Thursday, December 31, 2015
Review: ZU Bladeworx - Mekanik
I got in touch with the fine and fierce minds at ZU Bladeworx, who are based in Rouse Hill, NSW, after seeing some of their handywork on one of the groups I frequent on FaceBook, and was delighted after making introductions and inquiries after one of their fine blades to be sent this particular piece, right before Giftmas.
These pretty-much local bladesmiths have a very straightforward approach when it comes to making stabby steel: make it simple, make it elegant and this they have done in this piece, the Mekanik.
Being 100% made in Australia, and machined from a solid billet of 15mm thick A2 steel (very similar to another tool-steel, cryodur 2363 is the steel from Germany). The handle is 9mm thick (0.35") and the blade is 6.5mm thick (0.25") and weighs a meaty 110g (3.9oz) for its mere 174mm (6 7/8") length.
Given its A2 construction, its no surprise that it has a skeletonised handle, and an additional pair of holes drilled to keep the weight down, as well as fullers ground into the sides of the blade as well as along the spine.
Double tempered then cryonically treatment to a Rc58-59 hardness, it has been black oxide finished and shipped "sterile" (no blade markings) to keep a spartan presentation.
The Kydex sheath is done in house and fits like a glove. plenty of attachment grommets and with the addition of the paracord lanyard, it can be easily drawn even though the scabbard comes up along deeply up the handle.
Jimping along the back and front and butt of the handle gives a really solid grip, in even some mango and/or fish slime covered tasks. The front finger groove allows you to take a very firm and stable grip. The edges are all smoothly finished, keeping you from giving yourself a grazing when making sudden, vigorous use of the knife.
One of the things I really liked about the design was the gradient between blade and handle, working down from a nicely wide grip, to a serious, no-nonsense 65mm long blade.
Sharpened by "Dirty Harry", the blade is a compound grind with deep fullers. The main edge of the blade is machine hollowground with flat grind tip. the A2 steel holds a good edge and will be one of my first attempts at old-fashioned stropping for a razor finish.
When gripped neatly in the hand, the butt fits just outside the heel of my palm, and I have had not a worry with my hand sliding forwards whilst cutting, slicing or stabbing with it.
ZU reports that the Mekanik is in use with several deployed Aussie soldiers (infantry and SF) via private purchase, so if you're deployed out somewhere unpleasant, keep an eye out for it on a steely-eyed digger with or without a beard. I'm really impressed with it and fancy it a keeper, either for plate-carrier or battle-belt wear. The broad flat scabbard makes it a bit too awkward for boot-wear, but don't let that stop you.