How many times have we heard “What knife would you pick for…” (fill in the occasion)?
As the owner of DLT Trading and an avid outdoorsman I get asked a lot what knife is likely on my belt on a Saturday when I am working out on our farm or just enjoying the great outdoors. Although the choice I make can vary depending on what exactly I am doing, oftentimes you will find me carrying a Bark River Bravo 1 3V. Out of the literally thousands of fixed blade knives I have access to you may ask – why this particular knife?
I think a good working knife built for the hard-use chores that come along out in the field should have the following attributes:
- Fixed blade of around 4-5.5” with an ample sized, comfortable handle. The blade should be large enough for tough chores yet easily small enough the knife can easily be carried on your belt. The handle needs to be comfortable and hand-filling so that even with prolonged use you won’t have hot spots or pain points. The handle should be large enough to give you sufficient leverage and control of the knife not only to allow tough tasks to be completed but also to provide safe control of the blade.
- Blade steel that is laterally tough as well as reasonably abrasion and stain resistant. 3V is the perfect choice here. Built tough for cutting, light chopping and even a reasonable amount of prying/scraping. There are certainly steels with more edge holding (abrasion resistance) than 3V but few match edge retention with the great edge stability and toughness of 3V. Although I don’t need a true stainless steel for my work knife having the stain resistance of 3V is really a nice bonus. For a fixed blade, heavy-use knife I always say it is the “Goldilocks” choice for blade steel. It is just right!
- Geometry built for the field. Sure, cutting phone book pages folded and stood on edge with a push cut is really cool. I love this type of geometry and edge for a straight razor but adore it less so for my knives I use in the field. I want something really sharp of course but it has to maintain a good working edge. Convex grinds do exactly that. They are deceptively sharp and stay sharp longer thanks to thickness behind the edge. Field sharpening with a strop is a snap with convex edges once you get the hang of it as well. There is no need to drag out complicated systems to put an edge back on your knife.
- It should have a leather sheath. In certain use cases I like Kydex. To a lesser extent injection molded sheaths can be ok but look and feel cheap to me. Leather is timeless in appearance, tough as nails, and quiet in the field. For me, that is a winning combination. There is nothing I hate less when I am in the woods than unnecessarily making noise. Even when I am not hunting I still relish the opportunity to experience all of the amazing wildlife the Creator has provided us with. Leather is quiet – enough said.
- Full tang. I absolutely LOVE hidden tang knives. Those who know me know I love lever action guns, cast iron cooking and the timeless look of hidden tang (especially stacked leather) handles. For a hunting knife they are simply impossible for me to resist. But, for my hard working field knives I prefer the confidence provided by the durability of a full, exposed tang knife. Do I need it to be a full
tang? Probably not. Do I like the piece-of-mind and comfort provided by a fixed blade when I am really working hard? Absolutely.
- Warranty. The knife should be covered by a lifetime warranty. No explanation needed here.
If you use these qualifiers to choose your next knife you would be hard pressed to find a better choice than the Bark River Bravo 1 3V. American made with an unconditional lifetime warranty and built by skilled craftsmen of the best materials on the planet, this knife will not only handle whatever work comes its way but will do it with ease and comfort.
Jason Thoune is the owner of DLT Trading, and walks the talk when it comes to knife use. He is a hunter and outdoorsman, and also works on his family farm.
When Jason talks knives and knife use, it comes from experience and actual work in the field. One of the most useful hunting knives, IMO, is the Bark River Fox River EXT-2, which combines the Fox River blade with the Bravo handle. Jason had input in that one.
In addition, he’s a heck of a nice guy!
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