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Jay Bird
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Greetings and salutations. 

I'm a long time lurker here - I had an account once long ago, but can't remember what it is/was. 

Anyway, in response to the headlamp giveaway I thought I would start a thread about my favorite piece of gear, knives.

Ever since my grandfather gave me my first knife as a kid, I've had a close relationship w/ the knives I carry with me daily and/or use for specific tasks.  If I don't have one on me, I feel naked.

There are many options out there to choose from, but I'll list a few of my favorites from least expensive to most.


  • Opinel: a longstanding French designed and made folding knife, the most popular of which is their no. 8.  It has a locking collar that can be turned to keep the knife safe (won't close on fingers) when opened.  You can choose it in either a stainless or carbon steel.  I prefer the carbon steel as it develops character as a patina develops (force a patine w/ acidic substances such as vinegar, mustard, citrus juice, etc... this will keep it from rusting).  They are sharp and run below $10.
  • Mora / Morakniv of Sweden Fixed blade knives made in Sweden.  They can be purchased in multiple steel types: stainless, carbon, and laminated.  They are extremely sharp and hold up well for most light tasks.  Their most popular versions can be purchased for under $20 although they also have recently developed models that range up into the $70+ price range.  They have long been considered a definitive "bushcrafting" knife as they can accomplish most tasks one may need in the woods camping / hiking.  They are also extremely handy around the homestead for tasks that a smaller folding knife may not be suitable for. 
  • Condor Knives Made in El Salvador with a very large line of knives and some axes / tomahawks / machetes.  They produce their sharps in stainless and carbon steels.  From large to small you can find a variety of their knives to suit a multitude of tasks around the homestead.  Most of their knives are reasonably priced under the $50 mark with some of their more specialized blades going for higher.
  • Bark River Knives Semi custom knives made in Michigan.  These are made in a variety of tool and hi-tech steels with customized handles.  They are quite a bit more expensive than the other knives I have listed thus far coming in typically above $150.  As of right now they produce mainly fixed blade belt knives.  All of their knives have a lifetime no questions asked warranty.
  • Adventure Sworn Produces fully custom works of art in upstate New York (Adirondacks).  Their knives come in at $200+ but are crafted to last.  They are designed mainly around "bushcrafting" tasks meaning that they are highly versatile blades. 


  • So there's a small sampling of some of the knives out there that I love and use on a regular basis (excepting the Adventure Sworn which is on my wish list). 

    What knives do you find useful around the homestead?
     
    Mike Cantrell
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    Location: Mid-Michigan
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    I like knives too!
    I like 'em so much I made some myself.
    IMG_20170317_155507643-1-.jpg
    [Thumbnail for IMG_20170317_155507643-1-.jpg]
    Cantrell knives
     
    Dan Grubbs
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    Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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    Let me put in my pitch for the Morakniv products. For the money, you're not going to find better. I was leery at first, but I purchased one and decided I would put it through a brutal test on my homestead. Intentionally, I used it to do things I know I shouldn't do with a knife. I have the basic 511 ($12 delivered) and it passed all the tests with flying colors. I also know that it is carbon steel so it will discolor if I don't do something about that. My choice it to let it gain a natural patina and then never worry about it again after that. I accelerated the patina by cutting fruits with it. My carbon blades on these knives don't have rust as a result. I asked a skilled sharpener to re-hone and edge my knife and he was astounded at the quality and ease of sharpening the knife. It holds an edge so well that I never carry any other knife now. I purchased about a dozen as stocking stuffers last Christmas and they were a hit.

    Here's a link to my review published at my blog: http://sustainabletraditions.com/2016/07/tool-review-morakniv-basic-511/

     
    Devin Lavign
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    It should be mentioned about Bark River Knife and Tool, that they do a lot of grinding after the heat treatment process. This has caused many owners to complain of blades that chip, due to over heating of the blade and ruining of the heat treatment. Generally all that needs to be done is to sharpen past the damaged bit of blade to reach uneffected steel, but that essentially puts years of wear on a blade in a matter of minutes. BRKT knows of this problem as customers have complained, but feel no need to change their knife making process. Yes their knives have a guarantee. However if you just get your $150-$$250 knife and have it chip the first day using it, good luck with BRKT customer service, as they will do a lot to wiggle their way out of replacing or fixing the knife. Telling you to sharpen past the damage yourself, etc...

    The problems with this in my opinion are minimal but annoying, especially for a company to ignore the complaints of their customers. There are belt grinding systems that cool blades rather than heating them. But BRKT would rather ignore the people complaining about the real problems with their knife production than admit they could improve. There are a lot of youtube videos and forum discussions about this issue. If they were $20-$40 knives then yeah just sharpen past the damage, but for a $100+ knife it is rather sad. There is the very real issue of wasted steel by having to sharpen past a damaged section, this essentially decreases the life of your blade by a decent amount. I lot of BRKT knives end up as safe queens (knifes that never see use, just sit in safes as investments for resale later at inflated collector prices) so many people don't even test their knives out. Maybe this is why BRKT doesn't care to fix their problem. Even with this known issue with their product their knives sell extremely well.

    Now I do own and love my BRKT Aurora. I thankfully didn't have the issue with damaged heat treat. But I also bought the knife going in knowing of this issue and willing to have to deal with it. I only post this here to make sure anyone who considers buying from BRKT do so with eyes open about this issue. BRKT knives are some great semi custom knives. The entire reason I opted for one was the custom forges just had way too long a wait list, especially for a covex blade. BRKT I could just order a convex blade from one of the distributors and get it, no waiting for months etc.
     
    Devin Lavign
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    A good knife maker not mentioned here yet is Jeff White.

    Jeff White is well known in the bushcraft circles for making amazing and affordable trade knives. And that is the general style you see made by him. Trade knives, trapper knives, Nessmuck knives, and stuff you would expect from the 1600's to the 1900's more than modern stuff. But these no frills functional knives are great users, and honestly show how over built a lot of knives are today.

    While JW got his start with trade knives and more affordable ones, he has gotten more popular and his prices have gone up as well as he has released some more bushcraft oriented knives. Jeff sold most of his knives just on ebay, he would post them as he made them. Oh and JW only sold the knife, you had to buy sheaths from someone else. Normally his friend Robert who did a lot of sheaths for JW knives. Now however he sells them through the Pathfinder store, and a couple other places I think. So his ebay has less of his work. There is also one of his apprentices who sells knives on ebay, though his work definitely uses a lot more modern patterns compared to JW.

    Here is an example of 3 of JW's knives.

     
    Nicole Alderman
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    I love my Mora knife! I actually inherited it from my mother, as it was given to her when she was young by her father. It's a "child's" carving knife, Scout #39 Safe knife with the little safety guard. But, since I have tiny hands, it fits me perfectly. I carry it everywhere in my purse, and it holds a nice, sharp edge. When my kids get a little older, I'll be buying them their own (I selfishly don't want to part with mine!)

    This isn't actually mine, but mine looks the same, albeit mine has an awesome leather sheath.




    Image from: https://www.ragweedforge.com/SwedishKnifeCatalog.html, where I ordered a larger Morakniv for my mother for her birthday a few years ago .
     
    Mike Cantrell
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    Devin Lavign wrote:It should be mentioned about Bark River Knife and Tool, that they do a lot of grinding after the heat treatment process. This has caused many owners to complain of blades that chip, due to over heating of the blade and ruining of the heat treatment.


    Overheating a blade causes it to get softer and more malleable rather than harder and more brittle. Are you sure people weren't accusing BRKT of just heat-treating the knives poorly so that they were shipped out too hard?
     
    Judith Browning
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    Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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    Here's a link to a well known and respected long time knife maker in our area.....  http://www.crowellknives.com/photos.html
     
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