Any Bark River fans out there?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Fn_perfect13, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Barneycanoe


    Apr 8, 2019
    I have had three with my newest being the Wilderness Explorer. No issues, beautiful knives, wish I could afford more. Had to sell the first two due to being out of a job. I would make a different decision if I could go back in time.
    ScottsBad likes this.
  2. lambertiana

    lambertiana Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    My feelings toward Mike Stewart have nothing to do with trying to enhance my own self esteem. You obviously have had better experiences dealing with him personally than I have and you are entitled to your opinion. However, I had some bad experiences with him personally and will never do business with him again. For you to denigrate others who have had bad experiences with him is just ignoring the possibility that our experiences are real. I assure you, they are real; the fact that you have not experienced that side of Mike Stewart does not mean that that side of Mike Stewart does not exist. At one time I was a big fan of BR knives, but that changed after some personal contact with Mike Stewart.

    I will not trash talk the others mentioned, such as Lynn Thompson, Farid Mehr, and Mick Strider, simply because I have had no negative experience with them. Others seem to have and I will let them speak from their own experience, just as those who have had good experiences with them will tell the positive side to their story.
    Blue Sky, danbot, palonej and 6 others like this.
  3. JamesofArc


    Apr 19, 2016
    • Warning for trolling
    Really none of my business but just wondering if he raped you in prison or something. Iv been pooped on by some people but over time the hate goes away but I bet if he took your manhood away I could see why your still bitter.
    When you did like him what was your favorite knife of his?
    number41, Fn_perfect13 and Ben Dover like this.
  4. Lee D

    Lee D

    May 27, 2013
    I feel like I’ve been here before....
    jmh33 likes this.
  5. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    One warning for trolling.

    Talk about the topic, not the other posters.
    Lee D, TrainedBullets and craytab like this.
  6. onewing


    Apr 2, 2013
    I don't see how they are overpriced, they seem low compared to comparable work by other makers using the same materials. Being a fair sized shop putting out a lot of knives has brought the price down a bit. If you are buying cheaper you are probably buying from manufacturers that use simpler manufacturing/materials or made in low cost of living countries.
    Fn_perfect13, ScottsBad and Ben Dover like this.
  7. TrainedBullets


    Apr 23, 2017
    I have a mini aurora and I think it’s ok for the price.

    That said, going forward it’s handmade, custom, or bust for me. For not that much more I can get a substantially more comfortable handle and better executed knife made by an extremely reputable maker. I feel like it’s money well spent.
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I have one of those that I bought a couple years back. It was to be my "absolute" woods knife....... it's a good knife and I like both the design and materials for the woods use. That said, my interests have shifted toward the Kephart design and now I am more looking at small edc type fixed blades. It never stops.

    I recall an "Alone" thread about what knife would you choice was the Wilderness Explorer if I have little other information as to the geographic location and possible situation.

    The Wilderness Explorer (Cruwear) is a very good knife. For me, it may be a tad large with it's 5.75" blade for regular carry in my normal woods use mode. I just don't cut that much stuff that a smaller knife can't easily handle (fixed or folder). But I don't regret getting it. I'm more comfortable with something with about a 5" blade and often smaller.
  9. lambertiana

    lambertiana Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    I won't rehash that here, it has been done in other threads and you can find it if you search the archives. I wouldn't call it hate, it's just that with so many options out there from knife makers who have not done those things to me, I have no desire to purchase another BR knife.

    To answer your question, my favorite was the NorthStar. At one time I had five BR knives, but sold four of them. I only kept the NS. It is from the first run, tapered tang.
    CVamberbonehead likes this.
  10. JamesofArc


    Apr 19, 2016
    I do see your point and you have the God given right in this country to make future decisions based on past experience and it looks like your bad experiance helped you grow into a better direction so thank God for the bad experiance because it directed you to a better future in knife collecting.

    I like Bark River, cant afford them but like them. I dont know Mike and his business dealings are his and none of my business but I do know he knows how to produce a knife and I like what he produces. Cant afford them but like them.
  11. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    My experiences with BRK have all been positive. Theyve had great customer service and the knives have been first rate. I have 4 of them, and they are world class. My Blackjack 125 is the best hunting knife I have ever used, though a touch large maybe. It gets and stays scary sharp, I love that convex edge. The steel is really great, and the micarta handle is comfortable for long use. Great knife, just like the others I have.
    My experiences with Blade Forums threads around BRK has been unfortunately awful on the other hand. :( Lets not fight here folks.
    Fn_perfect13 and Aryan29 like this.
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I feel the same way about the Blackjack 125. That is why I latched onto the old Trail Guide model with the same design and a 4.5" blade. No reason to fight about BR. Either the past troubles you to the point that you refuse to buy one of their knives or you just pay attention and get a few when their attributes click the right boxes at the time. I'm in the second group. I don't dismiss the past, but I don't dwell on it either.

    Added: Point about customer service.... In my years of buying knives, I have only ever returned a knife to the manufacturer one time and it was when I was a kid and broke the blade on my Case barlow cutting a stick. I couldn't afford to replace it then as that was a lot of money to me. Case replaced the knife and I was forever in their debt. In general as an adult, I don't bother with warranties or customer service and if I have a problem with a knife, I just put it aside and move on. Those have been few and far between.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  13. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    Ive thought about getting a 124, to have a slightly smaller version. The trail guides are just so gorgeous though, its kept me from getting a 124. Lol Id love to find one, I think itd be perfect for me, but I just havent yet.
  14. ScottsBad

    ScottsBad Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    Geez, I've (so far) had a very good experience with BR knives. I have about ten of them and have given them as gifts to kids, but I also have many other brand knives as well. BR makes very well crafted production knives for, what I think, is a very reasonable price. Yes, you can drive up the price when buying special scales and liners, but if you just want the tool without fancy handles they are quite reasonable. Especially if you opt for A2 steel.

