One to Watch: Boker JB Stout Lateralus
Tony Sculimbrene 08.03.17
Boker has had some really awesome collabs recently–the Lucas Burnley Kwaiken series is probably as good as a company could hope for in a collab. But they have also had some duds, where the knife is but a pale imitation of the original custom. They usually have some kind of major concession–lesser steel (440C, ugh), lost design feature, or slight form change. The Boker Stout Lateralus has few, if any concessions.
Jason Stout, a former tool and die maker, is a custom knife maker from Tennessee (part of the illustrious West Tennessee Knife Makers Association of West Tennessee). His knives are known for their complex and impressive grinds and his somewhat Art Decco styling. The Lateralus is one of his mainstay designs, along with the Blood and Thunder. The collab with Boker marks his first major collab and his second foray in to large batch production (he previously released a Midtech).
Stout’s designs tend to polarize the knife community. Some folks marvel at Stout’s ability to create insanely complex grinds on the blade. These people also appreciate the bulk of his designs and his machining flourish. Some feel these complex blade grinds are a challenge to use and maintain. Regardless of their utility, a Stout tanto grind blade is a true master class in grind and execution. Though he has not been around as long, Stout’s work ranks near some of the true grind masters of the custom tactical world, folks like Mick Strider and Jason Knight. These are makers, who, like Stout, make complex grinds one of the aesthetic focuses of their blades.
Overall, the Boker Lateralus looks like a nicer knife among the Boker collabs, more Kwaiken and less dud. First, Boker translated the machining details of Stout’s handle quite faithfully. Further, they thought to include the fuller that appears both on the original Lateralus and many other Stout designs. Finally, they included a bearing pivot to make sure that the flipper works smoothly.
The knife is going to be a heavy knife, despite the 3.5 blade. The stock is thick, and the handle scales are likewise. And, as a concession to its production status, the Lateralus will run stainless steel handles, as opposed to the titanium of the original. Specs show the Lateralus will tip the scales at almost 5 ounces. Finally, the steel is D2. The price is decent for the materials, with the knife running $89.95 street. While this is not competitive with high end production folders, it is still a well-respected steel and something Stout often uses on his customs, especially when his started making them.
The Lateralus looks intriguing. Boker’s collabs have such a wide range of quality, but I hope this knife is more like the Burnley blades than others. In the end, Boker has long mastered the “look” portion of a custom collab. Its the fit and finish that has always been remiss. Some Bokers, like the first few runs of the Exskelibur, have been poorly finished. Others, like the Mini Kwaikens, have been gems, fixing problems from earlier models (such as the exposed point on the original Kwaiken). Let’s hope the Lateralus nails the finish, as it certain captures the look of the Stout original.