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Thread: Buck Hoodlum: What's the Story?

  1. #21
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    One of the reviewers (a fellow I've seen here by the name of Cliff Stamp) indicated that he thought the problem was due to bad heat treat. I never intended to use a knife like that for batoning. Because of its reach and ability to hold an edge, I wanted it more for a weapon and a chopper (on occasion). Buck has a great reputation for heat treat, though. They'd have to to keep using 420HD steel in its 110s for so long and have people swear it was ATS-34! Seriously, I know the importance of heat treat and just wanted to ensure that splitting at the notch wasn't a common problem.

    BTW, there was some talk about the notch being redesigned. Anyone know anything about that? What was the nature of the redesign?

    I fell for the knife when I first saw it, but wasn't crazy about the notch. If you're gonna put a notch in the blade, do it at the base, not where it is now!

  2. #22
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    If you like the Hoodlum but don't care for the notch, take a look at the TOPS Askari !

    http://www.topsknives.co.za/index.ph...d=70&Itemid=78

  3. #23
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    There's no price listed on the TOPS Askari, but it's most likely a lot more than the Hoodlum.

    There are many things I like about the Buck and the knife appears to be exceptionally strong. I doubt I'd ever use the knife for batoning, but in the event I needed to, I think I could do it without battering the knife to the extent I've seen it done. Cliff Stamp made much to do of the fact that he was able to apparently baton a cheap MTech 440A knife without breaking it. He stopped short of saying the 440A knife was "better" than the Buck and, in fact, the Hoodlum was able to (according to others) cut strips of paper in cutting tests after being batoned.

    I like the Hoodlum because it is strong and lightweight. I like the nylon sheath, too. The late Ron Hood didn't encourage people to put items in the cavity between the grips, apparently feeling that it might work against the balance. Even so, one might put fish hooks and needles there with no problems. Whatever else, I think the Hoodlum is "top notch."

  4. #24
    I am thinking about the Buck/Hoodlum as I like large outdoor knives. I am not crazy about the notch. I like to do batoning and teach kids to do the same task at outdoor school. It's my only concern. The few stated uses for the notch I could careless about. I am still undecided?

    I use BK7, BK9, HI Kukri, Gerber LMF II (made in Portland), Ontario RD7, RD9, and none have let me down. I own a RTAK II, but have not used it (some on youtube have broken).
    Last edited by AfghanWarrior; 05-26-2012 at 04:39 PM.

  5. #25
    You did good buying your knife. Monky butt or what ever is a moron who should not be trusted with any knife. The other youtube video i am skeptical about. The story there is very smiler to one told here. It almost looks like another case of knife misuse. That said, I have used the crap out of mine and it begs for more. I dont normally chop with knives as my folding saw is so much better, and my vechawk out chops any knife any day so O use that instead. The knife has limitations, but that does not mean weak. My biggest issue is Bucks inability to properly grind an edge on mine.

  6. #26
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    I have the TOPS made Hoodlum.
    I’ve used it about three years now.

    It’s a really well designed knife, (Duh), and I’ve had zero issues with it.
    I would re-buy one again in a heartbeat.

    Fragile it’s not.

    It is, however, the lightest, fastest production 10” blade made, and is very different than the sharpened prybars.

    If the notch is a “stress riser”, then what are choils? Nobody ever claims that feature is a weak point.

    Stupid people can break any knife.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confederate View Post
    I saw a Buck Hoodlum recently and knew I had to have one. So I got one and am impressed...that is, until I began knocking around YouTube. Two people were able to break their Hoodlums right at the notch, and they were bitter. "When it's wood against steel, steel should always win," they said. But one of the videos showed what to me was brutal batoning. Not the type of batoning most people would do in the wilderness, but brutal beating. On the other hand, if one batons in really cold weather, I imagine wood could get very dense!

    The knife isn't very large, but it's made of 5160 carbon steel. It seems like it would be an excellent self defense knife and it appears to take a substantial amount of abuse. The knife's critics question its heat treatment. One said: "a friend of mine is on his 3rd hoodlum already! It is clearly a heat treat issue as one of the breaks was not even at the notch, and both breaks were from chopping, not even batoning!"

    Here is one YouTube video showing a broken knife...(hey, what a great name! ©)...anyway, what are you hearing about the knife? At $125, I'm starting to think I made a mistake.

