Traditional Knife Seller Creates His Own Slipjoint

Austin Jackson is a knife retailer, the owner of C. Risner Cutlery in Bellbrook, Ohio. Jackson’s shop specializes in traditional cutlery, and now he’s is crossing the boundary between retailer and designer with the Ohio River Jack, a new slipjoint of his own devising.

Jackson, whose grandfather Clarence Risner started C. Risner Cutlery, has been a fan of knives his entire life. “I have always enjoyed reading through older cutlery books. The kind of books you read and can feel the passion and excitement of knife collecting flow through you,” he tells us. His grandfather had shelves full of such tomes. “Browsing through these books and seeing the older knife patterns made me want to redesign these patterns but all while adding a modern touch to the designs.”

The Ohio River Jack is the kind of knife only a lifelong traditional enthusiast could make. It combines elements of two “deep cut” Schatt & Morgan patterns, the President’s Choice 4th Edition Baby Sunfish, and the Cutlery Keystone Series #17 Horticulturist’s Knife. “I appreciated the clean, straight, and simple pattern design of the Sunfish Knife while respecting the blade combination of the Horticulturists Knife,” Jackson explains. He labored over the design for a good long while, ensuring it would be the exact knife he wanted it to be. “Once I established drawings of what I wanted the knife to look like, I was provided contact information to QSP from a good friend who also owns his own knife company. Together, we have narrowed down exactly what I want the knife to look and function like.”

A prototype of the Ohio River Jack

In terms of cutting role, the Ohio River Jack is designed to be a go-to everyday carry piece. “I want this knife to serve as an all around utilitarian knife that is also presentable and collectible,” Jackson says. “A knife that can withstand any test, cut any rope, slice any food, open any box. A knife that is used on the hiking trail, packed in the canoe, and carried on the tractor or used in the warehouse.” You’ve got a 2.93-inch spear point blade with a centered tip and a large, flat ground profile, and a 2.87-inch wharncliffe, also flat ground. Both blades are opened with fuller-style nail marks, and made from M390 steel. The covers are Micarta, but both the liners and the bolsters are made from titanium, and instead of being riveted together, the Ohio River Jack is assembled with modern folder-style Torx hardware for easier maintenance by the user.

The Ohio River Jack doesn’t have an official release date yet, but Jackson is hoping for a November or December drop at this point. This will be a small run, limited to just 100 pieces, and available only through the C. Risner website. But Jackson says he has plans for many other releases, all inspired his grandfather’s knife books. “Many other traditional ‘modern’ slip joints are coming. In the near future, expect patterns that will include one, two, three, even four and maybe five blades.”

Knife in Featured Image: C. Risner Cutlery Ohio River Jack (3D Printed Model)