Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review - Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife

Recently Mora of Sweden teamed up with another Swedish manufacturer of firemaking products called Light My Fire. This company is know for its Swedish Firesteels and polymer cookware. I'm sure many of you have seen the Light My Fire Spork. Together with Mora, Light My Fire has made the Swedish FireKnife.

The FireKnife is a collaboration between
Light My Fire and Mora of Sweden.
The Swedish FireKnife combines the functionality of a Mora with a Swedish Firesteel, which sits in the handle. A knife and a firesteel are an excellent combination, since cutting and firemaking are two of the most useful tasks when trying to survive in the outdoors, whether camping, backpacking or in an emergency situation.

For those who do not know, firesteel (aka ferrocerium) is a metal rod made up of  a mixture of metals (Iron, Cerium, Lanthanum, Neodynium, Praseodymium and Mangesium). When scraped, it emits a shower of sparks. It is the same material used in cigarette lighters to make sparks. When used to start a fire, a firesteel rod easily lights dry material. It is waterproof, durable, and one rod is good for starting thousands of fires.

The Firesteel Rod on the FireKnife 
emits a shower of sparks when scraped.
The Swedish FireKnife isn't just a gimicky survival-knife. It also has a very functional blade. I did mention that the blades were made by Mora of Sweden. Those who own a Mora know that their knives are some of the best on the market, especially when considering the price.

The blade on the FireKnife is 4.0" long, an excellent size for an all-around blade. It features Mora's famous Scandinavian Grind, which gives you a sharp and durable blade edge. About a third of the way from the tip, the blade thins out, coming to an acute point. This gives the blade a better slicing ability. The blade steel is a Sandvik 12C27 Stainless Steel, which resists rust well, but is still hard enough to hold a sharp edge. The blade is 0.08" thick, which is a nice all-around blade thickness. It's not excessively thick, which would make it heavy, but it's also not so thin that it is likely to snap and break.

Unlike many heavy-duty outdoor knives, the FireKnife does not have a full tang blade, something that many would consider a disadvantage. To those who do not know, a full tang is where the blade steel extends through the handle. Full tang knives are stronger, but are usually more expensive and heavier. The FireKnife is not a rough-use knife, but is adequate for most cutting tasks and light to medium-duty chopping/batoning. Basically, you don't want to beat on the knife, but you don't have to baby it either. For the price, you're getting a lot of function and durability with the FireKnife.

Moving on the the handle. The FireKnife's handle is made of polymer and covered with an ergonomic gray rubber. It is very comfortable in the hand. A hollow in the handle fits the firesteel perfectly. The molded handle on the firesteel blends with the handle on the knife, forming a perfectly ergonomic and functional tool.

The FireKnife comes in 5 attractive colors.
The FireKnife also comes in an assortment of colors, perfect for those who want some variety in their blades. The knife comes in the following colors: Black, Red, Orange, Green and Cyan Blue. No matter what your style, there should be a color that works for you.

All in all, the FireKnife, by Light My Fire and Mora of Sweden is an excellent outdoor/survival tool. It features a great blade, with a functional firestarter at an excellent price. If you're looking for a new outdoor blade, why not check out the FireKnife by Light My Fire?

If you have any experience with the FireKnife, let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review - Mora Scout 39 Safe

I've reviewed Mora knives before, and in the time since then, my opinion of the Swedish knife manufacturer has only grown fonder. They are constantly coming out with new and interesting products that continue to have the same dedication to quality and value that they are known for.

Like I've mentioned in a previous post titled "Mora - The Best Knives You've Never Heard Of", my experiences with Mora go back to when I was a little boy. My father bought one for me as a birthday present: a Mora Scout 40. I absolutely loved that knife and still own it to this day. I've recently come across a new little gem from Mora based on the Mora Scout series of knives. It's called the Mora Scout 39 Safe.

The Mora Scout 39 Safe is designed as a knife to be used by children. While children should be supervised at all times when using dangerous tools, I believe that every young boy, if he shows a level of maturity, should be given a small knife. I know the effect that it had on me. When a parent allows a child to use dangerous tools safely, such as a knife, it helps teach that child responsibility. The same thing goes with teaching a child how to shoot a firearm or a bow.

The blunt tip on the knife is an easy indication to show its intended use by children. The knife still has a very sharp edge, but the tip is dull, which should prevent the user from accidentally poking himself or others. Like most Moras, the edge has a Scandinavian grind, an edge geometry that is known for being very strong.

The dimensions of the knife is another demonstration that the knife is intended for small hands. The full length of the knife is 6.9", with a handle length of 3.6". The blade is 3.3" long and is made out of Mora's famous Sandvik Stainless Steel, a steel that keeps an edge well but is easy to sharpen.

