Well, those crafty guys at Blind Horse Knives did it once again. After getting me hooked on their Patch Knife, they were able to coax me into the Bushcrafter crowd. And, after seeing the quality of the Patch Knife and after using it, I figured their Bushcrafter would be no different. I was right. Fortunately, I was able to get in under the wire on their first production run and have now had the Bushcrafter for several weeks. Because of other work and other items and projects in queue before the Bushcrafter, I haven’t been able to sit down until just now to do the review. But, in my opinion, I think it worked out better for me that way.
Instead of doing a quick hit write-up on something that I got two days ago, I’ve had a good amount of time to work with the Bushcrafter and I’ve been able to use it for a lot of various tasks. I think that additional time has given me the ability to provide a very objective opinion about the knife born out of true use over a longer period. It’s hard to provide a truly objective opinion of a product in a couple of days time, but when you’ve had a chance to use it day in and day out, well, that’s when there’s truly more depth to your insight. Hopefully that extra time spent with the Buschcrafter comes out in this review.
The Bushcrafter was developed as a collaboration between
owners L.T. Wright and Dan Coppins and Tim Stetzer who is a knife industry author, police detective, and now a newly-initiated knife designer. The purpose behind the design of this knife was to compile all the best features of a bush knife into a custom package, yet try to keep the costs down for the average mainstream consumer. All parties involved did a great job in achieving that end result. The customer that acquires a Bushcrafter will get a knife that has the best balance of features for field work and they get the bragging rights of having a custom knife. As a lot of people know, even small custom blades can run several hundred dollars. However, when prices get that high, it usually puts the product out of the reach of the average "Joe The Plumber." The guys at
have been able to get around this problem by taking a different approach than most custom makers. As I mentioned in my
review, L.T. and Dan purchase large quantities of used saw blades from saw mills in the country. Once they get these saw blades, they can rework the steel, do the heat treatment, and provide a high quality knife at a fraction of normal custom knife prices. There are trade-offs in this process, as the end user can’t brag about having the latest super steel, but the average user isn’t going to mind because the edge performance is there right along with the quality finish. Though a good friend of mine and I bust each other up over prices and quality of knives (he’s a Mora freak), you can get a great quality knife with great features without spending hundreds of dollars. That’s just what the guys at BHK provide in the Bushcrafter line. For someone that spends a lot of time in the outdoors, I think they’ll find that this knife will serve just about any need they have very well indeed. While they do focus on funciton and performance, they don’t skimp on the good stuff either like the custom touches with such things as the edge treatment, finish, and the grib slabs, which could almost have an article dedicated to them alone.
Just like the Patch Knife, the Bushcrafter has Fiddle Back Maple slabs for the handle which is 4.25 inches long. The blade is exactly 4 inches long and sports a spear point and a very nice flat grind that transitions into a convex edge that is razor sharp. That flat grind gives the blade a slim profile for those times that you use it for slicing or cutting through things like leather or other materials. What I really like about the Bushcrafter is the feel of the handle. For a relatively small fixed blade, the grips fill the hand quite nicely. Also, the handle slabs are shaped very nicely to create an almost completely round grip. It’s completely different than just about any other knife handle that I’ve got in my current collection, and I like the feel of it very much. There’s one finger groove along the handle that allows for a good purchase on the handle while you’re doing your work. All in all, the whole package is nicely done, fits the hand well, and provides a great overall satsifaction. Besides all of that, the Bushcrafter is also a perfect companion to my Patch Knife since they both have the same handle materials. Put them side by side, and you end up just beaming with pride at having such nicely done knives without having to bust your bank account. But, the value of the Bushcrafter goes far beyond just the cosmetic attributes. The value can also be appreciated when using the Bushcrafter as well.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had many opportunities to use the Bushcrafter in a variety of situations. While doing the Fire Fixins review, I used the Bushcrafter to shave the strips off the fat wood for the fire-starting exercise. The Bushcrafter zipped right through that task with no problem, and I was easily able to get very thin shavings that took a spark very well in getting the fire going. Yesterday, while testing some other products, I used the Bushcrafter on a few saplings just to see how easy it was to work the wood, and had no problems with that either. The keen edge bit easily into the wood, and it even did a decent job when I tried to chop with the Bushcrafter. Though not intended for that task, you could use the Bushcrafter for light chopper especially if you put a secure lanyard on it so you can back your grip up to get more momentum with the blade. The spear point blade makes for a strong end to the blade, and I had no qualms about digging into stumps or pieces of wood to hollow them out to make an improvised spoon. The blade held up very well and there were no fears on my part with point integrity as you might sometimes have with blades that have clip points. That’s the main benefit of the spear point design. It holds up well to rough work in the field where you’re going to encounter some tough spots.
