Looking for tough sturdy big fixed blade

Discussion in 'Blades' started by MagnaWolf, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. MagnaWolf

    MagnaWolf Monkey+

    As the title says, I'm looking for a big, sturdy, cheap fixed blade knife for hacking and wood splitting. Have my eyes on the Cold Steel Bushman at the moment. Any other recommendations? It has to be cheap and take a beating, that's all.
  2. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    I have few Cold Steel khukri machettes and one large khukri knife...they can take anything and they are cheap...
    Maxflax likes this.
  3. MagnaWolf

    MagnaWolf Monkey+

    I have been eyeing them also. It has been the big price difference between the authentic kuhkris and the Cold Steel ones that had me sceptical. May have to check em out though.
  4. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    Search YouTube for cold steel khukri machete destruction tests...
    As for "authentic" khukri, it's made from car spring leafs anyway, soooo...just find those destruction tests...
  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I have an old western bowie i prefer...
  6. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Try one of the RAT bowies.
  7. Tristan

    Tristan Monkey+++

    When you say: "I'm looking for a big, sturdy, cheap fixed blade knife for hacking and wood splitting"

    I think you may want to check out:

    DBA-443 - Classic Bowie 13.5" Overall Rough Use Knife Thick 8" Blade with Nylon Sheath

    It's reviewed by knifetests.com at:

    (warning: language NSW)

    Now, I don't think his methodology is the best for testing all knives, but for a knife that's intended for hacking, chopping, battoning and etc., i.e. very rough use, it has it's merits.

    I've got one of these knives, it was so inexpensive I had to give it a try. It's heavy, ugly, the sheath sucks, and I don't regret getting it for a minute. I touched up the edge bevel a bit with a file, worked it over with a medium stone, and it's good to go. I'm likely to pick up the drop point version next time I think of doing a CTD order.

    Not to compare this to any other blade, I think it's in it's own category as far as a durable, heavy and cheap blade for hacking, chopping and etc., and if it's lost or stolen it won't hurt too bad finance wise.

    I've no association with CTD other than having made a couple purchases through the years.

    - Tristan
  8. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

  9. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

  10. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    If I were you, I would look at a different test site. All the above proves is that cheap Chinese steel is softer and more malleable than sharp carbon steel. Of course that's the case.... it doesn't take beating a knife with a sledge to prove that. Of course the trade off for that malleability is sharpness and how long it keeps an edge.

    Baton with a wood baton and buy a decent carbon knife. They can be had in the $50-$100 range. A Pakistani knife might last just as long at half the price, but will suffer in performance.

    There used to be another guy that did knife tests. His name escapes me. He would use them in a series of cutting and chopping tasks that are closer to normal use. He would spine whack everything with a wood baton (realistic) to see the strength of folders and the "batonability" of fixed knives. When they dulled, he sharpened them and continued.... noting the ease of re-sharpening.

    Beating a knife with a sledge and bending the handle with a cheater bar is no where close to how I treat any blade. I'm all for testing- just make it realistic.
    vonslob likes this.
  11. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    True, but these do chop well, last long, harder to sharpen then 440 steel, since its 1055 carbon and dirt cheap...
    Anyway...I like them...
  12. KHAN

    KHAN Monkey+++

    My Bushman has served me well. You can pretty much beat the crap out of it and for $20 bucks not bad. Pretty simple knife and makes a fun spear easily. I kinda like simplicity and it doesn't get much more simplistic than the Bushman.
    DomC likes this.
  13. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    DBA-444 - 13.5" Overall Bolo Rough Use Knife Thick 8" Blade with Nylon Sheath
    I bought this one. Phenomenal rough use blade, sturdy as all get out and CHEAP as Dirt, no pun. It is very well made, holds a great edge, I use it for all general utility.
    440 stainless steel with black textured coating and sturdy guard. Bolo Curve Blade, but other blade styles are available.
    It retails at approx $10.00 plus shipping.
  14. Agfadoc

    Agfadoc Monkey+

    I have an Ontario Marine Raider and a K Bar Cutlass..amongst others, I can never decide on which one to carry while out, the Cutlass does dual duty baton, machete, thinner blade with more of a flat grind.. stays sharp and CHEAP at $42 from amazon..

    The Marine Raider is just a brute.
  15. spacecoast

    spacecoast Monkey+

  16. 2RK

    2RK Monkey+

  17. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

  18. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I will add this-
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    I have more knives that any one man can handle. Like most of us around here, I go through knives like some go through socks. With most, there isn't anything wrong with them per say... I just want something different. The only thing I have found that holds true amongst all that I have tried is this- carbon steel with a decent heat treatment provides the best all-around blade. I won’t say it’s impossible to find that in a cheap knife, but if one person has good success with a cheap knife, don’t expect the same results 100% of the time.