The handle on the Scout 39 Safe is made out of Birchwood and comes in a variety of colors. A black leather sheath is also included that secures the knife with a snap closure. The sheath can be easily carried with the included belt loop.

So, for all of you fathers out there, if you're looking for a first knife for your young boy, look no further than the Mora Scout 39 Safe. While it's still potentially dangerous, it's designed to be as safe as a functional knife can be. I know that I would love to have one if I were a young boy again.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review - Condor Greenland Pattern Axe

The Condor Greenland Pattern Axe in its natural habitat.
Condor is a very innovative company with regard to their machetes and other large knives. In the last Knives Blog post, we looked at the Condor Parang Machete, and the quality, craftsmanship and the affordability was clearly evident. Condor, however, isn't only a machete/knife manufacturer. They also make some great axes, and this time we'll be taking a look at the Greenland Pattern Axe.

The Greenland Pattern Axe is a fairly small and portable axe, slightly larger than a hatchet. However, it is not so small that it becomes unusable. To be specific, the length is 14.7". The weight is nearly 2lbs, (1 lb, 15.4 oz). Along with the axe, you also get a very nice leather bit, which protects the blade, and more importantly protects YOU from getting cut.

The Greenland Pattern Axe comes with a
very nice leather bit.
The axehead, make out of 1045 High Carbon Steel, has a very solid, hammered finish. It is profiled nicely, although would need some work to get it razor-sharp. Some quick file-work would easily get the job done. The actual blade of the axe is 3.7" long. The back of the axehead has a flat area, great for use as a hammer, or even to hammer on if you're splitting wood by using it as a wedge.

The one fault that I would point out about the Condor Greenland Pattern Axe is that the handle wood is untreated. The handle is made out of American Hickory, a nice hardwood which is polished and smooth. However, it would need to be treated with oil or some other coating to protect it against rot. This could actually be a pretty fun project, since it allows you to stain it or finish it in any way that you would like. The handle itself is very ergonomically contoured, making it very comfortable to use.

From the side, you can see the
ergonomic contours on the axe handle.
Despite that fairly small criticism, the Condor Greenland Pattern Axe would be a very useful tool if you're out camping or working in the woods. There are certain tasks that an axe really excels in. The Condor Greenland Pattern Axe would be a great companion for any outdoorsman!

Have any experience with the Condor Greenland Pattern Axe? Share what you think of it in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review - Condor Parang Machete

Based on the traditional Parang design from Malaysia and Indonesia, the Condor Parang Machete works as well as it looks.

Lately, I have taken a real liking to Condor knives. For the money, Condor has some of the best machetes and sheaths on the market. Sure, a Tramontina or Ontario machete will work just as well, but they do not compare with the quality of workmanship that Condor machetes possess.

The Condor Parang Machete is as good looking as it is functional.
Many machetes on the market do not come with a sheath. Not so with Condor machetes (and knives/axes). Now, all Condor products come with high quality leather sheaths. Believe me when I say this: the sheaths that come with all Condor machetes, knives and axes are some of the nicest oil-treated leather sheaths that I have seen. The superior stitching and functional designs of these sheaths make Condor blades a bargain when compared to everything else on the market.

The sheath for the Condor Parang is also very high quality,
yet the price for both is still very affordable.
The Parang machete has a slim profile with a forward-weighted balance, which makes it an excellent chopper. The blade thickness is nearly 1/4" (0.23"), however. This is not a dinky machete in any shape or form. The hardwood handle is polished to a smooth finish, with brass rivets and a lanyard hole at the end. Even though there is no texturing on the handle, the shape has a downward swoop and is thicker on the end, which prevents it from coming out of your hand during use.

This machete is a chopper. It would work great for clearing brush and chopping through medium-sized saplings. It's not an axe by any means, but will also chop wood in a pinch.

In Condor's line of machetes, the Parang has definitely peaked my interests. I'll be reviewing more great products from the Condor line in future blog posts. There are just so many blades that should not remain untouched!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review - Ballistol

So far, we've looked at different types of knives and bladed tools here on Knives Blog, but we haven't really looked at products that help you maintain your knives.

Apart from having a way to sharpen your blade, having a good cleaner/lubricant/protector (CLP) is essential to maintaining your knife, especially if you use it regularly. My favorite all-around CLP is Ballistol, and it has many more uses than just knife maintenance.

History

Ballistol was originally invented for military use in Germany in 1904. It's purpose was to maintain rifle parts and to protect wood stocks and leather. Since then, it's been very popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and recently began growing in popularity in the United States.

