Burnside Carmen Hits New Size Class and Price Point

Burnside Knives is readying their new Carmen folder for release. The Carmen answers users’ demand for a smaller version of the Burnside Cabrillo, while tweaking the design, improving the blade steel, and lowering the price by nearly 50%.

With a blade length of just 2.6 inches, the Carmen is a major step down in size class over Burnside’s 3.37 inch-bladed Cabrillo. However, it retains the compound grind, with the forward portion of the primary bevel thicker than that of the back portion. A simple stainless steel liner lock, the thumb stud-only Carmen has G-10 scales and a simple, gently-curved handle. It weighs in at 3.32-oz. and, like the Cabrillo, comes in a “triple black” color scheme: black handle, black hardware, black TiNi blade coating.

Burnside’s Rick Maderis tells us the Carmen’s simple origin story. “We had a number of requests to make a smaller knife so we decided to finally make one.” But in rolling out this new folder, Maderis decided to try something else new. Their Cabrillo knife was popular with users but had a relatively high entry fee. “[The Carmen] is our first price point knife,” says Maderis. “One of our goals is to reach more retailers and direct consumers. In order to do that we choose to cut our margins but not our quality.” In fact, the Carmen’s blade is made from D2, a semi-stainless that most people would consider a step above the AUS-8 seen on the Cabrillo.

The Burnside road map encompasses a wide array of products, to be developed and released as time goes on. Maderis tells us to expect new prototypes and EDC tools alongside further updates of existing Burnside knives. He vaguely teased one design in particular that he thinks will grab attention. “We are keeping things pretty secret for now but it’s going to be fun to get people’s reaction.”

2018 will be Burnside’s third year in the business and, of course, much has changed since those days (even though they aren’t that far away). Maderis explains that he had a simple game plan for weathering these changes. “We’ve honestly kept our head down and continue to focus on building the Burnside brand.” But his stated ambitions remain the same. “As a designer and businessman I continue to look up to Gerber, Kershaw, Spyderco and Benchmade. We’re in this for the long game.”

The Carmen is expected to release later this month and is available for preorder now.

Knife featured in image: Burnside Knives Carmen