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Archive | Knives

TOPS Knives ICE Dagger

The ICE Dagger is another collaboration between InnerBark Outdoors Head Honcho Andy Tran and TOPS Knives. These two previously collaborated on the Tahoma Field Knife. Andy is a National Park Service Protection Officer and this law enforcement experience is baked into the design of the new knife.

The design features a double edged, spear point blade with a compound grind that creates an obtuse, reinforced tip with edges that still cut aggressively. The knife features textured G-10 scales that can removed and replaced with a cord warp if the user prefers a slimmer profile. It also features a ring at the base of the grip to provide a number of grip options.

The sheath for this knife is an exciting departure for TOPS Knives. All of their current kydex sheaths have been made with a fold-over design and a rotary belt clip. The sheath for the new ICE Dagger is closer to a pancake style sheath with soft loops that can be attached in a variety of ways. The sheath is well suited to the intended use of this knife as a defensive tool.

This knife is expected to be release before the upcoming SHOT Show. Stay tuned for details.

The following is a video from the 2016 SHOT Show where Andy describes the design in detail.

Tahoma Field Knife – New Handle Option

The Tahoma Field Knife, a collaboration between Andy Tran of InnerBark Outdoors and TOPS Knives, is now available with black canvas micarta handle slabs. The new slabs have all the grip of the original tan canvas micarta with the color being the only difference.

Check out the Tahoma Field Knife at InnerBark Outdoors.


You Need Some Victorinox Paring Knives

The Victorinox/Forschner Paring Knife has received a lot of attention lately as a low profile, affordable, and basically disposable self-defense blade thanks in large part of the good work of Ed’s Manifesto but these humbles knives still aren’t getting all the attention due them as utility, outdoor, and hunting knives. The same attributes that make them so useful in the kitchen make them useful everywhere around the house, in your EDC, and especially in the woods.

I don’t want to blather on about something as simple as a paring knife so I will lay out why they are great in outline format…

Comfortable Molded Handles – The handles are made from plastic that is molded directly to the knife’s tang. They are relatively slim and accommodate all the ways you might hold a utility knife. They are also readily release any blood, fur, and animal fat that you might encounter when processing game or livestock.

Aggressive Cutting Performance – These knives really do cut like scalpels. They are extremely thin and have a full height flat primary grind.

Good Enough Steel – Victornox knows a thing or two about stainless steel. Their stainless steel is not an exotic super steel but it is easy to sharpen to a fine edge and able to hold that fine edge long enough to do real work. These knives come from the factory scalpel sharp and they are easy to keep that way.

Lightweight – They weigh next to nothing. I can carry 3 of them in my pack and they still weigh less than most field knives.

Affordable – I usually buy them for $5-6 a piece shipped from Amazon, Ebay, or locally. I don’t care about handle color so I just buy the cheapest one (or better yet, several of the cheapest one).

Surprisingly Tough – When you first lay hands on one of these, it is tempting to think the knife may be fragile because it is so thin and light. You certainly wouldn’t want to use it to baton a bunch of kindling but you could for at least a little while. We have used a single knife to field dress a deer before including splitting the rib cage and opening up the pelvis without edge damage. It was still sharp when the job was done.

I use them several ways. Of course, they see use in the kitchen and my wife has a set of a few different sizes dedicated especially for food prep. I also use them around the house for cutting things that need to be cut – tape, string, boxes, etc. They are truly great for processing poultry, rabbits, and small game. They get a serious workout when it is time to process our meat rabbits.

They are great hunting knives. Instead of worrying about sharpening your knife in the field, you just carry a handful of them. If one gets dull part way through field dressing (it probably won’t), just grab the next one. That saves time, money, and weight in your pack. They even work well for butchering.

They are great for general outdoor and camping use too. Most of what I really need a knife to do in the outdoors is pretty low impact, especially if I have dedicated tools for processing firewood like a hatchet. Ultralight hikers make due without a knife at all and while I would never do that, I find a paring knife to be sufficient when used with other tools. Our forefathers basically tamed the frontier with thin knives that resembled kitchen knives (or were kitchen knives). If you just can’t live without a larger fixed blade, these weigh so little that you won’t feel bad about tossing one in the pack too.

Victorinox makes a few different products that will help you cover the edge for safe transport including a belt sheath but my favorite are their BladeSafes. They are plastic blade covers that open like a clam shell and have small rubber pads inside that grip the blade when closed. They are secure enough to allow you to carry the knives in your pack safely, very affordable, and best of all… dishwasher safe. That makes cleaning blood, fur, and animal fat out of them a breeze.

I have a stack of these knives and I think, after writing this, I am going to buy a few more. Check out the Swiss Classic Paring Knives at Victorinox.

Baryonyx Knife Co. Premium Sharpening Stones

There is no shortage of sharpening stones on the market but finding good quality at an affordable price is somehow still difficult. The most commonly available axe pucks aren’t great. Most field or pockets stones aren’t great. Many coarse stones leave a lot to be desired. Thankfully, Baryonyx Knife Co. has branched into the sharpening business and they are taking it very seriously.

Their growing line of premium sharpeners is excellent. I’ve tried their Artic Fox Field Stone and Sportsman’s Puck. Both cut quickly and leave a surprisingly polished edge. They both hold water well too which is nice considering my previous puck needed to be soaked for at least 30 minutes before using it which isn’t exactly convenient for quick touch ups.

