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TOPS BOB Fieldcraft blade

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by tommytman, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Thanks for the description. I would stick to your guns on your choice for the time being. I might carry a small paring knife (a Vic and <$10) or a Mora with me if you actually cook in the woods and a small folding saw. My SAK stays regardless. My cooking could barely be called cooking in the woods or at a camp site. But I will be thinking about options.

    Consider a knife made with Cruwear steel. I have the Bark River Wilderness Explorer (5.75" blade) and it would work perfectly for you. But it is certainly more expensive. I would look at knives with the profile of the Condor Bushlore in general. (Used that example simply because I have one.) Rust is generally not a problem with carbon steel if you just pay a little attention to housekeeping. Maybe keep a couple Remoil wipes with you.
     
  2. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I think the esee 4 is available in stainless now. There are several moras in stainless that are quite good, I think the bushcrafter or garberg are. The gerber strongarm would be pretty decent I think. I wouldn't steer away from the more tactical knives just because of the ferro rod part, it's pretty easy to sharpen a small part of the spine.

    And for an odd option, the gerber Bear Gryll's ultimate knife pro is pretty decent once you get past the gimmicky packaging. Make sure it's the pro version though.

    My last recommendation would be to seek out something from the knifemaker's market, or seek out a knife maker to get you something. I've found that for fixed blades over the $100 pricepoint, there are often very good or reasonable options from the knifemaker's on the forum. You may need to wait a little if you ask them to make you something special but they're generally worth it to get what you want, IMO.
     
  3. chiral.grolim

    chiral.grolim Universal Kydex Sheath Extension Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 2008
    Have you looked over here? https://www.bladeforums.com/forums/for-sale-fixed-blades.754/
    If you haven't, you really really should. What was your price point?

    I really like this guy's stuff: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/sale-from-100-to-110-all-for-the-knife.1683595/

    Also on the first page is this piece: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/leather-handle-universal-soldier.1683851/
    [​IMG]


    There are a lot of good production knives out there available across the price spectrum. You could get a USA-made Gerber blade or a Buck in 420HC (stainless) that will serve you well. Entrek Knives are 440C (stainless) and have a killer warranty (way better than ESEE). You could by a Japanese-made Fallkniven or a Chinese-made Steel Will - lots of solid models available. If you can snag a Survive! on the secondary market, they are of exceptional quality and excellent geometry (if you want a relatively stout tool). Again, it just depends what you are willing to spend money on.
    I would advise you away from the ESEE-6 unless you opt for upgraded handle-scales and can revise the edge-geometry - while FFG, the blade is awfully thick behind the edge requiring way more effort than should be necessary for simple cutting tasks, and the boxy handles discourage you from applying any such effort. It can be fixed, but it's a project knife. Here is my review comparing a few knives from some years back (mostly focused on the GSO as that was a new knife at the time): https://www.bladeforums.com/threads...d-with-swamp-rat-ratmandu-and-esee-6.1366826/
     
  4. Lodd

    Lodd Gold Member Gold Member

    333
    Jan 23, 2015
    What about the Enzo (soon to be rebranded to Brisa I think) Trapper 95? I have one in O1 Tool steel which I quite liked, but they make 'em in N690Co and Elmax as well. There are also some variations in size or grind possible, but then the model number changes.

    If you're looking for a bigger blade that should be able to withstand a lot and is still razorsharp, the Autine Leuku blows almost all other fixed blades out of the water. But it should, considering the price.

    Above are the two I have experience with.

    For knives I have no experience with, but I would take a look at:
    • The Buck 104 Compadre. Especially if you can wait for the version that Buck and SKblades will produce for the Buck-subforums:
      • (D2 steel, custom grind, custom finishing, custom handles. I forgot the specs, so it takes some reading, but this will be a special one)
    • The Buck Selkirk (Cheaper, but made in china. I like the smaller version a lot, but you'll probably want the bigger one if you were looking at the TOPS BOB)
    • Fallkniven's bigger models, such as the S1 or the A1
    • I would look at Helle Knives, and especially at some of the models in the bigger size range
     
  5. tommytman

    tommytman Basic Member Basic Member

    43
    Aug 12, 2019
    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Believe it or not I found two Mora blades A garberg and the bushcraft with the black blade. For the price I got both. I will give one to the kid for a gift. I also got the fireknife.

