late... late... Camillus Talon Review


Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
May 28, 1999
Review of Camillus Talon:

I'd say oh.... say.. umm... well it was a long time ago lets just leave it at that. Will Fennel sent me a Talon under the conditions that I put it to good use and review it. Well as lazy as I am I managed to do this with great pleasure. The knife was used to slice green bamboo, cut all sorts of meat ranging from beef to chicken to fish.
When I first received the knife, it needed a minor touching up. No, this is NOT because Camillus doesn't sharpen well, it is because I haven’t been the first to test out this handy little fixed blade. The user prior to me hadn't sharpened it at all, throughout all his use, and I received the Talon in the same condition it was shipped back to Will. Sharpening the talon was an easy task, and was even easier than posts to that effect led me to believe. A few strokes on a medium ceramic Spyderco benchstone was all it took to bring it back to a like new edge.
I used this knife side by side for two weeks with my favorite fixed blade, a Black Jack Stalker in 1095. In order to evaluate edge holding I didn’t go through the usual process of cutting through one thing using one consistent method, that ain’t real life folks. Instead, I used them to cut through a variety of things from bamboo to fish and darned near everything in between. I did all this a long time ago, so I wont be quoting exact figures or anything like that, I DID try my best to cut through the different materials equally with both knives, using the talon a bit more than the Black Jack. After all was said and done, the blackjack now has a beautiful patina, and is quite dull. It will still cut through raw meat fairly well, but just glides over denim and bamboo. The talon on the other hand while feeling quite dull to the touch, can cut through denim, cotton cloth, and most other materials just fine, with the exception of the bamboo, which it did bite into, but was a chore to slice through a 1 inch thick piece.
Corrosion resistance of the talon is as good as advertised. Cobalt is stainless folks, zero corrosion whatsoever. I didn't take any care to keep the blade clean unless I thought there was enough gunk to clog the inside of the sheath, which I didn’t feel like cleaning out. The Talon was put away with animal fat, dried saltwater, and the plant juices of a banana tree, which oxidize purple when they come in contact with carbon steel. Cutting through very very sour orange/lemon hybrids there was no oxidation of the Talon; the juice merely cleaned any other contaminants off the blade.
Another one of talonite's claimed advantages is its inherent "slickness". During my usage I found this to be generally true but for a couple cases. Cutting through fatty meats and cloth, the talonite blade didn’t seem to "grab" the material the same way the flats of a steel blade do. My banana trees are another story. Cutting through these with the talon quickly caused a very fibrous and sticky material about 1/8 of an inch thick to form on the blade and edge, I’ve never seen this happen to a steel blade of any sort, so I don’t know what happened there.
If I had the free cash right now I’d buy myself a talon for my 1972 cutlass. This car is in an eternal state of restoration, and a good knife is always a nice thing to have. The corrosion resistance is good for this too, because my passengers side floods after a big rainstorm... thereby drenching any knife in it. I had a Blackjack AWAC there before, and even that 440A blade rusted to some degree. (Yes, I left the talon on the seat of my car through a few rainstorms too, no it didn’t rust...) As I live in Florida right next to the beach a truly corrosion proof knife would be a big benefit. Thanks to Camillus and Tom Waltz of Carbide Processors for letting me play with this fine piece for a few months.
Did the edge deform at all? Rob told me that he has had blades back serrated! When they were sent as a plain edge!

Interesting review!


I have a Talonite kitchen knife that is .020" thick at the edge...same as a Talon..I chop through small bones frequently and have never chipped it out.

I have a Simonich Cetan at .018" at the edge, no chips, it has bounced off many a bone while processing game and during food prep chores.

Talonite does not chip under general field use in my experience. It has numerous advantages, with the only disadvantage being high price. In a small knife, it is great stuff.

The only "serrated" Talonite knives I know of are those that have been ground too thin at the edge. Anything less than .015" is probably too thin. Most stainless steels do poorly at less than .020" as well from a durability standpoint. Especially partially serrated folder blades that have been sharpened on one side only.

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb
I have a Neck knife that i will write a review for soon that is ground at .015 or a little less. I have even resharpened the edge at a thinner angle, about 17 degrees. Allen Blade if you remember just how thin you did grind this correct me if I am wrong. .He ground this one thin at my request, for those of you that are wondering.
I have had this for about a half a year and used it on everything. No damage to the edge as of yet, or to the very fine tip. I have even done some prying with that thin tip. Same as Yoda I find the Talonite holds up very well. Even gave Harv's soda bottle cutting a chance and nothing...The weekness has been very overstated in my opinion.
Good review Yoda.
General, I had ONE knife come back with hunks out of it. Not KNIVES! I tried to duplicate the damage by chopping through oak pallets, shovel handles as hard as I could hit, etc. A hunk was finally knocked out of it on frozen elk bone. I replaced the knife. Please get your stories straight!

Yoda, great review, wish I could write that good!

Anthony, your experience is about what folks have come to expect, thanks for your input.

db, I have ground many Talonite knives about 15 thou at the edge, and no problems at all when used for general utility. I do believe I heard on guy rolled the edge on his knife hitting one of those bid staples cutting a cardboard box apart, but said the edge came right back with some steeling and stoning. Looking forward to your review!
I stand corrected. Sorry about that Rob, I was going from memory and we all know how foggy that can be.
Anthony Lombardo I did not say 'chipped' in my question either I was asking about deformation (edge rolling rather than chipping.

I must say I am interested in this material, and all the hype about it. I do have a bit of a bias here, I was going to try some, but it seems a misunderstanding/panic ensued. I won`t get the chance to try it now (my choice). Still I like hearing more about this stuff, it is interesting!


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto
As I recall the only "rolling" of the edge was the burr created by my overenthusiastic useage of a medium grit benchstone
During cutting there was no deformation of the edge, I stropped both knives after each days use however, (its a force of habit) so that may have had something to do with it. While cutting through some ham and fish the edge occasionally skated across a bone, though I tried to prevent this as I had read that talonite is relatively soft. Well it donesnt seem to be as easy to damage as the RC of the blade would seem to indicate.

Thanks for the kind words Rob!!!

[This message has been edited by yoda4561 (edited 01-07-2001).]
Well General, apparently I dont understand the Queen's English very well.

My take on your terminology ("Serrated")
was that you assumed that the edge was deformed as to appear serrated, which would mean chipped in my Colonial, native tongue.

Edge rolling of Cobalt alloys is easy to fix with any fine ceramic hone.

Ta ta,

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb
Hey I did not mean to have a go at you! Sorry if it came out like that.


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto