The reputation of a company should reflect the quality and consistency of their heat treatment/tempering. When quality control slips less reliable
knives get onto the market. I had one recently from a well known manufacturer. I was surprised at how easily the tip broke, although I was abusing it
horribly at the time. I once did destruction tests on a whole series of knives to get an idea of what would fail how during extra hard use. Many of us
consider a knife to be more that a cutting tool at times.
Full tang with exposed metal touching the hand can be uncomfortable in very cold weather. It's the extreme situations that weed out the ill-prepared.
If the extra coldness of an exposed metal full tang prevented use of the knife you'd be very pleased to have a more traditional style. This is a
traditional knife suitable for use in cold weather. They are also available in much larger sizes.
The higher value of steel in the past along with available handle materials and fixing methods made stick tangs the obvious choice. I think there is
more to it than that. When using a knife every day as part of your lifestyle the extra bit of flexibility offered by the stick tang helps prevent
repetitive strain injuries. Learning from those around you in a traditional lifestyle teaches sensible use of the knife within it's strength
Handle and blade shape and size varies according to the main use of the knife. The old saying is, 'The best knife is the one you have with you'. The
one you will have with you is the one you feel comfortable with. That will be partly down to size and weight. Wearing a heavy knife on your waist will
adversely affect the way you walk.
Handle material will have a big effect on how you feel about the knife. For occasional use synthetics are fine. I like a grippy rubber handle for
safe, short term use. Friction is what makes it grippy. Friction means heat. Heat means blisters. A well designed handle will be suitable for longer
term use without having to be rough or grippy. Golden rule. Stop before you get tired. A serious cut far from home is no fun.
If you are living with your knife day in, day out, you will probably find a handle made from natural materials will feel better. I suspect this is
something to do with our own electrical fields. A natural material will feel friendlier. On an expedition by all means use a synthetic handle. For
living the life choose natural.
Folding knives deserve a mention. The Opinel is a good dry weather folder. I don't trust the stainless versions, I had one that broke with the
slightest pressure. The carbon versions take a fantastic edge and come in many sizes. They're lightweight and have a pleasant handle. Sensible use
avoids snapping the blade. If the handle gets soaked it swells and the knife is almost impossible to open. I still remember the shock that gave me one
very wet, cold afternoon far from civilisation. I stopped to light a fire. When it came to preparing some dry shavings and the knife wouldn't open I
was terribly aware of my predicament. After a lot of tapping on a rock I got it open. I was a fool to rely on one lightweight folder.
A folder made by Trevor Ablett of Sheffield took the best edge of any knife I've owned. Looking up his name I'm sorry to see he's not well, and
shocked to see he's started using stainless!
Chinese folders are now excellent value for money. Chinese activists who visited my town advised against buying Chinese goods because you're
contributing to slavery. There have to be reasons for the very low cost of Chinese knives.
I prefer a Spyderco for a back-up folder. For main use, carbon steel, natural handle.
I bought a bowie at a yard sale several years ago...three decades,actually. I paid seventy-five cents for it, and it's travelled the northwoods of
Alaska with me. It's helped start campfires. It's dressed out deer. It's about a half inch or so shorter than it once was... It's been
abused/used. It's hand made by someone who knew what they were doing, holds an edge like no ones business, is well balanced. It's my go to blade for
heavy duty use.
Another I carry is a knife my dad made from an old file when he was a kid. I need to sharpen it fairly often, but its conveniently sized, and fits
into my BOB quite nicely along with my folding saw.
My knife that I'm never without is a Swiss Army pocket knife that I bought on a whim when I was a kid. I love it. It cuts everything I need it to
when in camp, and many, many other things.
Nothin' very fancy, in fact my two fave knives are hand made.
I've found that yard sales, if you know what you're looking at, can yield up remarkable treasures where knives are concerned.
As long as I can gut and skin a deer with it, it's fine by me. That said, I have a few that I wouldn't take into the field. They may be cool looking
but I don't think they'd stand up to the kind of use and abuse I'd put them through.
i think its all in the user for me a use 2 kmives a crkt d007 razell when i am in the bush or camping and a gerber fixed blade from the bear
grylls collection from wally mart both are very sharp and do good jobs cutting through most things i obly use fixed blades and recommend anybody
buying a vamp knife to make sure it has a full tang construction
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