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Need a fixed blade camp knife - Help?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by DCBman, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    I need a fixed blade camp knife, so maybe a fun exercise would be to have y'all help me find one. Well, "need" is probably a strong term, as I have hundreds of knives, but I'm looking for something in particular.

    I busted my favorite camp knife batoning a piece of oak. It was a strong knife, but somehow the stresses on it broke a large chunk right out of the edge. It was not repairable, the break was about 1" deep on the blade edge. :(

    I don't remember the brand name of the knife, it was some off brand I picked up cheap (and the blade may have had an unseen defect), but I loved the size and functionality of the knife. I think I bought it from SMKW. I'd buy it again, but I've never seen another like it. Here are the basic requirements...

    Blade - 6.5 to 7" long.
    Steel - Just not 440 stainless, and not 1095 (420 is 'okay', but higher grade is better)
    Finish - Bead blasted or matte, no coatings
    Tip - Drop point (not clip point)
    Handle - Rubber (black)
    Sheath - Leather (preferably)
    Cost - < $100

    This knife will be subjected to all sorts of 'meanness', used as a serious tool. It will function as a true "camp knife". It will be sharp, and kept sharp! Used, does not mean 'abused', but I guess I abused my other one a little bit.

    These knives get heavily used, and I don't mind having to replace one when they fail or wear out. Does not need to be anything flashy or a showpiece, just straight straight-up business. Pure utility. It will get wet, muddy and bloody. It will be used for food prep, camp prep and maintenance. Won't be a carry knife but when in camp.

    Thanks in advance! Will be looking forward to see what y'all come up with!
     
  2. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    P.S. - It looked like this Schrade, but without the finger choil.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. GoBlueCO1

    GoBlueCO1 Loaded Pockets

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    I’d jump on a BK7, strip the finish and you’re done. It’s a tank!


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  4. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    And it has to be those specs?

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  5. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    The BK series are clip point knives. I'm looking for a drop point. And just so you understand the reason why; clip point knives will cut or stab you if you push on the tip end of the blade. Again, this will not be a hunting knife, but rather a 'camp knife'.
    Thanks!
     
  6. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Condor low drag? Only not a rubber handle

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  7. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Close, yes. For example, as I noted above, I do not want a clip point knife because you need to be able to push on the tip end of the knife (like when you're preparing food). You can't really do this with a clip point, but you can with a drop point. I don't want something in pure carbon steel due to rust issues, so some chromium is req'd. Flexible on the finish, but prefer no coatings, and the handle doesn't have to be rubber, but that seemed to work really well and was durable as heck, as well as not getting slippery when wet, slimy or bloody.
     
  8. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Is that the model, "Low Drag"? I'll look it up. The only issue I've had with Condor is they're usually all 1095, and they rust in minutes if you're not paying attention. I've had one rust on me in about 10 minutes just sitting on the counter. I like Condor knives, but I'm not sure they fit this bill, but I'll look that one up.

    ETA - Looked it up. It's 1075 carbon w/ no chromium in it, so it will rust (despite the coating they have on it). Otherwise, that's the shape and approx. size I'm looking for. Incidentally, the Schrade Frontier I showed above is 1095 steel which is why it is not a candidate, I just showed it to illustrate the blade shape I'm looking for.
     
    Last edited by DCBman, Jan 14, 2022
    #8 DCBman, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  9. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, that's the model. Put a patina on a carbon blade. Just stick it in vinegar. Or make a pattern with some mustard. It's a natural coating...

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  10. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Dang! I wish I wouldn't have busted that blade! I thought a replacement would be easy to find, but not the case. I can find a billion clip point knives in this size, but a drop point is not easy, especially one in these specs. I have a Buck Selkirk knife, but it is a little short for the task with a sub 5" blade.
     
  11. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, I've done that on several of my Mora's, but the problem with doing that is it will leave a taste in food. The carbon steel has a distinct metallic taste it imparts on food. The patina process only makes this worse. I love the finish it leaves, and it is durable, but it just doesn't work well for a food prep knife.
     
  12. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Helle Lappland. It's a leuku, so not exactly what you're looking for. But it's 12c27.

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  13. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    My only issue with those Helle knives is the way the hilt is designed. Slip forward or off that puppy and you're headed for some field stitches (or worse). Otherwise, nice knife though.
     
