Any Bark River fans out there?

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

  1. ScottsBad

    ScottsBad Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    I guess you missed the part where I said I've not had ANY, as in NO problems what-so-ever. And if I do have a problem, I will then be able to judge the company's reaction to my complaint or request. As I said, so far my interaction with their personnel has be excellent. My email questions have been answered within a day or day and a half max. My phone calls have been politely and helpfully handled. My knives have all been finished to meet my expectations. So far, I would rate their customer service as excellent.

    I probably have an equal number of Busse kin as I do BR. Out of the those, which are much more expensive, I've had problems with three. Busse has excellent customer service from my experience, and very good quality, but one knife had to be completely replaced, one has a problem I choose to wait to send in, and I have another that will probably have to be completely replaced, but I trust Busse to take care of the problems because they've treated me well in the past and they always make it right.

    I've had no problems with BR, in fact they've agreed to make non-standard changes to my knives, and quoted me a very reasonable price for doing so. If they screw up they will lose a very good customer, but my experience has been great so far.

    You said you want me to educate myself. Well, as I said, a couple of years ago I did read about some complaint about Mike Stewart's business practices. And I gave my response. As far as individual complaints, its hard to know what actually happened. But I do know that with the number of knives BR makes if the quality/ customer service problems were pervasive I would have heard a lot more negatives and I don't. Outside of this forum, I just don't see it.

    So maybe you should direct your jihad to someone else.
    Ben Dover likes this.
  2. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    I've been accused of a lot of things, but a jihad is a new one!

    You seem very passionate about this issue, beyond the point of discussion IMO. I wish you luck with your knives.
  3. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I haven't had a problems with the couple of BR's that I own. The Blackjacks have been fine too. If I have any beef at all with regard to BR, it is how I understand they handled the problems over the last couple of years. My impression is that they pretty much ignored them. BR knives are not No. 1 on my list when I'm looking at knives, but they certainly aren't No 10 either. Life goes on....

    I can tell stainless steel from carbon steel, but that is about it. There is soft, hard, and harder in terms of steel hardness from the heat treat. To my knowledge, I haven't had any issues in the HT area. About the only way I would even notice is if the knives don't hold an edge with minimal use or the sharpen up really quickly when they are supposed to be pretty hard. I have three such knives and two are Condor's and one a Becker.

    I have never talked to BR about their knives. Just never had a reason.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  4. tltt


    May 1, 2008
    The bulk of the really nasty stuff went down when Stewart had BlackJack from the mid 80's - late 90's. There are reasons way Ethan Becker, Jerry Fisk, AG Russell, Chris Reeve, Adirondack Leather, Anthony Lombardo, Bob Cargill, Tom Maringer, etc...., etc..... won't / wouldn't discuss him or have nothing good to say about him.

    With Bark River, there are two sides to it. If you are/were a smaller dealer, there is/was a chance Stewart could be an absolute terror. There was a small dealer in Japan that used to get really bad knives dumped on him, and Stewart wasn't super helpful fixing it. And then there was that guy around 2004 that paid for a small run around of knives (about $16,000 worth), and had Mike use his money while he had to beg for his knives to be made, etc....

    For the Bark River customer, you'll probably be ok. The internet has forced him to mellow out and clean up his act a bit. Years ago, you'd probably get a snarky reply, and the run around. But now with the average guy being able to make a Youtube video or multiple social media posts about it, well :).
  5. ScottsBad

    ScottsBad Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    Big difference between A2 and 3V, CPM 154 and Elmax not so much. And with any manufacturer you never know exactly the heat treat. I've got a lot of 3V knives, and I do a lot of sharpening. You get pretty used to how a steel acts on different sharpening media. If I only had one or two knives in 3V it might be harder to tell.
    Ben Dover likes this.
  6. ScottsBad

    ScottsBad Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 13, 2015
    I don't have passion about it other than I make my own judgements. I came to this thread to talk about knives not to be told I shouldn't like a knife because someone doesn't like the owner.

    Good luck to you.
    CVamberbonehead and Ben Dover like this.
  7. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Agreed. There are recent issues though.

    There was a thread a couple years ago where a guy got a knife labeled 20cv but was actually A2. Bark river lied to him and told him that 20cv rusts like A2. Bark river refused to take care of the issue. It took KSF getting involved to fix the problem.

    To me, that is in excusable. Mistakes happen, I get that. How you handle them is important. BRKT has failed on this with many examples over the years.

    And just because this didn't happen to me doesn't mean I can't use this information to base my future buying choices. I don't have to eat dog poop to know it is not something I am going to enjoy the taste of...
    razorburn, jfk1110, V-1 and 5 others like this.
  8. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Before I take any advice or criticism, good or bad, from the internet, I will depend on my personal experiences, and/or the personal experiences of people that I know and trust.
  9. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    I'm a little late to this "gathering", but I'll offer my own experience. I have only had a dozen or so Bark Rivers in different models and over a span of 10 years. I have personally had no problems with F&F or performance. I currently have no BRK's and no plans to pick one up, at least not from their current lineup. My Dozier, my Fiddlebacks, and my Bradfords do everything I need a FB to do. BRK certainly offer a wide range of blade profiles and handle materials. Lately, though, I've come to prefer thinner blades like my Fiddleback family knives have.

