Jared Oeser and Enrique Peña have been applying modern design cues to traditional knife patterns for years. But a new Peña/Oeser collaboration is taking this philosophy to the next level by bringing modern utility to a traditional design. The one-handed opening Peña/Oeser Zulu features a liner lock, pocket clip, and ball-bearing flipper action, but maintains the style and character of a traditional. “I think it really is something out of the normal,” says Oeser. It’s a knife that slaughters some sacred cows and could even be influential in establishing a modern-traditional knife sub-genre.
Oeser and Peña first talked about a collaboration in early June at BLADE Show. Soon after, a design was agreed upon and in July and August the work began in earnest. Peña made the liners, ground the CPM-154 blade, and set the lock tension. He then shipped the knives to Oeser, who shaped the handles, inset the shield, and constructed the multi-layer backspacers.
The duo brought the first batch of three Zulu Flippers to the 2016 USN Gathering last weekend, where they sold out in a flash. Nick Swan, winner of the Best New Maker award at G8, calls the Peña/Oeser collaboration his favorite knife of the show. “I did get a chance to play with it,” Swan tells us. “Wow! Enrique and Jared are both making some phenomenal knives. Putting them together just put it way over the top.”
Oeser revealed that this isn’t the last Peña/Oeser collaboration. The two makers have more in store for 2017 but are focusing on finishing the Zulu Flipper series before setting anything in stone. All future Peña/Oeser collaborations will present the same shield, designed specifically for their collaborative work, as the Zulu Flipper.
Oeser and Peña plan on releasing three more sets of Zulu Flippers. Each batch will consist of three knives, and feature different handle materials. What those materials will be is still to be determined. After the batches are finished, Oeser and Peña will work on a very special 13th flipper to top off the series.
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With a limited number available and a price tag of $2000, the custom Zulu Flipper is out of reach for most users. But, by demonstrating that traditional patterns can house modern features, Oeser and Pena may be leading the way for production knife makers to examine variables beyond materials on their traditional folders.
Knife featured in image: Peña Oeser Zulu Flipper