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Knife Recommendations
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Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Re Sharpening on 11/12/2011 11:02:18 MST Print View

Thanks Andy. I've seen them before, and every video on Youtube, i think.
I'll eventually get a knife sharp enough to shave with.

How did Ray get the nails out of the tree afterwards?:)

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 11/12/2011 11:14:27 MST.

Pete Wilson
(Muddy-Pete) - F

Locale: east coast
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/12/2011 13:42:34 MST Print View

I also like the Mora knives for the price and quality. For a good fixed blade knife under $30. I also use the Gerber Profile. Coldsteel makes several affordable fixed blades in the same price range. A little bit more money will get you a good Ka-Bar or a Buck 119, Bark Rivers are great knives but yes they are expensive. My Gunny ran $120. My Gossman PSK ran $92 but worth it.

For folders, I use Victorinox SAK's in my survival kits, Schrade and Case are good too.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/12/2011 18:34:10 MST Print View

A good quality fixed blade will last a lifetime (or more likely, until you lose it), so I don't think $100-200 is an outrageous investment, even for someone that doesn't feel the allure of high end cutlery, but obviously I'm biased.

Mora's are great abusers, but I've broken a bunch of em, enough to have justified at least one higher end knife. Not trying to disparage them as awesome tools however, if you're *interested* in knife work, they're awesome to beat up, and great to hone your skills on, so to speak, and remain one of the best values period, along with the Opinels.

If you want a reasonably inexpensive no-nonsense performer that'll last as long as you can keep up with it, the BR's are one of the top choices IMHO. Esee (used to be RAT) is another great and often cheaper option, the Izula can't be beat for the money, although their bigger stuff tends to be chunky and weighty for my tastes, and I don't find it performs as well. They have a much better warranty however, pretty much no questions asked replacement if it breaks, so that's one thing to consider.

Anyway, lots of great options, but it really depends on your intended use, and desires.

Chris Peichel

Locale: Eureka
Re: Knife recommendations on 11/12/2011 18:51:58 MST Print View

I agree w/ Javan the BR knives are very nice. I had one but just didn't like the feel of it in my hand ( I didn't have the scales on it) and didn't care for the kydex sheath it came with, but I will say it is an exceptionally well made knife. Everybody is different in what they like.

I ended up going with an ESEE Izula 2 with scales. I love it. great sheath, great feel, easy to maintain the edge to razor sharp. I did convex the edge though.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Knife recommendations on 11/12/2011 20:23:37 MST Print View

Aye, the stock Bravo Necker/2 without scales has sharp corners that aren't very comfy, but I find it more comfortable with scales than the Izula models with scales.

I lost my BN2 outside for a couple of months, and when I found it, the hardware had rusted (bolts) and there was some light rust all around, so I stripped it, knocked all the sharp corners off, and polished the whole thing. Pretty much perfect without the scales now.

The Izula's sheath however is much better, and I believe much lighter also? It's some kind of injection molded plastic I think, industrially made perhaps? Kydex is strong and very durable, but the BN-2 kydex weighs almost as much as the knife itself.

For someone looking for something bigger and more functional however, the BR Aurora or North Star are very hard to beat for the price, and the full height convex grind is easy as hell to maintain and holds a working edge forever.

The Esee's utilize a flat grind with a relatively obtuse factory secondary bevel, so convexing the edge or re-grinding it is almost a given, but the price and the warranty make it a stellar value regardless.

Christopher Pyle
(fishfear07) - F
convex on 11/12/2011 20:41:02 MST Print View

What is the easiest way to convex an edge?

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
convex on 11/12/2011 20:51:24 MST Print View

I use a thick mousepad w/ varying grits of paper depending on the edge- if your just starting the convex edge probably start w/ 220 working your way up to 1000 or 1500, then I go to a leather strop w/ green compound

here's a couple of how to's

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: convex on 11/12/2011 21:50:40 MST Print View

I recommend a scrap of walmart blue foam CCF sleeping pad. They run $6-8 in the camping section, and it has the appropriate resistance and stiffness needed. Most mouse pads are no longer made in such a way as to be suitable anymore.

It'll take some practice, but should be well worth the effort, since after you get the basics down, and have established a good convex edge, getting it back to shaving sharp will only take a minute or two.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
straight angle to convex on 11/12/2011 23:41:54 MST Print View

@ Christopher
"What is the easiest way to convex an edge?"

If you're asking about convexing a straight angle ground edge, then a small belt grinder is the easiest. Second easiest is using a series of sandpaper grits as described above.

For maintaining any edge, the wood and leather pad with a wax-baste fine grinding paste ("black" is the best for most uses - see for purchasing these), and lightly dragging the edge backwards is the easiest and best.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Thanks on 11/13/2011 07:48:23 MST Print View

@Mike. Thanks for those links. The video tutorial is the best i've seen for a novice sharpener like myself. I'll get a kit put together based on that. I'll use some old blue foam i have instead of a mouse-mat though. Cheers for that Javan.
The BR compounds are too expensive to get shipped over here, so i'll try various lapping/grinding compounds i have at my (engineering)workplace.

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 11/13/2011 07:49:37 MST.

