My family went to visit my kid’s Great-Great Aunt today, and stopped by Smoky Mountain Knife Works on the way. I went in looking for a Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife, because after writing about the style I figured that a $20 investment was a no brainer. I am intrigued by the style, and North-woods guides have relied on the little blade since the 50’s.
I also recognize that I seem to always be reviewing fixed blade knives which is kind of ironic because I didn’t have a ton of experience with fixed blades before I picked up my Mora Bushcraft. The last folder I reviewed was the Cold Steel Mackinac Hunter, and other than references to my EDC Spyderco Native and Benchmade Mini-Grip, I haven’t written much else on folders.
So looking at a sub-$100 folder was also on the agenda. At SMKW, the Kershaws are next to the Cold Steels, and well, I fell in love with the Blackwash D2 bimetal composite Leek at first sight. I have wanted a third knife for the EDC rotation, and without auditioning anything else I snapped it up.
This is a beautiful knife. There is a wavy line that marks the boundary of the Sandvik 14C28N spine and the D2 edge. There is the look of a Gentleman’s Folder to the knife, only the micro-scratching of the BlackWash finish makes it look well loved. It is as if the knife has seen a lifetime of adventures, and can yet be brought out in a more elegant setting.
The Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife is also quite nice, especially for the extremely modest price. I am not crazy about the handle material, it is really “plasticy”. But the blade is really sharp, the shape positively zips through newsprint. The handle is as ergonomic as it looks, and feels exceptionally comfortable, if slightly small. There is generous, yet comfortable jimping on the spine at the handle. And the Cordura sheath is about as nice of an example of a Cordura sheath as I have seen. A solid purchase and one I can’t wait to put to the test.
I also took the opportunity to introduce myself to a couple of members of SMKW Ownership/Management. I have held of to this point because I wanted to grow more confident in my position of Managing Editor rather than risk making a poor first impression.
I feel like there are tremendous opportunities in working with them, not the least of which is it is likely to get us some blades from their in-house brands for testing. I have previously reviewed two Combat Ready items, one of their neck knives, and a tactical pen. Both are solid, reasonably priced tools. I look forward to seeing where this relationship goes. I have shopped SMKW for years, from their catalog in the pre-internet days, online, and now that they are a 20 minute drive away, frequently in person. Amazon is no substitute for getting to handle the knives personally. If you have never been, you should visit sometime. It is quite a store.