Category Archives: Blades and Edged Weapons Including Khukuris

Blades and Edged Weapons Including Khukuris

Buck is keeping it quiet but they have tanto ground combat knives (GCKs) for sale exclusively on their website right now!!

Folks, around 2020 Buck Knives introduced a very handsome line of fixed blade knives they called the Ground Combat Knife (GCKs) with spear and tanto profiles as well as in black and flat dark earth (FDE) Cerakote colors. The canvas micarta handles were in black and a tri-color for the FDE blades. Despite being extremely nice, Buck discontinued them sometime in 2021. Since then, you could only find them on eBay … until now.

5/13/23 Update – Sorry folks but there is no trace of this knife on the Buck website now. A few guys told me they were able to score one but now they are gone.

So I was surfing and accidentally pulled up a GCK tanto page at Buck Knives and it showed inventory – curious huh? The knife blade is black Cerakote with an OD canvas micarta handle. I don’t think they offered this configuration before. Now, the price was (and is right now) only $114.99. I ordered a couple and they showed up a few days later. I honestly thought it might be a website bug because I had not heard about these – they are absolutely real.

Whoa…. I paid $199-250 for the four blades I had from the original run and these things are incredibly nice. I do not see these new 893BO-B blades on any other boards (Amazon, KnifeCenter, BladeHQ, etc.) – they are just on the Buck website. I searched Buck 893BO-B and am not finding them anywhere else.

Now here’s my advice. Go buy one. Do it. Do it now. Whether you are a collector or a user, go buy this. I am betting this is a limited run and you will not see it again. Click here to go there now … do it now! I paid a ton for my GCKs from the first run. You can get this new model for a steal.

  • Overall length: 10-3/24″
  • Blade length: 5-1/2″
  • Blade thickneess: 0.200″
  • Blade alloy: 5130 High Cabon
  • Paul Bos Heat Treat
  • Weight 9.9oz
  • Handle: OD Green Micarta
  • Sheath with MOLLE straps
  • The knife is made in the USA but the sheath is imported
  • Buck’s Forever Warranty

Photos of One of My New 893BO-B Knives

Notice the 4/6/2023 production date. These are brand new.

Summary – Buy This Knife Now!

Listen, you will rarely hear me say this – buy this knife now! If you like Buck tactical knives or you know how good they are (and they are very good) – buy this right now. For that matter, buy two – one to use and one to collect. These are superb and I thought we would never see them for a reasonable price again. I doubt Buck will have them indefinitely and you don’t want to miss this chance.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Understanding how an automatic folding knife works – Kershaw Launch 1 Disassembly and Re-Assembly

In the last post, I showed you a bunch of photos of the Kershaw Launch models 1 and 13. In this post, I am going to take the Launch 1 apart so you can see what it looks like inside. So, let’s get into it.

Tools Required

You will need #6 and #8 Torx bits. Something to pry the blade up and tweezers might help. For me, I have a large Strebito tool kit with a ton of precision bits, handles, tweezers and pry bars designed for electronics that has worked amazingly well for me when working on stuff with small fasteners.

