State & Union Custom Straight Razor Paid Tribute to KA-BAR History

State & Union, the custom/small batch branch of KA-BAR Knives, recently turned out a limited tribute to the company’s roots. Called simply the State & Union Straight Razor, the knife hearkened back to some of the oldest products KA-BAR ever made.

The Straight Razor is, unsurprisingly, a very traditional straight razor in terms of design. Its 3.25 inch blade is the traditional straight razor shape, a squarish, tipless, almost cleaver-esque profile with an entirely straight cutting edge. State & Union kept it old-school for the steel as well, opting for the perennial 1095 carbon. The blade opens with the extended tang, and there is, of course, no lockup to speak of.

State & Union stuck with the curvy, elongated bean-shaped handle that has been a staple of straight razor design virtually since their inception. The bone linen Micarta scales are simple and unembellished, but in one modern touch are held together by anodized blue screws instead of being pinned together. While it’s meant neither for EDC nor for any sort of day-to-day ‘carry,’ the State & Union Straight Razor is a very light weight piece: just 1.6 oz.

The Straight Razor is a direct connection to the early days of KA-BAR itself. The company’s history is a long one, as it metamorphosed through multiple names and locations; but one founding component of today’s KA-BAR was the Union Razor Company, which made straight razors very similar to State & Union’s 21st century homage. “After [KA-BAR] acquired control of the Tidioute Cutlery Company they brought the name Union Razor back,” explains KA-BAR’s Joseph Bradley. “We have many examples of early straight razors made by what is today KA-BAR.”

In fact, even after much shifting and settling in the early 1900s, KA-BAR continued to make and sell straight razors well into the 20th century. But eventually the company moved into other areas of the cutlery world. It stepped onto the global stage with the onset of World War II and the creation of the legendary USMC knife – often called simply the “KA-BAR” – which set a new direction for the company that they’ve carried forward onto today.

Unfortunately, given the labor-intensive nature of straight razor construction, a full scale production run is unlikely. “I don’t think you will see a straight razor from KA-BAR due to the price that it costs to make these,” Bradley tells us. The presenceof State & Union gives KA-BAR the room to make these nods to history on a suitable scale.

With the first batch selling out at speed, the question arose whether KA-BAR/State & Union are considering another run. Bradley says that’s a definite possibility. “We are looking at potentially doing another run with a different look to it. As this was the first straight razor offering out of the shop we weren’t really sure how it would go.  The reception was outstanding and we found there is a healthy demand.”

Knife in Featured Image: State & Union Straight Razor