1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

Monkey business advice needed!

Discussion in 'Blades' started by GrayGhost, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    Today I had started documentation of a knife comparison, the contenders being: the Buck 'Reaper' and the Johnson Adventure Blade Ka-bar 'Potbelly', both US made. Not exactly equal, but both new and itching to be used. It's winter and I need to get out of the house, but I digress.

    Being new here, just a 'lil about me: I'm a tool guy. I use them to earn a living, use them for their intended purpose, never abused.

    Anyway, through the battoning portion, the Potbelly broke clean at the choil. I've never seen anything like it. This was an approximately 4" dia log, taking a 1/2" slab from the side of it. Seasoned apple. The baton I used was about 1 1/2" in dia, which I had used during the chopping portion, and was cut about half way through. There was definitely not a lot of force being put on this blade, which incidentally, is 1/4" x 7". Certainly nothing I haven't done with less imposing blades.

    This knife was purchased through Amazon on a co-worker's order...he has the Prime membership.

    Question: should I have it returned through Amazon, or contact Ka-bar directly to remedy this situation, possibly making them aware of a potential design flaw. Having read the reviews before ordering, I had seen where this had happened to two others. I simply overlooked the two from hundreds (?) of other reviews, dismissing them as being bone heads.

    Opinions and suggestions welcomed and encouraged....thanks all! 20160112_155601.
    Georgia_Boy, Hanzo, GOG and 1 other person like this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Looks like a bad Forging... Return it to the OEM...
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    That's kinda my thought at the moment...Thanks @BTPost.
  4. duane

    duane Monkey++

    Grain of the steel looks very bad, like a casting rather than a forging. Almost looks like a fatigue crack in a casting with no forging or tempering.
    GrayGhost likes this.
  5. Xocjm

    Xocjm Monkey

    My thought is of the hundreds of reviews that were good no one had truly taken that blade through it's paces.
    GrayGhost and Motomom34 like this.
  6. Xocjm

    Xocjm Monkey

    Also have to agree with only one pic the dull grey at the break leads me to believe it is cast and very poor quality.
  7. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    Contrarian that I am, I would return to the seller...Amazon has a very good system to replace items and they should know the issues with products they sell.

    GrayGhost likes this.
  8. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    KaBar knives have always performed well for us and seeing that is very disappointing.

    My favorites for knives are KaBar, Buck and Camillus sadly some are moving some production overseas.

    As far as Buck goes Bos heat treating is still top notch.

    How Buck Knives are Heat Treated
    GrayGhost likes this.
  9. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

  10. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    That's exactly what I thought...cast.
  11. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    Very true...but a tool is a tool and will be used as such. I don't believe the test was unreasonable by any means. However, I'm glad I learned this now, rather then when I need truly need it.
    Hanzo likes this.
  12. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Ditto. Or maybe that's a knife that escaped the tempering process entirely, leaving the steel super hard but super-brittle as well.

    Send it back to the factory. Then test the replacement hard. If it fails also, get a refund and blacklist the brand.
    Tully Mars, Yard Dart and ghrit like this.
  13. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    I realize this also, however, I'm not real sure I want it replaced. To have a blade such as this break in your hand is very disconcerting.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  14. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    Maybe a little better pic of the break...I'll post more if needed (I'm in recliner mode ). Very fine look with no grain visibe to me.

  15. duane

    duane Monkey++

    The old old Buck wood chisels are unbeatable. Have ones that were sharpened back at least a half inch that still hold an edge better than most new ones and if you do abuse them, they "smear" and fold back instead of the edge chipping off and leaving a nick. I started to "use" them 30-40 years ago for the rough work, doors with screws in the mortise etc, so as to not nick my "new" chisels. Now I use the new ones for the rough work in order to protect the "worn out" ones that hold an edge and sharpen up to the point you can work curly maple with them. Doing a good job on that wood will seperate the sheep from the goats in no time flat.
    I hate the new knifes that they sell for cooking that are only sharpened on one side. If you are cutting cabbage, turnips, squash etc, they will not cut straight and they can't be resharpened well. Have the real old carbon steel butcher knives that are almost all gone and they still sharpen well and hold an edge.

    Steel usually looks almost torn if the grain is right and even more so after forging, usually if you get a nice clean smooth break like that in a piece of steel, it is either a fatigue crack, like bending a nail back and forth, or some form of inclusion,flaw in pouring a casting, or defective heat treating. Tempered wrong and brittle, the difference between a good knife and a good straight razer.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
    GrayGhost likes this.
  16. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    You can't beat the oldies brother!
  17. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    20160112_153448. 20160112_154719.
    The Bucks and Ka-bars are one's I've always enjoyed. This Ka-bar was a disappointment, however. The Buck 'Reaper' I'm glad to say, has been a joy to own. The furniture is a little slick, but sure is pretty. And at <$40.... a steal.
  18. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Aloha @GrayGhost,

    The Ka-Bar Potbelly is made of 1095CV or Chromium Vanadium... it is a good steel and used by makers in the past... easy enough to google...

    I always check to see where the knife failed as in some cases it's a flawed design prone to breakage.
    Notice where your knife failed... at the coil right on top of or near the bevel for the edge....

    Now check out this video that posted in the last month or so... at about the 7:30 minute mark... look familiar?

    Sometimes when these are ground ... there are stress risers or weak points or tiny cracks or edges after the grinding... or machining ... I'll bet these were CNC milled.... it is tough to see during inspection especially since this is a coated knife....

    As @BTPost indicated... it could also be a bad batch of steel .... but I will bet it is a bad design that is prone to breakage at that point depending on how well the heat treat was done (1095 can be finicky and requires more precise timing then say 5160 or 52100....

    Do some searching... when blades this thick break at about the same place... my bet would be design... it can be somewhat mitigated by a differential heat treat ( hard edge... soft spine)... but I doubt this had that... or I missed it while reading the specs...

    I'd return it Amazon... faster .... but also take some pictures and send that to Kabar for their information....

    Hope that helps... let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts... happy to share if I can....

    Welcome to the forum !

    Take Care and God Bless,

    Ganado, oldawg, kellory and 2 others like this.
  19. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    From my perspective and without a closer look, I'd say it's a bad heat treat. Looks like brittle failure to me, starting at a stress riser that I can't see. Amazon is the place to send it, and there's no need for an exchange, they will credit your account.
    GrayGhost likes this.
  20. GrayGhost

    GrayGhost Monkey

    From the searching I've done, I'd reckon a design flaw as well. I really appreciate all the input everyone.

    @Bear, I'm thinking I'll have to return it and put some more towards one of yours when one becomes available!
    Ganado, Hanzo, Bear and 1 other person like this.
  1. H.I.S Survival
  2. OldDude49
  3. Bishop
  4. AxesAreBetter
  5. Bandit99
  6. Bishop
  7. Seacowboys
  8. Tommy07
    IMG_6784 by Tommy07 posted Jan 13, 2016 at 20:26
    Thread by: Tommy07, Jan 13, 2016, 24 replies, in forum: Blades
  9. DarkLight
  10. impro3000
  11. HK_User
  12. HK_User
  13. Yard Dart
  14. Maximus Stomholde
  15. Bear
  16. Brokor
  17. Brokor
  18. wolverine_173
  19. hidden211
  20. sludgefactory
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary