Busse Basic #7

Oct 14, 1998
Hey all,

I just received the Busse Basic #7 from Mike and Spark yesterday. It came w/o a sheath (?!) and was clearly used for some pretty hard testing as the finish was worn in several places, and the spine was used to strike something fairly solid.

I haven't had time to test it yet, but I did sharpen in (it arrived pretty dull after all that testing.)

Here are my initial impressions:

1. It's a handsome knife, clearly designed for chopping. The belly is not nearly as gradual as the MD ATAK; the blade resembles the shape of a short machete. The blade is about .5" longer than an ATAK, and is considerably tip heavy (a good thing in a chopper.) There is no positive included angle and the Basic is clearly not designed to be a stabber, but given its weight, I can see why it fared so well in Mike's chopping tests.

2. The handle is comfortable, and the material gives much more than the composite used in Mad Dog handles. It is grippier, but I predict many blisters under heavy use w/o a glove. The handle shape is very functional, with good retention. The lanyard hole is a nice touch.

3. Sharpening was a chore. Spark and Mike did not include sharpening instructions, so I just duplicated the edge dimensions on the knife. The offset bevel is a little tricky, but the knife took a keen edge once I got the hang of it. Modified INFI ain't easy to sharpen. It was difficult to get a sharp, high polish edge that cut as well as a less polished one, so I finished off with 600 grit stone instead of the 4000 grit I usually end with. The knife simply performed better with the 600 grit polish.

4. Finish. The Busse came with a baked on black epoxy finish that is quite durable as far as finishes of this type go. It's fairly thick and robust and only showed wear at spots where there was very heavy abrasion. Some spots showed some slightly uneven application and bubbling, but nothing to be concerned about for a knife in this medium price range. The epoxy finish can be subject to capillary action at the edge, just as the MD hard chrome, possibly even moreso as the molecular gaps between the epoxy and substrate are likely greater than that of hard chrome and substrate. I am no expert on this, so correct me if I am wrong. Nothing a quick rinse in freshwater and wipedown with TufCloth can't prevent.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the knife. I don't particularly care for the strange bevel, but it is a handsome blade that is clearly designed for chopping trees and digging trenches.

Comparing the Busse and the ATAK is very much comparing apples to oranges (as Mike said) as their inspiration is totally different. But, for the forums, I'll do so anyway.

The ATAK is designed to do many things, and it does them all well. It's combat knife design is apparent, as the tip penetrates kevlar with ease. It maintains a good deal of mass that makes it a decent chopper and is tough enough to pry with. It can be best described as a fighting knife that can also be used for survival and utility.

The Busse is quite simply, a survival knife and it is an EXCELLENT one at that. While I haven't done much testing with it, it clearly hacks, chops, and slices very well. It's tip is not well suited to penetrating, as it is quite thick. However, it will hack through alnost any hard material. I would not hesitate to carry this knife into the jungle or combat. It doesn't have the clean, graceful lines of an ATAK, but the price is significantly lower. The black finish is a nice touch.

I'll give more details as I put both knives through their paces...

Street Smart Professional Equipment

[This message has been edited by Arnistador (edited 16 November 1999).]
Good initial review, Tim. My bad on the forgetting the sheath and the sharpening instructions, I'll smack Mike upside the head for that... [thwack!]

I don't know about the coating, I haven't done any testing on it.

As for it not being a fighter, you are entirely correct there as well. Maybe one day we'll see a fighter combining the best of both worlds....


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here
Tim :

Modified INFI ain't easy to sharpen.

Different steels respond differently to different abrasives, you need to use a wide range or hones before coming to such a conclusion. In particular to INFI or any other steel with very hard carbides (the CPM's and the abundance of Vanadium for example), once the edge has been worn away it needs to be sharpened with a hone hard enough to recut the carbides. The AO waterstones in the APEX with not do this. You need either a SiC or a Diamond abrasive. Once this is done you can finish with a finer hone if you desire a higher polish.

Specific to M-INFI, if finished on a fine India or 800 grit waterstone (after the bevel has been recut), the blade will push shave and still slice well. If you don't reform the bevel with an abrasive hard enough to cut the carbides you will end up with a very thin highly polished edge containing worn, rounded carbides. It will shave decently well but will slip instead of slicing well on fabric, rope and similar.

Concerning the coatings, MD's hard chrome is much more resistant to wear, however the powder coat is more durable, the HC tends to fracture under impacts.

Concerning the suitability of the Busse for combat/fighting. Not all fighting blades are light, neutral balanced and with thin geometries optomized for point penetration and slashing. There are lots of people who favor heavier blades like the Busse, khukuris being an extreme example. As another, I have showed many of my blades to combat vets. They all pick the most robust blade every time once I discuss work I have done with them. While it is rather gory as such to note, quite bluntly, people don't offer much resistance to a blade, point or edge. Unless the blade is broken, hence the desire for durability.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 17 November 1999).]

