Monday, July 13, 2015

Indy Hammered Knives Bush Cleaver: Knife Review

On Tuesday July 14th at 9pm Eastern I will have James Wahls from Indy Hammered Knives on my weekly radio show to talk about his knife making process, his business model, product line and to answer your questions about his products! If you would like to listen to the show you can do so online (CLICK HERE-, you can ask your questions in the chat room or please feel free to call in (347)202-0228 (press 1) -  to ask your questions live on the air with us! Either way we hope to hear from you Tuesday Night!
Now lets review a knife! This is the first knife I have reviewed that didn't meet all ten criteria I have in place for a one tool option, yet it has became one of my favorite knifes to use and will without a doubt see more than it's fair share of time on the trap line and at deer camp! The lack of a spear point is the only characteristic it lacks, yet the choil on the front is plenty sharp enough to be used to make a bow drill starter hole or in some cases a very wide hole drill. To combat the lack of a spear point I merely have to carry my BHK Short Trail (See My Review Here-LINK) or place a spear point into my kit (I have a ready man card in my Micro 10 C's Kit that has several spear points on it). So what do I get by giving up that spear point with this knife? 1) Meat Cleaver, 2) Survival Knife; 3) Draw Knife, 4) Chopper, 5) Pry Bar, 6) Flat Head Screw Driver, 7)  Carving Knife and 8) Razor sharp durable edge.  If you're ready to pull the trigger on this knife already you can do so on the Indy Hammered Knives Webpage ( The knife I reviewed in the video below has the following options: 1) Amboyna Scales; 2) Dangler Sheath; 3) Lanyard; and 4) Matching beads (mine were upgraded further to include pace bears- contact him for pricing on the additional beads). So lets dig into the actual review video and let me show you how this great knife performs for field use.
IHK Bush Cleaver Video Review: 
Need A Survival Knife? Try one From The Links Below:

Check Out These Other Knife Related Posts: Mora Bushcraft Black vs. Mora Pathfinder (LINK); What to Look For In A Survival Knife (LINK); Easiest DIY Knife Sharpening Technique (LINK); 20 Knife Sharpening Techniques (LINK); Using Your Knife As A Spoke Shave (LINK); SCHF 38 Frontier Knife Review (LINK); Habilis Bush Tool Knife Review (LINK); Jeff White Nessmuck Review (LINK); BHK Short Trail (LINK)

About Indy Hammered Knives: 
Indy Hammered Knives not only puts out some of the best products on the market but they also give back to those less fortunate in the community: Every wool blanket they sell they purchase and donate a matching wool blanket to someone who is homeless or in need. They plan to employ people that might not otherwise have a chance to find meaningful and rewarding employment as they grow. The company also gives back to customers as each week they give away a knife to one of the customers who bought a knife the preceding week. The company also states that 10% of the profits will always go to God first and anytime we can assist someone with finding secure housing that needs it, we will assist. Indy Hammered Knives is a place where things are made with value, with our hands and the talent that God gave us. Each knife is hand crafted from start to finish…..from the forge to the grinder, each is hammered, shaped and the edge is ever so perfectly hand ground to reach the sharpest edge a knife can have. The handles are expertly shaped, of course, by hand bringing out the delicate and beautiful details of the material used that often times gets lost in mainstream manufacturing of knives. Here is a little additional information about how James makes his knives! 
 Basic Specifications:
  • 10" Overall
  • 5" Sharpened Edge
  • 1 7/8" Wide Blade
  • 3/16" Thick full tang hand forged
  • 1095 High Carbon Steel
  • 90 Degree Sharpened Spine
  • Convex Grind
  • Brass Mosaic Pin with company logo and a solid brass lanyard tube
  • Amboyna Burl Handle Scales
  • Custom IHK leather dangler sheath
  • Price $149.99 with no add-on's; $173.99 w/ all Options.

Evaluation of The knife Based on My Survival Knife Specifications (LINK):
Fits Hand Comfortably In All Positions: This knife was build for comfort, function, abuse and to just flat out look awesome! As you saw in the video I held the knife in each position which I plan to use it and this knife is without a doubt the most comfortable knife I have held in a very long time. The unique design of the scales provide the perfect thumb placement for the most control over the knife when doing a wide variety of tasks. The added control is great when using it as a spoke shave or as a draw knife but when doing fine carving it provides the most control of the knife possible. The Amboyna Burl scales work well and still hold a good bit of tackiness when wet to allow maximum control of the knife in all weather conditions.
Manageable Blade Length 4.3"-6.75": This knife has a 5" sharpened straight edge with a Convex grind. This design allows for much easier field sharpening without the curvature of a spear point. While the lack of a spear point hampers this knife as a one tool option it does make this knife so much easier to maintain while not taking away something that I can't makeup by adding a backup knife or a spear point to my carry. While I have been a huge proponent of the Scandinavian grind due to its ease of sharpening but the convex grind on this knife has really won me over. The edge retention is off the charts and it is fairly easy to field sharpen and strop just using the leather sheath.

