This is not so much a piece of sales patter as an Article about the Shark- Bushcraft Knife and what you should really expect, and sometimes avoid, when looking for a knife.
The Shark – Bushcraft Knife is a Drop Point Sheath Knife designed to meet the needs of everyone from the enthusiastic Bushcraft & Survival recreationalist to the professional Bushcraft & Survival expert. It is a stylish, sturdy, well balanced, working, utilitarian knife that will prove to be a reliable and much loved friend … well perhaps Loved is too strong a word, but you get my drift‼!
Whilst the Shark - Bushcraft Knife was designed to be a broad spectrum ergonomic multi-purpose, working tool, it was nonetheless designed specifically with the Professional Bushcraft and Survival Instructors in mind. It was designed for maximum efficiency in each of the many tasks a knife of this type would normally be asked to do, and whilst it is usually true to say that any multi-tasking tool is always a compromise between the tasks it usually required to perform and the tasks it can actually perform well - a ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none!’ you might say, - it is also true to say that the ‘Shark –Bushcraft Knife has been carefully designed to accomplish all of these tasks to an outstanding level of efficiency and performance.’
The Blade is made from 3mm thick High Carbon Steel that has been heat treated to give optimum hardness for edge durability, yet can easily be sharpened whilst out in the field with the minimum of sharpening equipment.
The Shark – Bushcraft Knife has a Full Tang, which means that the actual Blade extends all the way through the Handle to the Butt. Almost every knife, of quality that is, that has a Full Tang has a maximum Blade to Handle strength ratio, which basically means that it is very strong.
The Full Tang has been given a well contoured stabilised wooden handle that fits comfortably in the hand, allowing you to work with the knife for extended periods of time without causing excessive muscle fatigue or causing blisters to form.
The Lanyard Hole allows either a short Lanyard to be added to the knife, so that it can be wrapped around the wrist when working - wrapping a short Lanyard around the wrist adds stability to the knife and eases the stresses that are inevitably place on the wrist when working for extended periods with any knife – or, if required, a longer Lanyard can be added for extra security, ensuring against knife loss, should the knife ever be sheathed incorrectly, or dropped for some reason.
The Lanyard Hole has also been lined with a Brass tube to strengthen the wooden Scales thus preventing them from chipping out over time.
The Relief Angle is where the sides of the Blade angle towards the Cutting Edge. It is very important to have a good Relief Angle on a knife that is neither too obtuse (steep), nor too shallow. There is always a compromise, a trade off as it were, between the two. When the Relief Angle is too obtuse you will have a very strong Cutting Edge, but this will be at the expense of the potential sharpness of the blade. By contrast a Relief Angle that is too shallow will enable you to have an incredibly sharp Cutting Edge, but this will be at the expense of the strength of the Cutting Edge.
The idea that you need to have specific angles for specific jobs is not necessarily the case. What is required of any Relief Angle/Cutting Edge is that it have as shallow and angle as is possible, without the Cutting Edge ever chipping out on the material you are using it with. Once you see that that Cutting Edge is chipping or curling you will need to make the Relief Angle a little more obtuse so that the Cutting Edge is being adequately supported. If the correct Relief Angle is reached you will attain maximised sharpness and support for the Cutting Edge, this being for the material that is being cut.
Most of the cheaper knives on the market today will be given a Secondary Bevel that is taken off the main Relief Angle to form the Cutting Edge, which can easily usually be seen as a very thing shiny line when the knife blade is angled to a bright light. This Secondary Bevel Cutting Edge, whilst initially very easy and quick to sharpen (done by many knife manufacturers to quickly and cheaply create a reasonably sharp cutting edge), will very quickly cause the average person many, many sharpening problems just a short trip down the road. Effectively, this very thin Cutting Edge Angle will very quickly become so obtuse (steep) that a Razor Sharp cutting edge will be almost impossible to achieve, without spending a couple of hours on a good quality Diamond Sharpening Stone, or sending the knife to a Professional Knife Sharpener, to have the Relief Angle reground. Also, any Sharpening Platform of such a narrow width is very difficult to accurately sharpen, even for a well seasoned professional sharpener, and almost impossible for someone to sharpen who has little or no sharpening know-how. It is my all too common experience, as a professional knife sharpener, to see people really struggling to put even a rudimentary Cutting Edge on their knives because of this issue.
Forefinger Choil allows the knife to be held with the Forefinger and Middle-finger straddling the Front Quillion allowing you to create a strong and stable grip when Push Cutting using the Chest and Shoulders, or to cup the Thumb when this grip is reversed.
