The appeal of the Basilisk appearance first came from when I had built my first Knifekits Typhoon kit with the blue/black G10 inlays in 2003. I had put three weeks of hand labor to shape the G10 and used just sandpaper to finish the knife. I had a great appreciation for dual colored G10 material, and the look of it was simply stunning. When thoughts came up to make my own balisong, I knew that I wanted the handle overlays to be entirely made out of G10.
Typhoon handles after 2000 grit sandpaper polishing:
Mechanical inspiration came from my Microtech balisongs. I was extremely impressed by the construction and engineering of the Microtech Tachyon balisong. It has been said that the Tachyon-- a production knife, has less play than even some custom knives. It's unfortunate that this knife as well as the less-popular Dragonfly were discontinued.
In August 2006, I had decided that I had wanted to take a stab at designing my own balisong. I had taken many popular design elements such as, a thick beefy blade, a recurve bowie blade, 5" round handles, grippy dual colored G10, and the bushing system and tied them together into an affordable knife. I want the Basilisk to be within reach for the enthusiastic balisong flipper who cannot quite afford a $600 masterpiece, but would still like a very nice knife that stands out.
First drawing from August 06:
Preliminary 3D model Late 06
The Basilisk went through many iterations of design, and there were many changes along the way. Blademakers had changed, as did the makers of many Basilisk components. Rob Dalton was originally the maker of just the G10 handles, but eventually took an interest in this project and now produces almost all of the Basilisk components. Materials and smaller fasteners are from CKK industries and a few other US based manufacturers. There is not a single Basilisk component that is outsourced from a foreign country.
There were a few non-functioning prototypes that had components from the previous blademaker, and hand radiused "pistachio" G10 handles from a sheet that was accidentally thrown into my green/black G10 batch. I had first announced on bladeforums.com that I was conjuring up a balisong project involving G10 handles. There are pictures floating around the web of this early preliminary assembly of parts.
The first fully functional Basilisk prototype had came about in April of 2007. Problems with having the CNC radius the G10 handles had came up, but I was awfully thrilled about having a complete knife prototype. I had redesigned the blade from scratch with a new aggressive profile, and more defined horns. Rob Dalton was able to translate my design into a blade, exactly as I wanted it.
Prototype #1, assembled:
I often show Prototype #1 with the previous pistachio handles because they look cooler than these flat handles.
Rob and I were trying to come up with ideas regarding what could be done to round those handles, because after all, what's the point of dual colored G10 if you can only see one color!
Prototype #2 was then shipped with a blade grind, bead blast, and new handles. Rob had tried to see what the CNC was capable of to try to give the handles more shape.
While this was a definite improvement, it was still not where I wanted it to be.
The balisong community loved the Tachyon, but disliked the flat, squarish handles. I knew I had to try to find a way to round the handles, as one of the best attributes of the Benchmade 4x balisong series are the comfortable round handles.
I was told by Rob that the handles were just simply too small and too thin to be done by his CNC machines, and the only way to get them rounded were to be for him to sit there by hand and radius each individual handle on the sander.
I asked him how much in addition it would cost me, his response was "You're not going to wanna pay me what I'm asking".
Well, I did. You can call this part of the reason why I'm making these knives almost without profit.
Prototype #3 then arrived with rounded handles, a number stamp, a full grind, and a fully functional bushing system. The knife was easy to handle, and was shortly send to Duane Weikum of EDC knives for Bladeshow. I was told that a gentleman had offered to buy it on the spot, but this beautiful prototype was not for sale!
Prototype #3, "prototype blade #106"
The handles for this knife were standard green/black G10, and did not show the layers, so there were definitely more surprises for the final production knife.
June 2007 was the big month. The parts arrived from Dalton Combat, all wrapped up:
The G10 sure did not look like much coming out of of the packaging..
But thanks to Darrel Ralph's advice on using a bit of tire shine.. the G10 came to life:
The first batch of Basilisk blades, these knives all had owners before they were even assembled.
And finally, complete.