One to Watch: Jesse Jarosz Flare
Tony Sculimbrene 02.05.18
Jesse Jarosz is a custom maker doing his own thing. Instead of being lead around by trends he has marched to his own beat for a long time, gathering renowned while doing so. As the titanium framelock flipper was exploding, Jesse was making excellent folders with thumbstuds and liner locks.
While his brethren were larding their knives up with eye catching “features” like exotic materials or massively overbuilt designs, Jesse focused on knives that could do real work, shorn of unnecessary features. And while many makers are dribbling out ones and twos of knives using a order reservation book, Jesse is intent on releasing his blades in batches with enough stock to get one if you really want one.
Follow his site and have a few bucks free, and you will almost certain score a knife. As strange as this sounds in the day of the darling custom maker and Instagram, Jesse makes knives so that people can buy them and use them. Shocking, I know.
At their core, Jarosz blades are about functionality. I own two—a custom folder, the M75, and a small fixed blade, the JFS. Both are shorn of excess, with cuts and curves in the exact right spot and plenty of keen cutting capacity. Jarosz’s most prominent gift is his ability to grind an edge. The grind lines are geometrically perfect, the plunge lines are crisp enough to crack an egg on, and the actual cutting bevel comes blistering sharp from his workshop.
Both my knives are made of AEB-L steel, a German razor blade steel that matches Jesse’s function-first approach: it holds an edge for a long time, but is also very easy to sharpen. It is one of my favorite steels in the world, despite lacking the high end techy creation process of a powder steel.
With this background Jesse released the Flare (which, secretly, the smark in me hoped was spelled F-L-A-I-R), his first flipper since the Pulsar, a knife heavily influenced by his M75 model. The Flare is part of Jesse’s push towards more pocket-friendly, EDC knives. The Apple Jack, his slipjoint, was about as pocket friendly as it gets—around two ounces, as slim as pin, but it was in the traditional style. The Flare is a thoroughly modern knife but it still tries very hard to hit those EDC high points.
The first batch of Flare’s came and went quickly and there were a wide variety of handle materials and colors. The batch validated Jesse’s approach—making things in groups allows him to produce stuff in numbers and at prices that people can afford without sacrificing quality, design, or his ability to individualize each knife.
What: Jarosz Flare
Cost: Starts at $565 and goes up depending on handle material
When: Available in batches; email notifications of batch releases
Made in the USA: Yes
Highlight: Jarosz grinds in a slim EDC package