Suggestions for a value fixed blade


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Noah
June 26, 2013, 11:44 PM
Hey! I have been into knives for only a few years, I've only ever been interested in folding knives due to the fact that EDCing a fixed blade isn't really an option in my state. But I realized today- I don't have a single fixed blade utility knife. I have folders I use occasionally for outdoor and camping stuff, but as I am going on a few extended camping trips later this summer, I think it might be time to get a functional fixed blade, for basic outdoors tasks, camping and hiking. Why risk breaking a folder?

I don't need a shaving sharp knife, I have folders for fine work. I need something highly inexpensive, but that will last and not break. Full tang and easily resharpened. Lightweight but not at a loss to strength. It'd be great if it comes with a good enough belt sheath. Small (3.5-5" blade? Maybe more?) is fine, whatever has a long enough handle to be comfortable. Something more traditional looking would be cool.

As you guys know what you are talking about, you tell me what I want to buy. Sturdy, simple, rust resistant, lasting, useful, and number one, very inexpensive. I make minimum wage and have gas, ammo, and school to pay for. I'm not really looking for "just save up and buy *insert high end or custom knife*" I want your guys' opinion on what is cheap, but works, and won't break, and will shave wood, light batoning, cut sticks, prep food, random stuff. By inexpensive, I mean $10 to 20 if possible. Less is more.

Thanks in advance :)

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ColtPythonElite
June 26, 2013, 11:50 PM
Schrade Oldtimer Sharpfinger

OptimusPrime
June 26, 2013, 11:56 PM
Noah, you are right up my alley. I'm a huge cheapskate and I just had the same epiphany, I needed a fixed blade camp knife. Luckily for me I had a road trip through the great state of Tennessee and I was able to stop into the Smoky Mountain Knife Works and browse around and talk to everyone and hold the blades in my hand.
I walked out with a Rough Rider Fixed Blade Hunter, SMKW makes the brand in-house.
$10.43 I believe, and it has a lifetime warranty. Full tang, 440 steel, attractive wood handle, crappy sheath but what the heck.
I wanted those features and I wanted cheap, and I'm happy as can be.
Look them up on SMKW.com.
I see the price is now $12.99 but it's still a great deal. I literally spent 2 hours in that store and I must have held 40 different knives. I spend 2 hours on a $10 knife but I'll drop $700 on a present for my wife in an instant. I just realized something's wrong with me.....

http://www.smkw.com/webapp/eCommerce/products/Rough+Rider/Rough+Rider%26%23153%3B+Fixed+Blade+Hunter+with+Wood+Handle/RR176.html

Sam Cade
June 27, 2013, 12:04 AM
I want your guys' opinion on what is cheap, but works, and won't break, and will shave wood, light batoning, cut sticks, prep food, random stuff. By inexpensive, I mean $10 to 20 if possible. Less is more.



For your hard earned dollar there are several bang for buck fixed blade cutting tools that stand far above the rest.

1.Mora Utility Knife.

Ugly.Cheap. SHARP.

$9
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31sXlnONzQL._SX385_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Mora-Made-in-Sweden-511/dp/B004GAVOUU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372301756&sr=8-2&keywords=mora


2. Mora "Military". Nicer in every way.

$15
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wdi6VI9PL._SX385_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/New-Swedish-Mil-Mora-Knife/dp/B004TNWD40/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372302088&sr=8-1&keywords=mora



light batoning



Use an axe.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 27, 2013, 12:09 AM
I suggest you take a look at Mora knives (http://www.moraofsweden.se/home-1.0.115.2). Great, cheap all around utility knives. I got the Mora Clipper for $8 and the more traditional Mora #2 for $12. The Clipper doesn't have a full tang and while the tang on the #2 goes all the way through, it is thin. Those particular models are carbon steel and will rust and stain easily; but Mora makes some good Sandivik stainless blades as well.

I beat on those two knives all the time because I don't really care if I break an $8 knife. I batonned the clipper (partial tang and all) about 4" into a piece of seasoned hickory and got it stuck. After hammering it out, it was still in good shape.

