Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wilder Forge Necker Review

The BEAUTIFUL custom Wilder Forge Neck Knife
Click on any of the photos for a larger view

A while back, I saw a Texas knife maker on blade forums offering $60 neck knives. As I was browsing through the photos of his previous works, I really liked what I saw. As a custom knife maker, you have to tell him what you want and wait for it to be produced. I thought these knife can't seriously be THAT good for $60 but I figured I'd give them an shot and see. So, I placed my order and waited...

INITIAL THOUGHTS 

When my long awaited Wilder Forge Necker arrived and I took it out of the box, all I could say is, "wow! that is fine Texas craftsmanship". My family really doesn't comment on my knife collection that often but this little knife got comments from everyone; they all wanted their own. :) The size was perfect for a necker and thoughts of whittling with this little knife got me to breaking out some pine.


MATERIALS

The blade of this litte knife is made out of high carbon 52100 steel. Like all high carbon steels, it will rust if not taken care of. My thoughts on the use of this knife would be as a backup to my larger bushcraft/outdoors knives and a high carbon steel would work perfect for this. The handle I opted for was Orange G10 overlaid with Black Micarta. The scales came out perfect! The scales are held together and to the blade by two large stainless tubes.  Overall, a very nice collection of materials.

FIT AND FINISH

Fit and Finish on this little knife is very nice. All of the G10, micarta and steel line up perfectly with no machining marks anywhere. There were some buffing rubs near the back of the knife blade but nothing too distracting. VERY impressive for a $60 knife.


BLADE

As stated previously, the blade of this little necker is made of 52100 steel. 52100 is a high carbon steel and as such will rust if not taken care of. Many folks who use high carbon steels in their knives like to develop their own patina with a whole range of techniques. Patina nips the rust issue in the butt and depending on the technique you use to put the patina on the blade, can be very artistic. People use everything from coffee grounds to mustard to merely sticking their knives into a grapefruit for an extended period. For my bushcraft, I'll let it develop naturally with use and use a Tuf-cloth to beat back rust. The cutting edge on the blade is a tiny but very useful 3" blade. Most bush crafters will agree that a good bushcraft combo consists of two knives; a larger more robust knife and a smaller knife for more fine tasks (think peeling apples, cutting meat, general food prep, etc.). This little necker fits this bill perfectly. I have found over the past several months of owning this little knife that 52100  holds a good edge very well and sharpens easily. I really liked the flat ground (with secondary bevel) blade for finer tasks and sharpening it was easy.

ERGONOMICS

For such a small fixed blade, I can't enough good things about how well, it fits my big hands. The handle shape wouldn't be great for heavy duty tasks but this little knife was not made for that. As a  whittling knife, it works great; no hot spots. The little finger groove near the front of the handle makes a nice little choil for fine work.

SHEATH

The Wilder Forge necker comes with a no frills folded and molded Kydex sheath. It's nothing fancy but it fits the knife securely and works OK for it's "necker" purpose. I would have preferred a leather sheath but then it wouldn't be a $60 necker :) I like this knife so much, I'll be getting a leather sheath made for it.

SIZE

The Blade is 3" in length and I measured the handle at 3.25", perfect size for a necker, boot knife, food knife, et al.. My 10 yr. old daughter says it's the perfect size for her :)
My 10yr old daughter holding her favorite knife in my collection

USES

The uses for this little knife are pretty much endless except maybe heavy duty tasks. That being said, take a look at what Jason (the maker) did with his here. I've prepped many many food items with this little knife and it works GREAT, I've whittled with this knife as well and couldn't be happier. If you scratch the heavy duty jobs, I really can't think of much this little knife can't do.
The Wilder Forge Neck Knife working on some home grown Jalapeno's, Chili Pequins and lime for a batch of Salsa..mmmm
 CONCLUSION

If you haven't figured it out yet, I really love this little knife. For the $60 price tag, it's a steal. After handling and using this knife, it's easily in the same class as some of my $150+ knives. I'd feel comfortable paying much more for this one. For the outdoorsman, I think a knife like this is a must have. This makes a great little bushcraft knife, food prep knife, camp knife, a boot knife, neck knife or even a good backup knife for a law enforcement officer. Add to this, you get a custom knife made in the USA to your specs, made of quality materials, this knife is a steal. To top it all off, this is a Texan-made knife. That alone makes this knife a little tougher, a little better and a little more special than knives made in lesser locations :) I do wish he would have kept using his Texas stamp on his blades...but that's a personal thing. Jason Wilder is a fine craftsman who puts out a fine product. I wouldn't hesitate a second recommending his products to a potential custom knife customer.


NOTE: Jason's current price as of Nov. 2013 is $80; still a steal for a knife of this quality.

HOW TO PURCHASE

Jason opens an order thread occasionally on blade forums where you can order here. You can also find him on Facebook here.

UPDATE 8-27-15: Jason at Wilder Forge has a website: http://www.wilderforgeknives.com/

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I tried contacting Wilder Forge but they never responded. I really want this knife after your review. Do you have any other way of contacting him?

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  2. He just did a website with his contact info here: http://www.wilderforgeknives.com/

    ReplyDelete