Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Benchmade REI 530 Ltd. Ed.

Wow! Pretty cool! Benchmade has taken their good old 530 lightweight axis lock knife and given it nice blue Grivory (thermoplastic, sorta like zytel) handles. It was originally designed by Mel Pardue I believe, but they've made some changes over the years and made it their own, if I'm not mistaken, just like they did with the Stryker, the first version being designed by Allen Elishewitz. It's (the blue 530) available only through REI, and retails for $130 USD to $145 USD, depending on blade configuration. You can order online at REI, or check out the remodeled 530 at Benchmade.com

Whoa!! New look to SB&T!?? WTF?

I always liked the readability, and simplicity of the basic template I was using for this site. However, across the 2 years I've been doing this, it's been customary to change the appearance and overall look of SB&T about every 9 months or year, so far. The original SB&T was a very boring format, with lots of shades of green. So, I will be experimenting with different formats over the next month or so, just for fun. All the links, content and article posts will stay the same. For now, and just temporarily, I'll be playing around with some of the new options that blogger has added recently.

I've gotten sort of bored with the standard look over the last year, so, for now (everything is temporary...EVERYTHING bwahahah!) SB&T will look like this, but don't be shocked if I tweak some other options, colors and try new things. Evolution is necessary. I'll still continue to bring you bite size pieces of news, info, pix and reviews involving camp gear, lights, equipment, and foremost, KNIVES!

I'm one of those people, like many of us, who's initially very uncomfortable with change. So, in part, this is me pushing my limits of comfort with the old standby, just for the sake of branching out, and accepting that everything in life is dynamic and in a state of flux, whether we know it or not.
If anybody is severely bothered by this change, or for some reason, if it makes it impossible for you to read this blog, let me know. I think it's pretty readable, the general format is the same. I've just changed some colors, fonts, sizes and things. And of course, there's now a giant bamboo forest behind everything you read!
Feel free to email me, and of course comment on any post here, whenever you feel like it. Post comments are currently not moderated, so Joe Average, or any old spammer could conceivably leave a comment on any post here. That being said, feel free to email me, or comment here, but please have a point, and don't fill my inbox, or comment pages with ads, links to make money quick schemes or anything else silly, stupid, dirty, or lame. Spammers and other good-fer-nothings wouldn't like me when I'm angry!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spyderco Fred Perrin PPT Folder

Wow! This brand new Spyderco Fred Perrin Design is a beauty. I love the look of the machined G10 scales. Perrin is a well known knifemaker from France. He's a martial artist as well, and a military vet. Fred Perrin has been a stick fighting and Taekwondo champ as well. The guy's got lots of experience that enables him to create practical blade designs.

The PPT is a Taiwan made knife, but it carries CPM-S30V bladesteel and G10 handles:

Blade Length: 3 5/32" (80 mm)
Cutting Edge: 2 11/16" (68 mm)
Closed Length: 4 1/4" (108 mm)
Overall Length: 7 3/8" (187 mm)
Weight: 5.3 oz. (150 g)
Made in Taiwan

Evidently the acronym name of this knife refers to Perrin and his 2 buddies who collaborated on this design, or PPT="Fred Perrin, Philippe Perotti and Sacha Thiel."

Looks like some of the major online knife stores will have these soon, but in the meantine you can check out Perrin's wares at EDC Knives.com
Perrin's bladeware is also sold by his good friend and fellow knifemaking martial artist, Mr. Laci Szabo, who makes some wicked shit as well. Check out both mens' knives and weapons at Szabo, Inc

Kiridashi knives are all the rage in the last year or so. Original kiridashi knives are forged 1 piece straight Japanese knives that students and schoolkids carry daily to sharpen pencils, do arts & crafts and for general utility in a pencil box, and are also sometimes used in woodworking. The American (and worldwide really) knife industry seems to have fallen in love with the beautiful simplicity of kiridashi inspired knives as small self defense items, though most custom knifemakers' kiridashis are a far, far stretch from their traditional cousins. Perrin's kiridashi looks a tiny bit closer to the real thing, but either way, it's a badass little knife.

here's Perrin's Shark knife, which looks to be likely inspired by his famous La Griffe (The Claw) knife that he's produced for years. I used to own an Ernest Emerson made version of the Perrin La Griffe, but I ended up trading it away (stupid stupid stupid!!). Emerson's version of the Fred Perrin La Griffe is totally awesome, and one of the best neckers I've ever owned. I'm kicking myself nearly 10 years later for trading it away.

