Scrapyard MS-221 Initial Impressions and Early Review

Mar 19, 2001
First, for those who want to see pictures of the knife, you can see them here:

I received this knife in the satin-finished version, a few weeks ago. I've been using it since.

First, I'll mention the bad:

1) The knife came with a mediocre edge. It could just *barely* shave hair, and could sort of coarsely cut through stiff paper.

This was one of only two Busse or Busse-kin knives I've bought that came with less than a superbly sharp edge, out of around 20-30 knives in total. I suppose that happens sometimes, even with excellent knife makers.

The edge was a bit disappointing. Being that I'm terrible at knife sharpening, this would have either meant getting stuck with a dull knife and never being able to experience what it should be, or sending it back to have them sharpen it, thus paying for some shipping and waiting somewhere between a few days and a few weeks.

Thankfully, I made a decision a few months ago to get a motorized knife sharpener that even I can use to get a very good edge. I'd always avoided them because I'd heard how they wear down too much steel, how they could leave marks on the knife, and how they could overheat the edge. I finally decided I'm old enough to stop concerning myself with wearing out knives, and I'd rather stop babying my knives and have them screaming sharp all the time. So, I used my sharpener to put a better edge on it, and now it cuts excellently. I was sloppy and it did leave marks on the blade and the handle. Oh, well, it's functionally the same. I just named it "Lil Ugly" and moved on.

2) The tip was dull, too.

I also fixed that with my Ken Onion Work Sharp. That fix was also a bit ugly, but now it's properly pointy and sharp.

3) The spine was chamfered.

This one is not necessarily a bad thing. It can certainly make the knife more comfortable in use when choking up, with your thumb on the spine. However, it does prevent the knife's spine from being usable as a spoke shave to make wood feathers, and does prevent being able to strike a ferrocerium rod / firesteel along the spine. So, chamfering made it less useful, for my uses.

I had called Scrapyard, shortly after my order was placed, and asked them if they could deliver mine with the spine sharply squared. The person who took my message seemed to not understand what I was asking, but ultimately just said she would pass the message on, and we'll see.

Again, I also made the spine sharply squared with my Work Sharp. It only took about ten seconds. Now I have the part close to the handle still chamfered for my thumb, and the part farther up the spine nice and sharp. It's the best of both ways. It does great as a spoke shave and as a firesteel striker, now. Really well. The best I have.

OK, so it came with those three minor issues, but they were fixable.

Another minor problem—and this is really my own stupidity—the knife arrived not-in the sheath. And, with this unusual, sort of wharncliffe blade shape, I wasn't really clear whether it would be better to insert it into the sheath with the edge facing the stitching or the other way. Well... I thought it should be inserted with the edge facing the stitching, but when I did that, it immediately cut a bit of the stitching. No big deal. The sheath still works, and I could re-stitch it. In any case, I think I'll make my own kydex sheath, to get a sheath that suits my needs better. It's a perfectly good sheath, just not ideal for my use.

Now the rest of the review:

1) The handle is really comfortable and secure. Shockingly comfortable and secure. I had no idea it would be this good. Out of the several hundred knives I've owned through my life, I think I'll have to say that this is the standard for both comfort and grip security by which all my other knives shall be judged.

The handle is also very protective, in regard to the guard preventing one's hand from slipping onto the blade.

2) The narrow knife stock (about a ninth of an inch thick), and the wide, flat saber grind, make this knife cut and slice like a laser. I'm very happy with the cutting performance, now that it's properly sharp.

3) The control for fine cutting and carving is phenomenal. The long, grippy, comfortable handle, with your hand right below the short blade, makes for splendid precision. I think this is also the best knife I've ever had, in terms of control.

4) I bought this knife with the intention to use it for outdoors uses—emergency survival, camping, bushcraft, whittling, etc. This will mainly be used in combination with a folding saw, and an axe or hatchet—so it doesn't really need to cover what those do.

Anyone familiar with bushcraft knives will immediately recognize that this looks nothing like what is normally considered a bushcraft knife. But I was willing to take a chance that this knife would work well in the role, and that gamble has paid off. I've done tons of feather sticks, tent stakes, figure 7s (the type for snare traps), etc., and it works great.

5) I gave it a try in my kitchen, and I've been pleasantly surprised. It's really good for things like cutting off silver skin and trimming fat. In fact, I've taken to using this knife in the kitchen every day.

6) I've been happy with the knife steel. It's holding its edge really well. It hasn't chipped or dented or rolled at all. There are no signs of rust, despite the kitchen use with meat every day.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this knife, despite the rocky start. I expect this will be a favorite for hiking and food prep for a long time to come.
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Basic Member
May 29, 2004
Great review!

I recently purchased a Scrap Yard WS 1020 (same handle and stock thickness, different blade shape) and I love it.

It could also just barely shave out of the box, which I have found to be the norm for Scrap Yards/Bussekin. They tend to sharpen at a pretty high angle (like 99% of companies) and I can understand why they do in particular, considering that they have a reputation/warranty as knives that can be abused. Still annoying tho.

I also agree that the “War Dog” style handle is amazingly comfortable - like you, I consider it to have the most comfortable handle of any knife I own...