A memorable weekend with the K1 knife

Read about a team member’s short but fun forest adventure with the K1 knife and the family. See how the K1 performed with some more demanding tasks.

The recent French additions to our YouTube channel have all been shot (so far) by a team member on his own land out in the countryside. And this begs the question: what is the point of having a bit of forest if you can’t enjoy it once in a while? That question led to the blog piece below.

What follows is a short summary of the notes he made about using our K1 knife which he’d decided to test a little around his woods. Apparently, he explained the fact he didn’t need to wear a belt to carry the knife (the K1 has an open clip, not a hoop) also made a nice choice, as belts are not always as comfortable in warm weather.

For his test, he decided to have some fun with the kids and set up a little camp a bit further away from the house for a night among the trees. Beyond some fun, the idea was to put the Steambow N690 K1 knife through its paces. So, the kids were tasked with helping carry supplies some distance beyond the treeline, and they set about looking for a place to camp.

The plan was fairly simple: to find a clear spot and use rope, a tarp, a small folding saw, and the K1 to make a little shelter to sleep under with a mat and sleeping bag. Given some rain earlier that week, the ground was still damp, making it safe to have a little fire to cook some sausages, marshmallows and make tea.

While the saw was the obvious choice for cutting branches and deadwood for the shelter support, the K1 was there for finer cutting tasks.

Two healthy trees about three meters apart provided a good place to build the shelter. So with one long-dead small pine sawn down, the K1 cut some hemp cordage down into 80-centimeter strips to bind the cross spar to the trees. Two additional shorter branches to keep the tarp in a lean-to orientation, and it was ready.

By the time the shelter was put up, the K1 had worked through some two dozen cuts of cord. That might not sound like much, but cord is pretty abrasive and punishing on the same section of the edge of a knife blade, leading to a duller patch. In preparation for this, our intrepid explorer had taken a pocket diamond stone to avoid the hassle of going back to the living room, a full 2 minutes walk away. After all, it's not bushcraft if you run back indoors at every misfortune!

Floor mats and sleeping bags were laid out, and it was now getting closer to supper, so time to prepare a fire.  The handsaw made short work of branches on fallen trees (thank you, spring storms), and the K1 stripped off the bark to get to the dry core. That, too, can be heavy work for a blade, but the K1 managed fine.

At this point, it might be worth reminding readers that the K1 was never designed as an all-out bushcrafter. If anything, it is closer to a hunting knife with its deep belly, fine secondary bevel, and saber grind. But this fun weekend event seemed like a good time to try some things out.

With some modest branches shaved down to the dry wood beneath, there started to be some good material for a fire. Some of the sticks, though, were a bit thick and needed splitting. Although the spine of the K1 is tapered and not really designed for batoning, this wood was made of branches of two or three cm thickness at most. In addition, they were relatively soft wood from pine. So, with those statistics, our guy decided to have a try on a few.

This is not what we recommend for the knife, but we gave him this one to review and experience, so it was his risk to take. In truth, the size and density of the wood meant that with only light taps on the spine, the blade would travel down the length. Whilst thicker, more aggressive grinds like a scandi or convex would have split the branches almost immediately, the K1 saber grind just kept working its way down until the branch finally popped.

That exposed the core, and splitting the halves down again gave a nice clean edge of dry wood to turn into feather sticks. Any who have watched the K1 review in French will have seen the K1 producing perfectly acceptable curls if a slight slicing motion is applied rather than a straight, downward push. 

Dried leaves cleared, and dead wood stacked in preparation, only one thing remained: build a support for the pot to boil water and shave some grilling sticks for the sausages and marshmallows later on. If the K1 does well enough making feather sticks and splitting small branches, it shines in precision work.

In no time at all, several slim branches were ready to hold a hot dog sausage over the coals from a comfortable distance, and one long branch with a notch at one end and a spike at the other was stuck into the earth with two others forming an “X” for it to rest on. After testing to see if it would hold the weight of a pot of water with its bucket grip resting on the branch, kindling was gathered nearby.

A match lit the feather sticks, and the kindling piled on top soon took the flames too. Before long, the fire was burning well, and both the pasta and the sausages could be cooked to forest perfection. Once the day’s efforts had been treated with the main course, the finishing touches followed with grilled marshmallows and peppermint tea.

After that, it was just a case of enjoying the fire until bedtime, which proved the perfect time to address one minor accident with the K1. While sharpening a stick for the pot and bracing it against a root, the K1 had slipped over a knot in the branch and caught a rock just under the leaves. The blade had a small chip or roll in it. Rather than wait till home, our colleague used the pocket diamond stone in the firelight.

Both the choice of N690 and the secondary bevel make it very easy to put a good edge back on the knife. Five minutes of gently running the edge across the coarse side, followed by another two on the fine, and the chip was no longer there: no light catching on the apex, and no roughness when passing a fingernail along the edge: as good as it was at the beginning of the day. And then it was time for bed.

The next morning, certain members of the party were more than happy to have breakfast in a bowl around the kitchen table instead of waiting for another fire to be built. So the adventure came to an end. But, while our tester could have taken a dedicated bushcrafter to do the job, the K1 managed all the tasks perfectly well, and the day had been a success.

If all this makes you curious to see the K1 or eager to try it, just go over to the webshop and have a look at the different finishes and the wooden, aluminum, and polymer scale options available. In the meantime, enjoy the summer while the fine weather lasts!

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