    I also found a benchmade bushcrafter at a local shop and the grip felt nice and the leather sheath was pretty good too. I may go with the benchmade for a second option to the garberg....I got the disease.
    I guess for me, I’m back to deciding between the benchmade and the tops bushcraft blades.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    bikerector likes this.
  6. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Great choices! Be sure to report back on how they worked out for you.

    Oh, just realized, you need to cut the prices out or where you got them from as that website is a non-supporting website so you can't have all of those details listed per forum rules. Generally, we like to support the websites that support the forum, for future reference, but nothing wrong with getting what you got where you got it, just not sharing those details here. I think it falls under the price spotting rule.

    You can edit it out with the edit button in the bottom left of your post.
     
  7. tommytman

    tommytman Basic Member Basic Member

    43
    Aug 12, 2019
    Sorry it’s fixed...

    Am I nuts to want a stainless bushcraft type blade?
    A lot of people are using carbon steel and tool steels..., what if you are stuck out in the rain....do these tool steels not rust much?
    I’d certainly consider a custom blade from a maker on the forum here....just no idea where to start.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  8. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    NO! I completely forgot in my earlier recommendations but Fallkniven is another very nice brand rocking stainless steel and is held in very high regard. I completely understand, which is why I tend to have both. In winter especially, I seem to have issues with rust because of ice forming on the blade and then it rusts as it melts. This is where the tough stainless steels, like what's on moras, is pretty nice. I'm waiting for someone to make a machete out of AEB-L or sandvik steel as it's amazingly tough for a stainless, according to charts on the knifesteelnerds website.

    Having said that, carbon steel blades don't really rust as quickly as you're thinking, in my experience, but they will stain readily. Patina is very common but that doesn't necessarily affect performance as at, or damage the blade, just looks. Often times, some of us prefer the patina blade because it tells the story of what we've used the knife for.

    Here's an example of a heavily patina'ed blade that I used a lot in the woods for clearing areas for cutting and as a compact de-limber. The one on the right. You can see an obvious void of the patina in the sweet spot where the patina was actually getting abraded off from use. The left is a semi-stainless kind of steel (infi from Busse).
    [​IMG]
     
  9. dirc

    dirc

    Jan 31, 2018
  10. tommytman

    tommytman Basic Member Basic Member

    43
    Aug 12, 2019
    The fallkniven forest and survival do look nice. I’ll have to read up on those.
     
  11. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    The Mora's are very practical blades. I just find them uninteresting generally speaking. It is kind of like picking up a kitchen knife at Walmart. They work.

    Just pay attention on the blade if it is rainy..... like the end of the day attention. What I wouldn't do is toss the knife inside your vehicle or garage after everything getting wet and forgetting about it until the next time you might want to take it with you. Selecting a custom maker is challenging in the sense that if it is your first time, you're pretty much running blind. Stick with the "name" makers and you'll be okay.
     
  12. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I didn't catch the custom maker question. I think a good place to start, if you have time, us to just watch the knifemaker's market and see what comes through for a while. I like to look just for the pictures and interesting designs. I don't think I would go there right away with the intent to buy, especially after ordering the moras. I would use those for a bit, learn what you like ans don't like about them, and apply that experience to you next knife purchases. I often come back to moras as they are very lightweight for the functionality, and they really aren't bad. The orange kansbol wigh multi-mount system is one I'll need to get soon, but it'a a little less durable than you were looking for, based on your description, because of the fine tip.
     
  13. dirc

    dirc

    Jan 31, 2018
    everytime i see a perfect leaf shaped kephart, I get an urge to woodcraft,whittle or start making my own (like use a kephart to whittle and carve a piece of ironwood for the handle of a new one)

    ...is that smith disease?
    [​IMG]
     
    bikerector likes this.
  14. drail

    drail

    374
    Feb 23, 2008
    That painting is just fabulous. Thank you for putting it up for us.
     
  15. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    One last recommendation from me after looking through my collection, the Lionsteel T5. I haven't used it but the design looks quite solid and I sold my Fallkniven S1 to get it. I really like that the full tang is covered by the micarta so it should reduce shock from batoning, if you do that type of thing. I like to baton out my kindling as it's pretty mild batoning and I'm a lot more accurate getting my matchstick sized pieces of wood that way.

