KA-BAR and Jesse Jarosz Reinvent Vintage Fixed Blade

The latest release from KA-BAR‘s State & Union custom shop is the Deluxe Hunter fixed blade. The limited edition release sees Jesse Jarosz renovating a discontinued KA-BAR model.

A 5.5-inch recurve blade dominates the profile of the Deluxe Hunter. It is mated to a decidedly Jarosz-style handle: a hand-filling organic shape with a tapered beak at the butt end. The scales are made from grass houndstooth micarta and the blade steel is S35VN. Jarosz tells us that the small batch, artisanal nature of State & Union allows for this experimentation with materials, and more leeway with the premium touches. “Mass production requires certain considerations in designing a knife, and this project gave us more freedom to spice things up with custom handles, upgraded blade steel, and an excellent leather sheath.”

It has the stylings of a Jarosz original, but the Deluxe Hunter is actually based off of a vintage KA-BAR product, the 1205, produced from the mid-60s to late 70s. “We knew that we wanted to go with something ‘old-school,’” says Jarosz. “I looked through tons of vintage photos and searched the depths of the internet to find an old KA-BAR design that I felt would be something I would personally like to use and have in my collection.” He settled on the 1205, and set to work riffing on it in his own style. “Jesse put his own unique spin on it and the result was a highly functional knife that looks as great as it works,” says KA-BAR ‘s Joseph Bradley. “Jesse uses his knives and you see that in the tweaks he has made to this knife.” Other than the obvious material changes, the Deluxe Hunter has a broader blade, more pronounced recurve, and a reshaped handle.

The Deluxe Hunter follows the Ethan Becker-designed Tuko as part of KA-BAR’s 120th anniversary celebration. Like that knife, it is limited to a small batch run of around 120 pieces. But Bradley also revealed that the Deluxe Hunter could be the final entry in that celebratory line. “This knife is the second 120th anniversary knife made by State & Union for KA-BAR and will most likely be the last, which really boosts the collectibility.”

That being said, State & Union itself isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it’s gaining speed. “State & Union continues to grow internally and you are starting to see that in the knife world,” Bradley says. The shop sells one-offs through its Instagram page in a manner similar to a custom maker. Soon, however, State & Union knives will be available on a wider scale.  “Before the end of the year we anticipate a number of State & Union models will be for sale at KA-BAR.com.”

Knife featured in image: KA-BAR Deluxe Hunter