Ray Ennis made his first knife by cold forging it and then filling it to shape from a barn spike. Then, in 1973, he officially became a professional knifesmith when he made his first custom knife from the leaf spring of a vehicle and sold for $10.00.
Today, he has an extensive line of custom quality knives that are produced by his company Entrek USA.
The Entrek Batanga is a dedicated chopping tool that measures 14 1/2” overall and has a 8 7/8”, blade with a Saber Grind made from bead blasted, 1/4” thick, 440C, stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 57-58 and handle scales made from black canvas Micarta which are fastened to the full tang with three stainless steel rivets. Plus, it includes a black, Kydex, sheath.
The Batanga is a brand new knife design just recently introduced by Entrek that was specifically designed to be a light to medium duty chopping tool. Consequently, it makes an excellent camp knife for clearing a trail through dense foliage as well as clearing a campsite. In addition, the blade features a Saber Grind with a reasonably high Primary Bevel Line which allows the knife to be honed to a keen cutting edge and yet, not bind in the cut when it is used for chopping.
In addition, although 440 C stainless steel is considered a vintage (if not antique) blade steel compared to modern steels such as VG10 and CPM S30V, at one time it was THE blade steel of choice among custom knifesmiths until it was displaced by 154CM and its Japanese equivalent, ATS34 because it is both reasonably tough, holds an edge well, and is highly corrosion resistant due to its chemical composition which consist of 0.95% – 1.2% Carbon, 16% to 18% Chromium, 1% Manganese, and 0.75% Molybdenum. Also, with a spine thickness of 1/4″ and its full tang construction, this knife is fully capable of withstanding the shock generated when using a baton to split saplings to make an Atlatl or Self Bow for hunting as well as making lathes for weaving baskets for use as fish and bird traps.
Furthermore, canvas Micarta is one of my favorite handle materials for wilderness survival knives and camp knives because it is an extremely tough handle material that is made from multiple layers of canvas linen that has been impregnated with an epoxy resin which is then heated and subjected to extreme pressure to create a finished material that is impervious to water absorption as well as to chipping, cracking, or splitting. Plus, the shape of the handle on the Entrek Batanga is very ergonomic and it incorporates an integral quillion to prevent the user’s finger from accidently slipping onto the edge of the blade.
Also, the handle features a lanyard loop for positive retention when using the knife in situations where losing one’s grip on the knife would result in making it unretrievable. Furthermore, the Kydex sheath material is every bit as tough as the Micarta handle scales that is highly abrasion resistant and impervious to the abortion of moisture. Therefore, I have a strong preference for Kydex over nylon and especially over leather as a sheath material for other blades like the ones we have featured in our other reviews.
Consequently, the Entrek Batanga is a useful new addition to the Entrek line of knives and is an excellent compromise to the Entrek Destroyer which is specifically designed to be a heavy duty chopping tool.