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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralGeneral purpose knife for on person carryGeneral purpose knife for on person carry
New Post
9/29/2010 9:14 AM

I received this question via email, but thought it was a great subject for the forum. I don't have time to answer right away, but I'll put it up there for folks to think about and answer themselves:

"Would you consider sharing your thoughts and abservations about a general purpose knife carried on the person?

General purpose as in, does most stuff well, some stuff exceptionally well, a few things maybe okay. Tough enough to baton, light enough to carry in my HPG front pack.
Also, did you, by chance, happen to look at the knife RD had? Skookum Bush Tool? "
And here's a picture of the Scandi design Skookum Bush Tool:

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
9/29/2010 9:51 AM

I find knives to be one of the most subjective outdoor tools there are. There are SO many good choices of varying designs that it is really hard to go wrong. From  a Mora to a Dozier, you will find fans of a myriad of a knives -- most the "best" in their owner's opinion. Some like Scandi grinds, some like convex, some like others. All of those knives have their adherents. I think it is a really personal choice and what is the "best" for another may not be the best for you. Personally, I'm not out there carving spoons or slicing fruit and vegetables with my knife, so it's not a classic bush knife. Hunting season finds me with a Bark River Forager. It has a thick, drop point blade with a convex grind. I like it for it's ability to cut through the heavy stuff when cutting up an animal and it offers pretty good batoning performance as I don't carry a hatchet. During normal backpacking trips, I carry an original Becker Necker. It's a lot of knife in a small, light package. I always have a SAK Farmer which gets what little kitchen duty I have. Dedicated fishing trips can include an old Gerber Bird & Trout. The only knives I haven't really gotten into, although I think they are really cool, are the big, chopper style ones that weigh a pound or so. I like my knives light. I specifically bought a Forager rather than the same blade style Gamekeeper because it is a hidden tang model that weighs almost three ounces less than it's full tang brother. At 5.4 ounces, it is a very stout knife and about as much as I want to pack. That's what works for me thus far, but opinions vary and this is one topic where I have trouble finding a "wrong" opinion. Different strokes and all that.

New Post
9/30/2010 10:27 AM

For a long time I carried a swiss army tinker, which served me well for a lot of everyday purposes. Eventually I switched to carrying a leatherman and a Benchmade mini-griptillian with me all the time, because the pliers of the leatherman are just plain useful, and I liked the blade design and locking mechanism of the benchmade a lot more. Recently, I lost the benchmade, and so I have converted to a cheap kershaw liner lock folder. Not sure of the model, but I picked it up for around 15 bucks at the kershaw factory sale. It's made in Japan. So far, it's held an edge really well, and served me great. When the time is right, I just might pick up another Benchmade.


My fixed blade knife is an Ontario Rat 3. I really like the size of the knife, and it's sturdy construction. I bought the D2 model, and it does hold an edge pretty well- once I was able to get an edge on it. The knife came from the factory with a terrible edge. It was really obtuse and chisel like. Through a lot of honing I have been able to thin it out, but unfortunately I am still not all that pleased with it.


The other day I ordered one of the cheap Mora knives in carbon steel. I bought the classic #1, which has a 3'' blade. Total cost, shipped, was $12.95. I had read enough positive things about them that I thought it might be worth a try, especially at that price. It's got kind of a hokey sheath from what I have read, but it might be a good excuse for me to try and make a replacement on my own.


My plan for this fall/winter is to carry my leatherman, that Mora and my craftsman hatchet. I plan to put a new, longer handle on the 1 1/4* hatchet head to increase it's efficiency and usefulness. I've got the handle, just have to carve it down and re-install it. When using my pulk sled I'll throw in my bow saw too.

New Post
10/1/2010 10:46 AM

First observation, which is probably most important, is that a knife that is solely for processing animals can be considerably lighter and thinner bladed than one you also want to baton with. I haven't done any processing with it yet, but for around $20, I really like the Cold Steel Pendleton lite hunter. I've found that a "bull nose", which it has, is really nice for game processing duties because it preserves a fair amount of belly without introducing the tip hooking problems which typically come with a skinner. It also has flats on the side of the handle right at the guard, which is a nice touch for holding the knife sideways. This is a commonly useful way to hold a knife for processing game. Unsurprisingly, the lite hunter and my personal carry straight blade both resemble the green river skinner of fur trade fame. Those mountain men might have known a thing or two about game processing.

