What's a good knife

Jul 2, 2012
1,130
78
48
38
world wide
#52
Good knives aren't cheap and cheap knives aren't good, I don't care what anyone says. If I'm putting a knife in a BOB it's going to be something I can depend on. Its not like you can only use it in an end of times scenario. Get a Randall, Blackjack, Bark River, Essee or anything else of the same caliber. If it were me it would have a Carbon blade as well, YMMV.
 

mlpkhl

Sergeant of the Hide
May 1, 2013
296
10
18
California
#53
Hey guys!
Check out J. Wolfe Cutlery.

Josh is an active Army soldier, past sniper school instructor and all around great guy! He makes custom fixed blades for people. I think he only has a Facebook account for the business at the moment. Do yourselves a favor and check them out. Extremely strong, well thought out survival knives.
 
Aug 22, 2017
10
0
1
#55
I have owned and used several different brands from busse to mora. One question aside from cost is intended purpose. Different edge types for different uses. Personally, I have found through experience that I desire to have an axe for limbic and splitting while reserving the knife for carving and slicing purposes. Scandinavian grinds are easy to sharpen for less experienced bushcrafters. One knife company I recommend is TOPS. They have a Tahoma field knife that has been designed to replace several tools and it is a good design. You can find the for about 150 on bladehq. I lean towards moral in the field because of price and performance and use them... I also prefer to put in my bug out bag that which I have personally tried and found to be rugged and robust for my purposes. Another recommendation would be the mora garberg... I also second the comments recommending two knives. I have often kept a smaller fixed blade for food prep and small carving tasks... also for hygiene in the field important to not cross contaminate prep and eating tools imho. Good luck on your quest and if you have not researched your area. You may want to join a local bushcraft group to sharpen skills and check out what others use so you can save money without experimenting (like I did lol). Fyi if you go carbon steel keep small amount of olive oil on cotton ball to treat blade after use to prevent corrosion.
 
#56
In a BOB should go no expensive equipment IMHO. It sits around most of the time.
I believe the exact opposite. A BOB/GHB should be used by the owner as often as possible so he is familiar with the gear and trusts it with his life! If a BOB/GHB has to be used for the emergency we built it for, the equipment must be dependable.

So said, I have upgraded my GHB to the best gear I've found and used over the last 35 years. My original gear was stuff I had laying around, mostly for hunting and camping as junior high kid. Over the decades I've bought better equipment that has been used in real situations through hunting, camping and backyard testing.

Now does each item cost a lot? Some do, others are rather inexpensive from a $125 Tops Pasayten fixed blade to a $12 Mora. Each has their place but the key is I know they will do the jobs I ask of them because I've been using them extensively. Please don't let your BOB/GHBs sit around unused!
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
10,677
12,066
113
53
The Snobbiest Town in The Snobbiest State in the N
#58
Buddy of mine (he is here on SH, but not very active) is making amazing Bushcraft knives. I posted pictures of one of his that I took deer hunting in Ohio a couple of years ago.

He is actually not that expensive.... makes everything himself, including the sheaths. His metalworking is great. And his knives are rugged as hell.

PM me and I'll get you guys in touch.

Cheers,

Sirhr

P.S. He shoots a TRG... and just got a 6.5. He is a pretty serious long-range shooter. We have shot together quite a few times!
 
May 20, 2006
1,907
1,000
113
Winnipeg, Mb.
#59
The title of this thread, in the form of a question, is "What's a good knife?"

The answer to the question, is "One that holds an edge and ability to perform the intended task."

Now, over the years, I have sharpened a knife or two. I don't do it for a living, but I have many MANY people bringing their knives to me (and other assorted 'edged' items) to get taken care-of, properly. I have long ago stated that I will NOT waste my time, infrastructure, or their money doing any work on 'cheap' blades. Such as those 24 piece sets that one would get from Wally-world, that comes with a piece-of-shit knife-block AND 6 extra other gizmo-gadgets for only $18.99,,, and if you call right now......

