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Thread: Cold steel sk5 Natchez Bowie as a survival knife?

  1. #1

    Cold steel sk5 Natchez Bowie as a survival knife?


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    Has anybody used the Natchez Bowie to chop or split wood? I just recently bought it and I'm going camping tomorrow and wanted to know how it would hold up if I dubed it as a hatchet?

  2. #2
    You might not want to do that. It's got a cable tang. It might work fine, but I don't think it was designed as a chopper.

  3. #3
    Don't! It's a cable tang - i.e. the blade stops at the guard and the handle is held on by a piece of tensioned wire that runs through it. The Natchez is designed as a historically accurate (in terms of weight and handling if not materials) fighter and nothing else.

    This is what a Natchez used for splitting and chopping usually looks like:



    Instead buy an MTech 151: they're about $20 and a very close copy of CS's general purpose bowie, the Trailmaster. Possibly a bit better unless you're a carbon steel bigot. Save your Natchez for what is meant for - duelling anyone who questions the superiority of the mint julep over all other mixed drinks. Damn yankees!

    (Or ebay it abnd a buy a knife you can actually use for stuff.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Did somebody actually break one from chopping or batoning?

    I would use a $30 Estwing axe for the hatchet stuff personally.

  5. #5
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    A much cheaper Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie will handle the chopping etc. The Svord Von Tempsky Bowie also has a fantastic reputation if its a Bowie you want.

  6. #6
    Why does it have a cable tang? Is it somehow better than full tang?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Stockfish View Post
    Why does it have a cable tang? Is it somehow better than full tang?
    Cold Steel says it's for shock-absorption.

  8. #8
    But do you know if its better than full tang? I have a huge problem paying almost $200 for a knife that's not full tang

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stockfish View Post
    But do you know if its better than full tang? I have a huge problem paying almost $200 for a knife that's not full tang
    Debatable, apparently it costs more to make so there must be a good reason for it. There are plenty of threads about it on the Cold Steel forums.

    http://coldsteelforums.com/m171319.aspx

    Okay- I have not commented officially from CS in this manner, since it seemed that most here could see that this was not the fault of the knife, or the design, but when some start calling this knife "garbage" and are clearly misinformed, I now have to comment. The cable-tang on the Natchez and the Laredo is there intentionally. These are primarily fighting bowie knives and are designed as such. The cable-tang is actually a more expensive process than a standard full tang or a full "push" tang. We did this to both lighten the handle, giving more weight and impact inertia to the blade, and to distribute shock easier through the handle, since the handle material is hard vs. the softer Kraton handle available on a knife like the Trailmaster. While CS considers batoning to be abuse of any knife, and not what knives are generally designed to do, if the OP had batoned the knife on the spine, I do not see how the handle would have split and shattered the way it did, especially considering that the cable-tang is DESIGNED to distribute energy out the pommel- like the vibration of a guitar string. While translation may be a factor, it does appear that the knife was hammered on the pommel like a nail- that is absolutely abuse, and even with a push or standard full tang, it would not be surprising to have the handle fail under those conditions. All this discussion is pointless, however, since none of us has the knife in hand, or the exact conditions of the break clearly outlined. Yes, the OP should send the knife to us for evaluation, and if it is a defect in material or workmanship, it would be covered by the warranty. If not, we may be able to repair it. Don't know until we have it in hand. For those who do not like the cable-tang design, that is certainly acceptable and your choice, but the design is expensive, very tough, and made specifically for those two models. CS R&D crew made this decision with intent, and it has proven to be extremely successful. I would encourage you to not let this one unclear, though abusive, incident color your judgement of the entire line.

  10. #10
    The part above that matters is

    CS considers batoning to be abuse of any knife, and not what knives are generally designed to do,


    ..Just don't buy a knife from CS is you want a knife you can baton with. But the Laredo and Natchez, least of all.

  11. #11
    The part above that matters is

    CS considers batoning to be abuse of any knife, and not what knives are generally designed to do,


    ..Just don't buy a knife from CS is you want a knife you can baton with. But the Laredo and Natchez, least of all.

  12. #12
    If a Bowie that size can't be used as a chopper, it's virtually useless. Claiming it's a fighting knife doesn't provide any cover. What kind of clown designs a knife specifically for fighting, that can't be trusted to chop? If you can't rely on it for the latter, heaven forbid you ever get yourself in a position to use it for the former. As far as I'm concerned, that Natchez Bowie is nothing more than an overpriced man bauble to be admired in a case or part of a costume.

