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3/18/2014 12:26 PM
 

As a take-off from Scot’s Hella knife thread.

A general discussion of knives and your preferences for field use:

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

What length blade and thickness?

What blade profile and grind?

What blade steel do you like and why?

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

How many knives have you lost in the field?


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
3/18/2014 4:04 PM
 

Good topic, and I am going to right a quick answer.

What do you typically use your knife for in the field? Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?
 
Processing firewood (batoning not chopping, I saw cut smaller), cutting rope/cord/twin/tape whatever (only if needed so not every trip), kitchen work (I try to do most of this at home, but that needs doing in the field gets done), skinning and butchering (only during hunting seasons so really not that much).  I don't build shelters persay, but have carved tent pegs, poles, and the like in a pinch. 
 
What handle shape and material do you prefer?
 
I prefer canvas micarta and then linen micarta. I find that some linen micartas are to slick and that the canvas provides a nice balance of grippy without being to grippy. I like a thinner grip that is well rounded at the edges. Generally I like a curve down at the rear  and front to anchor my hand.
 
What length blade and thickness?
 
Thickness is 3/16 or less depending on blade profile. If the blade is a full V grind I like a bit thicker (3/16) because I feel it lends strength to the blade over all and gives a better batoning surface without a weight penalty. Length is always a sticking point for me, but the majority of knives that I end up using and liking a lot are approximately 4.5" and my Randall is technically 5" but in actuality has a 4.5" cutting edge due to the finger choil. I lately have been wondering about a true 5", but find that the 4.5" really fits all my needs.  I do know that taking apart an animal with a thinner blade is a lot easier.
 
What blade profile and grind?
 
Full V Grind.  I do have two knives that a partial Vgrind that ends in a final chisel edge. One my Emerson is set up for a left hand cutter, but kept sharp it has done fine for me over the years.  The other my Surefire is set up for a right hand cutter and it cuts great, and is very easy to keep sharp.  Blade profile is a bit harder.  I do like a bit of a clip point and end up using either drop points or more of a leaf/bullknose shape.  How much of that is asthetics I just can't say. I find that the leaf/bullknose style gives a good belly for cutting, but the drop point gives a bit more fine control at the end.
 
What blade steel do you like and why?
 
I favor harder stainless steels. I don't use my knife for sparking so I like the ease of field use, and by that I mean longer edge holding ability and less prone to staining.  Steels I have had good luck with over the years include ATS34, Randall's S1, D2, and S30V
 
What is your take on serrations for a field knife?
 
No use for them, but I don't find they really inhibit my use of a knife.
 
Do you like choils or finger guards and why?
 
I like choils because I want to keep my hand in place. Depending on the blade design I find that the choil allows me to choke up for finer work.  I can take or leave a finger guard, and generally leave them. I prefer a handle profile that has them naturally integrated.
 
In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?
 
Really depends on the trip, but over three days probably a dozen times
 
What is your favorite method of carry and why?
 
Without a pack or sidearm strong side, with, I haven't found one yet. I really want to figure out some way to make tip down neck carry work for me.
 
What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?
 
I prefer a good kydex sheath.  Just an extra bit of protection, relatively impervious to weather, and slimmer and lighter than leather typically.  Plus better retention in a smaller sheath footprint.
 
How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?
 
Less than 300, but I have some nice knives that really do what I need so spending that much is really really hard to justify these days.
 
How many knives have you lost in the field?
 
2

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
3/18/2014 7:16 PM
 

 Since I'm in the market for something new, this is timely for me. I'm trying to be open minded with my search, but here's where I'm starting from:

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

Processing firewood, skinning/butchering (theoretically), cutting rope, possible shelter but that's emergency type stuff

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

Canvas micarta and round. Can say that I hate checkered rubber for cleaning game. Really hard to get blood and fat off in the field.

What length blade and thickness?

4" to 4.5". My first hunting knife was a Cold Steel Master Hunter, so thicker blades became my "norm". Probably moving towards a thinner blade on the next one, maybe 5/32".

What blade profile and grind?

Drop point. I've been using convex knives for a while with no complaints, but will probably go with a flat grind on the next one.

What blade steel do you like and why?

