Vosteed Ankylo Pocket Knife review

We use affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

vosteed ankylo 01

REVIEW – Pocket knives are versatile tools, useful for many tasks around the house and yard, whether staying in or heading out and about.  There are many shapes and sizes and styles of knives, which allows everyone to find a knife or three that’s right for them.  In this review, I’m looking at a new knife from Vosteed, the Ankylo, which is currently on Kickstarter.

What is it?

The Vosteed Ankylo is a mid-sized folding pocket knife with a hefty handle, three types of openers, and a button lock with a new locking mechanism.  Vosteed was founded in 2021 and is committed to making great products with their collaborators and users.

What’s included?

vosteed ankylo 02

The following items are included:

  • Vosteed Ankylo pocket knife
  • Tin
  • Nylon carry case with patch
  • Cloth
  • 2 spare ball bearings
  • Spare liner for one side
  • Starting block for the anchor plate
  • Support document

Tech Specs

  • Weight:  4.76 ounces
  • Total length:  7.75 inches
  • Handle:  6061 aluminum alloy
  • Handle color:  Black, green, gray, orange, blue
  • Blade:  Elmax steel
  • Blade length: 3.18 inches
  • Blade grind:  flat
  • Blade style:  reverse tanto (or modified Wharncliffe)
  • Blade finish:  Stonewash (silver or black), satin
  • Openers:  Front and back flippers, thumbhole
  • Lock:  Vanchor button lock
  • Clip:  Non-reversible

Design and features

vosteed ankylo 03

The word “ankylo” is a prefix from Greek that has two different meanings.  One, it can refer to being curved and crooked; two, it can mean stiff or immobile.  I don’t know where Vosteed got the name for this knife, but it’s possible that it came from both of these meanings.  The belly of the knife has more curve to it than many blades, and the knife handle is larger, heftier, and more solid — one might even say chunkier — than any of their other folding knives.  Its design is very ankyloish, to coin a word.

vosteed ankylo 04

Vosteed describes this knife as a “true multitasker,” one that’s good for anything, including opening boxes, doing food prep, and skinning electrical wires.  The most distinctive feature of the Ankylo is its blade.  The style listed on Kickstarter is reverse tanto, though it’s very close to a modified Wharncliffe as well, as these styles are similar.

vosteed ankylo 05

Vosteed graciously sent me two knives to review.  The first has a black handle and a black finish on the blade, giving it an “all business” sort of look.  The pivot collar and the lanyard hole are brass for a bit of flair.  The second has a gray handle and silver finish on the blade, giving it a bit more of a classy look.  In my hands, this knife feels larger and sturdier than many others that have the same length.  It has nearly the same length as Vosteed’s Nightshade, yet the handle is considerably larger; around the pivot, it’s 5/16 of an inch taller.  It’s a big handle that will fit well in big hands.  Knife designs are often a matter of personal taste, and I happen to really like the design of this knife.

Assembly, installation, and setup

vosteed ankylo 06

The Ankylo knives arrived in one of Vosteed’s trademark tins and were stored in a nylon case.  They are ready to go out of the box, and no assembly is required.  The first thing I noticed when opening both knives for the first time is how strong the detent is; these knives are very stiff.  I can feel and even hear the detent as I open and close the blade.  This was completely unexpected, because the other knives that I have reviewed from Vosteed, several Nightshades and a Grind, were nothing like this.  They were just under medium detent and felt silky smooth from day one.  The Ankylos feel rough by comparison, even though they were well-oiled.

vosteed ankylo 07

The samples that Vosteed sent to me are still prototypes, not production-ready; in fact, the word prototype is etched on the blade.  It’s possible that Vosteed will reduce the detent on these knives before sending them out, but maybe they won’t, as some people prefer them stiff.

vosteed ankylo 07a

I used a T6 and a T8 to remove the screws and opened the knife up.  I cleaned everything — not that there was anything to clean — and carefully oiled both ball-bearing rings and the detent ball, once with 3-in-1 oil and once with Dry WD-40 with PTFE.  I worked the knives dozens of times, opening and closing them, try to break the knife in.  I even changed the tension in the screws in the pivot just a smidgeon.  All this work might have helped a little, but not much.  It’s still a very stiff knife.  Sometimes folders are described as being fidgety, but the Ankylo doesn’t fit into that category.

vosteed ankylo 08

There are no less than three different openers on this knife.  There’s a thumbhole in the blade and a perfectly corresponding notch in the handle.  I found that I can backflip it open with my middle finger, but I struggle to flip it up with my thumb, simply because of how tall the handle is, unless I really choke up on it.  Anyone with a larger hand will undoubtedly find this easy.

