1. Welcome to the New & Improved BladeForums. New software info here. Please report problems in Tech Support, and read existing threads before posting! - Spark
  2. I've changed the default forum style to Flat Awesome based on feedback. Don't like it? Click here to change how the forums look Feedback on this is welcome here.

Table top review: Ontario SP-53 -- NOW with test

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by TwinStick, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    So, the package arrived in 3 days. First thing i noticed was the SOLID feel of it. It seems as if this will be a chopping BEAST.
    Blade: Made in America. Sheath: probably not.

    Sabre ground
    Steel: 5160 Carbon steel with black epoxy coating.
    Thickness: a full 1/4".
    57-58 RC Hardness.
    Blade length: 9 & 7/16".
    Overall length: 15 & 1/4".
    Handle: Kraton comfort grip.
    Ballistic nylon sheath with kydex insert.

    [​IMG]

    Sheath is excellent for the price. It has two retention straps for the handle. They are both adjustable, which i really like because it gives you more options for the lanyard or future handle mods. The knife WILL NOT come out of the sheath no matter how hard i shook it while upside down !!! :thumbup::thumbup:

    [​IMG]

    The sheath also has an accessory pocket. Large enough for a SAK or a LeatherMan of some sort. The sides of pocket are NOT elastic, so it only gets so big. There IS an elastic band around the top of it to help keep stuff in. There is no velcro to help keep it closed. Just the buckle but it IS adjustable.

    [​IMG]

    The sheath has MOLLE attatchment on the back. There are 5 cross straps that it goes through for security to your pack or gear.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    OOTBox, this knife sliced paper but didn't shave hair. After about 30 minutes, it does now. This knife is what i would consider heavy. It is the first thing you notice when hefting it. I LOVE that in a knife. It screams HEAVY DUTY. The handle is VERY comfortable. I have small hands, so it may get modded in the future. The forward finger guard works well but i also think it will get modded &/or removed in the future. I LOVE choils & the finger guard hinders its use for me. I honestly gotta say, I friggin LOVE this knife. I have no doubt it will be a chopping beast. I have no doubts i can give this blade everything i got with no worries.

    Out of 1-10, i would rate this knife a 9+. The ONLY reason i can't give it a 10 is the tang is not full width, yet at 1/4" thick, i have no worries of breakage. This knife will have a custom sheath at some point in the future. I will do all mods first, to ensure a proper/perfect fit in said sheath.

    My Spec-Plus collection: SP-2, SP-8, SP-10, SP-17, SP-47, SP51, SP-53, SP Kukri
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  2. Ospreybucks

    Ospreybucks

    36
    Jul 26, 2012
    Thank you for your review, I really like SP GenII ranges and I have collected a few myself, I wasn't too sure about 53 because of the blade shape but I think I am going to try one now :).
     
  3. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    Your welcome. I also really like the fact that they are cheap enough (compared to some customs) that you can mod them yourself if need be. I ain't into pretty, i am into function.
     
  4. Nntrance

    Nntrance Banned BANNED

    157
    Aug 12, 2012
    I'd like to see a review of the sp10 if you have the time my friend
     
  5. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    I can say without hesitation that you will be happy with ANY of the SP blades i own. The SP-10 is no exception. 1/4" 1095 High Carbon Steel with black epoxy coating. The tip is needle point sharp. It drew my blood. So, i first thought "this must be a weak point". Not so, at all. I have batoned the snot out of it right on the tip, just to see if i could break or bend it. I could not. When batoning on the tip though, it does eat up your baton stick pretty quick. If you want a HD Made in America Bowie---look no further.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    OK, had some time so i made up my favorite mod for any stock shaeth- a drop leg swivel set-up. I used 3/16" zinc coated rod. Measured the width of sheath & the arc in between. Cut rod to length. Removed all sharp edges. Bent the 90* ends in vise & the arc over a pipe. Used belt keepers to attach to belt. You can use one or 2. I know its not perfect or pretty but it sure does work good. I can now work without hinderance, all day long.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Nntrance

    Nntrance Banned BANNED

    157
    Aug 12, 2012
    Thanks bro, it looks like a serious piece of steel, I bet if someone made a custom, belt peg leather sheath and did a little work it can make a serious fighting bowie.
     