Introduce batoning and everything changes. Now you need a knife that has a thicker spine, has a thicker spine towards the tip for strength, and has a 4.5" blade. The blade needs to be long enough that you can baton at the tip on the other side of whatever piece you're working while holding the handle so you sort of ride the knife down as it goes. A side note on batoning: I've about decided that, at least with back packable woodstoves, splitting wood is essential to good burning regardless of the environment you're in. Running a stove with even small rounds is a very different proposition than running one with split wood. So, splitting is essential unless you are going to burn solely squaw wood. Might as well include splitting implement weight in with your stove weight because you just have to have one. Because my Kit Bag is my "handy stuff with enough that I could survive out of it" set up, having a straight bladed knife in it that I can baton with is a requirement.

So, given game processing and batoning, I think the features you're looking for in this type of knife are:

  • at least 1/8" at spine, most of the way out to the tip
  • around 4.5" long
  • full tang
  • A "just right" grind that starts pretty close to the spine and comes down to a nice edge. too thin and it's not tough enough to baton with, too thick and it won't cut very well (like badger's RAT). If the knife is the same thickness from the spine all the way down to within 3/8" of the edge, it's probably not the grind you're looking for.
  • good low profile kydex sheath with removeable belt loop (so it goes easily in the kit bag)
  • around 8oz? everything I see that matches the rest of the requirements end up weighing this much

As CCH says, there is a lot of personal preference involved and the options are almost endless. Even if you stay within my parameters above, the options are endless. Rod Garcia's skookum bush tool would be an excellent choice and has the benefit of the pommel that you can hammer with. Personally, I can't warm up to the look of Scandi design knives. That is purely an aesthetic judgement. Functionally, I'd be more than happy with one.

One knife I really like the looks of is the discontinued spyderco dayhiker. Scot has it's bigger brother the woodlander, and that knife flat out performs, but is a little bigger than necessary in the role we're talking about.

My personal knife in this role is a custom by a local maker. I didn't order it, I saw it and fell in love with it and it has really shown itself to be a great choice. It did, however, need a lot of edge work which still isn't finished. The grind is right, but the last 3/8" next to the edge was a convex grind which doesn't work for me personally. I'm slowly getting there with it.

Griffin Made Knife

Griffin Made Knife

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
10/10/2010 5:15 PM

Got my Mora knife in the mail a few days ago. So far I have removed the slick red paint on the handle with sandpaper, and oiled the wood using boiled linseed oil. This resulted in a less slippery grip.

Next, I used my lansky set to put an edge on the blade. Right now, it's shaving sharp and sings through just about everything I have tried to cut with it- we'll see how long that edge lasts.

The sheath flat out sucks. I definitely wouldn't trust it for belt-carry. I actually removed the sorry excuse for a belt loop using a utility knife. The sheath is now relegated to a blade protector. It may work well when carried in my kit bag.

First impression is pretty good for $12.95 shipped, but we'll see how it holds up. I am more apt to carry this thing than my RAT at this point. I'll still probably work on the RAT grind, and maybe remove the krinkle coat truck bedliner like paint on the blade....

New Post
10/11/2010 9:08 AM

Definitely get rid of that black finish. Why you want to create more drag on the blade is beyond me. When I had Bark River convex my Cold Steel SRK and remove the finish, it became an entirely different knife. The reprofile was obviously the big difference as the edge design on that knife from the factory flat out sucks, but the entire blade is just much slicker. I could never get a good edge on it but now it is definitely in the "scary sharp" department. Same story for my Master Hunter although that was pretty sharp as it came. My Becker Necker is also re-profiled and finish removed. Again, a totally different knife.

