I just recieved a new Buck Odyssey, and it's time to put it through its paces. The model number is 186FL, and it's a plain-edged linerlock. Retail is $50, but you should be able to find it for about $34 on-line.
Handle / Lock Specifications and Impressions: The handle on the Odyssey is 4.5" long. It has black textured thermoplastic handles, which are good at filling the hand. The liners are stainless steel, and are ample thick. The knife itself is open in design to make cleaning easier and to prevent dirt from accumulating inside. The liner lock engages the blade very securely, and the blade covers the entire lock. The lock is textured (jimping) for a good grip when you want to close it. I had a few accidental lock releases at first, but either the knife broke in or I just got used to the lock enough that I didn't bump it. The pocket clip is removable with a T-6 bit (the clip is held in place by three screws), and is located on the right-hand side of the knife. The clip can't be reversed, sorry. There's no lanyard hole, but that's okay.
Blade Specifications and Impressions: The blade is 3.5" long, with a 3" cutting edge. It's made of Buck's 420HC steel, and is hollow ground. It came very sharp, and was shaving in about a minute on the strop. The edge is a spear point more than anything else, and does a tremendous job at both stabbing and slicing. It has thumb ridges (jimping) on the back of the blade for traction. It also opens with an oval cut-out, like a thumb slot. The blade pivot pin is adjustable for tension if you have a T-8 bit. There is a groove in the junction between the blade tang and the handle. You can use this to choke up on the blade for finer work where you need more control. I will say that this is one of the smoothest-opening knives I've handled. The blade can be swung out without even touching the opening hole, and closed just as easily once the linerlock is disengaged.
I commented earlier that the pocket clip is not adjustable, but I don't see this as a big problem; the knife can easily be deployed in the left pocket. Just put the knife in your left pocket, blade facing backward, and assume a natural grip. You'll pull the knife out with the blade facing in and down; rotate your hand so that the pivot pin is down. Now flick your wrist. The blade should be deployed in a reverse grip, edge out. See how smooth that opening is?
At various cutting chores, the Odyssey's blade proved to be enough for all of the things I needed it to do. Everyday papaers, strings, rope, and cardboard had no effect on the blade. It was still extremely sharp. After many openings and closings, it still opened very smoothly with no blade play. I decided to give it a shot on deer, and it passed. It was pretty bloody, and it makes me a little annoyed that you can't disassemble it, but the knife got cleaned and was just fine. Resharpening? No, not yet. After whittling a few cedar blocks, I needed to resharpen. A few light strokes on a ceramic and it was back to normal. Lock-up was still solid, opening was still smooth, blade was still as it should be. Who'd have thunk it?
This knife may not be the end-all be-all of cutlery, but it holds a great slot in my every-day carry arsenal. The blade comes sharp and stays sharp, and the opening is extremely nice. Check it out if you can still find them; I hear Buck has discontinued them. Also, keep your eyes open for the higher-end ATS-34 models.
Nice review. I thought the Odyssey had been discontinued, though I'd bet there's a few dealers with new stock left over.
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