Showcase: BUCK 110 Hunter and Hunter Pro

Buck’s 110 Folding Hunter has been a firm favourite since its release in 1963, and is probably the most copied folding knife design in existence. Its traditional mixture of brass and wood (Macassar Ebony Dymondwood), along with the elegant lines and simple lock-back mechanism, has made it a classic with enduring appeal. Now brought up to date in terms of materials with the 110 Folding Hunter Pro using S30V blade steel and Nickel Silver with G10 handle inserts, you can now keep the traditional style but not compromise on blade performance if you need the extra edge retention the S30V will give you.

BESS Certified sharpness testing:

Before we get to the photos, also included in this showcase are the results of the factory edge sharpness testing. These are impressive results; see the gallery for the certificates.

The BESS ‘C’ scale of sharpness, was developed by Mike Brubacher (Brubacher Edge Sharpness Scale).

The 110 Folding Hunter’s factory edge has an average BESS ‘C’ sharpness of 206. At this sharpness it easily and cleanly slices 80gsm copier paper, and will shave the hair from your arm. The 110 Folding Hunter Pro’s factory edge has an even more impressive average BESS ‘C’ sharpness of 195.

Gallery:

Now for the tour around the two versions of this classic knife design; enjoy! (Click on any image to enter the gallery viewer)

 

Discussing the Showcase:

The ideal place to freely discuss these reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

BladeForums – Knife Reviews (US based Forum for Knife Discussion)

CandlePowerForums – Knife Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

Knife Review: Lionsteel T5 MI

Each year at IWA, there are a few blades that stand out and draw you back to them time and again. Lionsteel’s T5 was one of those, and may well have been my most visited blade at IWA 2017. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot more time with it subsequently, as well as being able to discuss its design with Mik Molletta, the man behind this outstanding knife.

The Blade and Handle Geometry:

Most knife specifications have a basic description of the blade geometry, but in this section I will be taking a more detailed look at geometry and balance.

Using a set of gauges and precision measuring equipment including a Vernier protractor, callipers, fixed radius gauges and the unique Arc Master adjustable radius gauge (the one that looks like a crossbow).

These measurements have been tabulated and are presented along with a few reference blades (8″ Chef’s Knife, 5.5″ Santoku and the popular Fällkniven F1).

Key aspects such as the primary bevel angle, grind type, blade depth, blade thickness, length, weight are detailed, along with balance information.

The ‘Balance relative to the front of the handle’ tells you if the knife will feel front heavy, or if the weight is in your hand (a positive value means the weight is forward of the front of the handle). The ‘Balance relative to the centre of the handle’ indicates how close to a ‘neutral balance’ the knife has in the hand.

In the case of full convex grinds the approximate centre of the grind is used for the primary bevel angle estimate.

The blade is made from Niolox steel.

New for 2018! BESS Certified sharpness testing:

The BESS ‘C’ scale of sharpness, developed by Mike Brubacher (Brubacher Edge Sharpness Scale) will now become part of Tactical Reviews’ knife testing process. Initially this will be used to verify the sharpness of the factory edge and allow the knife to be brought to a minimum standard sharpness before testing a blade’s cutting performance.

The Lionsteel T5’s factory edge has an average BESS ‘C’ sharpness of 233. This original edge cleanly slices 80gsm copier paper with an edge cut, but won’t quite push cut it. It slices into the rounded edge of a doubled over sheet of the same 80gsm paper. It also will catch the edge of green Rizla paper and slice halfway through (cross ways), but not all the way.

Explained by the Maker:

The reasons for certain design choices may not be clear when simply looking at an object, so this section is intended to give an insight into the thinking behind a design by speaking to the designer themselves.

Mik Molletta, kindly agreed to go through many of the design aspects of the T5 and despite a language barrier, Mik has helped with the questions I put to him. These are the marked up images that allowed us to pick out details to discuss.

The following is derived from the points we covered. Not every label has a comment:

As with many other projects, it was Lionsteel who approached Mik regarding designing a multi-role compact knife. In this case the inspiration was from talking with soldiers who need a compact multi-role knife, and this was what determined the blade length (A), as it is a good length for bushcraft and survival work.
The blade tip (B) is positioned above centre line so that as well as survival duties, it will also be suitable as a hunting knife.
To best fit with the aims of this project and its multi-use capabilities, Mik chose a ‘straight’ knife without any rake (F).
Being a multi-purpose knife, a flat grind has been chosen as this is the best solution for a blade that has to do various jobs. The blade steel, Niolox, was selected for its fine structure, good wear and toughness.
It is specifically balanced (I) for agility ease of handling and control. Texturing on the handle (K) is not merely a remnant of machining the shape of the handle, but was intentionally applied with a CNC template to give this pattern.
The T5 uses a distinctive and unusual one piece handle (L) which increases stability, precision and overall durability. In terms of the handle contours and the amount of palm swell (M), as if often the case, it’s what the designer themself finds comfortable that gets chosen.
Blade thickness (N) at 5mm is intended to still provide excellent strength for the length of blade. The extended swedge (O) reduces the blade section without weakening the tip.