Evan, when you say convex doesn't work for you, do you mean on that combo edge knife or in general and if so, why? I really don't use my bigger fixed knives for much more than game processing and they sure work well for that. I used my Necker for debarking and otherwise whittling down several walking sticks for the kids a while back without any sharpening and it did a fine job for pretty extensive use. Other than the handle that is. :) Weight, shmeight, I'm going to invest in some micarta scales from New Graham one of these days.

Superbadger, if you want, I can make you a relatively crude but functional kydex sheath for your Mora. Free if I have a suitable chunk lying around. A couple bucks -- and I mean a couple -- if I have to get another sheet. PM me here or elsewhere. I'm a bit stingier on rivets than some though. You'd have to send it to me for the fitting as I don't have one lying around.

New Post
10/13/2010 7:55 PM

CCH, it's probably because I've never messed with convex or learned how to sharpen convex. I know how to put a straight edge on something and have the equipment to do it. Been doing that for a long time. On this particular knife which is on the thick side, I also don't need the drag of a convex edge working against me in the cut.

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
10/13/2010 11:02 PM

I'm with Evan here.  I'm good at straight "conventional" edge, but have never tinkered with, not to mention mastered, a convex edge.  I know the Bark River guys swear by it, and I can see some of the benefits, but at the same time, it seems less precise, and I don't want to FUBAR any of my blades.  BTW, I discovered scadi blades a few years ago and generally think quite highly of them.  They cut well, are usually made of high carbon steel which I prefer, have great ergos,  are often quite inexpensive, and they sharpen like they've got training wheels.  Win-win-win.

New Post
10/29/2010 6:09 PM

Several thoughts on this knife discussion:

Those inexpensive Mora/Erickson/Scandi knives cut very well, are easy to sharpen, light and are probably the most knife for the money out there.  I own, and have carried several of them.

In the back country I always have a Victorinox SAK Hunter model knife in my pocket.  The locking plain edge fixed blade and short curved serrated blade will disassemble an elk.  The saw can cut the skull plate to remove antlers, although slowly and with some hand fatigue (ask J-dub :) ).

I had a fine chopper/camp knife, but rarely carried it due to the weight penalty so it was sold.

For years my favorite hunting knife has been a Dozier Yukon Pro Skinner which I had him flat grind, add length and thickness to the handle, and sand blast for extra grip.  A few weeks ago while accompanying J-dub on an archery elk hunt I carried one of RD's Skookum Bush Tools which he graciously made just a little longer and thicker to accomodate my larger hands/longer fingers.  It worked great for field dressing his elk (gutless method).  I still like my Dozier as a special purpose knife, but the SBT performed very well in this role plus it is plenty robust enough to split wood and do other bushcraft type tasks.  Back to Evan's criteria, It is closer to being my all around back country fixed blade than anything else I own. 



