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Good all-around fixed blade for Alaska

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by SKILCZ, Jan 20, 2011.

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  1. SKILCZ

    SKILCZ Member

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    Good all-around fixed blade?

    I have folders, but I'm looking for a utilitarian, tough fixed blade that can handle camping/hiking/etc. in Alaska and other remote areas. I'd like something that's also strong enough that if (God forbid) I had to use it as a last ditch animal defense it would hold up to the task. Don't need a 12" Rambo knife.

    I don't know much about the various pros/cons of the various steels. Any suggestions would help.

    I'm considering a Becker BK2. Thoughts? Alternate suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  2. GURU1911

    GURU1911 Member

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    Fixed blade for alaska

    Personal recommendation: A cold steel "master hunter" on your belt & a cold steel 18" "kukri machete" for utility use around the campsite. Check out their fixed blades at cold steel special projects.
     
  3. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    If it's just for a last ditch weapon to fend off an animal, I'd sharpen a large stick to a nice point. Really that's what would keep distance between you and the animal, and have the best ability to cause damage quickly.

    Now, for camp tasks, and if you're in Alaska, maybe these guys?:

    http://www.knivesofalaska.com/
     
  4. deacon8

    deacon8 Member

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    Personally, I am a big fan of good, custom knives. However, I have a fixed blade Buck that I like to carry around while doing things like camping. Also, I'll carry it around with me if I'm outdoors, but not hunting (not using it for skinning, gutting, etc). Buck knives seem to have a great combination of strength and good steel, which is important to getting a knife sharp and keeping it sharp. They are built very solid. However, the price is good enough that I don't worry about a small amount of damage. A $300 custom knife is something I don't want to "knick" on a rock.

    And in regards to a previous poster--I am not a big fan of Cold Steel. They are "OK." They are pretty strong, but let's face it--they are kind of "clunky." They just aren't great quality knives. They would probably be alright for camping purposes though.
     
  5. Glock Doctor

    Glock Doctor Member

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  6. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    North Latitudes

    For folks up in the north latitudes, like between 60 and 64 degrees north, there are other folks up in the north latitudes that make knives suitable for use . . . up in the north latitudes.

    My personally preferred catalog is here: Ragnar's Forge.

    Among the very serviceable pieces to be found there, a sampling includes (from their Mora Swedish page)

    The Bushcraft Forest ($34.50)
    [​IMG]

    which is a variation on the Mora 2000 ($30)
    [​IMG]


    The TriFlex Bushcraft ($20.00)
    [​IMG]

    Their #345 hunting knife ($120)
    [​IMG]

    Also the Lapp-90 ($125.00)
    [​IMG]

    For bigger stuff, the C-223 ($35)
    [​IMG]



    Also take the time to visit the EKA catalog page.

    EKA makes a fine hunter, the W11 ($109)
    [​IMG]

    Also the H8 ($99)
    [​IMG]

    Or the A-10 ($85)
    [​IMG]


    I would be happy to have any of these with me out in the north woods. In fact, I do have a version of the #345 as well as multiples of the Mora 2000 and others on that page.

    I don't have the H8, but I do have the folding version, the Nordic T8.


    Oh, and as long as we're up around 60 degrees north, why don't we pop over to Finland and have a look what the Laplanders use?

    I have this set, but in stainless (I see they've gone up in price: $129)
    [​IMG]

    There are some nice pieces to be found there.

    (And I have a soft spot for Finnish cutlery.)


    Hopefully these suggestions have given you some food for thought.

    If you just "have to" spend a few more dollars to feel good about the knife, you can always look at the Norwegian offerings.

    (I only own one Norwegian knife, but when I can afford it I will have more.)

    The Scandinavians have had generations of hunting and skinning caribou and the other denizens of the north, under conditions that could be considered not entirely unlike those found in Alaska.

    It seems to me their work deserves consideration.

    Enjoy!

     
  7. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    In 25 years of extensive hunting all over Alaska, here's the three knives i used most,

    [​IMG]

    MOST of the time i used the bottom two, carrying the short knife, and useing the longer one for camp duties. I did sometimes carry the longer one when hunting moose, but they BOTH always went to camp with me. Those old Gerbers sure are good knives, holding an edge VERY good.

