News: Sharpest Knife Competition at Knives UK 2019

This year at Knives UK (30th June 2019) you have the chance to redefine ‘sharp’. Using a BESS Certified sharpness testing machine, Tactical Reviews will be accepting entries for ‘The Sharpest Knife’ Competition, to definitively determine who has the sharpest edge. This is both a Knife sharpening competition and an opportunity to have your knife Sharpness certified.

(Oberland Arms ‘Jager Sepp’ knife)

Entry is free and every knife tested will be given an official sharpness score and certificate, so look out for the Knives UK ‘Sharpest Knife’ Competition, and get your edge tested.

Be sure to check out the Knives UK website for more show details, location and other competitions / demonstrations etc.

How is it measured? Using a PT50A BESS Certified sharpness tester:

The BESS ‘C’ scale of sharpness, developed by Mike Brubacher (Brubacher Edge Sharpness Scale) will be used to determine how sharp each knife edge is. The ‘Edge on Up’ PT50A tester uses a certified test media fibre and records the force required to cut it. The lower the score the better. As an example, a typical Morakniv scores around 250. See this guide:

‘The Sharpest Knife’ Competition – Knives UK 2018


  1. Open to all knives, custom-made or production. – No Razors allowed.
  2. Kitchen knives, though allowed, are NOT eligible to be overall winner (so cannot win the main prize); they have been found to have too much of an advantage, so may be entered for an honourable mention only.
  3. Any knife deemed not to be in the spirit of the ‘sharpest knife’ contest will be disallowed (surgical/laboratory etc.).
  4. Open to anyone – Professional / Maker / Amateur / User.
  5. Knives must be submitted either folded or sheathed, with the cutting edge covered.
  6. The Competition is free of charge for the participants.
  7. Each knife tested receives an official Sharpness Certificate.
  8. All knives will be returned to the owner immediately after testing/certification is complete.
  9. The competition opens at 10:00, and knives must be submitted for testing before 15:00 on the last day of the knife show.
  10. Entrant’s name, knife description, sharpening method and score will be recorded.
  11. Testing will be carried out using an Edge On Up PT50A BESS certified tester.
  12. Each knife will initially have a single measurements taken. If the result is within 50 BESS of the leading entry, further measurements may be taken (at the discretion of the tester).
  13. Subject to the previous rule, each qualifying knife will then have a set of three measurements taken along the blade (tip, centre and heel) with the average BESS score counting as the result.
  14. In the case of a draw, the longest blade will win.
  15. The tester’s results are final – No knife may be entered twice.
  16. A leader board will be maintained showing the top entries during the show.
  17. Each time there is a new leader, the knife will be photographed.

The winning knife and sharpening method will be announced at 15:30 on the last day of the knife show and on

IMPORTANT: You undertake the competition (and the taking of any prize) at your own risk and your health and safety is your own responsibility. By taking part in this competition, you agree to indemnify the organisers and their agents against all costs, losses, damages, expenses and liabilities suffered as a result of your participation. No liability can be accepted for damage to any knife entered.

Prizes (all subject to availability – no cash alternative)

  1. Every entry wins an official sharpness certificate for the knife – Please retain this certificate as proof of your entry, it will be required when collecting your prize.
  2. The first knife achieving an average BESS score lower than 200 will receive a special prize.
  3. Any further knives achieving an average BESS score lower than 200 will receive a prize.
  4. There is one main prize for the winning entry. (Full prize only available to a winner aged 18 or over.)
  5. Prizes are for collection in person only when the results are announced. (The prize may be awarded to the best scoring entrant present when the results are announced at the discretion of the organiser.)

The Prizes

The full prize is only available to a winner aged 18 or over – if the winner is less than 18 years old the prize will be adjusted to be age appropriate.

The Main Prize is made up of several items forming a bundle worth over £300. Additional items may be added on the day of the competition. Currently it contains:

Knives – Morakniv Bushcraft
Lights – Classic Foursevens Maelstrom-X, SOG Dark Energy DE-06, Thorfire S1 diving light and 5.11 Tactical S+R H3 Headlamp
Patches – Knife Collector, Chris Reeve Knives and Burnley Knives
Beer cooler – Surefire
Sharpening Guides – Wedgek (previously Angleguide) for flat stones and round rods.

Full prize only available to a winner aged 18 or over – if the winner is less than 18 years old the prize will be adjusted to be age appropriate.

The instant prize for the first sub-200 score knife contains the NITECORE EA45S and T360.

The instant prize for subsequent sub-200 score knives is a set of sharpening guides – Wedgek (previously Angleguide).

Gear Review: Nordic Pocket Saw (Pocket Chainsaw)

Over the years I’ve used all sorts of two-handed flexible pocket saws, but none as effective as the Nordic Pocket saw pocket chainsaw. Many ‘survival’ pocket saws are wire, and tend to tear or abrade rather than cut. What caught my eye with the Nordic Pocket saw was the sawdust flying from the cut just like a petrol chainsaw – this flexible saw actually cuts.

So why not stick with a rigid bladed folding saw? Flexible saws give you amazing versatility, much larger capacity of cut, and the ability to cut high, out of reach, tree limbs using cord to extend the handles and a throw-line to pull the saw into place.

A few more details:

What’s in the box?:

A good look round the Nordic Pocket Saw – Things to look out for here are:

You can see the quality of manufacture throughout this set of images. The hand strap uses a strong webbing with plenty of stitching to reinforce it. The chain links both move freely and also with minimal play meaning it stays nicely aligned in the cut, but can be coiled neatly for storage.

What it is like to use?

Being such a dynamic saw to use, it is really best to show it in action, so here is a short video that should give you a very good idea of what it is like to use, and how to get the best from it.

What may or may not be apparent in the video is that it can be quite hard work. As the saw really bites in, and properly cuts chips of wood out (and the cut is quite wide), the effort level is relatively high. Unlike other pocket saws, you can do a two person cut where you each hold one of the handles and get into a sawing rhythm (so as to not jam the chain). Like this you can motor through even large logs, at least sharing the work load.

Hand-in-hand with this is that the workpiece does need to be well secured. The sawing action pulls on it pretty hard. In the video, the ground based cut I showed, had me standing on the branch (all 92Kg of me) and it still wanted to move about. The smaller the diameter of the branch being cut, the more awkward this can become, and is where a folding rigid saw becomes a better option.

At some point (I’ve not got there yet) the saw will need a sharpen. I’m assuming a normal chainsaw file will do the job.

The Nordic Pocket Saw is so easy to carry it can easily become part of your basic kit even when you are not planning any larger cuts.

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

It really cuts – the chips fly!
Can cut much larger logs than with other pocket saws.
Very compact and easy to carry.
Belt pouch provided.

What doesn’t work so well for me

Logs being cut need to be well secured.
Requires high levels of effort.
Not so well suited for smaller branches.