  13. #13
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    I'm sure you could use it fine to chop and baton, most fighting knives and swords are just not designed for it. If people want a kukri or hatchet they should get a kukri or hatchet. You could alternatively get the 12" bowie or barong machete and beat the hell out of them.

  14. #14
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    to baton, or to not baton. The big question that drives so many knife discussions.

    I carry a knife, a saw, and an ax. Guess which one I chop wood with?
    Nemo me impune lacaset

    Rat Pack #875

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mannlicher View Post
    to baton, or to not baton. The big question that drives so many knife discussions.

    I carry a knife, a saw, and an ax. Guess which one I chop wood with?
    The mylar blanket you keep in your altiods tin?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by shecky View Post
    If a Bowie that size can't be used as a chopper, it's virtually useless. Claiming it's a fighting knife doesn't provide any cover. What kind of clown designs a knife specifically for fighting, that can't be trusted to chop? If you can't rely on it for the latter, heaven forbid you ever get yourself in a position to use it for the former. As far as I'm concerned, that Natchez Bowie is nothing more than an overpriced man bauble to be admired in a case or part of a costume.
    It should be able to chop, but pounding and hammering it through logs is another thing... someone should do a study of how the cable tang affects performance. I read somewhere similar tangs were used on some swords.

  17. #17
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    Having read a bit on Jim Bowie & his uses of the large blade type that bears his name, I'd say that batonning was NOT a requirement anywhere along the line.
    The knife was used as a fighter.

    I think today too many people have gotten themselves sold on the idea that a big blade exists primarily for chopping or batonning, and if it can't baton it ain't a "real" knife.
    Which I think is horse pucky.

    I have the Laredo, I had a Natchez, and I have an Ontario Bagwell Gambler bowie.
    They strike me as fighters, and very proficient as such in the right hands. I wouldn't use any of the three for chopping or batonning, and I don't fault them for being fighters (OK- people killers) instead of tree killers.

    In their intended role, they're quite adequate to the purpose behind their design & construction.

    I also have three Trailmasters, and while I wouldn't expect them to hold up to the abuse I'd feel confident in giving my Blind Horse Toothpick, I'd feel more comfortable using them for general woods chores than either the Laredo or the Natchez.

    Saying a Bowie that size that can't be used as a chopper is "useless" is poorly thought out.
    Different designs for different purposes.

    A Mora can baton, but it may take some work in reaching vital organs or disabling an arm during a fight, whereas a good long Bowie that may not hold up to longterm batonning or chopping can easily reach vitals and deliver some serious disabling hurt to a wrist or hand with all that weight behind its cutting edge.

    Some judge a big blade for its ability to take down a tree, others judge it by its ability to take down a man.
    If it can do both, great. If it's better suited to one or the other, what's the problem?

    Choose the right tool for the job, like you do with any other task.
    Denis

  18. #18
    I have a Laredo blade that I rehandled witha piece of stag. i the process i broke the cable so it only has the solid part of the tang secured witha 1/4" pin and epoxy. I have beat the snot out of it, chopping, batoning, etc with no ill effect.

  19. #19
    Yes, you can baton with it if you:

    1) Hit the spine above the guard. Hitting it below, on the handle, is asking for trouble since it is not full tang;
    2) Choose a log less than 6", in order for you to have enough space to hit the spine and the tip (suggest about 3.5"~4" spacing at the spine). (You could take a bigger log if you are more precise)

  20. #20
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    No! Of course it isn't better than a full tang- a full tang wouldn't break like that cable tang! I was going to get one to mess around with, I thought it had a "through tang" a long round piece with threads at the end to screw on the pommel. Well, after seeing the picture above, I am going to contact Cold Steel and ask them what in blazes are they doing putting a "cable tang" on a knife in the first place, when a through tang would be cheaper and probably FAR stronger. There isn't anything stronger or better than a full tang, in my opinion. I hate that the Natchez has a cable tang, and it just cost Cold Steel a sale. I will save my $200, and get another older Carbon V Trailmaster off ebay, or wherever! I have a SK-5 Laredo, and HOPE it has a through tang, (as it seems to) C'mon Cold Steel, surely you had to know people are going to TRY to chop wood with the SK-5 Natchez?!

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