David Rydbom of Kingdom Armory is teaming up with outdoor retailer Mission Workshop for the Unagi, a small batch production knife. With an ultra-clean design and triple-checked quality, Rydbom and his collaborators hope to introduce new audiences to high-end knives.
Rydbom came up with the Unagi design working alongside Mission Co-Founder Jeff Roberts and Damascus maker/domestic mid-tech manufacturer Chad Nichols. Its simple construction and broad, three-inch CPM-154 blade hearken to traditional Japanese carpentry knives like the Higonokami. Even the mechanics are simple: phosphor bronze washers and a carbidized titanium lock face, no steel insert. The blade, scales, and pocket clip sport a clean, even stonewash, offset by matte finish hardware. “All Mission products strive for a minimalist, streamlined aesthetic. They wanted to see if I could hit that with this knife,” Rydbom says.
When the design was squared away, Nichols produced the parts in his Blue Springs, Mississippi shop. From there the parts went to fellow Mississippian maker Les George for laser engraving and rough-fit assembly. Then the knives went back across the country for Rydbom to sharpen, fit, and clean before final inspection at Mission Workshop in California. “There have been lots of sets of eyes on these things,” Rydbom confirms.
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