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Ka-Bar Knives

Biru · 26 · 4004

Offline Biru

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Ka-Bar Knives
on: March 01, 2008, 02:54:13 AM
I have developed a fascination for the Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife or the USAF survival knife as a camping/survival knife. Have any of you posters any experience with Ka-Bar knives? I'm currently using an old Buck General (7 1/4" stainless blade and phenolic handle) but the steel is incredibly hard to sharpen-in the field it's a waste of time. Thanks for the info, Bill.


ca Offline jzmtl

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 03:43:10 AM
I don't have any experience with how tough kabar is, but see here for some ideas. Keep in mind it's high carbon steel not stainless, so more maintainence is required. If my opinel #8 carbon steel is of any indication, it'll be easy to sharpen and gets sharp as hell.


Offline Tom Munch

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 06:54:15 AM
I have one of the Ka-bar Dozier folders & am very impressed with the edge on it.  It takes it & holds it very well IMO.

Tom


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 08:05:46 AM
I have had a few KaBars over the years.  They remind me of Harley Davidsons- decent enough, not the best or brightest, but with a rep that blows anything else out of the water.

The military issued KaBars only because the price was right and they were one of the few companies at the time able to crank out the type of numbers that Uncle Sam wanted, not because they were the best suited to the job.

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #4 on: March 01, 2008, 04:18:48 PM
Thanks, fellows for the input.

Actually, jzmtl, the carbon steel blade was one reason I was looking at the Ka-bar. My Buck 120 has some grade of stainless that is VERY hard to sharpen-tiringly so. I have a Gerber diamond rod and a Smith sharpening kit, and both are hard put to get a consistent edge on the Buck. As a matter of fact, when I got this knife in the early 70's, Buck used to ship a bolt which they had supposedly halved with this knife. Perhaps hype, but I wouldn't doubt this blade could do it. Unfortunately, it's also somewhat unwieldy.

May I ask, what are your opinions of a good survival/wilderness knife under $100 US? I would prefer no Rambo-type behemoths (my Buck is in that neighborhood) or folders.

Thanks, Bill.


Offline Leatherman123

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #5 on: March 01, 2008, 04:24:40 PM
I would get a Cold Steel SRK. One of my favorite fixed blades!
B


Offline I'm Still Bison

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #6 on: March 01, 2008, 04:46:41 PM
Biru,I don't know if they would be what you'd have in mind,but have you considered a mora? Inexpensive,easy to keep a good edge on,and by most accounts,sturdy.
I


us Offline Splat

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #7 on: March 01, 2008, 06:56:18 PM
May I ask, what are your opinions of a good survival/wilderness knife under $100 US? I would prefer no Rambo-type behemoths (my Buck is in that neighborhood) or folders.

Hey Bill. Check out the Ranger Knives http://www.rangerknives.com/  "Ready Detachment" series knives. Right now I'm trying to decide between the RD4 and RD6 knives. Justin, the owner/fabricator of Ranger Knives is one helluva good guy and his knives are a hard bargain to beat.
Splat


ca Offline jzmtl

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #8 on: March 01, 2008, 07:21:09 PM
Yeah Kabar is right up there in the rambo size so if you are trying to get away from it, you probably want to look elsewhere.


Offline Anthony

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #9 on: March 01, 2008, 07:24:46 PM
For under $100 you have a ton of options.  Bookmark the Sale/Trade forums on Bladeforums.com and check that every day, some good deals pop up there every so often.  The Becker Knife and Tool line has a lot of blade sizes and are really nice knives with nice sheaths.

I can't vouch for Ranger knives per se, but I can say Justin is really helpfuil and responds quickly to emails.  I ordered a Tomahawk a while back and everything ran smoothly.  If there's something you'd like to add something or otherwise modify on an existing knife in his line, he'll be able to sort it out and you can probably get one for around $100.  He also does straight from scratch custom designs, but I don't know how much those go for or how he prices those.
[


Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #10 on: March 01, 2008, 07:29:36 PM
Thanks for all the info! I'm going to look into these. I had been looking at the Ka-bar USAF survival knife. It has a 5" carbon blade, somewhat shorter than the 7 I've got now. I like the big blade if I'm splitting or chopping, but it's not very useful if you're skinning fish or other fine chores. I carry a Swisstool to carry that weight. I'll have a look at the ones you've mentioned.

