense. Is benign-looking enough (actually is very artistic and custom, gives positive vibes to people) that no-one would question it as a pocket or pen knife, but at 1/4" thick, and sharp as anything, can punch nice little holes when placed between the 2nd and 3rd fingers of my closed fist.
Sheath – Kydex. Great material. Fits very snugly around the blade/handle. Almost too much as the blade cuts into the sheath on re-insertion. I had thought the sheath could have been reduced in size to remove the excess material on the riveted side, which for a necker would make the package smaller yet.
Downsides – none, except I no longer own one!
Interactions with DJ:
I researched each vendor listed in that book, as well as other’s I had found out in my searches online. DJ responded instantly to my questions, concerns, etc.. Very impressive customer service. He also very knowledgeable in his craft, didn’t try to snow me, etc…
I liked the concept of the chisel-edged blade, being that I do a lot of woodwork. It makes for a sharp, yet strong blade. I was concerned the ¼” blades with that steep of a profile would not work for filleting or skinning. Probably not a good choice for a fishing trip, but then again, your not going to bend or break this blade.
I then placed a 2nd order for a ‘Hawk, but not just any tomahawk. I asked for specific blade geometry (DJ will work with you as long as it does not compromise his designs or construction. He’s adamant about his blades not failing in the field). Additional requests were for G10 color (green/black), crusher or pommel shape, hardware type (satin). He accommodated them all. Lastly, the blade changed from a Type 4 shape, to a Spontoon (check out the last entry on the Axe page), back to a Bearded (wife said one is enough, could not have a new ‘Hawk and Bearded at the same time. Kid’s have got to eat!). Once DJ started offering the serrations work on the blades, I added that request as well.
You see, I said I was a pain-in-the-ass customer, and ‘now you know the rest of the story’. My Bearded is one of the 3 on the current Bench page. By the way, the Bench page is one of the best features of the website. Brings the customer back each week to see what has transpired and correspond with DJ on current blades, etc…. Speaking of the Bench page, that one ‘Hawk, top left, in the 3rd photo has a real interesting shape? Too bad, steel’s cut. :<(