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New KaBar Kephart BK62!

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by hso, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    colclesser-Kephart-hero-1-600x386.jpg BK62_INFO.jpg


    Ethan Becker's love for the outdoors, knives and the history of outdoorsmen led him to the Kephart knife seen in the video. That and a bit of luck, of course. The exceptional performance of the vintage Kephart he came to own drove him to work with KaBar to have them reproduce it.

    I've been fortunate to have handled both this original Kephart and many knives made by talented knifemakers inspired by the outdoors skills book Horace Kephart wrote a hundred years ago and I can attest that KaBar has captured more of the nuances of Kephart's knife than any other manufacturer's knife I've held to date (the handle fasteners are hardly a nuance and don't affect the feel or performance of the knife).

    The BK62 Kephart is something that anyone interested in the outdoors or knives should have. If that sounds like an advertisement for the knife, so be it, but I'm enough of a fan of THIS knife that I've actually paid retail for the one on the way to me (and any of my pals knows what a shock that is 1f609.png ;-) )





    colclesser-kephart-with-actual-600x291.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  2. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I'm going to be keeping my eye out for this knife. I'd like to pick one up to see how it compares to my go-to outdoor knife, the Mora.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I love Moras and own several. The Kephart will out perform a scandi grind.
     
  4. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    That was an interesting and informative video. It's kind of cool when he talks of taking some cuts with the original and how well it handles.
    Such a simple design but it must have been effective and useful since so few survived.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The original Kephart only looks simple. There's so much different about this knife than so many even made today.

    Tapered tang and distal taper to the tip.

    1/3 2/3 blade. The blade looks like a full height flat grind falling from the spine to the edge, but it actually is wides about 1/3 of the way down from the spine. The grind falls from that line to the edge and the spine is reduced in width just a little so the blade thins from that 1/3 point to the spine. The scale flares a bit almost like a bolster or guard at the ricasso, BUT there's a "pinch" just behind that "guard" before the scale comes back to full thickness. It makes for a shockingly comfortable grip that is secure without fear of sliding up on the blade.

    The blade isn't a thick chunk of sharpened pry bar. It carves and slices like a dream.

    Altogether it is light in the hand, but perfectly balanced as a tool.

    Just a remarkable assemblage of nuanced elements that make it a perfect woods companion.

    I look forward to getting the 62 and even more eager to get my hand on the McCarter custom version of it (since he has handled the original and has now made 3 prototypes closer and closer to replicating the original).
     
  6. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    OK, now I see it is a deceptively simple design... :thumbup:
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Is this based on measurements of existing knives or are Kephart's specifications actually known?

    The Kabar knife looks like a pretty good copy--wonder why they chose not to put as much belly on it as is shown in the advertisement and that is somewhat evident on the original knife.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    This is based on the only nearly new Kephart known to exist. Ethan Becker got it from Mark Zaleky's client. I've handled and measured the knife several times from before Mr. Becker acquiring it to just a few months ago.
     
  9. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    Based on the ad pictured above, I'd admit my knives also lose some of their belly via sharpening over the years. In stark contrast to their owner (due to lack of sharpening, no doubt).
     
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  10. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not questioning the accuracy of the measurements, just trying to determine if there was corroborating evidence that the knife in question meets the original specifications.

    I mean, even today, there's some manufacturer variation from items coming off the same line. I imagine that in the early 20th century that was even more true.

    In other words, without disputing the accuracy of the evaluation of the knife, do we know that the knife is manufactured to Kephart's specifications (particularly in terms of the somewhat unusual grind) or could some of those measurements be artifacts of the manufacturing process rather than design features?
     
  11. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Very nice, simple, utilitarian.
     
  12. Mr. Hill

    Mr. Hill Member

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    What’s the blade length and thickness?
     
  13. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    From what I have read the blade is approx 1/8" thick at the spine and 4 1/4" in length. 9" overall.
     
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  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    To my knowledge no drawings with those details have been found, but the spine relief is found on the well worn museum example that Mr. Becker was allowed to handle and sketch. Two examples aren't a large sample, but they do indicate intentional features.
     
