Category Archives: Knives

Benchmade Bushcrafter

Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162-1 EOD, Drop-point, Sand Handle

Benchmade Bushcrafter – Overview

Benchmades’ foray in to the bushcrafting niche, like bushcrafting itself, adds modern improvements to a traditional approach. While many in the bushcraft community prefer age old, time tested methods and natural materials… the Bushcrafter effectively demonstrates a viable alternative. A perfect middle-ground size, innovative blade grind, synthetic and intuitively contoured handle, and modern supersteel combine to form an extremely capable tool.


Benchmade Bushcrafter – Blade

Benchmade’s designer for the Bushcrafter Shane Sibert has modeled the blade after his own design, the Cascadia Bushcrafter:

Like the Cascadia, Benchmade’s knife features a “high ground drop point” blade. Similar to the revered Scandinavian grind but with a higher grind and a secondary bevel, Sibert claims this design offers superior strength to a Scandinavian while still being “super sharp”. Unlike most bushcraft blades, the Bushcrafter is not made with high-carbon or tool steel. Rather, Benchmade has used supersteel S30V. Excellent toughness and edge retention without being too difficult to sharpen are some of its best characteristics. Also, its stainless composition and ability to accept an extremely keen edge separate it from the pack of most comparable steels. As such, its a great pick for a blade like the Bushcrafter.

All of the above stated, it performs admirably in the field. It’s literally such a “bomb-proof” design that it’s used by Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams to dismantle explosives in the field. For this purpose Benchmade even made a variant of the Bushcrafter called the “EOD”.

Benchmade Bushcrafter – Handle

For the handle, Benchmade chose extremely durable G10 scales held by flared titanium tubing. According to Sibert the flared tubing helps hold the scales against the blade preventing separation under lateral pressure. Hollow tubing also adds two potential lashing points for a spear if needed. Synthetic G10 ensures that your handle will never decay even under the most corrosive or wet conditions. The textured grip also provides a comfortable positive feel. The grip contours have received criticism from some for being too extreme, however I have not found that to be the case. The upper palm swell adds comfort and control during fine carving tasks while the flared end towards the bottom allows for a secure grip while wielding the knife for hacking and chopping.


Specifications

Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162-1 EOD, Drop-point, Sand Handle


  • Steel: S30V 58-60 HRC Rockwell
  • Handle: G10
  • Blade Style: high ground drop point
  • Blade Thickness: 0.164 inches
  • Blade Length: 4.43 inches
  • Overall Length: 9.2 inches
  • Weight: 7.72 ounces

Morakniv Companion Knife

Overview

While there is no perfect knife, there are near-perfect options for every situation. Some prefer larger blades more suited to chopping with brute strength. Others prefer a slender approach for more delicate tasks. Every one of these categories have options ranging from 5 to 400 dollars. I tend to align with the “mil-spec” approach: greatest quality for the best price. In other words, best value. And in terms of value, the Morakniv Companion can’t be beat.

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Anyone enthusiastic about knives knows the Swedes have a way with steel. Back in 1891 Frost-Erik Erson opened the doors to his shop in the village of Östnor. Since then the production of Mora knives has continued in the same place it started, Mora of Sweden. Explorers and tradesmen alike have carried these knives for generations, and for good reason. Today the case is little different, those looking for an effective blade at an affordable price look no further than Mora for their needs. While it may not be a beautiful heirloom, the Morakniv Companion is a functional piece of kit. Even those who may use expensive, highly capable tools need a knife every bit as functional that they’re not afraid to lose or damage. Or, the upstart woodsman may find himself looking to start exploring with something that won’t break the bank. It is the epitome of value in the knife world.


Steel

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The Morakniv Companion is available in a range of compositions. Personally, I’m a fan of their stainless model crafted with Sandvik 12C27. Why? because it performs like a modern super-steel at a bargain price. Swedish steel is known for exceptional quality, and 12C27 is the perfect example. Its fine grain structure and purity allow it to accept and hold a beautiful edge. It compares in toughness to high-carbon steel, with the corrosion resistance of stainless. 12C27 will also accept a mirror polish, further increasing corrosion resistance. That being said, their proprietary blend of carbon steel is no joke either. And if you’re not worried about corrosion resistance, you may choose to opt for a little more durability.

Blade

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The Morakniv Companion is made with a true Scandinavian, or sabre grind. The 4.1 inch blade is only 0.1 inches thick, allowing for precise, efficient cuts. That being said, it’s likely not the best tools for heavy chopping or batoning.

Handle

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Speaking of heavy duty tasks, the Companion is not a true full-tang construction. Rather, it is partial stick tang design. While not as durable as a full tang blade, it will still withstand some serious abuse. The plastic/rubber overmolded handle is ergonomically shaped and very comfortable in hand. Hand sizes ranging from large to small will find it quite pleasing to use.

Specifications

Morakniv Companion Stainless

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, Black, 4.1-Inch

  • Steel: Sandvik 12C27
  • Blade length: 4.1 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.1 inches
  • Overall length: 8.6 inches
  • Weight (with sheath): 4.1 ounces

Morakniv Companion Carbon Steel

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch

  • Steel: Proprietary high-carbon steel
  • Blade length: 4.1 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.08 inches
  • Overall length: 8.6 inches
  • Weight (with sheath): 3.9 ounces

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, Black, 4.1-Inch

Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife with Fire Starter and Sheath, Black

CRKT M16 Series Folder

Columbia River Knife and Tool M16-10KZ 3-Inch Black Folding Knife

Overview

There are many who credit the emergence of the “flipper” knife to the CRKT M16 Series. Designed by the legendary Kit Carson and modeled after his original tactical blade. These knives are not spring assisted but open with a flick of the wrist. Whether their creation of the design or presence at its forefront matters, the concept simply works. Its quite fun actually. There are other knives with heavier blades and/or nicer components, but this one opens very smoothly.

