Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Ontario Pilot Survuval Knife Project

Back in August I had this idea that I should be able to do the things I wanted to do in the woods with a limited investment in gear.  I really liked the idea but had no where to go with it once it was fleshed out and in practice.  It has a problem for someone like me...  I enjoy shuffling some parts of my kit around if I am not 100% into them.  To that end, I can say without question that while the Mora Craftline Robust is an extremely functional knife, it bores me to tears.  It's a great backup blade but, for whatever reason, things about which I feel meh I usually don't keep.

Enter the Ontario Pilot Survival Knife made by Ontario.  MidwayUSA.com sells these new for about $44.   Based on the reading I have done, these knives can be made to be very serviceable.  I decided it would invest in one and see if I could make it useable.  What made it more interesting is that currently, they are also selling factory seconds of these knives for under $30.  That's my thing, right there.  I ordered one.

It arrived today at about 2 PM and I got it inside to do a quick onceover while finishing up some daily tasks in prep for the holiday.  It showed up in a pretty plain Jane bag and is marked as a second.

Initial Packaging

Unpacked and Unsheathed
For the money involved, the fit and finish are just fine.  I am likely going to remove every bit of the coating anyway so no worries there.  The handle and guard seem to have a little bit of play but, for now anyway, I am not concerned.  If it becomes an issue, I'll address it.

The next test is on that really gives me a sense of what our starting point is with this.  I have a chunk of cedar I keep on the bench to test cutting and carving for knives I am working.  I spent a fair amount of time with this one and was only able to produce these curls.

The Curl-Me-Not in action...  :)
Sharpness just isn't a part of this one out of the box.  It seems there's a good deal of work to do to get this one going.  For the price though, I think we can spend a few hours to make it happen.  One the flip side, the saw seems to be pretty solid.  I need to get out of the house and test it for real but it appears pretty solid.  More to come on that...


It appears the blade was assembled in March of 2011. I do love the way they stamp these things...  There's a good bit of work to do here.  I'm somewhat conflicted but am thinking I'll sharpen it first and see how it does.  I also need to find a place I can use to run a firesteel.  The sharpened swidge would work but I want something closer to the grip.  Probably not going to get to mess with this until after Christmas but maybe, just maybe...  I can get a few minutes here and there to try some stuff...

Merry Christmas if that's your thing and Happy Holidays if not.

-JP



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