Sylvan Camp Knife


Gold Member
Aug 26, 2017
I’m not particularly skillful at naming objects (David asked me to put a moniker to this sharp unit), but in honor of the woods and mountains I love, I thought perhaps Sylvan was good enough. Also, one of my favorite authors, J.R.R Tolkien, populated part of his cosmological literary creation with a group of forest dwelling Elves (Sylvin Elves) whose woods craft was unmatched by most Middle Earth denizens.

Also, Green Lightening, because the 1st one of these that David made was named Blue Lightening.

Anyway, this blade is (in my opinion) outstanding. I was looking for an experiment, to test a blade that hit with some weight, but was faster at the point than what I typically use (BF maker Bill Siegle Recurve Camp):

I’m not comparing the two, to claim one is better than the other as they are both different enough - David’s knife is balanced to favor speed; Bill’s is a 1/4” stock beast while the Sylvan Camp is 3/16” and AEB-L instead of 5160. Primary bevels on David’s is a flatfish-vex tapering to a lean secondary edge, while Bill’s is a full flat primary down to a thick V secondary (quite tank like). Nor am I going to replace or get rid of my multiple Siegle blades - they are dear to me, but change can be nice sometimes...

However, in the month I’ve had David’s piece, I’ve been tramping around the woods and hills, chopping, prying and searching for fat/pitch wood, processing wood and other material for my backyard fire and set up, laying up some material for another bow drill - friction fire kit - this thing has been so, so fun.

Photos below, are showing deep bites in greenish wood. Even if a bit green and softer, the 3/16” thick bites deep and is a pleasure to use as it has a very well shaped handle - easy to hold onto, no hot spots thus far. It bites just as nice as the Fiddleback Mid-tech machete with it's 3/32" stock.



No sweat on some causal seasoned wood, too.

For me, this my 1st chopper in a non-tool steel (5160, 1084, 1075, 80cRv2, 1095, L6) and thus far, no complaints about AEB-L in it's seeming ability to withstand deformity during hard impacts.

Glamour shots:



Great work and design, David - thanks for making it. Probably, going to have to get another....because, big blades that perform are just too fun.
I like the lines on this. I think I want one too. The name and association with Tolkien is the cherry on top.
I can imagine an Elf with this blade on his hip, gliding silently through dim woods at dusk.

AEBL is awesome.

My DM custom is AEBL
I've liked AEB-L smaller blades from David, but hadn't branched out into anything quite this large. I've seen some stainless choppers from Condor, in 420HC, but have not tried them out. But, the more I read about tougher stainless steels and the ability to maintain edge stability while enduring forceful impacts, the more I've wanted to see for myself.
How many would be interested if I do a small run of these in the next couple months? I have to set up another run of 8670 anyway, as I am doing at least one more Sylvan and an 8670 kitchen cleaver.
The next question is 3/16" or 1/4". I think they are so close that the difference in my end product, as far as handling and performance, is going to be the subject of highly nuanced intersection of user strength, stamina, technique, comfort, level of tolerance to exertion, specific preferences with regard to workflow, and what type of jobs will be done and how long a session is expected to last and at what intensity. So the weight and handling of either knife should be comparable enough that they could be used interchangeably by most people with a deliberate focus on pacing with the 1/4" more than with the 3/16". I think the 3/16" will lend itself better to the pinch grip chop a la Joe Flowers, since the knife will be lighter and not want to pull itself out of your hand, but maybe the 1/4" wouldn't. If you want a lanyard, that's negligible, and a 1/4" version will be heavier, but seeing it again, I don't recall this one feeling heavy for its size. But the more you know yourself and preferences from experience, the more confident you should feel in your choice, whatever it is. For me, any long blade more than 1.5" wide can chop, from 3/32" up to 1/4". Never tried anything bigger than that but I've seen it done before on Facebook, five years ago or so. But that's getting into axe territory, isn't it, scarysamcary scarysamcary ;).

3/8" Kraken. Why not?
Wrong thread for that. And maybe too soon. Sylvans first!