    My more expensive knives are from Chris Reeves and Randall. These knives are made of carbon steel and have never let me down. Do you have to spend $200-$350 to get quality, no. Can you expect the same out of a $15 CTD special…. Maybe, but it’s a crapshoot at best. There is some middle of the roads that will perform well. I may not have tried them all, but you hear about these enough to know that you’ll likely be happy:

    Cold Steel Carbon V- Having used one of these for the first few years in the service, they can be had at less than $50 and will last a lifetime. There were some complaints when Cold Steel started importing the steel from China (I think?), but the end users seemed to see no difference in performance. The only complaint I had from my old Recon Tanto was that it was a bit thick for light carving (solved by carrying a pocket knife along with it).

    Marine Corps MKII- Whether KaBar, Ontario, Camillus, Case, or someone else, all these knives are generally made to the same specifications. They have been a favorite since WWII- need more be said? My first “decent” sheath knife was a KaBar. I used it through my teenage years without any issues. They are capable of sharpening to scary sharp and when sharpened correctly, they will hold an edge a long time. I still have a Camillus in my collection. These are typically had around $50. Sometimes they can be had a bit less for a used one. Check flea markets, knife shops that deal in used ones, Ebay, and craigslist to find good deals. I know for a fact I can pick up NIB ones from a local surplus store for around $45.

    Spec Plus- Ontario makes these… I think. Some are a bit thin in the blade than I think they should be. They are generally all made from the same carbon steel with an epoxy blade coating and rubber handles. They make one with the Marine MkII blade from above. These are typically had about $30 and are a good steal.

    Gerber LMF- These are out of my norm because they are made from 12C27 Stainless Steel. The reviews all seem positive and the prices are right- as low as $60 online. I’m not sure if they make a plain blade- another of my pet peeves.

    Some have mentioned the Bushman. The Cold Steel Bushman, for me, meets the criteria for a cheap knife to leave in the back of a vehicle or something similar. If you wanted to bury a few cheapies, these would fit nicely. They probably aren’t as comfortable for an everyday use knife, but they are carbon steel and the reviews seem positive. There are actually quite a bit of accessories for them online. The older ones were made in the US and come with a better sheath if you can find them. The news have a cheesy nylon sheath. Easily replaced if you do some Google searches. (The newer ones are made in China- Yuck!) A good price would be about $20 for these.

    I just bought my daughters each a RAT-7. They make these in different lengths the “7” in Rat-7 means the blade is about 7”. They are good knives. The factory edge isn’t what I consider sharp, but my oldest took it on a camping trip a couple weeks ago and it was used for batoning everything that went into the fire with no noticeable change in sharpness. It still reasonably carved wood. I would recommend them without reservation. Price varies. The sheaths vary as well. I paid $115 each with the Spec-Ops sheaths.

    So, there are some good options from $20-$60 with researchable reviews from multiple people. Some other things I would add-

    1) Get some good Japanese water stones. I good edge will last much longer than an edge put on with your average sporting goods store 600 grit diamond or Arkansas stone. You are looking for a mirror polished finish. Nothing ruins a good knife more than a poorly maintained edge that gets abused. Youtube has a ton of how-tos on sharpening with these stones. My set goes up to 6000 grit. I may get an 8000 grit in the near future. Remember that it’s easier to touch up than to wait until it gets dull. Something that makes sharpening easier is buying a plain blade with no serrations. Serrations were invented for fools that can sharpen a blade. Serrations keep a bit of use in an otherwise dull blade. That’s why there are so many blades with serrations these days- sharpening is a dying art.

    2) Finish your maintenance with a bit of oil.

    3) Don’t use your knife improperly. I can guarantee that if you hit a quality knife against something harder, it will break. Chopping bricks is a bad idea, as is digging with it. Don’t open metal cans with it. It’s made to cut things that are softer than its metal. It’s not a pry bar or screw driver. It’s not an axe and you shouldn’t “chop” against the grain of wood… that’s what a saw is for. Learn to baton correctly. Don’t throw it. That sort of BS is best left to Hollywood. No smart man throws his last ditch weapon. And I will say it again, don’t buy a serrated blade. Go to a wilderness course and watch the “cool guy” with the latest “tactical blade” with serrations try to carve a stick… it will seem much clearer.

    4) On size- get the size that is best for you. 7” is generally thought of as the combat length standard. This is because no matter how you insert a 7” blade, you have a good chance of hitting a vital organ, artery, lung, etc. That’s not the end al length- the MkI Combat knife was originally 6” I believe. I think a 4” blade is the minimum. Again, this is all opinion. I say 4” because I can still reasonably baton wood with a 4” blade.

    I think that’s it for now. If I can think of something else, I will add it later.
  19. spacecoast

    spacecoast Monkey+

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