Obviously there are better knives out there but at your budget I don't think you can beat a Mora for value.

Noah
June 27, 2013, 12:12 AM
You guys are good. :) Wondered how many posts it would be before someone suggested a Mora- definitely something I'm looking at. I'm afraid if I got one I'd want more. Is that normal?

The SMKW stuff looks good too. So does the Schrade...

blindhari
June 27, 2013, 12:13 AM
Go to Ragnars Forge, look at all the knives, pick out a Mora.
Problem solved


blindhari

OptimusPrime
June 27, 2013, 12:19 AM
For my $0.02, I don't like the feel of a Mora. I wanted something that felt like I could chop a little or abuse a little and pry with, while camping. The Moras all felt like a paring knife vs. a Chef's knife. The smaller blades felt like they were delicate to me.
Just my opinion. I also like brunettes over redheads so what do I know?

Bartholomew Roberts
June 27, 2013, 12:21 AM
The Moras will come shaving sharp though - no screwing around with safety shaving sharp. Fair warning. They are easy to sharpen. You can get stainless. Within your budget. Super lightweight. Only two weak areas are the sheath and the full tang requirement. The only Moras that are full tang are the wooden handled ones in carbon steel (and just a thin tang at that). Also some of the sheaths rely a lot on gravity for their retention.

Again though, I beat that Clipper like a rented mule and it has both a thin tang and a very short one compared to the sturdier Moras. No problems yet. I use it to pry, cut, etc. And it does feel like a cheap steak knife in your hand; but it is tough.

Sam Cade
June 27, 2013, 12:30 AM
I just took a wood chisel to a #2 Mora.

This is what she looks like under the skirt.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=185703&stc=1&d=1372303801

Moras are knives for cutting things not hacking through the undergrowth.

Victoratsea
June 27, 2013, 12:32 AM
try a cold steel pendleton lite hunter, nice drop point on sale at midwayusa for only $13.99 till june 30.

Valkman
June 27, 2013, 12:50 AM
I bought 2 Moras a while back at Amazon and I have to say they suprised me. As a former knifemaker I felt you had to spend some money to get quality but somehow you get a lot of quality for only a little bit of money.

I now recommend them all the time!

rcmodel
June 27, 2013, 01:19 AM
See what a real knife user uses:
I like small knifes for skinning and gutting, Old Timers are very good.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=8990573&postcount=112

There is certainly something to be said for relatively inexpensive knifes you can touch up on a flat rock if that's all you have.

That's why slaughter houses and meat cutters use relatively inexpensive, easy to sharpen, easily sanitized knifes.

rc

hso
June 27, 2013, 08:55 AM
We had a couple of threads in the past 2 years that specifically discussed the "best" knives in particular price bracket so you won't have any problem finding the answer to the question.

The moras were the most often cited as the best bang for the buck at the inexpensive end of the spectrum.

RC, Chip's knives are probably older American Schrades instead of the current company sporting their name. Good luck finding any original Schrade Sharpfingers at anything close to double the OP's price range.

Speedo66
June 27, 2013, 02:23 PM
I've had a Mora fishing knife for over 30 years, picked it up in Sweden for about 5 bucks at the time. The leather sheath has rotted away, but the knife, used in a salt water environment, has stayed solid and rust free. Stainless, but really holds an edge.

Unfortunately, I see it's now $51 on Ragnars. Photo here http://www.ragweedforge.com/54.jpg

Deltaboy
June 27, 2013, 04:07 PM
Mora' s all the way.

Yo Mama
June 27, 2013, 04:30 PM
I'll also advise a Mora. The only problem with it is the sheath is plastic, and a little cheesy.

In addition, depending on your price limit I love my Gerber Profile. Becker makes a fantastic blade for about 60ish bucks, choosing between a BK 15, 16, or 17.

Fred Fuller
June 27, 2013, 09:58 PM
One more vote for the Mora. I like the Military best also...

LemmyCaution
June 27, 2013, 10:53 PM
I'm a fan of the SOG Field Pup. It's slightly higher in price than your specified range, but is a much heavier blade than the quoted Mora knives. I've beaten on a couple of them over the years, and have lost them long before they've broken or worn out. If someone can show me how to make a sheath last longer than six months, I'm all ears.