Moving onto the other labelled photo of the sheath:

Though the use of a double row of stitching (P) adds to the size of the sheath, although the welt does protect the stitching from the blade, the double row increases the durability and life of the sheath so is an acceptable trade off for a little increase in size.
It is very unusual to have a MOLLE compatible (R) leather knife sheath and the use of leather was dictated by the absence of noise compared to other options. How you carry your knife is very personal so the MOLLE compatibility was added so it can be attached to a backpack or to a belt.
There is a hole behind the MOLLE strap (S) which doesn’t look right for a drainage hole as it is too high, but this is actually a construction hole simply used during assembly of the sheath.

A few more details:

The T5 arrives in a cardboard box.

Inside, the sheathed T5 is otherwise unwrapped.

Along with the T5 is a small leaflet.

However, the blade is wrapped inside the sheath.

You can see that the plastic wrapping was not terribly successful, as the blade has just sliced through it when it was inserted into the sheath.

A very nice quality leather sheath is used for the T5.

The leather is double stitched for maximum durability and lifespan.

The maker is cleanly embossed into the leather.

Here the information leaflet is slipped into the belt loop to better show its position.

Very unusually, this leather sheath has a MOLLE compatible mount.

The MOLLE strap is very snug in the loops, so not the easiest to weave onto webbing. You won’t want to move this more than necessary.

A great looking knife and sheath. This is why I kept revisiting Lionsteel’s stand at IWA 2017.

The steel specification is engraved into the blade – NIOLOX. An increasingly popular steel.

A close-up of the blade tip.

Almost the entire blade length has a swedge to help reduce weight.

The flat grind is very high, but not quite a full flat grind.

Only visible along the back of the handle, there is a full length, full thickness tang.

Sculpted from a single piece of micarta, the handle has a wide and comfortable finger guard. The cutting edge is nicely terminated with a sharpening choil.

Grip texturing is machined into the handle surface.

Two stainless Torx bolts secure the handle to the tang.

Looking through the lanyard hole, you can see the hole doesn’t go through the tang itself.

The tang protrudes from the end of the handle providing a hammering surface.

A minimal amount of jimping is included next to a thumb rest.

With a well rounded plunge line, maximum strength is retained.

Excellent attention to detail in the sheath with a protective cover over the internal part of the rivets. Doing this prevents the handle being scratched by the metal fixings.

The sheath wraps around the base of the handle providing a very secure hold on the knife. Unfortunately this makes the sheath only suitable for right handed users.

An extremely refined package.

This really is something special.

What it is like to use?

I’m going to start with that beautiful and well thought out leather sheath. Fortunately I am right handed, so this presents me with no issues, and I hope Lionsteel will offer a left handed version of the sheath.
It is the first MOLLE compatible production knife leather sheath I’ve come across, and makes an excellent change from the typical MOLLE compatible sheaths. Some MOLLE mounts are more of a struggle to use than others, and this sheath is a bit of a battle to fit. It is definitely worth planning out the position carefully as I did not enjoy fitting or removing it. The webbing on the sheath that fits over the leather MOLLE strap is quite tight, and catches firmly on the edge of the press stud when you try to slide the strap out. Easy enough when the sheath is not mounted, but definitely a struggle when trying to unmount it.
The sheath wraps over the first part of the handle with the retaining strap fitting above the finger guard. This over-wrap serves two purposes, the first is a very secure hold on the knife, and the second is that the over-wrap helps keep the retaining strap out of the way of the blade edge as it is sheathed and unsheathed.

With its 5mm blade stock, the T5 has a bit of weight to it, but that fantastic sculpted handle allows it to sit in your hand so comfortably. For a multi-purpose blade, the extra weight from the thick blade is the small trade off for the gain in strength and robustness you want in a blade that might be used for just about anything.

Handling really is excellent, and there is a thumb rest on the blade spine just in front of the handle where the spine is full width making it comfortable for the thumb to press onto for penetrative cuts, or for fine control when carving. The finger guard in that well sculpted handle is also very comfortable to bear onto for additional control on certain cuts. With the light and decorative grip texturing on the handle, I found this very effective but not aggressive. No hotspots have been apparent during use, and it is comfortable for extended use.

Factory edges are a subject unto themselves, as for some it is the best edge they ever have on that knife, and for others the worst. On the T5, the factory edge was impressive, and definitely usable out of the box. Due to the blade thickness, the edge bevels are quite wide and this will only get more pronounced with further use, but is the norm for blades of this thickness.

Mik Molletta has done Lionsteel proud with this design, and Lionsteel have done Mik Molletta proud with the quality of manufacture of his design, and this knife, that stood out from the crowd at IWA 2017, continues to impress the more I use it. The full package is a pleasure to use, and has put itself firmly into my top 5 favourite fixed blades.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Sculpted one piece micarta handle. Sheath is right handed only.
Strong 5mm blade stock. MOLLE Strap more fiddly than most.
NIOLOX steel. Thick blade results in a wide edge bevel.
Super quality, double-stitched leather sheath.
High Flat Grind, multi-purpose blade.
MOLLE compatible sheath.