  14. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I think you're going to have trouble finding a knife that meets your specs.

    Keeping the price at or under $100 rules out a lot of the nicer stainless and semi-stainless steels like CPM-20CV and the really nice non-stainless steels like 3V. For a camp knife there's absolutely nothing wrong with 1095, 1085 or 1075 as long as you do your part to care for it, and those steels will meet your toughness needs. I find it odd that you do not want 440 stainless but are willing to take 420. 440, chemically, is a superior steel to 420. Only Buck's 420HC can come close to 440's performance, but only to 440. 440B and especially 440C (when properly heat treated) will outperform 420. And, except for Buck's 420HC, most of the 420 knives you'll find are likely to be cheap, poorly-treated blades made of 420J1 or 420J2, neither of which are suitable blade steels.

    As an aside, while you might accept Buck's 420HC, do be aware that most of their knives are made with a hollow grind, which is generally considered unsuitable for camp work: it's too thin behind the edge and can chip or break under hard use. For camp work, especially batoning, you need something like a scandi, sabre, or flat grind to provide strength behind the edge.

    Since carbon steels are the most likely thing you'll find in your price range, they're almost all going to be coated. However, stripping the coating isn't that hard if you're willing to put in a bit of work. Citri-Strip and Jasco both make short work of many coatings.

    Most knives in your price range do not come with leather sheaths. Instead the manufacturers opt for nylon as a cost-saving measure, if they give a sheath at all.

    Shouldnt be hard to find rubber handles in this price range, since most other handle materials jack up the price noticeably.

    Shouldnt be hard to find a drop point knife in this price range.

    Cold Steel's Outdoorsman Lite meets some of your criteria. The sheath is plastic but it's a 6" blade of Krupp 4116 stainless with a rubber handle. Not sure if I class it as a drop point or a trailing point though: the tip doesnt drop from the spine like a drop point, nor does it rise above the spine like a trailing point. But, it's $28.
    Condor's got a lot of good options, but they're mostly carbon steels and no rubber handles.
    Ka-Bar's Becker line are great outdoor knives, but dont meet many of your criteria. No stainless, no rubber, no leather....


    So, it would seem you have criteria that are playing against each other. Either compromises will have to be made, or you're in for a long search. Good luck to you. :)
     
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  15. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Great comments! I'm not an expert on stainless, but 440 has always seemed too brittle and difficult to sharpen (but I could be mistaken), hence my statement about 420. I only said that because it's all I really know. I guess I should have just said 'some other stainless grade'. I've got tons of Buck knives and they're not the end-all be-all for camp knives at all. I put the $100 budget number in out there just to give an idea of what price range I'm considering. Sure, I can go buy a $350 knife, but then it's probably going to sit home somewhere for fear of getting it 'dirty'. I'm looking for something I can let 'other' people use also, and I'm sure you're aware how 'other' people treat things (i.e. usually carelessly). So, my reasoning is just kind of a fear free knife for true camp use. Something I can take home and resharpen and fix later.

    My issue with carbon steel, and I have numerous carbon steel knives, is the fact that if not 'cared for' (as you state) on an almost immediate basis you come back to find the thing rusted and in disrepair. Again, this is just a general use camp knife, not my own personal carry knife that only I handle.

    BTW, I have actually seen carbon steel knives rust in a matter of minutes if left wet on a surface, so I'm not being dramatic here, just realistic about not hovering over the tool 100% of the time to ensure it's cared for properly. Stainless does have it's benefits, but yes, it is a tradeoff between brilliantly sharp carbon and environmental durability in the field.

    ETA - Leather sheath is just a nice to have, not an absolute requirement. Figured I'd shoot high initially. Pure carbon steel is not negotiable.
     
  16. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    J-P Peltonen M95, then. It's 80CrV2 steel. It IS carbon but it has chromium in it. Leather sheath, rubber handle, and at your price point. It's not a huge chopper, though. Like Sentinel said, most of those are carbon. The 1095 that is used in the Becker knives also have chromium and vanadium in them. So, not pure carbon steel.

