Custom maker Jakub Wieczorkiewicz has conjured up a new slipjoint for his frequent production partner Real Steel Knives. It’s called the Solis, and as follow-up to his Luna and Stella designs, Wieczorkiewicz gave the Solis a fresh blade shape while bringing in visual elements from his recent custom work.
We all remember the Luna, right? Originally released in 2019, it marked the first time RSK tried their hand at manufacturing a slipjoint, but there was nothing traditional about it. The Luna was a non-locking knife in the modern style, with a titanium handle and N690Co stainless steel. These well-regarded materials and the cool but sensible design made the Luna a fan favorite EDC in the RSK lineup, and one that the company expanded upon thereafter with numerous variants and a second slipjoint followup in the form of the Stella.
Classy looking. I dig it. Modern slipjoints are cool.
| EDC, Industry News / New Products, Production Knives
Just because you’re carrying a practical tool, that doesn’t mean it needs to be ugly. Gerber is going after the more dapper of its customers with the new Affinity folding knife. Available in copper or aluminum finishes, these new knives should fit right in when clipped to your fancy suit pants at the company holiday party.
The new Affinity from Gerber comes in two styles. The aluminum version uses a 7CR blade and machined aluminum scales. The copper version uses machined copper scales and a D2 blade. The blades use the drop point profile and have an adjustable thumb stud that can slide up and down the blade to fit every hand size. The stud can also be removed. The clip is positioned for tip-up carry and the simple liner lock should feel familiar to anyone who’s carried a knife for any amount of time.
| EDC, Industry News / New Products, Production Knives
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) CEO S35VN
Knife maker Richard Rogers introduced the original CEO as the true gentleman’s folding knife to add a touch of class to any occasion. Today, CRKT ups the ante with the new CEO Compact S35VN – a pocket friendly package delivered just in time for the holidays.
A CRKT.com exclusive, this knife is made with ultimate portability in mind. Its 2.62” blade is even more compact when compared to its predecessor’s 3.11” length. Constructed of premium S35VN™ blade steel, it achieves a new level of performance and durability. And continuing the legacy of the CEO, it features IKBS™ technology for a super smooth deployment. So, grip onto its marble, high-tech carbon fiber handle, get ready to put it to work and class things up.
Premium Materials: CPM® S35VN™ blade steel provides superior cutting performance
Smooth Opening: IKBS™ ball bearing pivot deploys the blade smooth
Fast Opening: Flipper deploys the blade fast
High Tech: carbon fiber handle is strong and lightweight
Liner lock for one hand closing
Carry Options: Adjustable clip for left or right hand carry
Kizer has returned to the famous Ray Laconico-designed Gemini model to create a smaller sequel. The new Mini Gemini (the GeMini?) doesn’t tamper with the iconic look of its predecessor, but simply scales it down for the most EDCable version of this modern classic yet.
If there’s one knife in the Kizer lineup that needs no introduction, the Gemini is that knife. Kizer was already turning heads with high quality, highly affordable in-house work, but the Gemini was one of its first collaborations with a major name in the knife world. A production version of Laconico’s Jasmine custom, it brought so much of what made that knife sought-after to the masses: the minimalist, sleek lines, luxurious materials, and addictive flipping action were all present and accounted for. When it arrived in 2015, the Gemini was instantly recognized as a sea change in what consumers could expect for their money.
Ray is a nice guy. The original Gemini is a great knife.
There are many wonderful traditions associated with Thanksgiving — watching football for hours on end, bickering with almost-forgotten family members, midday naps. Pulling out that old, dusty electric carving knife, however, is not one of them.
You know the one. It has a big plastic grip and an impossibly loud electric motor. You use it twice a year and it comes with its own weirdly formal, felt-lined storage box. After 15 minutes of shuffling through the back of every drawer in your kitchen, you find it tucked behind the juicer. It is that useless.
The electric knife was invented by one Jerome Murray, who also invented the airplane boarding ramp and a medical pump used for open-heart surgery, and it is essentially two serrated blades clipped together with a motor tacked on. Murray’s idea was to make carving larger cuts of meat, such as whole turkeys, a simpler task. And, frankly, electric carving knives aren’t absolutely terrible at that one thing. During a thorough test, Cook’s Illustrated found them especially adept at keeping the crispy skin of turkey and chicken adhered to the meat. The problem is everything else.
Knife shows are very interesting, but potentially risky events for me. I’m one of those people who gets excited at fine craftsmanship of any sort. From earthmoving equipment and airplanes to tiny pocket knives, functional tools that exemplify the craftsmanship and skill of their makers fascinate me. And a custom knife show is nothing if not a gathering of the finest craftsmen imaginable.
If you’ve never held a perfectly balanced, handmade knife capable of surgical cutting precision, it’s difficult to imagine paying five figures (before the decimal) for a knife.
If you have, you know that accidentally cutting yourself isn’t the most serious slip you could make. Most of these highly-crafted knives are absolutely up to the rigors of daily use, but they’re more works of art than utility tools.
That realization was brought home to me during a lengthy conversation with Mark Zalesky, editor and publisher of Knife Magazine. While we were talking, he allowed me to see -and handle- several rare knives from his personal collection.
Zalesky literally “wrote the book” on bowie knives. His expertise, along with meticulous research has proven, and disproven, many claims regarding allegedly “authentic” bowies by famous early makers. Today, he’s working on a number of “projects” regarding historic knives, but it’s safe to say that he knows the bowie as well as anyone.
After showing me a couple of originals (they look more like butcher knives than the massive units he described as “more decorative than functional) that came later), he handed me another and asked me to look at the maker. Tiffany & Company, the maker of jewelry and other high-end finery today, made -and sold- many “sporting knives” including bowies in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In fact, one of the most valuable items remaining in the Roosevelt family collection of items belonging to Theodore Roosevelt is a Tiffany bowie.
| Industry News / New Products, Knives in the News
We have been in contact with Ian, and plan on putting together a formal obituary piece. But this was the first public notice that went out of the passing of an admired and influential maker.
If there is a sliding scale that balances “stature of maker” with “respect shown and willingness to give the time of day to a random blogger” (back in my TTAK days), Darrel was near the top of the list.