I like carbon. Haven't had any trouble maintaining it in Colorado and sharpening is a breeze, but might feel differently if I lived elsewhere. Mostly A-2, but the knife I'm looking at right now is O-1 and that would be fine.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

They are of no use to me.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

Not especially, although I have certainly used a choil to choke up on the knife as Scot describes on my knives that have one. Just haven't felt it was essential.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

Really can't say. Not a whole lot as I haven't gotten into the bushcrafting thing. Most of the little chores are done with a SAK Farmer and there is way more little work than big.

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

I've gone to carrying in my pack or kit bag as belt carry is a pain with a pack. Thinking of trying a dangler. Have carried my Becker Necker via neck carry, but wouldn't want to carry much more knife that way. When on a belt without a pack, I tend towards crossdraw as I can rig that way with Kydex and a mini-teklok and pistol carry is facilitated and/or rifle stocks aren't hitting it.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

I like Kydex because it does allow for easier attachment to belts, etc. and is lighter and more weather resistant.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

Right at this moment I'm keeping the budget under $200, but I think I've found something pretty good closer to $100.

How many knives have you lost in the field?

None, but I came very close due to a crappy Cold Steel sheath.

 
New Post
3/18/2014 8:41 PM
 

strow wrote

As a take-off from Scot’s Hella knife thread.

A general discussion of knives and your preferences for field use:

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

Yes but I also carry a fixed blade daily and use it for ranch chores as well. I'm not a knife abuser I dont scrape paint but I have battoned down a fence post to make gate post, skin calves to graft twins, fix my lunch etc.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

Something large enough to fit my hand properly without causeing any hotspots. I really dislike handles that are just a little bit to small, using them for any length of time makes my hand hurt from trying to grasp them. I prefer G10 with micarta coming in a close second.

What length blade and thickness? 

3.5"-5.5" with about a 4 or 4.5" being all around usefull but I have a 6.5" blade with a great handle that allows me to choke up a lot when needed. I like no more than 3/16 and perfer 1/8". More and more I'm finding a 3/16 with a distil taper to be the best of both worlds. I do have one 1/4" blade that I like but it's thicker than I'd perfer.

What blade profile and grind?

I like a dowswept blade or a clip (or spear) point. A "Kephart" is a great utility blade for me but I also like the forward swept designes that a lot of Turleys have. Convex grind for me is the way to go, either full convex or a flat grind with a convex secondary, I'm happey either way.

What blade steel do you like and why?

I've had a lot of success with O1 but I live in a desert and dont worry about rust much. I have one 3V knife and I'd like to try some more of that steel also, it's sharpness is impressive and I've not found in hard to sharpen like a lof of people report.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

No thanks, I can see maybe if your around rope and water but other than that serrations stay on a bread knife.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

A small choil is ok but if a handle fits my hand right I dont find myself needing any guards. Its a tool not a stabbing weapon for my uses.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

I dont know, like I said I carry a fixed blade every day. I could go a week or more without using it and then need it 10 times in an afternoon.

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

Strong side (call it 4 o'clock-ish maybe more 4:30). If I'm carrying a pistol or cant wear it there for some reason it goes in the pack.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

A properly made leather sheath is tough as nails. I'm simple a pouch style works for me, I dont need jumping out of planes type retention.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

Most I've spent so far is around $750, I'd go higher for the right knife but it'd have to be special. No safe queens in my house, if I but it it will be used.

How many knives have you lost in the field?

None. 

 

 
New Post
3/19/2014 11:59 AM
 

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

All of the above most of the time, most major firewood prep and shelter building is handled by a light axe and/or saw though. I use my knife for finer work such as carving tent pegs, shaving wood for tinder, preping food, cutting cordage, ect.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

I like the look of a nice wood handle, but find micarta or G10 to be more durable and easily cared for, I generaly like a hand filling and rounded handle, but as long as it is comfortable for prolonged use I am happy. Sometimes a flatter profile such as the ESEE-3 handle is better for ease of carry. I dislike stacked leather handles on knives since they are hard to keep clean and deteriorate quickly if not cared for.

What length blade and thickness?