As a side note, how about Ontario knives? I've never heard of them, but some of their models seem interesting. I'd like to stick below $100 US as I'm not really in any life threatening situations, but I do want a knife I can trust. The Buck has been above and beyond all these years, but sharpening it has always ticked me off. I'm thinking of sending it back to have a factory edge put on it and starting again!

Thanks to all, Bill.


Offline crls1

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #11 on: March 01, 2008, 07:48:27 PM
As a side note, how about Ontario knives? I've never heard of them, but some of their models seem interesting. I'd like to stick below $100 US as I'm not really in any life threatening situations, but I do want a knife I can trust. The Buck has been above and beyond all these years, but sharpening it has always ticked me off. I'm thinking of sending it back to have a factory edge put on it and starting again!

Thanks to all, Bill.

Well, i have an Ontario TAK1 and is a very good knife. If you want a very sturdy blade, at a good price (i've seen one around $70.00 US), take a look at it. The one i have is the good old 1095 carbon steel at 57 Rc, easy to sharpen and holds the edge for a long time. If you want something fancier, get the D2 version, but D2 is harder to sharpen, but has more corrosion resistence.

Carlos
(


Offline jetscream

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #12 on: March 31, 2008, 07:05:20 PM
I was in the Marines and never used or issued a Ka-Bar.  The knife everybody wanted was the Gerber MKII or issued a M-7 bayonet.  The army at the time was issued the M-9 bayonet.  The Marines stuck with the M-7 up until the 2001 when they used a version of the M-9.  I was long gone at that point.  I was never issued a Ka-Bar.  I carried a Cold Steel Recon Sterile (it had no markings).  The knife got beat up during survival training but never broke.  The black coating chipped off and started to rust.  The blade went dull in a few days and the tip chipped.  I tried to fix it in the field and ruined the point but I got a point back on it.   I called Cold Steel when I returned and asked them to fix it.  I figured I would just send it out to Cold Steel for repair.  When I got back to my base I called and was told that I would have to pay for the return and the repairs.  They also told me it would take 6 to 8 weeks.  I explained I was in the Marines and possible shipping out in a week or two.  They told me there was nothing they could do.  I went out and bought a knife at the local Mercenary store and was happy.  I still own that Cold Steel it's lying in the bottom of my sea bag.  The Knife was very strong and probably would have kept using it if Cold Steel fixed it.  Every chance I got I made sure any boot entering the fleet was not going to buy a Cold Steel.  It's been a long time and I still get angry when I see a Cold Steel knife.

Don't quote me on the exact dates of the bayonets I am not a bayonet expert. 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 07:08:00 PM by jetscream »


us Offline Splat

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 01:17:02 AM
Man, that sucked. I would be PO'ed at Cold Steel, too, for that. However  ::) , do love Cold Steel's Master Hunter knife. Comfortable, long handle and an excellent blade, but the VG-1 San Mai III steel is unknown to me.

Biru, check out Gerber's LMF II knife. I've heard nothing but good about it and it's a workhorse.
Splat


us Offline WhichDawg

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #14 on: April 01, 2008, 01:51:31 AM
If I had to start over from scratch, nekked! :ahhh
and I wanted it now, and the best customer service, before and after you get it;

I'd get a Ranger RD series blade. Justin makes em last and tough as anything.



Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 02:11:42 AM
Thanks again fellows. I need to check out Cold Steel as I'm not familiar with them. My little sister purchased a Camillus USAF survival knife for me. It's the first knife like this I've ever owned. I like it greatly, but it's plain and its use as a survival knife would be interesting to test. It is very sharp, and has a very sharp point. To get it that way, Camillus had cut the blade very thin at the front of the blade so I wonder how the blade would stand up to abouse there. Still, I think it balances better than my General. I'm going to fool around with it and see how it goes. I'm in the process of checking out the suggestions you fellows pitched.