    Carry a stone in your pack too, just to keep the blade touched up...

    DM
     
  8. pappy19

    pappy19 Member

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    For an Alaska adventure I'd definately go with a Randall Model #19 Bushmaster with stainless blade, compass and wrist thong. The handle material is up to you but I like stag with finger grips. The Randall Model #23 is also a great choice as is their Model #3. Here is a picture of my #19.
     

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  9. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    I lived in bush Alaska during most of the 1980's. I said BUSH Alaska. I didn't say anything about being in town. Plus being back and forth up there several times. My son and his wife and their new borned daughter live way back in there now....Sir, I don't mean any disrespect here, please understand that from jump street here, but the question you asked and some of the answers you got are just plain absolutely stupid sounding. A knife back in there is no damn different than a knife on the outside. (lower 48)..A good CaseXX, Kabar, Hen and Rooster, Buck, and a thousand more out there will do you just fine. A good Leatherman on your belt will come in mighty handy now and then. Just make sure you carry more than one knife with you at all times and have a good way to sharpen it. You better make sure you have plenty of good fire starting equipment and that you are armed good. If you get crossways with one of those big grizzlies like I have before, I can guarantee you that won't be raindrops running down your leg....
     
  10. Vermonter

    Vermonter Member

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  11. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    If you check out my Ontario thread in the SHOT 2011 forum, the Blackbird SK-5 looks to be a terrific all-around outdoors knife. If you can't spend nearly $200, Condor has some very useful knives for considerably less. Just be prepared to sharpen them more frequently. :)

    ESEE knives are indeed terrific.


    John
     
  12. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I'll have to ask my brother about that since he lives up there (and he and his family have lived a subsistence life style for many years...). Since his idea of a rifle is a 375 H&H I can only imagine what he'll say. Should be interesting.
     
  13. zignal_zero

    zignal_zero Member

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    what he said!

    i was raised in AK. i didn't carry an ESEE, back then (there was no such thing in those days) but i don't remember anything about the place that would make me want something other than my ESEE. well.... that and a LARGE caliber firearm. those Griz get serious, sometimes :(
     
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I really like the Finnish style puukkos. They have nice big stocks for easy manipulation with gloves and small, razor sharp blades great for skinning and other chores. No guard though so you have to be disciplined about not letting your hand slip over the blade.

    Based on my experience with most things around here, don't spend too much money. In fact my main working knifes for this state have been dirt-cheap Opinels. They'll take a very good edge but if you lose one over the side of the deck or in the underbrush, it's no great loss. Everything seems to break here or get dinged up.

    Also, fwiw, my little Gransfors-bruks camp axe is in some ways more useful than a knife.

    Forget about having one for bear defense. A brown bear has ten 4" knives attached to arms that can bench press a tree. That's not even counting the teeth. There was only one guy who managed to get the better of a sow with a knife. And he properly credits divine intervention on that one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  15. TX expat

    TX expat Member

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    Another +1 for ESEE knives.
     
  16. SKILCZ

    SKILCZ Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. No, I'm not planning on attacking animals with a knife. Mainly for an all-around tool capable of chopping, etc. more than a small, really sharp folder I have for more fine work, but not so large as a hatchet or machete so that I don't mind carrying it around all day.

    The ESEE site says their knives will rust. Does all 1095 steel rust? Can anyone point out the differences in some of the common steels? A friend bought a 440A USMC-type Ka-Bar. How does that compare to the BK2 or ESEE knives (other than being larger/longer)?

    I'm gonna look into those Moras, too, though they seem smaller and more like a great folder I have that already fills tasks for a smaller knife.
     
  17. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    A real genuine USMC Kabar and a real genuine USMC CaseXX is made out of 1095 high carbon steel and with halfway reasonable care will last longer than you will. A lot longer...Lot's of good knives out there man, made by lot's of good people... Like one of the other people came close to saying to you, try and make sure you pack a good axe along with you also. If my canoe ever turned over you can bet I'm grabbing that axe before I try and grab a rifle or anything else. Why? Because I want to stay alive....PS--The USMC Kabar and CaseXX (and several other models) have blackened blades that will resist rust and corrosion to a degree. Anyway, don't you think you could spare 3 minutes a day to wipe down a couple of knives?....
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  18. TX expat

    TX expat Member

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    Yes, all 1095 steel will rust, but it's excellent for knives because it is very durable and it's easy to sharpen; both of those are very important in a 'survival' type of knife because you can do just about anything to it and get it reconditioned easily. Also, it doesn't take much in the way of care to keep it from rusting, so it really shouldn't be an issue.
     