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Ka-Bar BK14 on 11/13/2011 08:43:24 MST Print View

I live in the Pacific Northwest and do plenty of shoulder season camping. So there's lots of wood and lots of moisture everywhere I hike in the spring and fall. In these circumstances, carrying a knife capable of batoning wood is key to my enjoyment of my nights on these trips.

The Ka-Bar BK14 "eskabar" knife is perfect for these purposes. It's a collaboration between ESEE and Ka-Bar to produce a knife with a handle like the Izula but the blade of the BK11 "becker necker". With a sheath, the thing weighs 4oz but it's a tank of a knife. I use it for food prep, gutting fish, and batoning.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Thanks on 11/13/2011 12:55:46 MST Print View

Mike if you don't have any luck finding the appropriate compounds (there are a *ton* of options, some simpler than others), shoot me a message and I'll send you some.

I only use green chrome buffing compound personally for stropping, but I've got huge blocks on hand. It has a very light cut and high polish, I use it charged in my cork belts on my grinder for final edge work on knives I make.

You can probably find suitable stuff from a jeweler, but you need something with a little "cut" to it. Red rouge isn't really effective, but a lot of platinum compounds will work great.

Personally though, I find the field solution of a strip of 2x8 blue foam and 3 pieces of high grit paper to be the lightest best option. I don't bother with a strop in that case, a strip of wet/dry automotive paper or equivalent, in 1200 grit, 1500 grit, and 2000 grit will serve you well, and may honestly be overkill. You can probably do just fine with 1 or 2, you've just got to figure out at what point you need to touch it up with the paper for it to be optimal.

You can even glue one grit to each side, maybe like 550grit and 1200grit would keep your knife working hard but be capable of taking out some big nicks if needed.

One thing though, I recommend buying high quality paper, otherwise it'll stop cutting after a few swipes and be useless. I like Rhynowet sheets, but 3M or something like that you can buy retail and is reasonably good. AO paper breaks down real fast when used with metal in fine grits though, so SiC is recommendable in higher grits from my experience.

Christopher Pyle
(fishfear07) - F
Thanks on 11/13/2011 19:05:05 MST Print View

Thanks Mike and Stephen I'm going to have to give this a try.

Robert Thurman
(oldfatguy) - F
Cold Steel / Buck on 11/14/2011 10:21:24 MST Print View

I've been carrying a Cold Steel Roach Belly ($16.00 new) as a fixed blade and a Buck Summit ($10 off of eBay as TSA confiscated knife) as a folder. I carry both and usually at least one more.
If you end up in a survival situation, a knife (any knife) is going to be the most helpful thing you have along.

James Nomura
(Lockon) - F
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/15/2011 02:06:43 MST Print View

OP, what is it that you need the knife for?

There is no definite right or wrong, rather just an issue of preference. Those who carry knives as a hobby usually own a lot of them due to trial and error of figuring out what they really like.

Fixed blades are nice but it really depends on what you need it for. For everyday carry (EDC), I'd think a folding knife is easier to deal with since it's more portable, it's not necessarily weaker than a fixed blade if made well, just have to be careful of the line lock which keeps it secured when in use. If you intend on using it a lot, you don't have to spend big bucks on one, just look for something that's easy to maintain and something you won't freak out on if you accidentally damage it. Sheath is not an issue since the handle is the sheath unless you want to keep in a case on your belt.

Fixed blades IMO are better for specific use like trail hiking, camping but if you EDC, you need to think about the sheath. It's better for heavier duty work I think but depending on your location, it may not be feasible to carry a fixed blade around in public.

I'm not a fan of serrations but if you simply want a knife to show off to friends, they do make the blade look less boring but in practical use, I don't care for them.

Personally folding knives and many mini fixed blades are really cool but I find that for general use, something like a multi-tool works better for EDC like a Leatherman with the tools you intend on using. I carry a Leatherman Charge Ti multi-tool and it's built like a tank.

Hope you find what you're looking for. Just don't think too much about spending too much on your first pocket/portable knife.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Cheers on 11/15/2011 10:24:51 MST Print View

Thanks for the kind offer, Javan, but i should be ok. I've been looking at UK knife forums, and have found a few compounds that folk use over here.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/15/2011 11:45:18 MST Print View

Some good info there James, and I'd like to comment on a couple of things.

1) Another (and I think the major) detractor for serrations is also the inability of most home sharpening setups to maintain them. You need special sharpening rods to sharpen those serrations, and they don't really serve much significant function, unless you often let your knife get dull and have to resort to sawing at a rope instead of cutting it.

2) One thing to consider regarding the EDC ability of a knife are your local laws about concealed carry of a knife. For instance, North Carolina where I now reside, allows no fixed blade concealed carry, and only very limited *legal* carry of a small folder. Open carry is completely legal, and I've strolled around town with some of my prized Khukri collection pieces on my hip a number of times here. Even with a concealed weapon's permit in my state, you can't carry a concealed knife. Thus, I no longer carry my necker around my neck, which is probably good because I think it was giving me back pains.

So, as James mentioned, it's really important to decide what you need the knife to do, what situations you'll be using it in, and what other variables like legalities might factor in.

Also, some people just love folders, and some people don't. I'm in the don't camp. Once I have the knife in my hand, I want it ready to go to task. That's just my preference, but I like simplicity.