Anyhow, I'm really excited to see which companies pick up Perrin designs in the future, and I hope Mr. Perrin gets some more worldwide exposure. I've been reading about the guy for years, yet it seems he's still not a household name in American knifelovers' vocab. He seems like a cool dude, and definitely has the credentials to back up his bad-ass-ness. Speaking of badass, here's a pic of Fred, probably from some years ago, looking like a badass indeed.

I'm looking forward to purchasing a PPT, when and if I can afford it, and of course, I'll give a rundown right here on this site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spyderco Balance? WTF?

OK, we have yet to see much of anything new from Spyderco for 2010. It seems their release schedule is typically very different than many other knife factories though, sounds like we'll be seeing the Balance later in the year, along with lots of other new stuff including many new variations of the slipjoint UK Penknife (in colors and CF!) and a new Jason Breeden-designed rescue folder. I don't know anything more than the pre-order page at Knifecenter.com, so I'll copy and paste what's up there. I may have some additional 2010 coming-soon images for stuff that'll be out the 2nd half of this year as well, from a variety of makers.

+++++"SP141CFP: Balance

Balance is a state of equilibrium or equal distribution. In our case it’s an Ed Schempp folder that is symmetrical on each end when closed. Odd looks aside, when in the hand it’s ergonomically proportional and a natural fit. The VG-10 blade rears up in a radical curve with a deep finger choil. When the index finger sits in the choil, the blade feels like an extension of your hand. The enlarged Spyderco Round Hole is dead center on the blade when closed and perfectly off-centered when open, positioning the thumb for smooth one-hand use. Carbon fiber handle. Screw together construction. Four way, left/right, tip-up/tip-down hourglass stainless clip. Piped lanyard. Symphonic fit and finish.

Overall Length: 4-7/16" (113 mm)
Blade Length: 1-15/16" (49 mm)
Cutting Edge Length: 1-1/4" (32 mm)
Closed Length: 2-5/8" (67 mm)
Steel: VG-10
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 1.3 oz. (37 g)
Clip: Left/Right
Tip Carry: Up/Down
Made in Japan"+++++

"Symphonic" fit & finish?? Huh? Either way, I really like the concept of this weird little Spyderco, it reminds me of a Geoduck, or a slug or something.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

REI Recycled Camp Mug - 12 fl. oz.

I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with REI's inexpensive and tough Recycled Camp Mugs

I went into REI to kill some time on a day off, and reasoned that my water bottle collection is out of control. I have more Nalgene (and other brand) bottles than I need. I drink a ton of water, especially in the warmer months, so I'm well supplied. I've gotten back into coffee lately, and Yerba Mate tea. It dawned on me that I don't have any cool travel mugs, as I usually buy cold energy drinks from convenience stores, but now that I have access to a fancy Keurig single cup coffee maker, I'm drinking more, and I didn't own any lidded mugs.

I was looking at REI's Recycled Tumbler, which is also made by Stanley/Aladdin, for REI, but I decided I don't ever drink 20-some oz of coffee, at least, not since I was a 17 year old punk rocker who liked to spend all hours of the night with my bandmates at Seattle's greasy landmark, Beth's Cafe and Denny's type coffee houses, eating hashbrowns and getting wired after our nighttime adventures. I sometimes wonder how many hours we spent at Beth's befriending fellow regulars, cooks, and waitresses (mmm the waitresses, there were SO many crushworthy pierced and tattooed girls!). Anyhow, it's been awhile since I was a coffee fueled chainsmoking punk kid, but I still love coffee, in moderation of course.