An original Kit Carson knife. The design from which the M16 was created.
An original Kit Carson knife. The design from which the M16 was created.

Speaking of nicer components, this is not a high end blade. In fact you can probably find it at your local Lowe’s for 30-40 dollars. That being said, it is among the very best in its price range. It’s hard to go wrong at such an affordable number. I’ve had mine for years, and quite honestly it’s never let me down. Not to say that it doesn’t have its flaws.


Blade

While the M16 Series is available in an endless variety of styles, most are made of AUS-4 steel. AUS-4 is a lower-end version of AUS-8, a very popular high performance steel. AUS-4 will accept a keen edge, but will not hold it for an admirably long time. Nevertheless, it gets the job done. Advertised as a dual hollow ground edge, this blade is more of a chisel grind. Certainly not ideal but simple to sharpen. You can find the M16 in spear-point and tanto variations. This seems to be purely a matter of personal preference.

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Handle

Even though the M16 models are liner-lock folders, most come with an additional “AutoLAWKS” feature. For good reason, many consider this to be a gimmick. The liner-locking mechanism provides enough security to render AutoLAWKS obsolete. If anything, it adds an extra step to closing.

Handle materials range from zytel to steel to even titanium. Most come with zytel, which provides a comfortable and secure grip. Handle contours are nicely rounded and provide an excellent feel. The attached belt clip is nothing extraordinary, but holds very well with a low profile. While stowed away in the pocket one can often barely notice its presence.


Specifications

Columbia River Knife and Tool M16-10KZ 3-Inch Black Folding Knife

  • Steel: AUS 4 – 58/59 HRC Rockwell
  • Blade length: 3.125 inches
  • Overall length: 7.125
  • Weight: 2.3 ounces
  • Handle: Zytel (nylon)

Helle Utvaer

Helle Utvaer – Best Bushcraft Knife

With today’s knife scene over-saturated with aggressive, black, deadly looking tactical designs; it’s nothing short of refreshing to see a blade crafted in the traditional Scandinavian way. Since 1932, Helle has been creating exceptional blades for the outdoorsman. Whether it be processing firewood, skinning game, or preparing table fare, the best bushcraft knife must be ready to handle anything. There are specialized knives for more specific purposes but for doing it all, I choose the Helle Utvaer.

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Steel: Sandvik 12C27 Stainless

Created with the harsh Norwegian climate in mind, nearly all of Helle’s knife are produced with Sandvik 12C27 Stainless Steel. I’m a fan of this steel for many reasons, but to sum it all up: it performs like a super-steel at a bargain price. There’s a reason the famous Mora knife gained so much popularity with its affordable price tag and legendary performance. That’s because it’s made with Sandvik 12C27. This exceptionally pure blend of steel can take and hold a beautiful edge with ease, accept a mirror polish, and accept the kind of beating and hard-use of comparable carbon steels. All while offering the corrosion resistance to thrive in the salty Norweigan coast.

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Blade: True Scandinavian Grind

However, the Helle Utvaer does not come with a bargain price tag. This sturdy blade comes with a perfectly balanced full-tang construction. Matched with a beefy 3mm width, it’s well suited to batoning and processing through the thickest of logs. Scandinavian ground blades are crafted with wood carving and processing in mind, and this 4-inch blade moves through material like butter. All while remaining legal to carry in most nations.

The pommel crusher is equipped with a sharp 90-degree edge for producing a magnificent spark off a ferro-rod, scraping fine shavings of fatwood or birch bark, or blasting through a window in an emergency. The blade spine itself is not a perfect 90-degree edge, but has been ground slightly to increase comfort and maneuverability during the finest of carving tasks. Nevertheless, it strikes a phenomenal spark from a ferrocerium rod. The ultra-satin polished blade may be used as a signaling mirror, but it ultimately increases the already impressive corrosion resistance. I’ve sliced and processed acidic fruits and veggies, and left the grimy blade to marinate in it’s leather sheath for days in order to test its resolve. The results? not a single rust spot, and the same hair-popping edge I left it with.

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Handle: Oil-Impregnated Curly Birch

With blades designed with corrosion resistance in mind being paired with composite handles, the Helle Utvaer remains true to the Scandinavian style with traditional oil-impregnated curly birch, used for hundreds of years for knife scales due to its incredible beauty and durability. Although slightly polished and oil-impregnated, the handle retains a positive grip to ensure functionality in damp or slippery conditions. The 4.5-inch handle is contoured beautifully to accept a variety of palm sizes but remains most comfortable in medium to large sized hands. While some may prefer smoother, more rounded shapes the the Utvaer is curved to ensure maximum control and security. Handle scales are attached with peened, hollow tubes giving two potential lashing points for a spear if needed.

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Helle Utvaer – Built To Be Used

Overall, I expect this knife to be around long after I’m gone. In fact, I plan to hand it down to my son someday. While it may be the best bushcraft knife, it is also truly beautiful enough to be put on display as a family heirloom for generations to come. However despite its beauty I hope it fulfills the purpose for which it was built, true to the Helle motto, not built to be an ornament… built to be used.


Helle Utvaer – Specifications

Helle Utvaer Knife

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  • Overall length: 8.625 inches
  • Blade length: 4 inches
  • Weight: 5.16 ounces
  • Steel: Sandvik 12C27 Stainless
  • Handle: Oil-impregnated curly birch
  • Tang: full tang
  • Grind: Scandinavian