Cool Customs: Jason Ritchie’s Slick Zulu Spear Repro Slip Joint

Cool Customs: Jason Ritchie’s Slick Zulu Spear Repro Slip Joint
Jason Ritchie began dabbling in owning, buying, selling and trading higher-end pocketknives and folders in 2009. He got into rehandling Case and the old Great Eastern Cutlery pocketknives, bought a mini mill, grinder and heat-treat oven and the next thing he knew he was making slip joints. He specializes in one- and two-blade slippies, most in the Tony Bose style, with prices generally in the $700-$800 range for a standard model. (Mitchell E. Cohen knife image)

Jason Ritchie’s knives and the way he sells them have a special appeal.

It’s not all the way here yet but a significant portion of the future of knives may be personified in the person of Jason Ritchie and his handsome slip joints.

An example of his work is his repro of BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Tony Bose’s Zulu Spear in mammoth ivory and AEB-L stainless steel. Jason’s been making knives less than three years but his workmanship is that of a much more experienced cutler.

Nonetheless, it’s the way the 46-year-old approaches the making and selling of his knives that’s as notable as the knives themselves. The Marine Corps infantry veteran describes himself as a hobbyist—he builds 25 to 28 slippies a year at most—and does not take orders. Other than a few sold by Windy City, he sells all his knives on Instagram via lottery or first-come, first-served buyers.

The resident of Hanover, Illinois, says all the knives he puts on his Instagram page sell in seconds. He does not exhibit at knife shows because between making knives, his full-time job as a signal maintainer for the railroad and the campground he operates during the summer months, he simply doesn’t have the time. Rather than exhibit, he prefers meeting people and hanging out at the shows.

As he noted, “I’m just a knife enthusiast at heart.”

Zulu Spear Repro Specs
Maker: Jason Ritchie
Blade Steel: AEB-L stainless
Blade Finish: Hand-rubbed satin
Rockwell Hardness: 61 HRC
Handle Material: Mammoth ivory from Fine Turnage Productions
Liners, Shield, Pins & Fluted Bolster: 410 stainless; the liners are jeweled
Closed Length: 3 7/8”
Maker’s Price For A Similar Knife: $1,200

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