Report - Buck Vanguard Ionfusion

Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
717
I have owned a lot of Buck knives but never a Vanguard. For some reason the style never appealed much. Recently I was after one of the Ionfusion 110s for my collection but the deal didn’t work out. This one came along and I purchased it by way of consolation, or some such nonsense. In the hand, the Vanguard feels good and my earlier prejudices that were based solely on photos of the knives have now resolved. The knife has a good feel to it and the grip is well designed for tasks such as skinning.

This iteration of the Vanguard is no longer in production. It was described by the seller as ‘mint’ and I would call the description accurate. There are two minor marks to the brass butt cap that could be damage or manufacturing defects. The rest is pretty much as it left the factory. The symbol on the blade identifies it as a 2000 model.

The sheath is brown leather wrap around style. I personally don’t like this style of sheath much.

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The grip is laminated wood which is finished in a shiny coating that could become slippery under some conditions. The grip design helps here but I note that the standard Vanguard has a rubberized grip that would be much more practical. Hardware is brass with black synthetic spacers. Blade length is around 4 and a quarter inches and LOA is about 8 and one half inches.

The blade is stamped with the model number 692, though the sheath is stamped with the number 192.

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It is the blade that sets this knife apart. The entire blade is a light gold in colour. Only one edge is sharpened. I think this is sometimes referred to a chisel grind but to confuse the description even further, the knife is also hollow ground on both sides.

This knife is bloody sharp!

On the sharpened side of the blade is a removable black sticker with the words “Ionfusion technology’ on 2 lines. On the reverse side is another sticker (beginning to peel off) that warns “Do not sharpen this side!”. I guess that’s clear enough.

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I recall seeing ads for Ionfusion Bucks some years ago in gun magazines etc but never really took much notice at the time. It would seem that they were not a raging success. My limited knowledge of them is that the edge is coated with some material that is harder than the average blade steel, supposedly enhancing edge retention. I have only had the knife a few days and need to spend some time researching the topic. I think there was some good info on the Buck Forum on Ionfusion a while back and I need to revisit it. I would be interested in any comments others have re experience with Ionfusion. It is an interesting piece and made me want to continue the search for a 110 version.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
2,587
Beautifully constructed, but I have no use for a chisel grind unless it's serrated (and I don't have much use for serrated knives, either).
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2007
Messages
3,760
Standard 192s (~$65) are 420HC with the handle like yours - and come with that sheath. The 692 (~$55) has a brass fg and butt, no black spacers, and a rubberized handle, but comes with a nylon sheath - an 'all weather' Vanguard. Cabela's has a special S30V version - the 'Alaskan Guide' (192AG ~$100) - with black Al-Ti-N coating - and a darker leather sheath.

I've never dulled my 192 enough to warrant resharpening it - and my 192AG was wasted money... I found it too pretty to use (The 192 almost is!). Both came hair-popping sharp, like all of my Bucks. The best outdoor user is the 692 with the rubber grip/nylon sheath. I did enjoy using my 192 as a 'bushcraft' knife - before I was 'enlightened' by others(That's the process of finding that there are other, more properly designed - and more dear in cost - bushcraft knives... even if the 192 was extremely useful - and safe!).

Not familiar with the 'IonFusion'... that was between Buck interests here.

Stainz
 
Joined
May 28, 1999
Messages
2,606
Neat bit of history there. Never got around to owning one but always thought the idea was pretty cool. Idea is to sharpen one side so that the cutting edge is actually the ultra hard, wear resistant layer of coating. I'd imagine it wouldn't hold up too well over a long period of time, as the coating near the edge will wear off eventually.
 
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