Please, help us prevent you getting ripped off because someone got their account compromised by reusing their email & password. Read the new best practices for using the Exchange FAQ page.

Upcoming Knife Tests: What would you do?


HPIC - Hatas gonna Hate
Staff member
Super Mod
Oct 2, 1998
Hey all, it's me again!

As Mike said, we will be testing a Mad Dog ATAK II, Busse INFI Battle Mistress, a Trailmaster Bowie, and some other knives in a short while.

We have already discussed the ever popular "Super Dangerous Free Hanging Rope Assailant" test, as well as the "2x4 Challenge".

What I want to know is, what other tests would you like to see performed? Let's keep it serious for now, well get into the "Cold Steel ***shaving Challenge" (of chat room fame) later...


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here

I'm interested in edge retention, sharpening tools that work best for a given blade, and ease of resharpening. That and the abuse factor....how much lickin' yet keeps on tickin' as it were.

Besides the seemingly obligatory hemp and 2x4s perhaps things more readily encountered in real life like cardboard, nylon rope, green wood and vines, barbedwire
, 55 gallon drums, etc. could also be used as test medium.

Flexing and bounceback as would occur during prybar abuse also tells a story. Jimmying doors and windows of cars and houses as an entry tool might show this capability or lack thereof.

Splitting kindling might be a good test. Its something that would be a common activity out in the field, and the combination of chopping and twisting would be a good workout for the knives.

Breaking cinder blocks with the spine of the blade would be an effective test.

Also, though, how about checking the knives for "choke up" comfort, by using them for skinning.

How about skinning one of those Palmetto Bugs you all got down there in Flordia.

It is now time for the macabre, then again, Halloween just passed

3 raw beef roasts (you can cook and eat afterwards on a grill for a real fun family outing) put each one in a sleeve made of new denim, not old denim, free hang them and take a slash at each. A little more representative of how a knife will do defensive-wise.

3 hams with bones in them, same thing but this is a chopping test, same-same...

These are strictly for the defensive side of such tools, and is far more indicative of defensive utility than the rope test or 2X4 chopping, as people are not ropes or sticks.

If you do this, I'm really interested in seeing how the three of them fly through the test.

If you find this test suggestion to be too expensive, pine dowel, wrapped with 3 thick foam with leather or new denim wrapped over, slash and chop. Humans ain't foam either, but skin and flesh is more like foam than sticks or ropes.

Hope I wasn't too gross or maniacal.
Since the biggest (or most obvious) advantage of the ATAK is the handle, it would be great to see that aspect fully tested including:

[*]durability to shock trauma
[*]resistant to chemicals / extreem heat|cold
[*]ergonomics for long term / very heavy use
[*]stability of grip when tired / slippery

As well the usual toughness tests including

[*]point penetration into wood and bend to the side
[*]prying (close to the tip and far away)
[*]smashing with the back of the blade (break up concrete blocks)

And then the actual cutting tests

[*]softer materials like meat (including bone seperation)
[*]harder material like canvas
[*]hard shelled ropes
[*]thick nylon rope
[*]heavy webbing/strapping
[*]thick rubber hose
[*]thick plactic pipe

then the heavier chopping/splitting on some decent sized wood like 4x4's and similarly sized non-manufactured green wood.

All that of course tests edge holding so it would be great to see how sharpening differs on the blades.

Finally if you are willing to seriously risk damaging the knife it would be great to see how the tip and edge resist severe abuse

[*]revere grip thrust straight into concrete to test tip
[*]slash / chop up concrete bricks to test the edge

And of course a corrosion comparasion.

Not much to it at all

[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 11-03-98).]
Well, the 2x4 test is always nice, but I'd like to see both a soft and a HARD wood chopped. The hard wood will give us a better idea of whose edge chips and rolls, and whose doesn't.

I personally find the freehanging rope thing useless, but you're right, it's a standard and has to be done.

How about some actual *cutting*. I mean, real slicing. These knives claim to be capable as all-around camp knives. Try slicing some cooked roast beef. Also try whittling yourself a walking stick, see how the wood comes off. Slice -- not slash -- through cardboard, and note how difficult it is. And other items too, as Cliff mentioned hose, pipe, webbing, etc.

Tip penetration is always a nice test. How to do it is always problematic. You can drop the knives from the height into wood (I'd say to keep the handles at the same height, so the longer blades have their tips down a little lower).

A thrusting test whose objective is to measure the ergonomics of the handle is always nice. Using a regular grip, thrust the knife into a phone book, progressively getting harder, and note how SECURE it is to hang on. Also note which knife is the most ACCURATE on your thrust, another good test of ergonomics. Slip on your spectra glove, and lube the handle with a little soap & water, to make it slick, and try this again.

Some of the tests I suggest are a little subjective. For example, when slicing through cardboard, you'll have to just judge to your best ability how difficult it is. This is an unfortunate reality of knife testing. To test thoroughly, some of your tests may be more subjective than you'd like.

I suggest a panael of testers all over the country with a fairly standarized testing regimen and them the users subjective remarks.

All panelists should be secret until the test is over and then the moderator can tally the results.

One person or two doing the same tasks at the same time at the same place doesnt hold much water for me. A TRUE evaluation will have several evaluators with different skill levels and different opinions.

Certain criteria should bes set as far as
1)Percieved usefulness
2)Percieved quality
3)Percieved value
4)Would you pay the price?
5)Are these qualities (ex.-non conductive handle)important to You?
etc etc etc.

Then each tester can devise their own tests in addition to the standarized ones.
I have found that cutting through carpet will give me a better result on cutting ability, and edge holding than cardboard or canvas.
Give it a shot.
Also for the pipe and hose test take a peace about a foot long and split it in half, the long way. Do not just cut off a end.

[This message has been edited by db (edited 11-03-98).]
One test I always do is holding a sheet of paper up and shaving off very small slivers of paper with it. This is my "Spyder Edge Test" to see if a knife is as sharp as my POLICE. But then again I am really prejudiced - LOVE the big Spydercos...
I am thinking of getting a Military - but it is SO EXPENSIVE!
My Emerson Commander was a GIFT... ( I about Choked when I opened to box ) I've never payed more than 100 for any knife.
How about building identical lean-to's and report on the following:
1. ease/difficulty of chopping materials
2. handle comfort during chopping operation
3. sharpness of blade after shelter is completed
4. ease/difficulty of resharpening after above operations.
5. ease/difficulty of blade maintenance under extreme weather conditions
Hey!!!! I have a wonderful idea!!!!

Send *ME* the knives, and I'll test'm for ya!!!!!


Dammit, Don! You took my idea!

Seriously, I would like to see how each knife fares against the rib section of a (dead, of course) cow...
I would like to see repeated penetrations of a 1 gallon paint can.


Mouse Assassins inc.

Hey I live in Tampa and would love to drive up when you do the test. Will you guys post the dates and times?

Scuba Doo
Try useing the pommel of the knife as a hammer on stuff like walnuts and nails.

After they all get dull sharpen them and see which is the hardest to put an edge back on.

Just for fun freeze them all in liquid nitrogen then drop them from the top of the building.
See how efficantly they slash tires and cut brake lines.
According to legend, Japanese swords were tested on the nearest peasent....
ps really though, try cutting through a piece of unhardened mild steel
Well, if you are going to prepare dinner in the way Don suggested (I´ll second that), you can complete the meal by slicing other common foodstuff like bread and salad etc. Cut up boxes and packing and anything else which can be encountered under normal circumstances. Why? This is the stuff each of us cuts daily and gives an impression on the abilities of the testcandidates which we are all familiar with. Also a good test for finecontrol of this big babys.
Just my 2c