Thanks to all again, Bill.


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #16 on: April 01, 2008, 02:23:20 AM
That's odd- I really like Cold Steel products and I have beaten more than a few of them over the years and never had a problem.  A friend of mine (and I use the term "friend" loosely) bought an SRK and pounded the hell out of it.  Then, he saw the first PROOF vid and took the kid gloves off.  He abused that thing soooo bad it wasn't funny, and it held up fine.

A number of years ago Cold Steel's Customer Service had a reputation for being pretty bad.  I heard horror stories of guys being blamed for "abusing" the knives resulting in the breakage, even in legitimate cases.  I can't say whether that happened for sure or not, but enough people were saying it that I'm inclined to believe it.  In recent years though, Cold Steel seems to have changed directions when it comes to CS and I have only heard good things about them these days.

Of course I fully understand the kind of grudge you can have if you are treated badly by a company.  I've had a few that treated me like crap, and I stuck it back to them pretty good in most cases.

Fortunately nowadays companies are starting to realize that quality CS is just as important as the quality of the product itself.

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


Offline K9-Handler

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #17 on: April 04, 2008, 12:54:01 AM
Hi, first post on this Forum.

I have a KaBar story for ya.  I'm and old fart.  In the late '60's I flunked out of college at 19 and enlisted in the Army to avoid the draft.  Sounds weird, but if you enlisted you could pick your school, while the vast majority of draftees went infantry.
So anyway, a year after Basic I got orders for Vietnam. I knew the M7 bayonet (predecessor to the M9) served no function other than to be a sharp point on your M16, and I wanted a real knife to carry.  So while I was on leave I went knife shopping.  They used to have a discount store chain called Bradlees -- kind of like Target today -- so I stopped in there and went to the sporting goods department.  In the display case was a large gleaming knife that struck my fancy.  It was something called a KaBar.  I asked the sales girl to show it to me and I studied every inch.  There was no price tag on it, so I asked the girl what it cost, and if there was a sheath for it.  She looked around in the case and through all the cabinets but couldn't find anything.  It was also the last one in stock.
"Since it doesn't have a box or sheath, how does $3.00 sound?"
Sold.
I took it home and decided that it was too shiny to carry in a war zone (the blade was polished), so I treated the blade with gun bluing and oil, and stoned an edge on it.  I went to a Tandy leather shop and picked up some thick hide and cut out the shape I needed and riveted the corners of the raw sheath.  But the leather was too thick to sew with a needle.  I took the knife and sheath down to the shoemaker that had a shop in the old neighborhood that my folks grew up in.  They called the little old man "The Communist"!  I didn't get into a political discussion with him.  I told him what I wanted, and even left the knife with him to make sure there was plenty of room between the rows of stitching.  When I went to pick it up, he asked me why I needed a knife so big.  When I told him where I would be using it, he just waved his hand toward the door and said, "No charge.".

So that was my steel buddy.  About a month before I was due to rotate home I was sitting around the hooch throwing the old KaBar at a wall of sandbags.  One throw went way off, glanced off the wall, hit a wall locker and fell on the concrete floor.  When I went to pick it up, it was in two pieces!  The blade broke away from the handle right at the hilt. 
I was just a little peeved with myself, and flung the pieces into the trash.
It wasn't until I got home that I found out that KaBar unconditionally warranted their knives.  I could have gotten a free replacement!  Now I was REALLY peeved with myself!
I'm not sure if their warranty policy has changed over the years.  And I don't understand why the knife broke where it did.  The steel shouldn't have been that brittle, unless the chemical bluing changed something.

So decades later and I'm now a dog handler with a volunteer search and rescue group.  When I need to cut a rope or open an envelope, I use my pocket folder.  But there, hanging upside down on my pack strap for all the world to see, is a full-sized KaBar.  Just in case...