In stark contrast to the shortcuts that some knife makers make, as illustrated above, the Relief Angle on the Shark – Bushcraft Knife is also the Primary Cutting Edge. This means that when the Relief Angle is the Primary Cutting Edge, a Cutting Edge can easily be achieved, and then maintained, that is second only to a Cutthroat Razor or even a Samurai Sword. The Relief Angle used on the Shark Bushcraft Knife is initially set at approximately 8mm wide, this width allows almost anyone, skilled or unskilled, to re-sharpen the knife with relative ease.
When a knife has a wide Relief Angle, and the Relief Angle is also the Primary Cutting Edge, as is the case with the Shark Bushcraft Knife, and when it is used as the sharpening platform, there is a high degree of stability that can be obtained whilst sharpen. Stability, whilst sharpening, directly equates to accuracy, and accuracy directly relates to sharpness. So, by following the Relief Angles that are set on the Shark Bushcraft Knife, it is relatively easy to achieve a Razor Sharp Cutting Edge, with minimal practice. Putting all of this into a nutshell, it is true to say that:
‘When using the flat of a wide Relief Angle as a sharpening platform, fast and very accurate freehand sharpening is possible, enabling almost anyone to bring the cutting edge back to Razor Sharpness within just a few minutes.’
It should be pointed out that when a knife is held too tightly in the hand it is easy for the muscles of the Forearm and Shoulders to quickly become overly tired. It is a well known fact that serious accidents can easily happen when muscles become tired due to an ever decreasing ability to maintain adequate control over the knife due to excessive muscle fatigue. It is therefore essential to learn to hold a knife with a relaxed, but firm hand grip; to aid in this endeavour the Centre of Balance on the Shark – Bushcraft Knife is where the Forefinger is placed when holding the Handle comfortably in the hand. This Neutral Balance Point allows the knife to be easily controlled when used for fine Whittling work as well as for heavier Chopping without causing excessive muscle fatigue with either task. This Neutral Balance Point prevents the knife from tipping forwards or backwards when a relaxed hand grip is achieved.
The Tip, or Point, of the blade is crucial for accurate and fast penetration at the beginning of a Cut into, for example, a small animal when dressing it, or when making a hole in a piece of wood for say a Fire Drill of some kind.
Ironically the Point of the blade is often the easiest and first part of knife to become damaged or broken when using it for its intended purpose. For this reason having enough metal for maximum Point support verses maximum Sharpness is a serious design consideration that is all too often ignored by many knife makers. Often whilst designing a knife, which is, let’s face it, essentially just a practical working tool, many Knife Makers will ignore the strength and durability of the Point in favour of creating a knife that has Eye Candy appeal. This is not a good starting point if essential design considerations are being overlooked if favour of visual appeal. It is easy to design an appealing knife at the expense of utilitarian function, but difficult to design a knife that combines both form and function together.
The geometry of the Shark – Bushcraft Knife Point has been designed to maximise the Strength to Penetration ratio, relieving the high tensile forces that are involved when using the Point for its intended purpose. This is all achieved whilst enabling it to be easily maintained at its peak level of sharpness due to the flatness of the Spine and angle of the Relief.
There is a saying that goes something like this:
‘If you properly maintain the tip of your knife blade, the rest of the cutting edge will follow suit!’
The Spine has been precision ground along its entire length, to a sharp 90° angle that will enable the user too easily and safely scrape sparks from any Ferrocerium Fire Steel, such as from our comprehensive range of Shark – PyroFlints™, as well as the bark from saplings, shavings from dry heartwood for fire lighting and the fats and hair from animal skins.
Another design consideration was to align the Point of the cutting edge and the Butt of the handle in a straight line that runs through the axis of the whole knife. This crucial axial alignment allows the knife to be tied to the shaft of a long stick or pole thus making a superior Spear for long distance stabbing. Since the Point and Butt are aligned through the knife’s axis, all stabbing forces are essentially directed down the shaft of the Spear and allowed to dissipate through the user’s body and legs into the ground. A knife that does not have this design consideration could cause any forward and lateral stabbing forces to run to the sides of the knife-shaft joint where it could easily cause the binding to fail, or bend and snap the shaft.
When the thumb is being used as a stabiliser/anvil, to force the work into the Cutting Edge, whilst fine Whittling close at the Plunge (the point where the cutting edge meets the Choil) the Forefinger Choil will also help prevent the surface of your thumb from being cut when it meets the blade after each cut. The area of the blade nearest to the Plunge gets a lot of use by your average Bushcrafter, and Whittler, so it was important for us to design the blade so that it could be held securely at this point.
