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Thread: My son wants a survival knife...Help, please.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Illinois...for now.

    My son wants a survival knife...Help, please.

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    Hello to all fellow knife lovers. I am very new to this. Please forgive any missteps. My 15 year old son wants a survival knife. He is in scouts, currently at the rank where he is working on his Eagle Scout Project. (Life? Oh man, now I feel like a bad mother 'cuz I can't keep them straight...) He is quite responsible and familiar enough with blades to warrant getting him a "real" survival knife. He said he wanted one with saw teeth on the back of the blade and also for it to have a hollow handle for other useful items. He said something about the Bear Grylls knife, but after reading some of the posts here...I am now hesitant to get one of those. My budget is between 25-50 good old American dollars. Any suggestions? Or ideas on what brands to research? Thank you very much for your time and any input given.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Do you know if he has any other knives? If so, what are they? Or is this his first knife? That info may help with responses

    And welcome to the forums!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    South Salem, NY
    Welcome to the WSS forum. I would recommend getting your son two seperate tools. (knife and folding saw) Anything you find with both integrated in the same tool, in your budget won't really do anything well. However, you can get a good folding saw and a good knife for under $50

    Just my oppinion, others will chime in with their oppinion soon.

    Best regards,


  4. #4
    Anyone one who has ever been 15 and into knives has wanted a hollow-handled knife with a saw on the top of the blade. Then we grow up. I think you first need to change your son's perception of a "survival knife." This book might do it:

    Get him the book, and then see if he decides he might want something different. Your son will be disappointed with a sub $50 hollow handled knife. He'll also be disappointed with the $12 plastic handled Mora "survival knife" that I carry—unless he changes his perception of what a survival knife really is.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I would go with the Buck 119 Special. it is a classic hunting/outdoors knife. it costs around $44.00, and is made in the USA. it has a 6" blade and only weighs 7.5oz. as for the saw, i would get him a separate saw after all " you need the right tool for the job" Im 15 as well and made the mistake of getting the gerber lmf which is just like the bear grylls knife. it is to heavy and not piratical. i think your son would be happy with a Buck 119 Special.


  6. #6
    If it's being used for Scouts then he may or may not be allowed to use a fixed blade. For some reason the BSA has some weird ideas about knives.

    If he's going to get a fixed blade I would recommend a Mora. Go to Ragweed Forge, Ben's Backwoods, Smokey Mountain Knife Works, etc. for good service and good prices. You could get a low end but excellent one for around $10 or a high end one for around $30 or so. Do not let the prices fool you. These are excellent and very serious tools. You can get them in a high carbon steel, which will rust but is easy to sharpen and gets amazingly sharp, or in a stainless steel, which is very little maintainance, but slightly harder to sharpen. These are scandi grind blades, so they're amazingly easy to sharpen and you could get away with just buying him a ceramic rod for most of his sharpening needs.

    You can combine that with a Fiskars sliding saw for around $10. It's light, and a very decent saw, which does well for shelter building. You could get a Fiskars hatchet for about $20, which is a great hatchet for the money. A saw is much safer than a hatchet, though, plus a saw is lighter.

    If you're looking for a folder consider a Victorinox One Hand Trekker or Farmer. Good blades and great saws.

    I just read Scott Free's post and he's absolutely right. The combo I suggested will likely not seem "cool" in his young mind, but they'll more than get the job done.

    You should be able to pick up a Mora, saw and one of the Vic SAKs for around $50, depending on which combo you choose. These 3 tools would cover just about all of his needs.

    Hope this helps!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Jerzee, ya devilz
    Blog Entries
    We sometimes say the best survival knife is the one you have with you when you encounter a survival situation. That's a bit too clever since an Eagle Scout is thinking of developing skills with decent gear. I like to have something I can depend on for surprises, and that is my Victorinox Farmer, but if I were headed into wild country, yes, I would add something to that. Still, a good SAK or multitool makes a solid base to build on.

    The specific environment counts for a lot. Hot southern swamps call for a machete, cold northern hardwood forest needs a heavier knife, although not necessarily a very large one.

    Does survival mean the mountains for a week or the woods for a day hike? In any case, I would suggest that his first fixed blade survival knife be a 4" to 6" blade at most.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Illinois...for now.
    Thank you all for the responses so far. Yes. He does have other knives. From a little schrade pocket knife when he was 7 to a burdock-killing machete when he got big enough for serious yard work. He's got a wide variety, more than I could list and probably more than I know about. He got his scouting badge for knives, and can use them safely as well as sharpen them etc.,
    I could go a bit higher on the amount...maybe to $75...if there are any in that range that will include the features he asked about. And thanks for the links...I will check them out with him when he gets home. We are all about learning...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Becker BK2 hands down best buy for the money. $65 from New Graham or cheaper if you check the "For Sale" sections here. There are many others I would recomend but most are too far outside the price range.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Monrovia, CA
    Go with a KA-BAR Becker BK11. It's small so that he won't draw too much attention or be too heavy, but it is no slouch. The BK2 is also a good way to go, but it is pretty heavy.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Columbus,GA/ Ft. Benning
    Get a cold steel bushman and add sawteeth with a dremal

  12. #12

    First of all, let me say that it's very nice of you to help your son pick his first survival knife.

