In a short sighted ambitious attempt to think about learning more skills, I wanted, and continue to want to learn how to make a knife out aof a blank piece of steel. It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, as does a buddy of mine. While watching City Survivalist’s and Gavko’s Youtube channels, I became motivated. I got a little excited and bought a few budget blades I thought I might like to try to make myself. In hindsight, I should have looked at the process of making the knife before spending money on the blades. Living in an apartment SERIOUSLY limits what I can and cannot do both with respect to privacy as well as just not having the space to go through all the steps in order to build a solid knife or knives form scratch.
That said, I purchased three knives. I bought them to evaluate knife design, blade design, thickness as compared to other knives I have, etc. I pulled out some paper, and started designing a blade and handle for my “perfect knife” and something I thought could be more “urban prepper friendly” in design and ergonomics for suburban and urban preppers.
The first, and the top one on the picture, which may turn out to be my favorite “if” it can hold up under pressure is called a “Timber Wolf Bowie Knife. The knife itself is 9″ long, full tang, has a 4 1/8″ stainless steel blade a hardwood handle, and a leather sheath.
The Timber Wolf Bowie Knife arrived pretty sharp out of the box. I sharpened it just a little bit and it was shaving the hair off my arm. Generally the sign of softer steel sharpening so quickly, The blade is stamped German Steel, slightly harder steel than 440, I believe. I really like this knife, though. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable, and the weight of this is good. It has a ribbed spine near the handle for your thumb, which is also pretty comfortable so that you can add additional pressure for your cutting job. I’m not sure how this will hold up if it is batoned to split some wood, but this spring I will put it to use and report back on it whether I use it hiking, camping, or both. It is a sub $20.00 knife, and I am pretty impressed with the design, feel, and quality thus far.
The second knife I purchased was a Remington brand Fixed Blade Knife with leather sheath as well. With a different blade design, this too was a sub $20.00 knife. At first glance I like this blade design as well. Comparing it to the Timber Wolf Bowie Knife the Remington brand Fixed Blade Knife is a millimeter or so thinner on the blade, but is slightly longer making it a 4 3/4″ blade. Like other, it has a wooden handle, sharpened razor sharp, is comfortable in my hand, is also full length tang. My research also says this is a soft steel. 440, I think, so like previous mentioned was very easily sharpened. Like the Timber Wolf, it comes with a leather sheath. This leather sheath is pretty heavy duty and feels well made. Like mentioned previously, I will put this through the paces in the spring.
Lastly, you may mistake this knife for a Mora. It is not. It is a Mora knock off. In fact, it is named Wahoo Killer Filet Knife. Do not be fooled. It is NOT a filet Knife. It looks like a Mora with the exception that it is not a Scandinavian grind. It’s a straight edge grind. It is 1144 Stainless Steel and feels surprisingly like you are holding a Mora Clipper in your hands. It is as thick and feels as sturdy as a Mora. The sheath looks and feels just like the Mora as well. The best part about the Wahoo Killer Filet Knife is that it is sub $3.00 at $2.59 each at Amazon.com. I actually purchased several of them and gave them away, put one in my tool box, and others in other kits. As for sharpness, to be honest, it did not come the sharpest out of the box. I have made many attempts to put a good edge on this knife, but think the edge that is on it is not the best and not a good angle. I believe that if you buy this knife you will want to put your own edge on it to get it as sharp as it can be. More work, definitely, but what you can expect from a $3.00 knockoff. If you have a Mora, you know they come razor sharp when they arrive, and that they are a very hard steel. Specs on this knife are: 8 1/2 inches overall, hard plastic sheath, textured rubberized handle for a solid grip, and 1144 stainless steel blade. Don’t be fooled, even though it is a knock off, it seems like a good substitute if you want to buy multiple knives and are on a budget.
That said, as you can read, I have not put these knives through the paces, but I will. For the prices you may want to add them to one of your kits anyway or put them through the paces yourself.