Disassembling the Launch 1

Safety brief: Just remember, you are working with a very sharp spring loaded knife blade. It wants to open. Handle it accordingly and play it safe.
All of these screws use a #6 Torx bit. I removed the clip first and then the three screws holding the handle halves together. Note how the axle bolt is held in place by a hex head on the left. You don’t need to do anything from the side with that bolt – I’m just pointing out it is nice and secure. If you look at the screws at the bottom – especially the one to the right, it looks like some medium strength thread locker was on them.
I missed it on first glance – this is the other half of the axle bolt – kind of like a Chicago-screw or post-screw. I saw the decorative half circles and wondered how they removed it and then I noticed the hole in the center and looked more closely with a flashlight – hidden down in there is a #8 Torx screw.
There must be some thread locker on this as it took some torque to break it free. I didn’t need to use a wrench or heat – I just had to turn more firmly and it came loose.
Looking at the white/grey stuff in the threads – there probably was just a bit of threadlocker to keep it from coming lose but I am not certain. I would tend to think there is because you can’t crank that screw down or the pressure will keep the blade from opening.
At this point, all fasteners have been removed. Notice how I have it turned over so the push button is up – you will want to do the same.
So the scale lifts straight up and off. It is a snug fit on the axle bolt so it may take some wiggling to get it off. Now I need to point something out – look how clean the machining is and the finish is consistent. So many tools and knives look like crap inside due to an “out of sight out of mind” mindset that it is refreshing to see how well this is done. Kudos to the folks in the Oregon Kershaw plant!
The top pin to the left of the push button is hand press fit in place. Pull it out first and the blade will want to rotate clockwise and then the big hole will present itself to the push button and the push button will lift out.
Yes, in the photo above I said remove the pin and then the push button. In my case I was taking pictures and wiggling the blade round – the push button came out on its own. At this point the spring tension is being taken up by the pin. It’s not a crazy amount of spring tension the blade open but it is trying to go a bit further so be careful. This photo also lets us see the removed push button assembly. Normally, the fat bottom portion is engaging one of the cut outs in the bade. Either the one at the top that is keep it closed or the one at the bottom that locks it open. When you push the button the fat piece slides out the way and the blade is released to either open or close. Note, the spring is not sitting properly in the base of the push button in this photo.
I would not have needed the little blue pry bar if I knew the stop pin simply pulls out. If I had slightly closed the blade to take the pressure off the pin, I could have easily lifted the pin out, then controlled the few more degrees of rotation the spring had left in it and the blade would have lifted right off.
The torsion spring is what provides the power to flip the blade into position. The act of the user closing the blade rotates the spring’s coils and store the energy waiting for the button to be pushed spring back into the relaxed position. One leg of the torsion spring sits in the channel of the handle and the other sits in the blade. In this photo I have laid the blade 180 degrees opposite of how it normally sits in the handle so you can see how the torsion spring sits in the two parts. It’s elegant. Notice the ample grease – I think it might be silicone grease. Anything that causes the blade to bind will slow or even stop deployment.
Here are the parts and you can see the nicely done flat torsion spring. Again, I should have removed the stop pin, then the push button and the blade would have lifted right off the axle bolt. This is it other than removing the stop pin which plays into re-assembly.

Re-Assembling the Launch 1

Putting it back together is pretty straight forward. In hindsight I would tell you if something seems complicated, you missed something. That was exactly my thoughts as I was trying to the the torsion spring oriented with one leg in the handle and the other in the blade.

I spent about 5-10 minutes trying to get spring in and had my “duh” moment. Given how the spring sits, no tool so going to fit in there. I thought to myself “I wonder if that that stop pin can pull out?” And it did.
Wow!! Removing that stop pin made it sooooo simple. Rotate the blade such that the torsion spring legs are seated and you will feel the spring working. Then put in the push button and its spring followed by the stop pin.
I wish they designed the spring to snap into the button but they didn’t. An old trick that I used here was to fill the cup of the push button with silicone grease. The grease in turn holds the spring while you install the assembly.
Rotate the blade just enough so you can install the push button in that first large semi-circular opening. You can then push the button down and rotate the blade into the next notch which is the normal lock open moment. In this photo the blade is at a funny angle because the stop pin has not been installed yet.
Notice the blade is pushed all the way down on the axle bolt. To install the stop pin, push the button, carefully close the bade and release the push button. It should engage and hold the blade in the closed position. This presents the hole for the stop pin wonderfully as you can see in the photo and you aren’t fighting the spring. Literally, the pin goes right in.
I put a light coat on silicone grease on this side of the blade as I had wiped most of it off fumbling around. I did clear the silicone out of the bolt if you are wondering. You can also see the stop pin is in its hole.
The handle half is reinstalled. I carefully held it in place and tested to make sure the blade still pivoted and the push button worked.
When you reinstall the end of the axle bolt, you will need to see how much to snug down the screw. I found that if I made it too tight that the blade would not fully deploy. After experimenting, you may want to put just a bit of medium thread locker on the screw to keep it from working loose.
Re-installed these too and with that am done.


Kershaw did an excellent job on this knife. I thought about doing the same with the Launch 13 and it looks to be the same mechanism so I didn’t bother.

If you are looking for an automatic knife, I am very impressed by the Launch 1 and 13. I suspect the whole line has similar workmanship. I’ll post links further below.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Reviewing the Kershaw Launch 1 and 13 Automatic Knives

Growing up as a kid in the 70s and 80s you’d see some guy in a move whipe out a switchblade and you’d know a world of hurt was coming. For years, I wanted one but couldn’t own one. Now that I own two, I’m trying to figure out how they factor into my collection to be quite honest.

