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Thread: That stoopid knife question

  1. #1
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    That stoopid knife question

    Ok I am severely tempted to get into a Bark River knife. I know this is a pretty dumb question but I keep circling the airport. What would be a good first BRK knife?

    Style:
    I am currently attracted to Canadian LT, Classic Drop Point, Gunny Hunter. Not in that order necessarily. The Fox River is also awesome but I'm thinking maybe 4 inches or slightly under rather than slightly over. Is that sensible? Or is 4.25" Fox River the way to go? I like the angle of attack of the Fox River, I like the goofy unconventionality of the Canadian, I like the classic Loveless lines of the Drop Point and I like the all rounder elegance of the Gunny Hunter.

    Steel:
    As for steel - well A2 is ok, right? Is Elmax or 3V very hard to sharpen? I've got reasonable skills with a stone by now, and I'm not afraid of a learning curve but all my knives up to now (Svord peasant, a Kershaw folder from the 80s with a 4mm thick blade, a Spyderco Delica 4 in VG 10, a Mora Companion which is the one which actually comes with me, an Opinel, a Mercator, etc ) are not hard-to-sharpen super steels. But I have just acquired a couple of stones which should be able to handle the harder steels, ie Shapton glass. But should a first BRK be A2 or Elmax? Cru Wear? 3V?

    And is Bark River even worth it? Would I be better going for the Enzo Trapper in Elmax?

    ahhhhhgh
    Will

  2. #2
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    Why not use your delica4? Used mine on a yearling white tail last week and didn't have a problem

    Nice bright orange handle so I can find it when I drop it
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  3. #3
    Member outdoorlad's Avatar
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    @Tahr
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    Shut up, get out & start pushing!

  4. #4
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    Iíve had a few bark rivers including a fox river and a gunny hunter. Just the gunny hunter left now, like the blade shape over the fox river.
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  5. #5
    Lovin Facebook for hunters kiwijames's Avatar
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    I liked them all. I have big hands and didn't fit a Fox River. I did like the blade shape and the way it cuts.
    I now have a Loveless Drop Point Hunter and Gunny Hunter. I've also had a Gunny.
    All my knives are 3V and its great steel.
    I don't know enough about Elmax but I like the idea.
    S35Vn would have to have been the easiest steel to deal with. Held a good edge, was easy to sharpen and was rust free. For someone who can sharpen a knife OK I would pick this steel.
    3V can be tough to sharpen and needs to be maintained a bit more regularly. It does chip a bit easier I found. Damn deer falling into scree slips.
    Favourite knife so far has to be the Loveless.
    WillB likes this.
    The Universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn't a search for meaning. It's to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you'll be dead. -Mr Peanutbutter

  6. #6
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    I have 12 different Fox River models. I don't have the Canadian LT, or the Classic Drop Point so cannot comment on them.

    In my experience, if you can only have one knife, the best all round hunting knife for field dressing is the Fox River. They do a couple of variants.
    The standard Fox in 3V steel is 8.25" long, 4.25" blade which is 4.32mm thick. By typical NZ knife standards this is a very thick blade and in my opinion an overkill.
    The Fox LT is a light weight version of exactly the same proportions as the standard, but with slightly thinner steel at 3.8mm. This would be my pick for your first knife. They are available in Elmax steel.
    If you are used to slightly larger knives, the Fox River II LT is a great option too at 9.85" overall, 5.2" blade in 3.73mm thick 3V steel. Its a recent addition for me and I like it. That said, for skinning out an animal, don't overlook a smaller blade like the Woodland Special. Amazingly good blade, and although I have never used one, I suspect the Classic Drop Point would be a great small blade as well at 3.77".

    A2 is a good tough steel and there is noting wrong with it, and its definitely cheaper than the super steels (therefore you are one step closer to a second knife if money is an issue). Like all things, if you want the best, then the best is not A2 for a meat processing blade, but will still get the job done. If you are used to steeling or stropping your knife during the processing of an animal you will be 'good to go' with A2. 3V will get you through a couple of animals before it needs attention provided you are careful.

    When I hunt, I tend to take two knives, one for skinning and one for boning. Its the skinning that dulls the edge so this keeps one knife razor sharp for meat processing.

