Lone Wolf Harsey T2: A Lament

Several years ago (early 2006) I was in a gunshop when I noticed, languishing under dust in a mostly obscured display case, several knives. Most of them were cheap and overpriced, but there was one that caught my eye. A very lightly used Lone Wolf Harsey T2 Ranger, plain edge with camouflage scales. The scales showed some slight wear, as did the pocket clip, but the blade retained a shaving sharp factory edge and showed no use. It lacked a price tag, and looking at the $100 prices on the Smith & Wesson (Taylor Cutlery) folders in the case, I almost didn’t ask. Chancing it, expecting disappointment, I went ahead. The clerk looked at it, and said “I h’ain’t heard uh these Lone Wolfs knifes… That uglied up han’le looks cheap. These Smiff’s are much better knifes. But, if you really want it, this’un is $50.”
I had wanted a T2 for awhile at that point, but never gotten around to justifying spending the money for one as they were one of the more expensive knives available at the time. Part of that may’ve been a personal quibble with a materials choice made by Lone Wolf. The original Harsey models shown had featured micarta scales, but hit the market with fiber-reinforced nylon scales. While I don’t mind that material for a working knife, particularly when molded with some texturing, I was offended by the price remaining as high. Of course, for $50, my offense melted, and I even got over thinking the camo scales were ugly.

The Lone Wolf T2 was designed by renowned custom knifemaker Bill Harsey, and put into production by Lone Wolf Knives in the mid-Oughts. The T2, with it’s 3.9” S30V blade, was a little brother to the T3 which featured a 4.8” spear point blade. The T2 was offered as either the spear-point Tactical, or the Ranger models: A flat ground drop point or a tanto point blade. T2 Rangers were offered in a variety of scale and blade finish combinations; Black DLC or bead-blasted blades, and scales of either hardwoord or reinforced-nylon in black or camouflage.  The T2 Ranger I purchased that day was a drop-point, fully flat ground S30V, with black blade and the aforementioned camo handles.

T2 Ranger After Four+ Years Hard Use

My T2 went through everything, though not quite “with me”. I carried the T2 as my using knife for about a year, using it hard around the ranch and in the backcountry for a wide variety of tasks. For some reason, I got out of the habit of carrying it regularly and it ended up being loaned, I figured permanently, to a good friend. I am loathe to loan good knives, but this is someone I trust with more than tools and was happy to see using it (I had also cost him the functionality of his previous carry knife, so… ). He used it for around two years, and finally returned it after finding a suitable replacement. During that period he worked primarily at a weapons research facility, and was using the knife daily to cut everything from packing strap to tape to copper wire. I cringed when he told me the wire bit, but there was no damage to the knife.
The only serious wear the knife incurred during that period was to the liner lock. I am no fan of liner locks, and think they are among the lesser of the available locking mechanisms; They are hard to fit correctly at a production level; And they wear far faster than other mechanisms and thus stop functioning quicker (particularly when made as thin as most manufacturers make them). My preference is for the similar, but by far superior, frame lock or lock mechanisms such as Benchmade’s Axis or Spyderco’s Ball Bearing Lock. All of that said, the T2 had a better than average liner lock. It was well fit, engaging against the lock-side of the tang (rather than too far into the middle or on the far side of the tang, allowing for a greater amount of wear before being non-functional), and while not frame lock thick, thicker than average. However, after a couple years of regular use, the lock began, as all liner locks do, to slip and fail when pressure was applied to the spine. Note, I don’t mean the ubiquitous “spine whack” test, but simply firm pressure. The lock was still engaging roughly in the center of the blade tang, and still making full contact between the lock faces, but it was slipping. To correct this problem, my friend dropped the knife off with Ian Wendt (Special Circumstances Inc.) and had Ian apply a layer of carbide to the lock face and contact surface of the tang. This increased the thickness just slightly, as well as the friction, returning the functionality of the lock. The carbide also increases the life of the lock, by increasing the wear resistance of the contacting surfaces. When my friend returned the T2 to me, the lock was still going strong and continued to do so.
Once back in my possession I returned to my senses and started carrying the T2 again regularly. The performance and ergonomics of the knife were simply too good to pass it up for any of the other knives in my collection. I’ll be the first to admit, that I was never particularly good to the T2, aside from keeping it clean and sharp and not doing outrageously abusive things with it like prying. I used it like a cheap whore, and it just kept performing and performing.
The blade took,and retained a great edge, as should be expected from properly heat treated S30V. The geometry of the high flat grind made for excellent cutting performance for any tasks from food prep to woodcraft to use around the shop and ranch. The handle was comfortable and secure in the hand. The T2 also had one of the smoothest actions of any folding knife I’ve owned. The more I carried and used the knife, the more I liked it and was happy to own it.
With the lock carbidized, the only other “problem” encountered in the life of the T2 was some screw loosening. The clip screws in particular were problematic, one of them eventually going missing, and the pivot screw had a bad habit of loosening up. These were easily fixed with obtaining a replacement clip screw, and then putting loctite on the screws. I put the screw loosening in as par for the course, as it is the rare folding knife that, when used hard, doesn’t experience some of this over time.
Other normal wear on the T2 was visible in the camouflage coating wearing off of the nylon scales (not fast enough!) and the Black DLC wearing off the blade, albeit very very slowly. Four years and change of very hard use would leave most black coated blades in shambles, streaks of scratching and wear far outnumbering remaining areas of worn black; The Black DLC was, while worn, still black and still covering most of the blade. It is good stuff, and in the case of the T2 equal to the overall quality of the knife it was on.

This is The End, My Friend… The End:
Awhile back, I lost my T2. Not sure where, when or how. I had a couple of chaotic weeks on the road, and when I got home and got my bearings again, I realized I no longer had the knife. As my favorite pocket knife, this was bad enough, but making it worse is that the T2 production knife is no more. Lone Wolf stopped production of the design in the past couple of years. Lone Wolf has now been purchased by Benchmade knives, who’ve absorbed many of the Lone Wolf models into their line, but not the T2 (the D2, aka the Benchmade NTK, is an auto knife, which aren’t really my bag, and uses a different, narrower, blade. While close, it is not the same knife).
Hopefully in the future, Benchmade will resurrect the design or another company with the mindset to build tools that work will license the design or something close to it from Harsey. For now, there are some Lone Wolf T2 models floating around on the secondary market, although they’re already commanding high prices. Those that aren’t pricey, go so fast, that one has to be a dedicated hunter to snag them before anyone else. Though, despite all that, I’ll have to get another one before too long. If I wait, they’ll be even harder to find, and while there are other comparable knives on the market, I want a T2. There are few better knives, in my experience, and none of this type that I’ve liked more. Goddamn, I miss that knife.

Like this content? Want to know when we post new articles or products? Subscribe today!

* indicates required



Email Format




4 responses to “Lone Wolf Harsey T2: A Lament”

  1. Jan says:

    Hey,

    have you found a replacement, yet?
    Otherwise…

    Blue skies,
    Jan

    • BFE Labs says:

      Jan – I have not. I’ve been through a few other knives in the same role, some good and some bad, as I’ve done professional T&E’s and personal experimentation since losing the T2, but have not found anything I like as much or found to be as nearly ideal a tool. The search continues…

  2. William Grady says:

    You know in my travel trailer I stashed my t2 with green and black micarta scales, while test driving something else at the time, and it’s still in there somewhere. It is not new and I carried it for a couple of years, got some dings on the scales and I broke off the very tip, small enough I just repro filed it on my bench hone. Overall it shows some where and tear but is still in good condition overall. If you might want to buy or trade for something I can go search for it.

Leave a Reply