At BLADE Show 2015, Ontario Knife Company had a few new prototypes on hand, dubbed the Robeson Heirloom Series. As some of our readers have noted on our Instagram page, these models have branched out from the tactical/survival market that OKC has typically occupied. The Bushcraft line, which was introduced earlier, is also representative of this trend. More on the Bushcraft line later, but first, more on the prototypes.
The Robeson Heirloom prototypes are both medium-sized, full-tang blades and will be available with either a clip point or a trailing point with a flat grind. The removable handle scales are made of stabilized maple. The steel has not been finalized yet, but the Ontario rep on hand told us that they will most likely be 154CM when they are finally launched and that seems like a good choice. They have had good results with that steel on the Blackbird SK5.
OKC also had some of their Bushcraft line on hand, but by the time I got to the booth, the only one that hadn’t been sold off was the Woodsman, a beast of a blade that should give the Becker BK9 a run for its money as a chopper and splitter.
The entire Bushcraft line is designed by Dan Maragni, OKC’s knifemaker in residence. The handle scales are also removable and are American walnut. The flat ground blade is over 9″ long and is a beastly 1/4″ thick. Steel is 5160 spring steel. According to the reps, the steel will not hold an edge quite as well as 1095, but the toughness is superior, a boon when chopping and batoning. The somewhat low Rockwell hardness (53-55 HRC) is also optimized for these types of tasks. The blade also features a crisp 90-degree spine.
Ontario bills the knife as a complete survival system. It comes with a firestarter and striker, 20+ feet of paracord, and a DeSantis nylon sheath.
They had a limited edition edition RAT-3 on hand as well. The steel is uncoated D2 and the scales are stabilized walnut. The removal of the finger guard/addition of thumb scallops really has transformed the knife into something very different from the standard 3er. Overall length is slightly shorter at 7 1/2″ and the blade length is listed as 3.15″ on Ontario’s website. I don’t know if this is the sharpened edge or if it is a tip-to-scale measurement.
I for one am very happy to see Ontario branching out into the bushcraft and hunting arenas. If OKC keeps up in this direction, I look forward to seeing what they will continue to come up with.