Knife review : cKc Voyager


Knives :
  • Mora #1260
  • Caine Survival Tool
  • Takach Bush Knife
  • Condor Golok
  • Keffeler Custom
  • cKc Voyager
  • Kodiak Survival Sword
  • Busse Battle Mistress

This review consists of :

Introductions

This blade was born out of a discussion with Kyley Harris about building a knife which was :

The blade at the right is a result of that initial request for a custom blade and some back and forth discussion over a period of weeks.

Specifications

Maker Webpage : , basic specifications :

Initial Impressions

Initial impressions :

Stock testing : main

The blade was used by Bruce and then resharpened so the initial performance isn't indicative of the work of the maker (cKc Knives / Kyley Harris) however as video's on his webpage illustrate, initial sharpness isn't going to be a problem. The edge Bruce put on was as expected very sharp :

Some numbers :

Carving wood through six points on on some 1x1.5" pine making 2" points with low force :

Through four points on on some 1x1.5" pine making 2" points with high force :

In a chopping comparison against a slightly modified Fiskars Sportsman Axe the XXX had XX% of the ability of the hatchet.

Food

In the kitchen the sheer size of the Voyager made it a bit daunting for use on most foods. But interestingly enough as the edge is relatively thin and acute it can handle most soft woods well though the fatigue rate is high as the blade is simply almost 10X as heavy as lightweight kitchen knife.

The only real issue peeling the melon is that as the blade is fairly wide making the turning cuts is a bit difficult. However as the flesh right under the rind can be distasteful to some it isn't much of a problem if a bit more than usual is cut off however it would be a bit wasteful to peel new potatoes with very slight skins.

As more of a challenge in dexterity it was fillet some fish from a small snapper, some medium size trout and a decent size char. Of course the Voyager doesn't have the very slim point as you would want on a fillet blade, the stock is too thick so there is no feedback during the cutting and it is far too large for precise work.

But it is very sharp, the edge is fairly thin and acute (15 dps) so it easily cuts into the fish and cuts off the fillet. Now if you look at the picture you will see there is more flesh left on the fish than is optimal, this is mainly due to the thick stock and lack of feedback in the cutting and this blade is more suitable for steaking the fish or splitting.

Field

While clearing some brush a patch was found that made an interesting comparison with the Fiskars Brush axe which still had the stock edge cutting profile of 22 degress per side (dps). Both blade were sharp enough to easily slice newsprint at the start (and end) of the cutting.

The brush in the picture on the right was very dry and hard (not a lot of rain lately) and thus the Brush axe could not cut it easily. The hook on the end trapped the vegetation and thus the blade would not slide along it and thus it felt more like a bat than a knife slamming into it.

However the cKc Voyager cut it easily as it slide along the blade making a cut. Now of course the edge on the Voyager is more acute (15 vs 22 dps) which also was an influence but the difference between an upswept vs sharp inward curve was obvious.

Grip

Ergonomics : comfort in general was high which is to be expected as Kyley does a lot of work with his knives and doesn't send them out untested, one of the benefits of small scale custom work. The playlist below and futher videos on Kyley's channel shows the blades being used and feedback in very raw and unedited videos which show even the aspects which are surprising to the maker as well as the things which are expected and understood.

The only concern in general with comfort in use was that for an overhand grip the front of the handle was a little squarish and would create a hot spot at the base of the thumb. This is explained in more detail in the video on the right. The reason that Kyley did not notice this was that he doesn't use that grip in general. The handle also may be considered a little rectangular by some however this is one of the areas where performance in one area (comfort) has to be traded for another (security).

Similar with the grip that Kyley uses in general he prefers a smooth finish as do a lot of people. However for knives like this where I do a lot of power chopping I prefer the handle to have a very aggressive texture up front for maximum indexing and stability. This however can be abrasive in long term repeated (but low impact) work which is one of the benefits of a long handle as the rear of the grip can be left very smooth for comfort in such work.

Security : the handle is fairly rectangular in cross section which gives the blade excellent stability in use and makes the blade very difficult to turn/rotate or glance in use. Now to be clear the edges of the handle are well contoured however it is not as oval in cross section as some grips and for lighter work where heavy impacts are not a concern that might be a better option.

As shown in the video on the right the knife was modified by some checking and indexing in the forward region to provide some traction and control in very heavy impacts. There is a great deal of user preference here

Durability : micarta in general is extremely durable and resistant to any environment or condition far beyond natural materials. It is pretty much maintenance free and anything likely to damage it is also likely to damage the knife, sheath or user.

Edge Retention

As a very basic check on edge retention, the Voyager was used to chop up a decent sized pile of wood which included :

The cutting was done at medium to heavy force, capable of cutting a fresh spruce 2x4 for example in five hits on average and any of the sheet material which was less than four inches or so wide and less than half an inch thick in one hit.

This is just a rough check as the amount of wood is not carefully checked and all that is really being looked at is if the blade passes or fails on a gross level. The edge is visually examined for :

In short is the edge significantly reflecting light and is now incapable of performing fine / detailed work. As shown in the video at the right the Voyager has no issues after the chopping and still readily slices newsprint.

Of course if the edge does show any issues and can not handle light precision work which demands a high sharpness like slicing light grass or brush then it should be repeated a couple of times just to confirm that it was not dirt on the wood - unless the wood was all carefully bought fresh lumber.

Sheath

The sheath was made by Bruce/Nebulax123 (YT Channel). It was Bruce's first entry into the world of professional sheath making and is a excellent example, especially for a first sample of work. It has a few custom requests :

In addition is it/has :

If looked at with a very critical eye there are some aesthetic finishing issues however in time Bruce is likely to move into raising the finish here especially given the work he does with mirror polishing blades. It could also be argued this is to provide a rustic finish to some parts such as the belt loop and attachment.

The knife also came with a perfectly functional Kydex sheath which isn't a personal preference here due to cold weather's influence on Kydex under impacts. But for outside of the winter the sheath is lighter with less maintenance than leather and is more resistant to abrasion from contacts with hard wood and in general more rugged in regards to cuts/scrapes.

Overview

Overview :

Personal mods :

Comments and references

Comments can be emailed to cliffstamp[REMOVE]@gmail.com or by posting to the following thread :

and/or the YouTube Playlist.

Most of the pictures in the above are in the PhotoBucket album.


Last updated : 22/10/2012
Originally written: Tue, 09 Oct 2012 21:38:11 Newfoundland Daylight Time
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