Looking for an inexpensive, quality bushcraft knife? Then consider the L.T. Wright Bushcrafter. At $75, you can ‘t beat this deal.
by Leon Pantenburg
I bought this knife to evaluate and was not paid to write this review.
I thought the advertised Bushcrafter HC price was a mis-print – L.T. Wright makes top quality, high end knives, and this one cost $75 – shipped.
The photo showed a Kephart-style blade. I ordered a Bushcrafter to check it out.
Horace Kephart was a prolific writer and one of the pioneers of camping/outdoor skills. His outdoor writings were published regularly in national publications such as Field and Stream. Kephart’s first edition of Camping and Woodcraft was published in 1906. In it, Kephart described his EDC knife:
“Its blade and handle are each 4-1/4 inches long, the blade being 1 inch wide, 1/8 inch thick on the back, broad pointed, and continued through the handle as a hasp and riveted to it. It is tempered hard enough to cut green hardwood sticks, but soft enough so that when it strikes a knot or bone it will, if anything, turn rather than nick; then a whetstone soon puts it in order.”
“The handle of this knife is of oval cross-section, long enough to give a good grip for the whole hand, and with no sharp edges to blister one’s hand. The handle is of light but hard wood, 3/4 inch thick at the butt and tapering to 1/2 inch forward, so as to enter the sheath easily and grip it tightly.
“This knife weighs only 4 ounces. It was made by a country blacksmith, and is one of the homeliest things I ever saw; but it has outlived in my affections the score of other knives that I have used in competition with it, and has done more work than all of them put together.”
- Total Length: 8 3/8 Inches
- Blade Length: 3 5/8 Inches
- Blade Thickness: 1/8 Inches
- Weight: 8 oz.
- Handle Material: Natural Micarta
- Blade-Steel: 1075 High Carbon Steel
- Rockwell Hardness: 57-59 HRC
As soon as the knife arrived, it was put to work. I test knives by first using them in the kitchen. The next step is to use them for their intended purposes. In this case, the Bushcrafter did a lot of wood carving to make feather sticks and firebows. Here’s what I discovered.
The good stuff:
Patina: High carbon steel rusts. Inevitably, the blade will darken and build up a patina with use, and this surface can
help protect the steel. The Bushcrafter comes with a dark patina. (Here’s one way to force a patina on a blade.)
The patina was just a little rough and dark for my tastes, so I used some fine steel wool to knock it back a little. This is strictly personal preference – this doesn’t affect the use at all, and you might like the deeper color.
A slicer should have a polished blade to work well. In this case, the patina adds a little friction to slicing, but that is not a deal-breaker.
Grind: The flat grind with a secondary bevel is a good choice for a utility knife. It is a good slicer for meat and vegetables and works well for carving and bushcraft.
Point: The spear point is one of the most useful points imaginable. It has enough belly that it makes a good skinner for big game or large animals. On an all-around knife, it may be the best choice. (Here’s how to choose a knife point.)
Steel: The blade is made of 1075 high carbon steel, tempered to 57-59 HRC. To the user, that means the steel combines hardness, without being too difficult for the average person to sharpen. The edge holds up very well.
Blade spine: The Bushcrafter has a spine ground at 90 degree angles, like an ice skate. This gives you another edge for scrapping a ferrocerium rod to make sparks, or for shredding tinder.
Handle: Made of natural micarta, the 4-inch design works well for my (glove-size) large hands. It is abut 3/4-inch
thick, which makes for a nice handful. I like the appearance of the natural-looking micarta on a user knife – it looks a little weather beaten and worn, but it’s tough and rugged. When wet, a micarta handle seems to get almost tacky, and that improves the grip tremendously.
Micarta is a good choice for a knife handle that will get a lot of use.
No sheath: For me, that is no big deal. I switch around knives and sheaths as circumstances and the mood strikes me. The sheath for a canoe trip should hold the knife safely and securely and retain the knife should there be an unexpected dunking. (Here’s how I know…)
My hunting knife sheath will probably be a dangler, for comfortable carry. It might ride on my belt, or clipped to the outside of my fanny pack. Making a standard knife into a dangler is cheap and easy.
The lack of sheath should not be a problem. If push comes to shove, you can make one from cardboard and duct tape. Here’s how.
The other stuff:
I had a hard time coming up with things I didn’t like about this knife. For what it is, that is, a useful, inexpensive utility knife, the bushcrafter is a fantastic choice. It will be able to handle any tasks thrown at it without any problems whatsoever.
There is a place in your preparedness gear for moderately-priced utility knives. These Bushcrafters are inexpensive enough to get one for a beginner to use and abuse. Nobody will get traumatized if the knife gets lost or stolen.
But the Bushcrafter is also reliable enough to include in your emergency kit. For $75, you can’t beat this deal.