    My recommendation, Fox River (seriously look at the LT), then add a Scandi or Blackwater II (on sale at DLT at the moment) as a dedicated boning knife. I have yet to try my new Blackwater II out on an animal but it feels great in the hand.
    Note, the Fox and the Gunny Hunter are essentially the same blade shape and length (well mine are), but the angle of the handle on the Fox means that it rides with me 95% of the time, while the Gunny stays home. If it wasn't for the fact that the Gunny has such a stunning wild sheep horn handle I would probably sell it.
    I have read feedback from other users that the Canadian Special can cause hot spots on your hand based on the handle shape??

    Obviously check out your prices, and DLT is a great place to start.
    If you decide to go for the cheaper option of A2, check out this seller on ebay. Great deals from eCop Police Supply | eBay stores
    I have purchased non-knife items from them and they offer great service and fair shipping rates.
    Danny and WillB like this.

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys that really helps me a lot. So much good advice. I will check out the Fox LT. And 223 I always take the Delica but I just use it for food prep and such. Great as a light back up. Hot Barrels thanks for that steel info too. Gives me a handle on it.

  8. #8
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    But kiwijames I have big hands too so handle size is a consideration

  9. #9
    Member Tahr's Avatar
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    These are worth a look. Hyken Knives - Lite Hunter - DLT Trading
    They are made by Bark River.
    CPM154 is a very good stainless steel and Bark River have all but stopped using S35VN in preference for it. It holds an edge longer than A2 and is no more difficult to sharpen. Easier to sharpen than 3V.

    If you buy a BR its best to also get a strop and black (course) and green(fine) compound at the same time. The knives have a convex edge profile which you strop rather than put on a stone. There are plenty of youtube vids on strapping convex edges. Its a crime to grind away their edge with stones unless you are fixing a chip.

    If you want to go for the best edge holding then Elmax is the way to go.

    3V has a good balance of toughness and edge holding.
    4v and Cru-wear are better still, but more difficult to sharpen.

    Nothing wrong with A2 though. It will last for about one complete deer without touching the edge.
    cpm154 and 3V will do a couple, 4v and cru-wear several and Elmax more still.

    Once you master sharpening them on a strop you will find that you will want to try the better steels.

    All of the knives mentioned in this thread are good. It comes down to personal preference.

    I've processed more than 100 deer with BR knives. They are great.

    Another very similar brand and equally as good are Cross knives.
    Danny and WillB like this.

  10. #10
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    Brilliant thanks! Iíve watched pretty much all of Virtuovices vids and recently saw some good stuff by Apostle P on convex sharpening - he has a setup with wet and dry on a leather backing and uses a stropping motion - if anything more than a leather strop is needed. That would be another part of the learning curve for me, handling a convex edge. Iím not so keen on Virtuovices aggressive reprofiling although it seems to work for him.
    Danny likes this.

  11. #11
    Member Tahr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillB View Post
    Brilliant thanks! I’ve watched pretty much all of Virtuovices vids and recently saw some good stuff by Apostle P on convex sharpening - he has a setup with wet and dry on a leather backing and uses a stropping motion - if anything more than a leather strop is needed. That would be another part of the learning curve for me, handling a convex edge. I’m not so keen on Virtuovices aggressive reprofiling although it seems to work for him.
    Wako (Virtuovice) is a bit of a friend of mine and we swap knives a bit. He does make his edges very thin and that can affect their stability although I haven't had his chip.
    I use wet and dry for touch up jobs and sometimes to thin edges and it works well.

  12. #12
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    Virtuovice really got me started with knife sharpening. Wonderful videos and such a lovely personality. He hasnít been doing so much posting lately tho eh? Watching him break down a deer is an education all by itself. You can really see the medical training!

  13. #13
    Member ANTSMAN's Avatar
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    Hah, just watched all Virtuos vids yest today, super Info!
    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  14. #14
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    This is a BR Ultra Light Hunter 11 and its an excellent light belt knife. Weighs 3.5oz. 4" blade and roomy enough handle.

    Made of A2 and its hardened a bit higher (60rc) which gives it a bit of extra edge holding. Highly recommended.

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  15. #15
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    Ah ha I was looking at those. They look a really good size weight and shape. Good price too.

 

 

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