Thursday, January 20, 2011
Les Stroud's The Temagami Knife Review
Posted by Casey Fiedler at 1:44:00 PM
Video Released 4/19/2011
NOTE: This article was written prior to the release of the Temagami as an analysis of the (then) released information about the knife. The Adventure Lifestyle Blog has received the Temagami and will release a new and current full review of this knife soon. Suffice it to say that a lot of the speculations I made herein are now irrelevant and incorrect as the final production version of this knife rolls off the line. Watch the video above to see the knife and our video review, released 4/19/2011.
Funny that I just posted on Bear Gryll's partnership with Gerber. I got an email from Les Stroud today offering pre-sales on his knife: The Temagami. This isn't a surprise, the knife has been in the works for quite a while. Les chose to partner with an international knife maker from Norway. The country chosen to do the work instantly buys my confidence, Norway is a European company with a good reputation and superb craftsmanship. The company, Helle, is one I have never heard of but it doesn't matter too much what company produces the knife so long as they follow good bladesmithing procedures. The Temagami appears to be a good knife. According to Les's site the knife has a "birch handle that's oiled with linseed". I like the look of a good wooden handle on a non-serrate carbon steel blade. Especially since they chose to put solid brass rivets in with it! Birch isn't the most durable wood ever but the colors compliment the brass and polished high carbon steel.
Les's site also claims the blade is made of "carbon steel laminate". We can only guess as to what they actually meant by this but I assume that what they're getting at is trying to convince people that the blade is made of folded high carbon steel. Hooray! Oh wait... The necessity of folding steel to distribute carbon content equally died with the invention of the modern process of making making steel. Is it necessary to fold modern compounds of high carbon steel to make a better blade? Absolutely not, and if you're under the impression that a folded steel blade is better than one that isn't... well please go do your research.
They included "custom groves on the back of the blade" to facilitate fire-steel striking. That's not a bad idea, really, but first of all it's "the spine of the blade" not "the back". Second of all, where's the grooves on the spine where the tang meets the handle? I've had these on previous knives and they increase one's ability to handle the knife significantly by adding a good friction point to prevent slipping of the thumb. Speaking of slipping... a smooth wooden handle is prone to slipping of the hand on any stabbing actions. There's a rather small out-crop of wooden near where the bolster should be on this knife that acts as a slight barrier between the handle and the dangerously sharp blade, but not much. That's a little concerning, but if one handles the knife responsibly it should prove to be little problem.
The tang is almost a full-tang, in fact it's so close that I would rather just call it a full tang. You can see that it tapers narrow at the end because it's not visible through the whole witch of the pommel of the knife. This does not mean the knife is any weaker than a true full tang knife. It's obviously got a wide tang that protrudes back several inches through the handle as we can see that the two (I'm guessing here) 3/16" brass rivets are spaced a good distance apart and must both travel through the tang to sandwich the handle to it. It most likely then tapers slightly upwards and ends (where we can see it) at the pommel. The lanyard eyelet is a third, well placed, rivet. not only does it provide a place to put a lanyard, it gives the Temagami a third rivet in it's already beefy full-tang handle. Really solid construction if you ask me!
Les's decision not to include serrations gets this knife another thumbs up in my book. I hate serrated knives! What a waste of blade space. If I could somehow get my hands on the exact specs of the steel used for the blade and the heat treating processes they followed to manufacture these, I would be more confident in my review of this knife. However, let us assume that they heat treated this steel perfectly, and furthermore that the steel used in the blade is of the proper quality (this could be one of any number of different steel types). If we assume this to be true, then I would say this knife is a winner. Les Stroud's Temagami Knife gets five stars in my book.
You can pre-order this knife now from his website, available Feb 26th for $180 excluding shipping. If you're thinking about ordering this, let me tell you a secret... It's not worth the price. Unless you're ordering it for the sole reason that it's got Les's name on it, you'd be better off investing your money elsewhere. There are plenty of comparable knives for less money. But there are also plenty of poorer quality knives for more money... So I leave the decision for you, readers.