Ka-Bar Tanto Review

The Ka-Bar Tanto. It’s like two legendary fighters decided to have a baby. The lore surrounding the tanto blade design, its roots in the mystical oriental warrior life of old, combined with the industrial know-how of an American centurion. I have my hands on one, so let’s do a review!

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Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To The Survival Knife


A lot of people these days seem to think that spending $300 on a knife automatically makes that a superior knife. As though somehow price and value are intrinsically tied. As though they have some sort of correlation! Au contraire my dear, simple people from nowadays. Au contraire. Just like cameras, hands, and family, the best survival knife is the one you’ve got with you. That means a sharpened spoon handle, in the absence of all other knives, IS the best survival knife. You can’t very well use what you don’t even have. But what if you’re given the choice? After all, preparation is 95% of any good survival plan. Given the choice, you’re going to have a variety of good knives from reputable manufacturers to choose from. What about the inevitable anxiety from being overwhelmed by choice? Who is the best knife maker? What’s the best metal to make a knife from? How should the blade be ground? Which thunder god should you battle on the mountain peak to attain your level 100 attack?? Relax. All of these are fair, natural questions that everyone asks at some point in their lives (especially the one about battling a thunder god). Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what makes a survival knife. Continue reading “Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To The Survival Knife”

The Most Exotic Knife – The Pharoah’s Outer Space Blade

When I think of exotic knives, my limited imagination flicks to Knives of Alaska’s Diamondblade. Alaska right? It doesn’t get much more exotic than that right? As it turns out though, there are far more rare and interesting blades around. More exotic ones too. One just has to look deeper into history. long before The Lord was born, in the time of the ancient Egyptians.

King Tutankhamen was the famed Boy King of Egypt whose tomb was the subject of international intrigue and controversy about a hundred years ago. In 1922 Howard Carter and George Herbert discovered a forgotten tomb in Egypt’s Valley of Kings. Some of their party died after opening the tomb, in what newspapers sensationalised as ‘The Curse of The Pharoahs‘. King Tut’s tomb had laid still for nearly three thousand years, undisturbed. When the British explorers opened it up, they found it was filled with ancient treasures, some of which were preserved in excellent condition thanks to the dry desert conditions of Egypt. On the King’s thigh was a knife, the true origins of which have only been discovered this year.

tut's knife

King Tut’s knife is thought to be made from a meteorite. Researchers claim that this is proven by the elevated levels of nickel in the blade’s iron – more than twice the amount found in iron on Earth, but consistent with the composition of other meteorites. What has not been researched though, is whether this knife has any elemental summoning powers. Given that King Tut ruled Egypt as a nine year old boy, I have to assume he did so with the help of powerful ancient weaponry. Perhaps weaponry like a meteorite forged blade that has the power to call down level 99 meteorite strike on approaching enemy armies. Honestly, how else would a nine year old boy rule the ancient world?

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

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My Dream Knife: Knives of Alaska Diamondblade

A while back I was knife shopping and I don’t know how I came across it, but I found Knives of Alaska’s Diamondblade knife. From the press hype, I immediately wanted one of my own. I don’t have any especially fancy knives. I see prices over $100 as prohibitive and off-putting, especially for tools like knives. If a knife is too expensive I don’t want to use it anyway. Imagine taking your fancy $500 knife and driving it into a log or a pig’s head. I would cringe every time I felt the edge on bone. The high price would just get in my way. Still, I dream of a Diamondblade of my own one day. It’s not that I don’t have $500…just that if I spent $500 on a single knife, it would probably get locked away somewhere so that I never accidentally used it.

diamondblade

What makes diamondblades sound so special is the process they use to put an edge of the knife. Now I know, I sound like some knife show marketing guy banging through a sales pitch. I don’t care, I just want to write about a cool knife that I don’t own. I don’t even get anything from Knives of Alaska for writing this. All I get is a cool floating cloud-bubble above my head, which contains a picture of a knife I want. Anyway, they call it “Friction Forging”; the process of getting an edge on the bar of D2 tool steel that will become a diamondblade. They use a special machine that uses enormous pressure and friction to heat the edge. This heating changes the grain structure of the steel of the blade, resulting in nanosized grains that give the edge greater flexibility, strength, and toughness. A lot of customers and reviewers report being able to skin five or more dirty wild pigs without the knife edge losing its sharpness. No one had a single bad thing to say about it. Man I want one.diamondblade

What about you then? Do you have a dream knife that you would like one day to own? A Busse Battle Mistress? A Fallkniven? I guess Fallkniven are within the reach of the common man. Anyway, tell me about it in the comments. Check Diamondblade out at their site.

