Guns and Gear

James Brand Features Upcycled Inlay on Limited Edition Barnes

James Brand’s first release of 2024 is a limited edition drop of their Barnes integral folder. The model is a collaboration with Smile Plastics, a company dedicated to creating usable materials out of consumer waste products.

We’re in a sort of golden age for handle materials in the knife world. In addition to old standbys like G-10, FRN, and titanium, we’ve seen more exotic offerings like Ultem, custom carbon fibers, and Kirinite become more widespread. We are a far cry from the early days of the modern production knife scene, when it was pretty much black FRN or G-10 as far as the eye could see.

But this limited edition Barnes marks what appears to be the first ever appearance of a material from Smile Plastics in a knife. This UK-based company specializes in creating unique plastics from discarded materials and items we use every day. The Heron pattern plastic used in this Barnes, one of Smile’s “Classic” patterns, is made from reprocessed kitchen appliances. The resulting material has a variegated, almost mosaic-like look to it, with flecks of amber, gray, and black mixed in with predominant shades of white and ivory.

Needless to say, the Heron plastic inlay on this Barnes was chosen primarily for that distinct aesthetic quality. There isn’t any information about its performance as a knife scale material, but given that it’s inlaid into a solid, single piece titanium frame (the Barnes is an integral knife, remember), we don’t think durability will be an issue in general use. Other than the dressed up exterior, this is the Barnes as you already know it: James’s most premium offering, a full-featured, mid-sized knife with a 3.5-inch blade made from M390 steel.

This is a very limited run, and according to James there aren’t many left, so act quickly if you’re interested!

Knife in Featured Image: James Brand Limited Edition Barnes


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