  8. whetrock

    whetrock

    Nov 13, 2010
    Looks nice. For the money the Ontario fixed blades as a whole seem to be a decent value. 5160 and 1095, both are pretty venerable steels IMHO. Also I've got a SP10 bowie and it seems to be one of the few decent, affordable production bowies. As far as I'm concerned they fill the niche left by the old Western W49.
     
  9. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    IMHO, Ontario SP10 is the ONLY decent production Bowie knife that is Made in America, period.

    Ontario, BK&T, are the BEST value American Made production blades there are. KaBar is also a GREAT value blade even if many are made overseas.
     
  10. whetrock

    whetrock

    Nov 13, 2010
    Nothing at all wrong with Ka-Bar's imported offerings. Also while some regard them as childish the ZK pestilence chopper is a nice larger blade for the money and like a lot of imported Ka-bars features SK-5 blade steel.
     
  11. bigghoss

    bigghoss

    Jul 27, 2011
    Totally dig the D-ring mod. I like sheaths that have them but never thought of adding one myself.
     
  12. mckishen

    mckishen

    26
    Jun 9, 2006
    I've got both, use my SP-53 to trim branches from fresh fall timber prior to sectioning/splitting, and the SP-10's for when the zombies come =)

    [​IMG]

    that sheath mod is nice too, but I prefer not to carry mine on my belt as it's a bit on the heavy side and tends to make me clumsy when tripping around in branches.
     
  13. Mikel_24

    Mikel_24

    Sep 19, 2007
    I am glad to see that these knives sport a healthy bevel... When I didn't know any better I bought an SP-8 and I ended up giving it away. Too thick of a bevel, 0 chopping ability... and at the time of getting rid of it I didn't have my belt grinder ready. I should have gotten any of the two knives pictured here! They look much more usable than the SP-8

    Mikel
     
  14. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    Well, thats too bad because i ABSOLUTELY LOVE my SP-8. Yes i had to thin the edge some, no biggie to me. I would not give it away.

    So, anyways, on to some testing of the SP-53. I love this line of knives. Outstanding bang for the buck.

    [​IMG]

    On the table, ready for use. KaBar #1248 Cutlass for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    Batoning a piece of firewood.

    [​IMG]

    Against the grain. Made no difference. It still split it well.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, it is also capable of feather sticks. I am not real good at it. It certainly does not work as good as a Mora BushCraft Forest. On the plus side, it is EASY to use as a draw knife. This one HD MoFO. I give this knife a 9.75 out of 10. Just because the edge needs to be thinned a little bit.

    [​IMG]

    It had no trouble making fire bow drill divots either.

    [​IMG]

    Stabability test---5/8".

    [​IMG]

    Granted, this was only one piece of firewood & it was pine, but when done, it still shaved hair.

    [​IMG]

    It also shaved paper, YES, BEFORE i hit it on the butchers steel (found it at the recycling center). The butchers steel is what i use before i put them away. One swipe on each side & done.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  15. Mikel_24

    Mikel_24

    Sep 19, 2007
    BTW, I was checking an internet store to see how much these GEN II series run for and I came across the "Gen II SP-52 Knife". Seems exactly the same as the "Gen II SP-53 Knife" you are reviewing here... except that it SEEMS full flat ground! Is that the only difference between them? I only checked a small picture but you can appreciate the difference in the grind in the ricasso area.

    I guess it will be a tad ligther and also will have a more accute angle (being full flat ground instead of saber ground)... so, in my mind, it will make a better chopper. Any ideas?

    Mikel
     
  16. TwinStick

    TwinStick

    Jan 21, 2011
    Yes---it seems that the even # knives (SP-46, 48, 50, 52) are full flat grind & the odd #'s (SP-47, 49, 51, 53) are Sabre Ground. I think this is EXCELLENT marketing strategy. I ALWAYS prefer the sabre grind. Many prefer the FFgrind. Makes both happy !!!

    I prefer the sabre grind for strength, pure & simple. My mindset is: if it is sharp any blade will cut well, but more steel = more strength. I was taught to prepare for the worst & hope for the best. Sometimes while chopping, blades get stuck & i want to be able to beat on it to get it out if i have to & sometimes that means wiggling it, pulling on it, prying on it & yanking on it. Glad we can each choose what we like. Get you one. The SP-53 is a GREAT knife.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012

Share This Page