I used the Apex alum. ox. waterstones, a Norton Fine India stone, and an EZ Lap diamond hone while cutting the bevel on the Busse. The diamond cut best, but was still not an easy task. After recutting with the diamond hone, I used the 600 Aluminum Oxide waterstone to finish the edge, and the Busse performed quite nicely both at pushcutting and slicing. Polished at 4000, the Busse neither shaved nor sliced to my satisfaction.
The 01 was much easier to sharpen, even at the published 60-61HRC.

RE: Finish

The Busse does not appear to have a powdercoat; it appears to be a sprayed on epoxy paint. It separates from the substrate much more easily than the Mad Dog hard chrome (which can be demonstrated fairly easily), but is thick enough so that it is fairly wear resistant.

RE: Fighting Knives

Cliff, let me clarify my statement. As a martial artist and instructor that trains specifically in the use of bladed and edged weapons, and have done so for some time, I prefer the ATAK to the Busse for the role of a 7" fighter. While the human body does not offer much resistance to a blade, heavy clothing, wallets, keys, coins, and kevlar do. While heavier blades can be preferable by certain individuals, and are certainly valid as fighting instruments, in my opinion, it is clear that the design goal of the Busse is not that of a "fighting knife."

Even heavier blades such as khukuris have a more slender, tapered point with which stabbing is a more viable option than with the Busse #7 (not that one couldn't do it with a Busse.)

Put a machete or Wakizashi in front of a swordsman and see which one he would choose for a not-so-friendly encounter.

For jungle survival, now that's a different story.

Street Smart Professional Equipment
Tim, the only abrasive that is hard enough to recut the bevel is the Ez-Lap, the others will not. In any case Ez-Lap's are poor diamond hones, DMT are much better. 3M is supposed to make even higher quality Diamond hones, but I have no experience with them.

As for the Basic being difficult to sharpen. To be specific I recently had to sharpen my Basic because I was digging with it (trying to induce chipping). It took 100 strokes per side with a 12" SiC hone to recut the bevel, a few strokes on a fine India (around 25 I think) to raise the polish a little and then I finished with a loaded strop (Lee Valley's compound, mainly Cr oxide). This resulted in an edge that would push shave and slice very well.

What is important is to completely recut the bevel with a hard abrasive, SiC or Diamond. You need to lower the bevel below the edge so that fresh metal is now present along the edge, ie. work a little past when a full burr is created. It will take no time to do this on a large benchstone. The only reason it took 100 strokes for the above incident was because I wanted to remove any weakened steel from the digging. I should point out that I had flat ground the convex part of the bevel awhile before (because I wanted to see how long it would take). It took about 100 strokes on the 12" SiC hone as well.

As for the Basic not slicing well at a 4000 grit polish. That is not surprising, I don't use ultra fine polished for slicing blades and Joe Talmadge has been saying this long before me. Very basically the size of the teeth in the micoserrations is the depth of the cut the blade will make as you slice along the material. If you go to an extreme polish the depth will be very low and the blade will not slice well at all.

As for sharpening INFI, it responds in much the same manner. I recut the bevel on my BM with 150 strokes on the flat ground side with the 12" SiC hone, finished with a similar sized fine India and the loaded strop. As with the Basic, it push shaved and sliced well.

it is clear that the design goal of the Busse is not that of a "fighting knife."

To be specific, it is clear that it does not meet your requirements of what you think a fighting knife is. As I pointed out in the above, not everybody shares your defination.

Even heavier blades such as khukuris have a more slender, tapered point with which stabbing is a more viable option than with the Busse #7

No they don't, not the traditional Nepal khukuris anyway. Even the lighter weapon class ones like the 18'th century and WWII are much thicker than the Basic in regards to edge and point geometry. While Cold Steels khukuris are much thinner, not everyone shares that idea for a fighting blade. The gurkhas certainly don't.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 18 November 1999).]
> There is no positive included angle


I'm looking at a picture of the Basic 7 right now, and dang if it doesn't look the handle and blade are joined at an angle. It's a slightly different approach than what Mad Dog does, but the results seem similar -- put the edge at an angle to the handle. Am I seeing that right?

Joe, yes, they are not inline. One of the reasons the Basic #9 should clearly outperform the TM in Mike's upcoming tests.


After I posted last night, I played with the Busse a little more and noticed that there is a slight positive included angle in the design. You are right and I stand corrected. Due to the clean lines of the Busse, I did not notice the curve until I came back a couple days later.


If you reread my post, it simply says that INFI isn't easy to sharpen. Having to revert to diamond or SiC, and then having to recut the bevel to expose the edge is not extremely difficult, but it certainly does not fit my definition of "easy".

As for the Basic not slicing well at a 4000 grit polish. That is not surprising,

I did not say it merely didn't "slice" well at 4000 grit, it didn't shave or push cut to my satisfaction either. I am well aware of the tendency of highly polished edges to slip along the surface of material you are trying to slice. However, it did not push cut all that well either. It performed in a satisfactory manner, but did not meet my expectations. At a 600 grit polish, it performed excellently.

RE: Slender points/fighting knives

No they don't, not the traditional Nepal khukuris anyway. Even the lighter weapon class ones like the 18'th
century and WWII are much thicker than the Basic in regards to edge and point geometry.