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

Is there something you want to buy? Let the world know at www.wants2buy.com – the world’s premier wanted classifieds. Free to register, advertise, and communicate.

Cold Steel updates on 4MAX folder

Cold Steel President Lynn Thompson got on the tubes earlier today to update the world on his new, all US made 4MAX folding knife. Citing “challenges, expenses and difficulties” as to why Cold Steel doesn’t manufacture in the US, Thompson went on to describe the return to US production as “a labour of love”.

I’d sure like to see this knife in the metal, but I really have to know whether domestic production is worth the fuss. Off the top of my head, I can’t name a single US manufacturer that bests Japan or Taiwan when all things are equal. You’re not going to compare a hand made $2000 American knife with an off-the-shelf mass produced model manufactured in Taiwan, I get that. But is there really going to be any difference in the Cold Steel 4MAX besides an inflated retail price? I guess Americans might care about American jobs or something. I guess?

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

4max_update

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17 year old kid hand-makes a Bowie knife

For a good while I’ve looked longingly at knife makers and wished to have the time, tools, and skills to try my own hand. What is it about the good old fashioned cutting tool that appeals to me? I don’t know. I do know that I shouldn’t really tell anyone in case I get put on a terrorism watch list. Everyone knows that good citizens never look past the spoon. Past the spoon is the realm of the terrorist. But I digress. Follow the link to see a cool step-by-step as Imgur user ‘StarkKnives‘ (that’s Stark Knives, not Star Knives :P) shows us his Bowie build.

It seems StarkKnives buys a slab of the steel he wants to use, plots a CAD onto it, and then spends the next week on a sanding belt with his knife. The heat treat is done by an external shop, and that’s one part that I do wish was included in his walk-through. Take a moment and see what is essentially a montage of a lot of hard work.

Sure it takes tools and time, but it’s totally within the grasp of ordinary men to make a knife of their own. I really will try it one day.

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

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Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

The Cold Steel SRK San Mai III (Survival Recon Knife) was first survival knife I ever bought. It’s a hell of a name, and on paper it seems like a hell of a knife. I read countless reviews and forum posts before deciding on it. I even nearly decided against it, having come across some forums that were highly critical of Cold Steel as a company. I read that their quality had disappeared after they became popular. I read that they were better at marketing than they were at making knives. All of this made me a little dubious of Cold Steel. In the end I reasoned that the only way to find out was to get one for myself.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Price

The best delivered prices for the Cold Steel SRK San Mai III are usually from Amazon, but delivery can be tricky if you’re outside of the US. At the time of writing, Amazon is selling the Cold Steel SRK San Mai III for a fair price, but I’m in Australia where customs don’t need to give any reason for seizing your imported goods. Even a vegetable peeler can get you on a terrorism watch list over here. In fact, writing the words “terrorism watch list” on the internet could probably get you on a terrorism watch list. So yeah…there’s that.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3

I digress. I got lucky and picked up my Cold Steel SRK San Mai III on eBay for AU$132 shipped. A fine price indeed, given that shipping prices sometimes get out of hand on eBay.

Update 7 July 2017 – I can no longer find the Cold Steel SRK San Mai III on Amazon, which is a shame because it’s a fine knife. Only one eBay seller has one, at this link. Besides this, you’re probably down to local stocks in individual local stores, which makes buying recommendations difficult.