A lot of times, you’ll also find that custom knives do not come with a sheath and you’ll have to fork over some more dollars to be able to carry your knife in the field. That’s not the case with the Bushcrafter. Blind Horse Knives provides a sheath to carry your Bushcrafter as soon as you get it. The sheath is made by JRE Industries and is crafted of premium leather with both a belt loop and an included D-ring that you can use to hang the sheath lower from your belt with another strap or you can use the D-ring to fashion a carry mode other than just on your belt. Nice touch! The sheath also comes with a loop on the side where you can slide in a fire steel such as those provide by JRE Industries. Many, many times, I’ve heard and said that man’s ability to survive comes down to the ability to cut things and make fire. Pop a fire steel into the loop and along with your Bushcrafter, and you’re good to go! When you consider the $100 price of the Bushcrafter, getting a quality sheath with it illustrates an even better value for the customer. Acquiring the sheaths, handling shipping, and so forth cuts into that $100, so Blind Horse Knives has really gone out of its way to provide a top end tool for an insanely reasonable price. I can’t give them enough credit for the products they’re providing to the mainstream customers in the market. I wish there were more companies like them.
As you’ve probably noticed in my other reviews, I don’t hold back when I find issues with a product or where I want to make a suggestion, so you’re probably asking yourself if I have encountered any issues or concerns with the Bushcrafter as I’ve used it over the past few weeks. To quote Samuel Jackson in "Pulp Fiction", "Please allow me to retort." No, I haven’t found anything about the Bushcrafter that I don’t like or that I think could be improved. Absolutely not. I think L.T. and Dan have done a great job in providing a lot of quality in a package so well priced. Sure, add $150-$200 to the price of the Bushcrafter, I could think of a couple of things to modify such as using S30V steel or giving the blade a different kind of finish. But, even with that, for the tasks that the bushcrafter is intended to perform, you would not get an additional $150-$200 worth of value with those modifications. They just aren’t needed. I’d rather have three Bushcrafters in their current configuration for $300 than one modified Bushcrafter with different steel or a different finish. In essence, from my perspective, they’ve found the perfect blend of performance, features, and cost. Anything else above that is superfluous and just not necessary for a bush knife. Kudos to them!
All told, I’m extremely happy with my Blind Horse Knives Bushcrafter. I think Dan, L.T. and Tim all did a terrfic job in putting together a quality product that just about anyone can get their hands on. With most things I acquire, I’m picky and have a little niggle here or there about the little things. But, with the Bushcrafter, I haven’t had any of these little pesky niggles pop up in my mind. As soon as I pulled it from the sheath and went to work, I never looked back and I never questioned my decision to get one. As some of my close friends can attest, that’s saying a lot! I’ve been accused of being too picky or perfectionistic about stuff. That just simply hasn’t been an issue with regard to the Bushcrafter. I’m 100% satisfied with the product. So, if you’re looking for your own custom blade but you’re not wanting to part with two weeks pay to get it, then this knife is well worth your consideration. You lose nothing in quality and value, but you’ve got the world to gain in the user experience and satisfaction. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you make the Bushcrafter your choice for the field!