Honey Badger Large Tanto

Chronovore

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Alright. Despite my reluctance to pay $45 for a knife in 8Cr13Mov in 2022, I wanted to see what the fuss is about. So I picked up the new large Honey Badger with the tanto blade shape. Was it awesome? Not really...

The first thing I noticed is that this knife stinks, literally. It smelled a bit like burnt oil. Of course, it came drenched in oil and that smell was easily transferable to anything it touched. I come across this unpleasant issue from time to time. Some of the CH knives smell like this and come similarly drenched in oil. Given that Honey Badger doesn't disclose which Chinese company is making it, CH might be a good guess.

The action from the box was good. After I thoroughly cleaned it and got some quality lubrication in there, the action was surprisingly good. It drops shut beautifully. The detent is strong enough to prevent it from being shaken open. Lock-up is okay. There is some flex but that just seems to be a feature of the FRN scales.

While the hexagonal scale texture is nice, the inner edges are horribly crisp. It isn't uncommon for budget knives with nested liners to have crisp inner edges. It just really stands out here. The ergonomic impact is significant. Of course, it wouldn't be hard to go around with an emery board and smooth those up during disassembly. I just didn't feel motivated to do it. Another thing I don't like here is that the scales are jimped where the flipper tab protrudes. Effectively, it creates a rough "landing pad" for your finger upon deployment.

The flipper tab itself has jimping but the placement is almost totally useless. Most of the time, I found my finger sliding against the smooth and rounded end of the tab. On the other end of the spectrum, the lock bar has sharp jimping that dovetails uncomfortably with the crisp scale edges against my pointer finger during use.

The factory edge was surprisingly good. I whittled on some birch and a couple of random branches from the yard. The blade shape was fun to use while my gloved hand was free from the ergonomic complaints. I had it out for a few hours without a proper wipe. You can't see it in the picture but that plant goo did manage to cause minor staining. While 8Cr13Mov is stainless, the corrosion resistance isn't great.

That said, a major factor here is materials versus cost. This is a $45 knife running 8Cr13Mov, FRN, and steel bearings. This might have been a win five years ago. Today, too many companies are offering better steels, better handle materials, and ceramic bearings at this price or less. The Civivi and Sencut knives in 9Cr18Mov are just so much better for about the same money. The Harnds Talisman is similar in size and has similarly impressive action but wears G10, runs 14C28N, and is cheaper by the cost of a cup of coffee.

cYWb1dK.jpg
 
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Paratrooper06

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I find the Honey Badger to be very competitively priced.

Keep in mind, you’re getting 4” of steel for $45.

Let’s take a look at a few competitors in the same steel at approximate length:
Cold Steel SR1: $60
Spyderco Resilience: $65

..and if we try same price point, different steels, same length:
The Civivi Vexer (discontinued): $60
Bestech Muskie: $52
Cold Steel Range Boss: $45

I think the knife is fairly priced given steel, length, and competition.

The Harnds Talisman is nearly half an inch shorter.
 

Chronovore

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I find the Honey Badger to be very competitively priced.

Keep in mind, you’re getting 4” of steel for $45.

Let’s take a look at a few competitors in the same steel at approximate length:
Cold Steel SR1: $60
Spyderco Resilience: $65

..and if we try same price point, different steels, same length:
The Civivi Vexer (discontinued): $60
Bestech Muskie: $52
Cold Steel Range Boss: $45

I think the knife is fairly priced given steel, length, and competition.

The Harnds Talisman is nearly half an inch shorter.

Raw numbers on blade length can be deceiving but even if they weren't, does a fraction of an inch on blade length in this range make up for the material differences? The degree to which 9Cr18Mov will out-cut 8Cr13Mov without the exceptional heat treatment from WE is substantial. It's not just total cutting either. There is an important difference in where each of those will transition from "fine edge" to "working edge".

While 8Cr13Mov is generally tougher than 9Cr18Mov, 9Cr18Mov has much better corrosion resistance and that may have been a factor for something I mentioned in my review. Thinking about the other steel I mentioned, 14C28N smokes 8Cr13Mov on every metric.

