MD / HI / GH / Uluchet

Jan 17, 1999
Am I reading this right.

"On to edge strength and the TUSK suffered a significant failure. With just the edge embedded in a 4x4 I pressed down lightly with only forearm strength and large pieces of the blade broke away. It left a hole about 6 cm long and 2 cm deep. This is the same test that caused problems with the last TUSK."

Did you break a second TUSK with the wood splitting event? I had read where this was a fluke with the first knife and a bad heat treat or bad steel. (I don't remember which.) The first TUSK broke in half didn't it? Will the failure analysis be provided on this one as well? Sounds like a hell of a test. Not a good track record on this test for this knife though... Not what I would expect after hearing all the over the top reviews on the MD forum.

The same test snapped the first TUSK in half and broke a large piece out of the replacement. It is a fairly hard test but not what I would consider extreme. Read some of the posts on the forums and you will see people jumping on knives, putting bars on them, and all kinds of similar stuff. I don't do anything like that.

The first TUSK breaking was due to a weakness in the steel due to carbides not removed by the heat treat. The details were posted by MD in his forum. This TUSK will be on its way back to MD shortly. I will add his comments to the review once he examines the knife.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 31 March 1999).]

Good reviews...very well written.

I have a few suggestions that you may want to incorporate into future reviews...if not that's ok - it's your reviews.

1) Test all of the inherent knife abilities first before stressing the blades - then one knows if the blade can perform as designed or if it's too weak or a bad specimen could always claim that by banging on the blade w/ a piece of metal to facilitate cutting, the blade was somehow damaged, or bending broke the blade or blah, blah, blah, yadeedadeedadee...

2) Use some sort of measurement to quantify lateral stresses a scale (like a butchers suspended scale) could be tied to the handles stuck in the stump and then the dial read when force is applied to the scale (many have small pieces of plastic stopping at last maximum weight when the blade fails)...this would aid in persons who want to replicate your study and give me a better idea of how much force to exert on a knife before breaking. I like it when a knife breaks (not mine), because it tells me its limit.

3) Test all of the claims of the manufacturer as part of step "1)." eg handle conductivity, rust resistance (I know this will be hard - look at the chrome wars), edge retention, whatever. Be creative - you're the consumer reports of the forums. Then, at least I know I purchased what was advertised...By the way edge retention may be able to be tested w/ a scale too, just suspend some object horizontally... 550 chord...w/ scale tared to "0 lbs" and cut, see how much "weight is needed to cut it, then repeat many times until the dull edge takes "X" amount of weight to cut.

Field Studies are very difficult to perform, I enjoyed reading yours; keep up the good work, be careful, and - No - you can't use any of my knives.


John, you've given me something interesting to think about. I see some problems with testing the weight required of various edges to sever various materials, since that's strictly a push cutting measurement that speaks little to slicing ability, but nonetheless it is one way of measuring an edge, I suppose. I'm gonna hafta think more on that. I have access to a pressure senstitive electronic scale that senses pressure applied, or removed, and you've given me the impetus to come up with a way to _perhaps_ incorporate it in some upcoming folder tests. I'll have to noodle on how best to really measure something significant, rather than just come up with some numbers that might at first glance seem to be impressive or informative. More later.

I just repeated the toughness tests for the Uluchet yesterday. I was surprised at the result. While I didn't think the .25" D2 stock would crack I did believe that the lock would be loosened by the strain and that the
Zytel handles would get warped. Wrong on both counts. The above links have been updated.

John thanks for the feedback I have been tinkering with the idea of getting more numerical for awhile now. As you pointed out it does provide very valuable information. There are problems with this though. One of the reasons that I don't do any hard scientific tests even though I appreciate their value is that you can void many guarantees quite easily by artifically testing a knife. Most warrenties only cover field use and any kind of machine aided testing could easily be seen as trying to intentionally damage a knife.

What I try to do is be as consistent as possible. Whenever I test an aspect I do it multiple times and report the average result which is much more stable than any individual trial. I also do this with friends around and they keep me honest by repeating the trials and we watch each other to see if the strains are equal and such.

As for doing all the toughness tests last. I can understand the logic to this, the only problem is that some of these are the most important to me (and the most hyped) so I am fairly curious about them. I do generally try to cover a good deal of performance aspects first. I will keep this in mind.

As for testing the exact claims I can appreciate your curiosity - however - many of these are not covered under warrenty and most of the knives I test are my own. Feel free to send me yours and I will be glad to test any claims on them

Great review! I think you do all of us forumites a great service with your extensive and unbiased testing. Just wanted to thank you for putting so much time into this.
Thanks for the review!
It was interested in the results of the Uluchet. I have had the opportunity to do some testing on this tool with Scott Evans at Edge Works....some of our testing lead to the beefing up of the pin in the lock up for the handle. You have done a much more thorough job of testing then we and I will say that I am not too surprised at how well it faired. PJ has demonstrated a passion for bringing forth a quality piece.
Thanks Again!


Radarman, I was surprised at P.J. asking me to go as far as I did. I don't know of any folding knife that would have came through that unmangled except maybe the MPF from Mission. Anyone care to comment on that respect?

Rudy, Burke, you're welcome.

I am rather curious to see how the production line from Ontario and the higer end stuff from CS fares. Time will tell.

I read it and it's good. To bad about the Tusk. Keep us posted on the problems with it.

The one that surprises me is the uluchet. I had no idea that little sucker was that tough.
I was surprised at the edge retention and the lock stability of the Uluchet. I figured the lock would develop play if I did any heavy prying with it which is why I left it out of all the toughness trials in the beginning. It held up fine though, no problems.

MPS and John Callahan,

John’s test #3 can be modified to measure slicing ability by changing the "angle of attack" (is that Politically Correct?) of the knife edge relative to the knife’s velocity vector. This will have the effect of creating two nonzero forces on the rope by the knife, one towards the center of the rope, and one tangential to the circumference of the rope.
Were you testing the uluchet with the modified pin? I noticed you had broken a pin as we had (ours was the old straight pin). The newer pin appears much more stable and seems as only the end of the pin would suffer damage, if at all.


We sent Cliff the new pin design to test, the end of the pin sheared off when the handles were flexed to the side past 45 degrees, but did not effect the security of the blade lock. The pin did survive a 25 degree bending of the handle slabs though.
In any case the Lifetime Guarantee would cover whatever damage the Uluchet incurs, without question.

YES,it is sharp, just keep your fingers out of the way!

Must of had the fire selector set to full auto!

YES,it is sharp, just keep your fingers out of the way!

[This message has been edited by P.J. (edited 04 April 1999).]
About the lock stability, it is worth mentioning that like the Integral Lock, the lock on the Uluchet is more stable the tighter you grip it. The pin that sheared off did not make the lock unstable. All that pin does is stop the handles from flopping around when you don't have a tight grip on the handle. After the prying I did some heavy chopping and could not tell by feel that the pin had sheared off.

MD, has examined the TUSK and determined that there was no materials or manufacturing flaw in the blade - his determination was that it failed because of abuse - result no replacement.

Could this qualify as abuse since you were digging into wood with the blade and MD says it is bad form to do so?

[This message has been edited by SammyB (edited 27 May 1999).]