An old favorite has finally returned at A.G. Russell Knives: the Sunfish Lockback. On the surface the Sunfish is a straightforward interpretation of a traditional pattern, but it sports some pretty interesting knife tech under the hood.
The Sunfish pattern is also sometimes called the Elephant Toe. In either case the nomenclature is derived from its resemblance to a real life sunfish or a real life elephant’s toe: big, round, and stout. Sunfish knives are in that somewhat narrow class of “hard use” traditionals, packing wide blades and chunky handles. The late Russell’s version came about as a pseudo-sequel to a 2010 knife called the Texas Ranger. That knife had an even bigger handle; Russell wanted his Sunfish to have smaller handle dimensions than the Ranger, but the same mid-size blade length (3.125 inches). Russell worked alongside his engineer Phil Gibbs to find a way to make this happen.
Their solution was the Interrupted Lockbar Pivot System, a patent pending invention. On the exterior, it functions just like a standard lock back, with the locking spring moving on what appears to be a single central pivot pin. However, the ILPS actually has two pins, one on each side of the lock bar; this allows the bar itself to have a channel cut into it that the blade folds down into when closed. By burying that blade deeper in the handle, it can have an equivalent length without necessitating a bigger profile.
Being an A.G. Russel traditional, the Sunfish’s modern conveniences don’t stop with the ILPS. It has a deep, trapezoidal nail groove that can function like the two-hand crescent nail marks of yore, but also easily work as a thumb hole for one-hand opening. Instead of 1095 or the like, the blade steel is 8Cr13MoV – a stainless that’s not winning any awards in terms of performance, but still an adequate EDC choice. Handle options include modern syntethics (Delrin, carbon fiber, G-10), and smooth white or stag bone options.
The A.G. Russell Sunfish is available now. Its reappearance also coincided with the restock of A.G. Russell’s most famous knife, the FeatherLite One-Hand Knife.
Knife in Featured Image: A.G. Russell Sunfish Lockback