RVW: MadPoet hunter

Feb 4, 1999
MadPoet Custom Knives is the Minnesota based company of Mel Sorg, a member of our little group of misfits here on Bladeforums. I traded some stuff with him and got one of his knives out of return (I also have two customs on the way, so watch for reviews of the kit building process and etc). Anyway, the knife is seen on his webpage at <a href = "http://www.angelfire.com/mn/madpoet/">MadPoet Custom Knives</a> in the picture that depicts four of his drop point hunters. Mine is the top one.
The knife features a blade of probably 4.5" length, and a handle of around 5". I would say blade thickness is around 3/16", although these measurements are all eyeballed. The blade steel is D-2, and is my first knife of this steel. The handles are granadillo wood with brass pins. Hardness of the blade is Rc 60-61, and it is flat-ground.
I like this knife a lot because it has a lot of character. I am used to seeing knives with fancy handle materials, Kydex sheaths, exotic steels, etc etc, but this stands out because it is such a polar opposite from that. The knife is obviously hand ground, with imperfect bevels and a finish that was obviously done on a belt grinder. The maker's trademark "M" is fileworked into the spine with a minimum of flair and maximum simplicity. Even this detail, which is so often a symbol of a maker's vanity, has function, as it serves to make a nice place to lay your thumb and get some extra grip! Anyway, to add to the knife's appearance is the dark, semi-corrosion on the flat bevel left by the heat treatment process.
While in some reviews these things would be complaints that detract from the knife, in this case, they are compliments! This is A true working knife meant to be used hard. While the handles are not fancy, nor is there much emphasis on anything but a gradual palm swell, this knife truly has one of the most comfortable handles I've ever touched. Absolute heaven, and the thick wood scales will give comfort even after long periods of use. Another nice aspect of this knife is its heft. This blade is no lightweight (it isn't a candidate for weight watchers, either). It has a balance point at about 4 icnhes into the handle, making it usable in knife-fighting, too, if that's your thing. I would feel more comfortable taking this knife into the woods with me than my Spec Plus fighter, which has a Kraton handle and 7" blade. You could do anything with this thing!
The knife came wicked sharp, and remains that way after some light cutting chores. I used it to cut a large salad last night to see how it would do as a camp knife, and it performed adequately. My Spyderco Santoku is better suited for the job, but the MadPoet hunter performed admirably. I also cut some sticks, grass, shrubs, etc in the yard, and it cleaned through them quite nicely. I tried to cut an empty pop can with it, but couldn't manage it. I think I was doing it wrong! I'll have to whack some 2x4's with it soon...
Anyway, this knife impressed a martial arts friend of mine, as well as my fiancee, saying a lot about its appeal to the eye and especially the hand. I think Mel does an excellent job with his knives, and they are true workers. Unlike some custom jobs you may not want to actually use, this knife virtually begs for you to beat it as best as you can! It's amazing! Anyway, I know this isn't the greatest review, but Mel has been a great guy to deal with, his knives are superb, his leather work on the sheaths is really cool, and I HIGHLY recommend you pick something of his up. He is also featured as a contest knife in the back of this month's Knives Illustrated, so check it out. You cannot go wrong with Mel's knives, especially if you are looking to break free of the "tactical" rut. In addition, Mel will make any blade your heart desires at a super-reasonable price. Anyway, thanks for reading this, and if nothing else check out Mel's website to see how real knives are made! ;-)