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Photos [Updated with BR’s response] Problems with Brand New Bark River Gunny CPM-3V

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by NiceNife, May 19, 2018.

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  1. NiceNife

    NiceNife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2018
    I’ve read about Bark River’s poor reputation, but didn’t pay much attention because of their overwhelmingly positive reviews everywhere else.

    I received the popular Bark River Gunny in CPM-3V today and it was stained and scratched. These blades look oxidized and slightly rusted in these spots. Furthermore, the oxidation spots do not appear natural. I tried to wash and rub them off, but they remain. After washing the blade, I intentionally left a couple of drops of water and within half an hour, surface rust started appearing.

    I decided to test a little further and put a couple of drops of water on the other side of the blade and waited an hour to see how it would react. It rusted within that hour. It was mostly on the surface, but it developed two deep pits that cannot be rubbed off by hand without using sandpaper, which I decided not to do in case I return this.

    This 3V Gunny seems to rust faster than if it were A2 steel. These stains and scratches may or may not have an impact on the performance of this knife and some might think that I’m overreacting. So I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    I bought this from KnivesShipFree and am waiting on their response.

    This picture was taken immediately after opening. The knife arrived with these markings.

    There are strange stains that cannot be removed by hand without the right tools.

    Rust appeared after 30 minutes of leaving a bit of water on the blade after washing.

    Tested further by leaving two drops of tap water on the blade to dry.

    Surface rust appeared after an hour. After rubbing this off with my fingers, I discovered deep pits that cannot be removed by hand without the right tools.

    KnivesShipFree is accepting the return and has sent a return shipping label. They have great customer service.

    I had a conversation with Mike Stewart on Facebook and sent him the details of this post. To be clear, I did not accuse him of intentionally mislabeling the knife. I actually believe that he didn’t. He’s offering to personally investigate, but I’d rather just send the knife back to the vendor, get my money back, and call it a day.

    I did one last test with this Gunny 3V and left three water droplets on the knife for an hour and half. Details below. I also included a snippet of my conversation with Mr. Stewart because some conspiracy theorists here think I’m “manufacturing” negative posts about Bark River. I decided against sharing the whole conversation since that just doesn’t seem ethical.

    Three large drops of tap water:

    Heavy rusting and a deep pit developed after an hour and half on only one of the drops. The other two droplets didn’t cause deep rust. Could this just be poor heat treatment?

    Part of my conversation with Mike today:
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  2. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    Huh...a Bark River that rusts when it shouldn’t...that’s strange.
    cashville, palonej, NJBillK and 7 others like this.
  3. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    They made excuses that the few (that people cought them and said something) that were not labeled the right steel were just for photos... Lol we have determined that to be a lie. BTW why would they even do such a thing. Label the wrong steel just for photos? They some how always end up in inventory incorrectly. They vowed to fix the ongoing problem but seem to ignore it.

    Long history of issues.

    In any case I'm sure kniveshipfree will resolve the problem for you. It sucks for them as much as it does the customer but they have been great in fixing the problem that bark river continue to have.
  4. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    As above; some BRKs are not, what it says as advertised on the label/blade.

    The vendor will most likely do right by you.

    Must admit, that I dont get peoples fascination with the knives from this company ... but that might just be me.
    Mo2 likes this.
  5. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar Platinum Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    It's not just you. Average looking knives from a company with a terrible history. Why anyone would buy one is beyond my comprehension. Buy some similar knife from a reputable company. They are a dime a dozen.
  6. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Apart from the fact, that I wont buy knives from any business entity even remotely associated with Mike Stewart, I likewise find some/most of the knives average/generic looking.
    Some/many are just pale copies/variations of far better looking and better made knives.
    Further more, I find some BRK knives lack definition some how.
  7. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Platinum Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    3v may be my most used steel. I admittedly I have not had 3v from bark river because their history of selling knives in mislabeled steels as well as Mike Stewart.

    I've never seen 3v rust that fast from straight water in 30min. I've had 3v from big Chris, Winkler, carothers, Spyderco and more.

    For what it's worth I have processed many animals with 3v, camped, kayaked, general use on the farm. I've left them covered in blood for hours and not seen stains.

