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Discussion in 'Osprey Knife & Tool' started by Osprey Knife & Tool, May 6, 2016.
Where do I begin
Lets start with the introduction of my knife, formerly known as the Apache EDC, now known only by its first name, Apache.
This Apache was made by Chris at Osprey Knife and Tool as are all Apaches, save for the human Apache.
Chris is not only the blade smith, he is the owner and sole artist at Osprey K&T and, undeniably, one of the finest knife makers around.
Well the great pic I had here disappeared.. Dammit
I guess Im sort of a collector being as I own well over 75 fixed blades along with a number of folders (Im not a fan of folders for anything more than opening boxes and letters).
I dont like the idea of a blade closing before Im ready for it to.
Im an impulse buyer, I see what I think is a grail and I buy it
. Now heres the deal, Ive come to realize that Ive owned my grail for some time now.
Please understand that, my definition of a grail is not a safe queen, it is the knife that I continually find dangling by my side.
Ok ....... ENOUGH of the niceties, lets get to a few stats on this beast shall we?
It is SunBurst Jade G10 over black liners on 1/8" O1 Tool Steel with Mosaic 3D Spalting, SFT. It has a 4 Blade with an overall length of 8 ¾
and, in my opinion, quite the looker.
For the moment weve all been waiting for
. Down to the nut cuttin.
Plain and simple, this knife is a HOSS, it fits in your hand like an extension, It belongs there! Im not the easiest person on any of my tools.
Thats not to say I dont properly care for them at the end of the day, it just means that I dont pamper them.
When in the field I will,
do axe work
clean my nails
.. Use it as a pry bar
Ive even, ashamedly, batoned it with the poll of an axe once. AND
This knife has yet to fail any of my expectations, nor do I expect it to.
I cant say for sure if it will or wont slice through a steak as I tend to eat with my fingers and teeth when in nature and
when Im in a restaurant they always provide me with the utensils I require, I,however, have seen firsthand pictures of this though, so Im sure it would do the trick.
The blade is stout enough for the toughest of tasks but I can also hold it by the heel and spine to do smaller carving work.
Yes, most of the work on the above items were done with the Apache and a Kiridashi (also made by Chris)
A few realities.
If I have an axe I will use the axe for what its intended for
If I have a pry bar I will use it for its intended purpose
Same for a shovel
When Im just wondering aimlessly around the woods, which I do a lot, this is all I carry and its nice to know it can handle any task I lay down
I would go as far as saying that this knife is better than SEX
Id just be lying through my teeth to you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
in all good conscience,
recommend this knife and this craftsman to anyone who uses a knife on a daily basis and needs dependability in their tools.
Regards ..... Mark
I will post a review of the Apache and Ferox here in this thread later on, but for now there is already a review of the Warthog that I posted in the KR&T section.
Awesome post @ TheAmish1. The Apache is one of my all time favourite knives. Now if only Chris would get off his butt & make me another one [emoji3]
That was a Great review Mark! I know you put that knife through hell and back and you have shared with me some amazing photos. I appreciate you posting up and you sharing your thoughts and Photos. I always enjoy seeing what you will carve up next out of wood you find laying around.
I want one of those Cups one day:thumbup:
Easy to do a review on a great product Chris, and I will carve you one of these cups when I find a good Birch candidate
:thumbup: Nice review Mark, and awesome carving! That's a sweet Apache you got there.
Thanks for the kind words folks.
I was fortunate to have an experienced Martial Arts/Knife Fighting Instructor review the Ferox. Check out what he wrote, more will be added at a later date.
Great review! Congrats Chris. I know I really dig my Ferox Bowie, it feels like it's part of your hand.
Thank you Gus, I drew from my experience and put a lot of thought into this design. I am glad you like it!
My knife journey has led to a general preference for 4 blades for woods wandering belt knives. Combined with a small multi tool and either an axe/machete/hatchet or saw you find yourself with a tool system that rarely leaves you lacking on most outdoor adventures. Knives with an approximate 4 blade length ride very comfortably on a belt, rarely restricting movement, and are lighter and more nimble in hand for the majority of outdoor cutting tasks.
Yet, the intrigue of bigger knives is ever present. My favorite fixed blade just before diving into handmade knives was an ESEE 6. I found this to be a near perfect all around woods knife that performed like a smaller blade yet had the length and enough heft to do heavier tasks. For me the ESEE 6 sized knife is just at the end of what I consider a manageable size for a knife to be worn on a belt. When Chris introduced the Recon back in February of this year, I put on my poor attempt at an Australian accent and said to myself now that's a knife.
