Boye oh Boye What a Knife!

Jan 4, 1999
I remember reading on one of the internet boards a post asking for people’s opinion of the best Zytel handled folder on the market. Pretty tough question. There are literally thousands of Zytel handled folders on the market and, personally, I’ve never liked the look and feel of them so I’ve never bought one and never really formed any opinions. I have many, many pocket knives but the one I’ve carried most often over the years has been a Normark Pocket Swede I bought in 1988. It’s 3 7/8” closed stainless steel handled drop point bladed lockback that has always appealed to me for some reason and has done a good job for me.

As I was checking in some inventory recently I noticed a Boye BDS5 Prophet. I couldn’t miss it since it comes with only a bag and no box. It caught my eye because it was roughly the same size and shape as that Normark Pocket Swede in my pocket. It’s just a little larger, a little fatter and, thanks to it’s Zytel handle, it’s lighter. I liked it immediately. I’d read about the Dendritic Steel used in this knife and thought I’d commandeer yet another knife from inventory and put it to use. I really need to stop converting inventory into personal possessions. I have enough knives, already!

So you have the basic description. The Boye Prophet sports a 3” (2 5/8” if you just count the edge) wide profile drop point/spear point blade made of the famous Boye Dendritic Steel. It is housed in an ordinary and undistinguished Zytel handle with a permanently affixed pocket clip. The knife measures a hair over 4” closed. The blade also has a large thumb “nick” that allows one handed opening for a right hander only. It’s a traditional lockback design. The $80 MSRP puts it on the expensive side for a Zytel handled folder. You can order it from us or other internet knife dealers for under $50.

So was I glad I converted this knife to personal use? You bet! The Boye is a very aggressive cutter thanks to the crystalline structure of the carbides in the stainless steel. It behaves like a blade with minute serrations and yet it does everything a plain edge blade should do and avoids the hassle of sharpening serrations. Sharpening it is similar to other high quality stainless blades and it holds an edge as well as any stainless blade I own. It also amazes me how well this blade cuts long after the point at which I know I should resharpen it. Can you have the performance of carbon steel with the corrosion resistance of stainless steel? I think you can get close enough with Boye Dendritic Steel.

The blade shape also lends itself to aggressive cutting. Take a look at the Boye section of our web site for a photo of the very same Prophet I’m now carrying and you’ll see the unusual blade design. It’s very wide (good for spreading cream cheese on bagels at the office) with a strong convex profile on the edge. This profile makes slicing cuts very effective. This knife does an excellent job cutting things for which most people would choose a serrated edge.

If you don’t like the design of the Boye folder you can still get the benefits of this excellent blade material since Boye will sell the stock to your favorite custom knife maker.

There are as many Zytel handled folders as there are personal preferences in knives, it seems, but I’ve found one for me. So, if you remember and like the modest old Normark Pocket Swede, the Boye folder could be right for you. It could be right for a lot of other people as well. Boye, oh Boye what a knife!

Knife Outlet

One of my favorite knives. Excellent cutter, one of the best.

The handle is actually quite distinguished. The traction pattern is the same pattern make by the dendritic carbide crystals in the steel.


You know, I'm going to have to get my hands on another Boye folder. I'd like to examine the steel and its performance again. Everyone who has one claims it cuts like crazy due to the dendritic carbides. However, I felt the edge on that thing and realized right away that the knife cuts well because the edge geometry is exceptional. And sometimes really good edge geometry can make it seem like you're using some special steel. Hell, my Calypso Jr. cuts through rope even when I polish the edge -- and the steel is just crappy 8A or something like that. Good geometry!

Anyway, I believe all you BDS nuts, I'd just like to duplicate your results for myself. Steve, have you ever tested the Boye folder versus another folder with really good edge geometry? You lent me a Boye folder once but I don't remember the results too well...

The Boye folder is one of my favorite sleepers, it is very mild looking with the exact opposite in performance. I am looking forward to trying the Dendritic Cobalt stuff, this could be the perfect blade for carry when I'm Mtn biking, almost sweat proof I'd think. Another neat thing that could come about is a possible marriage of the Boye steel with the Spyderco Military, as noted by Sal Glesser in a Spyderco thread.
If Spyderco does come out with that new version of the Military, it would definitely be one that I would get.

Norwegian Misfit

"When strong, appear weak"

[This message has been edited by William Johnson (edited 10 February 1999).]
Hey Joe,

BDS nutt number one here!

You are right of course. I also believe the Boye knives cut so well because of good edge geometry primarily. They do tend to hold and edge better than rolled stainless steels though. David himself will tell you about the same, or at least he conceded that to me when I talked to him at the Boye Gallery this summer. He said edge holding is the primary advantage of BDS.

High alloy steels do tend to cut well on hard materials though, due to the larger grain structure they tend to form. As stain resistant steels go, I like BDS quite a bit. Its edge holding ability puts it in the same league with tool steel, and close to CPM, for utility use in my opinion.

Good stuff. Definately a premium knife steel, if not the best for extreme use knives. I tell you what though, in testing David Boye took one of his 7" kitchen knives and cut about half way round a steel oil barrel. He said there was a little bit of chipping in the edge, but nothing major. Pretty impressive. It is cast 440C after all, which has a pretty good reputation for toughness for a stainless steel.

Remember that 970 I was finishing? The main bevel goes almost all the way to the edge now, and that sucker cuts like crazy. I put the tiniest edge bevel on it to make the edge a little stronger, and it cuts wood almost as well as my Boye hunter. Thin edges!

Uh, I'll shut up now.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 10 February 1999).]