There is more to talk about with respect to Spyderco's use of 8Cr13Mov relative to price but but luckily, Sal has confirmed that they are working towards an upgrade. Whether or not handle materials or bearing type matters could be argued. However, I did mention some other things I didn't like about the knife. How do those other brands compare on those issues?

Either tonight or tomorrow, I'll line up some of the knives I mentioned on graph paper for a comparison shot on blade length.
 

Chronovore

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So here are some similarly sized knives in better materials for around the same price (or significantly less). These are just from knives I happen to have handy and didn't have to go on an expedition to find. All of these knives except the H6 run on caged bearings and have good-excellent action. All of these knives shipped cleaner than the Honey Badger. The bottom three have noticeably better fit and finish than the Honey Badger.

To be fair relative to Paratrooper06 Paratrooper06 's point, I tried to line them up by the start of the cutting edge. (I passed over some of the Civivi contenders I have handy because they have large blade choils.) While the alignment isn't perfect, it should be close enough to see that these blade lengths are all in the same ballpark. From top to bottom:

$38.89 - Petrified Fish PF939 - D2, Micarta
$29.89 - Petrified Fish PF838 - D2, G10 (complex)
$27.89 - Petrified Fish PF818 - D2, G10
$45.00 - Honey Badger Large Tanto - 8Cr13Mov, FRN
$41.98 - Harnds Talisman - 14C28N, G10
$49.99 - Sencut Snap - 9Cr18Mov, wood*
$46.80 - Real Steel H6 Elegance - 14C28N, G10

* The Sencut Snap in G10 is only $42.50.

85h930j.jpg
 

Chronovore

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I see this Lite version for ~$40 now .

Even at $60 , for "hard use" it would take everyone else's (mentioned here ) lunch money . ;)

IMO , YMMV .

It might otherwise be a rugged knife but it's still 8Cr13Mov. Aside from the Honey Badger, that edge isn't going to keep up with any of the knives pictured in post 4.
 
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It might otherwise be a rugged knife but it's still 8Cr13Mov. Aside from the Honey Badger, that edge isn't going to keep up with any of the knives pictured in post 4.
Sure enough , but I can sharpen a ( barely ) dull edge in a few seconds .

A broken knife , or even a lock failure , is much more a problem for my uses .

Edge retention is just one factor of many for overall performance .

I never had any problems with Cold Steel"s AUS8 , but not much experience with their 8C .
 

Chronovore

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Sure enough , but I can sharpen a ( barely ) dull edge in a few seconds .

A broken knife , or even a lock failure , is much more a problem for my uses .

Edge retention is just one factor of many for overall performance .

I never had any problems with Cold Steel"s AUS8 , but not much experience with their 8C .

I often wonder about the kinds of "hard use" that will cause one type of lock to fail but not another, or break a blade in one steel but not another.

Either way, 14C28N is pretty easy to sharpen and has substantially higher toughness.
 
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I often wonder about the kinds of "hard use" that will cause one type of lock to fail but not another, or break a blade in one steel but not another.

Either way, 14C28N is pretty easy to sharpen and has substantially higher toughness.
I wonder how many people actually need to make 500 rope cuts , but can't pause to touch up the edge ? :confused:
 
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So here are some similarly sized knives in better materials for around the same price (or significantly less). These are just from knives I happen to have handy and didn't have to go on an expedition to find. All of these knives except the H6 run on caged bearings and have good-excellent action. All of these knives shipped cleaner than the Honey Badger. The bottom three have noticeably better fit and finish than the Honey Badger.

