Monthly Archives: September 2014

All FireSteels aren’t created equally

About a month ago I had headed out on a field test for a few days but omitted reporting on a rather interesting discovery about FireSteels.  There are cheap versions and more expensive versions of what appear to be identical products.  Believe me, there’s a difference.

I’m a great fan of using the FireSteels to light my campfires and find it’s a great tool to make you a better fire starter whether you use the FireSteel, a match or a lighter.  If you’ve ever used one, you know it’s important to have your tinder and kindling at hand and ready to go as soon as a flame is ignited.

For years, I’ve carried and used the “Light my Fire” brand, Army sized  Swedish FireSteels with great success.  They strike an incredibly hot spark and work great in damp environments.  They’re made in Sweden and one of the most expensive on the market.

Light my Fire FireSteels
Light my Fire Swedish FireSteels

About a year ago I started paying attention to some of the inexpensive knockoffs showing up and was curious about the difference.  I picked up one of the Chinese clones for around $6 and took it out and used it a few times.  While I know the sparks it throws aren’t as hot or abundant as those from the Swedish FireSteels, it worked okay.  Appearance wise, for the most part they looked identical.

Chinese Clone on the Left and a Swedish FireSteel on the Right
Chinese Clone on the Left and a Swedish FireSteel on the Right

One evening I grabbed my ‘field test bag’ with me and I happened to come across the knockoff.  I started to strike some sparks and found out it had the typical oxidation on the surface so I started to scrape it off when I came across some significant pitting on the rod.

Pitting on the knockoff rod
Pitting on the knockoff rod

In addition, I noticed some oxidation or corrosion on the striker.

Corrosion on the knockoff FireSteel
Corrosion on the knockoff FireSteel

I didn’t think a whole lot about it until I actually tried to get the fire lit.  I don’t know the difference in the composition of the two rods, but the knockoff was almost impossible to get a decent spark thrown.  I scrapped the surface of the rod to clean any oxidation off and even tried the striker from the Swedish FireSteel with only a minimal improvement.  Both of these FireSteels had been in my kit for about the same length of time and the Swedish FireSteel is about 3 years older then the knockoff.

It feels good to save a few bucks but this is one product I’d be cautious about. Today you can find the smaller versions on Ebay for just over a buck with free shipping from Hong Kong! (now I understand why)  But IF you’re buying a FireSteel for a potential survival situation or if you spend a fair amount of time in the woods and want to carry equipment you know won’t fail …. buyer beware.   It would probably work in a pinch, but when you’re sitting in the rain, trying to light a fire with cold fingers and things aren’t working out to well, that $10-15 savings isn’t gonna be worth much.  I want the balance tipped in my favor!

 

21 Bull Buster OD Green and Maroon Micarta

Just received what I believe are the last of the 21 Bull Buster run on Saturday.  These are the two Micarta handled knives in OD Green and Maroon Linen Micarta.

21 Bull Buster Maroon Linen Micarta
21 Bull Buster Maroon Linen Micarta
21 Bull Buster OD Green Linen Micarta
21 Bull Buster OD Green Linen Micarta

The OD Green 21 Bull Buster will show up with either regular micarta or the linen micarta.  Evidently GEC ran short of the OD Green Linen Micarta during production and finished some of the knives with regular/canvas OD Green Micarta handles.  Both are great handle materials but the Linen Micarta has a finer ‘grain’ to it.  I think you’d be hard pressed to find an iota of difference in toughness or wear-ability.  I requested that all of my OD Green 21 Bull Buster knives be finished with the linen for no other reason then I wanted them all the same and I have a personal preference for the look of the linen.

GEC Bull Buster in Nifebrite and Black Delrin Arrived

Second installment of the GEC Bull Buster arrived this AM.  This group included the Nifebrite and Black Delrin.

We still have the OD Green and and Maroon Linen Micarta to arrive yet.   My understanding is GEC ran short of some of the Linen Micarta and may end up substituting regular Micarta for part of the order.

If you haven’t taken a look at these, do so.  I’d say this is probably one of the best buys for the dollar if you’re in need of a folding hunting knife or have a youngster starting out in need of a quality folding hunter.  With a price in the mid $50 range, if someone loses the Bull Buster, at least it’s not a budget buster.  There just aren’t a lot of knives out there that hit that price point with a 1095 blade.

