Boker Apparo: Newton Martin Designed Hollow Handle Survival Knife

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by B Griffin, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I met Newton Martin a few years ago at the International Blade Show in Atlanta Georgia. Having had a fondness for the hollow-handled survival knife concept for a long time, his knives caught my interest as I passed by his table. We talked a little about what steels they were made of and how they were put together, and I have been wanting to give one a try ever since. More recently I saw the production version of his Apparo design, being made by Boker, on the cover of Tactical Knives Magazine. I was intrigued and searched out the knife and decided at that price it was a good chance to put Mr. Martin's concept through some field testing and check it out.

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    Specs

    Overall length:..........12.375"
    Blade Length:...........7"
    Blade Thickness:......0.26" (6.6 mm)
    Blade Material:........440C
    Weight:....................19.2 oz.
    Sheath:.....................Leather


    The knife is sturdy-built, has a heavy guard, and isn't exactly small.

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    It has 3 inches of saw on the spine

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    The hollow handle has a storage space of 2-1/2 inches deep and 7/8 inches in diameter. So far I have a small tube with a few NATO matches, a short section of straw filled with PJCBs, and a striker strip. Some water purification tabs, and a button compass. There is room in this tube for a small ferro rod, and there is room in the handle for a larger diameter tube so still working it out.

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    I've had mixed results from hollow handled knives over the years, some great...and some terrible, so I started out taking it sort of easy on the knife. The first thing I did was to play around with a piece of bamboo: limbing, cutting, whittling, scraping, and sawing. The knife came with a nice edge, and had no problems with the bamboo. The saw works really well versus the bamboo also.

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    Small green saplings and heavy brier vines weren't much of a challenge

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    The saw doesn't buzz through wood like a chainsaw, but works well enough for any necessary notching. In dry materials it is virtually self cleaning, in green material a tap of the spine on a limb cleans it out.

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    End Part 1 Of 4

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  2. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Next I did some tip work and some lateral stress ripping apart a 2 x 4.

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    It has also been put under lateral stress in digging through an old log looking to see what was available for fish bait.

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    The next day I decided to test the water-tight handle by taking the knife from the warm environment in the truck to the frigid waters of a mountain stream. Fifteen minutes in the icy water was sufficient to cool things off enough that the button compass developed an air bubble, but the contents of the handle stayed dry.

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    End Part 2 of 4
     
  3. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Later I found a downed tree and did some chopping of a more serious nature. Starting close to the top it was just under 2 inches in diameter with a couple of small limbs, then just over 2 inches, and just under 3 inches. The cord wrap does roll a little when chopping, but doesn't come off, and so far no deformation of the blade orientation.

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    And so far the edge is still more than just serviceable

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    So, onward with more chopping. I was really impressed with the feel of the knife upon the impacts of hard licks in the hard wood. I felt no looseness, movement, or vibration, just solid thunks every time the edge hit the wood.

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    End Part 3 of 4
     
  4. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    So far still no change in blade orientation

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    At this point I was feeling confident enough to try some battoning. Some of the pics are a little dark because some of the shots were done using a tripod and timer, and in between free-hand shots made it necessary to change settings...and a couple of times I forgot to reset everything back for the tripod shots. The sky was getting really cloudy and the lighting was dim, I soon had to start using the flash.

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    At this point the finish is scratched and covered with sap

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    And after all f the chopping, and battoning through a couple of knots, the sun tattles on some slight flat spots on the edge.

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    But there is still no deformation of the blade orientation

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    And the edge is still quite serviceable

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    Having bought several hollow handled knives over the years, having had several break at the slightest hint of hard use, and only a couple that held up well, I am really happy with the performance of the Apparo. I think Mr. Martin has come up with a really good system of joining the blade to the handle, and that Boker has done a great job with the execution of his design. The knife has been through quite a bit over the last two weeks, and the only effects are scratches in the finish, and some slight flat spots in the edge that were pretty easy to take care of. There is no visible deviation in the blade handle relationship, and no looseness what so ever. The knife is definitely no toy.



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  5. tiogatires

    tiogatires Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Thank you for this review. I have been wanting a hollow handle knife for years but simply wouldn't pull the trigger. This review might push me over the edge.
     