 

Discussing the Review:

The ideal place to discuss this reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

BladeForums – Knife Reviews (US based Forum for Knife Discussion)

CandlePowerForums – Knife Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

Light Review: Streamlight Super Siege Lantern

In its first incarnation, the Siege lantern was a full size D-cell powered light, shortly followed by the cute Siege AA (you guessed it, powered by AA-cells). But not yet finished, Streamlight have taken the lantern to another level with the Super Siege, which now features a built-in rechargeable battery and USB power bank function, along with an essential glare-guard for task lighting – it certainly is the Super Siege.

Taking a more detailed look:

Aimed at attracting people in a retail store, the box is a semi-exposed ‘try-me’ type.

In the box we have the Super Siege, its glare guard, mains power adapter and a set of three plugs for it (US, UK and European), plus the instructions.

On the glare guard it tells you to give the Super Siege a full charge to disable the ‘try-me’ mode.

A Streamlight mains power adapter, which presumably also works with other rechargeable models as it tells you not to use it with the Alkaline Waypoint.

I need the UK plug, so here it is.

The mains adapter itself has a set of two contacts and a rotary connector for the plug. There is a release lever to allow you to easily swap over the plug type as and when needed.

Ready to go with the plug fitted.

Wrapped round the Super Siege is a large carry handle and hook that lifts up.

There is also a much smaller hanging clip incorporated into the top. This clip allows for a more secure attachment and keeps the light as high as possible.

Flipping the lantern over, and there is an identical hanging clip in the bottom.

The hanging clip in the bottom makes more sense when you see that the diffuser for the main light can be removed exposing the protective dome over the Super Siege’s LEDs.

In the middle of the LED board is a white XM-L2 LED and round this are four red LEDs.

There is a single power switch on the Super Siege which also acts as an indicator light for both charging and using the light. Underneath that switch is a rubber protective cover hiding the charging port and USB power output.

Lifting aside the port cover to show the charging port and USB power output.

Fitting the glare guard to the lantern’s diffuser makes the light output directional, and it covers just over half the diffuser.

To charge the Super Siege, plug in the mains adapter and fit the round DC plug into the socket next to the USB port. Unfortunately the Super Siege cannot be charged from USB power.

When charging the switch lights up red.

On reaching full charge the switch turns green.

Not to be forgotten is that the base has a concealed storage compartment. Twist off the bottom to access this.

The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and the wife won’t have one!

First up here is the White output with the standard 360 degree lantern beam. You can see the excellent wash of light, but also very clearly the thing I hate about lanterns, terrible glare.

Fit the glare guard and now we are talking. Obviously the total output is cut quite drastically, so it might be better in some cases to position something between you and the lantern, or hang it above your head, but if you are using it as a work light, this becomes ideal.

Red light is not as bad for glare, but mainly due to just being much dimmer.

Again the glare guard makes the Super Siege comfortable to use for any task.

Modes and User Interface:

All controlled via the single power switch there are three White Output Modes, Low, Medium, High, and three Red Output Modes, Low, High and SOS.

To turn the Super Siege ON briefly press the power switch. This will turn on to the last used constant output level (White or Red).

To change output level / mode, briefly press the switch again within 1.5 seconds of the last press. This will cycle through the available modes all the way to OFF.

If the Super Siege has been ON a mode for more than two seconds, one brief press of the switch will turn the light OFF.

To change the colour from White to Red, or Red to White, press and hold the switch for two seconds.

The USB Power Bank function will automatically start when a suitable device is connected. During charging the switch will light up to indicate the status of the battery. Green means full power, then the switch turns yellow, then red and finally flashing red when the battery is getting low.

Batteries and output:

The Super Siege runs on its built-in battery.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
Super Siege using built-in cell I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
White High 1109 1000
White Medium 550 256
White Low 158 256
Red High 7 0
Red Low 2 0

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

There is parasitic drain but it cannot be measured due to the construction of the light.

A very impressive performance on High for both the maximum output and the runtime. The specified ANSI output value is achieved, and the output does not drop below 600 lumens for over four hours. Finally, at not far off five hours, the Super Siege runs out and shuts off.

Troubleshooting

This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The Super Siege in use

Lanterns were the first safe and convenient portable source of light. Although they have undergone many changes, the lantern has retained essentially the same appearance and function of area lighting. Just like the original Siege lantern, the Super Siege is a full size lantern, equivalent to most traditional lanterns. It is for those uses where size and weight are not an issue, if that is a priority, the smaller Siege AA becomes a good bet, but lacks the power and features the full size lantern gives.

The Super Siege uses its technological advantages to make it so much more than a portable area light. One of its first key features is so simple and could easily have been added to any lantern – the glare guard. For me this is one of the most critical features, and where I would normally avoid lanterns due to their glare, now I’m picking the Super Siege for all sorts of jobs.

As well as the full lantern and the task light configuration, the diffuser can also be removed to expose the LED dome cover, so you can run the Super Siege with fully exposed LEDs giving the ultimate in flood light. This however has extreme glare and only really works when hung up overhead. With the diffuser removed, the Super Siege is also much smaller. But beware, if you might need the Super Siege’s ability to float, it will only float with the diffuser fitted as this provides enough trapped air to give it sufficient buoyancy.

There are two aspects of the Super Siege that do not work that well. The switch illumination is very bright, and if using the low red output, the switch glows as brightly as the red LEDs do. This is very distracting and means that if you want a dim red light to maintain your eyes dark adaptation, you will find a bright green light shining out from the switch. This also impacts on the USB powerbank function, but more on the in a moment.

The second aspect, which I’m very disappointed to still see is the use of PWM. Especially in a lantern which floods the entire area with light, on the medium and low output levels, you see very obvious strobing effects when moving…at all. Please Streamlight, can you use current controlled output and not PWM?

The compartment in the base is an odd shape, but is useful for keeping a few things in. If nothing else you can keep a USB cable for charging various devices in this compartment.

And on the subject of the power bank feature, this is very useful in these days of so many devices that can be charged from USB. What you must consider however, is that any power you use to charge a device, be it phone, tablet, e-reader etc, is power you rob from the lantern’s light output. So be careful you don’t find yourself in the dark because you charge your phone up. What is a bit of a pity is that the Super Siege needs a 12V power adapter to charge it when the typical power bank these days is also chargeable via USB.

Using a USB power monitor I’ve run several ‘delivered power’ tests, all of which have been a consistent 25.7Wh from the 8800mAh battery. The theoretical power from a 8800mAh battery would be 32.56Wh, which means 79% of this is being delivered. A 21% loss is reasonable, but this could probably be better, as the brightly lit power switch remains on for the entire time the USB power bank feature is being used. The maximum observed output current for the USB power bank was 1.1A.

During use of the USB power bank, the switch illumination goes from green to yellow quite quickly. Watching the accumulated Wh delivered, the switch goes red after around 15Wh have been output, so there is still 40% battery left once the switch turns red. In fact the flashing red indication starts relatively soon afterwards. If I needed the Super Siege for light, I would definitely stop USB charging once the switch illumination turns red, as you at least know there is 40% left.

Ideal for camping, fishing and to have in a shed/loft or other unlit out-building. Altogether the Super Siege gives you a nice rounded package of features all of which are genuinely useful and not a gimmick.

Review Summary

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Powerful 1100lm output. Uses PWM on all output levels.
USB power bank. Using the power bank reduces LED output runtime.
White and Red light output modes. Needs 12V power adapter to charge.
Glare-guard included for task lighting. Output cuts out completely when the battery is low.
Storage compartment in base.
Floats (as long as the main diffuser is fitted).

 

Discussing the Review:

The ideal place to discuss this reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

CandlePowerForums – Flashlight Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

Gear Review: Walkstool Steady

Following the review of the Walkstool ‘Comfort 65’ Portable Stool, the most asked question was if there was anything to allow it to be used on very soft ground. Well Walkstool had already thought of this and the solution is the Walkstool Steady, an optional extra to give the Walkstool maximum stability on any surface.

A few more details:

Like the Walkstools themselves, the Steady comes in a mesh carry bag, and is a very neat pocket sized package.

Taken out of the mesh bag, the Steady is wrapped up tidily.

Unravelling it and you now get to see what this is all about. It is both a leg brace, and a load spreader.

Printed on one of the arms is the Walkstool, and Steady logo.

To fit the Steady to the Walkstool, there is a pocket at the end of each ‘arm’, with cords to allow it to be tightened around the foot.

Clearly, as there are several sizes of Walkstool, you might wonder if you then need different Steadys to match, cleverly, there is an adjustment designed into each arm where you simply set it to the matching Walkstool size.

Here it is on the 55cm setting for the Comfort 55 I’m using to test it.

Joining the three arms of the Steady is a triangular plastic ring.

With a second triangular ring positioned in this way, as the arms are pulled tighter, the two triangular rings press together more firmly and grip the webbing securely.

What it is like to use?

Fitting the Steady is simple. Pull the pocket over each foot in turn ensuring you work the cords tight and adjust the toggle to hold the cords in place.

With all three feet fitted into the Steady it is ready to go.

One concern might be that with the Steady fitted, the Walkstool looses some of its ease and convenience, but this is not the case. Opening and folding the stool is almost as easy with the only change being that the Steady can get in the way a bit when working your way round the legs.

And what about putting the Walkstool back in its bag? As you can see here you almost don’t notice the Steady is fitted, with only a little bit of it protruding from the bag.

Of course all these nice clean studio photos don’t show one aspect of the Steady, and what it is designed for. It provides additional stability which is most needed on soft ground, the consequence of which is it will get very dirty, especially if used on a wet soft surface.

