Bushcraft Knife Review – The ‘Wolverine’ by TBS Knives.
Guest Post By: Des, from Des Cattys.
If there is any subject that can turn best friends into best enemies it’s the subject of knives.
It’s a crazy subject that every owner of such tools claims to have the best of: To be honest I don’t get drawn in to such debates because a knife is only as good as the person using it.
If a person used a butter knife I’m sure that in time they would come proficient at buttering toast or spreading jam.
To me it’s the same with owning that so called “best bushcraft or survival knife”.
Go on YouTube and have a look, its swamped with such videos of such folk.
I am not trying to sound patronising but I’m more impressed at the user who carries a first aid kit on his belt or a roll of sticky tape in his/her pocket and produces fine curls for feather sticks, battening wood suitable for different applications and other woodcraft projects.
Also, the maintenance in both home and in the field/woods and keeping a sharp edge.
From my own humble experience a knife that I have had for a short while now and used in combination with another knife (which I may review at some point) is the Wolverine Knife by TBS Knives.
If anyone knows me I’m partial to bright colours in some of my bushcraft kit and equipment and with my knife it’s no exception.
When I was knife hunting, originally I was speaking with a popular knife maker here in the UK, I sent them the specifications of what I was looking for, which they was able to accommodate but as most of you may or may not know that when dealing with knife makers it can sometimes come with what I believe to be a hefty price tag.
But you get what you pay for most of the time, and being of the persuasion that when I walk my backside squeaks, I had to reluctantly continue my search.
My previous knife of use was a Puukko tandem set up which if you do not know is a knife that originates from Scandinavia.
It consists of two knives, the smaller knife is the same size as your average “bushcraft knife” knife.
The blade around is 4 fingers wide and the handle fits comfortably in the hand, the bigger blade is supposed to replace the axe Its overall length is around a hefty 12” long and a blade length of just over 7” in length.
My Old Puuko Combo
This was the knife that was taking a brutal bashing from chopping to battoning, but if I was to say a couple of personal problems with this knife is:
- It’s of a stick tang or partial tang construction meaning that from the blade to the handle there is a break in the metal when it reaches the handle area.
- The steel tends to chip (friends had this issue), I too had this problem once but I sorted it out.
So with just those two issues with a knife that is expected to take a good kicking and believe me I don’t hold back when I’m using my cutting tools, it would make sense to have a knife with a full tang and secondly the steel that is being used as the given material in the construction of your knife of choice needs to be well constructed too - as let’s face it the blade is doing a lot of work when cutting etc.
But always be aware:
If you intend using it as a tool for battoning wood
then it has an effect on the handle as well as the blade.
I may have some readers to this article possibly cringing in their seats reading some of it and maybe wanting to ask the question – Why baton wood with a knife when you can carry an axe?
My answer to this question is two fold
1/ - you are more likely to have a knife hanging from your waist or neck as opposed to an axe which when you are in transit would most likely be strapped to your rucksack so if your pack decides to get lost or plummets down a cliff face, the knife is still with you.
2/ Secondly use your knife, utilise it for all applications and practice with it, carve, baton, chop, slice whatever you use it for. Then maintain your knife, it never ceases to amaze me the folk that own some brilliant works of craftmanship but have a lack of knowledge when it comes to keeping their knives sharp and maintained. So, practice, practice, practice.
In case you’re wondering how my puukko ended up in knife heaven – here’s the story:
Initially my knife developed a rattle in the handle and a kind friend by the name of Dave Bliss (author of Paddles and Polar Bread), check it out by the way – he kindly repaired the rattle in the handle.
Some months later I was out in the woods and rather than make a full on fire, I decided to make a ninja rocket stove from I lump of seasoned birch.
As I begun battoning and splitting the stump I assumed that the split appeared easy only then to realise that the handle of the knife was still in my hand!
The blade was stuck in the stump about half way through, to my horror, I then noticed the blade had snapped at the start of the tang so It was game over.
I was rather perplexed at the time of the disaster, this knife had served me well for many years.
I was in Sweden several years back on survival course and we could carry very limited amount of kit and one item, well two items we were permitted was our knife and a first aid kit.
A few of us had the puukko set up and they came into their own because we not only had a knife suitable for doing all the usual simple tasks, but a second knife that worked as an axe.
"Why don’t you have a puukko now after singing its praises"? you may ask.
Well, like I said, practice, practice, practice - I basically started using the knife for more applications and I wanted to see if I could adopt more uses than utilising an axe, and secondly because I didn’t want to spend too much money.
Now don’t get me wrong I do sometimes now carry an axe but sometimes we are governed by time when I’m out so it’s a quicker process in some applications to utilise an axe but I will try and use the knife too (on its own).
So, after hitting the internet and searching out all kinds of knives, I fell upon the Wolverine by TBS Knives. This knife ticked many boxes for me (personally).
Why? well firstly the colour, I do like bright coloured handles- the obvious one is that if I was to drop it I can see it straight away, the material of the handle is G10 which if you do not know is a layering of glass fibre material and resins, that are then shaped into something that resembles a handle.
It has a thick blade that is 4mm which is something I like.
The blade is also available in flat and scandi grind but I opted for the latter as it doesn’t have a secondary bevel which makes it in my opinion easier to sharpen.
The weight is 0.45kg which when it’s in your hand does feel heavier than some knives but again it ticks my own preference.
The sheath is a Nordic design style.
Made of a multipurpose high quality leather, it has the option of attaching to your belt without having to undo it and it hangs down a little more.
Which I think is useful if you’re wearing mittens or gloves.
It feathers wood very nicely and holds a sharp edge, it splits wood well, and I have been using it for battoning and chopping wood.
It has strength, weight and thickness which ticks all the boxes for me as well as the price.
I have some videos on my YouTube channel where you can see the Wolverine in use.
The blade material is N695 Stainless Steel.
· 4 mm Thick blade
· Blade Length 110 mm – 4 3/8”
· Handle Length 110mm – 4 3/8”
· Orange G10 handle
· Sheath – Nordic Design.
· Price £119 -$155 (at time of purchase)
Here's Des's full review video:
A very big thank you to Des, from Des Cattys for sending in this interesting article.
It's not often I get an article on other knife reviews, and Des has covered all the important facts here for the TBS Wolverine knife for anyone to make a good decision.
You can also see all Des's videos reviews on Des's YouTube channel here:
Des Bushcraft by Des Cattys
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