Odds & Edges

10 Tempting Off-The-Beaten-
Path Knives And Tools

By Pat Covert

Hey, everybody who knows what a tactical knife looks like, raise your hand! Just kidding of course, but tactical knives have ruled the cutlery industry for over 25 years now, so we thought GUNS readers would like to see some edged weapons and tools which tend to fly under the radar of the cutlery realm.

There are many specialized edged designs made just for focused tasks and others which just make life easier, ranging from field dressing, food prep and dining, to good old fashioned slashing and bashing. We thought you’d get a kick out of seeing some of these “odd ’n’ other” edged offerings and present a bevy of them here.

The versatile Habilis Bush Tools Hand Axe (center) and Hand Adze
(lower left) can be hafted, lashed, batoned, or simply used by hand.

Taking styling cues from the Alaskan ulu, the Benchmade Nestucca
cleaver is capable of a multitude of field dressing and food prep chores.

Neo Outdoors Options

The ever-growing rise of interest in survivalism and bushcraft has brought new options for hunters, campers, and general outdoors enthusiasts to the table. Those wishing to get back to the earth now have a wide range of new tools to assist in camp chores such as shelter building, fire starting, firewood gathering, and crafting camp comforts. You don’t have to be a hardcore survivalist or woods crafter to use them either. Rather, they make great backups to your standard camp toolbox and just may get you out of a pinch should a bad situation arise.

Ferrocerium firestarters have become very popular among both survivalist and camp hunters who want a reliable way to throw some serious sparks onto their tinder. The Battle Horse Knives Firefly is undoubtedly one of the most well made ferro rod and striker systems out there. The fun starts with a 3-3/8-inch ferro rod 3/8 inches in diameter topped with a fat, grippy Micarta cap. The striker bar is 5 inches in length, half of it in a thick O1 tool steel striker bar that will throw a shower of sparks capable of moving the most ardent survivalist to tears of joy. The coup de grâce is a Kydex neck sheath which also has slots for strapping. The price is $99.

Blurring the line between tomahawk and hatchet, the Hardcore Hardware
CTT-01 is a serious chopper for urban or field environments.

Adze & Axes

Habilis Bush Tools is noted for making knives which go a step beyond the norm as we noted in our profile on the company in the March/April 2017 issue of American Handgunner. Their Hand Ax and Hand Adze continue the trend. The Hand Axe is 7.2 inches in overall length with a curved 3.8-inch bit. On the backside of the bit is a sharpened gouge/spoon scraper.

The Hand Adze is slightly smaller at 6.4 inches with a 2.2-inch bit. Both are made from easy to sharpen 1095 high carbon steel and are blued the way guns are to help deter corrosion. These tools can be used by hand, hafted on a spear, or lashed perpendicular to a handle utilizing the holes and grooves along their length. A Kydex bit sheath is included along with a healthy 11-foot length of braided paracord for lashing. Ingenious! The axe sells for $99, and the adze $79.

Terrill Hoffman is a photographer, writer, and lover of all things outdoors. He also designed these cool harpoons for TOPS Knives which are nothing less than a stroke of genius. TOPS offers an assortment of Hoffman’s survival stickers ranging from the original 8-inch basic model to the beefier XL model (9.13 inches) and the smaller Mini (5.5 inches). These come paracord-wrapped for lashing to a throwing or thrusting staff, or they can be used out of the box as small knives. The most obvious use is for spear fishing but use your imagination and you’ll find all kinds of reasons to keep one of TOPS’ Hoffman harpoons in your wilderness kit. All come with a Kydex sheath, ready to play. Price ranges from $80 for the Mini to $130 for the XL.

The modern generation of tomahawks, primarily used for breaching and combat, were born out of military operations in Middle East. If you need to seriously chop wood for fire or shelter an axe or hatchet does a much better job. Lately we’re seeing the twain between the two meet and one such offering is the Hardcore Hardware (of Australia) CTT-01 (Compact Tactical Tomahawk). At 9.57 inches overall, the CTT-01 bridges the gap, proffering thick 0.35-inch D2 steel (Teflon coated) with a 3.25-inch bit edge accompanied by a 1.85-inch spike on back. Tipping the scales at a righteous 1 pound, 7.2 ounces you’re given comfort by sumptuous, nicely sculpted G10 scales. A Kydex sheath with retention strap with both MOLLE and Tek-Lok backs are included. Hardcore Hardware makes a larger version if you’re so inclined. The price is $335.

The Benchmade Nestucca cleaver takes its styling cues from the legendary Alaskan Ulu widely used for dressing/cleaning game, food preparation, and other cutting tasks. Benchmade chose to design the Nestucca on an offset handle with a large hole in the blade for optional hand positions. The 4.41-inch premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade has a satin finish and the grooved, orange G10 composite handles are not only durable, but easy to see in dim light conditions. For meal prep the Nestucca can churn out chunks of meat and veggies ready for the stew pot in mere minutes. For safe storage the Nestucca comes with a black leather sheath which stays put with a snap loop. Price is $150.

The Emerson EDC 2 is a simplified—and rugged—multi-tool
with the bare bones essentials you’ll use most often.

The CRKT Jesper Voxnaes designed Snailor answers the call for
craft beer aficionados and serves as a nifty carabineer key
chain to boot.

