LionSteel Willy, the new fixed-blade knife designed by Gianluigi Simonella aka Wilson

Gianluigi Simonella aka Wilson at work in his workshop in Maniago, Italy.

Our longer-term readers are already familiar with Gianluigi Simonella aka Wilson, one of the founding fathers of the Italian Knife Guild and a prominent figure in the world of custom knives. We have already dedicated some articles to him in the past, but we gladly return to talk about him. The occasion is some wonderful photographs that our mutual friend Gianni D'Affara took of the new Willy line of fixed-blade knives manufactured by LionSteel of Maniago, Italy.

Like all knives designed by Master Wilson, the Willy first began as a drawing, then as a wooden model made not using a 3D printer (that would be too easy), but fully handmade. There is no other way, and especially no better way, to figure out how the handle will fit, and Wilson is famous for making knives in which the practical aspect must always come first. From the wooden model we then move on to the prototype built with more or less definitive materials, and then to industrial production by LionSteel, which has already received flattering feedback for this model that combines tradition and originality, with a sprinkling of that American aftertaste that has always distinguished Wilson's work.

LionSteel Willy, the American from Maniago

On Wilson'sb.

The Willy is a small fixed-blade knife for everyday carry characterized by its monolithic handle, available in different materials – Micarta, wood, carbon fiber (at least for the time being).

The particular shape of the handle, directly derived from Wilson's custom knives, fills your hand particularly well, allowing a very safe and precise control of the blade, which is made of sintered M390 steel with a satin finish and utility profile. 

The Willy with Micarta canvas handle version next to the leather sheath. Note the titanium bolster with satin finish.

The blade is 65 millimeter long by 4 millimeter thick with a full flat grinding and an appropriate smooth edge. Adding a touch of technology to a proudly traditional knife we find a discreet titanium bolster. As a cutting tool to have on hand at all times, the Lion Steel Willy is accompanied by a handsome natural leather sheath with a safety flap that completely surrounds the handle, providing an excellent level of security.

The retail price of the LionSteel Willy ranges depending on the handle material, ranging from 184 to 198 euros, figures we consider absolutely justified by the quality of the workmanship. We look forward to Master Wilson because we know he is always busy coming up with something new, so we expect more news from the Land of Knives soon. Thanks to Master Gianni, namely D'Affara, for the beautiful photographs accompanying this article.

LionSteel Willy specs and price

EDC fixed blade
Steel M390
Blade Length:  2.55”/65 mm
Blade Thickness:
0.157”/4 mm
Blade Grind:
Overall Length:
150 mm
Weight: 2.04 oz/58 g
184/198 euro
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