    Not saying 3v won't stain/rust because it will. I have seen it rust. But it usually occurred with serious neglect. All that said, heat treatment drastically effects its corrosion resistance.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  8. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018

    I must admit, I am a fan of their knife designs - most of them seem useful and minimalist design wise which is something I like. I don't own any because of the history I read about on bf :)

    You should all read this thread: it has been very informative for me - I won't touch BRK because of this
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
    jimmyd1982 likes this.
  9. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I think you may have gotten a knife in A2, not 3V.

    I put some drops of water on my Bark River in A2 and my Carothers light chopper in 3V. After a little more than an hour, rust was definitely showing up on the A2, but not on the 3V.

    Below: 3V at start
    Below: A2 at start
    Below: 3V after 1:15 hours
    Below: A2 after 1:15 hours
    skyhorse, Hard Knocks, HST and 5 others like this.
  10. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    after reading BRK & Mike Stewart history - this is 100% not surprising - it would be really interesting if all BRK '3v' owners actually did a test on their steel... I wonder what % would end up A2 ?
    FortyTwoBlades and Pomsbz like this.
  11. joeldworkin307

    joeldworkin307 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2012
    It's an issue when they label a2 as 3v. Besides that, their Aurora in 3v is possibly the best bushcraft knife I have ever owned.
    BlackKnight86 likes this.
  12. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    Here's the water-drop test after 2:20 hours:

    Below: 3V
    Below: A2
    amikee, Hard Knocks, HST and 3 others like this.
  13. trevitrace

    trevitrace Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 21, 2013
    Wow. Didn't think A2 would do that that quickly. Doesn't surprise me on Carothers though. I own a few of his and have been very pleased.
    Hard Knocks likes this.
  14. NiceNife

    NiceNife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2018
    Thank you for taking that test and sharing your results. Based off our results, I’m pretty certain that my blade is made out of A2 and not 3V as labeled. After multiple reports of mislabeled knives, you’d think that that this would have been remedied years ago. To have this issue of mislabeling go on for this long indicates that this is likely intentional and therefore a fraudulent practice.

    Many of you are agree that 3V is a good steel. Can you recommend a reliable 3V bushcrafting knife at around 4”?

    No response from KnivesShipFree, probably because it’s the weekend.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  15. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    The weekend that they are in the middle of their big move I think. They will sort you out certainly, but they might need a little more time than normal.
    Deinos and NiceNife like this.
  16. ecallahan

    ecallahan Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I have a mini bushcrafter in ‘3V’. I let 2 drops of water just sit on the blade for 2 hours and now I have 2 rust spots. I’m guessing it’s not 3 V.
  17. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    One idea would be Nathan Carothers' EDC, either the first or second generation. He puts them up for sale every so often, as announced on his subforum here, and you have to be fast. They also come up on the sales forum fairly often, usually with a markup.

    Here's a link to his now closed EDC2 sale. It will explain the knife.
    NiceNife likes this.
  18. b00n

    b00n Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 15, 2016
    I admittedly am still tempted by the MACV-SOG Knife from them, but past behavior sort of keeps me from it, aside from being unsure about dropping the money on a fixed blade I can't carry or have really any use for.
  19. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    I doubt it's fraudulent - I just think they work with so many different steels (A2, 3V, M4, CPM-154, Elmax, etc.) that they probably lose track of which billet is which material. The fact that they're likely running the wrong heat treat cycles for the metal they're actually using makes it worse. Still, you'd figure they would notice when grinding...

    Carothers would be your best bet, if you can get one, although secondary market prices tend to run high. If you're not in a hurry you'd probably be best off waiting for one of his drops, and hoping you can pick one up there.

    LT Wright does good work, as well, in a variety of steels (including 3V), sizes, and grinds.

    Cold Steel also has a few 3V blades that'll be half the price of anything you'd get from Bark River or LT Wright.

    They'll get back to you when they can - they're good people.
    Deinos and NiceNife like this.
  20. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    so i dont own any bark river stuff other some black jack randall clones that say a2 tool steel on the blade.

    so does bark river mark the blade with the steel type? is the blade marked 3v on it?

    edit part didnt look at the pics see that it is marked. so marked wrong is the heat treat wrong too? how wrong does it go?
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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