Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pathfinder Trade Knife Review

The way I test knives is to use them for all sorts of everyday tasks. Cooking and eating, opening boxes cutting cord/ rope, cutting on whatever wood I find an excuse for and who knows what else. Some of these tasks inevitably fall into the knifes concept of use/ niche and others do not. This kind of lets me see what it is suited for and less suited for even if that stuff falls outside of what I would think the knifes role is.

Anyway I have testing the Pathfinder Trade Knife for about 3 weeks. I still want to fiddle with it some more but certainly have enough of an impression to do a review. It is a nice looking knife. The handle is nice looking and functional which I appreciate. The finish had a couple little rough spots but nothing too bad. I would say in terms of design and materials it does a good job of having that old traditional look which is part of Dave Canterberry's thing. The sheath is simple but well made and seemingly quite durable.

The blade is 5 inches long. That is about the right width for a good all purpose hard but reasonable use kind of knife. This trend to make 'knives' that are stupidly thick basically pry bars with a sharpened edge. I like that the curve of the bottom of the blade lets you "choke up" on it for delicate work and also functions as a decent stop for the hand to prevent slipping onto the blade.  The blade is 1/8th of an inch thick which is a good width. [Too many knives these days are basically sharpened pry bars. These knives seem to forget the whole point of a knife is to cut stuff not to pry things.]

The knife cuts quite well. It is handy at a variety of tasks around the house and kitchen. It sliced tomatoes well which is not a given with a thicker knife. The blade is rather curved such that the primary cutting surface is about 3/4's of the way up the blade, sort of like on a Tanto. Something about the blades curve tends to draw it deeper into material which isn't a bad thing parse.

Also of course it is full tang, really a blade with some G-10 slabs stuck onto it which is how knifes should be made.  The G-10 is held on by brass rivets which are a nice traditional touch. It has two holes running through the handle and blade with brass inserts. Good for making the thing into a spear I guess or using the back one to stick a wrist thong through.

This does bring us to the one ugly point of this knife. In my testing to date the point of this knife sucks. The way the curve of the spine comes to the point seems to be the culprit. There is a lot of material at various angles coming together at the point. The good news is that I suspect this makes the point very strong. The bad news is that it means the point does not cut particularly well. As I often use the point for small tasks this is problematic. I am going to make sure the tip of the blade is plenty sharp and fiddle with it some more. Worst case it is an issue I can live with.

The concept of use I see for this knife is as an all around belt knife. Preparing food, cutting cord, small wood processing tasks and such. This knife paired with a hawk/ hatchet/ kukuri depending on your inclination and environment would make for a real nice setup for field craft and sustainment. [In a more martial context I would probably have a smaller knife like the RAT 3 on my kit and this in my ruck. Yeah one could argue that is a bit redundant but when you balance weight vs utility I feel good about the trade off.]

As to the inevitable question of if this knife is a good purchase. I paid $99 on special and the normal price is $110. It is a good tool at and will definitely have a key place in one of my kits. The market for medium (say 3.6-5.5in blade) knives in the $110ish price range has some good stuff. If you play a bit fast and loose with the budget and knock it to more like $130 there are really a lot of good options. Some folks might choose differently and that is just fine. In any case I am pretty happy with this knife.




5 comments:

gutscheine zum ausdrucken said...

guter Kommentar

Anonymous said...

Nice review, thank you for the write up. Bushcraft specific knives really have taken off in recent years. A no frills practical fixed blade.

Are the manufacturers of this knife Blind Horse Knifes ? I have two of them and am very happy with them as well. I've owned them for at least 3 years and have no complaints, the Tiger Knapp especially a thin blade that takes up little room in the pack.

Ryan said...

I think it is Habillus.

TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

Ya, the trade knife is from Habillus Bush Tools.

I almost got me one of the PLSK-1s - the Pathfinder knife made by Blind Horse - at one point, but he was perpetually out of stock, and then my attention moved on to something else.

Nice design, though.

Ryan said...

There have been a few renditions of similar knives by different makers.

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