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Monday, 09 October 2023 05:46

Damned Designs Oni XL

Written by

Damned Designs is the brainchild of Adrian Dsouza, he started with fidget spinners, and went on to release over 50 spinner designs. He stepped into EDC in 2019 and subsequently released his first knife, and then maybe another 10-15 shortly after. Adrian feels great products shouldn't only be for those with fat wallets. Everyone has a right to a good design and craftsmanship.

The Oni XL model is a hard use folder with premium materials and looks that can kill. I was curious where the name Oni comes from, and it comes from Japanese folklore. Oni are a type of evil spirit known as youkai. They are often depicted as large, ugly, monstrous creatures with horns, fangs, and sharp claws. Thankfully this knife is none of that, but I can see where Damned Designs goes with their product names.


The Oni comes with an overall length of 7.375" a blade length of 3.00", and a handle length of 4.31". Similar to some knives I've owned by Spydero, the Oni gives off that little big knife design. That design style has to do with creating a knife that feels and performs like a big knife, while retaining its compact nature. The Oni definitely feels like big knife, when handling it you feel like you could take on just about anything.


The handle on the Oni XL is titanium and has shape that is very different than what I'm used to seeing, I keep trying to reference a vegetable or something but I'm coming up empty. The handle is faceted all around, and the angles bring a unique look to the knife. The designs shape, with a larger pivot area tapering to the heel, keeps my hand from sliding forward when in use. The heel rests in my palm nicely, and there's no spots where it's uncomfortable during heavy use. The hex shaped pivot is a nice touch, it accents the geometrically shaped handles.




I'm a sucker for a well-done frame lock, and I'll be damned this one is excellent. Not only do I appreciate one with good lockup, and easy to disengage, but I love the sound when the lock engages. The Oni has this sound when opening, and it's so satisfying to hear. The lock features a steel insert for longevity, and it doubles as an over travel stop. The jimping on the lock bar not only make the knife easy to disengage, but combined with those on the thumb ramp, you're really locked in for some heavy cutting.


It isn't until recently that I've learned how to middle finger flick, and that's entirely because of the Oni. The knife features a front flipper that's very prominent, more so than any knife I've used. At first, I thought it was ridiculous looking, and why would anyone ruin a design with such a crazy and flipper tab. After a bit of practice, it just makes sense. Some knife which features front flippers, don't have a very pronounced flipper to them, making deployment tricky for some people. Having a large flipper has allowed me to learn how to front flip and has allowed me to enjoy the other front flipper-based knives that I own. Yes, it's over the top, and makes the knife look like an exotic bird with a crest on its head, but it's simplistic and brilliant. The opening hole works great for thumb flicking, and middle finger flicking. Middle flicking almost seems easier than using my thumb, I feel this is because of the strong detent, and perhaps holding the knife in a way that puts some pressure on the lock bar.



The blade on the Oni comes with either a sheepsfoot or tanto style blade. I'm not a huge tanto fan, but the one on the Oni has changed my views on that. The blade is high, this results in a very wide grind at the front of the tanto shape. Most tantos are very long with a short secondary grind near the tip for penetration. I feel this elongated grind makes the tanto shape better suited for everyday tasks, it's not as good as something with belly but it works extremely well. The steel used in the XL version of the Oni is CPM S35VN, this powder steel has a history of great edge retention and corrosion resistance. Since getting the Oni, I've used it for everything from breaking down boxes, cutting braided rope, and cutting heavy fabric. The blade's thin profile allowed the blade to slice through these materials without problem. I'm still using the factory edge and hadn't needed to touch it up yet, this is a testament to the edge retention and heat treat.

The Oni XL is a great compact knife with a big knife feel. I never felt like I needed another knife to get the job done, and the tanto shape surprised me how utilitarian it can be. I find the knife to very addictive in the fidget department, especially when driving long distances. If you're looking for tough knife that's guaranteed to impress, the Oni XL might be something to check out. It also helps that given the materials used, it's more affordable than other knives in the market.

David Bowen

As Co Founder of Multitool.org David has been a multitool enthusaist since the 90's.  David has always been fascinated with the design inginuity and uselfulness of multitools.

David is always looking forward to what's new in the industry and how the humble multitool continues to evolve as it radically changes and improves the lives of users.

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