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Username Post: Trail Buddy First Impression/Review        (Topic#892644)
RiverRatMatt
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 11:20.24 - Post#2283097    



I just got my Trail Buddy today in African Blackwood from Jason at DLTTrading.com. (Props to Jason on the shipping, ordered Friday and arrived Monday with his 5-7 day shipping!)



The knife is a little bit smaller than I expected, but that's actually a good thing. The smaller blade maximizes controllability, yet is long enough for anything you could ask of it. The last two and a half inches of blade are all belly, and come down far enough from the thick spine that the edge is very thin. This should make it an excellent slicer for skinning, meal prep, and any other animal processing task aside from splitting a sternum or pelvis. The belly is very reminiscent of the Mountain Man knife, which up until today was my sharpest Barkie hands down.
The inch and a half closer to your hand gives you a thicker, more straight (but still slightly curved) section that is beefier than the belly. Due to the handle design, you're already 'choked up' on this section and it should be great for fine cutting as well as 'power' cutting when whittling, etc.
The handle itself is very similar to the Highland Special. It is a little bit smaller than the NorthStar's handle, and does not have the palm swell. The more plain design is actually very comfortable due to the size of the handle, and I feel makes it a bit more versatile for other grips, such as choking up on the blade or holding it like a Nessmuk for scraping hides.
The blade is a bit too thin for me to feel comfortable batoning with it, and for me it is a knife that will be used side-by-side with my NorthStar and BRK&T 18'' Axe, Camp Axe, or Golok.





The sheath is an interesting design. I like the versatility of it, especially because I prefer to carry crossdraw. The reason for this is it allows me to carry a gun on my right side. I typically will only have a holster gun on me when I'm in the wilderness, but I'm all about consistency in my systems, that way when I'm under stress I automatically reach for the right tool in the right place.
The sheath my NorthStar is in is one that I designed and made and is only a crossdraw sheath. I made it to wear with the 1.25'' wide belt I'm wearing right now, and it stays at the 45 degree angle permanently. The Sharpshooter sheath provided goes to the same angle, but on a thinner belt it can cant back to vertical. This isn't really a big issue though, and I think hits a more important point in that it will work perfectly with a 2'' belt, where-as my dedicated crossdraw sheath will not. Add to that the ambidextrous capability and vertical carry option and you have a winning design in the new Sharpshooter sheath.



Two things I personally don't like about the sheath is that it holds the knife a little bit deep for my tastes, and if you push the knife too deep, it will cut into the bottom of the sheath. Try to set yours so that you have about 1'' between the top of the front side of the sheath and the bottom of the second brass pin on your knife.

Overall the knife is a winner for me as a game processing knife and emergency bushcraft knife. For a pure survival/bushcraft knife, there are better options, but it is light enough and versatile enough to carry (sheath) that it can easily be carried in conjunction with another knife.
 
mack1
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 12:09.25 - Post#2283123    


    In response to RiverRatMatt

I guess you got yourself a winner there.

I was kind of hoping for a closer pic of the handle.

I'd mentioned in another Thread the difference between African Blackwood and African Black Ebony.

I ordered a couple scale sets of both this morning, so I can see it in person.

Nice little review.
Russ

BRKCA Mike #556
Founding Member

Black Sheep Crew








 
MikeStewart
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 12:35.19 - Post#2283145    


    In response to RiverRatMatt

Matt,

You said you would not be comfortable batoning it because it is thin but.......... it is thicker than the North Star - the Fox River - the Aurora - The Kephart and the Canadian Special.







BRKCA MIKE #01
NJKCA #041

"I Am America"

Bark River Facebook Group - Join Today

RIP Chris + 1


 
RiverRatMatt
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 12:59.09 - Post#2283155    


    In response to MikeStewart

  • MikeStewart Said:
Matt,

You said you would not be comfortable batoning it because it is thin but.......... it is thicker than the North Star - the Fox River - the Aurora - The Kephart and the Canadian Special.











Haha, the part that makes me apprehensive is the way the blade thins out in the belly. Closer to the handle it doesn't get quite so thin, and I'm sure it would work but it seems more designed for slicing than batoning to me. I could definitely be wrong though!
 
FoxholeAtheist
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 13:02.23 - Post#2283159    


    In response to RiverRatMatt

Wouldn't the swedge on the top of the blade chew up a baton? (I'm sure it would still work, mind you, just might have to go through a few batons. )
 
RiverRatMatt
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 13:05.10 - Post#2283162    


    In response to FoxholeAtheist

  • FoxholeAtheist Said:
Wouldn't the swedge on the top of the blade chew up a baton? (I'm sure it would still work, mind you, just might have to go through a few batons. )



That's another thing to consider in my region at least. Pine doesn't hold up well to a sharp baton.

It isn't really a big factor in places with harder woods, I'm told
 
MikeStewart
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 14:40.29 - Post#2283233    


    In response to RiverRatMatt

I guess we'll have to wait for a report of somebody batoning one of these but the spine is not that thin or sharp.


.



Mike..............
BRKCA MIKE #01
NJKCA #041

"I Am America"

Bark River Facebook Group - Join Today

RIP Chris + 1


 
insector
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 14:52.14 - Post#2283245    


    In response to MikeStewart

It seems a good batoner to me. I guess we will see...................



I plan to go for it
Insects as a science cast a great shadow on those humbled by this eternal generation of curiosity. So vast that no single mind could ever truly begin to fathom it.......


Dale





 
RiverRatMatt
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 15:11.32 - Post#2283261    


    In response to MikeStewart

The only thing I'm envisioning is something like this happening:



but it could be thick enough that it spreads the wood farther than the belly extends, I don't know
 
jmboz
Master Member KnifeNut!
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01-31-11 15:12.44 - Post#2283264    


    In response to MikeStewart

Damn, that is a pretty thick wedge.

Seems like just enough to give the tip a nice point without sacrificing strength.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” Plato


 
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