Quick Company History
TOPS Knives was founded in 1998. They set out with a mission to create the highest-quality knives around. They classify their knives as “tools designed and built using the extensive knowledge and real life experiences of many Operators with backgrounds in Military, Law Enforcement, outdoor professions, and Martial Arts”. They have worked with designers with backgrounds ranging from Navy Seals, Airborne Rangers, Martial Arts instructors, survival experts, SWAT Team members, and Native American weapons experts. The best part of all – TOPS fixed blades are manufactured and hand-finished right here in the USA, at their facility in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
Specs and Review
Blade Length: 4.5″
Blade Thickness: 3/16″
Overall Length: 10″
Blade Material: 1095 High Carbon Steel
Blade Finish: Tumbled Finish
Handle: Canvas Micarta
Sheath: Black Kydex
Weight: 9.6 oz
Super Beefy Construction: The TOPS BOB is a pure beast. Full-tang construction, excellent heat-treated 1095 High Carbon Steel, and durable Micarta handles. Also, as I mentioned before, it’s manufactured and hand-finished in the USA to their superb quality standards.
Quality Steel: TOPS uses a tough, heat-treated 1095 High Carbon Steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58 in the BOB. It’s a breeze to sharpen and it really holds it’s edge – I don’t know what the secret is with their steel, but the BOB seems to hold an edge longer than other 1095 blades I own. Fire-starting is no problem with this knife at all. The exposed pommel of the knife has a Shango notch machined in, specifically for scraping ferro rods. TOPS also includes a ferro/magnesium fire starter with the knife, which is functional – but not the best. Flint striking is also a breeze with the hardened spine.
Perfect Micarta Scales: The scales on the TOPS BOB are canvas Micarta and they’re insanely ergonomic. The hilt of the handle features machined scallops, which allow a comfortable and secure grip when choking up for fine tasks. The profile of the handle is just perfectly contoured for comfort, regardless of the grip you use. The scales even feature a built-in bow drill divot. They put a lot of thought into the design of this knife.
Scandinavian Grind: The TOPS BOB features an awesome Scandi grind from the factory, and you know how I like my Scandi’s! The grind on the BOB is actually considered a “modified Scandinavian grind” and it’s actually a Scandi/convex hybrid. I find the grind to be perfectly fine out of the box – which is hardly ever the case with me. A few minutes on a leather strop, and this thing is ready to go.
Awesome Kydex Sheath: First off, I’m not a Kydex lover…but this sheath is very functional. Retention is obviously great – it most always is with Kydex. It also features a built-in ferro rod attachment, which is very nice. What I like most about it, surprisingly enough, is the steel belt clip – it allows for a very secure connection, so you don’t have any belt riding problems and the knife doesn’t flap around.
None: I know, I know…it sounds too good to be true. TOPS hasn’t always offered traditional designs in their knives – hell, some of them are just flat-out bizzare, but they hit it out of the park with this thing. The design is just very well thought out. It’s everything I need in a bushcraft knife.
The TOPS Fieldcraft BOB is a winner. BOB (in this particular case) actually stands for Brothers of Bushcraft, which is a group consisting of some of the greatest modern bushcrafters in North America. Most notable on the list, is Joe Flowers. This guy practically lives in the bush – when he isn’t building the knives that he designs…in the bush. The BOB is just a solid performer – designed by bushcrafters and built for bushcrafters.
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If you’re looking for other bushcraft knife options, check out my Best Bushcraft Knives article. It’s a list with 15 of the best bushcraft knives available for any budget.