School me on the BK4

Discussion in 'Becker Knife & Tool' started by pettimore, May 11, 2018.

  1. pettimore


    Sep 25, 2007

    I found the apparently discontinued BK4 at a local store for $100. I have a BK7 and BK9 currently. School me on the BK4 or why I need one.

    Any thoughts on the BK4 vs. the BK21?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. austexjg


    Oct 22, 2014
    Just get it - after a few swings, you will understand why. The BK21 is a lot bigger and tears through wood even better than the BK4. The BK4 impresses me every time I use it - very versatile.
    viking313 and Xr6x like this.
  3. Jonny1280

    Jonny1280 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    It’s the best wood’s tool in the entire lineup. While it may not excell in one certain area, it is more than capable in most. It covers a lot of bases.
    viking313, Mack, NJBillK and 3 others like this.
  4. Don W

    Don W Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    The BK4 is a very useful wood processing tool. Light in hand for me makes for accurate blows and ease of use.
    The BK 21 was too heavy for me for extended use.
    viking313 likes this.
  5. knifejunkie1928


    Feb 15, 2015
    As said above the bk4 is very multi-functional. I think it chops just as well as the bk9 it just takes proper technique and lots of practice. The kukri like bend in the blade adds a ton of power. The bk4 makes fine work much easier and the recurve makes for one hell of a draw knife. For $100, you could probably get your money back if you didn't like it.
    viking313, LG&M and Xr6x like this.
  6. BluesStringer


    May 16, 2006
    I have both the BK4 and BK21. Both of 'em are sharp. Both of 'em cut stuff. Both of 'em have curved and/or recurved blades. Both of 'em have a sweet-spot at the apex (or thereabouts) of their respective curvature for chopping. Both of their sweet-spots become readily apparent after just a few swings. Both of 'em are useful for draw cuts, notching and even feather-sticks if'n ya gots a steady hand. Both of 'em come stock with less than desirable sheaths, but both of 'em have lots of custom and after-market sheaths to choose from. The 21 is bigger and heavier, making it more useful for chopping larger limbs, but that's not to suggest that the 4 is useless for the same task.

    Most of my bushy-crafty kinds of tasks are done around the ranch anymore. I'm old and don't have any friends interested in camping anymore, and don't trust myself to go out alone, not because I don't trust my skills, but because I don't trust my heart or other vital bodily functions to get me there and back by myself. What I do with my knives on my acreage in Southeastern-most Alabama is de-limb undergrowth up to just above head-level that's too thick to walk comfortably through. Sometimes I have to fell a tree and I'll use a chopper to de-limb them too before I cut the trunk(s) down to burnin' size and I haul it to some friends' MC clubhouse for their monthly bonfire and open house. I have all of my large knives hangin' on my workbench in the garage. I guess there's like six or seven out there that I grab every so often, but the BK4 and BK21 are always in the rotation. Both are sportin' 710 sheaths. I also have a BK2 and BK9, a Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri, an ESEE Junglas and a Kershaw Camp 14. The BK2 is questionable as a chopper, but I do grab it once in awhile.

    I guess if you have to choose, the only significant difference between the 21 and 4 is weight, but as I sit here now, I'm not sure the difference is all that "significant." If you're watching every ounce of your gear, then the BK4 is probably a little lighter. If not, then the BK21 might be your choice. If you're anything like most Beckerheads, you won't be happy with only one no matter which one you buy first. Get 'em both and then come back and tell us which one you think is better. I guess if I were forced through torture to pick what I think is the "best" one between the two, I'd say the BK21, but I don't claim that's an objective analysis. Your own subjective preferences come into play just as much as mine, so subject your preferences to some shoppin' and surfin' YouTube for reviews and let us know what you came up with.

  7. GeofS

    GeofS “Nostra-bladus” Platinum Member

    Mar 9, 2018
    I hate the yucca plants growing around my house. The BK4 destroys them!

    viking313 and Xr6x like this.
  8. The Warrior

    The Warrior Insane Viking Moderator

    Mar 11, 2011
    Blues! Welcome back brudda. I see you're still a windy bastid. :D
    nannybear likes this.
  9. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    From my understanding from the video Ethan has on kukri's, the BK21 has a lot bigger sweet spot than the BK4 and not just because it's a bigger tool. I think the simplest way to explain the difference is the Bk21 is a kukri and the BK4 is still a knife, but with kukri or bolo influences. The BK4 is light, very light, for what it can do. I don't have direct experience with a BK21... yet.

    When I first started using it I was underwhelmed on how it did on chopping dry deadfall wood but as I started using it for more task I started figuring out that it's specialty is being decent at a lot of things while not being great at many. Probably the closest "one knife for everything" I've seen for anything wood related and certainly capable of many other things where a slicey belly isn't needed. It's a fantastic draw knife and area around the handle does quite well at carving things like notches and feather sticks and the recurve makes it good at cutting rope of many kinds. It slays vines and does fairly well as a bolo machete if you don't need a ton of reach. Very impressed with it for batoning smaller logs even though I still prefer my full on kukri or busse ratweiler with much thicker blades stock, and associated weights, if I know I'm going to be doing a lot of bigger woods cleanup.

