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Username Post: Review of ML Strait Point Kephart        (Topic#923447)
Talfuchre
Journeyman KnifeNut!
*
06-10-12 13:08.29 - Post#2476521    





Background:

I have owned this knife now, for a little over two years. After the order was finalized he quoted me four or five months - and the knife was delivered in three. I think his wait time is longer now - but this is a good thing. It means he will be making knives for some time to come. .

The reason I ordered the Straight Point Kephart was that I loved my other ML knives, especially my ML Kephart - but I wanted a knife that was a legal carry - but very similar to the Woods and Bush design that I liked as well.

I looked at his straight point Kephart on his site:

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The site showed the following dimensions:

Overall size about: 8 3/8” blade Size about 4 1/4”
Handle size about 4 1/4”
Spine Tang about: 1/8” thick

I have slightly larger hands, and I wanted the blade to be legal - so I took 1/4 inch of the blade and added 1/4 inch to the handle. Because the handle was slightly longer - I had him add a lanyard tube. Matt was very easy to communicate with and was very fast to reply to my e-mails. Within no time we had a plan and payment set up.

The modified dimensions were:

JLM on one side (my initials)
4.5 inch handle or a hair longer tapered scales (I like to be able to choke up)
4 inch blade
Tiger maple scales
Brass pins and lanyard hole
pattern aged blade.

He First sent me photos of the blade as it was forges and cleaned up:



I was originally concerned that the blade was not spear pointed enough - but I noticed why he did this (the 1/4 off the blade) and was happy. I told him to leave it and put the scales on.

Within no time he sent me this picture:



It was packed up and shipped and within no time I had it in my hands.

Actual Specs:

OAL: 8.055
Blade Length (from handle): 4.055
Edge Length: 4.000
Blade Thickness: 0.125
Steel Type: 1090 High Carbon Steel
Handle Length: 4.758
Handle Thickness: 0.850
Handle Thickness at Taper: 0.580
Handle Height: About 1.000




Initial Impressions:

I have had this knife for a week and managed to make a sheath for it. I always think that Matt's stain on his handles are a little dark - so I usually strip his finish back and finish it myself. I use a hand rubbed poly and put two or three very thin coats on it. Matt uses traditional stain and sealing and no one else has ever reported a problem - this is just my preference.

I was very lucky with the set of scales that I got with this knife. It is the best looking tiger maple I have ever had on an ML knife - and all of my knives look very nice.

Fit and Finish:

I have always been happy with Matt's finish, but I think it has been getting better over the years. His handle scales have no gaps, are sanded very smooth, and the pins are always fit properly and are not proud of the wood. The lanyard tube is nicely fit, with no burrs on the inside.



The only nit pick I can think of on the handle is that the lanyard tube is slightly lower than the pins - but that is a serious nit pick.

The blade is hand forged 1095 High Carbon Steel. and can be ordered with the forge marks or not. I love ML's rustic look and I like the idea of leaving some of the protection on the blade so I leave it rustic. I am always amazed at how flat Matt's knives come and, frankly, how well ground.


The convex grind on this blade is high but very slight and leaves a very sharp and very strong edge. Matt puts a lot of work into his edges and they come very sharp. I stropped it to a high shine and found that the knife was extremely sharp. I have said in other reviews that ML knives are one of, if not the only, knife that I do not spend time with sharpening and honing the edge before using it.

Blade Geometry:

The blade is a straight backed knife with a slight drop at the tip. The edge is straight and parallel to and sweeps up about 1/25 inches from the tip with no additional belly. This blade is a sabre ground fully convex edge with the grind starting about 3/4 of the way up the blade. The convex is very slight and even giving the edge a superior slicing edge while being very strong. Every summer I spend 5 weeks on lake with my family camping. All the camp chores, from cutting open hot dogs to battoning tinder for the fire, this knife is generally on my hip. I have never had the edge chip or roll - and with very little stropping on worn 2000 grit sand paper and my strop - the edge is back to razor sharp in very little time.

In Hand / Handle Design:



I am always glad I add a little length to Matt's handles, and they seem, for my hands, 1/4 or so too short. I also love adding the slight taper to the handles so that it is easier to choke up on the blade. Matt was very accommodating and asked questions in order to give me whatever I wanted. The knife makes for a hand ful and the neutral handle makes nearly every position in handling very comfortable. I used this knife to strip the bark off about 5 maple staves in one day and had no hot spots or issues. The knife simply was wiped down (to remove the tannin stains) and put away.

Sheath Shots:

I made my own sheath for this knife. 8-10 ounce leather from Wickett and Craig. 3/8th inch welt, double stitched with belt loop and dangler.








Overall feelings after two years:

This is probably my go to knife. If I had to keep only one - this would be on the short list. Between it being tweaked to fit what I wanted and ML's superior craftsmanship I have had little to no issues with this blade in two years of use. In fact, the only thing I had to fix was the sheath after cutting through the back slightly while not paying attention during reinsertion.

I have used this knife for cooking, bushcraft, general use around the house to opening packages when the knife is handy. It is a great knife - always ready to be used - and takes very little maintenance to keep it in tip top shape.


TF
 


1Sharpknife2
Master Member KnifeNut!
*
06-18-12 09:55.53 - Post#2478102    


    In response to Talfuchre

Awesome!
Steve

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been


 


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