18 comments on “UPDATE: Knife Construction Preferences

  1. For me, a mid length blade, in area of 8″. In the thickness1/4 would give it heft. I guess that’s why I have semi retired my Kabar I have had since 1983 and settled on a Tops model, “showdown” I believe. It performs in the woods, for survival type tasks like batoning but still does a good job at fine slicing.

  2. I have always been partial to blades less than 6″. That being said, the one knife that I have carried since late ’97, to include Iraq, has been a 1st gen SOG SEAL Pup in the original shealth.

    One day I plan to get an Ontario RAT knife.

  3. Pingback: DTG: Knife Construction Preferences And Other Basics | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. My ‘deer hunting kit’ has a Buck 470 Mentor inside it. I’ve cleaned a lot of deer with it for 20 years (1994) and have no need to change. 5 1/4″ skinning 420HC steel (I think) is the make, original kydex type sheath. I could change it out, but it really lacks for nothing.

    No experience with military or LEO service so I have to pick one you high speed ‘snake eaters’ recommend :^). I’m a knife collector and already have a few WWII Theatre knives to pick from. Picking a new blade isn’t that much of problem. Lots of old Westerns / Kinfolks / Camillus / Kabars to choose from. My childhood beater is a Camillus Air Force Pilot Survival. The saw back teeth have sawn some wood, nothing over 2″ thick though, too much work. Like you said, a pack saw works better for that.

    One of my issues is the terrain here. Virtually all hardwoods grown in thorny desert, so batonning isn’t high on the list – in fact will damage the knife. A short machete (Tramontina – Gavilan) is light and fits outside the pack easily (can store inside the pack if needed). Not for chopping.

    I 2nd those Savage sheath comments. One was included in a knife buy and man oh man is that thing bombproof.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. love the airforce survival knife and sheath. that’s been with me since about 1985. the ka-bar I found on the drop zone in ’86 is also a favorite. I traced the Ka-bar to a manufacturing date of 1967. it was all but destroyed. I removed the temporary 550cord makeshift grip & restored it entirely to original specs in 2016, finally. A good education in Ka-Bar knife (re)building was gained. I wonder if it visited Vietnam and the who the original owner was. and other possibilities. honestly, the knife I use most is a $20 Walmart 3″ Camillus AUS8 folder w/ Titanium. But that’s life on the farm, not GI Joe. Two knives are better than 1 so when out and about, next to the glock there is a Ka-Bar TDI LE in a nicely designed sheath. In the last 2 years I’ve purchased used, abused, forgotten about edges of all types for about $5 each at various road side budget tool type sales. The list includes WWII hatchet, various folders w/ various biz names on the side (electricians, plumbers) like was common decades ago. It’s an interesting hobby chasing down these no longer wanted edges. Yesteryear they used such fine products & you get it for practically nothing. I restore all of them and they have their place in the garage. On the farm, everything gets used albeit maybe some once a year. I think I have an edge for just about everything.

  6. I know stainless is desired in harsh conditions
    where salts will more easily corrode steel that
    is not rust resistant; However, the chrome content
    in stainless steel allows the microscopic serrations
    that form the sharp edge to literally roll over and
    blunt the sharpness after a short use. I prefer tool
    steel such as O1 with a 4 to 5 inch blade.
    My reasoning is that the O1 is durable, inexpensive
    and if tempered properly holds a fine edge,
    while the blade length is handier and more easily
    manipulated for small cutting tasks.
    Never use a knife for a job it was not designed
    for and larger knives to often become junk
    when used as pry bars and hammers.

  7. I had Harry make me a sheath last year for a 100 year old Case (back around the Kinfolks time). I couldn’t be more pleased with his work and it’s on my hip most of the weekend around the house.

    I’ve got a KaBar Mark ii on my kit that gets a lot of abuse and despite the rat tail tang it seems to hold up. It’s had about 2.5 years of heavy use.

  8. SOG Agency Model for slicing meat in the kitchen.
    Blackie Collins River Guide for lesser culinary chores
    Glock Model 81 and Camillus Marine Bowie in the vehicle trunk bags
    Old Gerber MkII for those times when I just feel like caressing a foxy knife

    No, I have never had to cut my way out of a burning helicopter and health issues have temporarily interferred with any pursuit of high adventure.

  9. I personally have a spot spot for those knives with the built in knuckledusters tipped with spikes. Tre masculine. Dislocating four fingers in a split second is a small price to pay for that kind of coolness IMO.

  10. My EDC folder is a SOG Spec Elite II. It’s got a 5″ hollow-ground clip-point VG10 blade with a deep belly that bites in and slashes with ease through anything you’d expect of a knife. Great for delicate work, yet it has held together admirably despite a plethora of shameful abuse including use as a screwdriver, getting dropped point down on a concrete patio, trail maintenance, and more to which I won’t confess in writing. It’s remarkably lightweight for a 5″ blade, yet sturdy for a folder. The lock is bomb-proof, there is zero play in the pivot pins after 5 years, and even with the leverage of that long blade to torque upon, I can get minimal flex from the scales.