Picking the stool up after using it like this will bring plenty of that mud/muck with it, and folding it again will be a messy job. What I tend to do is avoid those really wet and muddy spots, or if next to water, be it river or lake, I dip the end of the legs with the steady into the water and give it a good stir to clean it off.

If you want that extra stability or use a walkstool on soft ground or sandy beaches, then the Steady is a worthy addition to your Walkstool, and can easily be added or removed to suit.

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Adds extra strength and stability to a Walkstool Can pick up a lot of dirt if used on very muddy ground.
Stops legs sinking into soft ground.
Adjustable to suit all Walkstool models.
Adds very little bulk to the folded Walkstool.

 

Discussing the Review:

The ideal place to discuss this reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

CandlePowerForums – Knife Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

Knife Review: Buck Selkirk, Compadre Chopping Froe and Kinetic Fishing Spear

Buck’s Selkirk, Compadre Chopping Froe and Kinetic Fishing Spear were specifically chosen for this review to compliment each other for camp/survival tasks. Following a visit to Buck at IWA 2016 I’ve been able to give these a good workout to see how they fare.

 photo 0 07 trio P1030840.jpg

The Blade and Handle Geometry:

Most knife specifications have a basic description of the blade geometry, but in this section I will be taking a more detailed look at geometry and balance.
 photo 25 Selkirk grind P1180965.jpg

Using a set of gauges and precision measuring equipment including a Vernier protractor, callipers, fixed radius gauges and the unique Arc Master adjustable radius gauge (the one that looks like a crossbow).
 photo Knife measuring P1180483.jpg

These measurements have been tabulated and are presented along with a few reference blades (8″ Chef’s Knife, 5.5″ Santoku and the popular Fällkniven F1).

Key aspects such as the primary bevel angle, grind type, blade depth, blade thickness, length, weight are detailed, along with balance information.
 photo 54 Froe grind angle P1180981.jpg

The ‘Balance relative to the front of the handle’ tells you if the knife will feel front heavy, or if the weight is in your hand (a positive value means the weight is forward of the front of the handle). The ‘Balance relative to the centre of the handle’ indicates how close to a ‘neutral balance’ the knife has in the hand.
 photo 24 Selkirk balance P1180963.jpg

In the case of full convex grinds the approximate centre of the grind is used for the primary bevel angle estimate.

 photo Buck Parameters.jpg

Explained by the Maker:

The reasons for certain design choices may not be clear when simply looking at an object, so this section is intended to give an insight into the thinking behind a design by speaking to the designer themselves.

Unfortunately I can’t always get time with the designer so will use this section to include relevant information about the knife and its designer.

The following comments are noted from a walk-through that Joseph Piedmont kindly gave at SHOT Show.

Model 863, the Selkirk is Buck’s new survival knife which includes a fire-rod with whistle for signaling. The sheath is moulded plastic and features multi-carry capability that can be reconfigured to allow for vertical or horizontal carry, and even upside-down as a neck knife.

The knife itself is a flat-grind drop-point featuring a guard and a hammer pommel. The handle has custom micarta sides. The choil is left with its sharp ground edge to allow it to be used with the fire-starter and have a nice grip to get good sparks.

The Selkirk’s sheath has a nice crisp snap-in, really holding the knife, so you won’t have to worry about it falling out.

Chopping Froe model 108 is fitted with American walnut handles and a red powder coated 5160 blade. This is part of the camping and outdoor survival series. Red was chosen to tie in camping of yesteryear (where it was common to use red-headed hatchets), with the camping of today.

The knife was modelled from a Scandinavian tool with the same name used to chop kindling. Buck have modified it with the handle and putting a knife edge on it to make it more versatile. (Reader’s NOTE: a traditional froe has a dull edge, a handle at 90 degrees to the blade, and is use for controlling and advancing a split in a piece of wood)

The Buck froe has been given a very steep grind producing a wedge behind the knife edge. When splitting wood, the knife edge starts the cut, but the wedge takes over so the knife edge is not finishing the cut.

The black leather sheath protects the blade and the D-ring makes it really easy to connect it to your gear or hang it up.

The Kinetic Fishing spear is one of three new spears. This range goes from the smallest, the Hunt Spear, to the Two Tined Gig spear, and finally the 074 Fishing Spear. The fishing spear is the most involved design with two interconnecting pieces. In its folded-flat state the spear is covered front and back by a plastic sheath tied together with paracord. The paracord is held in place with a moulded pinch-grip making it quick and easy to secure and release. The two parts of the spear lock together to form a four point spear. It has the same chisel on the back as the other two spears, and crucially needs to be driven deep enough into the stick to engage the secondary wedge. The beauty of this design is that the sheath parts go from the flat packed configuration into a cross shaped safety cover for the four points when it is mounted.

One trick to be aware of when mounting the spear heads is to wrap the paracord onto the stick before pounding the spear into the end of the stick. This really tightens up the paracord giving a very secure fit.

