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Seeking opinions on fixed blades

us Offline Farmer X

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Seeking opinions on fixed blades
on: October 31, 2022, 09:44:30 PM
Having followed the recent EDC fixed blade challenge (thanks to Alan K. for hosting it!), I have become much more interested in fixed blades. I've seen a staggering variety available, but I only own one (kitchen cutlery excepted): a Morakniv Garberg. A couple of manufacturers in particular have my interest, but I've read some questionable reviews of said manufacturers' wares. Rather than basing my judgments on Internet randomness, I'm seeking opinions from y'awl.

It should be noted that I'm seeking feedback on the various manufacturers, specifically from those who have put their fixies through long-term and/or hard use. I can figure out what blade profiles, steels, lengths, carry methods, and etc. will work for me along my journey. And I'm resigned to accept that I'm likely to re-dye sheaths or have them made for me.

Another possibility is buying blade blanks and slapping new handles on them. I imagine their quality can vary widely, so I welcome feedback from those who have gone that route.

What say ye?
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


us Offline nate j

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #1 on: November 01, 2022, 10:36:10 PM
I think some clarification might be helpful.

Perhaps let us know which manufacturers you are considering, and then folks could share their experiences and opinions?

Another approach might be to specify what blade length and other characteristics you want, and others could make suggestions from there.


us Offline toolguy

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #2 on: November 01, 2022, 10:44:25 PM
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  **Edmund Burke**

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."    **Benjamin Franklin**


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #3 on: November 01, 2022, 11:06:09 PM
Good point. The two I alluded to in the initial post were TOPS and Condor. Esse has a few knives that appeal to me as well. After a browse through the SMKW catalog that's sitting on the living room table, I may have a few more ideas. Of course, I'd unhesitatingly buy a Buck or another Mora. I'm very leery of SOG and Cold Steel anymore.

I'm not too sure about blade length, but one characteristic that would be desirable is good chopping ability. Few, if any, knives in my collection would be good choppers.

USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


us Offline toolguy

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #4 on: November 01, 2022, 11:21:16 PM
I'm not much into "choppers" but having watched numerous episodes of "Forged In Fire" I've become more acquainted with this style of knife.

If you decide on a Buck,the 124 Frontiersman or even their Compadre Fro may work for you.



"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  **Edmund Burke**

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."    **Benjamin Franklin**


us Online Aloha

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #5 on: November 02, 2022, 12:12:31 AM
Fixed blades  :woohoo:.  One of my first loves.  I  am not one to chop with my knives tho my Becker BK2 would not break a sweat chopping.  I can recommend Becker, just pick the one that floats your boat and enjoy.

Before I go any further tho I have to say I cannot recommend a chopper other than the BK2 but I can recommend companies.   

Esee is another brand I would give two thumbs up to.  I have a smaller fixed blade ( Izula ) but they get high marks for their heat treat and their warranty is second to none.  They have quite a selection so I'm sure you can find something. 

I have a Ontario RAT 3 which has been a great knife.  Not one bit of fuss from this knife. 

Benchmade and Spyderco, these brands continue to impress me.  I have a couple of fixed blades from each company and I am more than happy with them.  Quality is top shelf on each of them.  They are very different knives but for what they are intended for they perform wonderfully. 

Bark River.  Lots of variety with this company.  I have a couple that are superb in quality and same for performance.  They can be a bit thick stock and I'm sure I could use one ( Bush Seax ) as a chopper I dont. 

 

 
Esse Quam Videri


us Offline OldBoy2016

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #6 on: November 02, 2022, 01:36:11 AM
Just sharing what I did when I chose my knife. Buck knives, KA-BAR, and ESEE are outstanding. So are some other companies out there.  Too much to consider.

But maybe revisit your first thought and pick out the knife you want? Because that helped narrow things down for me.

For example for me I wanted a field ready steel, full tang, good warranty, nothing past 5 inches, and proven reputation (they test their knives in the jungle is what I heard). I ended up with the ESEE 4 in 1095.

Nothing against other companies, but ESEE fit my criteria perfectly. Though I heard Becker goes head to head with ESEE.

If you want to go a bit fancy I’ve talked to Becker/ESEE fans who’ve tried out Bradford knives and never looked back.


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #7 on: November 02, 2022, 03:08:31 AM
If you decide on a Buck,the 124 Frontiersman or even their Compadre Fro may work for you.
Though it's probably a little much for EDC, I do like the Compadre Fro.