19-3Ben
June 27, 2013, 11:27 PM
Just a thought, but with the upper limit of your budget being $20, you're only $12 away from a Becker BK11 (http://www.amazon.com/Ka-Bar-BK11-Becker-Necker-Knife/dp/B001N1CBB6) ($32 at Amazon with free Prime shipping), which is in a totally different league. That's a knife that can take the beating you're talking about.

ugaarguy
June 28, 2013, 09:19 AM
If you want corrosion resistance with little to no care you have to go to stainless steel. Within or anywhere close to your budget if you go to stainless steel you're going to have to pick between a softer heat treat for toughness, or a harder heat treat for edge retention. Your best bet is go to carbon steel like Becker mentioned above, or a Cold Steel Bushman for $23-$25 if you want a tough knife that will hold an edge. Thankfully both the Becker and the CS already have coated blades, so all you need to do is keep a very light coat of food grade mineral oil or food grade parafin wax on the exposed edge.

If you must go stainless I also like the Moras. The other knives that I actually like better than those are the Buck Bucklite Max large and small fixed blades, and the Buck Paklite Skinner / Paklite Skinner Large. Along with the cold rolled Sandvik 12C27 used by Morakniv, Buck's Paul Bos heat treated 420HC is the best edge holding stainless steels in your budget that still have decent toughness. They're not carbon steel tough, but they're the best options I've seen without getting into very expensive super steels. The Buck knives mentioned above will get you into somewhat thicker blades than the Moras.

hso
June 28, 2013, 09:48 AM
Do you own a grinder of any sort?

Noah
June 28, 2013, 11:41 AM
Yes, I have a full workshop at my grandfather's next door.

Elkins45
June 28, 2013, 02:29 PM
Mora. The plural is Mora Mora because you will want more. Let me see if I can find that radiograph showing the tangs of the various models.

Sam Cade
June 28, 2013, 02:30 PM
Let me see if I can find that radiograph showing the tangs of the various models.

Ninja speed!

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/fbbuploads/med_1216241748-mora_xray.jpg

Elkins45
June 28, 2013, 02:35 PM
Ninja speed indeed!

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/6972/moraxrayfrostswtextsq4.jpg

Sam Cade
June 28, 2013, 02:47 PM
Something more traditional looking would be cool.


If the OP is willing to lose the "won't rust" criteria any number of Old Hickory knives will do and be well within budget.

jr_watkins
June 28, 2013, 02:54 PM
I recently picked up a sub $20 knife at Academy (our local sports store), the 'Remington Sportsman™ Advantage® Max-4 HD™ F.A.S.T.® Fixed Knife' and I'm happy with it. A mass produced knife, but it handles well for a knife of this size. Mine was all black, but the link below shows the same knife in camo.


http://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_10051_94455_-1

hso
June 28, 2013, 11:40 PM
Purchase a smaller Tramontina and shape it to your liking.

JN01
July 1, 2013, 05:50 PM
For a couple dollars over 20, A.G Russell Woodswalker: http://www.agrussell.com/ag-russell-woodswalker-in-leather-hip-pocket-sheath/p/AGPRS/

TimboKhan
July 2, 2013, 10:36 AM
I throw my vote in for the Mora. I have a military that is used and abused, and I have been nothing but impressed with it. Plus, it's pretty easy to get that thing freaky sharp. Honestly, and I mean no offense, but the Mora is much better knife than the SMKW kinfe that was mentioned. Much better. Cody Lundin carries a Mora regularly and the fact is that he used and recommended those knives long before his TV fame came about.

Hunter125
July 2, 2013, 11:15 AM
I have been very impressed with Marttiini knives. I bought one, then bought a couple more for myself and a few as gifts. Then I found out my dad's fillet knife that I learned on was a Marttiini. Good quality, pretty inexpensive, anf they have some very traditional looking models.
Their page on Smoky Mountain -
http://www.knifeworks.com/marttiiniknives.aspx

Torian
July 2, 2013, 11:20 AM
For me, a good value for a fixed blade is under 100.00 - I've been using ESEE knives ever since I discovered them a few years ago.

http://www.eseeknives.com/

Solidly built.

