This a first glimpse at a new acquisition: the Canadian Special has been designed by Mike Stewart owner of Bark River Knives and it is his favorite knife of this size.
It’s his own version of the famous Canadian skinner D.H. Russell Canadian Belt Knife made by Grohmaan since 1957.
This is not my first BRKT knife. I already got a Bravo 1 in CPM3V and an Essential in CPM-M4.
Again my Canadian Special came razor sharp. (Ordered at The Knife Connection, it was in France in 4 days BTW.) I was already amazed by CPM3V on the convexed ground blade of my Bravo 1 but I wanted a thinner edge. The same edge I got on the RWL34 blade of “Urbain II” my state of art hunting knife made by Pekka Tuominen.
One of my favorite all terrain outdoors knife is the famous Spyderco Bushcrafter. But as far as I love his ergos, I wanted the same kind of tool with a thin convexed CPM3V blade. That was my first goal when I had purchased the Bravo 1. It was evident other BRKT knives got better slicing performance without sacrifice to much strength e.g. the Canadian Special with its full flat convexed grind blade.
Also I really loved the curves on the Canadian Special. This atypical shape was also really attractive to me. A thin handle for a wider and pointy blade. This design looks ancestral for me.
Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I really love the light recurved edge, the leaf shaped blade, the almost full flat grind …
My Canadian Special is foremost destined to be used hard in the wood: batoning, light chopping, wood digging. CPM3V on such a thin edge platform should perform great. So far, I was not able to ruin a CPM3V edge either from Spyderco (The Tuff) or BRKT (I still waiting for a CPM3V Cold Steel Design which does not look like a Ninja’s dream…)
The handle was a little to square to my like but everything was easily adjust with some sandpaper (they are two pictures here after, the first was the first stage and the second another 15 minutes more) .
And without to void the guarantee which is really nice from BRKT: having the possibility to adjust a knife to your own like is a real plus. Now the handle suits me much better. I have also filled the back of the blade for the confort of my thumb.
My Canadian Special is easy to strop on leather and right now I can shave with it. Some push cuts in bambu were deep and with zero damage on the edge. I was was surprise by the size of the chips the knife was able to produce: thin edge and great geometry.
So here are some pictures of this new hard chore user, before more tests in the kitchen and in the woods:
Some words from Mike Stewart (Knife forums the 12th May 2012)
“I took My time with this design because I am not an overthinker. I wanted a hunter and a bushy built into one package. I kind of thought that If i did all the ovrthinking on the front end of this one I could use it and not look back – I was right for me on the CS.
I love the Arched Back of the Canadian Blades for Scraping an mashing stuff while keeping the point out of the way.
I wanted part of the edge straight for Bush work and wood work and enough Curve to do hunting and meat work.
I wanted great Geometry with a good thickness edge spine and I still wanted the grind not to come up to the very top so that I had a parting shoulder at the top of the Blade to help in batoning and splitting.
The handle is deceiving – it looks like that finger grooves are limiting – in actuality they are not and when you open your hand the knife rights itself because the area under the grooves is actually almost totally flat.
The knife is Comfortable for me in every way I grip a knife in use.
I have no illusions about how people feel about the Woodlore style handles and how they have been taught it is superior – I love the Aurora and the Bushcrafter but the CS fits me better and more securely.”