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Username Post: One of a kind Kephart        (Topic#822038)
bear the dog
Master Member KnifeNut!
05-12-08 17:03.38 - Post#1521823    

ML Kephart

Matt Lesniewski of ML Knives was kind enough to make this one of a kind Kephart with Tiger Maple handle for review. I say one of a kind because that is exactly what custom knives are. There is so much character you get from a hand forged custom knife that the little nuances in the blade and grain in the wood could never be duplicated. What you get that day is a combination of emotions that produce a work of art, much like a jazz musician playing a solo. You can see the same guy playing the same tune but it will be a little different every time!

The Kephart Knife is a big part of American cutlery history. Before we invented the term survival knife there were just knives. It was common for mountain men to head out with some simple butcher knives which were used for skinning, food prep and woodcraft.


Blade Length-4 1/16�? Aged Pattern (1095)

Blade Thickness-1/8�?

Blade Shape-Spear point

Cutting Surface- 3 ¾�? Convex

Handle Length- 4 3/16�? Tiger Maple

Handle Thickness-13/16�?

Overall Length-8 3/8�?

Weight-Knife with Sheath-8 ½ oz.-Knife only 5 ¼ oz.

Leather from the oldest tannery in the USA

bear the dog
Master Member KnifeNut!
ML Knives Kephart
05-12-08 17:09.41 - Post#1521828    

    In response to bear the dog


The past two weeks I have been using the ML Kephart for everything requiring cutting. This means any packages, mail, wrapping paper, packaging tape, string, and food preparation. Salame and cheddar cheese are a regular snack around here and the Kephart really got its share this week. It is important to use a new knife for everything at first to see if it feels right and could be used for hours without blisters or any discomfort. I always ask myself, could I use this knife safely when wet or with my hands covered in fish guts and animal fat? To simulate this I put a heavy does of lotion on the knife handle and start whittling. It is possible to have a handle that has a good grip only to give you blisters or hot spots after 10 minutes. For most serious knife users the handle is what will be the deciding factor when it comes to the knife ever leaving the case or house for that matter. The Kephart handle, in my opinion the simplest handle ever, this alone makes it comfortable and easy to use in a variety of positions.

Feathering sticks for a fire is an essential task for woodcraft. I spend about one hour whittling trap parts and feathering wood when I first get a knife. This is a good test which covers two of the most important features of a knife, the handle and edge retention. The ML Kephart with its round handle and thin blade made woodwork very smooth. The edge held up great and was easily brought back to original sharpness after stropping on some 600 grit sandpaper. This was the easiest convex edge knife I have ever sharpened.

Thin fine whittling was easily done closer to the tip.

Tip Strength
The Spear Point on the ML Kephart is very stout.

I stabbed into this old 2x4 and pried out some chunks just to see if it would affect the tip. The tip did not suffer any damage. This is not a regular task for me but there are some people that like to push the limits of tools, myself included.

bear the dog
Master Member KnifeNut!
Re: ML Knives Kephart
05-12-08 17:12.47 - Post#1521830    

    In response to bear the dog


A great combo

Knife Carry/Sheath

The sheath was hand stitched with a fold over belt loop. It was a thick deep pouch style sheath with 1 ¾? handle sticking out. It carried well on the trail feeling light and non obtrusive.

Size Comparison
ML Kephart, Azrael’s Custom Leather Nessmuk, Muskratman Knives Full Tang Puuko, Stephan Fowler Drop Point

Kephart Photos

About the Maker
Matt Lesniewski specializes in period cutlery forging in the same tradition as the early 18th and 19th century American bladsmith. Matt is a reenactor and before turning his hand to knifesmithing he was a commercial artist. I found that interesting how some well known respected knife makers used to be artists.

ML Knives


bear the dog
Master Member KnifeNut!
Master Member KnifeNut!
05-13-08 01:55.58 - Post#1522562    

    In response to bear the dog

Beautiful rendition of that classic design. I'm loving that maple, too. The knife looks very stout, but that may be my eyes playing tricks. How tall is it?

Wonderful review, as always, Bear.

Master Member KnifeNut!
05-13-08 12:25.10 - Post#1523293    

    In response to RobG

Matt's knives are as good as they come. I've only had mine for about a week now, and it's easily one of my favorites.

DaLuke BckyrdKnfMchncsClb

Remember folks; Practice makes Habits. Perfect Practice makes Perfect Habits

Jeff H
Master Member KnifeNut!
Re: ML Knives Kephart
05-13-08 14:23.41 - Post#1523363    

    In response to bear the dog

  • bear the dog Said:
....some well known respected knife makers used to be artists....

And Matt still is

Great review, Bear'.
Great pics.
Dial-up sucks but I keep clicking and waiting....

Jeff H

bear the dog
Master Member KnifeNut!
ML Knives Kephart
05-13-08 17:16.03 - Post#1523429    

    In response to Jeff H

Hey Jeff sorry I am not dial up friendly. I can email you pics a few at a time if you want.

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