  19. fundercj

    fundercj Member

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    Though I don't have personal experience with this knife, I've heard nothing but good things from around the internet regarding it's suitability as a bush knife.

    Fallkniven F1

    http://www.fallkniven.com/en/shop/details/370/24/fixed-blades/survival-knives/f1

    I've been researching this knife for awhile now, and am close to purchasing it. The only downside I see to it is that the sharpening methods may be a bit more "advanced" than other carbon-steel blade knives. It's also a bit more pricey than what it sounds like you're looking for. But hey, something to keep in mind. :)
     
  20. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Member

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    I grew up in Alaska. Which part are you planning on camping in? A knife that makes sense where I lived (in the SE) might make no sense in the central area, or way up north. The climates & needs are completely different. If you go to the SE, you will be spending a lot of time in a boat or on the beach, and it will rain most of the time. For there, I'd say marine-grade steel with a rubber grip makes the most sense. I'd look for a blade long enough to clean fish but not so long it's awkward to skin a deer with.

    I've never used a knife to chop wood with. I'm a wood carver; that's what saws are for. A lightweight knife on the belt and either a wire saw or folding saw in the pack, and you're good. I find that wire saws are slower but they're so cheap & light that there's no excuse to not take one or two.
     
  21. zignal_zero

    zignal_zero Member

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    yes, 1095 will rust due to it's low chromium content. this is also what makes it tougher and less likely to crack or chip. you never get sumthin for nuthin. the good news is - ESEE's coating is superb. it does NOT come off easy and it protects every portion of the knife with the exception of the cutting edge and laser engraving both of which just need a wipe of oil every now and then. your edge will discolor, from time to time, but resharpening the knife will repolish the edge. don't let rust factor push you away from ESEE, unless you plan on removing the coating and giving the blade a satin finish which would be seriously cool on an ESEE 6 clip point with some custom black micarta scales :D but that's a different subject all together.
     
  22. SKILCZ

    SKILCZ Member

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    Great advice, all. Thanks for the tips. I'm looking at getting a 1095 steel blade now that I'm more informed. I wish I could handle an ESEE 5 or BK2 but can't find one locally.
     
  23. RonDeer10mm

    RonDeer10mm Member

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    I just bought a nice BLACK KA-BAR FIGHTER its my first knife. I like it looks like a :D "Rambo Knife" I haven't "field tested" it but it doesn't look like it will ever disappoint.:rolleyes:
     
  24. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    What kind of length did you have in mind?

    I know that in my own hands, anything over six inches is a bit awkward. I have medium (well, medium-small) hands.

    For general tasks, I prefer something in the four-inch range, with five inches at the upper end. For in-close work, I find three to four inches about right.


    Early in my search for what works well in my hands, I picked up a number of larger blades (bowies, combat knives, things with seven, eight, nine inch blades). I found them nearly unusable for routine work and especially for in-close work.

    After I put aside the idea that I could just grab a butcher knife sized blade and "git 'er done" across the full range of knife tasks, it didn't take too long to to figure out what seasoned knife users had known for ages, and I found that right around four inches works well across a decent spectrum of applications. At least in my hands.


    So, forgive my curiosity, but I'm wondering what blade length works well for you?

     
  25. SKILCZ

    SKILCZ Member

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    I was thinking of maybe a 5" for all around heavier tasks, though I'd consider a 4". I have 2 1/4" to 3 1/2" folders that work well for smaller tasks. I'm certainly a fixed blade novice, but I wasn't under the impression that I'd use a 12" Rambo knife to be tacticool.

    Trouble is, I don't know of any knife shops in my area who carry any of the above to see what feels good or wieldly. I do know one that carries the USMC-type 7" Ka-Bar, which looks really cool and seems to be the 1911 of knives, but is probably a bit large, as you were mentioning.
     
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