I had a $20 REI dividend, as REI is a co-op membership store, and you get a credit for a percentage of the previous year's purchases. So it was nice to pick up some items and legally leave without paying! That said, these guys go for about $6.50 USD and come in "Okra" (green), and "Marine" (blue). Not bad at all, they hold 12 oz. and come with a securely fitting watertight lid which is ringed by a rubber o-ring/gasket. There's a drinking slot, and a small hole poked across from that, to allow your beverage to flow freely. REI's site (see link @ beginning of post) implies that these won't fit in cupholders, though mine fit decently in my car. It will vary from vehicle to vehicle, as there is a handle, but the base size is right for my center console in my trusty old bucket.

Weight 7.6 ounces
Material(s) - Recycled polypropylene
Dimensions - 3.5 x 4.25 inches
Capacity/Volume - 12 fluid ounces
Fits in cup holder - No (SOME)
Insulated - Yes

These mugs are 100% recycled, a quarter of the material being post-consumer. They are also obviously 100% recyclable. My blue (Marine) mug was scentless when new, but for some reason the green one had, and to some extent still has a weird mild odor that *almost* reminds me of pickled veggies, but it's not terribly offensive, and seems to be fading by the day. These mugs have a drink through spout lid, so my guess is that they could absorb odor from other products when in a stockroom, inside a taped shipping box or something, or perhaps the smell is from the light adhesive on the product description sticker on the lid. Either way, it's fading, and wasn't all that strong in the first place...just something I noticed.

I've made a point to drink my morning coffee from one of these every day for about a week. I don't like scalding my tongue on coffee, so these are nice, as you can wait a bit, even after adding fridge cold milk, put the lid on, and your drink stays drinkable warm for at least 25 minutes or a half hour, after that it starts to cool rapidly, but I'd rather drink lukewarm joe than burn my tastebuds off and suffer every time I put food in my mouth for a week!

Stanley makes other nice travel/outdoor mugs & bottles as well, though it looks like this was done specifically as an REI edition.

They recommend hand washing only, and based on the reviews on REI's site, I'm certain it's just because certain temperatures and pressures can peel the treeline silkscreened motif on the mug's body. These are BPA-free polypropylene, so I can't figure any other reason why they'd encourage only hand washing.

All in all I'm pretty impressed, time will tell how durable these are after car trips, camping and general outdoor or boating use, but they feel pretty solid, and I'd be satisfied with my purchases even if I had paid cash money for them. Not bad at all, check out REI to buy one.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Guest review by George from Florida.

Aaron says:
George was one of our contest winners. He sent me a fantastic knife story about a cheap knife breaking in use and the blade flying toward his wife's head. It was funny and well done indeed. I've sent George a care package with an assortment of small folders, fixed blades and some other cool stuff. I'll post George's winning entry here in the near future, but for now, here's a meditation on the (non)usefulness of tiny keychain style folders modeled after CRKT's "K.I.S.S." series of knives originally designed by Ed Halligan. The K.I.S.S. knives have spawned countless imitators and the Gerber Ridge is but one of them.

The Gerber Ridge Knife….well isn’t that just too cute?
The first time I ever saw this blade, the concept of a tiny, concealable (ed. "reverse") tanto style tipped blade was very appealing to me. It is a full 1.81” long high carbon stainless steel blade, coated in Black Teflon. If something ever screamed “Black Ops” (what was I thinking) this thing initially did.
Take this bad-boy into your hands (in my case my ham-steak sized hands) and open and feel the s-m-o-o-t-h-n-e-s-s of the mechanism. (I will come back to the “opening” sequence in a moment). Hold this open blade upwards in the air, like you are William Holden holding up his British “Killing Knife” in the end of the Bridge over the River Kwai; “You got to do it Boy, you got to do it now!! KILL HIM!” – as you shake the momentary day dream sequence from your brain, you suddenly look at your hand holding up this blade with your thumb bracing the side of it (and blotting out your ability to actually SEE it)….all visions of William Holden are soon dropped and you see yourself in the hilarious movie sequence of “Welcome to Collinwood” where Isaiah Washington is holding the small blade tip of his Swiss Army Knife against Sam Rockwell’s throat….there, reality sets back in. I sit here and hold this little novelty in my hands and I am scratching myself trying to figure out what I am EVER going to cut with this blade besides a letter or a Fed Ex package. Gee it has a nice money clip attached to it, but I don’t use a clip for my money (it’s spent too fast).

