Every now and then a company emerges on the scene that makes everyone turn their heads and take notice. A lot of knife companies in the world today make knives that all look alike and it’s nice when someone comes along and breaks the mold. At the 2008 BLADE Show a new company comes to the tables to share their wares and introduce their company to future customers.
A company out of Ohio called Blind Horse Knives (BHK for short) introduces us to knives that are a step away from that which currently floods the market and gives a fresh traditional approach. BHK in a nut shell are work knives; made out of recycled saw blade steel they create a custom knife that is both unique and very affordable to just about everyone. The first knife to get its approval from the public was the Tiger Knapp Series. Looking like something that was knapped with stone (but more resembles tiger stripes); the Tiger Knapp knives are made out of 4140 carbon steel made from procured saw blades that have been worn out and are being recycled as the latest line of knives by BHK. Early this year BHK is also releasing a version of the Tiger Knapp/Snapp with 440C stainless steel. Since the release of the Tiger Knapp’s, a new incarnation has come out of the brilliant minds at BHK. The idea was to make a small fixed blade that was attached to the sheath in a way that it was always there and you never had to go looking for it when you were done with the blade. BHK got with JRE Industries about their idea and together they produced a proof of concept that is striking and very utilitarian.
Dubbed the Snapp Knapp; the folding fixed blade is attached to the sheath via a Chicago screw at one end and held in the closed position by a leather flap with a metal snap (hence it’s name). When the blade is in use, the sheath is an extension of the handle and enables the user to get a secure grip on what would other wise be a small knife. The Snapp Knapp is based off of the Small Tiger Knapp that has a blade 2 ½ inches long and an overall size of 5 ¾. The knife is just large enough to wrap your first three fingers around the handle and still get a decent purchase. The Snapp Knapp sheath allows that grip to be extended and allows for a larger grip on a smaller blade.
The versatility of the sheath is the ability for it to be carried in various and ingenious ways by the user. The Snapp can ride in your front or back pocket like most knives do, or can be carried via the lanyard hole that is on the front end of the sheath. This allows the user to attach it to various positions on your gear or person using paracord or a carabineer.
After using the Snapp Knapp for many months now, it has been put through a myriad of tasks you encounter everyday and a few that you don’t as well. I set the Snapp to work with the job of being an EDC (Everyday Carry) knife. This knife would tackle everything from opening mail, packages, food prep and other various tasks. The main means of carry for the Snapp was in my back pocket next to my wallet riding vertical. This method of carry made the knife easy to grab and deploy when it was needed. In a world pretty much taken over by Tactical folders, it was quite a while before I became accustom to opening this blade with two hands rather than the one handed operation found in most knives today.
I had two Snapp Knapp’s to put to work and the question was; which one is going to get used more? I have both the carbon steel version and the new stainless steel version. Both models are identical and I have really tried to treat them equally and give them both the same treatment so I could get a better feeling for the knife and what its limitations might be. I first went to work with the carbon steel and tried to see how stain resistant it was, after all some carbon steels rust or get a patina quicker than other steel and I wanted to test reaction time. Seems the carbon is quite reactive and just from the oil on my hands and general use it starting showing signs of discoloration and tiny rust spots. Now I do understand all carbon steel blades need to be taken care of; oiled and such. I didn’t have any mineral oil on hand for use as a food based oil (in case of food prep) so I found myself turning to something that would form a patina quickly and help ward off the rust and keep it from requiring more maintenance than I had time to do. I ended up turning to gun bluing; a simple and effective way to form a patina on a knife that would coat the blade and protect it from the elements. The bluing works real well and gives the knife a nice black satin finish and enables it to hold up well without much care. The bluing however is probably not safe for food prep and on days when I thought I would be need it on my lunch break I would carry the stainless version instead.
The Snapp Knapp is a very thin knife and handles many cutting chores with minimal effort. The hollow ground blade was an excellent choice for a grind on this style of knife and I have heard that BHK can grind you knife do a different style if that is what the customer has in mind. The blade handled everything I threw at it real well and was great for use as a small general use knife. There were some tasks either at work or home that would have required a larger blade but the Snapp handled them admirably.
There were times I wish the blade was wider and enabled me to get a better purchase on it. With the thin stock I found some cutting chores that required heavy duty cutting, would cause the knife to dig into my hand or thumb as I would be pushing the blade down through a heavy material such as cardboard. It’s good that BHK did indeed keep the blade on the thin size though; it makes the knife very slim and compact and makes it an excellent slicer. I found cutting performance on the carbon and the stainless steel were about equal, the stainless due to its higher hardness rating does come out a small amount above the carbon but the difference is minimal. With either type of steel you really cannot go wrong; plus unlike the stainless the carbon steel has those nifty black tiger stripes.
Overall the Snapp Knapp knife is an excellent knife for just about everything you can throw its way, it makes a great chore and utility knife for those who need a nice compact fixed blade. This was my first BHK knife and I am very pleased with it indeed, attention to detail and quality is on par with any custom knife maker. Not only are they custom knives but they are very affordable. The Snapp Knapp can be had for $42 from the folks at Blind Horse Knives, Dan and L.T. are great down to earth people who are very proud of their knives. Customer service is among the best out there and I cannot recommend these knives enough. Check them out at blindhorseknives.com and tell them David sent ya!