The first Recon debuted in the Osprey Knife and Tool shop talk thread and quickly sold the following day on the 2/12/2016 Fiddleback Friday. It was an exceptional example of this new model. The specs and the sales photo for the inaugural Recon are below:
3/16" O1 Tool Steel, Flat Grind, Tapered Tang
Black Canvas Micarta over Natural with Stainless Pins
OAL 11 ¾
Blade 6 ¾
You may see from that initial photo that for some the Recon is a knife that immediately demands attention. After reading the specs and gawking photos, I quickly saw elements from the beloved ESEE 6. The further refinements in the Recon that I could judge from the photos led me to believe that this was a knife I would love to try.
Fortunately, Chris is a craftsman who is passionate about what he does. He is not only passionate in shaping steel, but also in establishing relationships with his customers and the people enthusiastic about his knives and his career as a knife maker. When he noticed my interest in the Recon, he reached out to me and offered to send one my way to give it a try. I was hesitant at first due to my unpolished review skills and my seemingly misplaced concept of free time ever since we started having kids; but I conceded and have been grateful for the opportunity.
The Recon sent to me was another no nonsense example of the very few Recons that have been produced. OD canvas is a personal favorite knife handle and the sandblasting provides an excellent, grippy texture. If I could change one thing on the materials used on the knife, I would have opted for thick natural liners in place of the orange. The orange liners, however, are not an eyesore. Thats just being picky.
The specs for this Recon:
.220" CPM154 Tapered Tang
OD Green Canvas Micarta over Orange G10 (Sandblasted Handle)
OAL 11 ¾
Blade 6 ¾
Weight 11.15 ounces (cheapo spring kitchen scale accuracy)
Thickest part of handle - 1.062
Balance Point - approximately right at the tip of the scale material on the ricasso
The handle of a knife is the point of contact where the user interacts and manipulates the cutting edge to achieve a purpose. As such, handle design is an important and intimate component of knife design and one of the more intriguing elements I see in the Recon. The Kukri like drop and generous contouring terminate in purposefully exaggerated flaring at the end of the handle.
The Recon handle design allows for a very secure grip in a variety of holds. The wide flaring at the butt and the pronounced guard offer a real sense of security during heavy use. There is ample room with the Recons handle for choking up on the blade for increased blade control; maintaining a standard hammer or reverse grip and retaining plenty of leverage from the contouring and wide flattened apex on the forward part of the handle; or choking further back in a 3 or 2-finger grip for better chopping.
For my L to XL hands, this thicker handled Recon is almost borderline being too thick of a handle and could have potentially cause unnecessary fatigue in prolonged use if it were any thicker (or my hands were smaller). I do believe Chris stated that this particular Recon had a thicker than normal handle.
The extended guard and sharply flared butt are attributes of the Recon that you may only appreciate after some hours of heavy chopping and stabbing your Recon into an old stump while taking a break to survey your progress. They are safety measures that I have come to like on the Recon; essentially offering front and rear assurance that my hand is locked in place where it should be and not slipping where it shouldn't be. The flared butt is also a good aid in unsheathing the knife, even with just two fingers.
I am not one to attach a lanyard around my wrist on a larger chopper while actively chopping. It is a safety issue from my perspective as I rather give the knife a chance to fly off into the dirt should I compromise my grip rather than having a sharp edge violently swing on a rope attached to my wrist. Having the exaggerated flaring on the butt of the Recon offers tangible reassurance that my grip is fairly secure even when choking back on 2-fingers.
The sharp corners of the flared butt while both attractive and functional, it does pose some comfort issues when choking back on the knife handle. Back in a 2 or 3-finger grip the sharp edge tends to dig into the base of your thumb when snap cutting. A few briars are a non issue, but prolonged use in this manner would be very uncomfortable. Gloves do help mitigating this problem. Chamfering those edges may reduce the discomfort from this sharp point but it would be done so at the expense of the handle aesthetics.
In addition to the built in security measures of the Recon handle, the ergonomics are something worth attention. The kukriish curvatures give a downward drop of the second half of the handle in relation to the relatively straight spine of the knife. When choking back on this portion of the handle, the wrist remains in a more neutral, straighter position offering an anatomical benefit of reduced wrist strain during heavy and prolonged chopping.
When you hold the Recon the chop bias is fairly intuitive. The balance is pushed forward on the Recon to increase the blade mass for more effective chopping. You feel this in your hand as the knife wants to roll forward out of your grip. For the do all category of knife that I consider the Recon to belong to, excessive forward balance can feel off or fatiguing when using the knife for non chopping tasks. Chris did a great job setting a balance on the Recon that offers benefits for chopping while not detracting much from the aspects of a more neutral balance that feel great in hand for other typical knife uses.