I like anything from 1/8" to 3/16" thick for a general purpose knife, blade length between 3 1/2" and 5", 3 1/2" being perfect if I have an axe to pair it with, 5" being better as a stand alone knife or to pair with a folding saw.

What blade profile and grind?

Straight spine, drop point, or spear point all work well for me. I prefer a scandi for wood carving, and a full flat grind for most other uses, a convex is also excelent and will fill both roles quite well.

What blade steel do you like and why?

Standard carbon steels like 1095 and O1 are my standard, but I also really like 12c27 Sandvik and VG10 stainless steels particularly for use in wet enviroments.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

I can't stand serrations on my outdoor knives, they get in the way of carving and are hard to sharpen without special tools.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

I can take or leave choils, they don't bother me, but the only one I really use much is on my ESEE Laser Strike, it is integrated into the handle on that knife. I don't like guards that are much more than just a indent in the handle, but a handle that it shaped to keep your hand from slipping forward is good, I don't want any sort of guard on my wood working knives since it gets in the way of fine work, but for a field knife it is a good feature as long as it isn't too prominent. Additionaly a small guard or indentation is important for retention in a kydex sheath.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

Hard to say, I never really have thought about it, but I use it a lot.

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

Neck carry for my smaller or lightweight knives since it is easy to take on and off, doesn't get in the way of a packbelt, and can be accessed with either hand. I belt carry my larger blades, but will generaly take them off and put them inside my pack if it has a waist belt. I also will also sometimes carry a knife in my Kit Bag which is very comfortable and convient.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

I find kydex or molded plastic to be extremely practical for a field knife, it is easier to keep clean and will not soak up water that can rust the knife. Some of my more traditional knives have leather sheaths due to the fact that their designs aren't suited to retention by a click in style sheath.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

I am ok with up to $150 in most cases, any more than that and you will see diminishing returns in value IMO.

How many knives have you lost in the field?

None as of yet, I am very careful to use a secure carry system and return the knife to its sheath after every use not just set it down.

 

 
New Post
3/24/2014 5:05 PM
 

 ...so how many people have actually broken a knife in the feild to the point of it being inoperable or needing to be replaced once back in civilization?

 


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
3/25/2014 1:57 PM
 

On two occasions, once with a kabar and once with my randall, my belt knife stood in for an axe after the handle snapped and got left in camp respectively,  light to moderate chopping that needed doing.  I have never broken a knife in the field.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
3/25/2014 3:34 PM
 

 I only ever broke one and I did it because I was an idiot. I was young and thought my custom blade could do anything. I was stabbing it into wood and bending it out sideways. First two were fine but it snapped about 1/2" of tip off on the third try. Maker reground it for me and it served me well durring my deployments overseas. Never broke a knife from use only abuse.

 
New Post
3/26/2014 10:57 AM
 

I'm primarily a fan of cheap mora knives, although I do carry a Havalon while hunting.  I run outdoor education programs for high school students and I insist that all of them bring a bright orange handled mora to school.  None of us has ever managed to break one under hard use.  (This includes big ol' farm boys batoning through frozen chunks of wood, so I'm prettty impressed by their durability.) 

 
New Post
3/26/2014 11:13 AM
 

ChrisF wrote

I'm primarily a fan of cheap mora knives, although I do carry a Havalon while hunting.  I run outdoor education programs for high school students and I insist that all of them bring a bright orange handled mora to school.  None of us has ever managed to break one under hard use.  (This includes big ol' farm boys batoning through frozen chunks of wood, so I'm prettty impressed by their durability.) 

I to am a huge fan of the Mora's!!!  I could afford a higher end knief but as of today have not seen the need...  I also agree with the bright handles.  


Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
New Post
4/1/2014 6:50 PM
 

Good grist for the mill. It has made me do some thinking. I've been re-thinking my full load out anyway, which is something I do every couple of years. It's the continual quest for lighter, better, more efficient.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

For using, a nice contoured, hand filling handle that is somewhat smooth. However, cord wrapped is usually the compromise I make for weight and packability in the Kit Bag.

 

What length blade and thickness?

3.5"-4.5",  someting between 1/8" and 3/16", not much over either.