-Dave P., K9-Handler


ca Offline Grant Lamontagne

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #18 on: April 04, 2008, 01:08:20 AM
Welcome to the forum Dave!  Always nice to have another dog-man here!  :D

Great story, but it's too bad you lost the trusty old karbar.  Good price on it though... I think the last KaBar I bought was $80 or so.  When you have a need for a big, tough knife, nothing else will do!

Def
Leave the dents as they are- let your belongings show their scars as proudly as you do yours.


gb Offline Mike, Lord of the Spammers!

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #19 on: April 04, 2008, 10:13:33 AM
Welcome to the forum mate :)

And a nice story too, especially about the leather worker letting you have the sheath for free :), there's not a lot of support for service personnel these days  >:(
Give in, buy several Farmer's!!!!!!


us Offline ducktapehero

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #20 on: April 04, 2008, 04:01:38 PM
Welcome K9 Handler. Great story.
http://ducksrandomthoughts.blogspot.com - or follow me on Twitter- @ducksthoughts

It's hard to say nipple without smirking.


Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #21 on: April 04, 2008, 04:30:36 PM
Yes, thanks for all the info! I've become quite taken with the Ka-Bar USMC knife after I saw it first-person in a military surplus shop. I like the USAF survival knife for its balance, but I am planning on getting a Ka-Bar soon. I like stories such as the one concerning your sheath maker. Ever so often it's nice to hear of gentility being exercised, even if the exercise took place 40 years ago!:)  The K is the same size as my Buck General though,  so I doubt I'd carry it much on the trail, but I have quite fallen for the overall vibe of Ka-Bars.

One question: How did you leather-handled knife users care for the handles? This Camillus is my first leather handle so I've been doing some research.

Thanks to all, Bill.


Offline K9-Handler

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #22 on: April 10, 2008, 06:39:59 PM
Biru:

I never had a problem with leather products that were used often.  Usually in long-term storage they might pick up mold but that's easily cleaned off.

I use a 3/8" diameter X 20-foot leather tracking lead and keep it well moistened with a 50/50 mixture of neatsfoot oil and olive oil.  Same goes for all my leather belts and holsters for Cowboy Action Shooting.  Despite what it says on bottles of the stuff, 100% neatsfoot oil is not recommended.  And you have all those neats walking around with crutches... :ahhh

I use a plastic bowl, fill it high enough with the blend above to submerge whatever it is I want to treat, then for the first application I let the thing soak overnight.  Wipe off the excess and put it someplace dry where it will finish soaking into the grain for a couple of days.  Then wipe it off and use it.  If you see the leather getting dry, use a small sponge and brush the same solution on, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off.  Any solution left over can be returned to a sealed bottle for storage.  Room temp.

That's what I do...

-Dave P.


Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #23 on: April 13, 2008, 09:59:17 PM
Dave:

Thank you and I apologize wholeheartedly for the lateness of my reply. I had forgotten my post, to be truthful. Thanks much for the tips on handle care. This USAF survival knife is my first leather handle. I've actually found it a very nice fit for my hand, much more so than the Buck epoxy handle on my previous carry. I checked out the Ka-Bar at a store near here and absolutely flipped for it. I plan to acquire one when I get the chance. I hate the sheath (there my Buck truly trumps Ka-Bar), but the knife seems a good one.

Thanks you again for your help and your story about the K. It only reinforced my fancy for this knife.

Warmest regards, Bill.


us Offline BIG-TARGET

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #24 on: April 15, 2008, 04:31:37 PM
"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall;
 Some run from breaks of ice, and answer none:
 And some condemned for a fault alone." -William Shakespeare, King Lear (1608), Act IV, scene 6, line 169


Offline Biru

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Re: Ka-Bar Knives
Reply #25 on: April 16, 2008, 02:06:04 AM
Maybe it's the old-movie fan in me, but I always wanted a penknife with a spoon in it. I could sit in a ditch somewhere and eat from a can of beans with my Ka-Bar spoon knife!

Regards, Bill.


 

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