One word about “opening”…the Gerber marketing info says it has a “thumb stud for one hand opening. That is “one hand opening” if you share opening tasks with two people. This thing is so small that unless you have the dexterity of a Black Jack Dealer who moonlights as a Chinese Gymnast, you WILL need both hands to open this thing… Oh don’t get me wrong, if you start the sequence and then get your other hand out of the way, you have about a 50/50 chance of completing the sequence without shaving off several layers of your fingers as the blade passes them as a micro-plane. If my 2 year old Grand Daughter had the dexterity and the temerity to carry a “shiv,” this would fill the bill. I would of course not wish to get the phone call from our daughter asking why “Granddad” taught baby Ryan how to take out the Kool-Aid sentry at the day care center, but then again, this blade is right up her alley for size and scale of operations.
So where does this leave me? What am I going to do with a blade like this? When I carried it a few times as a novelty, it tended to fall out of my pocket every time I pulled my keys out, nix that. I hate losing my blades even if I can’t figure out what to do with them (then again, there is a birthday sometime in the future for my Grand Daughter)….there is the potential to carry it as a neck-blade, but with a full-on 1.81” length blade….good luck with cutting something with that. If there EVER was a reason, you could probably slip it by a fanatical hijacker, which has possibilities. Gee, a scrod-blade? Let me know how you work out the mechanics of “hanging” that one. Make sure you clear your junk before you open it, the bikini shave may not only include the fuzz. So I have to admit it looked cool before I obtained it. But I also have a Case brand toothpick blade which I use constantly. This thing is about useful as a spit value on a guitar.
Big G

I love my Spyderco Tenacious

Yeah dudes. I finally picked up a Tenacious a few weeks ago. The full serrated version. It's a Spyderco Chinese made knife that feels close in quality to their American made knives. I owned the Spyderco Terzuola Starmate and the original Spydie Military models at one point and the Tenacious feels very similar.

I'll refrain from a full review for now, as it's the first day in the Seattle area that it's felt like summer, and I have some hiking or boating to do, not sure which yet, but it's too beautiful outside to be blogging!

The following applies to ALL Spyderco Tenacious models:
Overall Length: 7 3/4"
Closed Length: 4 7/16"
Blade Length: 3 3/8"
Blade Steel: 8CR13MOV
Blade Thickness: 1/8"
Handle Material G-10

The knife retails for a very reasonable $34.95 USD, but I found mine for about $10.00 USD less @ my favorite outdoor store.
It's light, comfortable and locks open with a solid click. The fully serrated version (mine) is wicked sharp and cuts like a little chainsaw. Kudos to Spyderco for succeeding with foreign manufacture where so many others fail (Gerber, I'm looking @ YOU). The Tenacious line of knives don't quite have the fit & finish of their American cousins, but they certainly are one of the most well rounded knives I've owned lately.

Check out a Tenacious and I'm positive it will become your summer EDC. I plan on taking mine with me today, regardless of where I end up, be it the beach, the woods, or the back yard. Check out Spyderco's site for more info.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sweet Wenger Mike Horn Swiss Army

For starters, many of us know that both Victorinox and Wenger brands are authorized Swiss Army Knives. Victorinox was regarded as the "original", and Wenger claimed they were the "genuine". This arose because both companies did and do indeed at various times, manufacture issue knives for the Swiss military. I'm guessing depending on price, and what was needed, the Swiss government chose one company or the other, for their knife needs. In 2005, Victorinox, whose knives I've always preferred, bought Wenger. The two remain separate companies, but both under Victorinox's ownership.

Anyhow, Mike Horn is a noted South African explorer and adventurer, with many feats of impressiveness under his belt. Click on "Horn" above, to read his Wikipedia page.

