Ethan Becker Draws on Piece of Knife History for New KA-BAR Kephart

KA-BAR and Ethan Becker are channeling a living piece of knife history for their latest release, the BK62 Kephart knife. The historical model for this latest take on the old woodsperson’s favorite comes from a recently acquired, original Kephart knife and strives to be an accurate recreation of that iconic design.

“The KA-BAR Becker BK62 differs from other Kepharts on the market in that it is based off of a pristine original Kephart knife,” says KA-BAR’s Joseph Bradley. The original “Kephart” is named after Horace Kephart, an influential outdoorsman and writer. His design for a fixed blade built a lasting tool on simple, utility-driven lines, and has been a favorite of outdoor adventurers ever since.

For a long time, the only known historical example of a Kephart knife was the one kept in Western Carolina University’s museum. But according to Bradley that knife had a long and hard life before it became a collectible. “[It] had been sharpened and used so extensively it didn’t closely resemble what the original really looked and felt like.”

Recently Ethan Becker acquired a second, privately-owned Kephart knife. This example, in much better condition, served as the inspiration for this release from KA-BAR. “When Ethan acquired a mint condition Kephart a few years ago, we realized this knife had to be made true to the original,” Bradley notes. The result of this project is a 5.1-inch spear point blade made from KA-BAR’s 1095 CroVan, full tang construction, and, for the first time in KA-BAR’s Becker collabs, a natural handle material. “The handle is walnut; any time you work with natural materials you can hit bumps in the road,” Bradley explains. The broad, flat ground blade also provided some challenge. “The blade geometry for a knife like the Kephart can also be tricky.”

KA-BAR has always been attuned to knife history, but Bradley says this Kephart design is more than an homage. “There is something about the fit and function of this knife that transcends time periods. [It] looks like an old knife, but when you get it in hand it just feels right.” He tells us that this is one of the most striking releases he’s worked on in four years. “I work with different styles of knives all day, every day – this is the most excited I have been about a knife probably since we released the Stone Knife in 2014.”

The BK62 is available now from certain dealers. KA-BAR is readying it for a general release in January 2019.

Knife featured in image: KA-BAR Becker BK62 Kephart