By Nick Italiano
The Woods Monkey Banana Peel, is one funky looking knife. When the blade is closed it looks much like a banana, which falls in line with the brands name. While one may think this is a bit of a gimmick, once you get one of these in your hand, you’ll quickly fall in love with the design as it feels great in hand and just begs to be put to work!
Normally I like to start with specs, but what makes the Banana Peel unique is its modular nature. As of the time of writing this article there are 12 different blade shapes available in a variety of steels ranging from tool steels like A2 and 3V as well as stainless options like AEB-L and S35VN. Not only are there numerous blade options but also many handle options! Ranging from super lightweight and pocketable kydex scales, to g10, and micarta in thicknesses up to 3/8 of an inch.
The modular nature of the Banana Peel allows the end user to get a knife that really suits their individual needs and tastes. If you’re looking for something to carry with you every day or to the office maybe the kydex or thinner micarta option with S35VN steel is good for you, if you’re an outdoors person then the thicker 3/8 handles with tool steel might be your preference. If you’re like me you may be into versatility so I ended up with both a thin set of micarta scales and a thick set of micarta scales with an AEB-L blade that is well suited for every day carry and hard use out in the woods.
Being this is designed to be a modular platform let’s talk about breaking it down and putting it back together, in a nutshell it’s easy! All you need is about 5 minutes and a flathead screw driver. The beauty of a Friction Folder is the simplicity of the design. There are no complicated internal mechanics; it is simply the scales, the blade, a few screws, and some washers. The biggest drawback to a Friction Folder is there is no locking mechanism, but I will say that I don’t necessarily miss that feature when using the knife, but we will talk a little more about that later.
Something else that is interesting about the variations in handles is the feel of the knife. When switching between the handles it really makes it feel like you are holding two different knives. My preference for outdoor use is the 3/8 handles because it gives a very similar hand feel to holding a full sized fixed blade. The thin handles are very suitable for all your every day tasks like opening packages and boxes, and an occasional food processing task, but I do find myself missing the robust hand filling handles!
The ease of blade deployment is very easy to tweak with just a turn of the tension screw. Personally I keep mine pretty tight to ensure there is no way to accidentally deploy it in my pocket, but easy enough yo open one with one hand. Once the blade is deployed its not going to drop closed and needs some deliberate effort on the users part to close it. One of the concerns that people often have with a Friction Folder is safety and accidental closure. Assuming you are using the knife as a utility knife and not as a pry bar, screw driver or some other purpose it’s not intended to be used as this isn’t really a problem. To add a further layer of security, the opening tab that you would use to deploy the blade does stick up ever so slightly when opened so it gives you a point to apply pressure to help keep the blade from closing during use.
The blade itself is very well done, I have the Scandi drop point and the it came perfectly ground and measures in just under 3 inches. The spine is sharp and can easily be used to scrape tinder or strike your Ferocium rod when the blade is closed. These are made by L.T. Wright Knives, and have the same undeniable quality that you would expect from any LT Wright Knife.
I’ve used mine pretty extensively now in my outdoor tasks including foraging, hiking, wood processing, fire starting, and food prep; it has performed admirably in all tasks. While it certainly won’t replace a fixed blade that you can do things like batoning with, it is an exceptional outdoor companion that can definitely handle a majority of your light outdoor work and even some of your heavier tasks.
To see more of the Banana Peel and Woods Monkey check out their website and Instagram page linked below.