Posts Tagged ‘Bowie’

Of White Steel and Japanese Bowies…

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Today I’m going to talk about a knife that is both simple, beautiful and yet highly functional… In a traditionally Japanese kind of way. When we talk about bowie knives, a Japanese knife might be the very last thing that might spring to mind, but believe me, as knives go, I would swap a bowie for this beaut any day. The “beaut” to which I refer is the Akatsuki Bowie, made by Kanetsune of Seki, Japan. Here… Have a gander:

Akatsuki Bowie

Akatsuki Bowie

This ostensibly simple looking knife is unique in several different ways. The makers, Kanetsune, are old Japanese knife makers who make traditionally designed knives that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as fully functional. The Akatsuki is just one of many unique and beautiful knife designs they make. I plan to talk about some of their other knives in the future.

Now if anyone is familiar with the old Jim Bowie knife design, you may well be thinking that this design is not actually very Bowie like. At least not in any traditional sense. And you would be right. It is more of a hunting knife design than a bowie, but me personally, I still love it to death. Let’s take a look…

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

As you can see, Kinetsune uses a very traditional wooden scabbard design, with a cool set of buckles attached that support a few different carry positions. A wooden sheath certainly cannot compete with Kydex or similar synthetic sheaths in the durability department, but they certainly have a whole lot more character!

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

The knife itself is an interesting combination of design features, starting with the oak handle, double pinned to what I’d presume to be a half tang blade. Transitioning from grip to blade, we have a combination collar and guard, in black, pressure fit onto the grip, and providing support at the blade grip transition, much reminiscent of the metal collar used by many traditional Frost Mora knives with wooden grips.

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Except better, since this collar is much thicker, stronger and has a built in guard. I really like this design.

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Last, but certainly not least, we get to the beautiful blade. The Akatsuki sports a traditional hunting knife profile, with a mild belly and severely de-emphasized clip point. This results in a very smooth taper to the point. I really like the blade profile it ends up with.

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

But here we have a little bit of a departure from the norm. Unlike most other knife makers, Kanetsune leaves the flat of the blade unfinished. In fact it looks as though they actually pit it intentionally, in order to accentuate the effect.

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Now personally, I have reservations about this particular design feature. Kinetsune uses white steel in their knives, a special kind of high carbon steel, and it’s been my experience that most high carbon steels tend to rust a lot faster than others if not taken care of. I think those pits may be a little harder to clean than a polished blade, and this may cause it  to retain moisture and allow pitting and rust to migrate to the polished area. However with diligent cleaning and oiling this should not be an issue, and I can’t really argue with the beautiful aesthetic it adds to the blade. For all of it’s simplicity, the knife is a work of art.

All in all, a beautiful knife, even if it’s not a true bowie knife, it certainly has all the qualities of a great all around hunting and bushcraft knife, with some character to boot. It gets a fiery thumbs up from yours truly!

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [Kanetsune.com]

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [BladeHQ]

A cool short sword…

Monday, November 30th, 2009

As you should all well know by now, I have an innate bias towards blades of dark, pointy, sharp and curvy nature. However the nature of the sword industry today is such that most swords are made for collectors, and are generally shiny wall hangers. Obviously, this is almost the polar opposite of the kinds of things I look for in a sword. But every now and then, I find one that just speaks to me…

Junglee Short Sword

Junglee Short Sword

Meet the Junglee short sword. A symphony of modern technology melded with beautiful lines that look like they were taken from a few different sword styles. A beautiful curving blade of AUS-8 steel, that looks like a cross between a bowie knife, a scimitar and a khukuri. A blade that widens down towards the hilt into a small integrated guard, and then down to a textured kraton covered grip. All finished in an understated black teflon finish. Absolutely beautiful. I love it.

Now as short swords go, this is indeed a beauty. However I do have some concerns about it. One of them is about the steel. AUS-8, when properly heat treated, can be a great knife steel, possessing qualities similar to 440 stainless. For small knives, they are good, will take and hold an edge well, and provided they are sufficiently thick, are fairly resilient against flexing stresses. However these steels tend to be low carbon, relatively hard, inflexible  steels, so I generally do not like to see them used for swords.

Swords, due to their greater length, do tend to flex a lot more than knives do, and so my concern would be that under hard use, or in cold conditions, this sword could chip or break. A thick blade can generally help avoid possible breakage, but given it’s relatively light weight, (a whole 1.4lbs, lol ), I tend to doubt it is particularly thick. However to be fair, I should also add that this sword is a “short” sword, so the typical weaknesses of AUS-8 may not be as pronounced, and it could have been tempered slightly softer than normal in order to help mitigate that risk.

Another possible cause for concern would be the grip construction and material. While I love the way Kraton feels, and the kind of grip it gives you, most Kraton grips are essentially tang sleeves, and the tang has to be designed in a specific manner, or employ some additional retention methods, like a lanyard sleeve that goes through both grip and tang, for instance, in order to prevent the kraton grip from slipping down the tang under hard use. Don’t really see any of that on this sword, which means there is the possibility of the grip moving around on you…

So, if you plan to relying on something like this as a primary tool for survival purposes, you may want to keep the above points in mind.

But apart from that, I just love the lines on this. And the dark beautiful curves. Just can’t help it. I will probably never be able to rely solely on it for outdoor treks, however I’m probably still gonna get it because it just so cool… 😀

Junglee Short Sword – [eBlade Store]

Holy Holey Knives Batman!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Today I ran across a couple of interesting knives from South African knife maker Herbst. To be honest, these are not really my kind of blade, however I thought they represented a rather interesting perspective on the idea of patterning the full blade of the knife…

Except, in this case, doing so through and through… Hard to explain, so here, let me just show you:

Big Five Bowie - 1 of 3

Big Five Bowie - 1 of 3

Allow me to present the “Big Five” bowie. A rather beautiful bowie, I might add, though I am personally not too fond of the idea of carving a perfectly good blade through in the name of aesthetics. However, as the name suggests, the blade is “engraved”, (for lack of a better word), with the silhouette of 5 big game animals. An elephant, a rhino, a buffalo, a lion, and another big cat or possibly other animal, that I cannot readily identify.