New Post
11/12/2010 3:46 PM


Work has been so busy that I haven’t had time to weigh in this subject, which admittedly is one near and dear to my heart.
I basically break knives into three categories. The first category is the pocket knife. I have been carrying an Emerson of one type or another for about 5 years now. They are the only pocket knives that I have found that will hold up to day in and day out use for me in the modern pocket knife category.  By that I mean a pocket clip, lock (I prefer liner locks), and a quick means of opening. Prior to carrying one I used a case sod buster for years with no issues other than the lack of a lock. I still love that knife and the way it fits my hand, but wanted more modern features. Prior to settling on the Emerson brand I tried benchmad (several different models), bokers, and spydercos. The just didn’t hold, up in that the pivot would get loose, or the scales would work loose, or etc….. The Emerson I carry is the utecom. I chose it because at the time it was the only one they made big enough to fit my hand. Now they make several of their models in that size including the commander, which would probably be my choice.  The utecom does pretty much everything I need a knife to do.  I have even battoned with it as a test with no issues. That along with a leatherman clipit are my 99% of the time carry knives. 
The second category is belt knives, and they can range from light to heavy. For this category I pretty much limit length to about 5”s.  This is perhaps my favorite category. Within this category I have two that get the most use, and just got a new one. The first was my carry knife my last three years with the FS and for many years after that and is a Randall trappers model with a stainless blade. I found that this knife was the perfect mix of size, weight, and had a good design for all around use. In a lot of ways it is remarkably similar to the Skookum bush tool that Rod makes up in Whitefish.  The only downside to this knife that I have found is that the weight makes me think of leaving it at home when I am counting ozs. The other thing is that most of the time I am out and about I have a pack on so carrying it on my belt never really occurs. I recently was talking with a friend about how he was carrying his bush tool (bandoleer style), and I will probably try that the next time I am out. In the quest for an everyday carry knife I had one made by a local maker. I have discussed that knife on the Kifaru forums so will just say that for a light weight knife I am very happy with it. The problem with both of these knives is that neither do a ton more than my utecom, which is easier to carry due to the folding nature and pocket carry. They are better for heavier work, but I don’t spend much time doing that on average. So they are usually left home in favor of the pocket knife.  I finally found a pair of softshell pants in my size this year. The problem is that the pocket design is not conductive to carrying a knife there. After looking at Evan’s Pendelton Lite Hunter from cold steel I got one and have added that to my kit bag for the winter. I haven’t spent field time with it, but so far I am impressed. 
Which brings us to the final category the bush knife. A bush knife is something along the lines of a bowie, machete, kukri, bolo, etc…, a larger knife with a long blade that is specifically designed for heavier use of chopping, splitting, and protection. I also put the handaxe/tomahawk in this category. For years I have had a preference for knives over handaxes as I consider them safer and easier to use. My favorite in this category by a wide margin is the spyderco woodlander. It is a great design and surprisingly light and agile for its size. Recently, Evan and I started experimenting with light axe heads on longer handles and I am very impressed and happy with the results.  Mine is a weterling 1lb head on a handmade 19” handle. It does a lot of work for its size and the handle makes splitting with bat speed not strength very easy.
For awhile now my set up has been the utecom in my pocket and woodlander on the side of my pack. If I was specifically expecting to be doing a lot of work with a blade (hunting for instance) I added either my custom knife or my randall. If lots of splitting was expected (winter camping or fall hunting) I added my gransfor bruks small forest axe.  These days the pendelton light hunter is in my kit bag and my modified wetterling just went on the side of my pack for the winter. My utecom will be in my pocket as my britches allow, and for daily use around town. I will probably use my randall more as it is still one of my favorite or perhaps favorite knife.

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
11/24/2010 3:46 PM

Great thread with a lot of great posts.  Gotta agree with most of what's been said here.

