The KA-BAR Kraton Big Brother Review


The story of KA-BAR Knives began when a when a group of English bladeesmiths from Sheffield (one of the major cutlery production centers of the time) gathered together, defied the rules of their guild, and migrated to the American north east where they set up shop and began producing far higher quality cutlery than the average American was used at the time.

Consequently, their products were in such high demand that 38 members of the group decided to form a Limited Partnership called the Tridioute Cutlery Company and this Limited Partnership is widely considered to be the official start of KA-BAR Knives, Inc.

The KA-BAR Kraton Handled Big Brother Bowie features the same quality craftsmanship today as those original, handmade knives and has an overall length of 14 3/8” with a 9 3/8” Clip Point blade made from 3/16” thick, 1095 Cro-Van, high carbon, tool steel hardened to 56-58 Rockwell.

Also, the blade features a serrated spine and a plain cutting edge with a Saber Grind and a black, epoxy, powder coat to help prevent the non-stainless steel from corroding.

In addition, the handle features partial tang construction with a highly ergonomic, overmolded, oval, handle with a Kraton rubber coating and powder coated steel quillions and pommel. Last, the knife is supplied with a heavy-duty, leather, sheath.

For those of you who have a need for a BIG, tough, Bowie knife, this is the knife for you!

As we have mentioned in previous articles we happen to have a distinct preference for the classic Bowie pattern for wilderness preparedness knives because it excels as both a general purpose blade shape and as a dedicated chopping tool.

In fact, with a massive 9 3/8″ blade made from 0.165″ thick 1095 Cro-Van (which contains 0.90% – 1.10% Carbon and 0.30% – 0.50%, 0.40% – 0.60% Chromium, 0.60% Molybdenum, 0.161% Vanadium, 0.30% – 0.50% Manganese, and 0.25% Nickel), the KA-BAR Big Brother Bowie is not only very well designed but is also superbly constructed for heavy duty use.

1095 Cro-Van is a very tough, high carbon, tool steel but, due to the addition of Chromium and Molybdenum, it is significantly harder than 1095 and the addition of both Chromium and Nickel make the steel both stronger and more corrosion resistant than other high carbon tool steels.

Plus, the addition of Vanadium serves to refine the grain structure of the steel which enables it to take and hold a fine edge like stainless steels but without the brittleness that some stainless steel exhibit.

Thus, the KA-BAR Big Brother Bowie is definitely well suited for the specific purpose of wilderness survival but, it would also make an excellent camp and trail knife.

In addition, the Clip Point blade shape places the tip of the blade closer to the center line of the knife for greater control when using the tip of the knife to perform precision cutting tasks and, the classic Clip Point Bowie design provides plenty of straight cutting edge for carving, plunge cutting, and slicing, while the clip tends to lighten the tip of the knife for better control and the moderate belly on the sweep is perfect for chopping while the Saber Grind prevents it from binding in green wood.

Also, the spine of the blade features a relatively long, serrated, section that appears as if it could serve as a saw in a pinch but would certainly be effective at cutting cord, rope, or nylon tape.

Furthermore, the 3/16″ spine combined with a medium Rockwell Hardness of 56-58 enables it to easily withstand the shock generated by chopping and/or using a baton to split saplings for use in making an Atlatl or a Self Bow for hunting as well as the lateral forces generated by splitting lathes for weaving baskets to use as fish or bird traps.

Plus, the handle features powder coated, double, steel quillions to prevent the users hand from accidentally sliding forward onto the blade and a highly ergonomic, oval, overmolded, handle with a Kraton rubber coating and deeply radiused grooves make the knife very comfortable to use and also provide a very positive grip while alleviating some of the shock generated by chopping wood while the metal pommel could be used as a makeshift hammer in a pinch.

Consequently, not only is the KA-BAR Kraton Handled Big Brother Bowie an aesthetically pleasing knife with its massive, traditionally shaped, Clip Point Bowie blade, it is also a very tough knife that will stand up to most any task the user might ask of it in an outdoor survival situation.

The Out sider

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