Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Indy Hammered Knives Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Knife Review

I received the Indy Hammered Knives Traditional Ecological Knowledge "TEK" knife (Buy It Here-LINK) the day before my last radio show with James Wahls (Listen to that show HERE- LINK) the owner and operator of IHK. The knife was designed to function as both as a tactical defense weapon for those employing fighting systems such as Krav Maga and also as an all around self reliance tool. I have to say that the design is a major improvement on the K-bar type knife in my opinion for a fighting knife and a massive improvement on the K-Bar for tasks on the woods as you can actually use it to baton fire wood. With that said take a look at my review video below by clicking on the picture below (please keep in mind that this is the prototype to the knife and it may not be exactly what the final retail model comes to market as in the very near future).

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So lets dig into what this blade can do in words (granted a picture/video is worth a thousand words and there are several of those here) and to do that lets go through my requirements for the selection of the mythical "One Tool Option."

Fits Hand Comfortably in All Positions: The handle shape of this knife lends itself to being extremely comfortable in every single position you handle the knife. The texture of the Micarta handle is better than many high end competitors and lends itself to being extremely controllable, even when wet. If you watched the video you will notice that the knife can be choked up on, is extremely comfortable in the fighting position and every other position for that matter.

Manageable Blade Length: 4.3"-6.75": This knife has a 5" blade that is perfectly functional for both a tactical blade or a woods blade. The main reason for this requirement is for batoning wood and as you can see in the video above this knife will easily baton material and also has sufficient length to serve as a superior defensive weapon if needed.

Solid/Flat Pommel: While the pommel of the knife isn't flat (I really need to fix the wording of this requirement to be solid pommel capable of being used as a makeshift hammer) it is still capable of crushing walnuts or hammering a tent peg into the ground. Granted you have to keep the knife at more of a forward angle but it is still quite capable.

One Cutting Edge w/ No Serrations: The full 5" blade is a solid cutting surface without any serrations and has a scandi-vex grind. I haven't had much luck with the scandi-vex grind in the past as it seems quite vexing to sharpen for me and doesn't seem to be as durable as a straight convex or scandi to me (I have really fallen in love with the saber grind recently). This knife has been fairly durable as after I sharpened it the first time it hasn't needed anything but stropped since. While the knife doesn't slice through wood like the bush clever (See my review here- LINK) it still produced sufficiently thin shavings to make tinder material.

90 Degree Edge on Spine: This is the only ding this knife would get in my opinion and would in all likelihood be fixed by James on the production models and given this knife carries with it a lifetime warranty it could be sent back to James to have the spine sharpened easily. In the review video you will see that the spine had trouble removing material from the both the ferro rod and fat wood as it is slightly rounded. While this may not be a big issue for those looking for a fighting knife it is for a redneck woodsman from WV who collects a lot of tinder material by scraping and lights 90% of his fires with a ferro rod. Now for me it honestly isn't a deal breaker as I obviously always carry two knives or more in the woods and my two neck knife options have some of the sharpest spines of any knives I've handled. So why is this not a deal breaker? 1) The knife has a lifetime warranty and if you send it back its fixed as James stands behind his work; 2) I carry more than one knife; 3) It's not a deal breaker on my scout or Mora Bushcraft Black which have been used extensively for flint/steel as I carry that back up knife. While one could pull a Les Stroud (I'm a huge fan btw so don't get all mad) and merely use the blade to scrape material that just isn't an option for me personally as I would like to preserve the blade of my knife as much as possible in the field. 

High Carbon Steel: This knife is made from high quality 1095 high carbon steel which makes it relatively easy to sharpen in the field and also allows the knife to be utilized for flint and steel fire making. While I haven't tried to utilize the knife for a flint and steel fire as of yet, but the IHK bush clever works amazing for that purpose and has been used to effect fire via that medium on several occasions.

Sharp/Spear Point: The knife has a sharp point as showcased in the review video and will work quite well as a defensive weapon. While it doesn't have a spear point setup on the tip it is still capable of drilling a hole to start a bow drill set or to drill a hole to make a carrying sling for a bamboo container.

Heavy Duty Sheath w/ Ferro Rod Loop: This knife comes with three excellent sheath options! All three sheath options are among the highest quality you will get with a knife out of the box (yes there are fancier custom sheaths out there but the difference in quality will be minimal and the price will be close to the price of the knife), but I honestly LOVE the looks of the Kydex sheath option as I believe it is the best fit for a tactical knife and the two look amazing together. The OD Sheath that came with the prototype knife came with a fire kit (ferro rod, scraper/saw, jute twine and four sure fire options) that make fire craft easy as pie. The standard IHK/Sampson leather sheath are among the top of leather sheaths I have received with a knife.

1/8"- 3/16" Blade Thickness: This knife is 3/16" thick which makes it very suitable for long-term self-reliance. The knife is still quite capable of slicing and cutting very fine for fine wood working or fire prep but is also ideal for heavy-duty work such as prying out a notch, batoning or even processing large game.

Full Tang or Nearly Full Tang w/ 1+ Year Of Abuse Testing: This knife is tough and full tang. IHK stands behind their products 100% so buying with confidence should never be a problem with their products! I haven't had this knife long enough to tell you how it performs after a year, but in the several times I have picked it up for woods use it has performed to expectations. The knife also worked quite well for dinner prep making steak and chops on two different occasions.

This knife was built with being used as a fighting knife in mind and from my experience it would and will work exceedingly well for that purpose if you're a practitioner of Krav Maga (I might have a friend who is a Krav Maga instructor take a look at this knife and give me his opinion in the near future).  The knife also functioned exceedingly well in a woodland environment as a self-reliance tool with the only area I would potentially change being the sharpness of the spine (this might have been changed on production models- remember this was the very first prototype for this knife). As with all IHK knives there is a lifetime warranty, so you know heirloom type quality is always going to be there with the knives that James puts out so selection of the style that fits your specific needs for a knife weather it be self defense, self reliance or something else. I will say that the knife fits the hand wonderfully in every single position and is a joy to use for any task, even when soaking wet you will not have any issues with maintaining your grip on this knife. The fire kit that comes with this knife is a great value added that will provide you with a few fire starting options, add a micro Bic lighter and a hunk of flint and that give you several types of fire starting methods to effect fire.

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