Soft metal is immediately 'felt' when attempting to do any sharpening. Soft metal is the bane of all knives. Real knives DON'T have soft metal.

Now, the next question is "what is the task intended?" Do you want a medium-long sturdy blade, for piercing between the ribs to julienne an enemy sentry's heart in the middle of the night during a strategic and tactical evolution against a taliban stronghold, OR do you want a long and flexible blade to glide along the ribs of a flat-head catfish that you're filleting for dinner for the family during a holiday fishing trip?

Two totally different knives, for two totally different uses, and each requiring the same two parameters. Edge, and Ribs. In two different ways. And those aren't the only two parameters that exist. There are many more.

So, after all that blathering diatribe, I'll retort back to the lumberjack OP's question, and ask:

"What is a good knife for (fill in this blank)?"

Do you want to talk about Rockwell C, length, height, thickness, hilt, handle, pommel, sheath, edge, dual-edged, serrations, shape, color, rolled metal, folded metal, forged metal, cast metal, sintered metal, stamped metal, water-quenched, oil-quenched, ice-quenched, salt-quenched, bare metal, coated, hinged, partial-tang, full-tang, screwed-handle, riveted-handle, molded-handle, or anything else?

Ceramics and polymers aside, of course.
 
Aug 30, 2017
37
0
6
Western, Wa
#60
Another vote for the Esse if you want to spend the money on it. The Mora knives are great. They are cheap, sharp, and durable. I've had one in my backpacking kit for years. They also do not weigh much vs their strength. For a hiking or bugout kit weight becomes an issue when you have to hump it all over the place.
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
2,791
944
113
42
Pierce County, WA
#61
A goddamn Randall or a Winkler, enough said.

I prefer a small tomahawk myself. Winkler makes a couple that are impossible to beat. Expensive but worth it.

But to be honest, a $40 Ka-Bar has seen by far the most use.
 

CJS-6.5

Miss General Lee
Sep 15, 2017
294
64
28
#62
Good knives aren't cheap and cheap knives aren't good, I don't care what anyone says. If I'm putting a knife in a BOB it's going to be something I can depend on. Its not like you can only use it in an end of times scenario. Get a Randall, Blackjack, Bark River, Essee or anything else of the same caliber. If it were me it would have a Carbon blade as well, YMMV.
I like Olfa touchknives. I get them free and they are the knife I use the most. Most people spend more time skinning amazon boxes then animals anyway.
 

MTFalconer

Peckerhead on a mountain.
Mar 10, 2014
382
8
18
Little Belts, Montana
#65
Once upon a time I loved questions like this as what one considers a "good knife" some of us wouldn't use for love or money. For me, I deal with custom knife makers every day. That is a literal statement, everyday I talk to them and take orders for Leatherwork. I make a LOT of sheaths for custom knives. I have seen knife makers come and knife makers go. All with the latest greatest thing or catchy fad steel or coating. Some are nice and some aren't even worth setting on a shelf to look at. For me, I am hard on a knife. Especially a belt knife. Mine are expected to perform various difficult tasks weekly if not daily. As such I have had a good number and most have ended up in my junk drawer. It includes some of the knives mentioned here. If you are a weekend state park bushcrafter then many will work. If you intend to take a deer or elk apart with a knife, pay attention.

Some time ago I got a call from a MASTER ABS knife smith wanting me to make some sheaths for a few knives. We worked out the details and we were talking when he asked if he could send me a knife to evaluate. I laughed at him initially as I have had tons of guys send me knives and as I said, most end scrap in my junk drawer or sent back with my apologies. We talked a little more and discussed the life that a knife on my belt was expected to live and he sent me a blade to scale myself. That was three or four years ago and that knife still resides on my belt. I have not been able to kill it, bed it break it or make it fail and trust me I have done some ridiculous things with it. TO include driving it into a spruce tree with my axe to use it as a step. I have processed numerous deer and elk with it and cut anything and everything. It IS the best knife I have ever owned. The maker is Ray Kirk, and his mark is RAKER knives. He makes no nonsense working blades without all the fluff. He is the winner of many, Many awards for ABS cutting competitions and the guy is a genius with 52100 steel. As Crocodile Dundee says, now that's a knife".
 

