The author of this blog does not advocate hate or unprovoked violence against any group. The purpose of this blog is to provide the very best information regarding philosophy, mindset training, and technique for the Christian Martialist in their broader Biblical, theological and cultural contexts. Nothing posted here should be construed as promoting or excusing hostile speech or acts toward anyone.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Knife Advice

A reader wrote and asked me advice about what he might buy from the current sale going on over at Cold Steel's Special Projects site. My response, with editing, follows:

Dear Warrior,

Back when I sold knives, Cold Steel was known for the quality steel used in its blades. They now use such a wide variety of steels that I'm not familiar with -- just have not kept up -- that I would have to limit my recommendations. (It's not that there are so many different steels, it's that each company has its own proprietary name for them.)

One item that I have always liked because of its simplicity, versatility and low price was the Bushman. It can be a large camp knife by itself. With a short handle, it can be a machete-like chopping tool. With a longer handle, it can be a spear. It's not on sale, but it's cheap enough. Sometimes you can find them among the seconds items. It did not sell well for me, I think, because is purely utilitarian -- does not conjure images of commando raids, etc.

I own a Master Hunter, which I like, but mine is an older version made of Carbon V steel. I don't know about the San Mai steel. 

If I were to recommend a great knife that would be a lifetime investment, it wouldn't be from Cold Steel. It would be from Blackjack Knives. They are back in business after going into receivership because of a nasty altercation with the IRS. 

They make knives from A-2 tool steel, which is air quenched. If you use water to quench steel in the hardening process, you create a lot of stress micro-fractures. This makes the steel brittle. You can reheat the steel to minimize the fractures, but that takes away some of the hardness.

Some steels can be oil quenched, which cools a little more slowly than water but results in good hardness and fewer stress fractures. Cold Steel's Carbon V was/is an oil quenched steel.

Steels with the right amount of molybdenum can be air quenched. They take the steel out of the heating oven and put it in front of a fan. The final product will have high hardness and strength.

Different air quenched alloys can have different characteristics. A-2 is chosen for hardness, D-2 for resistance to wear, etc.

I have a pre-receivership Blackjack hunting knife called the Trail Guide. It's made of A-2 tool steel. My knife is similar, though not identical to the Model 5.

The other characteristic I like about Blackjack knives is that they make convex blades. Convex blades will not only take a razor-like edge, but that edge will stand up to a lot of use. One thing about convex blades, though. You must learn how to hone them properly. If you use a stone instead of a strop, you will ruin the edge.

Well, I've gone on and told you more than you wanted to know. I don't know what help this will be to you, but maybe I'll recycle this letter as a blog post.

This video may help to explain the advantages of a convex blade:


  1. Sorry this took me so long to get to. GREAT article, great tips, thank you. :-)

    1. Glad you liked it. My barber sent me a great video on sharpening convex blades awhile back. Maybe I'll post it some time.