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Bark River PSK (Short Review)

Keith A. Williams Bootlegger Some time back, I can remember hearing mention of a little neck knife being made by Bark River, and the overall design looked romising, b!t I never really had the o ort!nity to do !se one. "ater, I act!ally ran into one b!t it had bla#e orange handles $hich altho!gh highly visible, %!st $asn&t my thing, so in the end, it did not make its $ay home $ith me. With my b!sy sched!le, I got sidetracked and had retty m!ch forgotten abo!t the design !ntil I $as attending the ann!al gathering of 'W(' this ast year. )or those of yo! $ho have never had the o ort!nity to attend, this stands for 'ractice What (o! 'reach, and is an ann!al gathering of *!tdoorsmen, Instr!ctors, +!n and Knife ,nth!siasts, and friends $ho all !t there lives on hold every year and travel from artsafar to the .orth /arolina foothills every year to make this great event ossible. 0!ring this time, there are ty ically classes and even contests held on tra ing, rimitive cordage, rimitive fire starting, flint kna ing, lant identification, land navigation, knife shar ening, firearms safety, as $ell as any n!mber of other o!tdoor related to ics. With so m!ch kno$ledge being assed aro!nd this alone makes this event $ell $orth traveling to from every$here from local comm!nities to far off co!ntries. Any$ay, back to the story- I $as on the to of the main hill $here most of the activity is centrali#ed, and as !s!al, there $ere literally bo1es and bags f!ll of c!tlery items $hich $ere donated by s!ch notable com anies as 2*'S Knives, Bark River, Simonich, +erber, *ntario, Becker Knife and 2ool, Kabar, B!ck, and many others, for testing and eval!ation for any and all comers. It $as d!ring one s!ch visit to this area that I $as tho!ghtf!lly r!mmaging thro!gh the vario!s $ares- that I fo!nd t$o s ecimens of the Bark River 'SK. *ne had black handle slabs and the other had a air of a lighter, olive3tan color. I co!ld only afford a fe$ seconds to eek at it, as test knives are grabbed ! abo!t as 4!ickly as they are set back do$n ! there, so I snagged it ! and did a 4!ick d!ck and mane!ver to the shelter of the ever $elcoming /offee /ave. )or those of yo! $ho have never attended, this a little l!1!ry that "andy (o!ng, his $ife, and this yearhis entire family all itch in together to ens!re that all have more coffee available than is ever needed to kee s!ch a cre$ ha ily caffeinated. *nce I had a lace to set everything do$n, and a little more of that life s!staining li4!id in my ne$ 'W(' coffee m!g, I $as able to give the knife a closer e1amination. It has been said 5and tr!thf!lly so6 that I can be a little hard to im ress $hen it comes to o!tdoor gear, b!t let me tell yo! that I $as 4!ite im ressed. *verall length of this knife meas!red a ro1imately five and one-eighth inches, $ith a t$o inch conve1 gro!nd blade of a ro1imately one-si1teenth of an inch in thickness and made of 78/89 stainless steel. 2he thickness of the blade contin!ed all the $ay to the end of the handle, and $as nicely sand$iched bet$een t$o slabs of canvas micarta, and sec!red together $ith t$o large ins and a lined lanyard hole. Altho!gh yo! can get Bark River knives in most any conceivable color, this one $as some$here bet$een nat!ral and olive, and $as very attractive, and tho!gh the looks of the handle sha e $ere a little !nconventional, in act!al !sage, it roved to be 4!ite comfortable, regardless of ho$ it $as held. 2his knife comes $ith a rather odd looking kyde1 sheath that has a notched o!t section on one side. 2his $as conceived to assist in storing a length of readily available cordage

that co!ld be $ra ed aro!nd the sheath and be ke t there for emergencies. Remember, the rimary consideration for this knife&s design $as to be a solid base for $hich a convenient si#ed s!rvival kit to be b!ilt aro!nd. .o$, tho!gh this sheath $as designed to be $orn as a neck knife, the entire ackage is not large that it co!ldn&t be threaded onto a s lit ring and !sed carried right there on yo!r day to day key ring. Altho!gh I like kyde1 $ell eno!gh for f!nction, this knife had s!ch character that I really $anted to see it dressed in more traditional sheath. )ort!nately, the fine folks at :R, Ind!stries %!st so ha ened to have a very nice handle-! o!ch styled, neck sheath that fit this little gem like a glove, and $ith a little negotiation, and some borro$ed 'ara cord, I $as soon a$ay $ith one. )or the remainder of the event, I $as in the habit of $earing the sheath aro!nd my neck, and if I ha ened by and sa$ that nobody $as c!rrently !sing the 'SK, I $o!ld ick it back ! for more com atibility testing. I feel that I m!st make the confession that to$ard the end, I really didn&t set it do$n all that m!ch, and I a ologi#e to anyone $ho didn&t get to fill their dance card $ith this knife beca!se of it. 0!e to the handy nat!re of neck knives, this $as often the first thing I grabbed and $o!ld re-sheath it each time $ondering ho$ I&d managed to miss o!t on this little treat. Well, one thing led to another, and no$ I have been !sing this thing, in alternation $ith my other neck knives for over three months and can&t think of even one com laint $ith either the knife or the $onderf!l little sheath. I&ll confess that I kno$ little of 78/89 steel, b!t I have !sed this knife sam le for rolonged d!rations in $et conditions on more than one occasion no$, and have only $itnessed very tiny s ots of discoloration, and it seems to hold an edge e1tremely $ell. I&ll %!st close $ith saying that if yo! are a fan of s!ch things, or maybe %!st a fan of light$eight knives that $ill be handy $hen yo! need them, st!rdy eno!gh to get the %ob done, and so $ell $orn that yo!&ll hardly be a$are of their resence, yo! might $ant to have a look at one of these.