This badboy is LOADED with functionality:
*Handle is made from recyclable materials and produced partly w/ Pan European Forest Certificate wood
*One-handed-opening emergency blade with lock. Partially serrated with a blunt point
*One-handed-opening 3.9" blade
*Needle nose pliers with wire cutter
*Nut wrench
*Metal file
*Metal saw
*Can opener
*1/4" Bit holder
*Phillips & flat head screw bits
*Specially-developed cutting reamer
*Awl with sewing eye
*Key ring
*Nylon Pouch included
*Made in Switzerland

That's a lotta tools ladies and gents! The Mike Horn Swiss Knife from Wenger is NOT cheap. MSRP is about 175.00 USD. Which is actually fairly reasonable, considering there are lots of folding knives like those by Benchmade that sport a single blade only, and cost @ least that much. So, if this were the only knife you could choose to bring on a long trip, this might qualify. And supposedly, Mike Horn now carries this as his only blade for expeditions.

I think it's neat that the handle is made from recyclable materials and contains wood from certifiably renewable areas. This knife also just looks incredible. As I said, I have a big spot in my heart for Victorinox, as they have the better selection of models and are easier to find. But Wenger manufactured my very first boyscout Swiss Army knife that I found in like-new condition on a softball diamond adjacent to the one where my older sister's team was competing. I was about 9, and it was the coolest thing on Earth, I still have it to this day. Basically, Wenger and Victorinox knives both have merit, and heck, they're both now owned by a single entity. Anyway, I like the looks and the premise of the Mike Horn knife, maybe enough to buy it even!
To learn more, see Wenger's site. Or check out Mike Horn's Pangaea site.

Gerber Gator Machete Jr. (post-recall improved version)

Hey guys. First off, let me apologize for the lack of quality pix of the items I write about. I've found the quickest way to get an image onto a post (for me that is), is to email it from my phone, copy it, and throw it up here. It's fast, but unfortunately LG phones with 2+ year old technology don't take the best photos. I have an inexpensive standalone digital camera, but it's rather finicky with light sources. So, for now, you'll have to endure pix "stolen" from other sites, and grainy cellphone photos.

Now that's out of the way, let's move on to the Gerber Gator Machete Jr., let's have a look:
*Tactile rubber grip
*Fine edge and saw blade
*Dual Saw and Fine Edge Blade for Clearing and Removing Vegetation
*Gator Grip Handle - Resists Slipping in Wet Conditions
*Blade Length: 10.75"
*Overall Length: 18.75"
*Nylon Sheath
It should be noted that the original Gator series machetes lacked the thumb ramp on top of the handle, and peoples' hands were sliding forward and getting cut. Gerber announced a recall on their site, and the machete in this review is the result of a redesign for safety's sake. Any Gator or Gator Jr's on shelves now should have the slanted thumb ramp on the back. If you have a pre-recall version, Gerber will replace it. I believe the info is under their press release section.

I've been pretty harsh on Gerber in the past couple years, well, because, frankly, much of their Chinese product output is garbage. See my earlier review about the Descent folder. Since then, I have gotten countless emails from other Descent owners whose blades also loosened up for no reason, other than opening and closing the knife. Inexpensive foreign made knife or not, that's inexcusable, IMO. But hey, it's pretty hard to eff up a machete, and while I generally prefer Cold Steel's machetes, sharpened to a nice edge post-purchase, the Gerber Gator Jr. does have its merits! This machete is a nice size for a backpack, useful for stowing so folks on the trail or wherever don't get bugged out by the machete wielding dude dripping sweat and babbling about cardio. At an overall length of just over 18 inches, it fit neatly into every pack I tried it with. I even left the house with it on my hip under a long Helly-Hanson rain jacket. Ok, so 18 inches is a lot of steel to wear on a belt, but if I'm gonna camp with the damn thing, I want to know it fits decently on a belt, and it does indeed. It was somewhat uncomfortable while sitting, but it's light and can be worn fairly comfortably, as long as you're standing/walking.

