Big blades are completely different animals from even the most badass EDC folders. Knives like this $115 Buck ‘Thug’ (hate the name…) will chop brush, split firewood, fell small trees and skewer a wild boar; in a word, they’re just plain manly. But they are several other things as well, things that aren’t quite so cool. What is driving the market for these big knives, and when will that market be saturated?
Big quality blades are (duh) more costly than small quality blades, and only the most devoted knife guy will spend more on a knife than the cost of a Ruger 10/.22 rifle and ammo. Many of us have a whole drawer full of pocketknives for no other reason than that we dig them, but the expense of a big ‘big’ knife collection can discourage all but the most ardent.
Many quality big blades are extremely costly, although there are makers like Becker that seem to deliver a lot of bang (or slice) for the buck.
Most parts of the country aren’t terribly friendly to large-blade carry, either by statute or by informal street law. Strapping on a 10-inch survival knife like this $350 GSO-10 in a populated area might not always get you arrested, but unless you’re in a Cabela’s store you’ll probably find yourself the subject of unwanted police attention.
Even where they’re allowed and accepted for daily wear, big knives aren’t very good at a lot of the things we frequently use knives for. Even when it’s pretty sharp, a 12″ Bowie stinks for food prep and letter opening. And mistakes with big knives cause much bigger problems than mistakes with Victorinox Classics, as more than one friend has learned to their dismay.
But big knives are big business right now. One of their benefits is that the optimum steels for larger blades don’t tend to be as exotic or expensive as the space-age supersteels we covet in our tactical and EDC knives. There’s not much need for a `12-inch Kukri made from CPM S35V, when ordinary tool steel (properly hardened) will work better. Of course, that Kukri is going to need a honkin’ huge slab of tool steel, compared to the sliver that becomes an Al Mar or Boker blade.
If you’re into big steel, do you use it or are you a collector? How many big knives do you have and what’s your favorite?