What blade profile and grind?

point in-line with handle, decent continuous belly, jimping on spine for choking up on blade, V-grind with a final edge that is less acute than the main grind.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

No use for them, but they're often on a portion of the blade that doesn't get used much so not much harm in having them.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

Yes, refer back to something that feels good in the hand. Plus, a choil or fingerguard can make up for the lack of a nice handle if you're using cord wrapped.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

Simple pouch style kydex goes in the Kit Bag the most easily.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

Around $200

How many knives have you lost in the field?

None

How many knives have you broken in the field?

Broke the tip off of a Buck folder

What do you use a blade for on the trail and how often?

Even though I've long considered game processing a requirement, the reality is that I hunt maybe one week a year and need to process an animal every second or third year. That's on the order of 3% of my backcountry time and it is predictable. Why am I even concerned about game processing? I already carry a backup lightweight thin blade in my kill kit, why couldn't that be my primary game processor? I would never baton or do anything field expedient with it but for game processing it would be way better.

When I'm carrying a wood stove, which is probably a third of my outdoor time, I use a knife at least twice daily for batoning plus occasional use elsewise. When I'm not carrying a woodstove, I may go an entire trip without using a knife. Or at least my knife use pattern is about the same as my in town knife use pattern which is occasional unpredictable use. No times a week to several times a week.

For in town I always have a leatherman and either a stout Emerson folder or (lately) fixed blade on me. The fixed blade is experimental and a side topic, so lets just say that it is the Emerson. For a long time, my Emerson folder went into the woods with me in addition to a fixed blade in my KB. The reality is that I always used the Emerson out of habit and handiness and never the fixed blade. I even batoned with the Emerson, which has been hard on the locking mechanism over time (like 5 or more years). I had to force myself to stop carrying the Emerson because I didn't need both and it was better to baton with the fixed blade in my KB.

So what do I actually use on the trail? Around 1% of the time, game processing. A third of the year, something good for batoning. The rest of the time, nothing more than what I carry daily anyway. What beyond what I actually use is it reasonable to carry (this is a question you'll see me asking in other threads this week too)? I'm not sure. Part of the concept of a "Kit Bag", and by extension a "Kit Bag Knife", is one thing you can grab that will give you the basic essentials anywhere in the world for a variety of circumstances include unforseen ones. In the case of a knife, it is easy to say that is batoning, occasional random use, and game processing. At least those are actual observed uses. Is it reasonable to add in emergency shelter building, self defense, and even hunting as nice to have (albeit low probability) uses for your "Kit Bag Knife"? Perhaps, if the weight penalty to get those things isn't too steep.

I think my current "Kit Bag Knife" (custom Wicked Fish I've written about elsewhere) handles all of the above pretty well at a weight of 8oz. On the other hand, I could probably get away with a 2-3oz fixed blade for batoning and occasional random use in my Kit Bag and plan on having a good game processing blade in my kill kit. I could even split out the batoning blade and have something dedicated and optimized to that use with the wood stove. Like a splitting wedge of some kind.

One observation -- a knife is humankind's first and most important tool. Maybe not the first, but one of the earliest and probably the most important for most of our history. We all know that in our bones and having a "good one" is a powerful and primitive drive for many of us. That is certainly at play in these considerations and I can find no fault with it. There has also been plenty of use of disposable field expedient flakes throughout human history. I've found quite a few myself and used one in particular to cut up a few empty pop cans until it was dull. That disposable flake strategy doesn't feel any different to me than having a bunch of cheap Moras around.

 


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
4/2/2014 2:22 PM
 

 I like the look of this knife

http://www.coyeknives.com/Coye-Light-Horse-s/1822.htm

My day to day uses for a knife are pretty standard- opening packages, cutting tape, cutting fruit/food and for me a benchmade mini-griptillian has done fine. I recently got an emerson, and we'll see how much I like it. 

In the field, my knife gets used a lot for certain food prep, and fire prep. Up until recently I had a cold steel Pendleton light hunter in my kit bag.

thanks to a sale, a gift card, and my REI dividend, I recently picked up a Benchmade 162 "bushcraft knife". I haven't had any field time with it yet, but it feels good in the hand and seems plenty stout for batoning and other harder use practices. It may be too big/heavy for kit bag use, which may or may not work out in the long run, we'll see. 