There are all types of khukuris, and those that I have handled make better stabbing implements than that of the Busse #7. That includes my Sirupati, and Dr. Gyi's (Rai Tribe) personal khukuri.

To be specific, it is clear that it does not meet your requirements of what you think a fighting knife is. As I pointed out in the above, not everybody shares your defination.

While selecting a tool for combat is a personal one, and choice, bias, physical characteristics, combat philosophy and skill serve to affect one's opinion, it appears to me that interpersonal combat was not a primary design goal of the Busse Basic #7. I may be wrong since I don't know everything about everything like Mr. Stamp over here.

In my initial review, I stated that the Busse is an excellent survival knife. Nowhere did I say that it was not capable of filling combat role. It would simply not be my first choice.

Street Smart Professional Equipment
Tim :

Having to revert to diamond or SiC, and then having to recut the bevel to expose the edge is not extremely difficult, but it certainly does not fit my definition of "easy".

This of course is the problem that many people have with the CPM steels. The large percentage of V carbides makes this necessary. In actual fact it is necessary in just about any high alloy high carbide steel, the CPM's are just extremes. Of course you can can say requiring specific hones as making it "not easy". This is the same as the people who say sharpening stainless blades is not easy compared to low alloy carbon blades (mid fifties in RC) which can be simply sharpened on a butchers steel. My point is that if you use the proper method and equipment the INFI and M-INFI blades sharpen quickly with little effort as I described in the above. If you use the wrong tools then obviously you may encounter problems.

Concerning the grit, so you are saying that as you raised the polish from 600 grit to the stropping strips the performance got worse both in push cutting and slicing ability? That is rather interesting. I can't see any reason for that offhand. I can see that you would stop getting improvement once you go past a certain point (because of limitations due to grain size, D2 is an example of this), but it isn't obvious why it would get worse. I have not used the polishing strips on the Apex for quite some time. I'll break mine out this weekend and check this out performance wise and under a scope as it is rather interesting.

As for weapons, of course there are khukuris that have slimmer profiles (point / edge) than the Basic, I gave CS as an example. My point was not all khukuris (or fighting knives in general) are like this.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 19 November 1999).]
Since I now end up having a couple of INFI and M-INFI blades, maybe I need to start looking for good sharpening stones.

Cliff, sorry for my ignorance but I don't know what SiC is. Can you recommend a brand name? I'm also looking at DMT's but they are quite expensive.

How about field sharpening? what will you use for these Busse's?


SiC is Silicon Carbide, and you can get SiC hones at any well stocked knife shop or online at places such as knifecenter.com or discountknives.com.

Many people praise DMT hones and thumb their nose at EZLap due to the more inexpensive method that EZLaps use to bond diamonds to the surface of their hones. I have used EZLaps for years without trouble, and they are cheap.

For field sharpening, I recommend either a Norton India Stone, or you can use what I carry, a spare 1x6" EZLap Fine diamond stone that costs about $8 from discountknives. It will put a working edge on any knife.

Street Smart Professional Equipment
I'm also interested in field sharpening hones and I was planning to buy a 1 x 6" EZ lap for field use. I'd like to know why Cliff thinks the DMT's are better. I don't own either type yet and would obviously like to buy the better product. Any input on this would be appreciated.
Dew, Lee Valley has silicon carbide waterstones and combination stones. Norton also makes a combination crystalon (SiC) and fine india (AO) hone. The Norton hone is a oil stone however so take this into account (detergent/soap and water works decently well if you don't want to carry oil).

For field sharpening I would want a smooth steel, a loaded strop and a long ceramic rod. If you use these on a regular basis the edge will last a very long time before it needs to be recut. A large diamond stone would probably be the easiest to carry in the field for this as they weigh practically nothing. The fine DMT would easily be enough unless you really dent up the blade, and it leaves a nice aggressive edge. A dual diafold is also an option, easier to carry with two grits for greater options, but more difficult to get an even bevel when sharpening longer blades.

Steve, I have tried Ez-Lap hones, DMT's are directly better. The Ez-Lap hones use a cheaper diamond abrasive (polycrystalline) and an inferior bonding process. Since the diamonds on the Ez-Lap are clusters of crystals as opposed to the single diamond crystals on the DMT they fracture and thus wear down much easier. The bonding process is very uneven and when you first get the Ez-Lap hones you will notice large irregularities in the surface (you can feel this by hand). These have to be worn down before the hone will sharpen a blade well. Finally the DMT's have holes cut into the plate so as to keep the cutting power of the hone fairly high and reduce the cleaning required during sharpening.

On top of this, the DMT's people are net active and have a responsive email. The hone also have a warrenty against wearing out. The only advantage to the Ez-Lap's is that they are cheaper.

Note several forum members have commented that 3M makes an even better Diamond hone than DMT.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 22 November 1999).]
Thanks for the sharpener info. With so many systems and brands to choose from it seems hard to select the most functional and durable items without a little advise. Trouble is, it's usually hard to get a consensus. That's why it helps to give reasons for your opinion (as you did).

Thanks again.