vosteed ankylo 09

There’s a front flipper that is cut at a 90-degree angle and has jimping on it; it works just as expected.  There also a back flipper, but it’s surprisingly small.  Because of the lack of leverage, it’s harder to use than it should be.  A back flipper is my favorite type of opener, but I don’t like this one.  Personally, I think Vosteed should make up their mind and either have a front or a back flipper, and then do it right.  All three of these openers result in a very satisfying “click” when I snap the blade open with one hand.  Due to the detent, however, I typically find myself opening the knife with two hands.

vosteed ankylo 10

As with all Vosteed knives, I found these blades to be super sharp out of the box.  They were easily able to slice paper, especially when pulling along the fat belly of the blades.  The blades are made from Elmax steel, an alloy known for its edge retention, corrosion resistance, and sharp edges.

vosteed ankylo 11

The handles are made from 6061 aluminum alloy.  On the plus side, aluminum is light weight and weather resistant; on the down side, they conduct heat — keep it out of the sun! — scratch easily, and can be slippery.  Vosteed has added a large, textured pattern on most of the handle to improve the grip, a welcome feature.

vosteed ankylo 12

The most innovative feature of the knife is its new locking mechanism.  It’s a button lock that is contained within the pivot and is known as a Vanchor.  I love the location of this button, as my finger is much less likely to slip hit the button, particularly compared to the one on the Tekto F3 Charlie.

vosteed ankylo 12a

The lock works somewhat similar to a liner lock, but instead of locking in place behind the blade, it locks in a channel in a plate that sits above the pivot.  For a pocket knife, it’s a complex little system.  A magnet helps to hold the lock in place, and the button pushes the liner out of the channel.

vosteed ankylo 13

When I looked very closely at the mechanism on the black Vosteed Ankylo knife, I found a concern.  The part of the liner that sits in the channel is barely in it.  It’s hard to measure this without calipers in there, I know, but by holding up a ruler next to it I would guess that there’s about 0.5 mm of steel in there.  That’s not nearly enough steel to make me comfortable using this knife for anything more challenging than opening an Amazon box.  The gray one seems to be better, but it still appears to be less than 1 mm.  By comparison, the Tekto F3 Charlie has over 2 mm and the Kansept Shikari SBL has over 1.5 mm.

vosteed ankylo 14

I’m sure that designing a new lock mechanism was challenging.  The designer, Yue, talks about some of the challenges on the Kickstarter page saying, “Another problem that I encountered in the first two rounds of prototyping was that I couldn’t create enough clearance depth for the lock to travel. Thanks to my local mechanic friend, I changed the shape of the lock block, and the third prototype finally worked.”  The lock works, but I’m uncertain how safe it is.  To be fair, the lock has not failed on me yet.  (Unlike the QSP Penguin that I recently purchased from Amazon, whose liner lock was completely misaligned, I could force the knife to close simply by pushing hard on the back of the blade. Yikes!)

The Gadgeteer reached out to Vosteed about this issue, and they replied, “The prototype is not fully CNC milled and we manually crafted some parts.”  They sent a diagram showing how they were making some corrections; the diagram included a note that said, “Compared to the prototype, the angle of the slope is further increased on the production version.  The lock block will go into around ½ of the blade.”  It sounds like they are aware of this problem, and I expect Vosteed will address and resolve it before production.

vosteed ankylo 15

There’s no play in the knife when locked.  There’s a lot of jimping on the back of the blade, so I can choke up on it, as well as jimping on both flippers.  The corners are all chamfered to increase comfort in the hand.  Vosteed certainly paid attention to a lot of details.

vosteed ankylo 16

What I like about the Vosteed Ankylo knife

  • Solid, hefty design
  • Sharp blade
  • Comfortable grip

What needs to be improved

  • Increase size of back flipper
  • Fix the lock issue

Final thoughts

vosteed ankylo 17

Vosteed is known for making good knives, and the Ankylo is their first foray into a larger, stockier knife.  With its Elmax steel and aluminum handle, it should be able to take a beating on tougher jobs.  The unknown is the new locking mechanism.  While it looks pretty cool, one of the prototypes that Vosteed sent me doesn’t have enough steel in the locked position to be safe.  Until I see a production version where they fix the problem, I can’t really recommend this knife.  If you’re willing to take a bit of a risk, head over to their Kickstarter page and pre-order one now!

Price:  $159 pledge on Kickstarter
Where to buyKickstarter
Source: The sample for this review was provided free of charge by Vosteed.  Vosteed did not have a final say on the review and did not preview the review before it was published.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *