Yes, that's right, lazy ol' Mikeeman is FINALLY getting around to this set of knives. I apologize for the insanely long delay, but... Life happens, sometimes.
Anyway, here is the whole set.
Stats: 10 1/8" OAL 5 3/8" 3/8" thick and tapers to tip
Tom's knife is rather large. And quite hefty. It feels like you could really get some power behind it if you needed to. A lot like the practice knives we used when I took Kali. the overall shape is very basic, but seems sturdy. Like, if you needed to chop sections out of limbs to lash them together, this could definitely do it. Came decently sharp, but could only shave hair on the top 3" or so of the blade.
As you can see, here, it's got some spots on it. This is NOT Tom's fault. I had all these knives oiled on my shelf, so I guess somebody "admired" it and rubbed off some of the oil. I take full responsibility for this. Just thought it needed mentioned.
You can see here that the knife is very thick. And only tapers in one direction. However, the blade is straight on both sides, and the bevel is even down the length of the blade edge.
The handle is a triple pinned piece of... Uh... Well, you'll have to ask Tom. But it's really cool that it's a two-toned wood. They were sealed well to the steel, and they have a very squared, but nice shape to them. The scales also taper in both directions for a slightly better "ergonomic" grip.
9 7/8" OAL 5 1/2" blade 1/4" thick with no taper except bevels
Henry's knife feels balanced very similar to Tom's, but it feels a lot more... Knifey? Is that a word? The bevels are extremely well ground and very uniform. The primary bevels are ground very close toghether, so the secondary bevel is small and will likely cut very well. Has a good weight, but also doesn't feel too heavy. Came decently sharp but, like Tom's, can only shave hair on the last few inches of the blade.
The blade is perfectly straight, but there's a bit of an illusion. While the grind lines are dead on, the forge scale on one side dips lower than the grinds (shown in the last pic) causing it to look wobbly even though it isn't.
I can't figure out how to make this pic NOT upside down, but anyway, the handles are some red micarta. They seem very well done, for the most part, and held on by 3 screw thingies. My only complaint is that the handle feels very square as opposed to handle shaped.
8" OAL 4" blade 7/16" thick and decent taper to tip
Marc's knife is kind of an oddball. It's just sort of... Weird. That's really the only way I know how to describe it. All of the weight is right in the middle of the knife due to the copper bolster things and the crazy amount of taper in the tang. The blade has a sort of belly with a somewhat clipped point. There is also about 1/2" of the blade that I guess would be considered a ricasso, since it isn't sharp. Blade came what I would call "sharp." It'll cut stuff, but it's not mind blowing or anything. Will shave on about 1" of the belly about 1.5" from the tip.
This one has some oxidation on it as well, but this one came that way. It's not rust, it's just where Marc didn't grind out all the forge scale. Which is kind of Marc's style. Doesn't affect performance, or anything. Just thought it was worth mentioning.
Here you can see the extreme taper in the tang. The taper out to the tip is pretty nice, but man.. That tang taper. It's unique and neat, but it just kinda puts all the weight right around your pointer finger and thumb when you hold it. Which is weird feeling. The blade isn't perfectly straight, but it's not that bad, either. I dunno. It's just... Weird.
The handle is what appears to be antler with the copper bolsters. There are 4 pins through the bolster things, and 3 in the antler. The antler is sealed very nicely to the steel all the way around, but the bolsters sit a little weird on the antler.
9 1/8" OAL 4 15/16" blade Just a hair over 3/8" thick with no taper.
To me, this thing just screams "viking utility." It's extremely simple, has good weigh and balance, and is extremely comfortable to hold. It's certainly not entering any beauty pageants, but it feels like it'll get the job done. However, as with the other two knives I have received from Jeffery, it's not real sharp. It's got a better edge than the other two, but could see some improvement. Although, after sharpening Jeffery's fillet knife, I have no doubt that after a good honing, this thing COULD be laser sharp.
Looking down the length of the blade, you can see that it isn't perfectly straight. And the bevels aren't super even, either.
The handle on this thing has this wood on it that Jeffery has a secret stash of. I don't know what it is, but I really like it. Oddly enough, I tried to buy some of it off of him. I paid him, and he sent a whole box full of it, however... Stupid ol' Mikeeman gave Jeffery the wrong address. So guess who never got his sweet handle scale wood? Yeah... Anyway, the scales are sealed very well all except for about an inch on the front of one side. 4 pins to hold the scales on and, like I mentioned before, is very comfortable to hold.
Specs: 10 3/8" OAL 5 11/16" blade 3/16" thick at handle and tapers to 1/16" thick at tip
Freq's knife is, uh... Well... I think "rough" is a good word. I'm not sure what it used to be, but I guess it had holes in it that didn't weld properly when forged together. Being as thin as it is, it's extremely light. I guess the balance feels pretty decent, for as light as it is. And it came, what I would call, mildly sharp. Like, it'll definitely cut you, but you gotta put some effort in to it.
You can see here that the blade is pretty wobbly. Both in the blade and the tang. Although I guess it has a fairly decent temper. If you try to bend it, it springs back. Tried to straighten it a little, but it wasn't having it. I wasn't gonna push it far enough to feel like I was going to ruin Freq's knife. So it's just gonna be like it is, I suppose.
I'm not sure what the wood used for the handle was, but it's something light. Maybe some pine, or something. I'm not exactly a wood expert. Anyway, it's held on by five pins, and isn't sealed to the tang very well. Although, that has a lot to do with the tang not being straight, I think. The pins keep the scales right in place, though. They don't move, or anything.
Freq's Relative of Some kind (Someone help me out, here.)
Stats: 8 1/2" OAL 4 1/2: blade 3/8" thick at handle and tapes to 3/16" at tip
This knife is a style that I've heard called a thousand different things. But for the sake of simplicity, I'll call it what I know it by. A blacksmith's knife. It's fairly light, and has a semi decent shape. Very pointy. Seems easy enough to hold, and it doesn't feel off balance. It came about as sharp as Freq's, but only has one, very not-steep bevel. It'd cut stuff, but you're not gonna be slicing cheese with it, or anything. The odd bump in the back of the handle looks weird, but it does fit in to your palm pretty nicely.
The blade on this one isn't super straight, either, but it's better than Freq's. Given it's relative simplicity, I guess that's all I can say about it. No bells or whistles, it's just what it is. So... Yeah. On to the next knife.
11" OAL 6 1/4" blade 3/8" thick and tapers to tip
Lyndle's, in typical Lyndle fashion, is done very nicely. It feels pretty good in the hand, if a bit handle-heavy. The knife is an odd belly to it, that I'm not super keen on, but it shaves hair down the entire length of the blade and *GASP* actually has a ghost hamon. Which is really neat. I thought it might be a difference in grind angles, but it matches on both sides. You can baaaaaarely make out part of it in the pic, but it's there. To me, with a tad bit of shape refinement, this thing would be one wicked kitchen knife.
You can see from the pics that the blade is very straight. Maybe not super-exacto straight. But it's close enough that I can't see anything off. The bevels also appear to be ground very even on both sides.
I'm not sure what kind of wood the scales are. Can you tell I'm not a wood expert, yet? Anyway, they are covered in some kind of lacquer, and is sealed well. Is also sealed well to the handle except for one little spot on what I guess you'd call the pommel. 4 brass pins hold the scales on, and my only real complaint is the squareness of the handle. But, then again, a lot of knives this style have very squared off scales. So I can't really fault it for being like that.
TEST RESULTS WILL BE UP AS SOON AS I GET A LIFE OTHER THAN WORK. I AM SORRY THAT I'M TAKING SO LONG. I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON.
(Seriously. Ask my kid's mom. She'll tell ya. Lol)
Ok, so I have no clue in what order I had these listed before, but I'm going to go ahead and get this finished up. Yes, it took me 51635846384864 years to finish this, BUT it gave me ample time to carry around and use these things. Yes. I kept at least one of these in my work truck basically the whole time I've had them. And you can tell, because they all have little spots and stuff on them.
No, I just want to say, that a couple of these weren't really functional for their purpose. Azreal's knife wasn't very sharp, and had bevels that weren't conducive at all to cutting. Jeffery's was, again, very dull, and Freq's started bending with only light use. So I left them out of the final judgement.
Now... That being said, I did a little work to Azreal's and Jeffery's because there was steel to work with. I asked Jeffery's permission before hand, and I kinda just took "creative liberty" and assumed it was ok with Azreal to modify his.
So even though Jeffery's knife was sub-par, It had plenty of steel to work with. He really can get a good HT, and has said many, many times "I'm a blacksmith, not a bladesmith" so he's pretty cool with me messing with stuff. And I'm really glad he let me play with this one. Because even though it's still not super-duper perfect, the little amount of time I spent reworking it has made it my favorite knife of the group. It's got good weight, decent balance, and holds a legendary edge. He told me I could do whatever I wanted with it, so I've beat the living daylights out of it. I'm talking throwing it and it falling on my concrete garage floor, dropped it in gravel, pried stuff with it... The whole 9 yards. It's just an awesome little knife. After I get my new Bader grinder, I'm gonna finish it up the rest of the way. And it's going to be extremely hard to put in the mail for the give-away.
It's a little hard to tell beacuse the rough finish is a very good rust promoter, but I went ahead and gave it flat, even bevels. It cuts a hell of a lot better, but I don't know if it's been hardened, or is just made out of a softer steel, because it doesn't hold an edge very long. Either way, it's at least slightly better than what would have been given away otherwise.
Ok, so let's talk about the usables.