And, CCH is right…knives are one of the most subjective tools there are when it comes to personal preference and style of use.
Over the years, I’ve narrowed down my backcountry cutting tools to the following:
1.       Gerber Magnum LST Junior: A great little ultra-light that I use for pretty much all my miscellaneous cutting needs. I’ve taken apart bear, deer and elk with it with relative ease. While somewhat easier, one simply doesn’t need a large knife to skin and quarter a critter, but knife companies make a lot of money convincing people that they do.
2.       Emerson CQC-10SF: My newerish EDC. I’ve only had it for 5 months and leave it at home or in the rig most of the time.
3.       Cold Steel AK-47: Evan, Scot and SuperBadger know where I’m going with this…Yes, the red-headed stepchild of folding knives…the venerable Cold Steel AK-47. A wholly utilitarian folder that is as ugly as its namesake.
4.       Gerber 17” Camp Axe: I’ve used the famous/expensive hatchets and they simply don’t hold a candle to this relatively inexpensive tool once the head is properly profiled. I’ve hard-wrapped the handle with orange para-cord and stuffed the handle with the remaining 50’. The orange keeps it easy to find and it does not slip in the hand.   
5.       Wyoming Saw II: The old sturdy standby is a tad heavier than some of the newer arrivals, but I’m not going to waste my time short stroking anything.
Not that I carry all of them when I head out. Personally, I’ve found the small ultra-light folder able to do pretty much all the cutting I need to do in the backcountry. I only carry the hatchet and the saw if I know it is going to be wet and/or if I’m going to be using a wood stove for an extended period. I’ve decided that I’m just not a big fan of large fixed blades…defined as 5”+…for carrying that is. I love to look at them and handle them, but they just tend to weigh too stinking much to warrant a ride through the backcountry on my person or pack.
Now, some may snicker at some of these low-dollar, but there is a lot to be said for the utility of inexpensive knives that seem to shrug off use/abuse. Fine, expensive, handcrafted knives appeal to the eye but what use is a blade if not to cut?
I originally bought the “AK-47” to experiment with the wave and axis lock features. The ugly duckling grew on me over time as a knife that held an edge well and seemingly shrugged off almost any abuse I bestowed upon it. The ripped-off Emerson wave design unfailingly snaps the blade open with authority. If anything, the flared “wave” catches better than Ernie’s design ever did or ever will. The fact that it is screwed on is a potential shortcoming, but I’ve had zero issues with it bending, breaking or coming loose. The Axis locking mechanism is still amazingly tight after years of use and abuse. Love that ambidextrous Axis-lock! The scales of the largish handle allow for positive retention no matter how sweaty or bloody/grimy your hands have become.   The AUS-8 steel is easy to sharpen to a razors edge, and tends to stay that way for a surprisingly long time. If anything, the blade’s failing grace would be the hollow grind. Nonetheless, it has held up to cutting everything from baling twine, cardboard, pallet loads of landscaping bark bags, batoning lots of stove-wood and hacking up Heineken pony kegs for make-shift backcountry popcorn poppers.
BTW, anyone that hasn’t had popcorn made in a Heineken pony keg over a campfire and served out of a feed sack while listening to KevinB is seriously missing out on the good life. I’m just saying. But I digress.
Anyway, enough about the AK-47. You get the point. Robust, inexpensive and just flat gets the job of cutting done like a thousand other knives.
The Mora blades are in the same vein. They are mass produced, inexpensive, utilitarian fixed blades that are relatively easy to keep sharp. And, like the fat girlfriend you took to a Hawaiian Tropic swimsuit pageant, you’re probably not going to be all that bothered if it comes up missing.
But neither capture both utility AND beauty. Leastwise to my discerning eye anyway. The red-headed stepchild is as ugly as sin itself and the big handled little blade of the Mora/Scandi lineage ain’t far behind.
But!…But!…behold the Emerson CQC-10 SF, a truly do-it-all folder (once the silly semi-chisel blade is properly re-profiled). I’ve had mine for almost five months now and am pleased with how long it retains a wicked-sharp edge, though I’ve been loathe to abuse it. It is constantly with me whether I’m in jeans, suit or shorts. The scales could have a slightly more aggressive texture but are sufficient and don’t eat clothing or hands. I’ll probably remove the slight bump on the back of the handle purely for aesthetic reasons as I’ve seen it done and prefer the way it looks. The blade, at least to my way of thinking, is perfect for EDC. It has a great point for fine work and a pretty decent belly for skinning and dishing. And, it has enough straight edge for batoning with just enough span to leave a little razor close to the hand for detailed work.
And, suffice it to say, Ernie Emerson builds one hell of a serious knife.
New Post
3/19/2011 7:42 PM

My favorite all purpose fixed blade is the Buck 105 Pathfinder. The blade is of a narrow clip design and versitile enough for survival, big game hunting, kayaking and in an emergency makes for a great defensive blade. Around the house I carry a Case large stockman in green jig bone. I keep a Victorinox Centurian in my EDC bag and have Buck Woodsman thrown in the bag for good measure. If we had to bug out for a long time and cover lots of ground on foot, I would also bring along my wyoming saw and Eastwing camp axe....of course with four kids I have a fire team to do most of my packing.

New Post
4/12/2011 5:24 PM

New to the forums here since I recently picked up my (first) Kit Bag, but I’m pretty familiar with knives and have used them, like most of you here, for years…hunting/fishing, bushcraft, military, backpacking, etc. 