The 16oz Non-Aerosol Bottle is my
preferred type of Ballistol.
Uses

Since Ballistol is a CLP, it will clean, lubricate and protect any metal components that it is applied to.

I like to use it to lubricate the hinges on folding knives, to allow for smooth opening. It's also great for protecting carbon steel blades to keep them from rusting. You can even use it to restore the sheen to a leather sheath.

Ballistol is popularly used as a firearm cleaner, as well. It dissolves carbon, copper, and other soft metals which makes it great for cleaning barrels. Unlike other oils, it stays where you put it, which makes it great for keeping your firearms rust-free.

Ballistol also comes in a smaller
6oz Aerosol Can.
I've also used Ballistol around the house. Just yesterday I cleaned a dirty spark plug from a weed-whacker that didn't want to start. It worked wonderfully. Because it stays where you put it, it's great for lubricating door hinges. There are just so many uses, and it works so well at what it does, that after you get it, you'll be wondering how you ever lived without it!

The only possible complaint that I think anyone can have about Ballistol is the odor. It has a strong odor that I have actually grown to like. To me, it smells like licorice. Other people can't stand it.

I have had headaches from using other cleaning products such as Breakfree CLP, but never with Ballistol. Ballistol is biodegradable and non-toxic, which can't be said for other cleaner, solvents or oils.

If this post hasn't convinced you to at least try this amazing product, Click HERE to read the "Amazing Story of Ballistol", a more detailed explanation of what Ballistol is and how it came to be.

Have any of you had any experience with Ballistol? If you have, let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review - Slip-N-Snip Folding Scissors

Yeah, this is Knives Blog, but if you think about it, scissors are technically knives with two blades instead of one.

Slip-N-Snip Folding Scissors come in a variety of colors.
Have any of you thought of carrying scissors daily? There are many situations where scissors are just better suited for the task, whether it's cutting paper or snipping a loose thread on a shirt. In these tasks, a knife may get the job done, but it's usually not precise enough to do the job well.

There have always been multi-tools and swiss army knives if you wanted a pair of scissors, but perhaps you don't like the dinky blades that usually come with them. Maybe you like your folding knife, but wanted a way to carry a small pair of scissors.

I've recently discovered a way that you can carry scissors easily with you, without increasing the bulk of your EDC (everyday carry) gear very much at all. They are called Slip-N-Snip Folding Scissors, and apparently have been out for some time now.

When folded, Slip-N-Snips are very compact.
These scissors are U.S. Made and come in a variety of great colors. Their design and function in excellent onsidering that these scissors fold up to only 3.2" in length. When folded, the Slip-N-Snips hide the blades within the steel handles, so there is absolutely no way of poking yourself with them. They unfold very easily as well. Their blades are sharp and cut as well as any scissors that I've ever used.

When you pick these up, you can really feel the quality. They weigh only 1 oz, but have a nice, solid feel. Anyone who has handled a quality folding knife will know what I'm talking about.
As you can see,
unfolding the Slip-N-Snips is very simple.
So, if you're looking for the added functionality that a pair of scissors can give you, but are afraid of adding bulk to your everyday carry gear, consider trying out the Slip-N-Snip Folding Scissors. They're high quality, U.S. Made and inexpensive. Heck, even if you carry them for a while and find out that you don't need scissors as part of your EDC gear, you can always put them in a backpack, Bug Out Bag, Emergency Kit, or First Aid Kit and find use for it there.

Have any of you guys used these scissors? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to carry a knife with a pocket clip?

When you're excited about a certain subject, in this case it's knives, there are a lot of "assumed" things that you just take for granted. Whether it's: how to use a thumbstud, how to tighten/loosen a knife pivot screw to limited blade play and/or ease of opening, serrated vs. partially serrated vs. plain edge for knife choice, or, even simpler, how to carry a knife with a pocket clip. These seemingly basic questions are rarely discussed. However, to somebody who is just getting into carrying a knife, or has very little background knowledge, these are very useful questions to ask.

Today, let's discuss perhaps the most basic question when it comes to folding knives: Which pocket to use for folding knife carry?

A small folding knife from the Spyderco Bug Series
can be great for in-the-pocket carry.
Generally, there are two main ways that people carry folding knives: clipped to a pocket, or placed into the pocket. Personally, if a knife has the ability to be carried with a clip, I would prefer this method. The main reason being is because it keeps the knife in one place so that you can easily reach it in moments where you may need the knife quickly, or when you're in an awkward position.

