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"The Moose"

by Triple X Knives

The Moose

This blade is manufactured by Triple X Knives in Frankville, Nova Scotia, Canada. The company was founded by knife maker Derrick Tappin in 2001. They offer a Limited Lifetime Guarantee and a Lifetime Sharpening service. The newest additions to their palette are a trio of larger sized outdoor knives called "Bushri", "Bushri2" (which are both khukri style blades) and "The Moose". These names were given to the knives by Paul at BushcraftCanada.com and all three blades are exclusive to his shop. The latter model is the subject of this review.

Specifications:


 

Let me say a few words about the blade steel for those not familiar with it. L6 is originally a band-saw steel and easy to forge. It is a tried and true material with very good properties for a knife (or sword) blade. Of course, it is not the latest thing in steel research, but it is very tough and strong with decent edge holding and it is easy to sharpen. Also it is carbon steel not stainless and as such, it will rust easier if given the opportunity and it will react to fruit and food juices, acids. This reaction will create discoloration, patina on the surface of the blade. Which, in my opinion just gives character and some protection to the steel. This will not affect the performance of the knife in any way. Some people force a patina right away on a new carbon steel blade using different acids and solutions, that way the patina is more even and uniform. Also, some carbon steel has a distinct smell to it, especially before the patina forms. So, carbon steel needs some love and maintenance. In order to prevent rust, make sure you put the knife away dry and apply a thin coat of oil on the blade periodically. Best to use food grade mineral oil, if the knife is to be used for food processing as well.

Components of L6 carbon steel:

Overall impressions:

The knife comes wrapped in bubble sheet in a strong cardboard box with the sheath, a piece of para cord (for lanyard) and a Certificate of Authenticity. I find this idea of the certificate and a little card with the model specific details to be a very nice and professional touch from the makers. This knife has a very unique and unusual shape and it is certainly not a beauty contestant. Also I find the chosen name of the blade very fitting...

The blade heavy Moose has a strong, full broad tang construction and a wide, zero Scandinavian grind blade with very even and clean grind lines. This nicely sharpened edge had no problem shaving arm-hair at all, right out of the box. But the spine of the blade is not square and sharp enough for scraping or to work properly with a ferro-cerium rod.

The handle of this knife has plenty of real estate and it would easily accommodate people with large hands. The good-looking black walnut handle panels are fastened with two solid stainless steel pins and a tube that serves as a lanyard hole, as well. I'm not quite sure if there is glue under these scales or not... The use of glue (in addition to further securing the handle panels) would eliminate the possibility of any moisture getting underneath and starting some hidden corrosion there. (Remember... L6 is carbon steel.) Although the handle scales by themselves do not render very good friction against slippage the shape of the handle and the choil area provides a secure, comfortable grip and a good platform for choking up for fine work or hanging back for chopping. The "valley" in the spine of the blade works well together with the choil for a choked up hold and acts as a decent thumb-rest (some slight jimping would enhance it even more).

Decent Thumb Rest

But let us see some more in hand photos with and without gloves.

Grip

Grip 2

Grip 3

Grip with gloves

Grip 2 with gloves

Unfortunately the pouch style sheath of the knife was a disappointment and in my opinion it needs to be improved. Also it is too long, so the knife can not be pulled out without a lanyard (in the normal, vertical belt-mount position) because hardly anything of the handle sticks out, there is almost nothing to grab. Not everybody likes to use a lanyard all the time... Plus, in general the whole thing just looks haphazardly made.

Sheath

Sheath 2

I have this knife for about two months now and I have been using it since. Beside the normal, everyday household use it came along on numerous day-outings and a cold weather overnight camping trip. My practical testing and usage can be divided into three major fields and this is how I grouped my observations in this writing. So, without much ado let us start with the first area. Which is ...

Woodwork and Field use:

Although it is still not a "real chopper", but because of the blade forward balance, this Moose is very good in chopping for its size. As we can see in the following pictures it does short work of delimbing fallen trees...

Chopping

...deals cross-grain truncating...

Cross-grain truncating

...and sectioning fairly well.

Sectioning

The use of a lanyard helps to maintain a safe and solid grip while swinging any blade and it is recommended. Despite of the almost 5mm blade thickness this grind excelled in feather-stick making in different kinds of wood. Here is a little sample...

Feather-stick making

Feather-stick making 2

Feather-stick making 3

Feather-stick making 4

Some more of the heavier tasks in the form of batoning and wood-splitting.

Wood splitting

This particular piece was frozen solid, you can see some ice around the top...

Wood splitting frozen wood

...no problem.