A few more details of the Selkirk Survival Knife:

Before concentrating on the Selkirk, here are the boxes for all three together.
 photo 00 01 Buck Boxed P1180722.jpg

The Selkirk arrives in its sheath with ferrocerium rod and whistle, plus an instruction leaflet for the sheath mounting options and a warranty card.
 photo 01 Selkirk Contents P1180728.jpg

Though it looks like a Kydex type of sheath, it is a moulded plastic.
 photo 02 Selkirk Sheath front P1180731.jpg

On the back of the sheath, the belt loops can be removed and refitted in different positions.
 photo 03 Selkirk Sheath back P1180734.jpg

All the components lined up with the sheath, knife and ferrocerium rod/whistle.
 photo 04 Selkirk parts P1180740.jpg

The Selkirk has a nice deep blade with full flat grind.
 photo 05 Selkirk angle P1180743.jpg

Buck say that the pommel (rear bolster) can be used as an improvised hammer.
 photo 06 Selkirk pommel P1180745.jpg

Looking close up at the handle micarta sides you can see the semi-smooth finish and additional grip grooves.
 photo 07 Selkirk grip detail P1180748.jpg

An overall view of the handle. The layers in the micarta act as contour lines showing the shaping.
 photo 08 Selkirk grip P1180749.jpg

From a different angle you can see the palm swell and grip flaring.
 photo 20 Selkirk handle swells P1180787.jpg

A very close view of the choil and its sharp edges for striking the fire-rod.
 photo 09 Selkirk choil P1180752.jpg

Going closer still for a look at the point and how the cutting edge has been formed from a coarse grit followed by a polishing process.
 photo 10 Selkirk point P1180756.jpg

On the spine there is an area of jimping for the thumb to sit on. On this example this was well formed and not too sharp.
 photo 11 Selkirk jimping P1180758.jpg

Keeping on the up-close theme, the moulded sheath has the Buck logo moulded into it.
 photo 13 Selkirk sheath brand P1180768.jpg

Next to the fire-rod holder are the sheath screws which adjust the retention tension of the sheath. You can change how much force is needed to remove and insert the knife by adjusting these screws.
 photo 14 Selkirk sheath screws P1180769.jpg

On the lower part of the whistle is a bayonet fitting to hold the fire-rod in place. There is also a cord which can be stretched over the end of the rod to further secure it.
 photo 15 Selkirk ferro rod whistle P1180770.jpg

Inside the belt loop is a moveable adjuster block to cater for different width belts.
 photo 16 Selkirk belt loop adjuster P1180775.jpg

At the tip of the sheath there are metal rivets that provide tying points.
 photo 17 Selkirk sheath rivets P1180777.jpg

The overall impression of this knife is good, but its mass produced character is visible when you start looking and small details. Here the micarta handle is not a perfect fit.
 photo 18 Selkirk finish P1180782.jpg

Still looking for flaws, this time at the pommel, the grinding is not that precise and filler appears to have been used between the micarta and steel pommel.
 photo 19 Selkirk finish P1180784.jpg

The Selkirk with a couple of other well known knives to provide the scale. (Fällkniven F1 and a Spyderco UK Pen Knife)
 photo 22 Selkirk size P1180797.jpg

One last look at this knife before moving onto the Froe.
 photo 21 Selkirk angle P1180792.jpg

A few more details of the Compadre Chopping Froe:

First impressions are really good thanks to the leather sheath the Froe arrives in. The only other item in the box is the warranty card.
 photo 30 Froe contents P1180804.jpg

Immediately obvious are some nice touches like the retaining strap’s popper cover having Buck’s logo and name on it.
 photo 31 Froe popper P1180811.jpg

Also of note with the retaining strap is that the metal back of the popper that sits against the handle has been covered to prevent it marking the wooden handle.
 photo 51 Froe sheath popper back P1180883.jpg

There is a cut-out in the sheath that shows the Buck anvil logo cut into the blade.
 photo 32 Froe sheath detail P1180813.jpg

Pressed into the leather sheath is the Buck logo.
 photo 33 Froe sheath logo P1180815.jpg

The sheath is well stitched and riveted for extra strength.
 photo 34 Froe sheath stitching P1180818.jpg

On the back of the sheath the rolled rivet heads are not as neat as on the front, but fit with the rivet colour used for the hanging loop.
 photo 35 Froe sheath reverse P1180820.jpg

The rolled over heads of the rivets on the back of the sheath look like this.
 photo 36 Froe sheath rivet reverse P1180823.jpg

A nice heavy duty D-ring is used for the hanger.
 photo 37 Froe sheath hanger P1180826.jpg

Opening the two retaining straps allows the Froe to slide out.
 photo 38 Froe unsheathed P1180829.jpg

A very obvious label warning you not to strike the Froe’s blade with hardened tools is on the side of the blade. This is no different to traditional froes or any other blade you might baton with.
 photo 39 Froe warning P1180833.jpg

Whipping the label off gives you the full effect of the red powder coating.
 photo 40 Froe no label P1180835.jpg

