How big a blade you choose to carry usually depends on what you plan to do with it when you get to where you’re going. It also depends on whether you’re going to have other implements to help with the job at hand. When it comes to setting up a comfortable camp, the one tool to have in your pack is an adequate chopper. But “your pack” is the operative term here. The faint praise you receive for being the helpful hardware man once you get to camp seldom is worth the extra weight of multiple tools—not to mention the probability that whoever needs to borrow a tool will not know how to use it and is likely to return it in need of repair or at least maintenance.
For these and other reasons important to grumpy, old woodsmen, there is something to be said for carrying one tool that performs multiple functions well—and “well” is the operative term here. With the advent of computerized manufacturing aids, some makers delight in adding “features” to knives for the same reason an old hound under the front porch pursues disgusting solitary activities just because they can, not because they actually accomplish anything.
Todd Hunt’s M-18 is a new, refreshing departure because it actually does more than claimed. “There are a lot of sweet spots on that knife,” one early user succinctly noted. The blade was named by a friend who did three tours in Iraq, after the GI M-18 Claymore, which in turn was named after the Scottish broadsword. A Hoosier bladesmith, Todd of T. M. Hunt Custom Knives has evolved this unusual, multi-purpose, big blade so cleverly that it serves all the functions of a big blade and a dedicated chopper while being thoughtfully designed to answer the need for a skinner, a meat-cutter in the style of an ulu, or a draw-knife, among the other usual tasks of a big blade. And the M-18 performed some of these tasks better than many of the dedicated tools.
Go Big, Go Strong
At 16 inches overall, the M-18 is indeed a “big” knife, but it feels light in the hand because it is so subtly balanced and shaped. It is made from 0.25-inch stock and has a full tang with a pounding flat at the butt. Unique to the design is the synergistic combination in one implement of a rounded chisel tip, a flat-ground portion and an inside-radius portion that is hollow-ground. It is a novel but mature design where none of the various, distinct functions get in the way or lessen the ability of another.
The forward part of the blade is quite deep from spine to edge, 2 to 3 inches depending on where you measure, but the leading edge features a generous radius with a thumb-and-index-finger grip hole directly above, plus jimping for safety at the tip. That allows this portion of the blade to be used like a two-handed ulu, as a cleaver or butcher knife, or for tasks such as skinning and dressing game. When chopping a work piece like I’d do with a small hand axe, I was struck by the penetration of the blade. This makes perfect sense when you consider the thinness of the flat-ground blade (meaty for a knife, but thin compared to a hand axe), and the fact you are delivering the blow with about the same mass behind it, similar to a hatchet.
For more, visit TMHuntCustomKnives.com.
[sg-gallery] How big a blade you choose to carry usually depends on what you…
by Phil Elmore / May 22, 2013