This is a nice, light portable machete that works well for clearing light vegetation, you might even be able to use it as a draw knife on wood, or likely baton it through larger timber to make a lean-to or something. The carbon steel blade is bolted to the rubberized handle and feels pretty good when swung. I managed to clear thick blackberry vines and other unsavory weeds on the bank near my dad's house. It was easy. The sawback, however, suffers from the same problem that most sawback knives suffer from, they don't work very well. I should say, it works in theory, but it binds up and gets stuck. I'm not complaining too much though, as it retails for around $27.95 USD, but can be had @ discount stores and online for about $16.95 USD. That's about comparable to many of Cold Steel's excellent South African made machetes.
Granted, overall, I didn't do any real abusive testing or give this machete everything I had. But I am confident, that it's fairly priced, and I love the short overall design that fits well in a rucksack or backpack. The handles provided excellent slip resistance, and sliding the included lanyard over the handle and inserting your hand, security is increased, and works well. I felt comfortable enough with the Kraton-rubber-esque grip, that I took it out back and flailed the machete around as if I was engaged in a sword battle, I even did some of the Filipino martial arts moves I used to know, just to see how secure it is in the hand. The grip is another high point of this machete, at no point did I feel that I was in danger of losing control of the little beast. Comparatively, as I said, I prefer Cold Steel's machetes overall, but the Gator's grip is a tad more comfy, and I imagine pads the hand nicely for extended work.

Overall, I would indeed recommend the Gator Jr. machete, by Gerber. The sawback edge could be redesigned to be a bit more useful and smooth, but the short pack-ability is a plus, as is the semi-tacky rubber grip, which is also comfortable. The sheath is a cheap, basic ballistic nylon affair, but it keeps the blade from cutting you, and though it feels cheap, I haven't had any problems yet. The handle is retained with a simple velcro collar that fits tightly and securely.
The nice thing about a semi-flexible, forward weighted blade like a machete, is the fact that it doesn't need to be honed to a razor edge in order to work. The type of work you do with a machete dictates also, that you're hacking and smashing your way through branches and vegetation. Again, I didn't do any real crazy abusive testing, but I didn't notice any severe deforming of the main edge. It got dull, yes, but even after it had lost it's "pop", it still worked as well as most other machetes. To touch up the plain side, I held the machete static on my lap, and used a Smith's flat diamond hone as you'd use a file, moving the sharpener along the blade, while keeping the blade still. This method worked pretty well, and wasn't time consuming. With a medium grit diamond hone, I had the edge actually feeling sharper than the factory edge in about 5 minutes.

So it appears that Gerber's Chinese manufacturing partners can still do basic knives right. You're ok, as long as it doesn't have any moving parts, like a folding knife!

I love Cold Steel's machetes, but as I mentioned, the handle is less comfortable, and there's no way you're getting the massive Magnum Kukri machete into a backpack. For light work at a reasonable price, the Gerber Gator Jr. machete actually exceeded my expectations, which were maybe unfairly low. I bought mine at a local discount sporting goods store which specializes in knives, guns and fishing and hunting supplies, but you can find these pretty much anywhere online that sells Gerber products. Not bad Gerber, not bad at all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cold Steel O Tanto Bokken

I've been interested in Cold Steel's training weapons for awhile now. I own several of their rubber training knives, but had never purchased anything in the polypropylene training sword line. I have some experience in Filipino martial arts, and stick combat translates very nicely to almost any melee weapon, especially knives and swords. I had been thinking the O Tanto Bokken looked like a good option for a tool that could be used as a training knife, and also a short stick or sword.

