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Tuerai
200
Mar 3, 2016
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So what advantages does this offer over picking up a cold steel kukri machete on sale on amazon for like 20-30 bucks?
Mar 3, 2016
BlueTom
280
Mar 3, 2016
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The Cold Steel kukri machete is paper-thin at 0.08" thickness. The BK-21 is .188" thick. The CS KM is made out of 1055 that is manufactured and heat treated (such that it is) in Taiwan, and whose specs don't even include a Rockwell Hardness (HRC) rating. The BK-21 is made out of 1095 CroVan, manufactured and heat treated by one of the best forges in the USA (Ka-Bar in Olean, NY), and probably ranks high throughout the world, with a HRC rating of 56-58, a perfect hardness rating for wood processing of all sorts, most specifically, chopping.
You might be confusing the Kukri Machete for the Gurkha Kukri by Cold Steel, which is made out of very good high carbon steel (SK-5), is quite a bit thicker than the BK-21 (.3125"), but its blade is 1 1/4" shorter, shorter overall length of 1 3/4" of the BK-21, and though SK-5 is a very good high carbon steel, the Gurkha is likewise made in Taiwan.
Being fairly knowledgeable about steels and knife-making processes, I would have absolutely no use for the Kukri Machete. I have owned the SK-5 version of the Gurkha Kukri for about five years now, and just bought a BK-21 maybe two or three months ago. I have owned and heavily used a Becker BK-9 for at least 10 years, and also own a BK-4 and BK-2, as well as several other large, but lesser-quality, "choppers" or camp knives. I gravitate towards what works for the purposes I'm buying (or trying) a new knife for. In my hands, the BK-21 out-performs EVERY large knife I own, and I typically use a chopper at least a couple to four days each and every week. Sometimes for light work, sometimes as heavy of work as a knife could ever be the appropriate tool for. I got my BK-21 delivered for $144.98, and that was a great deal (before I saw this listing, that is). If I had even the slightest fear that mine would ever break under normal use, I'd jump on this so fast the ol' lady wouldn't even know what hit the checkbook! I do not have that fear though, so I'm going to pass on this sale, though I do want to give props to whoever the people are who made it happen.
One more thing; The sheath that comes with this knife sucks out loud, but for about another $20 to $35 bucks over what you'd have to spend for this knife anywhere else besides this MD listing, you can order a custom sheath from Ka-Bar that's made by an acquaintance of mine, JD, of The 710 Custom Sheaths (http://www.the710customsheaths.com/). When I bought mine you could buy from either Ka-Bar or JD direct. If Ka-Bar is out of 'em though, just go to that link and JD will do his best to pick up the slack for you. He's a great sheath maker, and a great guy.
Mar 3, 2016
Pahani
117
Mar 7, 2016
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I seem to unwittingly have had experience with both Becker and 1095 Cro-Van. Over 10 years ago, when my unit deployed to Iraq, we were presented with Becker BK3 Tactools as a present from the Unit. I had broken a bone in pre-deployment training, so when I rejoined my unit overseas 3 months later, I was lucky that they had saved one for me. Unfortunately, being last to the party, I think I got the one noone else wanted :p
The Maker's Mark on my particular example was stamped at a slight 10 degree or so angle, and there are light blemishes on the edge that I have sporadically tried to remove by sharpening, to no avail. The steel is VERY tough, and my knowledge of knives is non-existent. The sheath is amazing, and appears largely similar to the custom ones for the BK21 that 710 is offering.
My niggles with my BK3 should be taken with a grain of salt however, as it's very possible the Maker was rushed to fulfill the military contract...at least, that's my belief. Also, my BK3 does not bear the KA-BAR stamp, and was made in Camillus.
My BK3 is VERY solid and heavy, and obviously made to endure major abuse and keep coming back for more. I have no doubt the BK21 here would be nearly indestructible, and I'll be joining this Drop before it ends.
Mar 7, 2016
BlueTom
280
Mar 7, 2016
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Becker knives have always been contracted out to major manufacturers, Camillus being the last one before Ka-Bar took over. My BK-9 Combat Bowie is a Camillus-manufactured knife which I've seen examples of sell for more than 100% over MSRP of the current Ka-Bar offerings, not because Camillus was a better manufacturer necessarily, but because there's collector's value in any line of knives that was highly popular when a contracted supplier went out of business (Camillus has since reformed, but there were several years that they weren't manufacturing anything before that reformation, and no more Camillus Beckers have, or likely will, ever be produced again).
The re-entrance in the market by Ethan Becker under the Ka-Bar banner actually makes the Camillus line a little more collectible, and rolled stamping of the logo and maker's mark is one reason why. Today Beckers are laser-engraved. The rolled stamped models are probably gone forever, except in the used market. I will likely never sell my BK-9, not because of it's monetary value as a collector's item, but because I use the heck out of it regularly. If I'm not mistaken, that BK-3 is even more collectible because there were fewer made of that model than almost any other, EXCEPT for the original Reinhardt/Becker Kukri. The original of this offering is the most rare design Ethan Becker ever made. There are very slight differences in geometry, weight and blade material, this iteration being the superior of the two in those categories in my estimation. I doubt your knife was any kind factory reject, though I would be interested to better understand what you mean by "blemishes" that can't be sharpened out of the edge. Ethan might be interested too, as the TacTool was specifically designed to serve the military, police and firefighter communities, all of whom he is very supportive of.
