Handmade ‘Haswell’ Survival Knife

A hefty blade forged by hand in Utah, the Coalatree Haswell Survival Knife is beefy with rugged good looks.

As soon as I pulled it from the heavy wooden case in which it’s sold, I envisioned the clanging of a hammer on anvil and the flame of a blacksmith shop.

Which makes sense. The Haswell is made by Dylan Wanta, who crafts the blade and handle from start to finish in his workshop outside of Salt Lake City.

The result of his work is a functional survival knife. I’ve put the blade forged of 1095 high carbon steel through a few quick tests, batoning branches and small logs, and think it will be an excellent companion on backcountry adventures and should hold up to rigors of survival use.

The Gear: Coalatree Haswell Survival Knife ($130)

Available: Now

First Impressions: Rugged and durable. The Hasswell Survival Knife is forged from a single piece of steel, and it shows. The black-flecked blade and deep brown wood handle have some imperfections and tool marks.

The curly maple handle is luxurious, warm and secure to hold. This feels like a blade that can do anything, from fine cutting to heavy duty batoning through logs.

Where To Test It: Forests to deserts to desert islands, this is a tough tool made from durable steel and wood. It will excel as a rugged implement in any environment.

Who’s It For: Practitioners of bushcraft who want a blade that is hammered out by hand. This knife is low tech but crafted from quality materials by a blacksmith, and from initial tests should hold up in the field.

Important Specs: The full-tang blade is made from high carbon 1095 steel, which holds an edge well and can be honed to razor-like sharpness. The drawback is it is susceptible to rust and corrosion (be careful on that salty desert island) and requires a little care. It comes sharp with a practical Scandi grind.

Weight: 14oz
Blade length: 4.5”
Overall length: 9.5”
Tang thickness: 3/16”
Wood handle: Walnut or curly maple with brass pins
Sheath: 7oz, veggie-tanned, hand-stitched leather
Warranty: 1 year

Made In: Utah, USA

Killer! The knife will take a beating and shouldn’t flinch. The steel is heavy and strong and in the hand this implement feels bomber.

Another plus is the human element. When you pick it up, you can tell that every variance was forged in by hand. The knife is pretty in the way machines cannot replicate.

Flaw: Being a big, heavy knife, the Haswell is, well, big and heavy. It weighs in at 14 ounces in the sheath and is just too much for light backpacking trips where you’re counting grams.

The grind on the knife I tested was a little asymmetrical. This didn’t affect the performance and is a result of the handmade nature of the knife, but it would be nice to see a symmetrical grind. There are some tool marks and variations in the handle that can be seen as good or bad in the eye of the beholder.

Who Should Buy It: Those looking for a unique survival tool that will take whatever abuse they can throw at it. Alternately, those who appreciate hand crafted blades for their unique character will love this knife. It will make a great gift for the right recipient.

Contact Brand/More Beta: Coalatree Haswell Knife

tagged: #firstlook

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By

Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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