Wood splitting - no problem

Another fairly long piece of wood...

Wood splitting

...split successfully. A slightly chewed up (and frozen) baton is visible in this picture.

Wood splitting

Why all this splitting and feather-sticks, you ask...? For fire preparation of course (and blade testing...).

Fire preparation

Let us get into some whittling. This was done in one powerful slice. The surface of the cut is smooth and even.

Whittling

A couple of sharp points on different sticks.

Whittling

Whittling

Nice and thin shavings from this notch.

Thin shavings

Here is a whittled and carved up tent/tarp stake.

Whittled stake

I did not leave out some heavy workout of the blade tip from my scheduled field tests. Stabbing and prying with the Moose in some big, dead logs was not a problem at all.

Stabbing and prying

Stabbing and prying

Drilling in green wood with the tip of the blade posed no difficulty either. The knife has a very strong tip.

Drilling

I have found the use of this knife very easy and enjoyable in the woods. It chops, splits and whittles pretty good for its size and thickness. I could say the Moose feels at home in the wilds of the forests...

This next arena in my test regime gives a good indication of the cutting and slicing capabilities of a given knife, using many different kinds of available materials as subjects.

Cutting, slicing:

First off the fibrous matter in the form of assorted ropes, such as kernmantle type...

Cutting rope

...softer 6mm nylon...

Cutting nylon

...and 16mm thick perlon.

Cutting perlon

Still staying with the fibrous subjects, some tightly woven 31mm wide nylon webbing...

Cutting nylon webbing

...and 55mm wide polypropylene construction safety anchor.

Cutting polypropylene

Next is rubbery stuff, like this double walled and reinforced pneumatic air-hose...

Cutting rubber

...and bicycle inner tube.

Cutting bicycle inner tube

Then for plastic type materials, I have used some softer, 8mm diameter PVC hose...

Cutting pvc

...and another different, harder and thicker walled PVC tube. This one needed a lot of power for the initial incisions, but once beyond that, it was easier to cut.

Cutting thicker pvc

A couple more shots from this arena. Newspaper slicing...

Newspaper slicing

...and leather cutting.

Leather cutting

The sharp Scandinavian edge had no problem with any of these materials, it did cut and sliced cleanly.



 

The last area of my test assignments is kitchen service and...

Food preparation:

Once I got used to the knife, it performed a little better than the expectations. Surprisingly, splitting was not excessive at all, not even in harder vegetables.

Food preparation

Slicing onions

The longer blade with plenty of belly and the slightly higher than average Scandinavian grind afforded good slicing action and made food preparation even more enjoyable.

Slicing bread

Here are a few shots of some groundwork for a little outdoor cookery in cold weather. Those ingredients for the most part, were partially frozen.

Slicing frozen bacon

Slicing sausage

Slicing cheese

The wide blade is useful as a spatula to get the ingredients into a cooking vessel and also comes handy for spreading jam or butter and such. So, camp cooking and kitchen work is no problem for the Moose either.

Final thoughts:

This is definitely the type of knife that grows on people with use and time. In my case, this did not take long at all ...I have found it to be a very practical and useful tool and pretty nimble for its size. It was comfortable and easy to use for the most part. The very pronounced and pointy finger-guard can get a bit in the way every now and then. But it is manageable. Also on this particular knife the edges of the finger-choil were causing some discomfort during longer work sessions in a choked up grip. This blade is unusual and fundamentally a simple but good design and it is well made from solid, reliable materials in a functional size. The good old L6 steel performed very well even in cold temperatures (down to -20 Celsius), it had no issues with chipping, rolling, cracking or anything similar. I am satisfied with the edge retention of the blade as well. During these trials I did touch up the edge a couple of times on my leather strop loaded with "Rick's White Lightning" (which produces similar results as the well known "green compound"). I did this only to restore and keep the original shaving sharpness, as the blade never lost a good working edge. I have no doubts about this blade, it would serve anybody well as a main camp/outdoor/survival knife. It stood up to everything I threw at it without any problem. Absolutely worth the consideration if you are in the market for such a knife. It is a more affordable (and very capable) alternative to some high priced competition.

As for improvements on this knife, certainly a better, updated sheath and perhaps a slightly less pointy finger-guard. (As far as I know they have made some improvement to the sheaths since the writing of this review.) Another idea is (at least) a section of sharp/square edge on the spine of the blade for scraping and fire-steel use. Also, a touch of edge rounding would benefit the finger-choil, as I found it to be a bit on the sharp side without gloves (this might not be the case with all these models).

Thanks for reading!
Switchblade



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