TUSK vs Trailmaster cont.

Refering the following thread :


Ed, you state (CS vs MD) :

The key to selecting between them IMHO is whether the user will want/need the extra benefit of the hand-crafted work of a MD or will settle for the mass-produced design of the CS.

While I agree with some of the things you comment on regarding MD's (grips) some of its aspects are not flat out advantages, they make a knife perform better in some respects but with the trade off of losing performance in others.

Referencing the recent testing :


The TUSK has a full flat grind which gives it excellent penetration almost double the depth of the heavier Ang Khola. This combined with the much more neutral balance makes it excellent for light work. Out of the dozen or so people who did the testing with me, all of them chose the TUSK as the favorite for all light work. The balance, edge holding and of course the great grip giving excellent performance.

However there are problems with the flat grind. On heavier work the flat ground TUSK easily lodges in wood whereas the much thicker khukuris do not. And you can of course increase your power and drive the khukuri deeper approaching the depth penetration of the TUSK and it still will not get stuck. As well the flat grind is much lighter than a sabre or convex grind which while making the balance good for lighter work does reduce performace considerably on heavier work where you want a good blade heavy balance. And of course the more metal removed the lower the lateral toughness.

On another aspect the very hard edge of the MD's also has its pro's and con's. On soft materials it gives performance that must be seen to be believed. It is very hard to dull cutting wood, rope and similar. It will far outlast the much softer 5160 in the khukuris (55-58 RC). However once you go to harder materials the edge on the TUSK starts to impact quite readily compared to the khukuris and of course since it is much harder than the 5160 any indentation is much harder to work out.

Back to CS vs MD, while the Trailmaster has a different geometry than the TUSK I would be not be quick to say one knife is better, but only to say each is better in certain areas. Each individual may value these areas differently.



Gold Member
Dec 23, 1998
Thanks Cliff. And I agree, the MD may have an edge in ergonomics and balance, but if it fails in durability it is worthless in the field.
Cobalt to some I would agree. It just depends on what you are looking for. I would have a place for example for an elongated TUSK say with an 18" blade. Reduce the thickness down to 1/8 or 3/16, the thinnest possible for the necessary thickness. You would then have a very nice machete that is light in your hand and excellent for clearing trails and other light woodworking with little or no wrist fatigue.

The handles are my real attraction though. I wish others would start doing similar ones. Not a direct copy but just using the same design principles and materials. I would love for example to get an Ang Khola blank from HI and get someone to put a G11 MD styled handle on it and then get an Outsider styled Kydex sheath.

I'm sure that it can be done. Any word on the TrailM. yet?
Nothing yet from CS. I got the two Ontario Bowies and Sirupatis from Rusty yesterday. I'll post up a brief description later today and hopefully get a chance to do some cutting this weekend.

As an update the CS knives (Trailmaster, Recon Scout) are in the mail.

Here is the Trailmaster :

And the Recon Scout :


Full specs are at the Knifecenter :


If I don't have the review on the Ontario and HI khukuris completed by the time the CS's arrive :


I'll just add them to it. I should have an A1 by then, maybe my Busse BM (doubtful), and maybe even a big blade out of 3V soon. Fire away with any suggestions on the CS blades. I didn't pay for these so they are fair game, even more so than usual. To anyone who has seen the proof video I would appreciate a description.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 29 April 1999).]
Cliff, as others will doubtless point out, that top picture is the recon tanto, not the recon scout. I'm assuming you're actually talking about the recon scout and just linked the wrong pic...

[ update: sneaky sneaky. he fixed the pic while I was posting the above! go ahead, make me look silly


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 29 April 1999).]
Err.. Cliff, I think that's the Recon Tanto.

The Recon Scout is the smaller version of the Trailmaster, right?

As Joe pointed out I had originally posted a picture and link to the Recon Tanto. That's what you get when you have 5 Netscape windows open at once and start pasting links from one to the other.

After fixing the picture and link, I was tempted to change them back to the Recon Tanto after reading Joe's edit to his post.

Put the CS blades through the same testing you did with the Tusk / Uluchet / HI khukuri / GH khukuri. If they survive that they have to be pretty well made. This is off topic, but in another thread you asked what makes a good knife. IMHO it is Durability and Adaptability, if your knife won't adapt to whatever task you need to perform or is unable to survive that task, you may find yourself up the proverbial creek.

YES,it is sharp, just keep your fingers out of the way!


You mentioned your wish to see others develop handles with ergonomics like MadDog's. My take on the kevlar/hytrel handle on Missions A2 line up is that they have maybe gone Kevin one better. I happen to think they both have similar design rots but am finding the MPKS handle more to my liking than I did my pATAK's.

Might want to check them out although obviously YMMV.

On knifeandtool.com there is an article comparing MD and Mission knives. According to the test, the weakness of the Mission handle was that it would absorb gasoline whereas the MD handles would not.

No, I was never lost. But I was mighty bewildered one time for three days.

--- Daniel Boone
Bob, I will definately be checking that out. I just have to decide on which one to get, the A2 or Ti version. For an excellent picture of the handle Bob is describing :


Tallwingedgoat, my clothes tend to absorb gasoline rather well so I avoid spilling it around. If I somehow manage to set myself on fire (not that unlikely) I severely doubt I will be thinking "Its a good thing my ATAK handle is fire resistant or I would really be in trouble". I would much rather have a more secure and ergonomic handle than one that can be set on fire. Of course having both would be nice.

PJ, that's a given. I described the results to the CS rep. that I talked to and he had no reluctance at all about me repeating the testing on the CS blades.