The Belly of the Blade has been designed with enough curve to allow the skinning of small animals without ruining the skin of the animal as well as the high possible risk of the Point cutting or piercing into the internal organs and contaminating the meat.
Please Note: This knife is not for sale to anyone under the age of 18.
The Shark – Bushcraft Knife Sheath is exclusively made by Shark Designs to custom fit the Shark – Bushcraft Knife, and like any tailored item, whether it be a pair of handmade shoes, a Savile Row suit or a custom knife sheath, it should, and indeed does, fit perfectly. All Sheaths are completely Handmade from beginning to end by us to order.
The design considerations and construction of this Sheath fits all of essential and desired criteria that would, and should, normally be expected, and required, of any Sheath. In a nutshell:
Often a cheaply made Sheath will be made from poor quality and often very thin leather. It is, obviously, cheaper for a manufacturer to make their Sheaths out of thinner poorer quality leathers, since leather of this kind will require less effort to make it. Actually the thickness of leather often has no real bearing on its price; however the quality, tanning process and what part of the Hide the leather is made from is usually the main factor for its price. Don’t be fooled, because cheap leather can, ironically enough, be actually cheaper to buy than artificial cotton backed faux leather and may well have a plastic film over it to hide surface imperfection. It may initially feel good, but will soon prove to be a lemon.
Most Sheaths you will come across will be Machine Stitched rather than Hand-Stitched, since it take only seconds to do on an Industrial Sewing Machine what would take an experienced Leather Worker perhaps 15 to 20 minutes to achieve. In a game where time is money, it is the Sewing Machine that always comes out on top … unless it is ultimate quality you are after, in which case there is no comparison between the two – Hand Stitched leather will always be number one!
A very important consideration, and the main reason why you should always use a thick piece of good quality leather for your Sheath, is that a thin leather Sheath will not have sufficient stiffness to prevent it from flexing and bending. You should really consider that a Sheath that bends, or flexes, too easily as actually being a dangerous Sheath; certainly not suitable for anything other than for a children’s toy knife. If the Sheath bends or flexes too much as you are sheathing your Knife, there is a strong possibility that you will push the Blade through a wall of the Sheath and then possibly push it into your hand. With this in mind the leather that is used to make all of the Sheaths that we make, is the very best grade 3.5mm (±) thick vegetable-tanned leather that has been specially selected by us from our Tannery for stiffness and strength. We take the trouble to select each and every Hide we use ourselves, we select only the very best of each manufactured batch.
An essential feature of any well-made sheath is that it should include a ‘Welt’. The Welt lies between the two sides of the sheath, where the cutting edge of the knife usually sits. The Welt should protect the knife’s cutting edge whilst in the sheath, as well as protect the sheath from the knife’s cutting edge (i.e. preventing the knife from slicing into the leather or stitching). It should also provide the sheath with structural rigidity and strength. With all of these necessities in mind each of our high quality sheaths has been made with a sturdy thick, hardened, stiff leather Welt that will protect both knife and sheath from each other as the knife is either unsheathed or sheathed.
It is important to note that Sheaths that do not have a Welt are a potential accident just waiting to happen. Making a sheath with no Welt reduced the manufacturing costs and thereby increases profitability, but will unavoidably guide, by virtue of the shape of the sheath, the cutting edge of that knife towards the unprotected stitch-line when the knife is being sheathed, or unsheathed. If the knife cuts into, or through, the sheath wall or stitch-line, it can cause serious damage to the sheath, but more importantly could cause the blade to seriously injure whoever is holding or wearing the sheath at the time.
To get around the added expense of having to incorporate a Welt in a Sheath, many manufacturers - with any kind of conscience or regard for their customers – will overcome the potential dangers and expenses by simply riveting the sheath together at key points along the Stitch Line, usually at points where the Knife’s Cutting Edge would potentially cut through the leather or stitching. This shameless technique obviously saves the manufacturer money (thus improves his profits) and helps prevent potentially serious accidents, but what is worse, is the total disregard the manufacture has for the Knife that will be sheathed in such a Sheath.
Poor quality Sheaths will frequently have poor quality Rivets, which are often made from Chrome plated Steel, which means that when a Knife is sheathed and unsheathed, there is always a strong possibility for the Blade’s Cutting Edge to be accidentally swiped across the Steel Rivet. After all, the purpose of a knife is to have, and keep, the very sharpest cutting edge that can be attained, which is not going to happen if it is constantly coming into contact with a metal rivet. Also, the Rivet may then direct the Cutting Edge onto the leather, which will then get cut.
