“I like to throw a left hook when everyone is expecting a right,” custom bike and gun guru Jesse James tells us. James recently announced that he is breaking into the knife world under the Jesse James Knife Company (JJKC) brand. His flagship model, the NOMAD Fixed Break knife, rejuvenates an old-school folding blade format with American muscle. According to James, the design will lead a string of releases as JJKC jumps right into the fray of high-end production knives.
James and his team aimed for a unique look with the NOMAD. To get the creativity flowing, he turned to a favorite piece in his personal knife collection. A Schrade knife from the 80s, the model 6042, laid the blueprint for James’ striking folder. “Back then they called it a ‘swing knife,’” he says. “It had a dagger style blade on it, and it was much lighter-duty.”
The NOMAD beefs up the idea of a swing knife with a 4-inch AEB-L tanto blade and titanium frame. When closed, the blade is kept in a titanium sleeve inside the outer frame. This component folds 180 degrees out of the scale side, then down again along the front to deploy the blade – a one-of-a-kind action that’s somewhere between a balisong and the Ed Van Hoy Snap Lock. James says the unique mechanism eliminates the need for a pocket clip on this 5 oz. knife. “It’s impossible for it to accidentally open when it’s in your pocket. This one can be carried confidently.”
James, Founder of West Coast Choppers, achieved fame for his custom motorcycles and has been on TV series like Monster Garage. Since then he has branched into gun customizing and says knife making has been on the docket for a while. “Knives have always been an interest of mine. It all started with my Buck 124 Frontiersman,” he tells us. Coming from the world of custom bikes gives him a different perspective on design. “It’s easy to be fond of particular aspects of a bike, while not being excited about other parts, but with a knife, it’s a package deal: It’s either aesthetically pleasing or it’s not.”