By Nicholas Italiano
One of the only things I love as much as getting out to the woods is tools, specifically tools I can use in the woods! My instagram page started to display my passion for exceptional cutting tools, and has since evolved into so much more. Thankfully this has afforded me the opportunity to get my hands and put to work a variety of different tools from different makers. When Stu over at Reiff Knives reached out to me and asked to help provide feedback on the F4 model before public release I was really excited, because on paper it checked a lot of the boxes I am looking for in an all purpose bushcraft knife.
So let’s start with some specs. The F4 is 9 inches over all with a 4 inch sabre ground blade and 3.8 inches of cutting edge and 5/32 inch blade stock with a 90 degree spine. It weighs in at 8.2 ounces, features CPM 3V Steel and The 5 inch G10 handle scales are available in OD Green, Black, and coyote tan. It is also 100% made right here in the USA.
For me the size of this knife is the sweet spot for most of my outdoor tasks. 3.8 inches of cutting edge is perfect for most basic tasks including processing kindling, processing plant and fungi materials, cutting cordage, and food prep. The thick blade stock allows for some harder use tasks like batoning wood with out fear of breakage. The 90 degree spine is a must have for me to use for fero rod striking or scraping wood and bark. CPM 3V Steel has been A favorite of mine for outdoor knives. Unlike most tool steels it is considered semi-stainless giving it more corrosion resistance while maintaining the toughness and ease of sharpening you expect to find in traditional tool steels.
As I mentioned the F4 weighs 8.2 ounces, which is by no means light and maybe even heavier then a lot of knives in the category. For me I like a fixed blade with some heft, this one is especially well balanced and makes good use of the weight. I typically carry mine in a leather dangler sheath and it has enough weight to remind you that it’s there but is not uncomfortable.
Where this knife really shines is in the handle design. When I spoke with Stu, he went over the numerous revisions trying to design the perfect handle scales, and I have to say it was a worth while endeavor. These scales are comfortable even after prolonged use. The palm swells help fill the hand nicely and ensure there are no hot spots. The shape of the handle allows your hand to mold to the handle providing a secure and comfortable grip. G10 is always a solid choice for handle scales due to durability, and rumor has it we may see some micarta options in the future.
I am very impressed with this knife; Reiff Knives set out to produce a premium American Made Bushcraft Knife, and I can confidently say they accomplished this goal! In addition to the F4 they are also currently producing the F6 which is a larger knife, and have a few other designs in the works. While they are still in the early stages of manufacturing and distribution I truly belive Reiff knives will soon be a very well known and respected brand in the outdoor and bushcraft community.