I can recommend companies.   
Exactly what I was hoping for! :salute:

I have to assume that your BK-2 is the one linked below:

https://www.kabar.com/products/BK2

Sure looks like a stout little beast. Esee has a few models that appeal to me. The RAT-3 may awlso be a good choice, though I have little need for a combo edge. I'll have to look a little more at Bark River.

Maybe revisit your first thought and pick out the knife you want?
Aye, there's the rub: I'd want way too many of them. Narrowing it down to just one wouldn't be easy! :D

Your decision-making process was a good one. I awlso value a full tang and a good warranty (the latter being the reason I'm leery of Cold Steel and SOG anymore). I'm not sure what you mean by "field-ready steel," though. Five or six inches would probably be my limit for a fixie I'd carry regularly.

I know I'm veering off in a different direction here, but with Esee being so highly recommended, there could be a Pinch or a Candiru in my future (assuming I could find a way to carry it without running afoul of my state's knife laws).

Thanks to awl for the recommendations! :cheers:
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


us Offline OldBoy2016

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #8 on: November 02, 2022, 03:34:07 AM
Sorry, field ready for me is easy to sharpen. I grew up in the Philippines. Most knives and bolos there were made mostly from car leaf springs.

No such thing as super steel back and I didn’t have much options in terms of a sharpening system. So usually a smooth river rock would do.

Of course to each his own but after living through so many natural disaster events, political upheavals, and so on I’ve learned that simplest is best for me.


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #9 on: November 02, 2022, 06:43:43 AM
I hear you. The science behind the new "super steels" is interesting, and I have nothing against anyone who spends big money on such and puts it through its paces. But I'll wait until the exotic becomes pedestrian. Proven components are much better for a user knife as far as I'm concerned.
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


au Offline Echotech

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #10 on: November 02, 2022, 09:06:50 AM
I got a schrade sharpfinger during the recent fixie challenge, Chinese made and inexpensive but what utility for the price and definitely edc’able imo

 :cheers:


no Offline aicolainen

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #11 on: November 02, 2022, 09:19:18 AM
I’m still not quite sure what you want, as you say you’re looking for an EDC fixie with chopping ability. That’s not the same knife in my world. But I shouldn’t let that stop me from throwing a few more suggestions into the mix.

There’s a lot of carbon steel in the suggestions so far. That can be great, but consider how you’ll be carrying it and what you’ll use it for.
I carry stainless 9 out of 10 times. Even coated 3V will rust in front of my eyes in no time… so there’s that.

The Fällkniven F1 is a nice mid sized knife. It’s not a chopper, but the convex grind splits wood nicely when battoning. Comes in VG10 and 3G

For a true EDC sized Fällkniven you could try the WM1. It’s my most used fixed blade, nothing even comes close. For EDC you’d probably want to make another sheath for it though.

Spyderco’s Perrin fixed blades are very capable EDC fixed blades. The 3.5” Street Beat is probably the sweet spot for most, but for more concealability (and resistance to the elements) you could pick up a Subway Bowie, or if you’re all about that chop - Street Bowie is your friend.

Honorable mention; Spyderco Waterway. The design is not your typical EDC or woodsman knife, as it’s more targeted towards fishing, but it’s designed to be an allround tool that can handle everything from food prep, processing firewood to processing fish. The LC200N steel is pretty much impervious to the elements, it has a toughness that approaches that of traditional carbon steel and sharpens very well.

Those are all I have enough experience with to recommend. I have other common models in that size category as well, but I’ve just not found them appealing enough to stand up to the competition. Examples of these are Bradford Guardian 3 M390, CS Pendelton mini hunter 3V and Benchmade Hidden Canyon S30V.

There are some others that appeal to me, that I wan’t to try, like LT Wright. I’m pretty sure those are solid options, but no personal experience yet.

Good luck!


us Offline Alan K.

