Ontario Knife Company was founded in Naples, New York in 1889 by three men: William B. Ensworth, Charles Albert Brace and William Maudsley who derived the name of the company from Ontario County where Naples lived.
Their early knives were hand-manufactured on a water-powered grindstone and sold tinker style via a pushcart as they traveled through the neighboring countryside.
In the intervening years, OKC has built its considerable reputation on a heritage of uncompromising craftsmanship, quality materials and components, and a steadfast commitment to its workforce and today, they produce one of the most comprehensive, wide-ranging, product lines in the modern cutlery industry.
Following in that tradition, the OKC Marine Raider Bowie is a sturdily built knife that has an overall length of 15″ with a classic Clip Point, Bowie style, blade that measures 9 3/4″ in length and is made from 1/4″ thick, high carbon, non-stainless, 1095 tool steel hardened to 57-59 Rockwell with a Saber Grind and a black, powder coat finish. In addition, it features a double quillions, Partial Tang construction, a Kraton rubber grip, and a heavy duty leather sheath with Cordura nylon straps.
For those of you who prefer to carry a large, dedicated, chopping tool along with a smaller, more practical wilderness survival knife (as I do), then the OKC Marine Raider Bowie would be an excellent choice. With a blade length of 9 3/4″, it certainly has enough heft to chop though any sapling in existence and would even serve to replace a hatchet or camp axe to take down small trees! In addition, due to the fact that this knife is constructed from 1095 tool steel which consists of 0.90% – 1.03% Carbon and 0.30% – 0.50% Manganese, it will easily withstand the shock generated by chopping as well as any lateral force that may be applied to the blade by splitting lathes for weaving baskets to use as fish or bird traps.
Also, non-stainless steels are generally easier to sharpen than most stainless steels due to the lack of hard, double-carbide, bonds formed during forging between Chromium and Molybdenum. However, due to the lack of Chromium, this steel is far more prone to corrosion than stainless steels are and thus, it requires more care and maintenance to keep it corrosion free; therefore, the black, epoxy, powder coat finish.
Also, the positive included angle on the primary cutting edge serves to multiply the force generated by the user’s arm when the blade is swung sharply while the Saber Grind creates an extra tough edge that will resist binding in a deep cut and is less inclined to roll when the knife is used as a chopping tool. However, because it also has a relatively high primary bevel line, the blade can be sharpened to a very keen edge while the relatively high Rockwell hardness of 57-59 makes the steel reasonably hard so that it will hold an edge very well.
In addition, the Krayton rubber handle does an excellent job of absorbing vibration to isolate the user’s hand from any shock that the blade may experience when chopping or using a baton to split saplings for use in making an Atlatl or a Self Bow for hunting. Furthermore, the highly ergonomic handle shape, with its deep, radial, grooves and bird’s head pommel provides the user with a very secure grip; thus making the knife very comfortable to use over extended periods. Last, the brass lanyard loop provides an added retention option for those times when losing one’s grip on the knife would result in making the knife unrecoverable, leaving you stranded with only a basic pocket knife like the ones featured here.
So, in my opinion, the Ontario Knife Company’s Marine Raider Bowie is not only an aesthetically pleasing knife, it is also well designed and sturdily constructed from very tough materials and thus, it would be an excellent choice for mating with a smaller fixed blade knife such as the OKC Blackbird SK-5.
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