I think everybody develops their own preferences based on their personal experiences and how they grew up using knives. My likes span a pretty broad spectrum and I do have some knives for specific requirements.
For a multi-tool, I really like the Leatherman Wave and Crunch, but my favorite is the Swiss Tool Spirit model
I still think everybody should have a SAK folder stashed away somewhere. I don’t EDC one for work, but I usually have one in my kit for most outdoors activities. I typically reach for an ALOX Farmer, Rucksack or Outrider models. The saw and sewing all are excellent tools!
I have several folders by my favorites are from Spyderco and Emerson. My EDC is both a CQC-8 and Spyderco Military. For recreational activities, it’s usually a CQC10 or A100 from Emerson…I’ve got dozens of folders including a Sebenza and Hinderer XM18 however the Emerson folders continue to accompany me on deployments and outdoor ventures.
What most do not consider is that small-sized neck knife. Not all are very practical as a cutting tool, but one of my key blades is the Fallkniven WM-1. It works as a great hunting knife and I’ve carried one in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as multiple backpacking trips. I don’t really carry with a neck cord, but I do like the MercHarness (550-cord, figure 8 harness). I like the larger handle and the convex edge is my preference.
I consider the “belt” knife a primary blade for most activities where you are allowed to carry. I’ve carried a fixed blade as part of my uniform for the past 12+years. Even though it’s a good utilitarian blade, I have kept it on my rigger’s belt for work/deployments and field duty and don’t really use it for recreational activities. Mad Dog’s Pygmy ATAK has been my duty companion for several years, traveled to several countries, two combat theaters and numerous field exercises. It’s on my ACU’s as we speak…
Outside of duty, I’ve grown to really love a smaller blade (~4”) for most of my recreational needs as a primary blade. Some of my more favored models:
BRKT Bravo-1 and Aurora
Fallkniven F1 and S1
Skookum Bush Tool
Martin Knives BT
ESEE/RAT 3 or 4
Various Mora knives (in fact I have one in just about every bag, pack or day-hike kit I own)
Those are all pretty much general purpose. I often carry a couple for specific uses. I carry either a Dozier Yukon Skinner or Fiddleback Nessmuk for hunting and I really like Spyderco’s Moran knives for fishing and lightweight backpacking.
I do have an appreciation for large choppers (8-12” blades and smaller axes) and own more than my fair share. I usually pack one of these along when I’m out bushwhacking or planning on doing specific training or practicing skills. They often vary depending on the location and season.
As already mentioned, a wood saw is a very good addition to anybody’s kit if they plan on doing any primitive or bushcraft type skills to include shelter building. Bahco/Kershaw, Sawvivor, Silky, Fiskars and Opinel are all excellent choices…
When it comes to an all-round utility blade, my first thought is a ~4” fixed bladed belt knife. Even though I carry a folder 100% of the time, I still consider the fixed blade as my primary tool; they are inherently stronger than folders and give you more options for hard use. I much prefer a full tang, but even a partial, hidden or even stout rat-tail tang (if done well) are okay. Handle comfort is critical and if you’re using your fixed blade for extended time, you will come to appreciate that criterion! 
I don’t get too wrapped around the steel type although my personal preference if for higher carbon steels. As long as it’s a respectable knife steel and heat-treated properly it will serve you well. I like a drop, spear or clip pointed tip, mostly for the strength. Although I prefer a convex grind, I do like saber, full-flat and Scandi-grinds. As mentioned, the Scandi grind can be problematic (especially if not heat-treated properly) and I’ve had some high-end customs chip even with light wood use. The Skookum and a Scandi bushcrafter by Brian Andrews (a Bladeforum’s custom maker) are both Scandi-grinds and very robust allowing them to do more than carve soft wood. I have also found the convex edge to be the most robust edge I’ve used in the field. With a little preparation, they are quite easy to maintain as well.
What is often overlooked on most knives are their sheaths. I see an all-round utility knife as a system and the sheath is a large part of it. Fortunately you can often make or find the sheath that suits you best, so it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. One of my favorite carry methods is the horizontal cross-draw (yeah, don’t rag on me because Bear Grylls use to carry his like that!). My current recreational carry is by Martin Knives. The blade steel is S30V (I ordered 1095 steel, but the mistake has been a pleasant one):
As I said, it’s a “system”…my pick for a general purpose blade is my BT, but it also includes a Bird & Trout knife, dual-sided sharpening stone (Fallkniven DC4), a larger firesteel with capsule handle containing a couple of Vaseline-Cotton Balls for tinder.
I had a similar sheath made for my SBT:
I also believe that there is no do-all tool. A system of tools is the best approach if you can work it into your kit without sacrificing too much weight for your particular requirements:
Just some of my ramblings and thoughts even if a little incoherent at times!
New Post
12/21/2011 6:46 PM