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #12 on: November 03, 2022, 03:26:10 AM
Not the same in my world either.  There may be some form of compromise though, such as the combos that were carried in the Nessmuk Challenge.  https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,83571.0.html
Carry a pocket knife, fixed blade knife and a heavy duty chopping and hacking tool such as an axe, hatchet, tomahawk or machete.  In the challenge I carried a machete a multitool and a pocket sized fixed blade knife.
EDC and chopper don't really mean the same thing unless you're camping or bushcrafting and can carry a larger knife such as a KaBar Becker BK-9, or a TOPs Tahoma Field Knife.  In survival circles they have a concept called "The One Tool Option" which puts forth the premise of what could you get by with if you could have only one, and both of the above mentioned knives have rated highly as a contender for the one tool.  There's some good vids on YouTube if you search for One Tool Option.
My feeling is that a large knife is difficult and exhausting to the point of being dangerous when trying to use it for small knife jobs, and small knives are also not made for big knife jobs, but if I could only have one I agree with Cody Lundin that I'd rather go smaller.  I also believe that large knives are not a substitute for a machete because machetes are generally thin and intended for slicing through rather than chopping into their target.  Thick bladed knives, therefore, aren't meant for the same tasks.  However, a large knife with a thick blade can be a substitute for a hatchet.  Most of the "one tool" guys practise their fieldcraft in deciduous forests up north rather than in jungles or swamps, so I can see a big knife being useful to them where they might otherwise choose a hatchet.  My compromise is a heavier machete for slicing through medium hard wood as thick as my large diameter wrist.  For true hardwoods I'd actually prefer a saw because I think it is safer than chopping. My $.02 worth and it didn't even cost you that much.


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #13 on: November 03, 2022, 05:17:06 AM
A Sharpfinger (or its Uncle Henry equivalent) is on my rather long shopping list.

For a while, I carried stainless exclusively. (Having spent time in the Navy, I've seen firsthand what salty air can to to carbon steel.) I've since found that carbon steel holds up better than I thought it would in an area with humid summers. Giving my carbon steel trads a quick inspection couldn't hurt anything.

Now I'm reconsidering the chopper role. Researching the axes out there will be a whole 'nother deal. I'm very much aware of the value of a saw, and I'd like to add a larger, dedicated folding saw to my arsenal. I'll check out the "one tool option," too. ..but for now, I'm glad I don't have to make such considerations. Will awlso have a look at the Nessmuk challenge Alan linked to.

I still think there's an Esee Candiru in my future. Of the various fixies I've looked at so far, it seems to be the most practical for me to carry. (Concealability is not a desirable property for me, unless and until the state law on concealment is rewritten or repealed or I move to a state that doesn't make it a headache.)

Thanks to Echotech, aicolainen, and Alan for the suggestions! :salute:
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


us Offline OldBoy2016

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #14 on: November 03, 2022, 05:32:04 AM
If you go for an ESEE, be prepared to spend on accessories like a sheath and scales as you may decide to upgrade as most folks are not too happy with the standard sheath and scales.

Knifeconnection does allow you to build your knife. Kinda fun. Beware though. Browsing through their knifes will expand your list. Excellent knives in there. Myself always wanted a Winkler.


us Online Aloha

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #15 on: November 03, 2022, 03:17:25 PM
 :oops:  Typed out a response yet it all disappeared. 

Ok here we go.  I live in a coastal town.  We've also had some pretty humid summer over the last several years.  I love my Carbon knives and I do check in on them from time to time.  I never store any Carbon in leather just to be on the safe side. 

I have 1095, 1075, W1/2, O1, A2, 420HC, S30V, 154CM, H1, Laminated, CPM3V and a few others.  Without a doubt the H1 is one I never worry about.  Its one heck of a steel.  I'd love to try LC200N as well.  For worry free steel I'd rate these highly. 

I picked up the Becker BK2 for a good price so I had to get it.  It is the one you linked to.  Esee has the #5 if you want to go with them. 

While I have no direct experience on warranties I have read some terrific experiences from others. 

Esee seems to have one heck of a warranty.  You can read what it is on their site.  I also believe the vast amount of folks talking up their heat treat.  Their 1095 is coated so only the edge is exposed.  They also came out with a knife in S35V not long ago. 

I have a Izula from Esee but I do rate it high.  I would not hesitate to buy an Esee. 

Bark River.  The knives I have from them are all top notch.  The blade stock is thick on all of them.  My favorite is my Bushcrafter in CPM3V.  I would not and have not hesitated with this knife.  I've done some light wacking of limbs on my apple tree.  I have a Seax from them as well in A2.  Its beastly and have also done some limb removal with it.  The other is their take on the Canadian belt knife.  I'd rate BRK high. 

Becker-Ka bar.  I have only heard great things.  I only have the BK2.  At 1lb its not an edc but it could be a great one tool option.  I like my little hatchets better and my folding saw.  Becker has some terrific options in smaller fixed blades knives.  One in particular I really like is the BK62.  Do a search on comis for his incredible one. 