 
New Post
4/14/2014 1:38 PM
 

Mora clipper has been my field knife for a few years now. I tried to upgrade to an ESEE 4 but found the handle uncomfortable and the blade a little too thick. Thought an ESEE Izula might do for a crossover EDC/light field knife (everything but batoning) but also found the blade to thick.

I like a flat spine or a slight drop point and I dislike false edges on the back of the knife.

my answer to serrations is to carry a flat ground fully serrated folder along with my fixed blade, best cheese/bread/sausage knife I've found. works great for plastic packages/stretch wrap as well.

I quite like the blade shape of the cold steel bushman (the official field knife of my high school years) but the hollow grind, round handle and cheap steel take it out of the running.

since it has a similar blade shape and since I've had such luck with my Mora I've been tempted to get a leuku. I'd like a little more in the way of a gaurd or choil, but as someone mentioned I'm not stabbing anyone.

I carry my EDC folder weak side appendix with my spare magazine for my glock, I'd love to find a fixed blade I could carry there instead but the bulk and length of the Mora make that less then comfortable. Been looking at the Tops Key D, slightly shorter over-all length then the mora but only a touch smaller in the blade. I think it could do most of what the mora can do in the field but integrate better into my daily life.

I need to use a few more cheap knives to really dial in my preferences but eventually I'll probably set aside $200-300 for a custom knife. Haven't lost one yet.

 

I usually carry my Mora in my pack or kitbag and throw the sheath around my neck while I'm using the knife just so I don't lose it. I used to carry the knife that way but since I started carrying a kit bag they don't get along well together.

 

 
New Post
6/1/2014 9:33 AM
 

strow wrote:

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

All of the above...or at least I want a knife that is capable of all of the above, if it's going to be a general, all-around field knife. I can't say that I spend much time building shelters, however. To me, building shelters is an emergency measure, and while it's good to know how to do so, I'd rather go the LNT route and carry a lightweight shelter whenever possible.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

If it's going to be a hard use knife, I like micarta (not as heavy as G10), though I have a number of knives with bocote, ironwood, african blackwood, etc. handles and I've never had an issue with any of these hard woods. As far as shape, this is probably the best handle I've ever found for my hand (and in fact, is probably my all-time favorite field knife):

 

What length blade and thickness?

Usually between 3.7" and 4.5" for blade length. I often carry a small folding saw, or small hatchet as well, and find that I don't need a really long blade when combined with one of these. Most of my wood processing in the backcountry (if I'm even in a place where it is allowed) is small scale anyway, for things like feeding my Emberlit stove. I'm not out there hacking the forest apart.

As fas as thickness, somewhere between .150" and .175" 

What blade profile and grind?

See above. I tend toward drop points (or sometimes spear points) with a full convex grind.

What blade steel do you like and why?

While there are some awesome 'super steels' available these days, I'm pretty partial to a good carbon steel like A2, when it's done with a proper heat treat (like Bark River does). For me, good A2 is a fine tradeoff between edge retention and ease of sharpening in the field. However, I've been impressed with CPM3V, and as long as you strop it frequently and don't let it get dull before re-sharpening, it's also an excellent field steel.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

Honestly, on anything other than a SAR knife, I think they are a waste of blade space.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

I like them, if they are well designed and not unecessarily large, and allow me to 'index' my hand on the handle, even when I can't actually see the knife (in the dark, with my hand up inside an animal cavity, etc). Again, the example above is my idea of a perfect choil - just big enough, not too much.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

No idea. More times than I can count.

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

Whenever possible, I like to have my knife on my belt. If it is a situation where a belt knife is interfering with a pack waisbelt, I'll usually switch to a drop-sheath that rides just below the wastbelt. I've tried, but I just can't stand having a knife around my neck. I will sometimes carry a smaller fixed-blade in a pocket sheath.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

Leather. Not a fan of plastic - it's noisy and it can dull a knife.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

I have no qualms about spending a couple hundred $$ for a quality blade with a good warranty.

How many knives have you lost in the field?