  15. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Good! That was what I wanted to know. With both of them showing the same grind, that's pretty strong evidence that it is an intentional feature.

    So, with that in mind, I'm trying to think of other designs that use that blade style and also to understand what the advantages/disadvantages of having the thickest part of the blade running down more or less the middle of the blade instead of the spine.

    I'm not coming up with any other knives using that style grind.

    I can see at least one disadvantage. With the thickest part in the middle of the blade, the "taper" to the thickest point will be less gradual than if the thickest part were at the spine. That means less mechanical advantage when cutting through hard materials compared to a blade with the same maximum thickness but the thickest part at the spine.

    I think I see one advantage--it might be a stronger blade profile for a given maximum thickness and blade width than one that tapers all the way from the edge to the spine. In other words, it might be a way to maximize strength for a given amount of blade material. I would like someone with a better statics background to analyze that assessment.

    What do you believe the advantages are?
     
  16. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    2018-11-17 16.37.20.jpg It's here!
     
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  17. If1HitU

    If1HitU Member

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    I would like to have one for my collection of knives.Thanks for sharing the video.:thumbup::thumbup:
     
  18. Mr. Hill

    Mr. Hill Member

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    HSO, will I be able to order one from kabar for Christmas? I can’t find any information about this knife on their website.

    Also, how do you think this knife would work for a primary hunting knife (elk)?
     
  19. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I searched the Kabar website for it awhile back. Where did you find it?

    Ah--I see Mr. Hill has had similar problems. At least I am not the only one. :D
     
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  20. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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  21. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    $130 plus shipping...
     
  22. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    BHQ and KC both offer free shipping on any order over $99. You could call them and ask if they'll match the price at Tomar's from the link in HSO's first post.
     
  23. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Order from Tomar's like I did at the link. http://www.tomarskabars.com/BK-62_INFO.html Shipping was just $10.55. He's a very small shop with very close ties to the community.
     
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  24. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, guess what was under the tree this year! Apparently Santa knows something about outdoor knives... :D

    I must admit that I really like this knife. The wooden scales on my handle are a little rough--maybe that was done intentionally to add a little bit of a vintage feel to the knife. I'm probably going to take them off and do a little work to seal them better and maybe clean up some rough edges. I may actually eventually try building some different scales from something like a rough micarta.

    It's a nice knife. It's not a big knife (at least not by my standards for fixed blade knives), and although it's not blade heavy, it still feels like you could do some decent chopping with it if you had to.

    It's definitely a cutter. The edge was decent but I gave it a quick touchup--just a few strokes on a ceramic crock stick and it is scary sharp now. Based on how the touchup went, it feels like it's going to be quick and easy to sharpen, I guess 1095 is like that.

    It doesn't have as much of a guard as I would like for a hard-duty knife, but there is a handle swell and also a small "guard bump" in the tang and scales those will probably be adequate taken together.

    The knife indexes well and the handle is comfortable.

    The sheath is ok--it holds the knife very tightly even with no retention system like a strap or clip. I wish it had a little more belly near the tip, one of the two metal rivets reinforcing the tip area is closer to the edge of the blade than I would like. As the sheath wears, it's possible that the blade edge could eventually start hitting that rivet.

    Anyway, this is the first new Kabar knife for me in years. The very first fixed blade sheath knife I bought, back when I was a pre-teen was a Kabar and I still have it although its now on its 2nd or 3rd sheath. Interestingly enough, thinking back, it had an issue with a rivet in the factory sheath that would dull the blade in one spot. Maybe that's why I now check for that when I evaluate a sheath.
     
  25. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Im not so sure our idea of "hard duty" is the same today as then. Blade thicknesses were nothing like our 1/4 inch expectations now. The original Kephart is closer to a slender 1/8th than our chunky knives today. Even the KaBar version is thicker than the Colchester original. Considering multiple tools went into the woods for the various tasks, the "one knife to do it all" (apologies to Tolkein) we adhere to today seems at odds.

    Horace Kephart didn't consider a knife an appropriate tool for chopping. His blade kit was a "tomahawk" we would think of as a light "boy's ax", this fixed blade and a "jack knife".

    kephartad3ax.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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