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  17. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, KaBar uses 1095 modified with additional chromium and vanadium, thus they call it 1095CV. I have several Beckers and have yet to see them rust if just left sitting, and most of them are just left sitting on a shelf in a closet. House never gets above 45% humidity and I see no rust so they don't need constant maintenance, at least not in my locale. Perhaps in a more humid or saline environment they'd more readily flash-rust; I don't know. But, you're in Colorado where I'd assume the humidity is even *lower*, so I wonder how it is you see knives rust so quickly.

    Perhaps you could re-define for us what your usage parameters are. You mentioned that you broke your last one batoning, so you clearly want something that can perform that task. In my opinion that straight up rules out stainless steels: you need something strong and tough like 10XX series carbon. Unless you budget for extra tough (and expensive) stainless steels like 20CV. It also heavily suggests something full-tang to take the beating, rather than a stick-tang like Mora uses. You say it'll be subjected to 'meanness' without defining what that means. Does that mean neglect, or cutting things it's not meant to cut (like wire), or are you just repeating that it'll be beaten thru wood like a rented mule? You mention "It will get wet, muddy and bloody. It will be used for food prep, camp prep and maintenance." But, you all-but-demand a stainless steel.

    Based on those parameters I come away with the need for two separate knives.

    I do most of my camp work with a Becker BK16. 1095CV, 4" blade, factory plastic grips and a nylon sheath. It does the job. It does food-prep, small-scale batoning, and woodcraft. If I need to do camp wood-work that the BK16 can't handle, I have a BK9, a hatchet, and an axe. I've even used the BK9 as a burger-flipper before. :D

    As to handle materials: I understand wanting rubber for the "wet, muddy and bloody" issue, but honestly I've never had a problem holding onto micarta with the deer I've butchered. My Becker BK15 has factory micarta scales that are quite secure in the hand even when wet or bloody. They're not polished, but have a bit of texture to them, and I've often seen the bushcraft guys recommend roughing up the micarta on a new knife for better grip. That said, there is a video test of Becker's 'grivory' handle material that might stun you. The guy coats the grip of a Becker in oil then proceeds to stab as hard as possible into a stump: his hand barely moves. Handle shape is just as important as handle material if you want to avoid slippage, and Ethan Becker hit a home run when he designed his grips. If you otherwise like a knife but don't like the handle material you can always rough it up a bit with sandpaper, or wrap it in some kind of grip-tape like skateboard tape or tennis racket wrap. But, our forefathers did just fine with wood and bone so I don't see rubber as really a necessity. (to my own preference, rubber's an instant "no" vote: I hate rubber grips)

    I've got carbon-steel kitchen knives that have naturally-developed patinas, including an Old Hickory 7" Butcher, and never noticed a flavor difference. The aforementioned BK15 (stripped with a forced patina) also doesn't seem to leave anything behind. Not saying it doesn't or can't happen, and I have a slightly damaged tongue anyway, but I'm honestly kind of skeptical here. Most high-end chef's knives are some variety of carbon, not stainless, so imparted taste doesn't seem to be a broad problem. I want to think you might be overstating things a bit but maybe you just have a more sensitive palate than most. *shrug*

    As to wanting a knife you can loan out to others... well... I don't do that. I don't loan knives. I give knives to people so I don't have to loan my own, or in the case of my nephews I encouraged them to buy their own. They each bought a Mora Companion in stainless and have been happy with it, as have I with mine. But, they don't have to do food-prep or wood-prep so for them it's basically just a whittling knife. That said, I've used my Mora in place of my BK15 and BK16 and it's done just fine. If you don't mind wearing a knife out and replacing it, especially if it's a loaner, then just get a few $15 stainless Moras and whenever you camp with someone who doesn't have a blade, give them one. Then they're not using your knife, they have their own, and if they break it it's on them. That also frees you up to get a knife that suits you, without having to take others into consideration.

    So far, it seems the only thing you're truly set on is a stainless 6"-7" blade, for food-prep and anti-rust reasons. If that's really the driving force then I suggest you just get a dedicated food-prep blade like a chef's knife and a separate, carbon-steel tool like a hatchet for the rest of your 'camp prep'.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a shill for Becker knives, nor do I have any affiliation with them. I simply have and use several of them so that is my point of reference.)
     