Good review of some nice sub $20 knives. I’m finding myself to be a bit of a knife hound myself. I may have to pick up a couple of the one’s above.
You may also want to check out the Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter. I just got one but haven’t had a chance to put it through it’s paces. I plan on using it as my main carry knife when camping and backpacking this year.…..unless of course I happen to pick up another.
Keep up the good work.
Jesse, You rock! Going to have to craft a trip out to see you and Jay!
Tim, I’ll take a look at it. I am partial to the Becker BK2, and Gerber Profile, myself.
Thanks, I had not looked at the Gerber Profile until now. I do know the Becker BK2 and it is on my list of knives I’d like to buy.
When I was in Jr. high our shop class made knives from scratch, try that today. Other than the bad job I did on the handle It was a pretty good little knife. Fast forwad twenty years and I have a friend in Siera Vista, AZ that is really into the cowboy action shooting but does not have a knife on his rig. So I bought a book on kifemaking and made him a 9 inch bowie type with an antler handle. I used my barbeque for a forge and quenched in used motor oil. The handle I wrapped with a braided copper wire to cover the full tang. I then coated the handle with a clear epoxy to secure evrything and give it a non slip coating.
I have since made several knives using essentially the same technique. Interestingly I recently met a bladesmith in Arkansas that has given me a few pointers.
So do not let the fact you live in apartment stop you from making that knife.
Shane, that is awesome… Renewed interest! Thanks.
Svord Peasant knife — check those out as well.
Speaking of Gerber blades I’m not normally a huge fan, however, there is one notable exception. I ended up with a Gerber 06 automatic a few years back and love it. I carry the thing every day both at work and at home, and work it like a borrowed mule. It’s been all over the world with me and been used as pry bar, hammer, punch, can opener and sometimes even as a knife. The butt of the knife has a large steel bit that comes to something of a point and works great for breaking glass, it also has a lanyard hole in it through which I looped a short piece of 550 cord sheath to give me a place to hook it to a ‘biner. The handle has an ergonomic shape, a low profile and sturdy clip (which is removable), as well as a large push button to operate the blade and a safety switch to lock it. The blade on mine is a roughly 3.5 in drop-point/serrated combo that works great for clean cuts as well as sawing through synthetics like nylon webbing. Finally the blade is made of S30V stainless which is a pain in the butt to sharpen, but holds an edge remarkably well once you get one on there. The newer 06s have a different finish on the handle and it’s easier to grip in gloves than the old ones, but I like the feel of the old one better, but like I said this knife is going on 5 years of hard use, and I’m not looking to replace it any time soon. As for fixed blade knives I have a Ka-Bar 1258, which is just like the normal Ka-Bar but smaller, with only a 5.25in blade. It’s still a full tang design and the “kraton” handle material is super sticky and easy to work with with wet, cold, or dirty hands, or even gloves. I find the smaller size easier to carry and more useable for most day to day tasks, though to be fair I can’t really speak to the durability of it, given that I tend to use my Gerber folder for everything and if I’m going to use a knife for something it’s not designed for, the 06 is my go to tool.
@JimmyP I just looked up the Gerber 06. It looks remarkably like the Gerber 22 fixed blade. A wide gap in the pricing however, showing there is a huge difference in the steel they used, and probably the process of making the blade. I might have to eventually look into one of these, since my usual EDC folder is generally less durable than you described…
Thanks for the info…
@suburban Gerber hit on a pretty good blade design there, actually. I ended up with an LMF II ASEK (the whole kit and kaboodle version of the 22) about two years ago now, and was not overly impressed. I have pretty small hands, and the wide, flat handle on the LMF was really awkward for me. I ended up giving it to a buddy, and he loves it, so I guess it’s really a matter or taste. Just for your SA, the 06 is also available in a tanto style blade, if that’s your cup of tea.Another side note, the NSN for this knife is linked to two CAGE codes (manufactures), one is Gerber, the other is Benchmade. So if you’re a fan of this knife the Benchmade 9053 is basically the same thing.