Cheap Sheaths are dangerous, and can be seriously bad for your knife as well as your health.
With the above facts in mind, should you ever accidentally pick up a Sheath that has been Riveted along the Stitching line, you should carefully check to see if there is a Welt or not. If the Sheath does not have a Welt it is our strong advice that you do not buy the Sheath … it is not worth the money that was used to make it. Quickly put the Sheath down, walk away and look for a better one!
A good Friction-Fitting Sheath relies on the leather that makes up the Sheath to be a snug/custom fit around the Knife. If made, and then maintained properly a Sheath will sustain an easy Friction Fit that will last the entire life of the Sheath. It is essential, therefore, that a Knife is securely held in the sheath by virtue of its design and shape alone.
Since it is the friction between Leather and Handle that secures the knife in place a Friction Fit Sheath does not rely on flimsy straps with button, or studs that will easily stretch, wear out or break, often resulting in injury to the wearer and or consequential loss of the knife should the strap fail.
A Friction Fit Sheath often has about two finger of the Butt of the Handle exposed above the Mouth of the Sheath, which means that the wearer needs to first pull the knife lose from the Sheath then pull the Knife out of the Sheath. Whilst there is a train of thought that says that this double action unsheathing is one action too many - since it prevents the wearer from grabbing the Handle and drawing the Knife from the Sheath in just one action - I am of the opinion that the two stage knife removal, typical of this Sheath designs, forces the wearer to be fully conscious of where the Handle is at all times. I have seen experienced Bushcrafters place their hands on the Knife’s Handle only to find that they were about to grab the Knife by a piece of the Cutting Edge itself. Also, because the Mouth of the Sheath is quite large, to incorporate the Knife’s Handle and it usually tapers down for the Knife’s Blade, the shape allows the knife to be easily guided into position whenever the Knife is sheathed, often by simply dropping the knife into the Sheath and then pressing it home with a finger. This ultimately helps prevent accidentally pushing the Knife’s Blade through the side walls of the Sheath.
The Belt Loop is designed to fit any belt up to 2 Inches wide. It is fully Saddle Stitched (or Sinew Cross Stitched if that option is requested), so you can be sure that when your Sheath it is looped through your belt it will always be there close at hand and ready for use.
We offer two Stitching options, as standard, with all of our Sheaths, the first is Traditional Saddle Stitching and the second is Sinew Cross Stitching. Both Stitching methods are incredibly strong, which is naturally why we use them.
The first option is known as a traditional Saddle Stitching. Saddle Stitching is when the leather is stitched together with essentially two continuous lengths of thread. Each length is effectively woven around each side of the seam of the leather. Effectively the underside thread goes up through the first hole and then down through the second etc, whilst the top thread goes down through the first hole and up through the second etc. Each hole used in traditional Hand Saddle Stitching is made when each stitch is required, using a specialised Diamond shaped Awl. In this way the hole that is made in the leather does not close up before the Threads can be passed back and forth through it. Saddle Stitching is arguably the very strongest form of stitching you will ever find, especially when used with a very strong Thread.
With either of the above Stitching choices, you are guaranteed to have a Hand Stitched leather Sheath that will hopefully surpass all of your expectations. So you can rest assured that your choice will be purely based upon aesthetics.
Because we believe all of our Sheaths are so well made and the Stitching will, in all probability, outlive the leather of the Sheath itself, we give each one a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and quality.
Saddle Stitching gives any leather article a traditional and aesthetically pleasing look and feel that cannot be achieved by anything that is machine stitched.
A good point of note is that whenever a leather seam is hand-sewn using the traditional ‘Saddle’ stitch it is the very strongest method of stitching there is. Certainly Saddle Stitching two pieces of leather together is considerably stronger than anything that is stitched even on an Industrial sewing Machine with super thick thread – Saddle Stitching is just about as strong as stitching gets.
In contrast to how Saddle Stitching works (illustrated above), a Sewing Machine line of stitches has the same length of thread being maintained on the same side of the seam whilst being looped around the other thread on the other side of the seam at the stitch points. If the Sewing Machine has equal tension on both threads, the actual stitched loop will be hidden between the two layers of leather.
The long and the short of it is that if one thread, on a Saddle Stitched item, becomes accidentally broken, the other thread will not lose any of its strength, which means that the stitch line is still maintained. When the thread on one side of a Sewing Machine stitch line is accidentally broken, on the other hand, both of the thread will un-loop, thus causing the entire seam to fail at that point, and for several stitches either side of the break.