I’m not handicapped so I can’t speak to how they would use one but other than the “coolness” factor, I don’t see the point compared to the tons of flippers / assisted opening knives that I already own. To be clear, I am not bashing them but I won’t be buying any more either – my curiosity is satisfied. Please note – I am impressed by the design and the manufacturing but have decided they just aren’t my cup of tea.

With that said you are going to get my honest opinion.

Some Background

I like Kershaw knives in general so an ad for their Launch series of automatic openers caught my eye. I’ve always wanted to try a “switchblade”, or more appropriately termed an “automatic”, so I shelled out $114 for a Kershaw Launch 1 and $125 for a Kershaw Launch 13. I figured that would let me try a couple of different designs and they have a number of Launch models for you to choose from.

One thing that appealed to me with both of them is that they are made in the USA. Kershaw has a production facility in Tualatin, Oregon, that makes these models as well as a number of their higher end Kershaw and Zero Tolerance blades. Part of the premium pricing reflects being built in Oregon vs. China.

Note: You need to know the laws and regulations governing automatic knives in your area before you buy one. The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) maintains a page that can help at a state level but you still need to confirm about your county and city just to play it safe.

The Launch 1

This is a good size knife. The slightly “humped” design enables it to fill your hand and be held very nicely. Let’s talk specifications:

  • Blade length: 3.4″
  • Blade profile: Drop-point
  • Blade steel: CPM 154 – it is a tough stainless alloy that also holds an edge fairly well while being moderately easy to sharpen
  • Blade finish: Black Wash
  • Blade thickness 0.121″
  • Closed length: 4.6″
  • Handle material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Handle finish: Black anodized
  • Handle thickness: 0.47″
  • Overall length when open: 8″
  • Weight: 4oz

Pros: Weight and size are good, blade flips open with a snap when you push the button, very nicely made.

Cons: I honestly wish there was a safety. This thing opening in a pants pocket is going to really suck fast. Kershaw says it is “low-profile” to make it harder to trigger but even so – you push that button and it will open fast.

Launch 1 closed. Like the US flag. Lines are nice, clean and flowing. All of the screws on this side are T6 Torx. The handle is 4.6″ long, 0.47″ thick, 6061-T6 black anodized aluminum.
At the left are the two screws if you want to move the ciip to this side. The axle pin the blade rotates on is held in place by a T8 Torx. You can see the recessed push button that does dual duty both to allow the blade to flick open and also to unlock the blade once it is locked open.
Good view of 3.4″ CP154 blade with a blackwash finish. The blade is 0.121″ thick so just under and 1/8th inch that would be 0.125″.
Here’s a view of the other side. Note how the axle bolt uses the handle scale to elegantly hold the hex head in place so you can tighten the axle pin from the other side.
From top to bottom: 1. Kershaw Launch 1. 2. Kershaw Knockout with a Damascus steel blade.. 3. Kershaw Blur and 4. ZT 0357. These are all excellent blades. My favorite is the ZT0357 and the Knockout. All are made in Kershaw’s Oregon plant with excellent machining, fitment and finish.

The Launch 13

I like unique looking designs and the Launch 13 immediately caught my eye due to the futuristic look and wicked Wharncliffe style blade. It looks odd but it actually fits my hand very surprisingly – better than I thought it would actually. Let’s look at the specifications:

  • Blade length: 3.5″
  • Blade profile: Wharncliffe
  • Blade steel: CPM 154 – same as the Launch 1
  • Blade finish: Black Cerkote
  • Blade thickness 0.121″
  • Closed length: 4.5″
  • Handle material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Handle finish: Black anodized
  • Handle thickness: 0.471″
  • Overall length when open: 8″
  • Weight: 2.4oz

So, it is just a tad shorter but quite a bit lighter than the Launch 1. With all of the angles and skeletonized scales, I didn’t think it would be as comfortable as it is.

Pros: Light, A Wharncliffe style blade

Cons: Even though the push button is recessed, I am fearful of it opening in my pocket.

The scales are nicely done and are machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with a black anodized finish. The small screws are all T6 Torx and the nut on the axle bolt is a T8.
You can see the push button that both allows the blade to spring open and to unlock the blade once it is open. Interestingly, the axle bolt’s head is triangular instead of a hex head like the Launch 1 uses.
The Wharncliffe-profiled blade is very sharp. Yes the grind is simple but it’s a Wharncliffe 🙂
Here’s a view of the Launch 13 open from the other side.
The Launch 13 at the top and the larger Launch 1 at the bottom.
Notice the different handle angles when you get the blades in about the same plane.
From the top: Kershaw Launch 13, Launch 1, ZT 0357 and Kershaw Knockout with a Damascus blade (they also make one that is not Damascus wo that’s why I am pointing it out)
And the other side from the top: Launch 13, Launch 1, ZT 0357, Knockout with a Damascus blade.


The Launch blades are very well made. Of the two, I am partial to the Launch 13 because it is lighter and has a Wharncliffe profile blade – again, I like Wharncliffes. I can cross having an automatic knife off the bucket list but plan to stick with assisted opening flippers like the ZT 0357.

Would I recommend either Launch knife to someone wanting and automatic – yes, I would. The build quality is definitely there. How can I prove it? In the next post I will take the Launch 1 apart and let you see it.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

The Knife I Carried The Most In 2022 Was A ZT 0357BW

I have a collection of good pocket knives including some I will not lose sleep over if I lose one. On the good scale that I would hate to lose are a few Zero Tolerance, Hinderer and US made Kershaws (they and ZT are both owned by KAI). At any rate, when I look back on this past year and think about what folding knife did I carry the most and the answer would be the ZT 0357BW.

You will find these in my pocket a lot – my ZT 0357BW and one of my Streamlight USB rechargeable 66608 Microstream LED flashlights.

The ZT0357 was a 2020 model year release from Zero Tolerance and became popular right away due to its ergonomics and the CPM20CV steel. In regards to that alloy, it was designed by Crucible Industries to have excellet edge retention, corrosion resistance and toughness. By the way, those first two terms are self explanatory but toughness refers to a steel’s ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking/rupturing. My experience is that the 0357 holds an edge amazingly well based on my cutting open tubs of plastic, tape, boxes, and wire insulation.

Here’s the other size of my my 0357BW. You can move the clip to either side if you want. Personally, I don’t use the pocket clips but a lot of guys do.


This is a very pocket friendly knife in terms of size, weight and shape plus the blade is amazing. Here are the details for you:

  • Overall Length Open: 7.625″
  • Overall Length Closed: 4.4″
  • Weight: 4.3oz
  • Blade Length: 3.25″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.121″
  • Blade Style: Drop Point, no serrations
  • Blade Alloy: CPM20CV
  • Blade Hardness: 60-62
    • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Finish: Black Wash (they also make a plain version)
  • Handle Material: G10
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Handle Thickness: 0.47″
  • Action Type: “SpeedSafe” Assisted opening / flipper
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Country of Origin: Made in the USA – Tualatin, OR
    The knife shapes your hand and has a very handy thumbrest on top to give you more leverage if you need it.

    What you wind up with is a very eronomic knife with an amazing edge. Now I don’t try and use a knife for something it’s not like being a substitute for a big crowbar but I did use it real world and found it to be great – that’s why it kept winding up in my pocket.

    It’s both thin and light without sacrificing strength when it comes to using the knife as a knife and not a crowbar – it’s not mean to be a crowbar!
    Here’s a view from the top and you can see the thumbrest with serrations called “jimping” designed to keep your thumb from slipping.
    I really like the SpeedSafe flipper mechanism that Kershaw and ZT use. It allows you to open the knife with one hand very easily but I have never had one open accidentally in my pocket. Years ago, I had a Gerber and that thing sprung open a few times in my pocket and I have no idea where it is now – the trash maybe.
    I don’t know what the Blackwash process is but I can tell you it holds up remarkably well.

    Now, I do have one not-so-happy moment to share. We were headed down to the Smokies this past fall and somewhere between Michigan and Tenessee the knife fell out of my pocket. It could have been when I used to to cut open a package of CR2023 batteries for my van’s tire pressure sensors or even some time when I was getting gas … I don’t know but I hope it found a new owner who realizes that he found an excellent knife.

    So, what did I do? I actually bought another I liked it so much and it is still what lands in my pocket the most in terms of seeing actual real world use.


    The ZT 0357 series are great knives. My blackwash knifes – the first one I lost and the new one are great. I can carry it without feeling like I have an anchor in my pocket and the blade length is great. If you are looking for a new folder, I’d highly recommend it – Like I said, I went so far as to buy a second when I lost the first – that’s how much I like mine.

    I hope this helps you out!

    Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

    How to Find Big Cleavers to Restore on eBay – August 2020 Edition

    Some years back I wrote a post on how to find cleavers and figured it was time to update it with better search routines for eBay plus to add a few tips not in the original.

    One of my favorite things to do is to restore an old cleaver. I’ve done a ton of them over the years and posted many photos along the way. In response to the photos or sales listings in my online store, guys will ask how to find a good deal on one to restore themselves.  

    The best deal you’ll get is at garage, barn and estate sales – no two ways about that.  Antique dealers usually jack their prices into orbit and I’ve not seen a good deal at an antique dealer in a long, long time.

    My challenge is that I don’t have time to go hunting for stuff so I do a lot of automated searches on eBay.   What I am going to do in this post is try and give you some tips plus also live searches of eBay using key words that frequently turn up cleavers to keep an eye on.

    This is a New Haven Edge and Tool Co Cleaver

    That leads us to tip #1 on eBay – set up searches that email you when they find stuff.  What you do is enter your search term on eBay and then click “follow this search”.  EBay will then give you options for alerts and so forth. You can experiment and figure out what works for you. For me, for example, just searching on “cleavers” is useless because of all the junk that comes back so I keep refining my searches based on key words both to include and to exclude.

     This is a 16.5″ Foster Bros #8 – Fosters is another favorite brand

    Learn some of the phrases folks use to describe / market these big cleavers.  No doubt, I like big cleavers so I use search phrases like “giant antique cleaver”, “giant hog splitter” and what not.  In general, the hog and cow splitters are big.  These huge cleavers were used in the days before extensive automation to chop up big farm animals such as cows, hogs, lambs and so forth giving them their name.

    When searching, look in descriptions and not just the titles if given the option. You may need to use the advanced search option and add key words to exclude when things you don’t care about are included in your searches.

     This is a 16.5″ Lamson

    There are also certain brands that I really like such as Fosters, WM Beatty, Lamson and New Haven Edge Tool Co.  There were a lot of makers including folks on farms and village blacksmiths forging their own cleavers so it really takes some digging.  I found searches on Google to turn up interesting information about the history of the makers and so forth when I could find some kind of logo or marking.

     This is a 20″ WM Beatty and Sons

    Another tip I would give you is to look out for old cleavers that are shiny.  Somebody probably sanded or ground the rust off.  I have bought a couple that were utter train wrecks from guys trying to make something look good for sale.  Just be careful.  Nothing that was used is going to be bright silver steel any longer.

    Do not worry about rust, dirt and dings – you are going to be working on it anyways.  How far you want to go with the wood is up to you.  The most fascinating cleaver I ever worked on had a trashed handled that I built up with epoxy.  It was stunning wood under decades of grime.

    Be careful on the measurements – look for the blade size and overall lengths plus the weight.  I like to look for cleavers that are at least 18″ overall.  Call be weird but the smaller ones are okay but just not as interesting to me.  I do have an exception though – some of the small Fosters are just wicked.  They were forged, have a thick blade and quite a heft.

    Watch out for photos.  Sellers try all kinds of stuff to make them look big, in great shape, etc.  You are especially focused on whether the blade is intact, meaning no big nicks or any cracks, and the dimensions.  The photos are nice eye candy but don’t base your whole purchase on them.  I certainly use them to try and judge the condition of the blade.  If a seller doesn’t have an angle you want to see, ask them to send you what you need.  Many sellers will oblige these requests.

    Giant 24.5″ cleaver with a 1/2″ thick blade from an unknown maker – my all time favorite

    Now be patient and don’t rush.  Watch the prices these things are selling at and don’t start bidding until the last minute.  Also keep an eye on the seller’s ratings.  New ones with fewer than 20 sales make me nervous.  Read what folks have to say about the seller.

    Keep an eye on shipping charges.  Some guys will do stuff like list something dirt cheap and then charge a fortune for shipping.  Don’t just assume shipping & handling charges will be reasonable if it isn’t listed.

    Be patient!  You can get some very decent cleavers for under $100 but what you consider a fair price is entirely up to you.

    Here are some realy time eBay Searches to help you get started using keywords I use in my own searches and you can buy these right now!! Note that some sections may be empty if there are no current matches,

    Giant Antique Cleaver

    There will be times you want to qualify a search phrase and “antique cleaver” is one of them. If you search on that you will get matches for things people call cleavers that are just a few inches long. When sellers have a big cleaver they tend to use words like HUGE or GIANT in their description. Of course, most will not be very big but it is something to look for. Let’s try “giant antique cleaver” first:

    Next is “huge antique cleaver”

    Hog Splitter

    This one is searching on “Hog Splitter” and excuding the words “stereo plug mono” because some stereo cords get matched and would be included otherwide.

    Cow Splitter

    True clow splitters are rare so when you search on eBay you will often get quite a few near matches from their search engine and wind up with a long list of things to exclude such as “witchblade stereo cord wind extender cable engine cent paring comic glove knob”.

    Beatty Cleaver

    Beatty cleavers come in a variety of sizes from small to big splitters so be sure to carefully read the description. Sometimes the photos make them look bigger than they really are.

    Foster Cleaver

    Fosters are also very good cleavers. They made a bunch of different models to read the description carefully.

    Antique Cleaver

    Just to show you what antique cleaver sucks in, here you go:

    Vintage Cleaver

    Large Vintage Cleaver

    I hope these tips and sample search terms help.  My biggest tips are to carefully read the descriptions, consider the seller’s ratings carefully and watch out for shipping. Also, don’t rush and get caught up in auction fever – only buy what makes sense to you.

    Happy hunting!!

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

    The Kershaw Knockout Folder With A Damascus Blade – Wow!!

    Last year, I bought one of the Kershaw Knockouts and really liked it. The fact it was one of their models that is made in the USA, the heft, the blade contour and how well it held an edge rapidly made it my EDC. Seriously, it’s a lot of knife without a lot of weight and I did a blog post about it – click here. I was reading on the web and came across a version of the Knockout with a damascus blade – I had to order it 🙂

    Basically, the 1870OLDAM is just like the 1870OLBLK but with a damascus blade. The name, “knockout” has to do with the riveted blade lock they insert in the handle. This makes for a knife that is slim, very easy to open but locks solidly open.

    Here are the stats:

    • Length when open: 8.875″
    • Length when closed: 4.625″
    • Blade: Damascus
    • Blade length: 3.25″
    • Blade thickness: 0.12″
    • Handle: Aluminum colored olive drab
    • Liner: Stainless steel
    • Handle thickness: 0.40
    • Weight 3.88 oz

    I bought the 1870OLBLK – the one with a monolithic blade – in December 2018 and have used it a ton. I bought the 1870OLDAM in March 2020, and so far it is holding up well. I’ve used it but not to the extent I have the older one.

    Click on one of the thumbnails below to see the full size photos:


    If you want a really useful knife that is made in the USA, get a Kershaw Knockout. If you really like damascus blades, get that one … or maybe both 🙂

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

    Acid Etching With Ferric Chloride and Apple Cider Vinegar – Wicked Results on High Carbon Steel

    I recently did two posts about building a new heated tank out of PVC pipe and a digitally controlled heating element that is both effective and affordable. This also marked my first batch of blades where I moved from my traditional hot apple cider etching to using a mix of 70% ferric chloride and 30% apple cider vinegar heated to 90-94F.

    The Chemicals

    Let me give you a quick overview of the two chemicals I used to make my blade etching solution:

    The primary ingredient is liquid ferric chloride from MG Chemicals. It’s available in quarts and gallons and is about 38-42% ferric chloride by volume. The MG Chemicals product is well regarded and that played a big factor in my selecting it. I purchased mine from Amazon and it arrived quickly and well packed.

    The second chemical is regular apple cider vinegar from the grocery store. They tend to be normalized around 5% acetic acid by volume. The brand I used was at 5% and there were other brands at 4% that I passed over – go for 5% because you need the acetic acid. I literally bought this at my local grocery store – nothing special.

    The solution I made was 70% of the ferric chloride and 30% apple cider vinegar. I wore lab goggles, nitrile gloves, old clothes and am in a well ventilated area when I slowly add the ferric chloride to the relatively weaker apple cider vinegar.