Big Five Bowie - 2 of 3

Big Five Bowie - 2 of 3

Certainly excellent work, if not for the little red flags that are going up in my head on account of the large gaping holes in the blade. And I will certainly admit to it poossibly just me being mechanically excessively anal retentive. But I have never claimed to be normal, so HAH! is all I have to say about that.

Big Five Bowie - 3 of 3

Big Five Bowie - 3 of 3

Here’s another one, perhaps mechanically more sound, (yes, yes, I know I am probably the only one who is thinking abou that, but I just can’t help it so leave me be!!! 😛 )  but really not my type:

Carved Damascus - Pic 1

Carved Damascus - Pic 1

Now I do like the curves of the blade on this knife, it’s just the flourishes in the blade are a bit much for me…

Carved Damascus - Pic 2

Carved Damascus - Pic 2

See what I mean? It is still beautiful work, it just that those particular aesthetic look more to me like it belongs on a wrought iron gate, not *in* the blade of a knife.

Carved Damascus - Pic 3

Carved Damascus - Pic 3

Still, they are all quite amazing, the real pity is that when I look at this knife, images of flowers and vines keep popping into my head, totally obliterating any possible chance at making some truly nice lines become evil. Yeah… And the green grip does not help dispel these images in any way, shape or form.

Which, as  those of you who know will know, is one of my most heavily ranked internal grading criteria for how cool the aesthetics of a blade are. As you can probably guess, even though the craftsmanship of this blade is superb, this knife did not rank all that high on my scale.

Hey, what can I say? Nobody’s perfect…  At least I was able to work through my hangups enough to share it with you. lol…

Yeah, you’re welcome. 😀

I fail to understand…

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Knives have been a hobby of mine for many years. So to some degree, at least in the twisted delusional little world I live in, I believe I generally understand why certain designs incorporate certain features. But every once in a while, I am utterly, and completely stumped. Yes. You could whack me over the head with a wet noodle and I’d go down. No really. Here’s an example:

Kershaw Whiplash Tactical Bowie

Kershaw Whiplash Tactical Bowie

This, as the label below it indicates, is the Whiplash Tactical Bowie, by Kershaw. Now I like Kershaw. They make some nice blades for the money. But this particular design just leaves me scratching my horned, hairless, flaming head.

They start off with a great looking, ostensibly full tang grip, and sporting what looks to be a strong fairly wide clip point blade with a cool flase edge… And then having taken one hit too many from a bong filled with month old belly button lint from a geriatric Orc, someone promptly completed the design in a way that should have been left in the mad stoners wonderland where it came from.

I mean seriously. Look at the slots in that spine. What is this knife supposed to be? A sword breaker? It couldn’t even do that, the slots are too small, and the knife is waaay too thin. For more thumb traction? Do we really need all that? I don’t think so Tim. This is exactly the type of design than just… irks me.

And then we have the grip. What the heck is that divot supposed to be? What is the point of having a full tang if you are going to violate it in such a heinous fashion? They might as well have just used a rat tail tang. And for what? So you can wrap your lanyard around the grip?

NEWS FLASH!!! The grip is for GRIPPING! The lanyard is supposed to go around your WRIST.  *NOT* around the *INSIDE* of the GRIP!!!

A full tang is supposed to provide STRENGTH!! You just don’t cut huge swathes of steel out of a full tang, just so you have a cute convenient spot for you to wrap your little kite string around! EGADS!!!!

I mean, honestly, who comes up with these things?

Kershaw Whiplash Tactical Bowie Phail – [True Swords]

Unidentified Flying Objections…

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

No, no, no. Put your hand down, Pointdexter, I decidedly did *not* mean to say “Unidentified Flying Object”. I thought it would be a suitable heading for the knife this post is about, especially since i think it is a little… too much. It’s kinda… Well… Lets start with the picture.

Alien Spawn Fantasy Bowie

Alien Spawn Fantasy Bowie

OK, before any of you say “Hey now, don’t get your knickers all atwist, Phyre, it does say it’s a fantasy Bowie…” Let me preface my objections by saying… It’s my blog and I can rant if I want to. So there. Now we’ve got the whole maturity thing (or lack thereof) out of the way, let’s begin. 😛

I have issues with this bowie. It just feels wrong to me on so many levels. I mean, the blade is out there, all by itself, with some kind of weird wave motif, on some sort of mutant stem. The guard, coming out of some type of organic looking pod system, consists of something that looks like a chicken claw.

There are two, unequal length horns, or something, above the spine of the blade. (I mean seriously. Horns?) And the pommel looks like it is a stolen headpiece of an Aztec totem pole. The only thing I kinda liked about this knife (and when I say “like”, I mean I didn’t hate it) was the grip, which was all black, and adorned with some sort of veiny tree like pattern. I thought that was ok. The rest?… Meh.

All in all it looks to me like a failed attempt to meld aspects from the Tribal Aztec/Biomechanical/H.R. Geigeresque schools of design. And what an interesting failure it is. Of course this is just *my* opinion.You are all perfectly within your right to like it.

But I think I should also point out that you’re a dufus if you do. 🙂

Alien Spawn Fantasy Bowie – [True Swords]

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