Review: Landi RSK

I ordered a RSK from custom knifemaker John Landi – and it’s just arrived. From his website @

RSK specifications: This knife came out of my Kinzua model. In November 2009, I ground off the thumb ramp on a Kinzua, and liked it! I then decided to have the blank jet out with a cavity in the center so it could be easily cord wrapped. The RSK acronym stands for “reserve survival knife”, similar to the PSK concept. I liked the way RSK sounded and wanted to differentiate slightly from the PSK. I am also having handle scales milled-out to fit into the cavity and lock into place and be contoured on the other. They should be ready in August 2010 and will be interchangeable. Leather sheaths will also be available to fit the blank when it has scales mounted to it. The knife is ground be hand, by me, and finished to medium scotch-brite. The primary bevel is ground full flat with a convexed secondary bevel.

Measurements: OAL: 7-5/8″. Cutting edge: 3-3/8″. Stock: 1/8″.

Finishing: These A2 knives (I am loving A2) are heat treated, cryogenically treated, triple tempered, and tested to guaranteed Rc of 59-61 by Peters of Meadville, PA.

Other Details: The knife weighs 2.5 ounces wrapped with lanyard, and 3.5 with sheath. There is approximately 7 feet of 550 para-cord used in wrapping each knife.

All Landi knives are what he calls mid-tech, which I understand means that the blanks are CNC cut, and then personally finished by the maker. All his knives are produced this way and in batches, which allows him to achieve some kind of production scale and keep prices affordable for peasants like me. I am also to understand that he soon intends to rename this model, since another maker has already taken the RSK name. I’ll update as I find out.

On to some pictures!

Row 1: Size comparisons with an ESEE 4, iPhone4 in Otterbox Defender, Spyderco Tenacious
Row 2: Fit and Finish on the sheath vs on the ESEE 4
Row 3: Some closeups on the blade to show the grind. There are some strange markings and scratches on the blade.
Row 4: Some shots in hand.

I had some gripes initially, but all of my blades are users – so I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it my own.
1. The sheath had some awkward corners, so I put it to sandpaper.
2. The sheath wouldn’t retain very well, so i heated the mouth of it and clamped it together for a little more security.
3. I’m starting to have doubts on my choice of paracord wrap. Let’s see if John will sell me some black canvas micarta scales. ;-)
4. Maybe custom kydex to accommodate the scaled blade. I’m pretty sure the current sheath is scratching the blade… see pics in hand.
5. The choil area was sharp, and a potential hotspot. I took a fine stone to the corners. I can hardly see the effect on the choil, but I can certainly feel the difference!

Some closing thoughts. For the price, this is a brilliant fixed blade and I can see it living up to its given Reserve Survival Knife name. The shape is just perfect. Fits my hand well, its even got some extra tang length and I can beat with it. It’s light and thin, and you wouldn’t notice you’re carrying it until you need it. This can be a good or bad thing. I can’t say I trust the retention of the sheath and I may not notice if its gone missing! The knife did not arrive ready for safe-queen duty. If its gonna be a user, then you won’t have a problem with some pre-love love.

Lastly, the more I look at the sheathed profile, the more I’m thinking… Hey John, how about a Reserve Survival Chopper? RSC. Sounds catchy.

2 thoughts on “Review: Landi RSK

  1. Sean

    I have one too thats ive put a thin micarta handle on, I was very disappointed at first, mine had a horrible grind, very uneven and actually not all the way to the tip on one side, really the worst ive ever seen, if I didnt have a dedicated grinder I would have sent it back but as is I did my own edge. the steel and heat treat seem good, the sheath doesnt hold the knife at all even after fixing, I wouldnt suggest buying one to anyone else unless you can work on knives yourself and really want the shape and steel.

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