The slight recurve on the Recon is an added benefit to this profile. The recurve is not so exaggerated that it would be a pain to sharpen, but enough to give a nice, wide sweet spot to hit on while retaining its slicing properties. This feature also plays a minor role in the forward mass felt when handling the Recon. Weight matters on a chopper, and the Recon has a combination of design features that put the weight where it is needed.
I used the knife quite a bit around the property and the park woods in the back. Delimbing and clearing brush the Recon did great. Springy sprouts from shrubbery overgrowth did OK, but nothing comparable to a machete here. Thin saplings cut down in a chop or two. Trying to buck larger stuff is doable but not desirable. A large fallen maple branch was considerable effort to cut through an 8 section. You could eventually do it if you had too, but I would definitely want an axe or a much larger chopper and stick to smaller stuff with the Recon.
I only include a couple comparisons to get a general sense of the Recon next to a couple of commonly sized knives. I am still in search of the right Duke and Osprey Ranger, both of which I think would be great comparisons next to the Recon. However, if there are any other Fiddleback knives you would like you see alongside the Recon just ask.
Recon next to a Fiddleback Woodsman
Recon next to an ESEE 6
Impossible to get the Recon to balance on this metal rod, but this Recon balances right at the termination of the handle material at the guard.
My time with the Recon has been fun. Recent family obligations have left limited time to try and sneak off for at least an overnight in our local state park so you may see an update to this review. I did want to share some information and my thoughts, and I also have had opportunities here and there over the last month or so to work with the Recon.
Out of the box, the fit and finish is what many have come to appreciate with a knife from Chris: even grinds, smooth transitions from steel to handle material, nice texturing on the flats and a very sharp working edge. The packaging is simple - a knife rolled in unbleached butcher paper. No waste, no excess. Though it may be time to create an Osprey Knife & Tool business card to include with shipments.
Here is the more aggressive texturing pattern used on Osprey knives. Chris has several other textures that he hammers into the flats. They all look great in my opinion. I like this pattern on the Recon.
A nicely sharpened knife, especially on a handmade/custom knife, is appreciated. I own a handful of blades from Chris and they have all arrived with a noticeably polished edge and the Recon sent to me was no exception. It sliced out of the box like a much thinner blade.
The edge geometry on the Recon is excellent. It shaves wood well and offers plenty of blade to get both hands on the knife to really control how you bite into a piece of wood. One of the things that I really enjoy with the ESEE 6 is that in finer cutting tasks it does not feel like you are using a 6 blade. Then when it is time to go heavy, the steel and length are there as you need it. I am finding the same is true with the Recon.
I really enjoy the CPM154 used often by Chris on his knives. I find it to hold up well and easy to maintain. The stain resistant properties are also a benefit for me because I rather have a clean blade than one with a patina. Chris also works with various steels from O1 and W2 to a few recent knives in s35vn. His willingness to work with new and different materials makes you want to keep checking in and seeing what he is up to next.
Here is another cutting video after batoning through a decent amount of seasoned oak and maple, some whittling, and just general messing around with the knife. The blade length is nice here because I can utilize different areas on the cutting edge for a series of different tasks without stopping to touch up or honing the entire edge.
Here is a short video just unscripted messing around after splitting some firewood with the Recon (probably enough wood to establish 2 fires). I didnt edit anything out here other than trimming some dead air, youll see me struggling to get a comfortable pinch grip on the knife among other things.
I don't typically baton with smaller knives, but I also don't think much about it if I find I have to beat on one to split some wood. The Recon at .220 thick and a longer blade length makes for a tool that handles splitting tasks better suited for a pack axe or hatchet reasonably well without too much excess effort. The Recon did an excellent job at processing some pretty hard, seasoned firewood for the fire pit on numerous occasions over the last month.
I beat on this one hard to prep for a handful of fires. No edge damage from seasoned hardwoods and a quick stropping returned a good working edge.
Material to establish one fire
The Recon makes quick work of shavings and feather sticks
My oldest setting up one of our favorite fire lays. We call it the Jenga fire. You pretty much light it and forget it.
Yellow (Tulip) Poplar is abundant here. The inner bark is excellent tinder.
Kiddo gets a reward (or maybe Daddy)
Recon enjoying the fruits of its labor
I wish this was my pocket knife!