I've never lost a knife.

 
New Post
6/1/2014 10:29 AM
 

 Similar to the BRKT blade above, I picked up one of these just recently, Koster Bushmaster with green canvas micarta scales and in CPM 3V steel.  Absolutley loving it so far.....perfect balance and light, especially for a knife this size.  I reformed a Kydex sheath I already had on hand and added a firesteel loop to the sheath.  Also have a leather one for it.  I'm not against Kydex sheaths...depends on what I'm doing and what the outdoor conditions are like.  I prefer blades in the 4-6" range, straight edge with a drop point.  If I'm carrying an axe or hawk along, I'll carry a smaller knife.  I like a convex edge on most.  I do like a flat grind, but also like a Scandi once in a while.  I prefer canvas micarta scales the best.  Never lost a knife and never broke a fixed blade, but have broken a folder or two.  I still have a couple knives with black coatings, but have largely gone away from that on a blade.  I have another Koster on order...his standard Bushcraft model, with a Scandi grind and also in CPM 3V.  I've become quite enamored with this steel, but also like A2 as my second favorite steel, which is what my Blackjack Model 125 is made of, with a desert ironwood handle...also a really good field knife, BTW.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
6/1/2014 12:21 PM
 

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?  All of the above, except the only kitchen work my field knives see is in a camp environment.  I've also used some knives for wooden box opening, prying, digging, and other military tasks...in field environments when on active duty.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?  Slight palm swell, no finger grooves, and asymmetrical.  Canvas micarta seems to be my favorite overall.

What length blade and thickness?  4-6" and 3/16"-1/4" for most, unless I'm using a chopper or jungle tool (machete/parang/golock)....then longer.

What blade profile and grind?  Mostly flat grind, but I do like some Scandis.  I like a convex edge on most all of my blades.

What blade steel do you like and why?  CPM 3V is my top choice right now, but I only have one knife made from this so far.  Love its strength and edge retention.  I have found it's not as tough to sharpen as some have said, and it really seems to keep an edge well.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?  Don't really care for them much, but I do have a couple folders with them.  

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?  Yes, but not huge ones.  I like the extra safety and other grip methods they avail me.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?  5-6

What is your favorite method of carry and why?  Dominant side hip, behind pistol holster if carrying one.  No particular reason why....muscle memory, I suppose.  I have carried cross-body before, and also carried both sideways and rightside up on a plate carrier in the past.

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?  I like both leather and Kydex.  Depends on the knife (aesthetics), what I'm doing, and the environment.  I do agree that plastic and Kydex sheaths can dull an edge, but haven't seen that too often with a well made Kydex sheath and I still like them for certain applications.  That said, a quality leather sheath is just a thing of beauty.  One of my favorites is a pouch style with a dangler and firesteel loop that I got from BRKT that fits a couple of my 5" blades.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?  I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for".  Quality knives, especilly custom handmade ones, are expensive for good reason....better steel, attention to detail, craftsmanship, etc.  Plus....the feel and utilitarian beauty of a well made knife is something most guys cherish.  Not talking about knives that sit in a showcase, but rather hard-use utlitarian blades that put up with anything thrown at them.  Kind of like the difference between buying a quality firearm versus some cheap, thrown together junk gun.  So with that said, I usually find myself spending somwhere between $200-300 for a good knife.

How many knives have you lost in the field?  Amazingly, none....including none ever lost in combat environments.  Came close, once, but a friend found it before it was gone forever.  Also almost had one fall off due to screws backing out of a Kydex sheath (forgot to Locktite 'em), but the day was saved because I had paracord threaded from the sheath into the Molle on my plate carrier.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
6/5/2014 8:01 PM
 

 

 

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?  All of the above, except skinning or kitchen - more efficient knives for that.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?  G10 is cool, but Linen is better, it just holds the grim and sweat and needs more cleaning

What length blade and thickness?  1/4" for field, tapered for fine work

What blade profile and grind?  Mostly full flat grind, but I do like some Scandis.  I like to convex edge most all of my blades, paramilitary is perfect as is.

What blade steel do you like and why?  1095 all the way! For field that is and whittling, any SS for kitchen light chores, that M380 is like a carbon steel with the benefits of SS.

