Saturday, August 15, 2015

Three Tiers Of Self-Reliance Knives

I get asked "what knife should I buy" or "what knife do you recommend" so I wanted to make a video and this post to go over what I view as the three tiers of self reliance knives and what I look for beyond the ten attributes that I believe any self-reliance knife must have (See The full Article Here-LINK). My first piece of advice is to find a grind that you're comfortable sharpening with any medium including river stones and stropping with a belt (Scandi or Convex are my grinds of choice). Beyond grind choice the next major consideration is grip design and material, if the knife doesn't fit your hand properly you will not practice with it nor be anywhere nearly as effective as you could be. So what are the three tiers? 1) High-End Knives; 2) Mid-Range Knives; and 3) Starter/Beginner Knives. So what category should you select your knife from? That depends on you, each category has knives that will serve your purposes for a very long time. Weather you want perfect fit function and precise engineering or just a knife that will serve your purpose in the woods you can find anything in-between within this video. So check out the video below and be sure to get your hands on a few knives before you you make your final purchasing decision.

Tier One/High-End Knives:
The expression buy once, hurt once fits this category very well. These knives may be $200+ but you will only have to buy one knife that will last your lifetime and the lifetime of your children. No, a high price tag alone doesn't get you into this category (Note the Habilis Bush tool is bumped down a few levels due to poor performance and weight balance) that price tag has to be bolstered by cooresponding chareristics.What do I expect from a Tier One knive? 1) Life-Time unlimited warrenty- without a willingness to stand behind a product how good can the product be?; 2) Great ballance- the knife should perform its functions in a very ballanced method and you shouldn't have to work against the knife to use the tool, in other words the knife should feel like and extension of your arm; 3) premium materials with excellent finish- If you're going to spend $200 or more on a knife you want something that looks good and will last forever (see point 1), the handle should line up perfectly with the blade and the metal it's self should be of excellent quality with no issues; 4) The knife and the manufacturer should have a track record of excellence in the industry; and 5) The knife should have a decent amount of thought and engineering behind it. This may only be in a master knife smiths head and may only take a short amount of time to schetch out but should be backed by long-term testing as well. Some of the knives I would put into this catergory are Battle Horse Knives, L.T. Wright Knives, Indy Hammered Knives and Deer Creek Forge.

Tier Two/Mid-Range Knives:
These are those knives that very well could last a lifetime or beyond but lack one or more elements listed within the Tier One/High End Knife Category. Each one of the knives in this category is fully functional and well worth their relative investment but may lack a little fit or finish or may not offer a warrenty.  Some of the knife makers I would put in this category are: ESEE, Kbar, Wilder Forge, Jeff White, Wild Bear Forge, Halibis, Steve Van Dyke, Christopher Apodaca, Some Condor and many other smaller scale knife makers.

Tier Three/Beginner Knives:
This tier generally lacks the ability to be a long-term one-tool option for a given reason (i.e. doesn't meet one of the key 10 knife requirements). While Condor and Jeff White are borderline between these two categories depending on the model (Jeff White's at 1/8" seem to be succeptable to breaking at the tip and Condor's lower end knives have broke on me but I generally like their designs and utility). Most Mora's fit into this category as well simply because they are not full tang, I do have to defend my beloved Mora Bushcraft Black- I have beat the crap out of that knife and would reccomend it to anyone; however, I know at some point if I were using it daily to keep me alive it would eventually fail and failure isn't an option in survival. Many will disagree with the Old hickory being placed in this category, all I have to say is watch the video and look at the scales on the knife. I have beat the crap out of the knife and they came loose during the batoning process. Is that $15 knife worth buying.... heck yes if its all you can afford.

Need A Knife? Try One Of These:

So what do these tiers mean to you when you are looking for a knife? If you know you want a knife that will last a lifetime or atleast close to it look at tier 1/2. If you want a beater knife to practice with and develp skills before making the investment in a better knife get a tier three. If you can afford a tier one knife at the onset the by all meand buy it then and only let your wallet hurt once. With that said, get your hands on as many knives as possible before pulling the trigger on any purchase. Determine what grind you think is most fitting to your skills and tasks you require of a knife and use that as a guide for your search. Will a $15 old Hickory do everything that my PLSK1 will do, Absolutly (I used my Mora Bushcraft Black for over a year before I got my PLSK1). Will the Old Hickory last any where as near as long as a PLSK1, Maybe but if you have trouble with the PLSK1 all you ever have to do is send it back where as the Old Hickory just goes into the recycling pile. I look forward to your commnets and seeing where you agree and disagree.

Have something outdoor/bushcraft/trapping/preparedness/hiking/camping/fishing/hunting related you want me to make a post about? Leave me a comment and I will see what I can do! As always feel free to leave your questions and comment below! Also if you enjoy the blog please vote for us on the following websites to help us reach a wider audience:
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