James Brand isn’t afraid to renovate their existing mode
James Brand isn’t afraid to renovate their existing models. The multifunctional Ellis is the latest in the Portland-based company’s catalog to receive a refresh. The new Ellis makes changes to the tool compliment, handle material, lock mechanism, and even carry method.
Like most James Brand products, the original Ellis took a longstanding EDC concept (in this case the knife-based multitool) and filtered it through the company’s distinctive modern aesthetic. The 2022 Ellis retains the original’s knife-centric design; the central tool here is still a 2.6-inch, partially serrated drop point blade. Made from 12C27N, it may not be a do-all knives/blades/knives.html" 15179 target="_blank">knife, but it’s certainly a “do lots” option, working as a backup blade or even main carry for those with simpler needs. The first Ellis was a lockback, but James did away with the lock altogether for the sequel, making it a slipjoint like many of its inspirations.
James also excised the bottle opener that was the secondary tool arm on the first Ellis. In its place is a pair of Victorinox-like scissors, which help round out the main blade’s cutting capabilities. The prybar has been redesigned, extending further out from the butt end to make working with it easier; it also has a flathead driver built in.
Part of what made working with the prybar on the original Ellis a bit of a challenge was the bail, which needed to be pushed out of the way to gain accessed to the bar. That bail has been removed for the new Ellis, which now has a loop-over wire clip for easier, modern pocket carry. The last changed element is the handle scales, which are now made from G-10 or Micarta instead of aluminum; altogether the 2022 Ellis weighs .2 ounces less than its predecessor, entering the ring at 2.6 oz.
James Brand is keeping the delay between product announcement and availability nice and short. The Ellis is available now.