I was recently walking to my local gym and low and behold I ended up finding this little gem on the ground.
At first, I thought it was a Spyderco. I was STOKED! Unfortunately, I picked up a ‘Maxam’ branded knife. So, what do I think of it? Meh… It doesn’t impress me.
Overall, the knife screams cheaply made Chinese mass-produced crap. Nothing against Chinese knives. As of the time that I am writing this article (Year 2020) the Chinese are making some quality blades. This Maxam knife, however, is not one of those high-quality pieces.
The black handle is made from cheap plastic, not the Zytel or G10 quality plastic that many knife-collectors are used to. The pocket clip… I actually like. Sure, it isn’t deep carry, but the “springiness” of the pocket clip is perfect. The knife-hole opener is more of a Byrd knife shape rather than your typical Spyderco circle.
Since I picked it up from off the ground, I wanted to test the sharpness of the blade. This bad boy has gone through quite some use. The smooth edge was so dull that it could barely cut paper even when I laid it flat-down on my table. The serrated edge is still in pretty decent condition.
The blade steel is trash. Very soft steel. It took me a few passes on my sharpening system to get this blade razor sharp, aaaannnndddd… it was dull again after cutting rope for less than 10 minutes.
In summary, if you see a Maxam knife at your local sporting goods store and it is over five bucks… save your money. This knife may be okay to shove into your fishing tackle box or in the glove compartment of your vehicle. But, as a knife snob, I would recommend you skip out on these Maxam knives. The quality is seriously lacking.
Knife batoning is when you use your knife in the same fashion that you would use an axe – to split wood. The difference between using an axe and using your knife is that, for the most part, your knife doesn’t have the weight and blade geometry of an axe.
In order to make your knife function more like an axe, a piece of wood or other heavy club is used to provide more force to the wood you are trying to split.
What Is The Best Knife For Batoning
There are many good choices. Our personal favorite is the Becker BK9. Ethan Becker is well known among knife fanatics and he designs some of the most robust blades on the market today.
The Becker BK9 is a knife that has stood the test of time. We here at I Luv Knives believe that the BK9 is not only the best knife for batoning, but also the best bang for your buck if you are looking for a blade that will last you a lifetime.
The main thing about a batoning knife is that it needs to have a heavy blade in order to chop through wood. The entire premise of batoning is to chop or hack through. You are mimicking the action of an axe.
This is a very common question many knife owners have asked. The “Paper Cut” test is commonplace in the knife community to get a good glimpse on how sharp your blade is. But does cutting paper actually dull your knife?
Short answer: For most instances – No. The average piece of paper with a razor sharp knife will be sliced like butter.
However, there are a lot of assumptions being made there. There are so many factors that go into the “Paper Cut” test that will determine the end result of your knife blade’s sharpness.
For instance – What type of paper are you cutting? What is the hardness of your blade? Angle of the blade edge? Geometry of the blade?
I could go on and on, so let’s set some “average knife” parameters and continue from there.
Let’s say our average pocket knife has a drop point blade as shown below
The angle of the blade is a common 20 ° and the hardness at HRC 58.
How well would the knife hold up versus the following paper products?
Printer Paper – Your knife will stay plenty sharp. You most likely could cut soft printer paper for an hour straight and see no discernible difference in sharpness.
Glossy Photo Paper – Alright, now you aren’t only cutting paper, but a glossy layer on top of it. Your knife will dull much faster with photo paper because not only is it thicker, harder, and made of different materials – but there is an adhesive layer between the paper and gloss as well.
3-Hole Punched Binder Paper – You might as well be slicing butter. You could cut binder paper all day and not see a difference in sharpness.
In conclusion, most readily-available types of paper won’t harm your blade’s sharpness so feel free to do the “Paper Cut” test regularly.
This combination is what makes CPM-S30V what is considered a, “Premium Steel.” Most knives that use S30V tend to be a bit pricier due to their higher quality and the fact that S30V is much harder to work with due to its tough properties.
Examples of some, “Premium Knives” that use S30V are shown below
Biggest Benefits of CPM-S30V Steel
Probably the biggest benefit of having a knife made from s30v is the all around utility. The steel, in our opinion, gives the best of all worlds. It is resistant to rust, the steel is super tough and takes forever to dull, and it is flexible enough not to shatter easily. The original creator of CPM-S30V is Crucible.
How is CPM S30V So Tough?
The chemical makeup of CPM S30V is a martenistic stainless steelm Meaning that it has a chemistry that has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides, which are more effective and much harder than chromium carbides in giving the steel wear resistance.
If you have never gotten your hands on the Buck 124, then you definitely need to. There are many things that I ABSOLUTELY love about the blade. It comes out of the box with a RAZOR sharp 6-1/4″ blade made from 420HC steel. The build is absolutely solid. I’ve used mine quite extensively for over two years now and it is still rock solid, no rattling, minimal sharpening needed, and perfectly capable of batoning. For these reasons alone, I think that the Buck 124 is the best full tang bowie knife.
The Grip of the Buck 124
The grip is solid and secure. It is a black micarta handle with curves and palm swells that allow for the perfect grip. It fits in my hands perfectly and I wear large size gloves. There is a bit of extra room, so if you wear XL gloves you shouldn’t have a problem. The aluminum pommel is a nice touch as well. It does add a bit of extra weight, which is the only caveat. However, I will take a bit of extra weight for a good looking knife.
The Leather Case
The case is quite convenient. The Buck 124 bowie knife is designed for best carry, and if that is what you plan on doing with it, then it will serve you well. The case is made from genuine, high quality leather.
Made in the USA
The knife is made in the USA. So, if you are a fan of USA made stuff, then this is the knife for you. I am bias to Japanese knives personally, especially tanto knives, but lately the Americans have been making some extremely high quality knives. Buck has been making their knives in the USA since 1902. There are plenty of good reasons why Buck is still in business, and the Buck 124 is one of them.
I don’t think that I have ever had a production knife come straight out of the box as sharp as my Hinderer XM-18 did. It was so sharp that I was making micro-slices in printer paper. I also love the lock bar stabilizer that came with the knife. Most stabilizers I normally have to push too far just to unlock the knife, but the stabilizer on the XM-18 is PERFECT. If you want to skip this review and go straight to where you can buy the knife, click on the picture below. However, if you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of this knife, I will break down both the good and the bad.
The Good – Hinderer XM-18 3 Inch
Hinderer is famous for overbuilding their knives. The XM-18 is no exception to this. This knife is completely overbuilt. Now, some may think that this is a bad thing. I think that the fact Hinderer makes their knives to take a beating is one of the greatest things about their knives.
The construction of this knife is solid. In fact, I have dropped mine several times on my solid concrete floors in my house and it hasn’t even managed to make a scratch on the Hinderer XM-18 spanto. I would assume that the Hinderer XM-18 wharncliffe would behave in the same manner, but I only own the spanto version of the knife.
The Bad – XM-18 3 Inch Knife By Hinderer
Unfortunately, the blade is so heavy that when I open it the recoil is quite large. Now, I get that this may be a good thing for some, but I don’t like how authoritative the opening is. I wish that it wasn’t so forceful, but I guess you can’t get everything when you get a knife that is so overbuilt. I also wish that they used a polish finish on the blade, but I do like the finish regardless.
Bottomline – Get It
This is a great knife for bad conditions. If I were to only have one knife for the rest of my life, I would definitely pick a knife close to the Hinderer XM-18 spanto. This knife isn’t going to break easily, and if I needed a folding knife for survival-like situations, then this would be a great option.