In celebration of its 120th anniversary, renowned knifemaker KA-BAR is opening up its custom knife shop, called State and Union, with a limited release of a new blade called the Tuko. KA-BAR has earned clout among outdoorsmen, survivalists and devotees of tactical design by producing practical and utilitarian fixed blades and folders designed with everyday carry in mind. It’d make sense for the company to celebrate its 120th birthday with a similarly-categorized EDC knife, but that’s not what KA-BAR did. Instead, the Tuko is an outdoor chef’s knife.
To create the Tuko, KA-BAR tapped into the expertise of Ethan Becker. You may not recognize that surname, but chances are your mother will — Becker’s grandmother, Irma Starkloff Rombauer is the original author of The Joy of Cooking, which is perhaps the most well-known cookbook ever published. Authorship of the book — it’s periodically updated — has since been passed through generations to Becker himself, who studied cooking at the famed Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Becker’s background in both cooking and knifemaking make him an exceptional choice to create KA-BAR’s first food-focused blade. The Tuko, which draws its name and shape from all-purpose Japanese chef’s knives called santoku, is a 9.9-inch fixed-blade designed for prepping food at both home and camp. Its blade, which is just over five inches, is flat-ground S35VN stainless steel that’s leveraged with a bone linen micarta handle. The Tuko dutifully represents the crossover of outdoors and at-home that Becker has cultivated in his work, and is a fitting first release for KA-BAR’s custom shop.