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jbell

Gunny Sergeant
Jan 16, 2010
3,495
105
63
40
Lewiston, ME
#68
Once upon a time I loved questions like this as what one considers a "good knife" some of us wouldn't use for love or money. For me, I deal with custom knife makers every day. That is a literal statement, everyday I talk to them and take orders for Leatherwork. I make a LOT of sheaths for custom knives. I have seen knife makers come and knife makers go. All with the latest greatest thing or catchy fad steel or coating. Some are nice and some aren't even worth setting on a shelf to look at. For me, I am hard on a knife. Especially a belt knife. Mine are expected to perform various difficult tasks weekly if not daily. As such I have had a good number and most have ended up in my junk drawer. It includes some of the knives mentioned here. If you are a weekend state park bushcrafter then many will work. If you intend to take a deer or elk apart with a knife, pay attention.

Some time ago I got a call from a MASTER ABS knife smith wanting me to make some sheaths for a few knives. We worked out the details and we were talking when he asked if he could send me a knife to evaluate. I laughed at him initially as I have had tons of guys send me knives and as I said, most end scrap in my junk drawer or sent back with my apologies. We talked a little more and discussed the life that a knife on my belt was expected to live and he sent me a blade to scale myself. That was three or four years ago and that knife still resides on my belt. I have not been able to kill it, bed it break it or make it fail and trust me I have done some ridiculous things with it. TO include driving it into a spruce tree with my axe to use it as a step. I have processed numerous deer and elk with it and cut anything and everything. It IS the best knife I have ever owned. The maker is Ray Kirk, and his mark is RAKER knives. He makes no nonsense working blades without all the fluff. He is the winner of many, Many awards for ABS cutting competitions and the guy is a genius with 52100 steel. As Crocodile Dundee says, now that's a knife".
I am lucky enough to own a Raker and love it. I have to agree they are top shelf!
 

MTFalconer

Peckerhead on a mountain.
Mar 10, 2014
382
8
18
Little Belts, Montana
#69
Yup, Ray can and will make you a pretty knife but pretty knives don't stay pretty for long if they are used hard. He would much rather make a knife that will last a lifetime and take a beating. I can't say enough about his work.
 
Apr 25, 2008
846
144
43
wilds of montana
#71
Once upon a time I loved questions like this as what one considers a "good knife" some of us wouldn't use for love or money. For me, I deal with custom knife makers every day. That is a literal statement, everyday I talk to them and take orders for Leatherwork. I make a LOT of sheaths for custom knives. I have seen knife makers come and knife makers go. All with the latest greatest thing or catchy fad steel or coating. Some are nice and some aren't even worth setting on a shelf to look at. For me, I am hard on a knife. Especially a belt knife. Mine are expected to perform various difficult tasks weekly if not daily. As such I have had a good number and most have ended up in my junk drawer. It includes some of the knives mentioned here. If you are a weekend state park bushcrafter then many will work. If you intend to take a deer or elk apart with a knife, pay attention.

Some time ago I got a call from a MASTER ABS knife smith wanting me to make some sheaths for a few knives. We worked out the details and we were talking when he asked if he could send me a knife to evaluate. I laughed at him initially as I have had tons of guys send me knives and as I said, most end scrap in my junk drawer or sent back with my apologies. We talked a little more and discussed the life that a knife on my belt was expected to live and he sent me a blade to scale myself. That was three or four years ago and that knife still resides on my belt. I have not been able to kill it, bed it break it or make it fail and trust me I have done some ridiculous things with it. TO include driving it into a spruce tree with my axe to use it as a step. I have processed numerous deer and elk with it and cut anything and everything. It IS the best knife I have ever owned. The maker is Ray Kirk, and his mark is RAKER knives. He makes no nonsense working blades without all the fluff. He is the winner of many, Many awards for ABS cutting competitions and the guy is a genius with 52100 steel. As Crocodile Dundee says, now that's a knife".
Man that is a nice looking toad stabber and the sheath isn't too shabby either! I don't use a knife that hard as I usually have more than one and am not often that far away from an axe or a motorsagen. But.. I have this thing about knives I'll have to check Raker.
 
