Queen Or Northwoods ? Need some help!

Apr 22, 2010
I'm trying to figure out which to buy: Queen(Dan Burke) "Old School" small Barlow Or Northwoods Indian River Jack. The Barlow has D2 blade steel and the Indian Jack has 1095. I like both of them but I think I like the 1095 better
but D2 is nice as well. See why I need help? I'm back and forth on everything!
All input would be much apperciated !! Thanks,

Someone posted up that Indian River Jack the other week and I have looked at it each day since. Looks like a great knife.
That Indian river jack is a hell of a looker. I am kinda partial to the northwoods canoe myself. I'm fortunate though I already have the dan Burke small Barlow so I think that canoe is in my near future. Thanks for turning me onto the northwoods knives. I hadn't even know they existed until just now. Btw the queen small Barlow is a great knife. My only issue with it is that the ff isn't as fine as I expected it to be for the price, and as with all queens, you have to reprofile the edge to make it usable. That takes a lot of effort. Once it's done though it holds an edge forever.
IIRC, the Northwoods brand has been obtained by Derrick Bohn at knivesshipfree.com, and will be manufactured by Queen. So, either way, it's a Queen. I do know that Derrick is one of the best at customer service, so there is that to consider.
I think...think...that the Indian River was made by Great Eastern. At least it looks like that to me.

I don't know for sure because I wasn't invoved in it then. :) BTW...nice, nice knife.
I have the barlow in question and it is a very nice piece. It feels very well made, suitable for real work and I love the blade combination. It also has a sort of old world quality to it I can't quite describe. It's a great knife

It is also the single most dull knife I have ever received or handled out of the box and that D2 is a complete pain to re-profile. Be aware that it will take some real work to get it to a usable edge (at least mine did anyway).
I thought they were both Queens, But I wasn't sure. I just couldn't decide between the two. It' sounds like I should go with the Indian River Jack!! If
that Barlow blade comes like that, it could have other issues as well !! But that's why I wanted to ask my ?'s here. I knew the wonderful folks on here could help me out!! I like 1095 anyway so maybe that's what I'll do. Keep info coming. Thanks for the help guys !!!

if the indian river is 1095 then i would select it. in the last year i've used lots of gec 1095 & 3 models of queens d2. got to love that wonderful feel of the 1095 on the hone. the d2 just doe'nt feel as good on the hone or while cutting. dennis
I'm quite certain that the Northwood's Indian River was made by Great Eastern. As far as I know the other folders sold by Northwoods under Dave Shirley's ownership were made by Queen and then many were finished off by cutlers at Northwoods in Gladstone, MI. I own over 100 different Northwoods knives including several handled in pre-ban Elephant Ivory which I bought from Derrick. The Indian River is a sweet little knife. I carry one every day. You can depend on anything you buy from Knives Ship Free to be first rate! Most of the old Northwoods are D-2 Steel. The Indian River is 1095. Quite frankly I can't see much difference. Derrick can tell us what his plans are for the Northwoods line now that he owns it. There is lots of 1095 out there especially from Queen and it's Schatt Morgan line. BTW there is quite a difference between a Barlow Frame and the Indian River. The IR is perfectly symmetrical with two bolsters while the Barlow is bigger on one end and bare headed. I have a bunch of old Barlows too which I like a lot. For the guy who can't decide which to buy I say, "both".

Don Franklin
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Queen (Dan Burke) "Old School" small Barlow in D2 is a classic

No markings, a full bolster, with an interesting combination of blades a full spear and a small Wharncliff
Mine came sharp
The pins on the bone are a little high, but I did not mind
Amazing translucent orange bone, that will only get better in use
I have the Northwoods Indian River Jack. To my knowledge, it is made by GEC.

They are different knives. The Queen Barlow's thicker & heavier, having 2 blades & is a 2-spring knife. The Northwoods is thin & light.

Both are great knives, IMHO.

I emailed you some further info, Jason.
Queen (Dan Burke) "Old School" small Barlow in D2 is a classic

No markings, a full bolster, with an interesting combination of blades a full spear and a small Wharncliff
Mine came sharp
The pins on the bone are a little high, but I did not mind
Amazing translucent orange bone, that will only get better in use

Exactly my feelings about my small Dan Burke Barlow. Its impressive and currently my choice of EDC slippie. The high pins don't feel, though I was affraid of that. Excellent knife.
Neeman, That's why I like the Dan Burke so much it's just a plain ole' looking knife with no blade etching, I don't care for all that crazy stuff on my blades!
So, you think that handle will get better with time? My only concern now is,alot of yall are saying it's hard to get a good edge back on that D2. I've got 1 knife with D2 but It's still pretty sharpe, so I've not had a chance to work with D2 yet. Thanks very much for all the input !! You Guys are the BEST !! I'll post which one I buy today. This is the best place anywhere for Knives, and good "ole" folks.

Thanks again,
I like the Dan Burke for some of the same reasons. Plain blade without crazy etching everywhere! I only own one D2 knife and found out that a little PM is worth every second because bring it back from the dead is a chore.

"Diamonds are a girls best friend" should actually read
Diamonds are D2s best friend

DMTs make short order of sharpening
Ebony holds very well. Its one the best woods as ebony is naturally very dense, small grained and naturally oily, making it very resisting the water... and it looks gorgeous.
I have not had that particular Barlow, but they're definitely bulkier than the Northwoods. The Northwoods is thin & light & the ebony wood is gorgeous. I believe ebony wood has been used for many, many, yrs (From at least the late 1800's?), so it should be tough enough.

D2 definitely takes more effort to sharpen than 1095, but holds its edge better, too. If you just have a Sharp-maker or similar system & don't have any diamond stones or very coarse ones, then it's gonna take awhile to sharpen, but if you do, then no problem. Also, just remember to not let the D2 get dull. Touch it up often & it won't be so hard. Now, if you have to set the edge because it came from the factory less than sharp, well, get a good set of diamond stones & you should be fine.
Just a observation. GEC has not put out any other 3 3/4" cigar knives, so I would be surprised if the Indian River was theirs.

Now that Gladiator Double End Jack, does look like a GEC.

The Gladiator is GEC. It is a remarkable knife. The only one I have seen with such a super steel. I have had great feedback on it.

As to the future....

We will be having Queen make our knives. We will be doing several things that will distinguish them from Queen...

Better steels--we are looking at doing all of them in ATS34
Premium handle materials
Some newly designed patterns
Different blade configurations
We are even thinking about making sure all of the new ones are sharp. :)