The line includes several general purpose stones and a couple of specialized ones like the Artic Fox Scythe Stone. It may have been designed for scythes but don’t let that scare you away from a useful stone. People have been using stones of that shape to sharpen machetes, lawn mower blades, and other longer edges for years.

I highly recommend that you check out the Baryonyx Knife Co. line of Premium Sharpeners.

TOPS Knives – Bartender Defender XL and a Look Back at 2016

TOPS Knives just rolled out their last new knife of 2016 – the Bartender Defender XL. This is a larger (but still very compact) version of their popular Bartender Defender. The new Bartender Defender XL features a comfortable skeletonized handle, a drop point blade shape, and a bottle opener in the spine of the knife.

TOPS also published a photo that shows all of the new knife models they rolled out in 2016. There were several major releases including the Vi Ax, Brakimo, CUT 4.0, and more. Along with this photo, TOPS is dropping hints about an even bigger 2017. A little birdy told me we may finally see the production version of the BOB folder. Visit booth #20401 at SHOT Show to see what’s in store from TOPS Knives.

Tip: Fiskars Axes and Chipped Edges

I generally like axes and mauls with wood handles because they can be repaired fairly easily and I find them more comfortable to use. That said, sometimes you want an axe or hatchet that you don’t mind leaving outside or for using in ways that you shouldn’t necessarily use them. That is why I own and use several Fiskars axes, hatchets, and mauls.

I recently posted a picture of a Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe that I have grown to like quite a bit on Instagram. Several of you chimed in with your experiences as well which were mostly positive. However, a reader sent me a message regarding their experience with Fiskars axes which included the edge chipping during the first time they used it. Every single one of mine has done the same thing so I figured I should post what I have learned here.

Fiskars axes, for whatever reason, seem to be prone to chipping… at least on the factory edge. There is online speculation that this is due to the heat treatment being ruined during whatever automated sharpening process these axes go through at the factory. I don’t really know but I do know that they will chip and that there is an easy solution.

All you need to do is file the original edge back to remove the problem steel. Once you have removed the steel at the very edge, it will be far less prone to chipping. I also take that opportunity to round over the bevel to improve chopping performance. I generally take a file to them before I even use them now but you can also wait until the chipping happens and then file back until the chips are removed.

This isn’t earth shattering news and I am not the first to do it. Don’t give up on a Fiskars axe just because of some minor edge chipping. There is good steel under there somewhere.

Lunar Concepts SOCP Sheath

Lunar Concepts’ new Benchmade SOCP Sheath offers a lot of functionality that some users may find to be missing in the original equipment sheath. It features a slim, compact, user-configurable design that allows it to be mounted in a number of ways including with a single soft loop for IWB use or 2 soft loops for horizontal carry on the belt.

The initial offering of this sheath sold out quickly. Keep your eyes on Lunar Concepts (LCEquipped.com) to be part of the second run.

New Signet Ring Model – Coming Soon Wise Men Company

Wise Men Company’s Signet Ring, a karambit-like ring attachment for the Spyderco Delica, has been generating a lot of interest. They stated from the start that other models would follow and it looks like we won’t have to wait long. The Signet Ring will be available for the Spyderco Endura/Matriarch in the near future and we have the picture to prove it!

Wise Men Company will open pre-orders for the Edura/Matriarch Signet Ring in January. In the mean time, check out the Signet Ring for the Delica at Wise Men Company.


ESEE will begin taking orders for their new ESEE-6HM at SHOT Show in early 2017. This new ESEE-6 variant features similar modifications as those found on the other HM, or Handle Modification, knives that have already been released (ESEE-3HM and ESEE-4HM).

The deep finger choil found on the original versions of these knives has been removed in favor of a longer, more rounded handle. This design incorporates a self-guard and places the user’s hand very close to the cutting edge which is preferable for power and precision cuts at the base of the blade.

In all other aspects, this is an ESEE-6 and that is a good thing. The 6.5″ long, .188″ thick, 1095 steel blade with ESEE’s excellent heat treat is still there and if this release is anything like the ESEE-3HM and ESEE-4HM before it, the original ESEE-6 won’t go anywhere. The HM version will be offered in addition to the original.


Signet Ring – Spyderco Delica Finger Ring from Wise Men Company

Wise Men Company’s new Signet Ring turns your Spyderco Delica into something entirely new – not quite a karambit but still a Delica. The Signet replaces the Delica’s back spacer with a machined aluminum ring that functions much like the ring on a karabit. It makes the knife easier to retrieve from the pocket and easier to hold in an edge down orientation.


Delicas with the Emerson Wave Opener will be very easy to deploy using the Signet. The ring would sit above the wearer’s pocket where the index finger can easily slip into it and the knife will “automatically” deploy on the draw stroke. This can go a long way toward helping solve the issue of ending up with a grip that is too low on the knife when using the Wave. Regular Delicas may be modified to “wave” open in a similar way by simply attaching a zip tie to the Spyder Hole.

You can pre-order the Signet Ring at Wise Men Company. Shipping begins in January.

Signet Ring at WiseMenCompany.com

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