    One of the things that drew me to BRK is the availability of a variety of steel choices. I have become a spoiled fan of CPM 3V and I am more likely to choose steel over gorgeous design and hand crafted finish. With BR I get good designs, comfortable handles, very good finish, with a convex grind (my preferred grind), in the steel I like, at a fair price with an apparently good warranty.

    I'm a user, I don't own knives to look at, I want knives made to survive rough use. They are tools. I practice with them. I've learned how to easily maintain super steels in order to take advantage of the toughness and edge holding rather than buy steels that are easier to maintain, yet potentially inferior in edge holding and corrosion resistance.

    Bluntly, its not that I don't appreciate beautiful handcrafted custom knives, some of these beauties take my breath away, but I don't own any because of my practical nature. I'm a different kind of customer perhaps. I love beautiful wood scales, but I always buy synthetic (micarta, G10, etc.) because I don't want to worry about scratching or cracking the wood. Fine, I can buy knives from small makes with beautiful synthetic handles, but can I get them in the steel I want? Maybe, I don't know.

    I like all my BR knives but I modify some of them. I radius finger choils that are on the blade. I sometimes reshape or round the micarta edges at the rear of the handle. BRKs generally come very sharp, but after some use, I work and strop the edges to a polish (I do this with all knives).

    Also, I do not invest in expensive knives under a 4.5" - 5" blade length because anything that requires a blade under 5" can be done with a Mora for $11-$18 and I can throw it away if it gets screwed up.

    Here are my current favorite BRKs in 3V:

    Aurora II - I like the bigger 5.5" blade over the regular Aurora. The handle is terrific for bush crafting, but I use it mainly for butchering large slabs beef into steaks because it is so fricken sharp and long enough to cut.

    Fox River EXT2 - This seems like it would be an excellent game processing knife, but I quit hunting years ago. Great little 4.5" blade, excellent handle. It can be used as an all around knife and works wood quite well, but not really a bushcraft knife like the Aurora because of the taller blade at the tip. Compact and light.

    BR Bravo 1.25 and 1.5 LT
    - These are proven all around camp type knives. I reluctantly gave my wife the Bravo 1.25 5", and bought myself a 1.5 LT 5.88". The 1.5 is slightly long for some small tasks, but I love the length when needed especially for a batoning session.

    BR Bravo Tope Recon - Crazy looking knife is probably my favorite Survival sized outdoor knife. Forget about the looks with the fin. This knife is versitile, and quite light for its size. It is balanced in such a way that it chops way beyond its size and weight. I modded the rear of the handle and its probable the first knife I would grab running out of the house if I could only take one knife.

    BR Bravo Crusader - Chopping beast that I can still easily feather stick with. The Crusader competes with my Busse Bunker Buster in satin INFI, very similar size and weight.
    As far as Mike Stewart is concerned, I read some stuff about business practices that I couldn't make any sense of. Business is a sometimes cut throat endeavor. People see things differently and from different perspectives, personalities clash, especially when money and ego are involved. I worked in the corporate environment for years, sometimes tough decisions have to be made and people get hurt. I hated it.

    Mike is running what appears to be a successful private business making, in my opinion, a very good product that presents a good value to his customers. I've had productive and very helpful conversations with his company about removing the ramps on a couple knives and modifying another. Very reasonable.

    I don't know what the butt hurt is here on BF, but I think its unproductive JMHO
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  15. Fn_perfect13


    Apr 10, 2020
    Did not expect this. I forgot I made this post and came back to it today. I personally have never been wronged by Mike Stewart or BRK. I feel they make great high quality knives and have one of the best warranties in the business. Maybe they are a little pricey for some, but I would rather spend the "extra" cost knowing that if something happens my knife is covered no questions asked. Just because they are a little pricey doesn't mean they are just show knives. l beat the hell out of my Crusader and all my other Bravo series and never had an issue. Not a knife snob either but my Mora just failed me today actually and I've used it for the last 3 years
  16. Fn_perfect13


    Apr 10, 2020
    For me the BRKS I have are as follows:
    Essential Cpm154
    Essential II Cmp154
    Psk EDC Elmax
    Bravo Sentry Cpm154
    Bravo EDC Elmax
    Bravo Gunny Elmax
    Bravo 1.25 CPM3V (my preorder that I love)
    Bravo Crusader CPM3V
    Bravo 2 CPM3V

    All of them have been excellent.
  17. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Great you like 'em. Can't be sure you got the steel or heat treat you paid for though. That's sad and not a problem with other firms. You want the truth, warts and all, search the good bad and ugly forum.
    V-1, Steven65 and Fn_perfect13 like this.
  18. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    You sure wrote a lot on the subject for not knowing! I hope you take equal time to educate yourself on the numerous issues that have been raised. That would help alleviate your self professed lack of knowledge on the subject. Pay special attention to issues of mislabeled steels and botched heat treatment, along with how those issues are handled.
  19. Fn_perfect13


    Apr 10, 2020
    Could you br so kind as to point me in the right direction?
  20. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Oh, so you don't know, but you find it unproductive. Neat. Unproductive in what way?
    benchwarmer380 likes this.

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