Dec 20, 2017
58
6
8
Oklahoma
#73
+1 on the esee and morakniv. The esee 4 is a good size, but while field dressing an antelope a few years back, I actually felt like an esee 3 or even an izula would have been a better fit. YMMV.
 
Sep 28, 2017
138
5
18
DFW, Texas
#77
Once upon a time I loved questions like this as what one considers a "good knife" some of us wouldn't use for love or money. For me, I deal with custom knife makers every day. That is a literal statement, everyday I talk to them and take orders for Leatherwork. I make a LOT of sheaths for custom knives. I have seen knife makers come and knife makers go. All with the latest greatest thing or catchy fad steel or coating. Some are nice and some aren't even worth setting on a shelf to look at. For me, I am hard on a knife. Especially a belt knife. Mine are expected to perform various difficult tasks weekly if not daily. As such I have had a good number and most have ended up in my junk drawer. It includes some of the knives mentioned here. If you are a weekend state park bushcrafter then many will work. If you intend to take a deer or elk apart with a knife, pay attention.

Some time ago I got a call from a MASTER ABS knife smith wanting me to make some sheaths for a few knives. We worked out the details and we were talking when he asked if he could send me a knife to evaluate. I laughed at him initially as I have had tons of guys send me knives and as I said, most end scrap in my junk drawer or sent back with my apologies. We talked a little more and discussed the life that a knife on my belt was expected to live and he sent me a blade to scale myself. That was three or four years ago and that knife still resides on my belt. I have not been able to kill it, bed it break it or make it fail and trust me I have done some ridiculous things with it. TO include driving it into a spruce tree with my axe to use it as a step. I have processed numerous deer and elk with it and cut anything and everything. It IS the best knife I have ever owned. The maker is Ray Kirk, and his mark is RAKER knives. He makes no nonsense working blades without all the fluff. He is the winner of many, Many awards for ABS cutting competitions and the guy is a genius with 52100 steel. As Crocodile Dundee says, now that's a knife".
I like it when beauty and function combine. Yhts a good looking knife.
 

thejeep

Sergeant
Aug 30, 2008
700
164
43
tn
#78
Bark River is a butter knife.
i had one of their golok small machetes. that pos chipped processing 1-2" oak limbs, still green. sent it back. they re profiled it and it chipped again same tree. metal to wood only. now i have a 180$ hard use large fruit processor. boy that thing will put a hurting on a pineapple, bushcraft as a motherfucker. thing of beauty, if you decide to cut a watermelon just make sure its seedless. wouldnt want their proprietary heat treated a2 tool steel to be overwhelmed.
#fortheloveofgoddontbuyabarkriverknifeifyoumayactuallyuseitforprocessingtreelimbs
#barkriverknivesaresofuckingbushcrafttheychippwhileshavingyourpubes

sample size of 1 though, ymmv.
 

diverdon

Online Training Member
Dec 21, 2011
3,060
1,296
113
WNY
#80
i had one of their golok small machetes. that pos chipped processing 1-2" oak limbs, still green. sent it back. they re profiled it and it chipped again same tree. metal to wood only. now i have a 180$ hard use large fruit processor. boy that thing will put a hurting on a pineapple, bushcraft as a motherfucker. thing of beauty, if you decide to cut a watermelon just make sure its seedless. wouldnt want their proprietary heat treated a2 tool steel to be overwhelmed.
#fortheloveofgoddontbuyabarkriverknifeifyoumayactuallyuseitforprocessingtreelimbs
#barkriverknivesaresofuckingbushcrafttheychippwhileshavingyourpubes

sample size of 1 though, ymmv.
Speaking as a tool and die maker, I never used A2 anywhere I was concerned with impact chipping. S7 (or the now unavailable S7-SMQ) provided maximum toughness under impact. But, the S-7 did not hold a trim edge that well. The best of all characteristics was often found in D2. D2 was difficult to work and hard to sharpen, but it was fairly tough and would hold an edge. D2 makes a great knife, but any of the tool steels need care to prevent rust.
 

