ESEE Knives

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Vivi
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ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:01 pm

Who else is a big fan of ESEE knives?

I currently own three, and I really like them all.

On paper I see a lot of reasons not to care for them. Very thick spines. I don't like the coating. Very few steel options......you better like 1095!

Yet every time I use them, I'm reminded of how well designed they are.



Here's my ESEE 6HM. It's awesome. With the thin, sharp edge I gave it chopping ability is very good for such a small knife....it isn't that far behind my hatchet. I used it today to trim some hiking trails, start a fire and carve a walking stick. It's a really versatile do it all design. Thin enough at the edge that it'll handle food prep but robust enough to chop and baton all day. This is the biggest knife I carry to the woods anymore....no more 9"+ choppers for me.

Image


Here's an ESEE 4 with G10 scales I traded for earlier this year. I got a really good deal on it, trading a folder I paid $50 for to receive this beast of a knife. Initially I didn't like it much. It felt way too heavy for the size. My Street Bowie is half the weight with more cutting edge. But after using it a few times, it grew on me. It handles really, really well. I know I shouldn't like it because of how thick and heavy it is, but it feels so nice while using it. After I decided to keep it I gave it a killer hair whittling sharp toothy edge and stripped the coating off the blade. I was planning to leave the handle coating as is to protect from corrosion, but I don't like how it looks. I'm going to strip the rest sometime soon. This knife will look a lot better once its fully stripped and has a deep patina like the others.

Image

Then of course, the classic Izula. Mine is an Izula 2, same knife but another 1/2" of handle. The original was always a little too small for me to grip well. Now, all that really needs to be said about this knife is when I bought my first Izula 2 I loved the overall size and design, but felt it could be executed better. I spent over $400 looking for a similar design built with fancier materials, or using a pointier blade shape, or with better scale contouring, etc. In the end, I carry the Izula and the others sit at home or were sold. There are a lot of things I didn't like about the Izulas at first....too much belly for such a small blade, too thick, spine isn't sharp enough to spark ferro rods even after stripping the coating (Had to sand down the spine to create an edge).....but this knife works so well for me. It feels so comfortable and intuitive in a variety of grips, and with the edge I gave it it slices nicely. It'll never be in the same league as a paring knife for food prep, but this is the perfect dayhike knife that can both baton some kindling to start a fire and slice up an apple.

Image


Obviously I enjoy modding my ESEE's. I strip the coating because you can't spark a ferro rod or scrape tinder with the coated spine, and I enjoy developing the patinas. I give them much thinner edges which makes them cut head and shoulders over a stock ESEE. The chopping ability on the 6HM was worthless with the factory edge but its pretty solid now. I also hand contoured my Izula scales for a more comfortable grip. You can see where the scale ends near the cutting edge was heavily contoured for a more comfortable pinch grip during food prep. While there's a lot to be said for a knife that's perfect out of the box, I enjoy the tinkering each ESEE purchase brings me. I like making them "mine."

ESEE is a great testament for keeping things simple. Basic designs in a basic steel with simple micarta scales. They work, and work, and keep on working. Oh, and the warranty? "Got a problem? Any problem? We'll take care of it." Can't beat it.

Any other ESEE fans here?

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby knivesandbooks » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:00 pm

I keep meaning to pick up the Izula 2 and the Camp Lore CR2.5. I've this awesome growing small fixed blade collection. I was actually aboit to get an Izula 2 with some store credit but instead picked up the Casstrom Safari instead. Looked more refined and a thinner grind, I think. One thing that has scared me away from Esee is that the grinds look thick on the smaller ones. I need to just pull the trigger though. A couple of other things though: it often seems like I can get a higher level of fit and finish than what Esse does for not much more money also those plastic sheaths turn me off. Idk, I need to get an Izula 2. You can get them uncoated now so I'll likely do that. You can actually build your own (and ither Esse models) on Knife Connection.

