Posted by Dexter Ewing on May 11th 2020


Posted by Dexter Ewing on 11th May 2020


by Dexter Ewing

If you have visited this site you might have seen the mention of Pineland Cutlery. What is it? Named for the fictitious country that includes 13 counties in North Carolina, and is the place where the Special Forces Qualification Course - otherwise known as the “Q Course” - is conducted. Given Spartan Blades’ deep roots in Special Forces, Mark Carey and Curtis Iovito (the founders of Spartan Blades)thought this would be a perfect name to use for the new joint venture between their company and Kabar Knives of Olean, NY. Yes...thatKabar!

How did this all start? Back in 2016, Kabar and Spartan Blades worked jointly on a knife project to produce 400 Ek dagger reproductions. Through this process, the two companies worked closely together for the first time and discovered that they share a lot of the same ideals in manufacturing, and involvement and support of the armed forces. Naturally, as this project progressed Carey and Iovito became more familiar with Kabar’s manufacturing processes as well as the people at the company. What started off as a passing humorous remark Iovito offered to John Stitt, CEO of KabarKnives, about Kabar purchasing a small knife company from North Carolina, ended months later with two companies officially aligning after long periods of due diligence, careful forecasting, and of coarse - everyone’s favorite - lawyers! Pineland Cutlery was official, and doing business as Spartan Blades.

So what does this mean for Spartan Blades as we know of them? Pretty much the existing product will remain the same. The dealer network is the same. However, there will be an expanded line of Spartan Blades knives that will cover a variety of budgets! More on this in a minute. Getting back to Spartan as a company. Mark Carey still handles the day-to-day operations, sourcing of materials, logistics, and financial end of the company while Curtis Iovito is still involved with manufacturing, product development, and marketing. Still will have the same exciting custom collaboration knives with noted custom knifemakers Bill Harsey and Les George, as well as renowned tactical combatives instructor Tu Lam. The company is still located in Southern Pines, NC and produces the Pineland Cutlery Gold Line of knives there. John Stitt is the CEO of both Kabar Knives and Pineland Cutlery, and oversees the production of the Pineland Cutlery Silver Line of knives out of the Kabar factory in Olean, NY.

A common observation through the years that Spartan Blades has been in operation is that folks wish for less expensive Spartan knives. Much of the Spartan line has MSRP’s in the $300+ range. There are a lot of folks who would like to own a Spartan knife but may not be in a position financially to be able to have the disposable income to justify the purchase of one (or more!). If you are one of these, I’m sure you will be happy to know that your time to own a Spartan knife that is within your budget range is here! Here’s a quick rundown of the three different grades of Spartan Blades products:

spartan-blades-gold-grade-logo “ELITE” or GOLD GRADE

These are the knives that made Spartan Blade famous. They are high end factory knives made in their North Carolina facility, using premium materials like S35VN, titanium, PVD coatings, and G-10. These knives are sold only to brick-and-mortar knife retailers and select Internet based knife retailers. The Gold Line has top notch custom collaborations with today’s hottest knifemakers Bill Harsey (Spartan Harsey Folder, Difensa, Harsey TT, and the the Spartan Harsey Dagger), Les George (Spartan George V14 dagger), as well as the Shinto which was designed by Tu Lam, President of Ronin Tactics and noted combatives instructor and ex-Special Forces. Other examples of the Elite or Gold Line would be the CQB Tool, Enyo, and Hybris.

spartan-blades-silver-grade-logo “PRO” or SILVER GRADE

Like the Elite line, these are also USA made and leverage Kabar’s manufacturing excellence as making high quality knives at affordable prices. Made in Olean NY in the Kabar factory, the knives will feature 1095 Cro-Van, the proven carbon steel that Kabar’s knives are famous for. Handles are of canvas micarta. These knives are sold through all dealers and distributors. Examples of the Pro or Silver Line would be the Damysus, the Machai, and Alala fixed blades.

spartan-blades-bronze-grade-logo “FIELD” or BRONZE GRADE

While this may be the budget line, the quality and designs are anything but. Sourced from Taiwan, the Field grade knives will also include custom collaborations by Bill Harsey (who already has several proven designs in production already in the Elite line) and Les George. These knives are aimed at the everyday user and now - anyone can afford to own a Spartan knife! These knives are sold through dealers and distributors as well.

So there you have it. Three distinct levels of Spartan Blades knives that will offer an array of designs with an array of pricing. This will allow Spartan Blades to reach even more consumers than ever before. And give fans of the company MORE to choose from. How can you not lose with that proposition? Pineland Cutlery pairs two giants in the modern tactical knife market for some exciting new designs and consumer opportunities. Stay tuned to what’s to come!


Dexter Ewing has over 25 years of experience as a knife collector and enthusiast. Currently serves as Field Editor for BLADE Magazine, focusing on articles relating to sharpening, factory knife trends, knife technology, and knife evaluations. He has served this role for close to 20 years. He is the owner Winston-Salem Knife Sharpening and is considered one of the nation’s authorities on the subject of sharpening and blade maintenance. He taught the inaugural “How to sharpen a Any Knife” at the International BLADE University in Atlanta Ga. He also specializes in sharpening for the medical research field, with some surgical tools.