    #17 Sentinel-14, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  18. DCBman

    DCBman Loaded Pockets

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    Okay...now that I have a moment, lets see if we can sort this out.

    Rust issue - Yes, Colorado is drier than most places (humidity wise), but humidity is not the issue. Imagine a kitchen knife; it is frequently used for cutting various food items. After each use, it gets a dunk in a dish tub or wiped off with a wet rag. People seldom take the time to dry if fully off before setting it down. The water on the exposed surface evaporates, so no issue there. However, the water on the down side of the knife does not evaporate and will flash rust if not cared for. Remember, I am not around every person 100% of the time to babysit every single thing they do. Hence not wanting something which will rust easily.

    Batoning - Yes, I did say I broke the other knife while 'batoning' something. I should not have mentioned batoning because it's probably the one thing we will not do with this knife if I ever find one. We have other tools for this. What I was doing was actually not in the field / camp, but rather an experiment in the basement of my house. I shouldn't have done it, and I knew it, but I went ahead and did it anyway (dumb me!). The only reason I mentioned batoning was because that's how I broke the knife, not because batoning is a requirement for this knife. My mistake. Erase batoning from your mind.

    Loaning knifes - I'm afraid you may not understand, so you can spare me the lecture (please); I will attempt to explain. The majority of camp instances are Elk Hunting trips in the Colorado and Wyoming mountains with a bunch of guys who have hunted together for decades. We have a whole camp of community tools which we've purchased over the years. As much as I love the guys, sometimes they can just be "guys in elk camp" (if that makes any sense). Not always the most attentive to minor details. Plus, it often snows (almost always), and things get left out after the beer and liquor start flowing in the evenings, hence more water on everything (back to the rust issue). None of us loan our personal knives out to anyone; you just don't do that. And yes, I am very familiar with Mora knives. I own about a dozen of them, possibly more. I think I have a Mora in every room of my home and every one of our vehicles.

    Side note - You mention Old Hickory knives. Yeah, we had one of those a couple times. They didn't even make it one season before they were rusted-out POC's. Totally the wrong knife for the application I'm talking about! Sorry, but it just is.

    Lastly - You seem to be a big advocate of carbon steel knives. That's fine, but that's not what I'm looking for, it just isn't. Sorry. Further, the knife I had was the perfect knife...until I broke it just being a bonehead. It was not carbon steel, but stainless. So, I know they're out there, because I bought one once; I'm just trying to find another one similar to it.

    Incidentally, the Mora Wide Butcher Knife 7177 UG comes close and will work in the interim, but I'd sure like to find a knife like the one I had because it was just heavier duty for other camp related things beyond just cooking.
     
    Last edited by DCBman, Jan 15, 2022
    #18 DCBman, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  19. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I'm an advocate of "right tool for the job", not for any specific tool, steel, etc.

    When you said 'camp prep and food prep' I was not picturing a hunting camp at all: when I think of camp prep I think of tent camping at the lake or woods. So yes I seem to have misunderstood exactly what you intended to do with the knife. You've narrowed and re-defined your usage parameters and I now have a much better understanding of what you're trying to do with this knife. You've helped considerably. :)

    Removing batoning as a task removes the need (in my opinion) for a tough carbon steel. Incidentally, I only brought up Old Hickory because it's a common carbon steel knife with no chromium (as far as I know) and I have no rust issues with it. BUT, I don't use it in the conditions you've now described, and in those conditions I can completely understand why you're looking at stainless.

    Being that I misunderstood you, I also did not understand that this was to be a community tool. I had understood this to be a personal tool to be loaned as needed, which is why I advocated for something cheap to give away. I understand better now.

    I apologize if my commentary is long-winded or overbearing: I simply try to be thorough and you had a lot of points to address. I also feel giving advice or suggestions without giving explanation and context doesn't do much good, so that tends to add to my verbosity.

    I'm glad you were able to find a suitable replacement, even if it's just a temporary one. :)
     
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  20. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Maybe spend a little more and get a stainless that can do it all? The kiwi's make some great stainless pig stickers and what not for your hunting needs. But, they are 440c as far as I know. I own a fantastic 440c knife from Joker Spain. Beat the crap out of it and real easy to sharpen. Otherwise, I fully agree with @Sentinel-14.

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