You might get a kick out of a thread from three or four years ago on a forum that Ethan participates on. One of the forum's moderators and Ethan are good friends, and the mod decided one day to enlist the help of his local volunteer fire station personnel to put the TacTool through its paces. They basically field-dressed a late 70's model Dodge Omni, broke the blade in the process, and continued the destruction-test with the broken blade until the car looked like it had been through a junk-yard shredder of some sort. Check it out here if you're interested: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/828093-BK3-Spotlight-Part-1-%28%28PIC-HEAVY%29%29 . The thread is very picture-heavy, so probably not great for a phone or small data plan, but real fun to go through if you're a fan of tough knives made to appeal to people who plan to use 'em to their maximum potential.
No one can go wrong with buying this Reinhardt/Becker Kukri, not price-wise or use-wise. The thing is a BEAST that small to medium-sized branches will cower before! HA! Really a great knife, and that ain't no joke.
Mar 7, 2016
Pahani
117
Mar 7, 2016
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Outstanding thread and video, thanks for that link, Tom! I was ALSO a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT-B/Rescue Diver for 4 years, from '98 - '02, so that demonstration was quite apt for me :) Particularly impressive was how quickly it skinned that roof (AFTER the tip was broken, nonetheless!), once they dodged the internal crossbracing.......you've got to watch out for that, and different cars have different internal bracing patterns. Cars are definitely UNlike houses, where you can count on the studs being there like clockwork. But demolishing a donor car for training is some of the most fun a person could have in their lifetime :)
My particular BK3 Tactool was sourced from the U.S. Army supply chain in '04. There were approximately 120 people in my Unit in Iraq, and I believe everyone received a Tactool. I got the last one. When I say my edge is "blemished", it appears to the naked eye as a slightly darker area starting approximately 1" from the angled chisel tip. As a blade novice, I THINK the angle of the edge grind deviated slightly in this area. I got an awesome knife for free though, so I'm not complaining! Well, other than the fact that I sliced my thumb to the bone the first time I drew my Tactool from its' sheath, but that was my own bonehead mistake :p
I also walked away from Iraq with a Camillus CQB1 that my 1SGT traded to me for a pair of Oakleys, and a CRKT M16-14D (OIF Special Edition) that I got from the PX for around $80. I bought 4 of those OIF CRKT's, thinking they might be collectible someday, kept 1 and gave the rest to my family when I returned.
I'm in on this BK21 Drop, really it's a no-brainer at this price!
Mar 7, 2016
Pahani
117
Mar 26, 2016
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My BK-21 arrived today! It's a beautiful blade, but I have no doubt it would be a hard worker as well. I also splurged on the custom sheath direct from KA-BAR.
Tom, thanks for your input! It was informative and invaluable. I think you (along with the quality of this knife) have made me into a Becker fan.....I have the desire to have a complete collection now >.<
Though, given Ethan's support of volunteer Firefighters, I may have became a fan anyway :) That's a subject which is near and dear to my heart.
Mar 26, 2016
BlueTom
280
Mar 27, 2016
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Pahani said: <i>"I have the desire to have a complete collection now >.<"</i>
I bought a Becker BK-9 for my "bug-out-bag" at least 10 years ago (I actually think it was more like 15 years, but they say memory is the first thing to go....I don't remember what the second thing is!). It ended up being used extensively for tasks ranging from processing wood in the field while camping/hunting and at home for the fireplace. A week didn't go by that I didn't use it for something. It's rare that two weeks goes by without using it even now that I've got a bunch more knives than I did back then.
I've always been a casual "collector" of knives, so shortly after getting the BK-9, I started searching on info for Beckers just to learn more about how and where they were made etc. At that time they were being made by Camillus. My search took me to Blade Forums (where the link about the BK-3 torture-test I posted goes to) where I found a whole sub-forum dedicated to Beckers. It's hard to participate there for any amount of time and not get kinda fanboi about the knives, especially with Ethan being there pretty often to answer any questions about design, blade-geometry, metallurgy, what have you, but the bottom line is that his knives just plain work, which is the main reason folks are "fans" of them. I own a ton of knives ("ton" might be literal in this instance) and don't view my Beckers as the "only" choice when I'm in the market for something new, but if they have something like what I'm looking for, I'll go with that without hesitation instead of shopping for hours. I don't own the whole line, and probably never will, but I do own more than one BK-9, BK-4, BK-2 and will eventually add another one of these BK-21s to the fold before all is said and done. I buy knives much more for using than "collecting" though, and duplicating (or more) of a specific design is more about placement between the house and out-buildings around my property than anything else.
If you are collecting per se, I suggest you start with older iterations of the Becker classic designs, the original Reinhardt/Becker Kukri being one of the "Holy Grails" of Becker collecting. I'm not positive, but I think the original was produced by Blackjack. There are forgeries out there, so be careful if older, discontinued models is what you end up going for.
Glad my post was of some use to you (or anyone else). Use that thing in good health.
Mar 27, 2016
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