    It has yet to show a single spot of rust despite spending most of its unfortunate lifetime pressed against the side of my sweaty asscheek. Also, the length of the blade combined with a spring-tension release and a thumb stud makes it by far the easiest knife I’ve ever encountered for single-handed opening. It’s a spendy knife, but absolutely worth every cent. If I had to buy it again at twice the price, I’d eat ramyun until I’d scraped the money together.

    If I know ahead of time that heavy camp/trail use is in the cards I pack my Zero Tolerance ZT-9. The blade is at least ¼” thick S30V steel with a full tang. No worries about batoning or pounding stakes with this beast! I also quite like that it’s a bayonet. If I’m going to bother having a fixed-blade around I see no reason not to make it something that I can slap onto the nasty end of my poodle-shooter in a pinch. The scales are also thicker than most, which makes it a good fit for my large-ish hands. The sheath leaves much to be desired, however it turns out that the ZT-9 fits perfectly into the sheath for my OKC3S, despite being slightly longer.

    The OKC3S is also a fine bayonet. It’s a big sexy/intimidating-looking knife, but not nearly as beefy as the ZT-9. It is more of a slicer than a chopper, but I’ve already got my EDC folder for that. My two biggest misgivings with the OKC3S though, which prompted me to go to the ZT-9 for my fixed blade/bayo are:

    1) The OKC3S sports a stick tang, not full tang. It would probably be fine in 99% of likely scenarios, but it’s well within my ability to bend with my own unaided flesh and bone. No way in hell is that ever going to happen with the ZT-9.

    2) I can’t see any non-destructive means of removing the OKC3S’ molded rubber grip for cleaning, whereas the ZT-9 simply has a couple of scales bolted to the tang — easy-peasy!

    Watch out with the ZT-9 though. The insanely high price point has made it an attractive target for Chinese knock-offs.

    Happy trails,


  11. One last thought on the ZT-9. While I have much reason to be fond of it, I am not without my misgivings over the prospect of running a carbine with a 1lb 3.4oz slab of steel dangling from the muzzle-end. My AR doesn’t presently have a bayo lug so it’s all theoretical thus far, but that’s >5 oz over the OKC3S, a 39% weight increase. It also occurs to me that if I ever poked at something a little too enthusiastically with either of these 2 pig-stickers mounted on my barrel, a bent stick tang might be preferable to damage elsewhere.

    So, I’m still holding onto my OKC3S.


  12. I don’t see anything about the steel my Becker and my Ka-Bar both claim to be made from, which is “1095 Cro-Van”. Where does this fit in? I’m good with the use of knives and which types are best for which situations, but the steel itself I’m kind of working my way through. So what about 1095 Cro-Van?

  13. Well, from what I gather, 1095 is a good steel; my Ka-Bar is most likely made from it and I have no complaints. I haven’t owned a Becker so I have no basis to compare how the steel might or might not hold up. If your preference is the Becker/Ka-Bar with 1095, great! How about telling the discussion group (and subsequently everyone reading this blog) your experiences with them, and why you chose them? Thanks for stopping by and participating.

  14. Sure! I own the usually-called Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife, mine is stamped US Army instead. Same knife, though, straight edge. I took that on deployment to Afghanistan and while I can’t personally attest to its abilities in getting that highly sought after “knife kill”, I did put it through some moderate use cutting several types of thick cordage and it did well. Held an edge well enough to do gross cutting work. Didn’t have any chance to do any fine cutting with it though.

    I also have the Becker BK-2 (made by Ka-Bar) that I use as a bushcraft knife. I’ve taken it on a lot of “outings”, such as multi-day river trips and primitive camps, etc. Again, holds an edge for gross cutting, batoning, etc. but that knife is to heavy and thick to do much fine cutting. I’ve used the BK-2’s heavy weight to chop through both live and dead trees up to three inches thick and I do not always sharpen between every outing, but when I do, the new imperfections aren’t difficult to fix.

    The steel in both, 1095 Cro-Van, isn’t hard to sharpen for anyone with a basic knowledge and skill. The only problem sharpening the BK-2 doesn’t lie with the steel, it lies with the thick blade. Just makes it more challenging (at least for me) than the thinner bladed fighting knife.

    If it’s ok with the blog owner here, I’d like to ask permission to post this article and links in my own blog at http://www.FreeAmericanNational.blogspot.com

    My blog is a bit light on blade info.

  15. Thanks for the input and the re-post. DTG Policy on using material is easy: simply link to it or otherwise credit our blog as the source in text.

    You’re welcome here anytime. Well check your blog out,too!

  16. That’s a very nice ‘Bowie’ knife up top. I’m not wild about finger grooves in general. I have a Gerber Presentation 475S with exaggerated finger grooves. Comfortable with one grip, then you get issues.

    When I clean animals, I sometimes have to switch blade edge to top so I can pull up, and the tips dig into palm of hand. The grooves on the bottom of post would probably work great there. Otherwise, Buck 100 sheath knife series handles work well for me – I’ve carried Buck 105 Pathfinder and Buck 103 Skinner for many years and trust them

    Thanks for repost – good topic !

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