22-rimfire
July 2, 2013, 01:19 PM
My initial thought was a Kabar BK-16, but they sell for around $70. My second suggestion is a Condor Kephart which includes a great leather sheath for about $30. It is a great little knife for the money. Take a look at the other Condor products as well to see if something appeals to you.

Another knife that I consider quite reasonably priced but the knife is good quality is the SOG Field Pup. Have not priced them in a while, but I bought them for under $30 on fleabay in the past.

Every one always suggests Moras. My Mora cost me about $30. Thin blade and not real tough but a good cutter.

At the $20 price point, I have no good recommendations as I simply won't recommend junk.

VegasAR15
July 2, 2013, 01:35 PM
Another vote for Mora. A bunch to choose from on Amazon starting at 8.99, most with free shipping.

DNS
July 2, 2013, 04:25 PM
$10 to $20 range....

Winchester brand has a lot of full tang fixed blades in 440A which meets a lot of your criteria. Won't rust, cheap, and batonable. They need sharpened more often since 440A is a little softer and in the 55-57 hardness range. I usually see several at the pawn shops.

Batoning with anything less than a full tang is dangerous.

Dirty Bob
July 2, 2013, 09:18 PM
For utility and general use: buy a Mora.

I also like to have a larger "chopper." The least expensive way to get one is a good machete. I like Tramontina, although I'm about to test-drive a Cold Steel Heavy machete.

All my best,
Dirty Bob

Sam Cade
July 2, 2013, 09:56 PM
I like Tramontina, although I'm about to test-drive a Cold Steel Heavy machete.


I'd go Imacasa before a Tram anyday. Much better tools.

Cold Steel/Lasher Tools would be a distant 5th:

How I rank them:

1.Imacasa
2.OKC
3.Hansa
4.Tramontina
5.Cold Steel/Lasher



The Cold Steel "Heavy Machete"/Lasher Tools sugar cane knife in particular is a real dog.

For scale, L-R:

22" Chinese-Seymor Latin pattern
24" Hansa Yegua Tres Canales, work in progress
17" Imacasa bladed prototype
Lasher Tools sugar cane knife
Imacasa 975D14 Burriquito
Imacasa 335 bolo.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=185910&stc=1&d=1372812522

Dirty Bob
July 3, 2013, 09:00 AM
Gee, Sam, I wish I'd asked you first!

I have a few older Tramontinas and have been very happy with them. I might just follow up with an Imacasa (2-handed) Brazilian sugar cane knife to compare to the CS. I really like the Imacasa's blade shape. I've learned that the hook of a cane knife is very useful for grabbing branches.

I'm planning to perhaps shorten the CS' blade a bit and add a hook, if the machete seems to be worth the trouble. I'm looking for something that can be used for removing branches from tree limbs after they're off the tree.

Back on the topic: what's the general opinion of Condor blades? Their carbon steel Nessmuk or Bushcraft look like they might satisfy the OP's needs, although they're about $10 out of his $20 price range. Their stainless stuff seems rather expensive, OTOH.

The machete in general is worth consideration for someone needing an inexpensive "big knife". I've been surprised by how generally useful a small-to-medium machete is as a tool.

Regards,
Dirty Bob

Sam Cade
July 3, 2013, 11:30 AM
Back on the topic: what's the general opinion of Condor blades?


Condor is Imacasa's "premium" brand.

For the most part they are quality tools but seem to be plagued by occasional QC issues.

Buying one sight unseen is a bit of a gamble.

Imacasa also makes the "Marbles" machetes.




The machete in general is worth consideration for someone needing an inexpensive "big knife". I've been surprised by how generally useful a small-to-medium machete is as a tool.


Agreed 100%.



I'm looking for something that can be used for removing branches from tree limbs after they're off the tree.


For me, when doing light snedding, it is generally easier and faster to skate the flat of the blade along the trunk/branch and just pop off the branch rather than bother with a hook.

