Tops or Esee?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by animalinstinct, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    I am getting a new knife for myself this Christmas. I am looking for something to use while I'm camping. I want something in the 4-5 in range that is stainless. All of my knives are carbon steel, and I want to try something stainless. I am stuck between the Esee 4 in 440c and the Tops B.O.B. in 154CM. I am leaning towards the Tops, mainly for the scandi grind, but am a little concerned with the 154cm being brittle. BTW the Tops is about as much as my budget will allow. Any ideas/opinions would be greatly appreciated as I'm a noob. Thanks in advance!
  2. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    I am quite underwhelmed by the BOB (very polite)
    The 'scandi' grind is just a convex edge backed by a saber grind, it is just too far away from a scandi
    It is a heavy knife, and too short to use the weight for chopping, thick enough but too short for battening thicker rounds, and too heavy for fine work

    I completely displaced the BOB by a Becker BK 16, a much lighter field knife

    I have the Terävä Jääkäripuukko, 140 mm (5.5") in stainless steel

    It is a superb field knife as tough as nails and holds a edge for ever
    The Scandi has a small secondary bevel, that you can sharpen out over time to come to a zero edge
    but the secondary bevel strengthens the edge
    the spine is sharp for fire matches
    The handle a molded rubber is very comfortable
    The dangler sheath is solid leather and has a strong plastic insert that holds the knife very well

    this is the 110 cm knife

    And all for $65!

    you can wait for the 110 (4.3") to come into stock, but it has been a long time

    See comparison review 11:30 minute
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
    vba, Lapedog and animalinstinct like this.
  3. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    Lapedog likes this.
  4. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    Really like the Enzo but its barely out of my price range... Also been looking at the Fallkniven F1. And OKc Blackbird Sk-5, but I have heard online that their QC can be hit and miss
  5. StrikeBack


    May 16, 2013
    Tops and ESEE, that's tough! I love both. I have the PR4 from ESEE of my Christmas wishlist
    Finan47 likes this.
  6. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    I like the pr4 as well. I wonder if anyone is making kydex for it yet?
  7. Roamad


    Feb 1, 2016
    Fallkniven F1 is another good choice, though probably just over your budget.
    animalinstinct likes this.
  8. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    Its on amazon for $111 right now. Seems like a steal.
    Roamad likes this.
  9. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    I'll alleviate one of your worries.. 154CM is by no means brittle. One of the toughest stainless steels out there, in my opinion it'd be a great choice for a field knife.

    Now as to which knife? That's up to you, of course, haha.
  10. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    Another vote for the F1 if it's within your budget.
  11. Brommeland


    Jul 28, 2003
    The TOPS BOB is a good choice imho. However, the Fallkniven F1 is a great choice. I have three of them and my daughter has a fourth one that used to be mine. All of them have performed superbly. I consider the F1 to be one of the most useful tools I've ever owned.
  12. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    I have it narrowed down to the esee 4 and the f1. I like esee, and I have no doubt that rowen would do a great ht on the 440c (not sure how hard they run it if anyone knows?) but I would prefer the vg10, but I am an amateur and not sure if I could sharpen the convex grind. Would the f1 still keep its edge toughness (chipping out) if I ended up with a secondary bevel? BTW thank you for all of the helpful responses! I appreciate you all sharing your knowledge/opinions
  13. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    At this point I am leaning towards the esee, solely because sharpenability, but I would rather have a tougher steel
  14. Brommeland


    Jul 28, 2003
    Don't feel intimidated by a convex grind. They're actually quite easy to maintain and/or fix. But to answer your question, for a quick touch-up, I hit mine on white ceramic V rods followed by stropping. This creates a secondary micro bevel that actually strengthens the edge and makes it screamin' sharp. It's as easy to keep sharp as a flat grind, gets sharper & holds it's edge much longer. There is also less "drag" when cutting due to the lack of a coating and the convex grind makes it much "slicy-er".

    For me personally, I've purchased my last Esee. They're good knives, but they are overpriced imo, and they have not given me anywhere near the performance I've experienced with a TOPS BOB, or any Fallkniven or Bark River that I've owned. I consider their quality to be excellent, but their performance has been mediocre at best.
    Mr. Tettnanger likes this.
  15. Brommeland


    Jul 28, 2003
    "Tougher" is a vague term. VG-10 will hold an edge much longer, but will not tolerate impact as well. A2 will take much more impact than 1095. 3V will take far more impact than A2 and so on. What I have learned as a semi-professional hillbilly (I live on the top of a mountain in East Tennessee) is that knives should be used for cutting. If you need to chop something, use an axe or a machete. Now, having said that, I have split lots of kindling with my VG-10 F1's with no edge damage, but they are first and foremost a cutting tool.

    I use the combination of a small silky saw (F180 or Pocketboy), my F1 and a Condor Speed Machete. I guarantee that I can build a shelter, get a fire going, and/or clear a campsite in well under half the time with this combination of tools that any "expert" can do with their mythical "one tool option".

    If you cannot afford to do that to start, buy a Mora ($10-20), a Tramontina Machete ($10-12) and a Corona or Bahco folding saw ($20 or so) and you're all set. Then upgrade one piece at a time as you can afford it, and then put the "old" gear in your vehicle as a spare.
  16. animalinstinct


    Sep 4, 2017
    Thanks for the info @Brommeland!
  17. Pilot1


    Sep 24, 2005
    This is where I am with ESEE. I bought mine many years ago when they were still RAT, and priced fairly. Now, I think they've become over priced, and of the choices I'd go Fallkniven F1, and call it a day. For a bit over $100, you get a great knife with a good, compact zytel sheath. Also, you can get a good, stainless Mora for around $13.
  18. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    I wish this advice was a sticky all by itself

    fmajor007 likes this.
  19. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998
    Go with the ESEE, the heat treat is worth it. 440C is a great steel and at one time was the darling of custom knife makers. It is still one of my favorite stainless steels and it has been around forever so there is no surprises in the HT department. Besides ESEE is an excellent company to deal with and the price is right.
    knoefz likes this.
  20. Finan47


    Apr 18, 2017
    Hate to complicate the issue, but maybe look at the Benchmade 162 Bushcraft. It is a quality knife with good balance and a comfortable handle. It also has a beautifully functional leather sheath. Price point may be a bit higher than the F1, but this knife is a lifer. Just my 2 cents . . .

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