The ‘tip’ of the blade shows the splitting wedge design of the blade grind.
 photo 41 Froe point wedge P1180840.jpg

There is a subtle choil next to the handle.
 photo 42 Froe choil P1180844.jpg

At the top of the blade next to the handle there is a hole in the blade. Though this could be used as a wrist strap attachment point, I would advise you to be very careful if you want to do this as it can become more dangerous than the tool coming out of the hand.
 photo 43 Froe hole P1180846.jpg

The American walnut handle slabs are held on with nice looking bolts.
 photo 44 Froe wooden handle P1180849.jpg

Blade stock used for the Froe is substantial.
 photo 45 Froe thick blade P1180853.jpg

Having a long handle, the Froe can be used with different grips.
 photo 46 Froe handle P1180857.jpg

looking along the Froe to show more of the contours of this tool.
 photo 47 Froe contours P1180859.jpg

There is a nice swell at the pommel to prevent slipping, but no striking surface. If you hammer on, or with, this tool you risk damaging the handle. This view also shows the handle is made from plywood, not solid wood, as this will be more resilient and resistant to cracking.
 photo 48 Froe pommel P1180863.jpg

A few more details of the Kinetic Fishing Spear:

And now for something completely different, a fishing spear.

Folding flat, the Kinetic Fishing Spear is very neat in its folded state.
 photo 60 Kinetic contents P1180889.jpg

This package is held together by a paracord tie and a pinch-grip.
 photo 61 Kinetic tie point P1180896.jpg

Pulling the end of the cord out of the pinch-grip you can start to unwind it.
 photo 62 Kinetic opening P1180897.jpg

Releasing one side of the plastic cover.
 photo 63 Kinetic opening P1180900.jpg

The pinch-grip has small teeth to hold onto the cord.
 photo 64 Kinetic tie teeth P1180903.jpg

The same piece of cord then releases the other side of the cover.
 photo 65 Kinetic opening P1180905.jpg

Fully unwound the cord comes completely off the cover.
 photo 66 Kinetic opening P1180908.jpg

Now you can slide off the lower cover.
 photo 67 Kinetic opening P1180911.jpg

And then the point covers, which also slide apart to give two separate pieces.
 photo 68 Kinetic opening P1180917.jpg

The shorter of the two parts of the spear head slides into a slot in the larger part.
 photo 69 Kinetic fitting together P1180918.jpg

This then rotates into place, and in this position cannot move backwards or forward.
 photo 70 Kinetic together P1180921.jpg

When assembled the spear suddenly looks very capable.
 photo 71 Kinetic together front P1180925.jpg

The smaller piece has the Buck logo on it.
 photo 72 Kinetic together angle P1180927.jpg

As does the larger piece.
 photo 77 Kinetic logo P1180946.jpg

A really cleaver feature is that the two pieces of the point guard slide together to form a cross shape.
 photo 73 Kinetic guard P1180935.jpg

This cross shaped guard can then cover the points of the assembled spear head.
 photo 74 Kinetic guard fitted P1180937.jpg

There is a barb on each of the four points.
 photo 75 Kinetic barb P1180939.jpg

A chisel point is provided on the tang of the larger piece of the spear that can both be used for some of the spear pole preparation, and to make it easier to drive into the end of the pole.
 photo 76 Kinetic axe P1180944.jpg

What are they like to use?

It is not that I expected anything to be bad about the Selkirk, but it has really surprised me just how good it has been for me to use. Not only that, but anyone I’ve handed it to has also been impressed with how good it feels in the hand.

Remembering that I take an XL size glove, this is how the Selkirk looks in the hand.
 photo 12 Selkirk in hand P1180767.jpg

The shaping of the handle is excellent. The palm swell is just enough to sit very naturally, and the curve of the handle allows your hand to work with the Selkirk. Flaring at the front and back of the handle stops you hand moving, and even working hard with this knife on hot days with sweaty hands didn’t cause any issues.
Resting between cutting jobs, the Selkirk just seems to stay in place in a relaxed hand, and when working I was never aware of the handle, instead all my focus was allowed to fall onto the cutting task and directing the blade. I did not expect this level of comfort and control.

I’m going to look at more of the Selkirk in use later on, but switching now to the fire-lighting capability of the Selkirk, and how well it strikes sparks from the ferrocerium rod.

As the product description from Buck specifically says the choil has been left with a sharp corner to use for striking sparks, I’ll start with this. Once you get through the outer coating of the new rod, you then start to get proper sparks. Using the choil does work OK, but is not that good.
 photo Buck Selkirk Choil Ferro 600px 200ms.gif

Flip the blade round and use the spine instead and you are rewarded with a bigger shower of sparks. So the specific feature of using the choil to strike sparks is a little redundant. What you do have is a choice of more or less sparks. Striking fewer sparks with the choil will wear the fire-rod away less and may be all you need.
 photo Buck Selkirk Spine Ferro 600px 200ms.gif

Scaling up in size we have the heavy Chopping Froe. Here the grip is closest to the pommel and gives the greatest striking advantage.
 photo 49 Froe in hand P1180872.jpg

For more control you can grip the Froe handle near the blade. This is good for finer chopping tasks, but the blade edge is not really sharp enough (due to the edge angle) for fine carving or slicing cuts.
 photo 50 Froe in hand P1180874.jpg

When I initially saw the rake of the Froe’s blade, I thought it would be awkward to use, and if working onto a chopping block, the angle does mean you can’t really strike down onto the block and have the edge strike squarely, you always end up cutting into the edge of the block.

