Mike Lamprey


Status: Part-time maker

Gallery: View Mike Lamprey's gallery here


I made my first knife on board HMS Defender in the 1960s in the Far East. A piece of gaugeplate (O1) was filed and hand rubbed into shape and a Chinese blacksmith in Singapore Dockyard hardened and tempered it in exchange for some duty-free cigarettes. The reason was that a £30 Solingen knife (a fortune in those days) had snapped at the ricasso and the retailer had refused to replace it. So I tried to do better!

Off and on I have never stopped making knives since. Fixed blades eventually gave way to folders, inspired mainly by Bob Terzuola's titanium framed liner locks. Finding that the liner lock could jam up with sand or debris behind the spring, I began making frame-locks instead and started, bit by bit, to introduce my own design ideas. This gave rise to the so-called 'flipper' (Darryl Ralph's name for it) in which quillons were added to the blade and the open stop stud was moved from the frame to the blade.

That design prompted Darryl to develop the HRT for Smith and Wesson, and also to incorporate similar designs into his 'Mad Max' series.

I put my framelock manufacture on hold in 2005 to concentrate on two lock designs. The first was an assisted opener, aimed mainly at the overseas market as knife laws in UK had become increasingly draconian. This, unlike the HRT, was an unmitigated disaster. My lock design, complete with the name I thought up for it, magically appeared advertised in 'Tactical Knives' within three months.

Inventors beware!

Patents are useless in the face of fat cat lawyers...

My second design is about to appear as the first batch nears completion. This compact lock requires considerably more machine shop tooling than the frame-lock. It is much more robust, the lock being virtually unbreakable without massive force. It does not depend on a spring for operation, it is instead purely manual.

It comes in two sizes: the Lamprey 75 and Lamprey 100 (the blade lengths in millimetres).
It has a very strong phosphor bronze pivot bearing, which prevents the blade from contact with the 9mm pivot pin.

All my blades are now convex-ground, a change which experiment and experience have shown to be unbeatable for combined edge-holding and strength. The pocket clip too has been abandoned in favour of a more practical bunjee cord wrist lanyard.

I shall soon start making a limited number of fixed-blade again. These will be 'Saltwater Knives' with Kydex sheaths; they will have 100mm blades and be of integral design. The steel will probably be S30V.