BUILT FOR THE BUSH | Bushcraft Outdoor Knife Review

Bushcraft Northwest Outdoor Skills School is a powerhouse for rugged packs, blades and knowledge.

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The fine point on the edge of the Raven is definitely thin enough to aid with friction fires, but also packs plenty of penetration power for offense or defense. The dark epoxy-impregnated bamboo has a good grip to it, and does not cause any problems in carving.

In the Pacific Northwest there is an outdoor skills institution that is gaining quite a following and notable reputation in the world of survival training. Bushcraft Northwest doesn’t teach the run-of-the-mill survival techniques common everywhere but a whole smattering of different ideas and practices related to being and living outdoors.

Mike Lummio, Bushcraft Northwest’s founder, is an avid outdoorsman, biologist, fly fisherman, bowhunter and instructor. He established Bushcraft NW in South Central Washington as a school over five years ago, not just to teach survival, but actual primitive living as well. It is interesting to note how often, during the daily routine, one does need to improvise a small wooden structure, fix a broken pole, and use knots after learning these skills. Practicing this craft ushers in a new level of common sense for making things work. While breaking out of the traditional “survival only” school model, Bushcraft Northwest has produced some interesting, exclusive gear projects as well.

The Raven
The story of this tactical bushcraft combination knife starts out with the FBI. Known for their top-notch training, Bushcraft Northwest has taught both the FBI, Army Special Forces, and other agencies. A particular recent FBI group that teaches anti-terrorist techniques and explosive ordnance disposal to foreign law enforcement agencies had just returned from Afghanistan before taking a course. They reported that they wanted to learn skills to make them more comfortable outside, as the agents are sometimes left out in the field for long periods of time. They utilized Bushcraft Northwest’s BCNW-01 knife during the classes, a blade that resembles a full tang Swedish Mora knife, but wanted something a little more aggressive for their unique needs. The 5/32-inch-thick Raven is the end result, a Scandinavian ground knife that will fulfill both the needs of a bushcraft knife yet still have some tactical appeal. Combining two schools of thought into one piece of gear is no easy task!

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The new Duluth Bushcrafter assists the user in the ability to find new and undiscovered places. The pack’s ruggedness will be the last thing a bushwhacker thinks about when exploring through dense unforgiving habitats. If you have the desire to go off trail, this is the pack that will push you towards that goal, with easy access to your cutting tools.

At 5/32-inch thick, this O-1 tool steel knife can take a lot of beating, perhaps even slight prying if the need arose. The 4-inch-long blade is thick enough to fly through giant wood logs with the help of a baton, but it has a Scandinavian grind which is ideal for heavy carving and wood work, one of the fundamental tasks in many outdoor survival skills. The Raven has a slight drop point for thrusting, and also has a nice choil behind the blade. This choil is beveled, so when the user chokes up on the metal, they will not have abrasions from the hold.

The 4-1/4-inch slabs on the handle of the tool are unique, made of a semi-stabilized bamboo that is incredibly durable and still gives a textured tacky feel to the fingers. The slabs of bamboo are split up, injected with epoxy, and then compressed together in slats for a truly unique level of durability. This material has withstood copious amounts of testing, and shows good water repellency without any shrinkage problems on the handle slabs. The grip is also easily modified by the end user, as it is not polished. Mike says he leaves them a little thick in case the user wants to sand it down to their preference. Each handle is affixed with stainless steel pins and a lanyard hole. Bushcraft Northwest will be releasing a Micarta version of both the Raven and the BCNW-01 later in the spring of 2011, along with a Kydex sheath, and it is sure to be a popular hit among the tactical crowd.