Blades aren’t for prying, but Kershaw’s Barge folder—with
its prybar on the base—offers a handy, viable alternative.

You’ll be the cock-of-the-walk at the local steakhouse
with these high stylin’ Higo Nakami Folding Steak Knives.

You’ll be the cock-of-the-walk at the local steakhouse
with these high stylin’ Higo Nakami Folding Steak Knives.

Everyday Alternatives

The everyday carry knife is a must for most, but in many cases you need a little assistance outside their normal duties. Or maybe you just want to be different. Either way you’ll find there are plenty of options in knife configurations and tools to make your life a little bit easier.

Multi-tools are great, but sometimes there’s just way too much “multi” in the tool. The Emerson EDC-2 is a bare-bones multi-tool with a modest selection of just the tools you use the most. Shaped in the age-old equal-end pen/pocket knife pattern, the EDC-2 is 4.25 inches in length (closed) with textured tan G10 scales. At 5.3 ounces it’s not dainty, and the tools are heavy duty. Functions include a 2.7-inch drop-point main blade with the Emerson Wave opener, slotted screwdriver, Phillips No. 1 screwdriver, and an awl/punch which also serves as a scraper. All tools lock in place and have a black oxide coating. And on the backside, a handy pocket clip makes for ready carry. Nice! Price is $134.95.

We covered the unique Serge Panchenko Spyderco Roc design in our Knives column in 2015, but it deserves a spot here because it took cojones to produce it and it’s still going strong. Cleavers are a sub-culture of the tactical genre not many outside of social media are aware of. The Roc is 7.76 inches in overall length sporting nicely curved G10 scales with a liner lock mechanism tucked within. The nifty VG-10 stainless steel cleaver style blade is 2.75 inches in length and opens via a Spydie hole. There are many uses for the Roc blade. Cut some veggies to go with your steak, then use it to cut your steak. Use it for everyday cleaving and slicing. Need a shave? And yes, it will make for a wicked self-defense slasher. Retail is $259.95.

Using a knife for prying is extremely dangerous, especially if the blade snaps and decides it likes your face. Mini prybars are available, but who needs one more thing in their pocket? Kershaw has addressed the issue with the Barge—an all in one tactical EDC with a prybar on the base. The Barge is 4.7 inches closed with a 2.6-inch stonewashed modified Wharncliff blade of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The prybar itself has a curled lip for getting into tight spots and an integral-lock steel frame (with a black G10 front scale) adds to the Barge’s sturdy build. You can have your knife and pry it, too! Price is $34.99.

Spyderco’s daring Serge Panchenko designed Roc folder cleaver can
save your skin, shave your beard, and prep your meal in style.

Battle Horse Knives’ Firefly, with its heavy duty Ferrocerium rod
and striker bar (above), is the Cadillac of th e class in
firestarters out there today.

TOPS Knives’ Hoffman Harpoons can be used as spears, thrusting
weapons, or simply as knives for small, detailed tasks.

Slice, Dice & Pop

How would you like to stroll into your local steakhouse and automatically be the cock-of-the-walk? You can! The Higo Nakomi Folding Steak Knife is a Japanese brand sold under the celebrated Shun division of Kai, USA Ltd.—the same folks who make Kershaw knives. Higo Nakomi knives are a legend in Japan and known for their folding knives. While not heavy duty in the size department, these folding steak slicers are opulent nonetheless with their Ebony Pakka Wood handle scales inlaid with a mosaic crest. The razor sharp VG10 stainless steel blade is 3.5 inches in length and opens by way of a straight, friction folder style tab. The blade locks up stoutly with a liner lock mechanism. The Higo Nakomi Folding Steak Knife comes with a leather sheath for storing and if you want to save a little coin there is a similar version in synthetic handles in the Kershaw line. Astounding quality at $125.

The microbrewery and craft beer industry boom in recent years has created a bottle-cap lifter boom among brew buffs in the cutlery industry. Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) has always had a pulse on all things “new and hip” so turned to custom knifemaker Jesper Voxnaes for a production version of his popular Snail model. Equipped with a key chain carabineer, this cool 2.84-inch, snail-shaped stainless steel cap lifter is heavy duty enough to handle even the hulkiest bottle tops in a snap. A smaller Compact send-up can be had without the carabineer and the price of admission to be a Snailor owner is on the down low with the standard Snailor at $14.99, the Compact $9.99.

Battle Horse
700 South 9th St.
Cambridge, OH 43725
(740) 995-9009

300 Beavercreek Rd.
Oregon City, OR 97045
(800) 800-7427

Columbia River Knife & Tool
18348 SW 126th Place
Tualatin, OR 97062
(800) 891-3100

Emerson Knives
1234 254th Street
Harbor City, CA 90710
(310) 539-5633

Habilis Bush Tools
3131 Underwood Rd. NE
Dalton, GA 30721
(706) 218-8277

Hardcore Hardware, Australia, For US dealers:

Kershaw Knives/ Kai USA
18600 Teton Ave.
Tualatin, OR 97062
(800) 325-2891

Shun/Higo Nakami/ Kai USA
18600 Teton Ave.
Tualatin, OR 97062
(800) 325-2891

20011 Golden Gate Canyon Rd.
Golden, CO 80403
(800) 525-7770

TOPS Knives
P.O. Box 2544
Idaho Falls, ID 83403
(208) 542-0113

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