Dirty Bob
July 3, 2013, 08:24 PM
For me, when doing light snedding, it is generally easier and faster to skate the flat of the blade along the trunk/branch and just pop off the branch rather than bother with a hook.

Agreed. I find the hook useful for pulling branches toward me or for grabbing stuff off the ground, or for reaching branches just out of my reach to draw them down and cut them. I also love the look of a hook on the back of the blade, sort of like the Orc swords in Lord of the Rings. :D

Thank you for the info!
Dirty Bob

(who is placing an order for an Imacasa Brazilian cane knife)

Sam Cade
July 3, 2013, 09:16 PM
(who is placing an order for an Imacasa Brazilian cane knife)

Another option, more machete and less cane knife but still has the hook:
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-129988217023674_2266_3962523


http://www.baryonyxknife.com/im22catagrop.html


The cat that owns that site does visual inspection on every order and offers a sharpening service as well.

No affiliation but seems like a solid dude.

Dirty Bob
July 3, 2013, 10:19 PM
Rolled the dice and went with the two-hand cane knife from Machetespecialists. I really like the blade shape of the Brazilian Cane Knife. Although my machetes are "users," it's always great to use a tool that gives some aesthetic pleasure. One of my other faves is a pair of old 13" bolo Tramontinas. I made a sheath of trash can plastic, and one of them is always close by when I'm working in the yard.

I do my mother-in-law's yards every two weeks, and it's comforting to have a machete sitting inconspicuously over by my water bottle.
EDITED TO ADD: I'm not saying that I fear seeing my MIL come racing out of the house like Grendel. I was extremely lucky with my in-laws. What I meant to say was that even when you try to avoid trouble, sometimes trouble comes to find you, and although I prefer a pistol, that machete is both a useful tool and a great backup weapon. She lives in a very good neighborhood, but goblins have figured out how to drive cars.

Machetes are among my favorite inexpensive knives, along with Moras and "Rapala" (Marttiini of Finland) filet knives. Walmart sells the 4-inch Rapala, BTW, for just $14. It's a very practical little pocket or belt knife. The thin, narrow stainless blade is much more useful than many folks might expect, and it weighs just a few ounces. I carry a Buck Caper that's similar in size in my lunch bag every day. It has cut plenty of fruit, veggies, and meat over the years, with a price of $20. What's not to like?

Any of the above could serve the OP's purpose of an inexpensive -- yet useful -- fixed blade. Thank you Sam Cade! You seem to know a lot about machetes. Who, BTW, is the company Lasher? Are they Chinese?

Respectfully,
Dirty Bob

Sam Cade
July 3, 2013, 10:49 PM
Thank you Sam Cade! You seem to know a lot about machetes.


I like to cut stuff and machetes are the tool that facilitates the most cutting.

:D




Who, BTW, is the company Lasher? Are they Chinese?


South African believe it or not.
http://www.lasher.co.za/show_products.php?make=Knives&category=Agricultural

22-rimfire
July 4, 2013, 10:27 AM
42Blades (his BF handle)/baronyx is a solid retailer and inspects everything that goes out of his shop. He also does some improvements which are generally worth the price.

Dirty Bob
July 4, 2013, 10:56 AM
That's awesome to know! I have recommended Ragnar at Ragweed Forge many times, and when I go to purchase a Condor Hudson Bay knife, I know who to call. I see that he picks through and finds the "B-grade" knives, and sells them at a discount, and that he's also a source for Douk-douk knives. Cool!

Thank ya'll so much (even though I'm not the OP, I learned a lot from this thread)
Dirty Bob

Sam Cade
July 4, 2013, 01:19 PM
One thing you can say about Imacasa/Condor is that they actually know how to properly pin wooden scales.


http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=185974&stc=1&d=1372954704


:cool:

Deltaboy
July 4, 2013, 07:14 PM
Tramontinas at least the one I got back in the 1980s been great and worked hard on the Farm and in Constuction work.

SAM you keep finding great looking blades.

Elm Creek Smith
July 5, 2013, 07:49 PM
Sam Cade-

I really like the Imacasa 335 bolo in your picture. Do they come with sheaths? Price? Where could I get one?

ECS

Sam Cade
July 5, 2013, 08:22 PM
I really like the Imacasa 335 bolo in your picture. Do they come with sheaths? Price? Where could I get one?

ECS

You have options as that Model has several minor variants.


The Imacasa 335 is the base model. I like them very much and it is probably my most commonly gifted bladed implement. The distal taper on these makes then fantastic snap cutters.


The "Marbles bolo" is the same critter with a coat of orange paint and canales only on the left side. Some have identical handle scales to the 335, some have a lanyard tube and are painted. Strangely, all the tangs have holes punched for either option. Edge out of the box will be better than the 335 but that is of negligible benefit.


Baryonyx or Machete specialists should have either in stock.

The Marbles and 335 should be under $20 most places. There is a Marbles branded canvas sheath that will fit either.
http://www.amazon.com/Marbles-Bolo-Camp-Knife-Sheath/dp/B00AQ67H7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373065200&sr=8-1&keywords=marbles+bolo+sheath

Machete Specialists also offer the 335 with canvas sheath for $17.


Handle scales with be very proud of the tang and require quite a bit of rasping to get close enough to sand flush. The grip is quite svelte on these once the scales are properly fitted. Very knife like.

I usually knock off the rear edge on these and give them a more pointed profile.

This one was the subject of some experimentation yesterday:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=186010&stc=1&d=1373066425

JShirley
July 5, 2013, 10:24 PM
Sam,

I like how prominent you've made the guard on this one.

Sam Cade
July 5, 2013, 10:50 PM
Sam,

I like how prominent you've made the guard on this one.

I had you in mind. :D

Also, 335s have pretty thin scales anyway, just under 1" inclusive.
This one is a bit thinner, ok for light work but I think it would be a hand-burner if you had to use it hard for an extended length of time. Makes it feel very snappy though.

Most of the poly handed Imacasas hover around the 1.25" mark (just measured a model 808) and are very round.


Since this one is ground to the tang it was easier to keep the billet a manageable size and still have enough meat left over to have a guard.

The process is always evolving y'know.:cool:

JShirley
July 6, 2013, 10:51 AM
Are you saying the handle on this one is too thin?

Sam Cade
July 6, 2013, 12:47 PM
Are you saying the handle on this one is too thin?

I'd say it is borderline for a hard use (swinging it for hours on end) chopper/slasher.

My 7 year old was wearing it this morning while he was eating his breakfast and says that:

"This meets my requirements."


I reckon it is his now. :cool:

Deltaboy
July 6, 2013, 09:20 PM
That is very cute. He will be chopping up stuff soon just like Dad .

Sam Cade
July 6, 2013, 10:53 PM
He will be chopping up stuff soon just like Dad .

Soon?

Shoot, I work him like a hebrew slave. :D


If you give him one of the "Sandvik" type brush axes you don't even have to supervise. Just point point him in the right direction and turn him loose. :evil:

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/Images/Original/1763_33045_p2.jpg

Dirty Bob
July 7, 2013, 12:51 AM
Alright, I'm burning with curiosity. What is that tool? An axe with a replaceable blade?

Dirty Bob
(who used to live in the Menonite area of Tennessee)

Sam Cade
July 7, 2013, 01:09 AM
Alright, I'm burning with curiosity. What is that tool? An axe with a replaceable blade?


Its a swedish "safety" brush axe. Usually made by Sandvik. The northernmost yankees (Canadians I think they call themselves) are wont to call the entire type "Sandviks".

Not my favorite tool very limited in its capabilities, but good for kids and noobs since it is nearly impossible to injure yourself with one.

They do excel at whacking down woody growths smaller than thumb size. Perfect for rosebushes.



http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=1763

http://www.baselineequipment.com/home/bec/page_454

Dirty Bob
July 7, 2013, 02:35 AM
Very cool tool! Down here near the border, we're pretty familiar with machetes, but I've never seen a safety axe for sale anywhere. I could see how a safety axe could be a great "starter" tool. Regular axes and machetes are very unforgiving of a mistake.

All my best,
Dirty Bob

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