Holiday Gift Guide: On the Sixth Day of Christmas
Tony Sculimbrene 12.14.17
On the Sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Chopper for Zombie Slay-ing…
In many ways this knife is an outdoor guy’s dream of a big chopper. Ka-Bar, of course, has a long and storied history with fixed blade knives, starting with their iconic USMC fixed blade and running through the entire line of Ethan Becker Ka Bars. The formula is simple—make a big thick knife with very good 1095 steel, coat it in black coating as thick and textured as cake frosting, find a good handle design, and release it to the public. Like their knives, the formula is simple but effective.
Jesse Jarosz is a relatively new custom knife maker. He started out enthralled with Striders, Chris Reeve Knives, and Hinderers. Over the years that fascination turned into a desire to make knives. But when he finally picked up some steel and put it to a grinding belt, he developed a very clean and simple style. Jesse’s grinds are crisp enough to crack an egg on and his handles are among the best I have seen.
His M75 model, his foundational design, has a wonderfully curved and sculpted handle, easily the best folder handle I have used. His fixed blade knives are similarly great in terms of handle design. My JFS is a regular woods companion and its simple handle works great for many tasks.
So when Ka Bar and Jarosz got together to make fixed blades, I was genuinely excited. The Choppa is the king of the Ka Bar/Jarosz line up, coming at 9.875 inches. This is a short sword more than a knife. The handle, similar to the handle on the jack of all trades Globetrotter, has a gentle pistol shape to it. The end result is a huge knife with a good handle—an ideal chopper.
The 1095 Ka Bar uses has stood up to a tremendous amount of hard use in my experience. It rarely chips and when it does, it can be restored quickly through sharpening. For the money (around $100), you’d be hard pressed to find a better chopper.
Scrooge Before Ghost Visits
I have owned, used, and loved the smaller brother, the SCH36, but the 37 adds about two inches to the blade making it a much better chopper. Given the steel — 1095 — and the price — below $30 — this is a knife that can both take a beating and not give you pause. The handle is not as refined as I would like and the TPE material is a bit gummy, but you get a sheath (see that, Busse… a $30 knife with a sheath), a firestriker, and a diamond plate to touch up the edge in the field. It’s a very competent package, especially at this price.
Scrooge After Ghost Visits
The number of options for deluxe choppers has blossomed in the last few years. The Bravo 3 in 3V from Bark River could cleave some zombie noggins. Any number of Busse or Busse kin blades could as well. But you want maximum chopitude you have to go with the TM Hunt M18. It is a monster to fight monsters. The O1 heat treat and amazing handle are great, and the bevy of edges give you lots of capability, in the event you need a post apocalyptic spokeshave.