Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by bushy, May 5, 2012.
which one would you recommend.
Okay, I'm a bit biased being a Bark River dealer and all, but I have to say that my personal experience with the Bravo 1 is nothing but incredible.
It really is an excellent all around knife that appears and feels to be overbuilt, but because of the excellent edge geometry (grind) it cuts and slices like a much lesser knife.
I hadn't even heard of the blackbird sk5 until you mentioned it and my first impressions are that I really like the blade shape, but the flat scales are going to be inferior to the contoured handles on the B1.
The B1 handles are incredibly comfortable, even in bad conditions and extended use.
With all of the available variations of the B1, you would be able to get whichever steel, tip, handle material and sheath you wanted.
I've got the Bravo1 and the SK5 is on my list but from what I've seen there's alot of complaints about the ergo's of the handle on the SK5. I like the Kephart style blade though.
Bravo1: really, really, really sharp because of the super-thin profile of the blade. The rest of the knife is "sharp" too, every exposed edge is a sharp 90* that you could strike firesteel off of... even the thumb-ramp is sharp. I've got the green scales and the left scale isn't "glued" all the way... I can slide a dollar bill down to the first rivet/tube but I've been told they'd take care of it if I contact them?
The sheath is meh... but I'm a "Kydex" guy so it's not an issue for me.
I only have the Blackbird and I love it! one of my favorite knives in the collection. If you aren't familiar with 154CM, watch Iz Turleys 154CM video.
Bravo 1 hads down
I wouldnt have another Bark River. So I would go with anything else.
They'll take care of that no problem. PT me and I can get you their contact information for that.
Honestly im not crazy about either of them. Ive had 2 bravos and 2 gunnys all in A2 and they chipped out frequently. I used them alot not just for posing for pics. The SK5 is really pricey for what it looks like it is. Havent had one though so I cant say. If it were me, Id go for a fallkniven F1 with micarta for the production realm. However thats not on your list... lol
These threads are flawed. Most of the time you get a bunch of replies based on the knife the poster owns, and nobody wants to say their knife sucks. Or reccomendations based on the knife sitting in a drawer or never leaving the sheath when its in the bush minus photo ops.
I say buy whatever speaks to you. Personal choice.....
I as well haven't used an SK5, but I have had a different experience with BR's A2. My most used knife is a Gunny, and I've used it hard for several years. I've had no trouble with it chipping. I have two Bravos, which I haven't used as much as the Gunny, but I will say that the Bravo 1 has a VERY comfortable handle for extended use.
Good luck with your choice.
+1 for the Bravo 1
"Originally Posted by J View Post
Ive had 2 bravos and 2 gunnys all in A2 and they chipped out frequently. I used them alot not just for posing for pics..."
I'm with XMP....
From my experience with Bark Rivers and the Bravo 1 I would have to say that the Bravo 1 would be my choice. My experience with several A2 steel and one Barkie with 154CM steel (STS 3) that are users has been positive. I've never experienced a chipping issue with either steel. Just might be how one uses a knife?
From what I've read here, A2 is very well received by many here. I had to Google the Blackbird and take a look at the knife and the handle. Again I would choose the Bravo1 handle over the rectangular shape of the Blackbird.
Over forty years ago when we went camping & hunting, bushcraft(ing) wasn't mainstream then...My first fixed blade hunting knife was a Mora. Since then and around 75+ knives later, my tastes have changed in my knives and I can indulge myself with finer tools & blades now.
I have around 35+ Barkies, users and what I call my safe queens. I enjoy all them for what they are, serious tools and lookers. The users have made my "camp" uses easier now. I EDC a rotation of 3 Barkies, belt and pocket carry.
I was going to mention that I certainly don't begrudge anyone who chooses to collect any type or brand of knife, but that's not what the OP was asking for.
Final Thought, BR A2 steel works for me and I really like the ergonomics of the Bravo 1 handle. It is a personal choice, get the one that trips your trigger.
Glad its worked for you boys. I dont begrudge anyone for being a collector either. I have lots of blades that I dont use.