    If you're going to the woods and not sure what you'll encounter in terms of wood processing challenges, BK4 is a great knife to have. Light enough that it's not bad for long hauls either, certainly a lot lighter than a hatchet or even many other big knives.

    Pic from when I bought one earlier this year. It has a lot less black coating on it from use. Made a nice spring cleanup tool with the amount of downed trees we had with the late season ice storms in MI.

    Redneck lumber camp
  10. bearfacedkiller


    Jan 23, 2014
    I have both the 4 and the 21. Both are great knives and the 21 is definitely a better chopper and likely a better weapon if that matters. For me I think I prefer the 4 just due to size and weight. I find the 4 easier to carry and less tiring to use. I have the BK20, BK21 and Parangatang and they have all taught me that I prefer my large knives closer to a pound like the BK4 and BK9. Those three are just a little too much for my tastes (and my not so muscular physique). I am also less than impressed with the sheath on the BK21.

    This post is not meant to be anti bk21. It is an amazing knife and it impresses me every time I use it. It is a beast.
  11. Tanker 1/66

    Tanker 1/66 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    My #1 all time favorite woodsy do every thing knife :thumbsup::thumbsup:
  12. Xr6x

    Xr6x Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2015
    If you plan on hiking the 4 wins. The 21 is big and powerful and fun, I like it a lot . It's just a little big to stroll through the woods and be happy carrying it .
  13. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    I'm a fan. The last week or so, my kids have been screwing around with knives and water bottles. "Testing" which of the knives I have around are the most consistent in bottle chops. Keep in mind, none of us have ever done anything like this until a few days ago. So the end results really go to the knives, and not any "operator training" on our part.

    Anywhoo, based on our highly scientific test cuts, of the knives tested, ranging from RoughRiders, to ZT's...... By unanimous Bfly Family vote, two blades stood out far from the pack (of actually dozens of blades over about a week or two......And the destruction of many months worth of bottle collections). The winners are..........The Becker BK-4, and the Spyderco Matriarch 2 w/ Wave opener. These two could almost be twins in the right light. ☠️

    We actually had many knives that were thought to be great slicers. But must say, early on we thought the BK4 to be too thick to slice without a little difficulty. And the Matriarch, well, maybe some of you have/had a similar first impression that we had.....Should be great at ripping, sawing, or shredding. As a defensive weapon, I had visions of an unfortunate Matriarch recipient ending up as walking hamburger. But, no, if a few more skills are implemented, your assailant could be leaving in a condition better described as a perfect spiral cut honey roast ham.

    And with the Becker, well, no need to thrash and chop. Simply pluck those desired parts or limbs, one by one, until the threat is "no more". Pretty sure of the 60-80 bottles that we hacked and chopped, the Spyder and Becker were the only two the kids wanted to touch by the end of each evening. And the only ones with 100% success rating.

    Needless to say, we were absolutely shocked and surprised by this, which is what drove us to spend multiple evenings of the same game.....Over, and over, and over, and over..... Yeah, my kids really don't have "off" switches.

    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    Don W, danny.k, Xr6x and 3 others like this.
  14. The Warrior

    The Warrior Insane Viking Moderator

    Mar 11, 2011
    Awesome man. It's just a hell of a blade.
    bflying likes this.
  15. LG&M


    Dec 19, 2005
  16. Roguer


    Jan 5, 2015
    BK 4 works well as a multi-tool as others said, you can use the whole blade for different things as already stated. My only regret was I didn't get another when I had the chance.
    viking313 likes this.
  17. Brad "the butcher"

    Brad "the butcher"

    Dec 15, 2008
    Yah I will be sad as my 4 ages and shrinks with hard use without replacement....10 acres up north and it gets used
  18. Rebel Nimrod

    Rebel Nimrod

    Jan 23, 2014
    If you have the King you don’t need the 4. That said, the 4 has a cool factor that when people see it they want to try it. It is not as big or heavy as it looks and I prefer to carry it over the 9 from a comfort standpoint. The 21 is a large-ish chopper/Kukri were the 4 is a large knife in a KLO shape, not really in the same category.

    If you have to ask...get the 4!
  19. ocnLogan


    Jul 31, 2011

    I've got a BK4, but it hasn't seen much use at all.

    I tried it out recently chopping saplings in the backyard, and compared it to the BK9. For me, the BK9 was better, easier, and faster at doing everything (in this case, chopping down, and climbing thumb to wrist sized saplings).

    That said, the 4 had it's factory edge, and the 9 was a bit sharper, so maybe that was part of the reason. Either that, or maybe I haven't learned the art of the forward canted blade. All I know is that after a few minutes, I set the BK4 down, and picked up the 9 again (and a bit after that busted out a 30in oal heavy machete to finish the task).

    If I already had a 7, and 9 and was looking for another large before, I'd personally skip the 4 and go straight to the 21. The 4 seems to be overall very similar in size, weight, and capabilities to the 9, so in my mind I'd rather skip ahead to something "more different".

    That said, if you're just wanting an excuse to buy the 4, go for it. It's a proven woods tool, and it's value will likely continue to go up. It's clearly not a bad blade, I just haven't clicked with it like I have my 9 :p.

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