Also, smaller knives can be easily carried within a pocket with no discomfort, but a large knife doesn't having that luxury. Carrying a knife in a pocket really maximized the size of folding knife that you can carry, because it optimally orients the knife vertically. The limit to how big your folding knife can be, while still being easily carried, is the vertical length of the pocket that it will be carried in, whether you carry it within the pocket or clipped to it.

Now's the next question: Which pocket to use?

For the longest time, I would carry my knife clipped onto my right side pocket. I am right handed, and this seemed like the most natural position to carry a knife in. I also carry my wallet in that pocket. I just got used to carrying the knife in the same pocket as my wallet, although it was pretty inconvenient to bump into my knife every time i needed to take my wallet out.

Eventually, after close to 3 years of this "uncomfortable carry," I had the clever idea to move my knife to the right side of my back pocket. It only about 4 inches away from where I normally carried my knife, but it was so much more convenient. I don't normally carry anything in my back pocket, which made it a perfect spot to carry my knife. Now, I no longer bump into my knife when getting my wallet, and have my knife as accessible as it has always been.

Advantages to back pocket knife carry.

Back Pocket Knife Carry (BPKC) is where it's at.
I've found a number of advantages to carrying my knife in the way that I do now. Like I mentioned earlier, I no longer hit my knife when putting things in and out of my side pockets. I must admit that there have been many times where I have scratched myself while doing this, yet I never had the idea to move my knife somewhere else.

I also don't scratch things with my pocket clip as often. I know you guys know what I am talking about! Hearing a scratching noise as you walk next to your car in the garage can really raise your blood pressure. Those scratch marks on the clear coat of your car are hard to get out, you know.

I haven't really noticed any disadvantage to carrying a knife in my back pocket after carrying like that for several months now.

Let's hear it from you guys in the comments below. How do you carry your folding knives? Have any of you discovered the wonders of back pocket carry?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review - Pro Tool Woodman's Pal

A tool that been Military Issue since at least 1941 (that's over 70 years!) but that you may have never heard of is the Woodman's Pal. A functional tool that can work as a machete, a hatchet, a make-shift shovel and even a last-ditch self defense weapon.

The Woodman's Pal is made by Pro Tool Industries, a company known for high quality and hard use blades, all of them being made in the U.S. Upon first seeing its unique and non-traditional blade shape, one may be hesitant, thinking that it's a gimmick. Well I'm here to tell you that it surely isn't.
The Woodman's Pal Classic has a functional wooden handle.

The Woodman's Pal comes in a few different versions, all making use of its unique blade shape. The Classic Model 481 is the original, and it comes with a variety of sheath options (Nylon, Leather and Canvas). The Military Model 784 is very similar to the 481, but with a hand guard and a stacked leather handle. The Compact Model 784 also has a hand guard and leather handle, but has a shorter blade and handle. Finally, there is Long Reach Model 145, which has a longer handle for hard to reach tasks.

All of the Woodman's Pals have a 1/8" thick high carbon steel blade hardened to Rockwell C47. This makes the blade strong, but not too hard, allowing it to be sharpened easily in the field. The blade has two sharpened edges, one on the bottom of the blade and a sharpened sickle hook on the spine, near the tip. The front of the blade and the spine are left unsharpened, for reasons that you will read in a bit.

In order to truly appreciate the tool, you first need to consider it's application. This tool is one that you would mainly use to clear brush, and for light to medium duty chopping tasks. It excels as a machete. It is reported by Pro Tool that the Woodman's Pal can slice through branches up to 1.5" in diameter with a single chop. The spine of the blade, is dull, and has a small notch in it. This notch is used to prevent your hand from slipping onto the sickle hook when using the tool as a drawknife, another task that it excels in.

The Woodman's Pal Compact is a smaller design with a leather handle.
The sickle hook on the spine of the blade gives you a unique cutting ability. Machete blades work with a chopping action. The hook on the Woodman's Pal allows you to cut with a pulling action as well. This can be useful for cutting vines near the ground or even cutting through rope. I have seen the hook even used to pick up branches off of the ground, so that the user does not have to bend over as far to pick something up. Whether you have some property that you are trying to clear, or want to clean up a space to set up a tent, this tool can get the job done.

As a survival tool, the wide blade also allows you to use the Woodman's Pal as a makeshift shovel. That same notch on the spine of the blade would allow you to stabilize the blade when digging into soil or sand. The top of the tool is dull, so there is no blade to damage should you use it in this way.

While fully functional as a machete, the Woodman's Pal is so much more. While I don't believe it to be an all-in-one tool for the outdoors, combined with a smaller fixed blade knife (a Mora perhaps), you should be ready for most of the outdoor tasks that require the use of a blade.

If you do own one, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.