Weight: 9.2 oz.
Blade Thickness: 3/4"
Blade Length: 12"
Material: Solid Polypropylene
Handle: 6 1/4" Long
Overall: 18 1/4"

It's no secret that my more recent martial arts attendance began slipping about 2 years into training with the group in Seattle. I was sick and didn't know it. After being hospitalized and put on blood thinners, my doctors forbade me to do any combat sports, here it is, 3 years later nearly, and I'm still on blood thinners, so martial arts with contact and weapons, against others could literally be life threatening if I were to get cut and begin bleeding. Since that time, I've been using my existing rubber trainers, escrima/arnis sticks, bokkens and aluminum training knives to practice movements and rehearse various imagined combat scenarios such as being taken by surprise or defending against a knife. It really helps if a partner is involved, but I still feel I get something out of thinking and moving by myself.

The Cold Steel O Tanto Bokken is a good length and the weight simulates a light but sturdy long knife, it's useful also for practicing disarms with a partner, with ercrima sticks or empty handed. The tip is surprisingly sharp, as I've been practicing rolling it like an escrima stick to generate power, which is hard to do with a short, light weapon. With a long rattan stick, inertia and weight play a role in allowing you to roll the sticks forward and back. Anyhow, I was practicing to see if I could get any power going while lying prone and rolling the O Tanto off the end of my bed, when I rolled the item back and it poked me, hard in the clavicle! I have to say, that training weapon regardless, if events called for it, you could defend yourself decently with any of Cold Steel's solid polypro items, training swords included.

Even with the short O Tanto, you could disarm somebody if that's all you had against their kitchen knife or whatever, you could also use it as a blocking and distracting tool. Now, I'm not saying I'd go out and foolishly fight an armed assailant with a training sword, but, if that's all I had at the time, I wouldn't be complaining.

I'd really like to check out Cold Steel's full size, and Wakizashi Bokkens as well, along with their new line of medieval sword and dagger trainers. The best thing about these training swords, is the fact that they're so durable, and so inexpensive. I got my O Tanto bokken in a retail mall cutlery shop for just over $20.00 USD and I know for a fact they can be found much cheaper than that online, at least before shipping is paid.

Check out Cold Steel's training items at their discount site LTSpecPro.com

BW Baker Svord Peasant Knives

I discovered these recently at Knifecenter.com

These look pretty neat, and I've read some good reviews. Svord is out of New Zealand and the Peasant Knife is offered in tough colored plastic handles or a wood variation for a few dollars more. Here in the states, on say, knifecenter for example, they only cost about $15.00 USD before shipping. The carbon steel blade is supposed to be just awesome and the blade tang has a sort of tail that allows you to thumb the knife open with one hand. Pretty cool concept in a world of black on black tactical weaponized demon knives!

I can't really afford to be ordering new knives right now, as I just got an order purchased from knifeworks.com, in Louisiana, and I'm sort of broke at the moment. However, when the time is right, I'll probably order the blue or yellow variation of the Peasant Knife, and of course, I'll review it right here. Svord makes a suede pouch sheath available, to tote your Peasant around on your belt, though I'm sure I'd just drop it into a pocket, or carry it in a Tactical Tailor pouch on my 5.11 TDU belt, if need be. Knifecenter is offering a handful of colors, but it appears that other colors are available through Svord, including green and white. Polypropylene is an inexpensive and tough plastic that can be dyed pretty much any color you can think of. Cold Steel makes their training weapons and many blunt force weapons out of their black polypro, and I must say, the stuff is tough!

It should be noted that these are friction folders. When open, the blade is held by friction, and the pressure and placement of your hand over the extended tang bar is what keeps the knife from closing. There's no ball bearing detent, like in most linerlocks, so the knife opens very easily. In other words it doesn't technically lock open or lock closed. I think the fact that your hand over the extended blade tang keeps the knife safe and open, is genius. It's a fairly large knife, with much more handle than is needed to house the 3 inch blade. A youtube reviewer pointed out, that turned around in a hammer grip, when closed, the Svord Peasant's long tang bar could be used competently as an impact weapon. Pretty cool!

Anyhow, these look to be a fantastic value for the money, I'd recommend a regular wipe down with a Sentry Solutions Tuff-Cloth though, or regular oiling with Tuff-Glide, as these are carbon steel, and I've found the Sentry "Tuff" series of products really works to keep spotting and rust at bay on carbon steel and stainless blades alike.
see Svord for more details