This thread has been sitting still for a while, so I thought I'd mention that I've ordered a couple knives this week and I'm pretty excited to see how they look when I open the box.  Both are by  Condor Tool and Knife.  I only know what I've read about Condor, but to sum up, they're a very value based knife producer in El Salvador that's been around a long time.  Until recently I was only aware of their machetes,  not their knives. 

I ordred a Bushlore which closely follows the Scandi grind, full tang formula that's popular with the urban Brits who like the whittle and eat bugs.  It's made from 1075 and tropical walnut, and comes with a leather sheath.

Here's a link to a review with a decent photo.

I also ordered the Hudson Bay model.  It has a  8.5" blade (also 1075)  and runs 13" OAL if the specs are correct.  It also has a leather sheath, and the current models are supposed to come with an antiqued finish rather than an epoxy like the early models.  It looks like mostly a chopper, but I'll be curious what smaller tasks I can perform with it, and how it balances and feels in the hand.

Here's a short video of the Hudson Bay knife

Anyway, they're cheap and something fun to play with this winter.  I'll report more as I learn more. :)

New Post
12/22/2011 10:05 AM

It's been a while since I looked at their lineup. Very nice. Check out this little honey. "Scout" hatchet, weighs in at 1lb. The GB minis are too expensive to buy just to rehaft with a 14" handle. This looks just the ticket for that particular project.

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
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12/22/2011 7:02 PM

I'd thought so too Evan.  I was excited by the price and the fact they're forged.  THEN I found  this review:  I wasn't all that enthrawled by head profile. I was also interested in their 34" handled Swedish axe, but until I see some photos or review, I won't risk buying one.

Condor has quite a lineup, and the prices really make a guy take notice.  I'm excited to see what the knives look like.


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12/23/2011 9:26 AM

My EDC knife is a folder from CRKT. I use the M16-12Z. In fact I own two, one that is always on me, and a second that gets moved around from go-bag to go-bag depending on needs of the day.

Folders are the only practical knife that I can use day to day. Moving between uniform, plain clothes or into a suit, the same knife works for all roles I may be in.

I really do like a fixed blade for field work, whether it be hunting, hiking, camping or general outdoor use. I have been using a Gerber SRK for many years. It has been a good knife. My only complaint is that I don't find it the easiest knife to sharpen. I haven't had the chance to split kindling with it yet, but I think it is thick enough to perform this role. It REALLY needs a kydex sheath. 99% of the time I will still have my CRKT folder as a back up.

I am really liking the look of those Condor hatchets. I have been looking for something of good quality with a reasonable price for awhile now.

I have been looking at one of the Gransfors-bruks hatchets for awhile, but they are a bit pricey.

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12/24/2011 10:53 AM

I've got a GB wildlife hatchet, and it is *very* nice. Mine has the older style handle which is contoured more like a typical hatchet that you'd see. I hardly ever carry it though because I've found that you can get more work done with a longer handle per head weight. As an example, the Cold Steel tomahawk will do more work than the GB wildlife at the same overall weight simply because it has a much longer handle. The only real problem with the GBs is that they're so expensive and the handle is so nice that it seems a shame to cut the handle off to put a better length handle on.

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
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2/11/2012 11:57 AM

evanhill wrote

CCH, it's probably because I've never messed with convex or learned how to sharpen convex. I know how to put a straight edge on something and have the equipment to do it. Been doing that for a long time. On this particular knife which is on the thick side, I also don't need the drag of a convex edge working against me in the cut.


