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Review: Bark River Little Creek II

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Bark River’s Little Creek II is one of those knives you didn’t know you needed until you started using it.  

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: Bark River supplied the product in this review. I don’t work for Bark River, I was not paid to review the knife, and nobody had any input in this post

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my wife Debbie is one of the most dispassionate knife testers I know. She doesn’t care about what the cutlery looks like – her bottom line is how well it works in the kitchen. Some knives are immediately seized for kitchen duty.

That happened with the BR Sportsman, the five-inch Kephart, the Petty Z, the improved Mountain Man, the Bird and Trout, and the Water Moccasin, among others. I get to use them during hunting and fishing seasons, but they permanently reside in the knife drawer. 

This knife will prove very useful. The Little Creek II comes with a sturdy leather sheath.

“This is a nice paring knife,” she commented, upon handling the Little Creek II. “We’ve been needing a good one.”

While the Little Creek II was probably not designed to be a kitchen paring knife, Per se, it works really well for peeling apples, cutting fruit, avocados, scraping carrots,  trimming fat off of meat, slicing food etc. In short, it is one of those handy knives that will be used constantly in the kitchen at home or in hunting  or fishing camps. 

The knife will also be useful in skinning a deer around the shoulders and neck. It was proven handy when I was cleaning a mess (in the Southern vernacular, that means a whole bunch, stringer full, mob etc.) of crappie, catfish and bass.

Here is what we’re looking at with the Little Creek II:

Blade Length: 3″

Overall length: 7″

Steel: CPM Magna-Cut 
Blade Hardness: 62 HRC 
Blade Thickness: .093″
Grind: Convex
Point: drop

Handle material: Many choices
Weight: 2.3 oz.

Sheath: leather

Here’s how it all panned out:

Steel: CPM Magna-Cut is a high-performance premium steel that hits the sweet spot of qualities that make a superior knife blade, according to Knife Steel Nerds. It has excellent edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. It is a relatively new steel on the market and was designed specifically as a knife steel. HRC MagnaCut’s fine-grained microstructure and other alloying elements give it an edge in terms of toughness and durability. Learn all about Magna-Cut steel.

I found the steel holds an edge really, really well while cleaning fish.

Blade design: At .093 inches thick, the Little Creek II’s blade slices like a Lazer. With the quality super steel in the blade, there is no danger of it breaking in normal, regular use.   

Grind: Many Bark River knives are convex ground. My experience is that convex is the best grind for me and what I typically use a knife for.

Point: The drop point is a good choice for this blade design. Check out the best knife point for you.

The Little Creek II handle is a trifle small and slender for my hand.

Handle: I generally field test a knife using a standard hammer grip. I’ll also use a reverse hammer, pinch and dagger grip while field dressing an animal or cutting meat. How to measure your hand for handle fit.

Sheath: The knife comes with a sturdy leather sheath, and this is really important if the knife is taken out of the kitchen and onto the trail.

So do you need a Little Creek II?

This knife is not going to be a favorite with everyone. It is not ergonomic for me – the handle is too small and slender for my large hands. It wouldn’t be my choice for a Bushcraft or survival knife. It worked fine for doing some detail work cleaning fish. 

But my wife has used the Little Creek II constantly since it hit the knife drawer, and pronounces it nearly perfect as a small do-everything, kitchen blade. She reiterates her contention that not everyone wants or needs a knife capable of gutting an elk. Many people, she insists, have no intention of ever doing wood carving or using a knife outdoors. Debbie has some very valid points for prospective buyers.

Anyway, if you need a solid performer in the kitchen with Bark River quality, the Little Creek II may be just right for you.

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