    .
    I am that "friend" who broke two of his chopping softwood. Mine had heat treat issues. I don't expect them to break chopping.

    It seems like it would be an excellent self defense knife
    I'd go out and stab some things with the hoodlum. I don't care for the notch, it acts as a harpoon. One of the things I like about a big blade compared to a hatchet of equal weight is that the knife is a better reactive weapon then a hatchet. The hoodlums notch catches on bone, muscle, and hide. I've pulled animals that are small right back up to me. Stabs well, and slashes well.


    I am a nobody, and I mean no dis respect. Those are just my experiences. I wish they would offer a notchless version like the hood hunter, and one without a thumb ramp. I'll keep my "multitool" on my multitool.

    If you don't have a bad heat treat then you're good to go.

  8. #28
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    I think a little knowledge has been pushed too far. When Wayne Goddard first started talking about heat treatment in the 90's, people started reading up on it, and soon bad HT was being blamed for everthing from broken knife tips to pregnant teenagers. The same is happening here IMO. If the knife fails, it will most likely fail at the notch, assuming it's not being used very close to the handle to cut something away from the notch. However, the mere presence of the notch, while a stress concentration, does not mean bad design. We depend an awful lot on things covered in stress concentrations. Think about the implications of failure from stress concentrations next time you change your tire.

    As for the Hoodlum itself, well there's no way to be sure without some analysis, but 5160 is well known for it's toughness. If it broke while chopping soft wood, or batoning 4" pieces of wood, something was not right.

    One other thought. If knives are just supposed to cut, why are there so many running around with 1/4" or more spines? Knives will usually do what the designer intends. A 1/4" thick hardened piece of steel with an edge around 0.035" behind the bevel is intended for more than just cutting. I have knives with 1/32" thick blades. Those are intended for just cutting, and they do it a long time, even after they edge is a little dull. I made a knife with a 1mm thick blade that I batoned with a hammer, just as I had intended. No sign of failure, even when used to cut/dig a hole through a 1x6.

  9. #29
    I treat my knives like he did. I guess I abuse my knives.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by me2 View Post
    ... I made a knife with a 1mm thick blade that I batoned with a hammer, just as I had intended. No sign of failure, even when used to cut/dig a hole through a 1x6.
    I remember when I was a kid I did exactly the same: I batoned with a kitchen knife and a hammer - because I did not have a proper tool and did not know any better. And the knife was absolutely fine after that. So it still keeps me wondering when people talk about batoning: what makes it so special for them? That is nothing and proves nothing! It is always about the user and the brain - or rather its absence!

  11. #31
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    As usual, geometry played a large roll. It was scandivex. Id never try something like that otherwise. Especially since the hardness was over 64.

  12. #32
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    Thanks for all the comments. My only remaining criticism is the sheath. I think a Kydex, or Secure-Ex sheath would be nice to have as a third-party purchase. I like having the pouch on the original sheath and I pack a Leatherman TTi multitool in mine. Another lightweight knife (which I haven't purchased yet) is the Ka-Bar #5701 ZK War Sword. It's a bit showy, but once the grips are changed and the knife sharpened, it might be interesting. If anyone other than Ka-Bar made it, I'd pass on it.

    Scottman, what's your bottom line review on the Hoodlum? You said you broke a couple chopping softwood. Sounds like a heat treat problem and doesn't bode well for the knife. The thing is a Buck and Buck has a pretty decent reputation. I'd hate to see Buck going the way of Gerber, which is now putting out crap knives.

    Back in the 80s there were a couple of cops in Western Kentucky who carried S&W 681 .357s. Both complained that their holsters were wearing down their front sights. Sure enough, on inspection, the barrels were soft. Not only were the front sights worn down to nubs, the lands and grooves were worn to the extent that they couldn't group worth a damn. I didn't see any of the other barrels, but I'm sure these weren't the only two with problems. I've never seen a Ruger with heat treat problems, though nothing's impossible. Being in a survival situation isn't the time to find out your knife is brittle. Based on my own experience on the Hood's website, I don't think criticism is tolerated (if you know what I mean).

    My own view is that a notch may have some endearing qualities, if for no other reason than it was designed by the late, great Ron Hood. Regardless of what it does, the notch will weaken the blade at that point no matter how strong the steel is. It's just physics. If it fails, it will fail at that spot. Someone asked about the choil, but that's up against your hand in a place where your hand is more likely to fail. Nearer the tip, where the blade becomes more of a lever, it becomes easier to stress. If given my choice, I'd take mine without the notch. If I get a brittle blade, not having a notch will just add strength and make breakage more unlikely.