A convex edge is best sharpened via a mouse pad and sand paper.  This profile style is really quite good for large bush knives that are used for chopping and such because it increases edge strength.  As a slicing edge for finer work though it kind of sux.

New Post
2/11/2012 9:31 PM


    For what its worth:  For every day carry, I run a CRKT Crawwford Kasper that is plain edged and I modified to remove the finger groove.  This is my "serious" knife.  I don't use it unless confronted with a serious problem.  The blade is keep razor sharp and checked periodically.  My other blade is 5-11 Tarani tanto with a partially serrated edge.  This is my "crap" knife for lack of a better term.  This is what I use for daily cutting chores.  I like carrying two blades, one with a serrated edge.  As much as I prefer straight edges, the serrated edge is particularly effective if you have to cut seat belts or other tough fiberous materials.  Since much of my day is spent in a car, I want the ability to cut seat belts.  Over the years, I have gravitated towards liner locks.  The liner locks seem to do a better job of keeeping the blade in the "open' position.   I have spent significant amounts of time learning how to sharpen knives and axes etc.  In my world, if you are using an electrically powered tool to sharpen a knife, I think your doing it wrong.  Just my perspective though.  One thing that really helps me is to strop a blade.  This has made my edges

     When I'm in the woods, I have gravitated towards two knives.  The first is an SOG Power Tool.  This is their version of the leatherman design.  It has several advantages.  The ability to use 1/4 inch bolts for replacement is significant.  The company also has a significant history of supporting US service members. More significantly, unlike most of the multitool designs, the pliers work from a ratchet system instead of the typical leatherman style sytem.  The benefit is that if you are cutting wire or something pretty tough, you can leverage the plier ends open.  You cannot do this with most of the other designs I've seen.  The price is pretty reasonable too.  The blades have the ability to hold a good edge as well.  I never really liked multi tools, but the more I carry one, the more uses I find I can apply it to.  Carrying one in the woods solves alot of problems for me.  The other blade I use is a Swamp Rat Katmandu.  Probably pretty heavy, but it is a fixed tang design that has a high carbon content blade and holds an edge very well.  It is easy to resharpen.  I have had  a number of other blades, including Striders.  I have found that the Swamp Rat is what I usually use.  I have used it for batoning wood, cutting fuzz sticks, making spoons, cutting meat and food.  It has worked well for everyting I use it for.  Knife selection is highly personal and "feel" plays a huge part.   I made a kydex sheath for it. 

     Two other knives that I find I use a lot are a Mora knife and a bent knife.  I bought the Mora from Lee Valley Tool Co. for about $20.  I liked them so much I bought several for gifts to friends.  One of my more knife savvy friends says it is one of his most used knives.  He typically carries it in an urbn setting because it doesn't scream "knife"  Its cutting ability is all out of proportion to its size and cost.  The bent knife is from North Bay Forge.  It came extremely sharp.  If you have ever tried to carve a spoon, you'll appreciate this kind of knife.  Is it practical for every day carry?  Absolutely not, but it is a cool tool.  If you want to do bushcrafting though, it's pretty much of a necessity.

     Last, I find I've been using axes a bunch more lately.  I make sure I have one in my vehicle.  Lately, I've been using what was once termed a "boy's" axe.  It has a slightly smaller head (about two pounds) and really does what I need an axe to do.  If I was doing more backpacking, I'd definitely need something smaller.  There is a great book called "The Ax Book, The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter" by D. Long.  I picked up a copy years ago and treasure it.  The author was a woodsman in Maine.  Highly recommended.   One of the things I look for is old axe heads at flea markets/ junk stores/yard sales/ antique shops.  Usually they can be picked up for a song (say $5.00).  I then re-haft them.  I gave one to a dear friend and he showed it to a veteran logger.  The old gentleman told him that older axes tended to be made better because this was a period when people relied on axes as tools rather than typically a hobby item.  Several years ago, I was using my chain saw to cut a snag in a wood lot when the blade got stuck.  Having a sharp axe let me safely remove the stuck saw.  While I wouldn't want to cut firewood with just an axe, I surely don't want to be without a good axe.


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