    I'm aware that Bark River is a polarizing subject on BF. I have read most of the threads and some people that I trust and respect have reported problems of various kinds from bad F&F to mismarked blade steel to a dislike for Mike Stewart himself. I accept what they say as their legitimate experience. I can only say that my experiences with my BRK's have been pretty much what I'd expect from the knives. I've never used their W&R service and I've never had any contact with Mr. Stewart, I sharpen my own knives, and I generally use a knife within its design parameters... nothing extreme.
    craytab likes this.
  10. Mikael W

    Mikael W Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Hi, I have to ask what happened with the Mora?

    I mainly use 3 brands when it comes to fixed blades and they are:
    Bark River Knives
    I can probably fill 3 buckets with them all.
    Here are a few:


    Regarding Mike Stewart I used to have an almost daily contact with him, but that is many years ago and nowadays I have no personal contact with him.
    I think he has added more to the knifecommunity than what he takes, but I have not always agreed with him. Anyway I regard him as a friend.

    Some of the BRK's I own are among my top favorite users and I plan to continue using them as long as I am able to do so.
    I think they are among the best production knives availible on the market today, due to their combination of design, steel, heat-treatment and convex geometry.
    That said I'm also very fond of my Fällkniven blades and I'm glad I bought them before prices went skyhigh.
    Mora's are for work and that's where they fit their role the best, but they are very useable in many other situations and I don't want to be without at least one.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
    Llasi, Don W, Jhansenak47 and 4 others like this.
  11. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Just out of curiosity, what problems did you have with Busse knives?
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  12. Smiling


    Nov 21, 2019
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and everyone has a reasoning behind it.

    So, not all of us will like or dislike Mike or BRK. But we should all respect opinions of others.

    I can see why would someone dislike BRK if they got wrong steel for example, or bad heat treatment. And I can also see why people who had positive experience with them will like the company.

    I was often looking at BRK Bravo Necker knife in 3V. But price is just waay too much for what it is (in my opinion). So that's main reason I never bought their knives.
    Now, I also see that despite the price, mistakes happen rather often, and sometimes it can be difficult to solve them.

    I, as a consumer will think twice after hearing this. If they treated someone else bad, what are the chances that they will do the same to me? Could I get A2 instead of 3V for example?
  13. Mikael W

    Mikael W Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Well, as You say the price is waay too much for what it is and that's the main reason You never bought a BRK, I guess You are safe from getting A2 instead of 3V.
    (This goes for me too, as I don't buy knives anymore like I used to do.)
    I totally agree with You that we should all respect each others opinion.:thumbsup:

    Fn_perfect13 and Smiling like this.
  14. panella

    panella Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    I recently bought my first Bark River knife: a Crusader in 3V. I'm driven by design more than any other factor in buying a knife and the Crusader's geometry was the determining factor. The price seemed competitive with other knives of that size and quality. The sheath that came with the Crusader didn't fit and it was sent back to be fixed. Their CS was friendly and they eventually replaced the sheath at no cost. I've used the Crusader to chop some small trees and through larger tree limbs of very hard Western Dogwood. It chopped easily and was unblemished and very sharp after splitting several limbs. On par with my Busse's and Swamp Rats. The balance is excellent and the handle comfortable. I'd have no reservations about buying another Bark River based on my experience.
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  15. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    I think the bold part at the end (bolded by me) is important for people considering BRKT to remember. The guy who got A2 instead of 20cv was in Europe, like you. The cost, hassle, and risk in shipping of getting that knife, let alone sending it back and forth across the Atlantic again is nothing to sneeze at.

    Here is a link to that saga in case anyone is interested to the details:

    I had a BRKT Bravo Necker 2 in 3v. It was a fine knife and the 3v acted how 3v should. The jimping, while nice and grippy, looked like it was ground by a 3 year old (super crooked), but the rest of the knife was very good, enough to make up for that.
    razorburn, benchwarmer380 and Smiling like this.
  16. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
  17. Mikael W

    Mikael W Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Danke42, that knife sure needs a regrind and the OP'S question is most valid.

    This happens from time to time with many knives and not just from the BRK brand.
    My first Fällkniven had similiar uneven grindlines and I got a new, better one under warranty.
    As BRK & FK has convex geometrys, they are handground. This produces hollows and bumps allover the blades.
    Most of the times they are within acceptable tolerances, but sometimes they need to go back under warranty.

    When I get a new knife I always remove the hollows and bumps from the blade.
    It's surpricing how uneven knifeblades actually are and that goes for any production knife I have and from any brand.
    It's not until I put a flat stone to the blade, that I discover the level of imperfection.
    By doing this process, the level of cutting performance increases in a noticeable way.

    That process has meant a lot of learning how to sharpen and shape the edges for the intended use.
    IMO I don't get the full performance out of an expensive knife, without this procedure.
    I can only wish that the threads on BF would put more focus on the need for break-in of new knives, before they are judged as trash.

  18. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    I've never broken in a new knife myself but that's what I like about this place. You learn things.
    Mikael W likes this.
  19. Mikael W

    Mikael W Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Yes absolutely and learning is half the fun IMO.
    I bought a 1" x 30" beltsander and have learned to use it.
    That means I can shape my grinds the way I want them and I have not needed to send a knife back ever since for warranty work.

  20. deadzonepatrol


    Apr 11, 2019
    Love Bark River. Have several of their knives. Most recently, the Rio Grande camp knife. They're all very well made. A bit pricey? Perhaps, but I feel they're worth the money. They cost a lot less than some big name production folders, so I don't see why so many people think they're overpriced. Also have some knives from their sister companies, like BlackJack and American Knife Company. They're not quite custom knife quality, but better quality than other companies like Cold Steel. I have never had to use their warranty, so I can't comment on their customer service.

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