    Now, I understand that you are sure that he is mature enough to handle a knife and knows the basics about knife safety, if so, a fixed blade is a very good option (although a swiss army knife of the above mentioned are also great).

    As for "survival knife" there are many wrong conceptions out there, as you probably already noticed, many of us consider hollow handle blades or sawback blades unsuitable as survival knives.There are reasons for this, most of the time these knives are weaker(thus unsafer to use) and a lotof the saws are not really useful, it is not a rule but it's usually like that ( I do have one or two knives with the afore mentioned characterictics that are actually good knives).

    This article helped me choose my first knives, hope it helps you and your son.

    Although you shouldn't take as a rule everything you read there, it's just a helpful guide.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Yes, welcome aboard! plenty of choices, but a 15 year old does have certain tastes

    I would avoid hollow handles...quality typically costs big money; however, Schrade does make a pretty decent copy of Chris Reeve knives:

    Hollow Handle Knife

    I would advice a large knife and agree about Tony's recommendation of a decent knife and folding saw (instead of a saw back knife).

    I'll have to add some more later...


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Visalia, CA
    I'd go with this one:
    It will get the job done well and it's "cool" enough to make a 15 year old happy.

    This on is nice too:

    The suggestions to get him a small knife and a folding saw is more practical but as a kid, I know I'd be more happy if I got a really cool big knife. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Get your son what he wants as long as it doesn't have a hollow handle and saw teeth on the back. He might thing that's what he wants until he starts using it then he'll be dissapointed. Let us know how it goes..

  15. #15
    I originally suggested the Cody Lundin book in hopes of changing your son's mind about survival knives. And while I stand by my recommendation— he has other knives, he really wants a hollow handled "cool" knife, and he is 15 and soon he won't be. Get him what he wants—if you can.

    This fits your budget, and is supposed to be a pretty good knife. It lacks a saw-back but it's probably the only hollow-handled survival knife for $50 that won't break within a week:

    Here's a favorable review:

    He's a kid. Get him what he wants. I'd still get him that book, though.

    You're a good mom.

    Edited to add: Darn. Rock6 beat me to it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Brooklyn NY
    Quote Originally Posted by ROCK6 View Post
    Schrade does make a pretty decent copy of Chris Reeve knives:

    Hollow Handle Knife
    If it must be a hollow handle "survival" knife then as ROCK6 mentioned for the price the Schrade is the way to go.

    Here is a review of the knife by forum member Mistwalker:

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    north carolina
    Chris reeve One piece
    Randall made 18
    Randall made 14
    Randall made 15
    Randall made 16
    Randall made 17

    But those are all way over $50 but I think someone who gets his eagle has worked for a good knife

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Beckerhead #42 ~ Ohio
    Here's another vote for the Becker BK-2 or maybe the BK-7. The 7 is a bit lighter (though longer) and has more of a look that might appeal to him. Either way - I hope you find some helpful advice here that leads you to something that will make your scout happy.

    Here's the BK-7 and BK-2 next to each other if this helps...


    Beckerhead #42

  19. #19
    If it were my son I'd lean toward a Boy Scout model Swiss Army Knife with a saw- perhaps the huntsman. That saw will outperform any saw back knife I've seen. Or the Hunter with it's larger frame-he could have a larger knife and saw at events where fixed blade knives are not allowed.

    If he has any interest in making things then I'd spend the rest of the budget on a good puukko style blade kit, and let him make his own hilt.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Tennesee, ya'll
    Welcome to the forums!!! Glad you are here. The question is a survival knife for you son, with a sawback and a hollow handle. The only one I know that fit the criteria, have been listed, and cost some serious dinero. Good knives though. One thing you get around here, is advise on quality steel.

    I vote for the either the Becker BK7 and BK2. I lean more toward the 2 as it is heavy, but shorter and less like a "combat knife". The handles are hollow, but you will have to keep a 5/16" allen wrench around to get to the chewy center. They are fairly inexpensive, I got mine delivered to my door for $62. But it doen't have a saw back.

    Sawbacks are really not that useful, IMHO, and there are a ton of good saws out there that don't cost much money at all. Some are listed here, and I like the Bahco folding saw myself.

    Take your time and look together, there are some really great knives out there, that won't break your wallet. Just to mention some are Becker, ESEE, Kershaw, Columbia River, Kabar, and Condor. Hard working, quality knives.

    Good luck in your endeavor, I wish you the best of luck, post what you decide, and pics if you can. We love pics

    Wish you all the best,
    Quote Originally Posted by Guyon View Post
    Your irritation is duly noted.

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