We use arguably one of the very strongest types of hand sewing thread that is available on the market today called Tiger Thread. Tiger Thread, which is braided polyester, is almost impossible to break with your bear hands, it will cut into your flesh long before you will ever snap it, it is that strong. This is one of the reasons that we offer, on all of our leather work, a lifetimes guarantee – we know it will never be needed‼!
With a FireSteel Loop incorporated into this item you will be able to stow any Army sized FireSteel, such as the Light-My-Fire - ‘Army’ FireSteels or our PyroFlint™ - Army sized FireSteel. If you would like another size of FireSteel Loop attaching to this item, instead of the standard Army size, then please ‘Contact Us’ when you make your purchase and we will be happy to alter the size for you.
Please Note: All colours shown are approximations of actual colours, and may vary according to the display screen through which you are seeing them..
The Shark – Bushcraft Knife is made from High Carbon Steel, so a modicum of care must be maintained to ensure that the blade does not rust.
When storing the blade for any length of time it should be protected with a thin layer of oil and when used out in the field, you should make sure that it is not sheathed for any length of time when the knife, sheath or both are damp or wet.
The high carbon steel used to make our Bushcraft Knife will take an excellent Razor Sharp edge, especially when using any of our comprehensive range of high quality Sharpening Tools, such as from our top quality range of DMT and Razor Shark Diamond Whet Stones, or from our range of traditional Japanese Water Stones. Any and all of this sharpening equipment can be used in combination with any of our full range of Shark - Razor Strops.
We strongly advise that you should always keep your Shark – Bushcraft Knife as sharp as possible; a very sharp cutting tool will:
If the Cutting Edge is sharpened, or retouched, on a regular basis, just, for example, as the Cutting Edge begins to feel slightly dull, and if you are using the Relief Angle as the sharpening platform you will be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Firstly, the Relief Angle will be constantly maintained at the optimal width and secondly, almost no metal will ever need to be removed at any one time. This basically means that minimal time, and therefore minimal effort, is required to obtain, and maintain, maximum cutting performance, with maximum cut quality. Putting all of this into a nutshell, it is true to say that:
‘A knife that is sharpened whilst using the Relief Angle as the sharpening platform will need less overall maintenance whilst achieving maximum sharpness for the entire lifespan of the knife.’
The secret of obtaining and then maintaining a Super Razor Sharp Cutting Edge on your knife is to:
I will humbly beg you to never store your Knife for long periods in its Sheath, and by long periods I mean more than a week or two. Leather, by its very nature is a living, breathing material that is susceptible to atmospheric moisture variations (humidity). Atmospheric moisture, as anyone who has ever seen metal go rusty, is a Knife’s worst enemy, next to lending your Knife to a friend that is!
When you bear in mind that when leather is tanned, the process often involves the use of natural bark tannins and other chemicals, which could corrode, stain or mare a polished blade in just minutes. Leaving you Knife in an apparently dry Sheath is the same as leaving it in a damp or wet Sheath, eventually, quicker or slower, direct contact with the leather will damage the Blade. The best way to store your Knife for long periods is to clean it and then oil it with a specialised wax based metal protector, then store it in a sealed box that has a Vapour and Oxygen absorbing anti-rust metal guard. Please whatever you do, don’t store your Knife in its Sheath unless you want a rusty Blade!
We would suggest that the Sheath is only ever oiled if the leather starts to crack or become too brittle, something that can easily happen if the Sheath is left in strong sunlight or dried on a radiator several times. Excessive Oiling of the Sheath will cause the leather to become overly soft and therefore too flexible, which is not really desirable in a Sheath.
The best thing that you can use to maintain the Sheath in prime condition is to use good old-fashioned Boot Polish. Firstly, wipe off any dirt or grime with a damp cloth, not a wet one. Never use chemical solvents of any kind as they can strip the leather of its dye and natural oils, and may weaken the specialised glues that is used when constructing the Sheath before Stitching.
When the Sheath has been cleaned from any dirt or grime, you can then give the Sheath a good polish with simple Shoe Polish as you would a pair of shoes or boots.
Should the Sheath ever have a salt line, it can easily be removed by soaking the whole Sheath in water – Please Note: if the water is too hot for your hand to comfortably be in it will probably be too hot for the leather, which could cause the leather to shrink. Once the Sheath has become saturated the salt line will disappear, you can then take out the Sheath, dry it off and then leave it to dry in the open air. Again, Please Note: Never dry out leather on or next to a hot radiator, this can dry out the leather and if too hot could cause the leather to shrink.
Here are a few other points that well help you maximise the life of your Sheath: