The Schrade Cutlery Company’s roots are found in the New York Press Button Knife Company formed in 1892 by George Schrade who was an inventor from Sheffield, England.
However, since George was unable to raise sufficient capital to begin knife production, he sold a partial interest in the company to the Walden Knife Company whose unusual name arose from its first knife design, a switchblade or automatic-opening pocket knife with an operating button mounted in the knife bolster.
First patented by Schrade in 1892, this knife design was eventually produced with a unique style of clip point blade. But in 1903, Schrade sold all of his interest in the New York Press Button Knife Co. to Walden Knife Company and the following year Schrade formed the Schrade Cutlery Company in Walden, NY.
In 1906-07, Schrade patented the Safety Pushbutton Knives which were an improved series of switchblade knives with side-mounted operating button and a sliding safety switch which was later developed in slightly modified form as the Presto series. Thus, the Schrade switchblade would come to dominate the automatic knife market in the United States for the next fifty-five years.
Then from 1911-1916, George Schrade took up residence in the knife making center of Solingen, Germany where he ran a small workshop. There Schrade developed a new type of switchblade knife which he titled the “Springer.” However, in 1916 the German government seized all of Schrade’s assets in Germany to assist its war production and thus, Schrade returned to the United States; though his Springer switchblade would live on unprotected by patent and thus, the “Springer” was manufactured by several Solingen shops for many years thereafter.
In 1917, Schrade licensed a flylock switchblade design to the Challenge Cutlery Company, which he then joined and continued to pursue his knife making interests at both Challenge and at Schrade where his brother George now managed one of the company’s factories. In the 1920s, Schrade bought the defunct Walden Cutlery Company in order to obtain their stocks of handle material for his knives.
The Challenge Cutlery Co. closed its doors in 1928 after the death of its owner, Charles F. Wiebusch. So Schrade formed a new company called the Geo. Schrade Knife Co. in Bridgeport, CT. by acquiring knife making machinery from the old Challenge Cutlery assets. At the new company, Schrade made Presto switchblades as well as Wire Jack jackknives and other low-end pocket knives.
George Schrade died in 1940 and the Geo. Schrade Knife Co. was sold by his sons in 1956 to Boker Knife Co. of Newark, New Jersey but, the company closed operations in 1958 after Congress passed a law banning the sale of switchblades across state lines.
In addition, Schrade’s other company, the Schrade Cutlery Co., was sold in 1946 to the Imperial Knife Associated Companies thus becoming the Schrade-Walden Cutlery Co., Inc.
Last, in 2004, this company stopped making knives and closed its factory and the name was sold to Taylor Brands and used for marketing purposes.
Consequently, now manufactured by Taylor Brands under the Schrade name, the Schrade Extreme Survival Series consists of ten different fixed blade knife designs ranging from very large knives to very small knives.
However, in this article I intend to focus on the Schrade model SCHF3N which is medium sized knife measuring 12” overall with a black, powder coated, clip point blade that measures 6 3/8”. Also, this knife features full tang construction with a saber ground blade and a large “finger groove” choil. It also has a 5 5/8” handle with removable canvas Micarta (also known as Rucarta) handle slabs, finger grooves, a lanyard hole, and a nylon sheath.
However, please note that the Schrade web site does not state what steel this knife is made from nor what its Rockwell hardness is.
Of the ten different knives listed as comprising the Schrade Extreme Survival Series, the SCHF3N is an excellent compromise between a really large knife and a really small knife. Thus, while its somewhat lacking as a light chopping tool, it’s very well suited as a carving, slicing, and skinning knife (provided that the steel used in this knife will hold an edge for any length of time).
In addition, I really like the clip point blade shape as well as the length of the blade because the clip point provides the user with fine control when performing precise cutting or puncturing tasks and the length of the blade long enough to perform light chopping tasks in a pinch without being so long that it makes it unsuitable for anything but light chopping.
I do not like either the saber grind or the oversized choil, though. The saber grind prevents the user from obtaining a really sharp edge because the bevel is too thick (although it is stronger than a hollow grind) and the large choil places the back of the edge too far from the quillions for proper leverage when carving.
On the other hand, I really appreciate the incorporation of Rucarta handle slabs because this is an extremely tough, waterproof, weatherproof, crack proof, chip proof and split proof material that also provides the user with a positive gripping surface which is further enhanced by the integral finger grooves.
It also appears that the handle slabs are removable so that you can lash the knife to a stave to form a makeshift spear for self defense from predatory animals. Last, I also like the nylon sheath since nylon is an extremely tough material as well and is also waterproof.
So, although it’s hard to make a proper assessment of this knife without knowing what steel the blade is made from and what Rockwell hardness it has been hardened to, overall I like both the design and the size of this knife.