    The ratio was based on looking at the end results from other blade smiths and talking about what they learned. In my case, I can tell you that this combination makes for a very nice dark etch.

    The Process

    1. Heat the etching solution up to 90-94F before I put in the first blade. MG Chemicals recommends the operating range from 94F to 131F and not to exeed 131F. [Click here for their technical data sheet and MSDS]
    2. The blades need to be at least 70F prior to dunking in the solution. The warmer the solution and blade, the better chemical reaction you are going to have.
    3. Clean the blade with brake cleaner throughly
    4. Abrasive blast the blade – I am using Black Beauty these days. It is a coarse coal slag based product. Note, not all guys blast their blades – some just clean them very carefully.
    5. From this point on, wear nitrile gloves when handling the blades to avoid any oils and contaminants from your skin
    6. I again use brake cleaner to do a final cleaning and make sure it fully evaporates. Some guys rub down with acetone – do what works for you but it must not leave a residue
    7. Fully submerged the blade in the heated etching solution for 10 minutes
    8. Remove the blade and wipe off the remaining solution with a paper towel [as a reminder, you must be wearing gloves to not contaminate the blade]
    9. Used clean/bare 0000 steel wool to buff the surface of the blade and remove any loose particles. Note, this 0000 steel wool is bare wool – no cleaners or anything. You find these in woodworking / hardware sections of stores – not in the kitchen area.
    10. Submerge the blade for another 5 minutes and again wiped and rubbed the blade down with steel wool. I think I repeated this process three times per blade but experiment and see what works for you.
    11. Soak the blade in warm water with baking soda to neutralize the acid
    12. Spray the blade down with WD-40 to displace the water
    13. Apply finish – I like to use a 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine to apply severa thin coats. This gives my blades the worn post-apocalypse look. Many guys just coat the acid etched surface with oil to inhibit rust.
    Here’s a small 5″ khukuri where all steel surfaces have been blasted.
    Here’s the finished khukuri just before I mailed it to its new owner.
    Here’s a look at the solution in the tank.
    Here is one of the etched damascus blades. The beads on the blade are oil.
    Here’s an even closer look at the finished blade.


    I’m definitely very happy with the results and will be using this solution going forward.

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

    How to Make An Affordable and Effective Heated Tank For Acid Etching – Part 1

    I like to acid etch blades that I build using apple cider and/or ferric chloride. I also manganese park firearms and tools. Assuming the part is prepped properly, there are two common needs in all of the above – the part must be submerged and the solution heated. So you have two options, buy a stainless tank and heat source or build one using PVC pipe. These next couple of posts are going to dive into how you can build an affordable and very effective heated tank to finish you parts plus have some fun doing it.

    PVC or CPVC?

    We can use rigid PVC pipe as the container to hold the etching solution. It’s cheap, easy to find and easy to work with. I need to explain a few things first about what we can and can’t do with it.

    In plumbing, rigid PVC pipe has an operating temperature of 140F degrees. The reason for this is that PVC is a thermoplastic and begins to soften with heat and will burst due to the pressurized water. We don’t have much pressure to worry about other than atmospheric pressure but you don’t want to push plain PVC towards 200F – it really isn’t designed for it.

    If you want to do parkerizing at 190F, then you need to use CPVC pipe. CPVC rigid pipe has extra chlorination that allows it to withstand 200F while delivering water under normal household pressures. Fun trivia, CPVC was invented by Genova Products in Michigan.

    If you are trying to figure out what you are looking at, if the pipe is white, it is probably PVC. If it is cream colored, it is probably CPVC. It ought to be labeled/printed on the side of the pipe also but be on guard for people putting stuff in the wrong bins at a store or clerks not knowing what is what.

    In this post, I am working with regular PVC purchased from my local Ace Hardware because the tank is for acid etching knives and will the liquid will be 90-110F on average. If I ever build one for parkerizing, it would be in CPVC. The reason it’s an “if” is that I already have a big stainless steel parkerizing tank but it’s a headache to drag out and set up whenI need it.

    The Parts List

    Basically, we are going to build a tube with a cemented permanent cap on the bottom and a threaded cap at the top. You can go with any size you want. For most blades I work with, 3″ is plenty and I wanted it to be portable.