I didnt do anything differant with those blades that several other knives have proven to handle without issue. I know how to properly use a knife. Not my first rodeo.
Actually I owned 3 Bravos. Forgot I had a first production run as well. I dont remember having any chipping issues from that one, but I didnt really use it hard either.
Its not an uncommon issue......
However if they work for you awesome. Wish they worked for me.
As for the ops question, I cant reccomend a Bark River knife to him with bad experiances. Nobody could.
My Bravo is my most used knife. I have bought many other even other Bark rivers but always go back to my rampless Bravo. It was one of the first all wood handle ones. I've had it for about 4 years. I was just thinking today maybe of getting rid of a few knives since I always end up with the Bravo on my side. I've never had any problems with mine except when I took it to the grinder(discovered I'm not a knife maker or modifier.)This picture is after a good cleaning so it is shiney but vacation is around the corner.
I don't own the other knife mentioned, so I can not give a great comparison. But I will say I love my bravo 1! I love it so much that I am forced to mod my esee 4 for me to ever use it again. The bravo 1 is my go to bush knife.
love my bravo 1, hate the fire steel striker. edge retention is good, not great. but all in all it is my favourite knife.
bark river knives are incredible quality for the price. steel, heat treatment, and edge geometry are really paired well and the bravo is one of their most popular models. i would suggest the bravo!
No experience with either.
WHY does Ontario make a knife out of 154CM and then include "SK5" in the name?
I've had my A2 Bravo I for a couple years. Mine came with the firestarter ramp. I added the leather Sharpshooter/fire steel loop sheath. After using it a while, I'll probably send it back to have the ramp removed. I just bought the same knife for my son's 21st B-day (sans the ramp). I purchased Bark River's Bushcrafter earlier this Summer, and I think I like its blade shape better for all-around use (but that's off topic). Don't have any experience with the other blade about which you inquired.
I wanted the blackbird sk5 bad when it first came out, But after seeing and playing around with it at Smokey Mnt. knives this past jul. I passed it up.
Everyone is different, untill you can put your hands on any knife you just don't know. As for the steels and heat treats they can all be.....?
There are a lot of good knives out there, ck around and see what feels best. I like to hear what other folks think or have exp. with a product before I buy as well.
Good luck in your search, Let us know what you end up with.
i'm new to the site and I agree i have the blackbird as well, it is a great knife especially for larger hands. It takes and holds an edge very well.
I've had the Bravo-1......its a really nice, really expensive Froe. Its too big to carry hiking. Its too heavy for carving (when you slip with a heavy knife, it keeps going until it hits a finger while a light knife stops sooner and is thus safer, and I have the scars to back up my theory) Barkies tend to chip (yes, I did chip my B-1). And the leather sheath is sucky. So just get a froe!
take a look at tops bushcraft also.
I have several Bark River knives and the B1 is my favorite one of them, if you want, Bark River puts on 3 or 4 grind ins each year and you can go there and make your own with help from the crew, there is a lot of handwork goes into every one and they cut like a laser, they are now making quite a few in 3v steel which is even tougher and better edge holding than a2 which I have had great luck with.
The B1 is the best seller in the line up but they have something for just about everyone.
Update: I had business in the vicinity, so I stopped by BRKT shop this weekend. I wanted to leave my B1/A2 to have the ramp removed. After using it for a couple years, I'd decided I'd rather do without. One of the workers asked, "Can you stay a minute?" When I replied, "Yes", he disappeared with my knife. After 10 minutes or so, he reappeared with my knife, sans ramp, resharpened, re-buffed and even the logo reapplied. Looked like a new knife. Charge: Nada! Pretty nice.
Unlike many on this site, I'm not a knife guru. I've been pleased with the B1. I've had one micro-chipping incident to date, when I was batoning wood in sand. The chips were so small I didn't realize they were there 'til I did a paper cut test. Even then, they were easy to work out with wet/dry paper and a pad. I like the ergonomics of handle and blade for the tasks I want to do. If I were buying one today, I might spring for the CPM V3 stuff, but I've had absolutely no beef with the A2.
