JSK Terrier Camp Knife
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- Last updated: 20/08/2021
With so many established knife manufacturers around it can be hard to find something new, so it was a real privilege to recently meet a new young knife maker who, as it happens, lives just around the corner. Joe Smalley, of JSKnives, has a background in vehicle mechanics and has turned his skills to producing very high-quality blades. Having started making his own knives in 2012, he introduced the JSK brand in 2016 and now produces a limited number of knives to order. From his small workshop, he is making some of the best looking fixed blade knives I have seen in a long time. He is also currently working on his own folder design.
The knife on test is the fixed blade Terrier, featuring a 50mm long, 3mm thick blade. It is manufactured from AEB-L, which is an older type of stainless steel, similar in toughness to 440C, originally developed for use in razor blades and scalpels. Joe cuts his knives from flat bar stock, shapes them on the grinder and then prebevels them before heat treating. The convex edge is hand finished with a stone to a nice and durable 25 to 30°.
The scales are a wellpolished Desert Ironwood, which is an extremely dense wood with a lovely grain. The wood to metal finish is just perfect and the retaining pins and lanyard-hole liner are also finished to the same high standard. The Terrier is also available with Micarta scales and a variety of other woods.
The size and shape of both the handle and the blade are very well thought out and the knife sits in the hand perfectly. The shortness of the blade makes it very easy to do meat preparation and work on detailed carving, but it is also big and strong enough to split firewood. The innovative design is very different to the blade-to-handle ratio common to most knives but it is just fantastic to use and surprisingly practical. It’s extremely strong, with great balance and an extremely tough edge.
Also handmade, the sheath is made from 3mm thick, high-quality leather and it comes complete with a lanyard so it can be worn around the neck, keeping it close at hand. A Kydex sheath is also available.
JSKnives are producing some first-class blades and are destined to become a wellestablished and trustworthy brand. If you are a collector then I would get yourself a JSK example quick, because demand and prices are likely to soar as people get to know Joe’s work. He can customise knives, within reason, to meet your requirements and I hope to see an example of his folder very soon.