  13. #33
    Without the notch it would still be Ron Hoods knife. Heck, the M1911A1 Pistol by Colt and M1903 Rifle were changed after both designers designed them, but they are still Colt and Springfield guns. Tons of products and weapons were changed and some improved after the original design. Maybe using 1095 not 5160 might help as it is a thin blade. The most famous spring steel (5160) knife is the Kukri and its 3/8+ thick.

  14. #34
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    Well, when you have a knife that's so much associated with someone who just passed away, the family may be unrelenting when it comes to changes -- any changes. I left a message on the Hood's forum suggesting that perhaps users have the choice of getting a knife with or without a notch, it was summarily removed without comment. I had no intent to denigrate Ron Hood in any way, but someone apparently interpreted it that way.

    The 1911 Colt was a technically complex gun and everyone was dedicated to having a gun that was reliable and...well, reliable. No one wanted a gun that was particularly accurate if it would affect reliability. They just wanted a gun that would shoot if it was dirty or not oiled. Accuracy was secondary. With Ron Hood, we saw someone who was enthusiastic about his product. And if he was enthusiastic about that notch, then by gum that notch is going to stay. People are going to be able to get that marrow in their soup or move their pots whether they need such or not! If he was still alive, I think there would be more latitude. Now, not so much....

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Confederate View Post
    The 1911 Colt was a technically complex gun and everyone was dedicated to having a gun that was reliable and...well, reliable. No one wanted a gun that was particularly accurate if it would affect reliability. They just wanted a gun that would shoot if it was dirty or not oiled. .
    The 1911 was designed with an external extractor by Mr Browning. The Army forced an internal extractor. They both work. S&W and SIG both use external extractors on the modern 1911s. I would take either. Many other parts were changed also.

    I agree that having the option of notch or not would be very cool. You are most likely right someone might be defensive about it as some bad failures are on you tube.

    I still think very highly of Mr. Ron Hood

  16. #36
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    What an idiot-- If I had a perfectly good chainsaw 5 feet away ............. What a way to ruin a perfectly good knife!!!

  17. #37
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    Personally I think the whole baton'ing thing was started by knife companies to sell knives.

  18. #38
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    Knife companies coming up with batoning as a way to sell more knives? Probably...and as hammers, etc.

    A knife appears on the shelf as a quality tool. A beautiful steel blade which, if cared for, would last a couple of generations. But some people find that carrying a hatchet into the wilderness is too heavy. They have the option of using a $125 piece of steel to split heavy wood or using another tool!

    Which is okay. Which also brings me to another point...why doesn't some knife company just sell a 9-inch piece of sharpened stainless steel with a rubber handle for $10-$15 made for only batoning?? It could have a blunt spine for whacking and a good working edge...not for slicing strips of paper, but one suitable for batoning...and it would have rubber hand grips on both ends! If made from the right steel, it may not even require a lot of weight. By having handles on both ends, it also would be dandy for removing bark from a tree.

    Problem solved. You don't have to batter an expensive knife and you have a cool tool to throw in your back pack.

    A few years ago, I bought some S&W Homeland Security knives on sale. They were huge slabs of decent 440C stainless steel with grounded tanto blades and a nice titanium finish. Not a great knife, but suitable. And Smokey Mountain had a knife that was a copy of the Homeland Security knife. Don't know what kind of stainless it was (probably 420) and it had a painted finish and a cheap sheath. It's no longer made, as far as I know, but I picked one up just on a lark! My wife used it one summer to dig up weeds in the lawn and then I cleaned it up to almost new, sharpened the blade and threw it in the trunk of my car. I don't think anything could destroy that knife, either that or the Homeland Security! But if I were going to baton any wood with a knife, it would be the cheap HS copy!

    So whatever steel they were using could be used to make a tool as described above! Again, a sharpened slab of stainless steel with hand grips on both sides, a thick spine and a sharpened edge on the other side. What could be easier?

    I also found a good deal on some Böker Plus survival knives before they were "tantoized." They had some weird serrations on the blade, but the blade itself wasn't something that could be easily snapped.




    The Böker Plus was a heavy, sharpened piece of steel made for survivalists!