Solid/Flat Pommel: The pommel is rounded but with the heavier blade and the full tang knife make it easy to crush nuts, hammer tent stakes and generally fulfill the needs of a hammer if it were a one-tool only scenario. The pommel reminds me of the BHK PLSK1 in design and function and performs just as well doing field tasks.
One Cutting Edge w/ No Serrations: This blade obviously has no serrations making it ideal for processing large fire wood via batoning and easy to field sharpen. The convex grind has retained paper cutting sharpness after a month of use in the kitchen and in the field and has been one of the best blades for edge retention that I have ever tested.
Sharp 90 Degree Edge on Spine: The spine of this knife is quite sharp, as you can see in the video above removed a great deal of fat wood  and also tinder material by scraping and was easily able to light those scrapings and shavings with a few ferro rod strikes (would have been one had I practiced a little more with a ferro rod prior to doing this video). This spine can easily be used as a spokes shave is needed as it is that sharp of an edge.

High Carbon Steel: The Bush Cleaver is hand forged high carbon 1095 steel. Unfortunately, I was out minimalist camping with just my EDC Bag (See It's Contents Here- LINK) and forgot to bring my flint/steel kit. After about and hour of looking for flint to no avail (not my normal camp spot) I gave up and decided I would do a flint/steel test this coming trapping season. The mere composition of the knife tells me that I will be able to make a flint/steel fire if needed but like always never trust something until you have done it yourself.
Sharp/Spear Point: This is the one aspect of the knife that doesn't meet my one-tool option criteria. While this is one of the easiest to make up for by carrying a secondary knife or a spear point the choil adds so many options to how you can use the knife it makes up for what you have to give up ten fold.
The ability to have a safe and controllable draw knife, pry bar, screw driver and hand hold make this one of the best design features.
Heavy Duty Sheath w/ Ferro Rod Loop: This Dangler sheath is a thing of beauty! While it does not have a ferro rod loop the sheath can easily be changed out for one which has a ferro rod loop. This knife fits well into my PLSK1 and Jeff White Bush HD sheaths so there is the ability to interchange as needed to fit the specific mission.
1/8" to 3/16" Blade Thickness: This blade is 3/16" thick and is built to process food (cleaver) and wood (bush knife) during your outdoor adventure. This knife glides through firewood when batoning and is actually a joy to use for this task. All of that potential and hope I had when I saw the Habilis Bush Tool (See my review here- LINK) was finally realized in this knife. I would have never imagined that merely inverting the divot of the spine of the knife would make such a huge difference in knife performance. The knife is perfectly balanced and when batoning there is very little offset that you have to worry about. 
Full Tang: This hand forged knife is ready to beat the crap out of in the woods. While this knife looks like a piece of art work it functions extremely well as a work horse in the woods. This is an extremely tough knife that I didn't have a second of reservation about putting through the paces in the woods (aside from ruining one of the best looking knives I've ever seen!)

Note On Handle Material:

Just a little info on the handle. I love this wood and is probably my favorite as it has so much burl and character and the finish is absolutely all natural. No varnish or sealer, just a little danish oil and a high polish (like all IHK knives) so this handle will look like this 100 years from now. Amboyna is technically not a distinct species, but is the name of the burl wood from any of the Pterocarpus species. Most commonly this is Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), but burl sections of Burma Padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) are also sold under the name Amboyna. The name is derived from Ambon Island in Indonesia, where much of the figured wood is believed to have been initially exported. Amboyna is among the most expensive and sought-after of all burls, and is frequently sold as veneer or as small turning/craft blanks. Some suppliers specify “Red Amboyna” for material with the typical rich reddish brown heartwood, or “Golden Amboyna” for pieces with lighter yellowish brown coloration. It’s not unusual for pieces to contain sharply contrasting yellowish sapwood. Amboyna is commonly used for fine furniture, turned objects, electric guitar tops, knife/gun grips, and other small specialty wood items. Amboyna has become a rarity that is very scarce and is even difficult to obtain in veneer form in America. The wood is dense and course making it difficult to work and finish. Despite the shortcomings of the workability of this species it turns satisfactorily and takes a nice high polish. Amboyna is The World’s most popular and sought after burl thus leading to a short supply.

Indy Hammered Knives has put out yet another amazing product at an astounding price point. You get a hand forged knife with hand-made leather sheath, lanyard, toughness of the BHK PLSK1 and 10x the utility of the Halabis bush tool all at a price point that is half of its competitors. This knife brings so much to the table and if you are a trapper, hunter, chef or generally just a lover of all things outdoors this knife brings something to the table that many other simply can't offer. The versatility of this knife is off the charts and the more I use it and the more time I have it in my hands the more I fall in love with the knife. The Bush Cleaver has solidified it place in my kit for trapping season and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great new knife!

Be sure to join us each Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern Time on American Preppers Network's: Prepper Broadcasting Network for the 7 P's Survival Radio Show ( If you have a suggestion for a show topic or know someone who would like to be a guest then please feel free to contact me by email ( 

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