Included in the box

  • Knife
  • Sheath

Design & Construction

The Cold Steel SRK San Mai III is

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

  • Fixed blade – no moving parts or articulation
  • Full tang – One piece construction. The handle and the blade are the same piece of metal. No seams or joins.
  • Hunting type blade – The belly of the blade curves, making it better for work like skinning, cutting, or slashing. A curved blade makes the cutting edge longer because mathematics. The point of the blade is a clipped point with a swage. The swage refers to the upper edge of the point, which has been ground to two angled edges. This brings the point of the blade lower, making for a more acute point on the tip. A more acute tip penetrates more easily in a stab (please don’t stab anything with your lovely SRK SM3).
  • San Mai 3″ steel – which is a marketing name for the three layered laminate steel used for the SRK SM3’s blade. The core layer is a harder steel, which on its own would wear poorly or maybe even crack due to being too brittle. The outer layers are softer steel, giving flexible support to the core layer.
  • Kraton handle – This is a nice firm type of rubber with a grippy pattern all over it.
  • Kydex sheath – More marketing names, this time for the plastic the sheath is made from.

For more information on blade steel and design, click through to The Ultra Survivalist’s Guide To Survival Knives.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Look

The Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3 definitely looks the business. Besides the marketing names for the materials used in construction, it is a very no nonsense knife. No tacticool, no bling, just a tool made of the bare essentials for doing what it does.

Feel

In a word, solid. The Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3 is very well made and its price is justified in the build quality. It’s a very tight package.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

In the hand, the knife has a reassuring weight. It’s not as heavy as a Becker Bk2, and you’ll probably feel grateful for that.  I wouldn’t mind a more substantial finger guard before the blade. That would inspire a little more confidence with stabs and whatnot. The handle is a rounded-off square shape which could have had some more substance. I mean, a hundred something dollar knife deserves to feel a bit nicer. In truth, I have a $5 knock-off Global santoku that feels much better in hand than the Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3. The kraton grip is very good though, and even cuts down slipperiness in the wet.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Using It

I have to admit that I was taken by the (admittedly compelling) marketing of Cold Steel. Their flashy videos made it seem like I was buying an atom bomb in the shape of a knife. I was a little taken aback then, when I unboxed it and used it for the first time. It cut the paper I held, sure. And true, it went through the cardboard too. But it wasn’t smooth, perfect, falling through matter as if it parted it on a molecular level. To be honest, the factory didn’t send it out with arm-shaving sharpness. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t try to catch the SRK SM3 as it falls. It would still teach me a good lesson if I tried, as it is most certainly cutting-sharp out of the box. But I will have to spend some quality time with this knife and my sharpener before its cutting abilities can really wow anyone.

Edge retention is good – after doing some batoning I still could cut paper as my video shows. That’s a strong plus.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Good For

  • A feeling of security that comes from having a solid knife with one’s self
  • Reasonable price
  • Standing up to punishment
  • Batoning
  • General cutting (duh)

Bad For

  • Fine work
  • Coming out of the box with a hair popping razor edge (as advertised)
  • Using as a shovel (digging will dull any edge, fast)
  • Using as a pry bar
  • Carry on luggage
  • Wearing in shopping centres
  • Baby’s first knife fight
  • Anything else that knives are bad for.

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review Conclusion

Ultimately I think that as long as you’re not going too far above the $100 mark, the Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3 a great knife. Good enough to be the only one you take out. It has the reassuring build quality, the edge retention, and the no nonsense design that most are going to need in their adventures. Expect it to lose a lot of razor sharpness if you use it for jobs that knives are generally not meant for. On the other hand, it will really stand up to anything you do to it without complaining.  Given its best competitor (the Fallkniven A1) starts at more than twice the price of a Cold Steel SRK San Mai 3, I’m betting on this knife being all the knife you need. Just remember to give it a sharpen before you head out 😉

Cold Steel SRK San Mai III Review

**Disclosure** This site is supported by its readers. I may receive commission from the links you click on. This in no way influences my judgments in reviews. All products reviewed were paid for, NOT supplied by manufacturers.

Is there something you want to buy? Let the world know at www.wants2buy.com – the world’s premier wanted classifieds. Free to register, advertise, and communicate.