One to Watch: Chavez Ultramar Redencion
Tony Sculimbrene 06.20.18
Skull pocket clips aren’t my thing. Not at all. But, if you have to have a knife with the skull clip, a Ramon Chavez folder is a good place to start. Since his debut as a custom maker, with small D2 fixed blades, the skull mofit has never smothered his gear, but simply added a bit of flair to the impeccable function. When his massive Redencion custom came out, it launched Chavez into a top tier among custom tactical makers.
It is easy to see why he had such success. The Redencion was marked by great fundamentals–the blade was a nice, normal drop point, the handle was a simple design with a nice index finger notch, and the lock was a solid framelock. For a guy that makes all his clips look like skulls, this degree of design restraint and focus on performance was welcome. As it turns out the skull clip actually works. It didn’t hurt that the knife was one of the first customs to run the ultra-tough Crucible steel 3V. The Redencion was brutal looking, tough as nails, and quite solid, both figuratively and literally.
The problem, as with all customs, was availability. Redencions trickled out of Chavez’s shop and the prices skyrocketed on the secondary market. He went from debuting a small fixed blade as his first knife to having knives hit four figures on the secondary market in a matter of months. Such is the craziness of the modern custom knife market. Chavez tried to mitigate the availability issues by releasing a midtech, but even it was produced in small numbers and it suffered the problems that all midtechs do–it was a boring version of a stylish knife.
Recently, however, Chavez has released the Ultramar (read: production) version of three of his knives (the other two aside from the Redencion are the Sangre and the Liberation). Like many high end production knives these days, the knives are produced overseas in China, but unlike the staid midtechs of a few years ago, these knives have style galore. The Redencion comes with an inlay, of either green micarta (which, apparently is the 2018 equivalent of a bottle opener feature) or black micarta. The knife itself has a dark stonewashed finish and it sports a blade of S35VN (as most high end Chinese production knives do these days). The Redencion is the smallest of the trio, with a 3.25 inch blade. The knife retails for $300, $900 less than the secondary market price for a handle built Redencion.
This new knife stills sports the skull clip that is synonymous with Chavez. The interesting thing will be to see if the knife also has the Redencion’s snappy action. Thanks to a well-tuned detent ball, the custom flew open and snapped into place with a satisfying clack. If the production version as that same action there will be a horde of people willing overlook (or come to love) the skull clip to get access to a well-made, solidly designed knife by Ramon Chavez.
What: Chavez Ultramar Redencion
When: Released now in small batches
Specs: 3.25 inch blade and 5.65 ounces (!)
Made in the USA: No, Chinese made
Highlights: Overbuilt design, smartly chosen features, and a skull pocket clip