Having owned a Bravo 1, I'd definitely go with something else.
Not to hijack the thread or anything, but,
Can you order custom knives through bark river? IE, a modified B1?
I assumed you ordered what they have in their catalog already.
Ones a 4 inch blade ones a 5. For bush crafting 5 is allot easier to baton than 4. But I have a b1 3v and its worth the money. I also have a b1.5 on order in 3v that's being cut to 5.25 vs 5.75 in that's us supposed to be ready in 3-4 weeks. I also had brkt cut down a b2 to 5.5 but its really think and a beast that is a2. They cut them down free also. Really stand behind their knives.
By the way, in full disclosure I have B1 and like it very much. But then I never use it so what would I know.
Technically you can't order a custom knife, but what you can do is request specific modifications and handles on knives in line to be produced. Bark River posts their production schedule on Knifeforums, so you can look at what they have coming up.
When I purchased my last Bravo I knew that I didn't want the ramp and I wanted a certain set of handles and a drop point, instead of the straight point it normally comes with. I placed a preorder with one of their main stocking dealers and when they did the next run of Bravos, mine was made exactly as I had requested.
Here are some pics shortly after I received it:
View attachment 49934
View attachment 49935
The bravo 1 is great but I don't like convex and I hate the scales.
I've heard/read about others who placed special orders with Bark River. I don't have any knowledge of that option. My Bark River stuff has been off the shelf (from Crystal Falls Trading Company).
Talk to knives ship free.com and he may be able to get what you want, he is the biggest stocking dealer.
Great guy too.
Gotcha, thanks guys.
I really love the design of the B1, but i wish they made it with a blade about an inch longer. What would be the best way to get a knife like that from Bark River? If it is at all possible. Asking them to cut down a B2?
First I had a b2 but down to 5.5 and its still a beast. The handle is much thicker not nearly as comfortable as the b1. Second they are releasing the b1.5 in 3-4 weeks. It's coming in a2 s35n and cpm 3v. I ordered a cpm 3v cut down from 5.75 in to 5.25 in with orange liners and black g10 from dlt. They are great. Also ordering a survive knife gso 5.1 and 4.3 in elmax steel. They are coming out soon. They just had a crazy promo on a 10 in chopper in cpm 3v for $160 free shipping. It's a beast. Strong hair popping sharp. The elmax is nuts sharp. Ridiculously tough almost stainless and the sharpest steel on the market and edge retention is crazy. But pricey. Check out dlt. The b1.5 uses the same handle as the b1 so it's a winner. Can't wait. Have preordered in may finally coming out of blade grinding this week. Then assembly. Finally after two years..... A 5 in knife from brkt.
I had problems with Bark River. Heat treat was off, and mine chipped on me as well. I contacted Mr. Stewart, and he doesn't take well to criticism. I had to bring him off his high horse and I tell you the guy to ME, seemed like an arrogant smart-ass. I wont do business with him again. You can take your money and spend it on a custom for what he ask for a production blade.
To me, BR is a joke. But to each their own. I got customs that outshine his for half the cost.
I can't give a comparison because I only own the bravo, but so far I've had nothing but good performance from it. Even though I use my gunny more, so far so good with my B-1. No chipping or problems. Based on my (limited) experience, I think you'd be happy with it...
Both are great knives but I personally would go Blackbird SK5
Where are you finding quality custom knives for $80-100??? Doesn't seem likely to me.
I want one too! Its a shame i'm broke
Monte Zavatta of the Apache Region, MZ customs $87 shipped. Hammer forged Sheath handmade by his daughter. 1095 HC, Olivewood Handle. Certificate signed. Not much else to say besides, " I told ya so"
Looks like a fine knife and 1095 can be a great steel if heat-treated well.
To be fair, it looks like most of his knives are more like $400. You seemed to imply that there were multiple custom options in this price range, which was what I doubted (having purchased several customs myself). Still that one is a fine looking knife and I'm glad it works for you.