Half Face Blades, man… Andy Arrabito. Owner of Half Face Blades, humbled, retired Frogman, actor/stuntman/military tech, badass, outdoorsman and visionary. Andy does it all. His vision behind Half Face Blades is revolutionary to say the least. I mean who doesn’t get intrigued by a guy who rode a horse with his face painted half black with an M4 by his side. Last of the Mohican’s meet’s present day is how I would describe the badass vision behind Andy and HFB. Ask yourself this… Would you rather buy a blade from a big name company who mass produces their blades? Or would you rather buy from a veteran owned company that inspects every detail in their blades and handles by producing everything by hand only a few feet away from Coronado? I’ll take the second option. I recently sat down for a phone interview with Andy after he gifted me one of his tomahawks and this is what he had to say.
Hey what’s going on Andy? How’s life, man? Thanks again for sitting down with the LoadoutRoom!
No problem, brother. How’s that tomahawk? Life’s good, just working like crazy, but we’re slowing down a little bit because the holiday’s just ended.
Awesome man and that tomahawk is badass. You really do put so much detail into the steel’s used and the craftsmanship behind your products. So let’s start off about where you’re from?
I was born in Northern California in a little town by the name of Angwin, in the North part of Napa Valley. I love the outdoors and spent every day outside. My older brothers were huge into Native American culture and primitive living. I spent summers making forts, tepees, making bow and arrows, catching snakes and lizards, I mean you name it. If it had to do with being outside, I was all about it. I love the outdoors and learning. I like the challenge.
What got you into building badass blades?
About a year after I got out of the teams I started making knives under the awning in my backyard. I have always been an end user so I knew ideally what a blade shape and thickness should be to serve a purpose. I started making blades for my SEAL buddies still active. As I made 10 I was asked to make more and more. I knew shortly after designing and making those blades that I could really get the right tools into the hands of people that can use them to their full potential. Then I started designing other blades… Blades for the outdoor industry and designing even more for tactical industry and even small conceal carry blades for low vis type missions.
Can you tell me a little about your career in the Navy?
I joined the Navy 2002 and checked into my team in 2004. I spent the next 10 years at SEAL Team 5 and SEAL Team 1. I also ran all the Maritime training for the Teams, Army Special Forces and some OGA.
I have deployed to combat zones all around the world. Spending time in Iraq in 2005, Southeast Asia 2007-2008 and Afghanistan 2009-2010. During my time I had been injured multiple times so as time drew on I had to do a few surgeries here and there. Worst one was my last injury breaking and crushing all of my fingers on my left hand doing a ship take over. So once that went down and I couldn’t use that hand very well, with sadness I made the decision as well as being medically reviewed to leave the Teams and move onto the next phase of my life.
How did you come up with the name Half Faced Blades and what are some ideologies behind Half Faced Blades culture?
We use to do operations using horses as a means of getting to and from our targets. Rode them as well as sometimes just brought horses to carry the mortar and rounds. I have a minor amount of native American and being in a savage land and fighting bad dudes I started giving myself war paint, and of course a Mohawk, haha. I was always about putting the fear into the enemy. Also along with the saying “speak softly and carry a big stick” and another one is “be polite and good to those you meet but have a plan to kill everyone”. These all go along with the half face ideology.