thejeep

Sergeant
Aug 30, 2008
700
164
43
tn
#81
ive really enjoyed cpm3v at 59hrc. sharpens not to bad. stays sharp. havent had any problems with edge deformation. and hasnt needed too much oil. the knife is a koster bushmaster. came with an uneven grind which it was inappropriate for the price, but i really like the steel.
 
Feb 23, 2012
383
10
18
TX
#82
I picked one of these Jakarri Pukko (Finnish for Ranger Knife) up under reccomendations and for the money Its about the best knife Ive ever used. 80 CRV2 is what even Winkler uses now. I even tried batoning to see how it held up and have yet to knick the edge. I see they have a stainless version also. Its not fancy or much to look at but ergonomics is great and the sheath excellent.

https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-jaakaripuukko-carbon-steel/56524


I plan on getting this wood processer next.
https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-skrama-carbon-steel/30189

 
Jun 26, 2012
2,784
1,423
113
N. Carolina
#83
I picked one of these Jakarri Pukko (Finnish for Ranger Knife) up under reccomendations and for the money Its about the best knife Ive ever used. 80 CRV2 is what even Winkler uses now. I even tried batoning to see how it held up and have yet to knick the edge. I see they have a stainless version also. Its not fancy or much to look at but ergonomics is great and the sheath excellent.

https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-jaakaripuukko-carbon-steel/56524


I plan on getting this wood processer next.
https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-skrama-carbon-steel/30189
So many good deals at varusteleka!
 

EddieE

Sergeant
Mar 20, 2017
288
10
18
#85
I picked one of these Jakarri Pukko (Finnish for Ranger Knife) up under reccomendations and for the money Its about the best knife Ive ever used. 80 CRV2 is what even Winkler uses now. I even tried batoning to see how it held up and have yet to knick the edge. I see they have a stainless version also. Its not fancy or much to look at but ergonomics is great and the sheath excellent.

https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-jaakaripuukko-carbon-steel/56524


I plan on getting this wood processer next.
https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/terava-skrama-carbon-steel/30189
Great options.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
5,492
763
113
Arizona, good place for me...
#86
The only fixed knife I own is a USMC-style Ka-Bar, which I keep set aside as a memento. I am not a collector, and have lived my entire adolescent and adult life carrying a pocket knife (I was even issued a TL-29 in The Corps).

I favor economy, reliability, and versatility; in that order. "My knife" has evolved over the several past decades, and this is the current iteration:

Kobalt 5-Blade Utility Knife. For some weird reason, the Lowe's site confuses the 5-blade unity with the 1-blade unit. It is available as a walk-in purchase in the tools section at every Lowe's store I have ever visited. I keep one in my pocket, and another as a backup in the drawer beneath my desktop computer. It comes with a small utility knife blade dispenser containing 5(?) spare utility knife blades, and I back that up with a bulk blade dispenser in the same drawer. The entire tool can be washed and dried, then re-oiled at the hinges, which can come in handy after dressing and skinning a deer, for instance.


The companion tool is a Smith's Pocket Pal Sharpener that also resides in my trouser pocket as a key fob. The convenience if this arrangement means that one's knife can be maintained with optimal sharpness at all times.

The combination meets my selection criteria as effectively as any other items I have found. The economical prices involved allow for backups to be obtained and maintained. The pocket carry convenience ensures that I can have these items available in many additional circumstances, and greatly reduces the potential for being without my knife at an inconvenient moment. The convenience of being able to walk into any Lowe's or Walmart and obtain or replace these items is a significant advantage.

The economical costs involved could allow that an entire party of like-minded friends could be equipped for the price of a single quality fixed blade knife. IMHO, there is more strength in numbers.