Spyderco and Benchmade.  Both companies have quite a selection in a variety of steels.  I've never had any issues with my Spyderco Jumpmaster 2 or BM Contego.  Both are used extensively. 

I'd suggest Silkyboy folding saw.  Bahco also has a big following of loyalist.  I have a couple small hatchets for my chopping work.  One is a carpenters hatchet that I really like.  Love the hammer end which is pretty useful.  For splitting larger logs for my fire pit/fireplace I use wedges.  I do the same when camping.       
Esse Quam Videri


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #16 on: November 04, 2022, 01:58:11 AM
Most folks are not too happy with the standard sheath and scales.
Oddly, Esee's sheaths seem to best suit my needs. It looks like I could clip certain Esse sheaths onto a pocket and carry openly (and legally).

I will have to check out Knife Connection.

:oops:  Typed out a response yet it all disappeared.
I've had that happen before. Luckily you were able to salvage what you typed.

Steels are an area that may require some additional exploration. Up to now, most any steel has worked for me. Then again, my usage isn't anything close to extreme.

Bark River sure does make some fine-looking knives. They look so good I'd be hesitant to beat on them. Thus far, I've awlso not been a fan of their sheaths. The handle sticking so far above the belt would annoy me and present difficulty with carrying openly, especially on models with shorter blades.

I'll see if I can fins comis' BK62. So far, though, Esee is looking like a good choice for me.

A folding saw is much more likely to be purchased than a fixie...simply because I have some branches that are threatening the power line that feeds my house.

Thanks again for the continuing feedback! :cheers:
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


us Online Aloha

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #17 on: November 04, 2022, 04:58:07 PM
If I were in the market for a folding saw I'd go with Silky 170mm curved.  I cannot recall who made mine but its a great little saw.  I've cut my apple tree and avocado tree as well as other trees.  I don't have much chopping needs but I do have a large axe I was gifted.  As mentioned I love my little hatchets.  My carpenters particularly is my favorite.  I can easily make wedges and use the hammer to pound them into larger logs to split them.

I'd agree Bark River makes some very nice looking knives and I'd guess many are not put to work  :dunno:.  All three of mine are used and loved.  I'd consider them heirloom pieces of my collection. 

These are the Esee knives that I've looked at recently and am drawn to, Xancudo in S35VN.  Ashley Game Knife.  Esee3 in S35VN.  Esee RB3.

I have the Izula and while I can buy handles for it I chose not to.  Its a small knife but big on performance. 

While I like larger fixed blades I really like thinner blade stock and smaller knives over all.  In terms of blade thickness for an every day knife 1/8 is not too thin for me. 3/32 is good and 5/32 is about as thick as I really "need".  Outdoor knives are a bit different.  1/4 is probably never needed.  My Bark River Bushcrafter is 5/32 which is a sweet spot for my needs/wants.  That and the blade to handle is just about perfect for me.  The Bushcrafter is 3 7/8 blade with OAL of 8 5/8. 

I'm ok with a 3 finger fixed blades since I wont be exerting a lot of force with them. The key point tho is grip.  A great example is CRKT Minimalist.  What a terrific handle and such a small knife.  I can suggest this little fixed if your hands aren't HUGE.  Great little neck knife that can also be worn on the belt or elsewhere.  Great sheath too IMO.   
     
Esse Quam Videri


us Offline Farmer X

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #18 on: November 05, 2022, 05:59:56 AM
I can see a very thick blade being less than desirable for EDC. My Garberg may not have seen much carry time, but its blade length and thickness allow it to carry quite nicely.

I'll have a look at the Esees you mentioned. A couple of other members have provided positive feedback on TOPS, who awlso have a few models that interest me.

Thanks again for the continuing great information! :cheers:
USN 2000-2006

One to four layers of SAK is (usually) best for me.

If you have absolutely nothing better to do, my YouTube channel is awlways an option:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCWA0VjH6v3WS6gvLkPGk9KA/


ni-ulster Offline Jud65

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Re: Seeking opinions on fixed blades
Reply #19 on: November 07, 2022, 10:41:22 AM
Check out the Twisted Assisted Gambler on Kickstarter- if nothing else it seems like a touch of serendipity given the timing…

Full disclosure: I’ve backed this wee knife myself and really want to see it hit the target so while  I don’t want to seem like I’m promoting a product for selfish reasons,  there doesn’t seem to be a way round it. You have been warned.
We take what is offered...
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