Burnside Blazing into Fixed Blades

Oregon-based Burnside Knives recently announced the release of its first fixed blade, a knife called the Blazer. Though Burnside is less than a year old, the company is quickly establishing itself as a force in the industry. Burnside’s momentum traces back to two successful folder designs, available in several variations and sold directly to customers via the company’s website.

Burnside’s first folder was the Cabrillo, a knife with a 4″ blade that can work as a heavy duty EDC or as a tool for outdoorsmen. The company followed up the Cabrillo with the Strauss. Named after the designer of the Golden Gate bridge, the Strauss is a slimmer, smaller folding knife. Both models, intended to be users, are priced under $200.

The Cabrillo, the Strauss, and the upcoming Blazer are all designed by Burnside’s founder and owner Rick Maderis. Maderis started Burnside Knives after leaving Adidas, where he worked for four years as a designer (which helps explain why the company’s marketing is so well executed). With a creative background, a lifelong love of blades, and a father with metallurgical expertise, Maderis says the transition to producing knives was surprisingly natural.

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Natural doesn’t mean easy. Maderis employs a rigorous process that involves having customers test out his designs to make sure they end up with a knife they’re going to love. “I need to hear, in real time, from someone actually holding it or using it, and not just looking at it online in a catalog,” Maderis says. “I want our knives to resonate with people.”

Burnside Knives Blazer

The Blazer will be the first in a series of outdoor-centric releases from Burnside. Well ahead of the Blazer’s official announcement, Maderis put prototypes into people’s hands. The feedback resulted in multiple changes including a rethink of its ergonomics and an expanded interpretation of the Blazer’s possible uses. The knife was originally envisioned as strictly a bird-and-trout-style blade, but one customer opened Maderis’ eyes to its tactical possibilities.

The Blazer will be outfitted with a 4″ 440C steel, black nitride-coated blade. Pre-orders for the $150 knife will start in August.

Knife featured in image: Burnside Knives Blazer