The blades open easily. I can open any one of them without needing to use both hands, which has become second nature, and all of them lock in place. In a defensive crunch, the two permanent stainless blades (one is a standard drop-point, the other a Tanto-Pointed scalloped blade) can both be opened, unveiling a tool with respectable blades protruding from both ends of the fist.

This lends a degree of defensive utility that's positively Klingon in appearance and nature. Wouldn't want to meet a Klingon in an alley wielding a pair of these with both blades deployed.

...Or anyone else, either...

There are places I frequent (like the VFW Canteen) where firearms carry is prohibited, and although I miss the Ruger sometimes, I'm never disarmed (except, of course in VA Medical facilities, another one of my frequent hangouts).

Greg
 
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Bakwa

Sergeant
Mar 22, 2017
167
15
18
#87
Though this thread is old, and the OP obviously picked out their knife a long time ago, this thread has a lot of good survival knife info in it.
I vote it become a sticky.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
7,384
3,953
113
50
MA
#88
Just got this piece of gear yesterday....



Books were bought as an impulse buy while checking out at Amazon, should be good reading. Like Greg I was using my KaBar while camping but I wanted something a little less sword like. Its a Tops brand field knife.





Got the leather sheath as a side purchase...



The kydex sheath that came with the knife and the optional leather sheath came with their own magnesium/ferro rods and whistle. Ill be replacing the whistle with 550 cord for a proper lanyard....



This is the scale of the knife next to a kitchen steak knife...



The spine of the Tops knife will be plenty substantial for batoning some kindling....



So yes Im going to be carrying a smaller knife but the load is not going to be lighter. I added a camp ax to handle the heavier wood craft chores....

 
Jul 28, 2011
355
165
43
St. Louis, MO
#89
Bought a Gerber Strongarm a few weeks ago on Amazon about half off ($43). FDE handle partially serrated. Played with it a bit. Needs a touch up out of the box to be sharp. Batons well and feels good in the hand. The sheath is nice as well. Multiple ways to wear/mount it on your belt or pack or whatever.
 
Apr 15, 2008
101
30
28
Central Illinois
#92
IMO any knife that has a Scandi edge is a huge plus. I presently use the cheapest Morakniv made and have learned the proper way to sharpen it on quality Japanese stones. It has taken the place of my Buck folder that has skinned/gutted more deer than I can remember.
 
Sep 16, 2009
4,328
371
83
#93
My using knifes are old school. I have and use a couple of Navy Kabar's. I have worn out two Randall's. I have several others that I use.
I also like and use a couple of Strider's, a Chris Reeve knife. I am tending toward the skeleton type fixed blades the last few years. I have and use a Randall Triathlete. I found the blade a bit short for quartering deer. I modified a carbon Randall 15 Vietnam era knife by removing the scales and guard. Went from 11.5 OZ to 4.5. I then built up the handle with brass to extend the bottom line for adequate depth, filed it down to give a good grip. Bored holes in the tang to lighten. It now comes in at 5.5 OZ, has a 5.5" blade, skeletonized tang is .250" thick at widest point. Has the saw teeth back. I have it in a nylon sheath. It lays flat against my body and is easy to forget I have it. I can cut a deer in half if needed in less than 60 seconds.
 
Jan 14, 2012
110
43
28
36
Left Hand, WV
#94
I really prefer Condor Knives. I have become a sort of collector of their knives and machetes. They have a shape and size for anyone and they are tough. I carry a Moonstalker in my main pack as an all around blade. My favorite is the Heavy Kukri and it is one nasty fighting blade. These are built like the old blades used to be. I'm sure there are better steels out there and more efficient designs. But I've got $65 in my Moonstalker and $90 in my Kukri. Carbon Steel so you gotta take care of the edge. But I would trust my life to my Condors before any of my more expensive tactical blades. Here's my Moonstalker:

15397339976978058937926341990075.jpg
Check the thickness of the blade:
153973412823196763263263050436.jpg
 
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