As a do all knife, I can see the Recon being your sole cutting tool in the woods and handling most of whatever you need to it do. It may not be the most efficient in all aspects, but the Recon would get the job(s) done. This review does not touch on the tactical defensive/offensive characteristics of this knife. Im not a knife ninja nor do I want to ever fight someone with a knife so I find it a misuse of time to theorize and offer up hypotheticals. However, Chris comes from a military background and is a combat veteran. The dual intent of a knife is not something he shies away from in his designs and this aspect is readily visible in the Recon (and other Osprey models) both in form and within the very naming of the knife. A true survival knife or cutting tool for long range reconnaissance missions - I can see the Osprey K&T being a strong candidate.
Aside from sharp edges on the end of the handle that can cause discomfort in some holds, I think the Recon is a well thought and executed design for those interested in this style of knife. The guard is substantial, and maybe could be reduced slightly without taking away from its intent. Overall, the Recon handles both large and small tasks well, though not excelling at either - it will never out chop an axe nor will it ever detail carve or drill holes better than a SAK Farmer. However, the Recon can perform aspects of both of those tools well enough to have you living comfortably in the woods. Chris has not made many Recons as of yet so if you have interest in this style of knife I would not hesitate to jump on one that becomes available.
Handmade knives by Chris are currently sold in small batches of 3 to 5 knives every Thursday night, usually 9PM est, in the Osprey Knife and Tool subforum on Bladeforums. The format is a locked preview thread about a half hour before it is unlocked and knives are free to claim to the first response in the sales thread.
Osprey knives are also offered occasionally at the following dealers: USAMadeBlade, DLT Trading, and Fiddleback Outpost.
Reserved for future updates
Great descriptions & insights to highlight the practical in-use aspects of this OK&T model. I also appreciated your constructive remarks and I'm sure Chris will take these to heart as well. Having had the pleasure of watching Chris perform tactical maneuvers with some of his knives at the shop, it's easy to see that the Recon definitely has a dual personality and should the need arise, would no doubt serve one well in a defensive situation. Above all, your photographs were awesome and complimented the story quite well.
Thanks for taking the time to develop & share this review.......well done sir !
This is one of the best reviews I have ever read on BladeForums! The quality of your photos always blows me away. Great composition and lighting. I like the fact you started out with some history of the knife as well as sharing some personal information about your tool preferences to let the reader know where you are coming from with your experience. I consider your writing style to be very polished. You hit all three elements that make a good review to me; objective data, observations, and an informed opinion. The videos are a nice touch to demonstrate the edge sharpness.
Exceptional job Danny! This review is worthy of publication in one of the high end knife magazines.
Excellent review Danny! I can see why Chris would be interested in having you review it. Your photos are always amazing and make me want to buy any knife you photograph. The videos really show off the sharp edge Chris puts on his knives. I appreciate the comparison to the Esee 6 and hearing about your preferences in general. I too mostly like a 4" knife but this model intrigues me. The two Osprey knives I own are exceptional and I would like to try one of his larger knives at some point. Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful review!
I have no idea what you're talking about because this really is an outstanding review. Great job! Seems very polished, informative, logical and flows nicely.
Thank you gentlemen. This is probably the longest review I have put on any forums, and even now I still feel like I could have done more. It makes you really have an appreciation for all who have taken the time to get acquainted with and object, think about and formulate a series of thoughts to be written down.
Peter, thank you. I not only envy your knife tastes but also your first-hand relationship with these excellent craftsmen. I am sure it is special to witness these tools taking shape in person and interacting with individuals behind the design. Chris does amazing things behind a grinder, but he also has a way with words that it is always enjoyable to read his thought process on he forums. I would not doubt his training and knowledge on knife use for all its different purposes.
Phil, I appreciate the comments and thank you. Hanging around the Fiddleback forum long enough you get a sense of what make a good knife review. You and others there have certainly paved the way and set the bar high. These reviews can get fairly labor intensive. Just this little bit here took enough physical and mental time, and yet I still had hoped to spend the weekend in the woods with the knife before putting this up. I appreciate you and all the time you spent on your Fiddleback reviews - Thank you.
Todd, thank you. I need lessons from you on how to make a video, I didn't even want to include these. Probably need help with friction fire as well. I had started with photos on some bow drill setups and attempts, but no fire so I abandoned them for this. I suspect a longer bow might be it. The cedar and poplar I carved with the Recon I would think be coddled into ignition - they sure do smoke before I eat through my board. The failures will be rewarding nonetheless. I plan to really push proficiency in primitive fire over the next year.
I really want to try a Ranger and see how it compares to the Recon, though they are slightly different beasts.