    The Homeland Security knock-off (above) shown with an el cheapo 5-inch Maxum.
    Both saw yard duty as weeders!




    The S&W Homeland Security, a sharpened slab of 440C stainless with a
    tanto point and a titanium finish. About as ergonomic as a goldfish bowel!
    Compare the markings with those of the knock-off above. They even have
    notches, though I doubt the blade will break!


    .
    Last edited by Confederate; 05-28-2012 at 03:34 PM.

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Halfneck View Post
    Personally I think the whole baton'ing thing was started by knife companies to sell knives.
    I do not agree. Take a large knife and chop with it. It takes too much human energy. On youtube they often speed up the camera as its also slow.

    Batoning saves 3x human energy and does other different tasks. You can slice thru a wood branch and or cut it down the center of a log for firewood. Chopping will not.

    Batoning is just safer also. Little kids can easily conduct batoning wood safely. I would not let little kids chop with a large knife. That's my experience teaching 6th graders at "Outdoor School."

  20. #40
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    I doubt 1095 would help. I dropped my Dad's USN KaBar from the South Pacific in WWII ~3-4 ft to my garage's concrete floor some three decades ago. It hit on the pommel, shearing it off where the tang was stepped for attachment. That knife met a wartime contract need - no strategic materials used - just 1095 and leather, with a sewn/copper riveted leather sheath. It was meant to be a utility knife - at home openning crates, pallets, cutting rope, etc. I used it as a camping knife as a teen in the early sixties - 'bushcrafting', as it is termed today. It was perfect for my needs - it was all I had, I learned to use it. Ron Hood had forty years of camping experience behind his design of the Hoodlum - I think it is 'good' for many applications in the boonies. I doubt it would excell at any one function - but I still found it alluring enough to order mine from that ultimate knife source... the one you can buy books from, that is.

    Mine has a U-shaped notch. Were early examples made with a square bottom notch? Those sharp bottom corners could more easily cause cracks to migrate than the round bottom U-notch. As to rolling an edge - I did that with a 1.5" soft maple limb when I chopped at a branch on it - the knot didn't seem that hard. The knife was a Gerber Freeman in S30V with stag grips - the US-made version of that knife. It took some time to re-edge by hand with stones and a Sharpmaker - but the new edge has held up quite well - and still pares slivers. I contend that the HT was fine - someone used a belt grinder to sharpen it - and over-heated the fine edge.

    I will pick at the newer/smaller Buck Hood-inspired knife - the 065 'Punk' - a poorer choice for a name than the original 060 'Hoodlum', if possible. I bought mine from a local store that had a stack of them, marked $145, in their half price sale - $72.50 seemed a fair price - actually, a deal. When I got home, my feelings were not as great about it as they were for the Hoodlum. The thumb jimping is gone from the spine... the ramp is still there, just no jimping! The blade is thinner - .175" vs .220" of the Hoodlum - and much shorter. The handle is thinner & shorter - so much so that my medium+ sized hands were not so comfortable gripping it. Both have a neat red fiber liner between the blade and Micarta handle. Like the Hoodlum, it has a nifty nylon sheath. A bit short - but no notch! I saw M. Hawkes TOPS knife for his survival show with his wife. They came out with a down-sized one for her - perhaps that is the market for the Buck/Hood 'Punk' - for the wife? It's build quality was fine - like the Hoodlum. It's edge was ground late one afternoon... not up to my Hoodlum's QC, for sure. I'll get out the Sharpmaker one afternoon.

    Now, a quality large fixed blade from Buck is available. I got my new re-release of the old Buck 124 Frontiersman this week. Nicely done - great fit & finish - and a uniform nearly scarey sharp edge. They are a limited run - I found mine at AG R in AR at a decent price. I've battoned with a Buck 119 to a limited degree - but that's an easily replaced knife with a long bevel - a slicer. The best battoning knife I have is short - 5" - a BK2. You are unlikely to attempt to batton it through a large enough knot to hurt it - probably a good limiter!

    I agree with the right tool for the job. However, in chopping/splitting logs with my good old Plumb single and double sided axes over the years to prepare firewood for my Franklin stove in my basement den, I have finally just quit. The original red handles lasted pretty well - each axe is on it's second replacement handle now... and they need a new one. Then there is the antigue froe I broke... Yeah, it's actually cheaper to just bump the heat pump up!

    Stainz

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