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?  Good for slicing bread, no use for me as I keep my knives sharp with a stroop. Maybe if I had a lot of rope it would b  of use.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?  Yes, but not huge ones. 

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife? Never counted

What is your favorite method of carry and why?  Pocket for little guy, field knives are packed

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?  No matter it gets packed.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?  Realistically, $150, however if I found a m380 as a field knife, I would consider more

How many knives have you lost in the field?  ORANGE rocks, seriously, I did let my 1st Seargent "borrow" my CS voyager, yup, that was the last time I saw that blade.

Below is the herd, the Not all carried at the same time: esee 6&4 both stripped and "blued" with frog lube, discontinued CS Bush Ranger that I duracoated, CS Rajah, Spyderco Paramilitary, Benchmade Triage. ESEE come into the woods on every trip, the 6 is mainly for winter when I need a larger blade for woodcraft.  ESEE 4 is perfect for light chop or baton, as well as bushcraft. The rajah comes out on trips wherein I leave my axe at home, it looks gimmicky but performs well. The CD BUSH RANGER has that Sheffield point that I Seldom see offered on fixed blades, more of a fighter/Bowie. BENCHMADE Triage is great for EDC, too heavy for trips to the woods.

 

COLD STEEL BUSH RANGER was a factory second I got for $60, I had beat the scrap out of it for the past 15 years, the "Carbon V" non full tang has held up fine despite stresses of baton and prying. Retired it for my son someday and bought the ESEE.  Carried it everywhere in the Army, 82ABN, here in Riyadh in 97' guarding pat sites.

 

 
New Post
6/6/2014 12:44 AM
 

 

 

What do you typically use your knife for in the field?  Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing?

Firewood, woodcraft, cutting whatever, food prep, fire starting.

What handle shape and material do you prefer?

Polished micarta seems to be my favorite so far.  I really love the ESEE drop point blade style, but their square-ish handles leave much to be desired in the comfort department so i've been sticking to my Mora Triflex or Canteenshop (BHK) Woodcrafter.  The Woodcrafter feels awesome in hand.

What length blade and thickness?

Somewhere between 4" and 6" is usually my range, although I also carry a  convexed EsKaBar as well.

What blade profile and grind?

I'm a big fan of drop point blades, and only recently have been coming around to spear point blades, the LTWK Genesis is the first i've owned with a spear point.  Grind? High flat, then scandi, then convex, although I couldn't tell you why. They all cut well...

What blade steel do you like and why?

I'm not picky with steel, but most of mine tend to be some sort of tool steel or 1095

What is your take on serrations for a field knife?

Not a fan. I don't really see a point to serrations on a field knife.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why?

I am indifferent to choils

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife?

As many times as necessary?  Most likely much less than anyone else here :)  My knives usually are for food prep and fire prep, in that order.

What is your favorite method of carry and why?

In my kit bag. I don't carry a firearm, so there's space in the back. If the bag is full, i'll attach the belt loop to one of the grimlocs so that it hangs in front.  If there's no backpack then it would be on my belt, but with a pack, it goes in/on the kit bag. 

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why?

It used to be kydex, but lately i've been favoring the leather sheaths.  They have a much smaller footprint, and seem to be more versatile with where I can stick/hang them.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife?

I won't spend more than $200 on a knife.  I don't understand the people dropping $600 on a knife, custom or not.  Even that $200 is hard for me to part with...

How many knives have you lost in the field?

None.  My knives are either attached to me at all times, or in my pack.

 

 
New Post
7/19/2014 6:42 PM
 
posted for 4407b:
As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I believe a knife is most essential piece of equipment in the field. From reading the contents of this forum, I believe the items many are looking for can be found in a Survive Knife. These are handmade by a growing company and someone that is as passionate in his outdoor time as many found here. The value of a good knife in the field will never be overcome and Survive knives put together a great tool at a reasonable price. They are worth the look.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
7/19/2014 6:43 PM
 
posted for praharin:
Truth be told, my primary tool when I go afield is usually an axe. A recent injury to my right shoulder has had me a little off lately, so no major field work. Been doing a lot of hiking in my Tara though, and the harness has been a blessing. On with the OP:



What do you typically use your knife for in the field? Processing firewood, shelter building, woodcraft, cutting rope, kitchen work, skinning/butchering, or anything else I am missing? On a normal outting, say overnight or longer I use my knife for maybe opening food packages. Here in PA, we don't have many places where packing in is an option for hunting, nor would it be practical. So I find that I use it very little. When out for practicing survival skills, I use my axe for firewood, shelter and a lot of woodcraft work. Food prep is usually done at home beforehand.