    [​IMG]
    https://www.collectorknives.net/sho...ion-steel-t5-satin-black-micarta-niolox-t5mi/
     
  16. chiral.grolim

    chiral.grolim Universal Kydex Sheath Extension Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 2008
    AEB-L machetes have been made, as have choppers. Understand that AEB-L and 13C26 are less tough versions of 420HC and 12C27, the most common stainless steels on the market. Compared to the most common stainless steels out there (and among the least expensive), it isn't "amazingly tough" at all, it is less tough.
    A stainless Mora is 12C27 steel at ~57Rc, Buck puts their 420HC at 58Rc. I have no idea what hardness Condor uses for their stainless steel machetes, but those are some form of 420HC as well. So if you want a tough stainless machete, they are readily available and quite inexpensive.
     
  17. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    As I've really only seen a good data overlay from Larrin's website, I haven't seen what 420HC looks like in an objective toughness sense. But, it would make sense that it can take a beating with the low carbon and spattering of other elements.

    All of the stainless machetes I've seen are from less than ideal sources like schrade, camillus, and other similar budget brands that I wouldn't normally consider to have an optimal heat treat. I know condor uses a bit of 420HC and I think their primitive bush knife is a good candidate for a shorter machete, but nothing like a full-length latin bolo machete.

    From Larrin's charts, AEB-L at 60.5 hardness is in the toughness realm of 3V at 59.0 hardness. Those are from charpy tests so I imagine there are some limitations there to toughness in a purely cutting application, but a standardized reference at least. Z-finit/LC200N is another that really surprised me, in a good way, on his charts. Seeing how low some of the standard carbon steels performed, I suspect many steels are "tough enough" for more applications than we give them credit for.

    Charts I'm referencing are about 2/3's down the page in the below link.
    https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/08/26/o1-steel-history-properties-and-how-to-heat-treat/
     
  18. chiral.grolim

    chiral.grolim Universal Kydex Sheath Extension Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 2008
    Larrin's chart is excellent. But it leaves out the most common stainless steels found in knives and cutting implements. 420HC, 12C27, 8Cr13MoV, 5Cr14MoV, X55CrMo14, 1.4110, Aus6 .... These steels or a version thereof are found in pretty much every swiss army knife, kitchen knife, or inexpensive sportsmen or hunting knife on the market. There are certainly tougher stainless steels than these, but the lower you drop the carbon content the less hardness is achievable. However, most carbon steel machetes are HT'd to the low 50's anyway, so you don't need much hardness to have a competing stainless machete - regular 420 and 3Cr13 can achieve 53Rc, that is what you'll probably find in the chinese mass-produced machetes.

    The Condor Viking machete is (or at least was) 420HC, 20" blade. Disco'd?

    [​IMG]

    The Outback in 420HC, comes (or came) in 18" and 20" blade versions

    [​IMG]


    @FortyTwoBlades They used to have a whole line of stainless steel machetes...?
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    bikerector likes this.
  19. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I think condor used to use a lot of 420HC, according to Ben at Baryonyx. I forgot they switched the viking to stainless. I had the 1075 version but it ended up getting stolen, so I replaced it with a cheap latin machete and now the baryonyx machete (like it a lot).

    The outback is one that's new to me, I'll have to look that up.

    Around Winter is when I find myself having the most issues with carbon steels because I work around streams, there's often a lot of dew on grass, and if it's right around freezing, very common in Michigan, I have issues with ice buildup and then it gets to be a problem with the freeze/thaw. Usually I'm good about getting it cleaned up and oiled, but not always. The coated blades have helped considerably in that regard. Getting trails ready for the spring riding and hiking season is when I get to enjoy a lot of time beating up the woods a bit to get it in shape. I also like taking out the vines at this time since they're more accessible without the foliage to work through.
     
    chiral.grolim likes this.
  20. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    You’ve mentioned and picked some nice blades. Plus there are lots of great options mentioned in here :)
    My .02’s worth is I carry a Gravelle F4 in A2 Steel basically everyday. Besides a once or twice week wipe down. I have no rust issues. I use mineral oil or balistol depending. So if you maintain your gear I wouldn’t worry so much about rust. It’s not like your gonna spray it with that wonderful stuff put down on the roads lol.
     

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