UPDATE 2: Has it been almost 2.5 years? Wow…time flies. Well, here’s the update, short and sweet. The knife is, actually, bomb proof. Aside from a few discolorations on the blade, the knife has seen swamp time, rain time, snow time, summer time, shelter building, fire building (to include the spine being used on a ferro rod), etc. Keeps its edge nicely, and when necessary, sharpens up fairly quickly. You want a ‘Randall Style 18 with a 14 style blade’ without the five year wait and at half the cost? Go to Greg Wall’s site and order one. Tell ’em DTG sent you.
UPDATE: First field trip: 7 June 14. Uses: General camp. Basically stayed very, very sharp after cutting several 1.5 to 2.5 inch thick saplings for use as walking sticks. Cut through them in one swipe. One. Swipe. More tests to follow as the season goes on and more classes are taught.
Well, they arrived today. The AI generously wrapped my handle for me in 70’s vintage Olive Drab (not the Forrest Green called OD, either) while I was racing across town to his place, more anxious than a kid about to get his first feel of….what it’s like to drive on his own….so I could take it to the bush this weekend while I teach a Basic Woodcraft class and put it through a few paces.
Here’s what it looked like when I finally got to the AI’s house after he wrapped my hilt :
Yeah…the stamping says, ‘DTG INSTRUCTOR’…..(Wall did that like they did back in the 70’s as well….)
First Impression: High Quality; every bit as good, and if it performs like I think it will, possibly even better than the Randall it’s modeled after. The tool steel is 1/4 inch finished. That’s right…finished! After grinding and polishing. We had ours done with 7 inch blades rather than the five, and man, does that make the knife! Wall brazes his hilts to the tang and it’s evident. The fit and finish of the brass end cap is excellent, and the hilt is exactly like it should be: a tad longer on the blade side than the spine side. The false edge is sharpened, but the angle is obtuse enough that if you want it to cut easily, you’ll have to work on it a bit….as I will. Heh. Make no mistake, the hand honed edge does shave as received, but the wire is still present, so a couple passes on my fine stone should handle that.
The sheath, made by Savage Made Sheaths, is very well done; basically bomb proof. Much better than the stock sheath from Sullivan Sheaths that come with Randall Made Knives. Copper riveted to boot (supplied and installed by Wall Knives). Very well made. Rough back and dyed brown with a nice finish and includes the obligatory small India stone. DTG prefers ‘naked’ sheaths that take on a darker color once we saturate them in Sno-Seal, but that’s a small matter. Side note here: Savage made me a custom sheath some years ago for a Randall 12-9 with a 14 grind (as you can tell, I really like that design) and the same quality is in the sheaths provided for Wall. Savage makes a damn good sheath. Small note to Mr. Wall: Put a couple rivets in the top of the sheath above the jump lace holes. One on each corner. If the belt loop goes, no matter how many rivets you have on the sheath you’re not going to do anything but carry it or stick it in a ruck or belt. That would actually make the sheath about as perfect as it can get for this type of knife.
The tang extends to just about the middle of the survival compartment, and the button compass inside the brass screw on cap is a nice touch.
All in all, a very nice blade. More than just nice. I’ve always been one for full tang blades, and the quality on this, if it performs as well I as think it might during the August class (and later during the annual November hunt) it juussssst might….just might take it’s place as my primary on my LBE.
So, this weekend, I’ll be doing small things with the new blade. Nothing major. This is for families, and is only a day trip into the bush. However, during the August Train the Trainer: Essential Skills Class, it will see more adverse conditions and testing.
So? Verdict out of the Box?
Knife Quality: A+
Fit and Finish: A+
Wait Time: A++++++!!!!!! 5.5 weeks from order to delivery. Randall can’t touch that!
Sheath: A- (See note on rivets in the top of the belt loop above – if rivets are installed, they have to be done on all stress points to make the sheath totally reliable.)
Price: A++++++!!!!!!! Under $375 for a knife of this quality?? Something you can bet your life on?? Yes, you’re getting your money’s worth here.
So, check out Wall’s site, here. Consider spending some cash on a knife you can bet your life on, and that has a quality to it that you can pass down to your boy, and his boy, and his boy.
More to follow after I get back….and then in August…and then in November. You’ve got time…save your pennies!