What handle shape and material do you prefer? I like Barrel shaped handles, like those found on traditional Scandinavian style knives. I have also become quite fond of my Winkler II Field Knife handle. It's sort of semi-pear shaped. You really have to handle it to appreciate it. It's hand filling yet compact. I doubt I'd want to use it for hours on end for carving fine details, but that wouldn't really suite the blade either. For something like processing game or starting a fire, it's very comfortable. For material, I like slightly rough canvas micarta. G10 for some things is good do, Nothing beats the feel of stacked birch bark, but the durability isn't near that of G10 or micarta. I'll keep that to carving tools.

What length blade and thickness? 3.5-5.5" in length for me. Nothing in possession is over 3/16" right now. That is the Winkler which is about 1.5" wide with a nearly full height flat grind, but it was still fairly thick at the edge for my taste. My preference in width is really dependent on geometry, but I have no reason to go over 3/16 for my current uses. I carried a 1/4" Strider in Iraq, and never had any doubts about carrying the weight, but now I spend less time in the truck

What blade profile and grind? No real preference here, as it depends a lot on the thickness. So called Scandi grind or full flat are my normal choices since they tend to work the best. I do have a Daniel Fairly chisel zero grind bushcraft. It's wicked sharp and capable of really precise cuts. I actually carry this in my Kit Bag frequently due to its flat profile with slim G10 scales. Very nice, but not enough handle for long periods of working wood.

What blade steel do you like and why? Doesn't really matter much to me. I have successfully used simple carbon (the Fairly above is 1084FG) to good, cheap stainless Buck 110s to high end super steels. As long as it performs I'm happy. My go-tos right now are all basic carbon

What is your take on serrations for a field knife? Meh. I do really like the ones found on the Victorinox one hand models, but don't feel that they are too useful if you are capable and willing to keep your knife sharp. They are nice when you are using a knife a lot, as I find that they retain cutting ability long after a straight edged blade would become useless. The combination of the sharp peaks and more cutting edge accomplish this. However, since it's much more time consuming to sharpen them by hand, it really becomes a moot point for me.

Do you like choils or finger guards and why? I used to like Choils, but evolved my technique away from them some time ago. As for guards, I don't really like them, but understand their usefullness. My 2 most commonly used knives, the Winkler and Fairly mentioned above, have their blades set slightly higher than the handle, forming an integral guard that doesn't keep your hand too far from the edge, but offers the protection against slipping most people appreciate.

In a typical weekend in the field how many times do you think you un-sheath and re-sheath your knife? If it's hunting, just once if I'm lucky. Camping, 2 days maybe a dozen times. Really it depends on my goals for the trip.

What is your favorite method of carry and why? Typically I keep my fixed blade in my Kit Bag lately. I like having my belt clear, so that really works well for me. I don't see myself needing a blade for self defence, so the Kit Bag is likely where i

What sheath material or design do you prefer and why? The sheath is really where the Winkler shines. It's a kydex sheath, lined with synthetic suede like a high end holster, and leather covered sheath, which provides excellend retention, various mounting solutions, aestethic appeal and protection of the finish and edge. Its also very simple in design, despite the complexity of construction. So far, I haven't seen anyone else using this type of design, so I imagine it's very cost prohibitive. Well worth it, IMO.

How much are you willing to spend on a hard use field knife? Well, the winkler cost me about $350 used, as I recall. I've spend more and been less happy with blades in the past, so I consider it a bargain

How many knives have you lost in the field? I lost a Sypderco Endura at Camp Geiger back in '02 out of my pocket during a run. But I've come back a knife or 2 heavier several times too :D

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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