Back in the days when God were a lad every bushcrafters goal was to learn the skills what would enable him to go off into the woods with just a billy can and a knife. As an assistant instructor with Woodlore my aim was always to raise up enough to be awarded the coveted Antler handled Woodlore knife by Ray Mears himself - as this was the knife that the billy can equipped bushcrafter needed in those by gone days of yore - sadly I left Woodlore and started Bearclaw bushcraft before such an event took place!
Unpreturbed, I initially designed the BFK - a cracking knife incorperating all the design features a good bushcraft should have. Sadly the BFK was a victim of its own success and eventually we had to drop the project as demand outstripped supply!
Time and not a little scandinavian influence then took me off to design the Bearclaw Camp knife again a great tool and again a hand made tool which demand rendered unsustainable in the market!
Alas my search for best bushcraft knife continued.
Always interested in cutting tools with the now contempory Bushcraft design I recently came across the A Wright and Son of Sheffield Bushcraft knife.
On initial inspection I was quite impressed, however proof of the pudding is always in the eating so i decided to test one out.
The Rosewood handled Buskcraft knife is every inch your typical bushcraft knife while the STAG handled more is a dream, but with a price tag much kinder to the wallet.
Does this mean that it is an inferior knife?? Well, no actually, having cut my teeth and paid my dues at Woodlore and with a woodlore knife I was totally impressed with the Wrights tool in every conceivable way.
The Wrights bushcraft knife has a thick spine which will throw out one of the best showers of sparks from a fire steel I've ever come across - easily as good as the F1! Yep, that was the first test I did - I'd never even bother going any further if that wasnt case.
So, I can make the sparks for a fire but what about the fire wood?
Batoning with this baby is a pleasure, the tool cleaves wood with a guilty ease that makes you almost feel sorry for the wood - a standing dead hornbeam and a standing dead birch where batoned to tidy quarter sections in mere moments! It feather sticks like a pro too!
Can the tool carve then ......... yes it can - one spoon and two trap triggers later I was happy with that result!
Edge rention, ha, no sweat. Razor sharp out the packet, I still sharpened the knife out the packet using my fine waterstone just to confirm the edge and ensure no wire was present - I need not have worried but its a old and good habit to have so I'll make no apologise for that! Suffice to say edge retention was excellent again easily equal to my woodlore, BFK or camp knife and thus far after many trials and tests both in the field, the kitchen and back yard I am yet to need to resharpen the tool whose edge is still as good as ever!
In all the tests I can think of this tool shone (obviously I didnt abuse the tool or try using it for something its not designed too be used for) - yet theres more to it than the functional side.
Firstly, its hand made in England by a long established family business, and dealing with John and Michael at A Wrights I can honestly say their customer service is second to none. Being a long established business they have the techinical ability to produce bushcraft knives by hand in a quantity which doesnt not force quality to suffer (something I wish the BFK could have boosted) - something no custom maker can do.
So if you want a excellent bushcraft knife but dont want to wait for a few years to get one this is the knife for you.
Further more these tools are made by apprentice trained craftsman in the traditional way - English craftsmanship at its best, (and in this day and age I think we should all be supporting such businesses)
I'm a great fan of scandinavian knives especially the Mora's and the Fjallkniven ranges but these tools blow them out the water in terms of usage, quality and aesthetics.
Lastly, but for many, my self included, is the price - coming with a leather sheath with fire steel attachment (and a free firesteel) these knives are around half the price of the more well known makes of bushcraft knife and equally well priced to compare to the top end scandinavian cutting tools so favoured by some.
So did I like it?
The answers simple - YES, its a cutting tool which will do everything I ask of it at a price I think is very reasonable indeed. The best of both worlds!
I liked it so much that after 15 years of searching I have made this the official Bearclaw Bushcraft instructors knife too and was pleased to award the first one to Steve Wiggin's in recognition of his hard work and loyality over the last 6 years.
Available from both Bearclaw Bushcraft http://www.bearclawbushcraft.co.uk/trading/wright.htm
or direct from A Wrights themselves I throughly recommend this bushcrafter to any of my readers, friends and former students who are looking for a great bushcraft all rounder.