Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Michael J Fechner - Utility Blade

 I attended the Australian Knifemaker Guild show a little while ago, and whilst there I was delighted to see a bunch of really nice pieces, but I only saw one that I felt I need to add to my collection.

Knife and sword maker Michael J Flechner had an array of fine steel on display, and this is the Utility Blade.

This 20cm (21.5") long blade is 4cm (1.5") wide, 6mm (0.25") thick. Made from spring steel, the blade comes in at around 350g (12.4oz).

The blade geometry is really nice. Tapering down from the spine on one side to a flat grind, the primary edge is also a flat grind. Very simple to maintain.

The chisel point on the tip and the leading edge follow the same simple, elegant geometry, making this a very functional and effective tool. The black powder coat dramatically reduces glade, and offers corrosion resistance.

I gave it a pretty good work out; chiseling, chopping, prying, and was very happy with both the edge, and its handling.

I cord-wrapped the handle, using the array of holes in the skeletonised handle such that I had an adjustable retention lanyard.

I really liked the forwards swept blade, especially when doing hard chopping, because it kept my hand away from the materials and impact points.

The built in sweep from handle to blade lent itself to both a strong positive grip, but also  allowed me to place my thumb on the spine, as needed, to control and guide, without the worry of my hand sliding up the throat into the blade whilst doing some pretty vigorous chopping.

This blade comes with a kydex and nylon webbing sheath and would be a very sturdy addition to anyone's outdoors survival kit, in my opinion.

I found that after cord-wrapping, the nylon retention strap didn't quire wrap around the handle, so I will need to add a new press-stud to make it sit snugly and securely.

Here are a couple of shots of me chopping some hard-wood branches I had in my wood-pile.
The knife handled really well in this chopping, staying solidly placed in my hand throughout, and with very little shock traveling to my arm at each blow.

The thick spine lends itself well to battoning, here with another hardwood branch.

Lastly, a clip of the whole chopping and battoning.
Don't mind the sounds of my girls in the background playing on the trampoline., they really were having fun, honest.

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