  6. deepfry

    deepfry Gold Member Gold Member

    460
    Dec 28, 2009
    Great review as always. I got to handle one of these a few days ago at a store and it felt pretty solid. My first impression when I saw it in the case though was "holy crap that's huge!"

    ETA: The size does make sense for its intended role though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  7. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks man, glad you liked the post. I have liked the hollow handle concept for a long time. I have been waiting for one in this style that was well made ever since the first one I owned.


    Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. It is big, mainly it's a bit bulky, as far as size goes it's just barely longer than a standard Ka Bar, but the blade is about 1/4 inch wider and 1/16 thicker. The heavy guard adds to the "huge" look as well. But the more I use it, the less huge it looks :) I took a pic of my seven year old daughter holding it just because of the size, but it doesn't look so huge in the picture. She is seven and four feet tall. She wanted to see the knife I was testing.

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  8. tknife

    tknife

    Mar 18, 1999
    EXCELLENT review and pics man! I have been following along with your experiences with this knife, and every pic you posted has made me want one more. I cannot believe the value for this one as wel, especially for the rugged construction and great steel. In looking around online, the price for this is extremely low.
     
  9. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks man, I'm glad you enjoyed the post! The Apparo is doing really well so far. I agree, I've seen Mr. Martin's work first hand and love it, and the price point on this one on line just made it impossible for me to pass up. I am also wanting one of his customs even more than I did though...:)
     
  10. Boggs

    Boggs

    Feb 27, 2007
    Thank you as well for the review...well thought out and was great seeing the progress from the pictures....................I have a question that I couldn't find answered on line...what is the blade width spine to edge...just so I can have a better perspective......
     
  11. LG&M

    LG&M

    Dec 19, 2005
    Very nice, Great photos and a fine write up. Looks like you did about all you could to test the strength of the design.Thanks.
     
  12. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Glad you liked it man. Yeah, with my history with hollow handles I took it slow and worked my way to the harder stuff.

    The blade is just over 1-1/2 inches wide.


    Thank you, glad you enjoyed them. Well, I tested it hard enough to satisfy my curiosity about the toughness of the design, and I'm happy with it :). Anyone who wants to know the point of failure will have to break their own or wait till I get in a situation of that nature...which hopefully won't be any time soon, I'm getting too old for that sh_t :D
     
  13. JD Mandrell

    JD Mandrell

    Apr 20, 2001
    Awesome review and amazing photos!! My younger man 80's love affair with the hollow handled knife, has been eyeing this one since I first saw a picture. Gotta get one!
     
  14. wildmike

    wildmike

    Nov 17, 2007
    This and the original Randall's are the only hollow handle knives I've been impressed by.
     
  15. imaginefj

    imaginefj Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I think Martin has done something right. But I say the credit goes to Lile.

    I've been eyeing this Boker since it came out.
     
  16. gunknifenut

    gunknifenut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 9, 2006
    This one is on my really short list of upcoming knives. I like Boker, and I own a couple Martin Knives of Texas and they are great, so what's not to like.
     
  17. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks man, glad you liked it. Yep, that was me as well.


    The Martins and the Randalls are the ones I stare at a lot at Blade.


    Mr. Martin gives credit on his website to Jimmy Lile for the inspiration for the MCE knives he makes, but also notes there are several differences. I would love to have one of the new Lile First Blood knives just because...I just could never swing the $3,500.00 price tag for it. I do like the saw pattern Martin came up with for the Apparo design better functionally.


    I've had good experiences with Boker also. Their version of Jesper Voxnæs Rold design is really well done, and a great camp knife. I am also working on adding a Martin to the group.
     
  18. Boggs

    Boggs

    Feb 27, 2007
    At just over an 1 1/2" edge to spine it provides a great usable blade....thanks for the measurement.................
     
  19. jbob24

    jbob24

    Sep 23, 2010
    Fantastic review mist!! I can't stop staring at the real deal but maybe I could pick one of these up to tide me over :eek:
     
  20. goldie

    goldie

    Feb 18, 2000
    Did you find the large guard getting in the way at all ?
     

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