Web Blast Extra: Gotta-Have Knives

As If You Needed Any Excuses!

By John Connor

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In the paper issue, we showed you Benchmade’s sleek, stylish 470 Emissary. For your not-so-stylish, more rough-side-out moments, check out their equally-new multi-function 915 Triage. It has the same smooth, proven AXIS action, which on this puppy operates a 3.5″ sheepsfoot blade of N680 highly corrosion resistant steel equipped with dual thumb studs. A folding, hooked cord and fabric cutter and a carbide glass breaker adorn the back end. Textured G10 handle scales are available in black or safety orange, and bolstered by full 420J stainless steel liners. The Triage has a deep pocket clip for tip-up carry, or, you can select an optional carry pouch in coyote brown or black.

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Here’s another look at the Grayman Satu, and a peek at the pocket clip side. On top of that low-sheen titanium framelocking slab is, yep; a bead-blasted titanium pocket clip too! So don’t worry about that clip “working brittle” with fatigue. In fact, using this brute for just about any cutting chore, the only “fatigue” you have to worry about is your own. Just to repeat, that blade is 4″ long and 1.5″ from spine to edge and she weighs about ten ounces. It’s kinda like looking at a nuclear-powered battle cruiser and saying “Ain’t she pretty?” `cause with all that ordnance, she’s still fast and smooth.

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On the left is the Broadhead Titanium collaboration between Dirk Pinkerton and Darrel Ralph we showed you in print, and at right, the smaller, shorter original Braodhead which inspired it. For not a lot more length, you get considerably more grip, and in this Hand-Tech Made version, the qualities of solid titanium — at a bargain price!

The cutting edges are 1.7″ , and the knife has an overall length of 4.6″. The ergonomics make it a surprisingly controllable and very, very agile little “ace in the hole.”

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Revisiting the CQT Thunder Hawke from Tops Knives, here are both sides, above. This knife is very much like the one I carry on my strong side every day, and for the same reasons: beyond just being a strong, heavy-duty titanium framelock cutter, it’s purpose-built for ease in cleaning and flushing debris, fouling and crap outta the open-frame design under, let’s say diplomatically, “harsh circumstances.” Of course that feature is handy too when you’re just cleaning URK — Unidentified Road Kibble — from your treads.

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And here’s another winner from TOPS: The MPK-01 Mini Pry Knife. The guys at TOPS laughingly call this one “Leverage 101,” because it will teach users the true value of a knife/prybar hybrid. A tad over eight inches long, with a 3/8 inch thick, 3.5 long blade of 5160 spring steel, its daddy is a SWAT team-tool, but this one’s sized for close personal carry. That thick steel billet is, of course, full-length, and the pistol-grip contoured micarta handle scales are plenty tough enough for any task. The Mini Pry comes with a durable nylon sheath. This is clearly another “Gotta-Have” kinda knife!

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From any angle, the Blackbird SK-5 by Ontario Knife Company looks deceptively like many plain-Jane generic outdoor knives. But, as I said in the print piece, every aspect of it was the result of thorough research and testing by its designer, Paul Scheiter. You really owe it to yourselves to go to his web site, www.hedgehogleatherworks.com and find out who he is, what he does, and the wealth of practical wilderness survival knowledge he has amassed in his young life.

See his video on the features and development of the SK-5, and check out his informative and entertaining outdoor skills tips on subjects ranging from basic square lashing techniques through making waterproof tinder to construction of a deadfall trap or a debris hut. Another tip: Paul began with making specialized leather sheaths for other makers’ field knives. The SK-5 comes with a nice nylon sheath, but Paul has now designed and offers a terrific Hedgehog Leather Works after-market sheath for it — and there’s another video on why it’s so cool and why you need it!

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We showed you Wilson Tactical’s Extreme Lite Carry folder in print, one of its “light” points being its low price. If you’ve got a bit more room in the budget, take a look at this collaboration between Ryan Wilson and Chris Reeve — the Star-Tac Titanium Framelock — and grab one of these limited-issue beauties before they’re out of production. Their goal was to design the toughest possible tactical folder, and Ryan and Chris did a great job of it. The Wilson Starburst grip pattern is both striking and effective, and the 3.6″ CPM S30V blade gives you the reach and strength to handle anything. The fit and finish is first-class all the way.

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I’ve shown you Dwaine Carrillo’s (Aircatknives) fantastic handmade Trip Wire and Tunnel Ratt folders before, but had to show you this beautiful variant of the Tunnel Ratt he did recently in Padauk wood and ivory. Stunning, ain’t she? Padauk is a super tough, richly colored reddish African hardwood which for centuries was used to produce chalices, bowls, scepters and other ornaments and tools for African and Arab royalty. Back in the 10th century BC, King Solomon used Padauk for the pillars of his temple. Thousands of years later, the French kings Louis XV and Louis XVI prized personal items made from Padauk. The fact that so many Padauk artifacts in daily use for generations have survived and still look terrific says volumes about the qualities of this wood, and the ivory really sets it off.

The frame is his titanium X-frame, and it’s just about bulletproof. The blade on this one is CPM154, and the workmanship? Superb in every respect. Check out Dwaine’s work and you might just find another knife you gotta have.

There’s lots more, but I gotta stop somewhere. When it comes to choices in Gotta-Have knives, are we lucky or what? Good hunting! Connor OUT.

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