I have to start out by saying, that I really respect Taylor Brands – the current owner of Schrade knives. Since their acquisition of the company, they’re really listening to the consumer and they’re constantly improving design. What’s more impressive, is the fact that they’re keeping the price LOW! The new 2016 line could be the best knife on a budget. Today, I’m going to go over my personal favorite – here’s my Schrade SCHF51 review.
Schrade Knives (or Imperial Schrade) was founded in 1904 and has been owned a couple of different times throughout it’s history. Currently, it’s owned by Taylor Brands LLC, which is based in Tennessee. Since it’s acquirement by Taylor Brands, they’ve really started stepping up their game.
Taylor saw the demand for an overly strong built knife for outdoorsmen and launched a bushcraft line a few years ago – and they’ve been improving on the design ever since. The new offerings in the bushcraft line have been claimed by many to be the best bushcraft knives for the money. You can find countless reviews on YouTube and reputable forums.
Blade Length: 5.05″
Blade Thickness: 1/4″
Overall Length: 10.85″
Blade Material: 1095 High Carbon Steel
Blade Finish: Black Teflon
Weight: 13.5 oz
The Schrade SCHF51M is an absolute monster of a knife for the money. The 1/4″ 1095 blade is a hell of a chopper and tough enough to do anything you want to do – and the finger choil allows you to choke up and do some fine carving work. The Micarta handles are gorgeous and are a HUGE improvement over the SCHF36 in my opinion. They also includes a ferro rod (with striker) and a decent little diamond sharpening stone for field maintenance.
The particular model in this review is the SCHF51M – which features Micarta scales. The SCHF51M is slightly more expensive. The SCHF51 with TPE scales is a fantastic option for a lower budget, but the Micarta scales were a no-brainer upgrade for me.
First off, the SCHF51 just feels great. Schrade re-profiled the handle area of the knife after complaints that the SCHF36 was a little too wide and thick, which caused some hotspot issues. It was a major improvement that makes the SCHF51 a much better option.
Schrade also improved the heat treating in the tip area of the blade – eliminating the “weak” area that some users experienced when prying and digging with the SCHF36. I’ve abused this thing pretty thoroughly and haven’t experienced any issues with the steel. It’s super easy to sharpen and works very well for fire starting.
The overall weight and thickness of the blade make the SCHF51 great for processing wood. It chops well and batons like a dream when you need it to. The finger choil is also very functional and allows you to choke up and do finer work, such as carving and notching. I’ll break down the pros and (minimal) cons below.
Super Beefy: The Schrade SCHF51 is an absolute tank of a knife! I mean – it’s full tang, with a 1/4″ thick slab of 1095 High Carbon Steel and durable Micarta handles with sturdy fasteners. What more could you ask for at this price point?
Quality Steel: Schrade uses a tough, heat-treated 1095 High Carbon Steel in the SCHF51 – and it’s fantastic. It’s very easy to sharpen and holds an impressive edge. Fire-starting is no problem with this beast. Ferro rods (did I mention they include one with the knife?) shower sparks off of the 90* spine – and flint works just fine, as well.
Beautiful Micarta Scales: The scales on the particular model in this review are Micarta. As I meantioned before, Schrade also offers a TPE version as well, and they’re just fine. But if I get a choice between plastic and Micarta – I’m going Micarta every day of the week.
Included Accessories: Schrade is thoughtful enough to include 2 vital accessories that are vital for bushcrafting – a ferro rod/striker and a diamond sharpening stone. That might not be a big deal to some people, but I think it’s awesome! The ferro rod is pretty damn good quality too. I’ve started several fires with it so far, and it hasn’t given me any problems. The sharpening stone is definitely decent enough for field maintenance.
Hollow Grind: The factory grind on the SCHF51 is a hollow grind – which isn’t really a con, but a Scandi grind is definitely more functional. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to turn this in to a Scandi grind. It takes a little time and patience, but it’s easily done – even by hand.
Sheath: The factory sheath is nylon, with a velcro belt loop at the top and a rope-style leg tie at the bottom. This is also, not that much of a con. I prefer a leather sheath, and I also want to start learning leather work – so it’s going to be one of my first projects. I’ve had no problems out of the factory sheath, but it just feels cheap. For the price point though, I’m not going to complain much.
The Schrade SCHF51M is an absolute monster of a knife for the money. The 1/4″ 1095 blade is a hell of a chopper and tough enough to do anything you want to do – and the finger choil allows you to choke up and do some fine carving work. The Micarta handles are gorgeous and are a HUGE improvement over the SCHF36 in my opinion. All in all, you can’t go wrong with this beast!
If you’re looking for other bushcraft knife options, check out my Best Bushcraft Knives article. It’s a list with 14 of the best bushcraft knives available for any budget.