To be fair relative to Paratrooper06 Paratrooper06 's point, I tried to line them up by the start of the cutting edge. (I passed over some of the Civivi contenders I have handy because they have large blade choils.) While the alignment isn't perfect, it should be close enough to see that these blade lengths are all in the same ballpark. From top to bottom:

$38.89 - Petrified Fish PF939 - D2, Micarta
$29.89 - Petrified Fish PF838 - D2, G10 (complex)
$27.89 - Petrified Fish PF818 - D2, G10
$45.00 - Honey Badger Large Tanto - 8Cr13Mov, FRN
$41.98 - Harnds Talisman - 14C28N, G10
$49.99 - Sencut Snap - 9Cr18Mov, wood*
$46.80 - Real Steel H6 Elegance - 14C28N, G10

* The Sencut Snap in G10 is only $42.50.

85h930j.jpg
 
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You forget to note that if you aren't insistent about a "Tanto" blade shape you can very easily get a Honey Bager in D2 for nearly the same price!
 

Chronovore

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You forget to note that if you aren't insistent about a "Tanto" blade shape you can very easily get a Honey Bager in D2 for nearly the same price!

Yes, there are D2 models of the Honey Badger available. While Chinese D2 falls far short of the reputation built by more expensive American knives in D2, it tends to get much better edge retention than 8Cr13Mov. The trade-off is on corrosion resistance. For me, that's not an issue three seasons out of the year. When the humidity cranks up during the heat of summer, sweat becomes a fact of life and D2 will often spot in my pocket.

There has been a lot of speculation on why Chinese D2 consistently falls short on edge retention versus its American counterpart. A leading theory involves mass-production and issues in heat treatment. Most but not all of the Chinese D2 is being used on budget knives. (Coincidentally, Petrified Fish seems to do one of the better heat treatments on Chinese D2 and has some of the least expensive knives in it.) Another possible issue has been the purity of the starting material. Unlike S35VN or 14C28N, the "D2" in this case is not designated from a particular company. It is just a target formulation being made by unknown companies in China. Looking at XRF testing commissioned by LTK, the vanadium content in Chinese D2 seems to vary more than it should and is often on the low side.

Contrast this with 14C28N. Not only is it a known quantity, it is a steel that is known for its purity. Unlike D2, 14C28N is also known for its ease or lack of complication in heat treatment. On paper, a steel like 14C28N shouldn't be competitive with D2 on edge retention. The fact that it is when it comes to Chinese budget knives highlights the importance of some of these other factors in determining actual performance.
 
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Messages
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Yes, there are D2 models of the Honey Badger available. While Chinese D2 falls far short of the reputation built by more expensive American knives in D2, it tends to get much better edge retention than 8Cr13Mov. The trade-off is on corrosion resistance. For me, that's not an issue three seasons out of the year. When the humidity cranks up during the heat of summer, sweat becomes a fact of life and D2 will often spot in my pocket.

There has been a lot of speculation on why Chinese D2 consistently falls short on edge retention versus its American counterpart. A leading theory involves mass-production and issues in heat treatment. Most but not all of the Chinese D2 is being used on budget knives. (Coincidentally, Petrified Fish seems to do one of the better heat treatments on Chinese D2 and has some of the least expensive knives in it.) Another possible issue has been the purity of the starting material. Unlike S35VN or 14C28N, the "D2" in this case is not designated from a particular company. It is just a target formulation being made by unknown companies in China. Looking at XRF testing commissioned by LTK, the vanadium content in Chinese D2 seems to vary more than it should and is often on the low side.

Contrast this with 14C28N. Not only is it a known quantity, it is a steel that is known for its purity. Unlike D2, 14C28N is also known for its ease or lack of complication in heat treatment. On paper, a steel like 14C28N shouldn't be competitive with D2 on edge retention. The fact that it is when it comes to Chinese budget knives highlights the importance of some of these other factors in determining actual performance

I own exactly one knife in 14C28N, a Kershaw "Leek" which I quickly found was too small for my hands. Four in S30V and about a Dozen in D2 Blades mostly of Chinese manufacture
 

jbmonkey

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I got one of these coming. like the look of the blade. cheap enough to try it out......
 

Chronovore

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I got one of these coming. like the look of the blade. cheap enough to try it out......

I little filing or sanding along the inner scale edges will go a long way towards improving the comfort in hand. You'll see what I mean.
 
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