Moving to free-cutting when you are chopping through branches or the trunks of smaller trees, then this rake actually ensure the edge strikes at a slight angle which does enhance the cutting power. The Froe is very efficient when used in this way.

The more I use the Buck Froe, the more I would compare it to a hatchet rather than a knife, but a hatchet with a very long edge and which does not need a precisely positioned strike to get a good result. The knife edge, despite being sharp enough, is not well suited to anything but chopping. The blade thickness and steep primary grind make it pretty hopeless for slicing cuts and the overall size/weight and rake make fine work difficult.

Finally a quick mention of the Kinetic Fishing Spear. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to spear any fish with it so far. Not due to always missing, but due to a lack of suitable fishing opportunities. Mounted it seems very capable and with an overall good balance, but unfortunately up to now that is as far as I can comment.

Mounting the Kinetic Fishing Spear

One small project that would cover all three of these Buck products is to make a shaft for the Kinetic fishing spear head. A quick visit to a local wooded site resulted in a pole for a first attempt.
 photo 0 01 Collecting staff P1030781.jpg

Working onto a cutting block I used the Froe to trim the pole to length and to prepare a baton for later. As you can see here the Froe has cut quite deeply into the edge of the cutting block.
 photo 0 02 trimming staff P1030809.jpg

The spear head needs a cross shaped split to fit into. For finer control than the Froe would provide, instead I went for batoning the Selkirk to create the split.
 photo 0 03 splitting pole P1030821.jpg

A quick clean up of the end of the pole.
 photo 0 04 remove bark P1030824.jpg

And setting the Kinetic spear head into place.
 photo 0 05 insert spear P1030827.jpg

Then using a cord wrap to hold the spear head firmly. (keeping the cord in a single piece and using a whipping technique to secure the ends.
 photo 0 06 cord wrap P1030831.jpg

All ready to go, the fearsome Kinetic spear and the partnership of the Selkirk and Froe.
 photo 0 07 trio P1030840.jpg

Onto another project, and in this instance I was making a wooden spoon. This requires some careful splitting of a small log, so again I whipped up a baton and used this for making the controlled split with the Froe.
 photo 01 spoon start P1190531.jpg

The splitting worked very well and the Froe also did a little rough shaping, before it became a little awkward to use due to the rake.
 photo 02 spoon split P1190535.jpg

Other tools were used, but it all started with the Froe.
 photo 03 spoon P1190550.jpg

While things were going well I decided to have another go at the spear’s pole. I found a rather good piece of hazel, and this time cleaned off all the bark with the Selkirk.
 photo Fishing spear 01 start P1190494.jpg

The size of the pole was chosen to suit the tang of the spear head.
 photo Fishing spear 02 closer P1190495.jpg

Pre-split using the Selkirk, the Kinetic spear head was then tapped into place.
 photo Fishing spear 03 cross P1190501.jpg

Wrapped tightly with paracord to secure the head. As the wood dries further the cord needs to be re-wrapped to stay tight.
 photo Fishing spear 04 whipped P1190508.jpg

Ready to go, the only issue, no suitable fishing spots round here.
 photo Fishing spear 05 overall P1190506.jpg

Review Summary

The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.

Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.

_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Things I like What doesn’t work so well for me
_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
Selkirk – Excellent handling. Selkirk – Fit/Finish is not the best.
Selkirk – Versatile sheath. Selkirk – Ferrocerium rod retention may not be secure if not using the cord loop.
Selkirk – All rounder FFG blade.
Selkirk – Hammer pommel.
Selkirk – Ferrocerium rod with Whistle.
Froe – Effective heavy chopper. Froe – Relatively expensive.
Froe – Great for splitting even large logs. Froe – Poor performance for other cutting tasks.
Froe – Very sturdy leather sheath. Froe – Blade rake is awkward when cutting onto a block.
Froe – Long Handle allows different grips.
Kinetic – Strong construction. Kinetic – Requires mounting before it can be used.
Kinetic – Guard can be used folded or assembled. Kinetic – It is necessary to hammer on the prongs to mount it.
Kinetic – Cord is provided.

 photo 00 02 Buck UnBoxed P1180950.jpg

 

Discussing the Review:

Please feel free to add comments to the review, but the ideal place to freely discuss these reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

EdgeMatters – Sponsored Reviews (UK based Forum for Knife Makers and Collectors)

BladeForums – Knife Reviews (US based Forum for Knife Discussion)

CandlePowerForums – Knife Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)