GEC Bull Buster Nifebrite
GEC Bull Buster Nifebrite
GEC Bull Buster Black Delrin
GEC Bull Buster Black Delrin

A point I failed to mention was the spring tension on the GEC Bull Buster is a lot more user friendly then the original #23.  Don’t get me wrong, it has an aggressive spring, but no where near as stiff as the 23’s.

Fallkniven Steel Comparison

In the last month, I posted a couple of articles in praise of the Fallkniven knives and in particular, the Fallkniven steel used in their blades.  I know Dave has been impressed beyond words with the the Cowry-X steel as well as the Cobalt and SGPS.

Both Dave and I did some research on the Fallkniven steel used in their blades and here’s probably one of the better articles we came across.  Fallkniven Steel Comparison.  It’s an easy read as well as being really informative.  Some of these articles can get really ground up in molecular structure and other details that can put the most interested to sleep.  This fellow from Australia did a great job of explaining things concisely but thoroughly.

Dave just sent me another link that’s rather interesting regarding Japanese steels.  It really helps explain why knives made with some of these steels get so expensive.  Makes you wonder why we’ll pay a kings ransom for a gorgeous piece of stag attached to a run of the mill carbon steel, yet balk at paying the same price for a premium steel finished with Micarta.  If you’re interested, check this link as well: Japanese Steel 

GEC 21 Bull Buster Free Leather Lanyard Offer!!

So many buyers have requested a lanyard be included with their purchases, I’ve decided to make a leather lanyard part of the package when you buy one of the GEC 21 Bull Buster knives.  No extra charge for a limited time!

GEC 21 Bull Buster
GEC 21 Bull Buster w/lanyard

The lanyard works great to act as a easy means to pull the knife out of a pocket or sleeve.  It also can be used to ‘hang’ your knife on a branch rather than laying it on the ground when you’re not using it.  And of course, slipping your hand in the loop assures you won’t drop it into the lake when you rinse it off over the side of the canoe!  (been there done that)

First GEC 21 Bull Buster Arrived Today

The first of the GEC 21 Bull Buster series hit the doorstep this morning.  True to form in the GEC ‘practical knife’ approach, this is a no frills large single blade addition to the Farm & Field series.  My bet is, this is gonna be a popular knife for the hunter and outdoors man.

GEC 21 Bull Buster Orange Delrin
GEC 21 Bull Buster Orange Delrin

The only way you’ll identify it as a Great Eastern product is by the small tang stamp on the back side of the blade.

GEC 21 Bull Buster
GEC 21 Bull Buster

As soon as you pick it up and open the blade, there’s no doubt as to it’s lineage.  This is an economy version of the original #23.

GEC 21 Bull Buster & 23 Pioneer
GEC 21 Bull Buster & 23 Pioneer

DSCN1127

At 8.5″ OAL opened with a 3.75″ blade, it should fit the bill for someone wanting an inexpensive field knife for taking on bigger game or chores.  It’s a great relief to see it come through with a 1095 blade.

I’d be willing to bet a good cigar that once we see the SFO of the lockback come through, it’ll just be a matter of time before a regular run will be forthcoming.  For a long time I’ve said GEC needed a lock back in the size range of the 23 and we may just see that happen soon.  My sincere hope is that we could see the lockback come through under the Tidiuote and Northfield labels in some higher end handle materials as well as a GEC 440c series.  Delrin is a good product, but a knife in this class deserves a little fancier look.

Update on the GEC Hunter Pack

GEC has been putting pix out of the H20 Hunter Pack knives as they ARE coming through production.  I talked to Chris again this AM and got the size specs which are….6.75″ OAL, 3″ blade and 3.75″ handle, 1095 blades only.  Just for comparison, I pulled out one of the GEC Slicers and found the measurements are identical.  NOTE, this is one of the previously run Slicers, NOT the GEC Hunter Pack knife.

GEC Slicer
GEC Slicer
GEC Slicer
GEC Slicer
DSCN0967
GEC Slicer

For a “hunting” knife these are definitely going to be geared toward the small game hunter.   Unfortunately, they’ll only be offered in 1095 Carbon Steel, no stainless.

I don’t anticipate stocking any of these, but will be taking orders for anyone interested.  There’s some discussion you’ll be able to order these from your distributor and they might be drop shipped directly from GEC which would cut down on the delivery time.  Nothing yet on pricing, but I’ll pass it on as soon as it’s available.

Here are photo’s from the GEC website with the blade options.

OD GREEN CANVAS MICARTA