Originally posted by Romans 10:9
full tang > semi-full tang
tang end > pommels
scales > wrapped handles
BK2 > Ka-Bar
lot's of research > little research
I'll definitely second all of that!
Hopefully the OP will be back here to read all of this...
Okay, y'all, let me give you some basic (and a bit over-simplified) information.
If the steel of a blade is its body then its soul would be the heat treatment (i.e. hardening and subsequent tempering). Please, if you get nothing
else out of what I have to say then remember this: a proper heat treatment on cheap steel will outperform an inadequate heat treatment on a high-end,
expensive steel. And there are many types of hardening and tempering processes, and each one of those has many, many different techniques that can be
used to accomplish it.
Every kind of steel is designed for a specific range of uses and thus has an appropriate range in its potential heat treatment (a high-carbon steel
can generally be made very hard [mid-60s RC], while a high-chromium steel is generally pretty soft [mid-50's RC], etc.). The design is also as
equally important. As much as I hate to admit it, there is just no single tool that will do everything. So the overall shape, geometry, edge, etc. has
just as much to do with the knife's usefulness as its steel and heat treatment do.
The tool then created from the specifically heat treated specific steel then has also a specific range of uses. Your small knife with a 23-degree edge
and high-hardness probably shouldn't be used to pry into an ammo box. Your katana with a moran grind and high-hardness edge (though a soft, tough
spine) probably shouldn't be used to chop down trees. Etc...
If you have money to burn then there are plenty of stainless knives that will do just fine in a wide variety of tasks, including the outdoorsy sorts
of things. Now, people swear by 440C or Buck's 420HC, but in my humble experience they both fall short of a good simple high-carbon steel.
If you're looking to get a good knife on the cheap, there are still plenty of options.
For a good, all-around outdoors/camping/survival/etc. blade then I would recommend anything from the Becker line (now being made by Kabar). Also look
into Ontario (especially their Spec-Plus line).
For a little more money, Cold Steel has some nice blades. For the cost, though, you may want to look into semi-custom (Scrapyard and kin) and
custom/handmade knives. Poke around on places like Bladeforums.
If you'd prefer a bigger blade then consider a good machete. From Ontario, Cold Steel, Tramontina, Condor, etc., they can be found pretty cheap.
I've had experience with most of them and they've all worked just fine around the house and in the woods.
The reason I would not recommend a Kabar USMC for outdoors/survival use is because you may have to do some chopping and prying. The rat-tail tang of
the USMC wouldn't be able to handle it for very long. Also, if a knife is being sold somewhere and you have little to no knowledge of it, then go and
find the knowledge. Educate yourself before any task and I guarantee the task will go much, much more smoothly.
Now, I'm a big guy (I stand 6'2") and stout, so I can take a big blade on a hike and won't have to worry much about it. Some guys, they have to
count down to ounces...I don't do that. To each his own, though.
But weight is something you'd generally want to consider, especially in a SHTF situation.
As for me, I would carry two or three blades. My general carry everyday (EDC) is just my folding knife - a Kabar warthog. In the woods, I generally
carry that along with a more capable multi-tool (typically a Swiss Army), a small knife for bushcraft/food prep (typically a Mora Clipper), along with
a large blade (which one depends on the kind I figure I'm going to need - my Ontario SP10 for splitting wood or if I think I'm going to need an
intimidating blade; a Becker BK9 for general stuff; a CS Barong machete if I just need some light to decent chopping done; etc.). In a SHTF situation,
I'd toss a big, heavy blade and a small, light blade in a pack and have a medium to large machete close to hand (they make damn fierce weapons). Read
up on the economic collapse a little while back in Argentina...
Okay, I hope this clears a few things up. I could write much, much more...after all, there have been many books written on just this, not to mention
the 10's of thousands of pages put toward just metallurgy and heat treatment.
I'd be happy to answer any more questions, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care, all!