Ontario’s early knives were hand-fabricated on a water-powered grindstone and sold tinker design by means of a pushcart through the neighboring countryside. Hence, over the years, OKC has built its considerable reputation on a heritage of uncompromising craftsmanship, quality materials and components, along with a steadfast dedication to its workforce. Hence, today they make one of the most comprehensive, wide ranging, product lines in the cutlery industry that is modern.
The Blackbird SK-5 Survival Knife that was designed by well known outdoor survivalist Paul Sheiter, is a prime example of Ontario Knife Company’s continuing dedication to excellence in making quality and knife design.
While I do agree with the majority of what both designer and the producer have to say about this knife, in my opinion, it’s not one of the more aesthetically pleasing knife designs I’ve ever seen. For instance, the black Micarta handle (looks like Rucarta to me) may be somewhat ergonomically shaped but, it lacks any artistry or imagination whatsoever (unlike some of the other survival knives I have reviewed on this particular site so far) as well as the spear point blade shape has consistently struck me as esoteric in a fixed-blade knife.
In fact, when I think of spear point blades, I automatically think of the official Boy Scouts of America folding knife which always features a spear point blade. But a knife doesn’t have to be pretty to be practical; it merely has to function nicely and be there each time you need it. On the other hand, that I do believe that the Blackbird SK-5 survival knife features an actually practical blade design (unlike some of the other survival knives I’ve reviewed on this website so far) and the entire knife and sheath are made from a number of the best materials available for survival knife use. But, it does come very close; although, it still doesn’t quite fulfill my personal standards for the greatest survival knife layout ever devised.
Consequently, because of this steel’s mixture of hardness, stamina, and its particular superior resistance to corrosion, it brought the curiosity of well-known custom knifesmith Bob Loveless (a contemporary of Bo Randall) in the early seventies who first experimented with, and then introduced, this steel for use in knife blades.
Since that time, 154 CM has become the pinnacle pick of steel among custom knifesmiths and it’s highly respected for the way it can join the properties of superior toughness, sharpness of the knife (here’s how to sharpen them), edge-retaining skill, and resistance to corrosion which is rivaled only by the Japanese equivalent of this steel: ATS34.
Also, I’m not especially enamored of this design as a hunting knife which is just another vital task for any great survival knife. Therefore, while I would definitely consider the Blackbird SK-5 as a partner to a knife that is greater, there are several other dedicated survival knife layouts I like much better.