Driggers' Driggers's knife was geared more towards kitchen stuff, because that was the original intent of the round before there was some miscommunication and it was switched to EDC. That aside, it's still an excellent knife. And is beefy enough to still be EDC. The only problem I had with it was it's size. It's kind of hard to carry a knife this long as a work blade. Other than that, it cut anything I needed it to. Now, given that this is just a prelim round and doesn't really matter, I just use this one as much, just due to the mix up and it being meant for something else. That is, in now way, putting down this knife. Because it's fairly nice. But It just wasn't as utility oriented as the others.
Tom's Tom's knife feels great to use. And is pretty sharp. It's got a balance that makes me REALLY have to restrain myself from throwing it. Because I bet it throws like a champ. It's easy to hold and just feels great in the hand. That being said, I have some nit-picks. For starters, the bevel isn't very steep. And neither is the secondary bevel. So while it feels great and is pretty sharp, it doesn't want to cut or slice quite as nicely as I had hoped. If you want a beefy knife for chopping or throwing, this is definitely your knife. But I think something with steeper bevels and a little lighter would have driven it more towards the EDC goal.
Marc's Like mentioned before, this one is kind of an oddball. The copper bolster things aren't flush with the bone, so it's a little funky to hold. Although on the same subject of feeling, I will say that the finger groove and thumb ramp are very well placed. It feels damn near perfect, to be honest. At least in my hand. The balance is a little weird, but that's ok. It's not as sharp as the other "usables", but it's sharp enough to be useful. It certainly did alright. Just a little bit sharper and lighter would have been better, but hey. Someone's still getting a free, usable knife here.
Henry's Henry's knife, as mentioned before, is vary well put together. The only nit picks I can even come up with are the handle being thicker than it is wide, and the thumb ramp could be a bit farther down the blade. Other than that, WOW. This is a damn good knife. The bevels are outstandingly nice and even, the edge is very, very thin and cuts extremely nicely, and the overall finish is just very, very good. It could be a tad lighter by being a tad thinner, but this thing is just an outstanding knife. It cuts good, feels good, works good, and just looks good.
So Henry's knife definitely takes the cake this round, for me. With Tom's in second, Driggers' in third, and Marc's in fourth. I didn't rank the others due to the usability concerns of Freq's and Azreal's, and didn't count Jeffery's because I worked on it. Which Jeffery was ok with.
I really do apologize for taking so long. We plan to try this again in the future with better deadlines and a more laid-out recipe for success. Thanks to everyone who participated, followed, and commented.
I can't say anything, I still haven't gotten to do half the things I've wanted for the thruster round. Have one thing I'll try when I get time again then I'll post up something based on that. What I've done so far is pretty inconclusive.
mine was originally a horse shoe (the odd holes/inclusions are actually nails forged into the blade ) . and the blacksmiths knife was done by a fiend of mine ken goes by Azrael on here. i prefer the term "rustic" to rough lol, good review so far, what else do you have planned?
critical temperature is proof god loves blacksmiths!
Great job with the pics and write-up, Mike. Funny to see how your thoughts differ from my own. For instance, I love Marc's knife. It's rough, sure, and heavy...but that's kind of its charm and it just works so well for me and my use. I was also very taken with Jeff and Ken's knives. I would carry any of the three as my EDC.
Tom's knife was a great deal sharper when I got it, I promise. That chip it got on it I managed to work out with my occasional stropping (which all knives got in even doses) so that's probably a sign of what I did to the edge without meaning. It felt a bit large and heavy for my liking, though; I probably wouldn't carry it for those reasons. Digs' knife I found uncomfortable to use, as pretty as it was to look at and as nice as it felt in-hand; that boxy grip and those big bolts just wore on me in actual use.
Nothing much to add on any of the others, but just for giggles, here's the two meager tests I managed with these knives before life got in the way and I sent them off to ol' Mike up there:
I think the photos do well enough at telling their own stories.
As for the thrusters, I have a few things I have tried with those knives that I could put up in a new thread somewhere, but what I really want to try is an old phone book (the old 2-3" models, not the wimpy 1/4-1/2" "books" I've been finding on my hunts) and/or some newspaper (we don't get that anymore...), perhaps a few melons (watermelons, cantaloupe?) and I'd LOVE to try some "armor"-like stuff; some tough leather, maybe bundle up some old jeans to (possibly?) simulate multiple fabric layers or what have you, et cetera.
Anyway, enough derailing this thread; we now return you to our reporter in the field; Mike, take it from here.
I'd like to think I can still get it done, but what's really making it tough is that, so far, no one knife really does any better than the others. I need tougher tests, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get the materials.
christain: Confusios says: "Man who stands on toilet is high on pot." -------
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AndiTheBarvarian: My grandfather said: "Where's the darn dog when you need it to blame for?"
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zabazagobo: christain, hard liquor is a great internal disinfectant...or so the Irish part of me family says
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