    Let me give you a piece of advice – it’s aways better to be a little bigger than you think you need than to find that out later. When in doubt, make it wider and taller — within reason of course. Note, I knew a 3″ diameter and about 16″ tall would meet most of my needs but not all and I was fine with that. I’ll pull out my four foot stainless tank when I need to do something huge like a cleaver.

    In terms of parts, you need the following:

    • A length of pipe of the diameter that is needed
    • A coupling for that size
    • A threaded adapter for that size – you cement it onto the end of the pipe and it gives you a national pipe thread on the other end
    • A threaded plug that fits into the adapter
    • An end cap of one type or another. If you use 3″ or 4″ pipe, you can use a toilet flange adapter to actually both plug the end and allow you to connect it to the wood if you aren’t making it very tall. I would be worried about torque on a tank with an overall length of 24″ or more. In those cases I would cement on a normal end cap and build up a crade around the pipe to support it.
    • You may want a drain for a big tank – I didn’t need one for this little unit because I can easily lift it even when it is full of the acid etching solution.
    • PVC cleaner and cement (note, PVC and CPVC use different cement)
    • Wood to form a base to keep the pipe from tipping over so it needs to be both wide and heavy enough. Really it’s up to you as to how you secure it to be vertical. I like a mobile base but you could tie it to something, etc.
    • A heating source and controller – we’ll get into more detail in the next post.

    Weight Considerations and a Drain

    Bear in mind that this tank can get pretty heavy if you plan on using really big piple (6″ or bigger). Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. You will find that other liquids can weigh more. Apple cider vinegar may be around 8.6 pounds and ferric chloride might weigh 10-12 pounds per gallon depending on the concentration.

    I bring the weight up because if you are thinking of building a big tank, the weight is going to add up and you may want to install a drain near the base. There are two big reasons you need to think about this – you may want to move the unit around plus you will need to change the solution as it ages and breaks down from use.

    This is my 3″ tank I just built. The toilet flange us availab;e for 3″ and 4″ pipe and is handy for smaller tanks. I’d build a cradle/surrounding frame to support a bigger tank.

    The pictured tank is about 16″ tall with 3″ pipe and has about a gallon of 70% ferric chloride and 30% apple cider vinegar in it. I can move it around very easily and portability was one of my design goals.

    Assembling The Pipe

    PVC is really easy to work with. You cut the pipe to the length you want or have the store do it for you. I use a big miter saw for stuff like this to get nice square ends and use an airline to blow all the loose plastic out (wear safety glasses).

    To “glue” the pipe together, you first prime the surfaces and then apply the cement. Note, PVC and CPVC use the same primer but different cement. In this case,I use Oatey’s purple primer and clear cement. Read the directions on their box just to make sure. Bear in mind the solvent is really thin and is going to run everywhere – especially in cold weather.

    I’m a creature of habit. I’ve had very good luck with Oatey products so I stick with them. There are other brands out there such as Ace’s own private labled stuff, but I stick with Oatey to avoid surprises. When following their directions and using their products, I’ve not had a joint fail/leak yet,

    The Base

    To make the tank stable, you need a big enough base both in terms of area and weight. I had some old 1×12 stock that I chopped into squares and stacked if four deep for weight. You can do whatever you want and your goal is stability, however you get it.

    I centered the flange on the first board and screwed it in. I’m not sure I would trust the flange to handle the potential torque of a long pipe. For me, once I get around 24″ overall, I am going to build a cradle and not subject that flange to a ton of stress.
    I then applied epoxy and clamped the layers together. I was kind of experimenting as I went. Just one piece of wood wasn’t heavy enough so I then added the additional layers after. I could have glued the base and then used longer screws to secure the flange had I known more up front. I wound up with four layers of wood in the end.

    I have another tank that is full of a boiled linseed oil an turpentine mix that I use for hydrating wood handles in khukuris and cleavers that I restore. It has a rounded end bap on the bottom and the base is more like a heavy cradle made up fo 2×4 lumber that gives it weight and then goes up the sides to provide support.

    This is a 4″ pipe with a wood scaffold base. It’s very stable. This is a tankI use for moisturizing and treating long wood hanndles.


    That’s it for now. In the next post we are going to talk about heating the tank. This is where I did the most experimenting and can share some ideas with you.

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.