Also, that new Ashley Game Knife looks really good and I want it. https://www.knifeworks.com/new/esee-agk ... andle.html
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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Doc Dan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:35 am

I have the Izula and Izula 2. I like them. I wish they’d use AEB-L, but I 💕 them.
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Wartstein
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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Wartstein » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:57 am

Vivi, I can remember that a lot I have to say about ESEE knives I´ve already disussed with you, or better you gave me advice.

I am a bit divided in my opinion.

The only ESEE I ever really owned (and still own) myself is a Laser Strike (only pic I have right now: See below, together with my Endela when the latter was still quite new...)

Just like you, I like the basic, simple design and no nonsense Micarta scales (I guess when it comes to scales and the Esee 6 I´d even prefer the more blocky scales of the "regular" over the rounded ones on your HM).
I also like how the coating slowly is wearing off (VERY slowly, it´s a good coating!) in certain areas, and the Micarta of the handle gets more "personal" through use - looks great imho.

I am not sure I like the 1095 steel . It seems very soft, and looses its sharp edge very quickly (though that got better after some sharpening processes I have to say).
The factory edge was very obtuse on my Laser Strike, it sure is the worst knife for whittling wood or cutting deeper into material with just one powerfull cut I have.
But you already recommended to me to regrind the edge, I just did not have the time till now and not the right equipment.
I am totally convinced that my Laser Strike could take a much thinner and slicier edge without any problem, cause, and now I come to the good side of Esees 1095: The steel is very tough:
I use my Laser Strike almost mainly as a throwing knife, and it took any impact so far without any damage to the tip whatsoever (I have to point out again :I would NOT take advantage of Esees life time warranty when damaging the knife while throwing, that would not be fair imho. Esee even points out that their knives are not meant for throwing, cause for that application an even "softer" and thougher steel would be indicated).
It has some chips in the ede, but that is from when I missed a target or the knife did not stick and hit some rock with high speed. I am sure ANY steel would chip from such an impact.

Some say, the Laser Strike looks odd and is one of the worst knives in Esees line up,but I totally feel the opposite. It has by far the best choil of any Esee I personally handled (the "steel part" of the choil is not just a cutout in the blade, but actually thicker than the blade stock at the edge and really more an extension of the handle), it is just a bit longer and has a bit more edge than the "4", which I like, and the rather symmetric spear point works great for me.
The hollow handle with the compartment for a fire steel and tinder is a bit silly though imho and I´d rather have three handle screws per side than just two.

I removed the coating on a section of the spine and grinded the spine still sharper, now it works very good with a ferro rod.

I attached a small pinky lanyard, when using that the Laser Strike is a good chopper for such a still rather small knife (normally I like to use a longer lanyard, wrapped in a certain way around the hand for chopping, but such a lanyard would get in the way when throwing the Laser Strike)

All in all: Like you I just love the feel in hand of my Esee, and though with its current edge it is really not a good tool as a cutter, I´d never want to get rid of it.

Image
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:08 am

knivesandbooks wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:00 pm
I keep meaning to pick up the Izula 2 and the Camp Lore CR2.5. I've this awesome growing small fixed blade collection. I was actually aboit to get an Izula 2 with some store credit but instead picked up the Casstrom Safari instead. Looked more refined and a thinner grind, I think. One thing that has scared me away from Esee is that the grinds look thick on the smaller ones. I need to just pull the trigger though. A couple of other things though: it often seems like I can get a higher level of fit and finish than what Esse does for not much more money also those plastic sheaths turn me off. Idk, I need to get an Izula 2. You can get them uncoated now so I'll likely do that. You can actually build your own (and ither Esse models) on Knife Connection.

Also, that new Ashley Game Knife looks really good and I want it. https://www.knifeworks.com/new/esee-agk ... andle.html
https://www.casstrom.com/knives/fixed-b ... en-g1.html that one? those look nice for the $90 they're asking. Have you gotten to try it out yet? The blade angle looks interesting.

That Ashley game knife annoys me. "No sharpening notch so the knife won't catch on hides." Well it's a good thing sharpening notches don't ever catch on anything else and aren't ever used on ESEE's....oh wait :D Cool design though, hadn't seen it before. Glad to see them offering more handle options like this, the camp lore knives and the HM series. The ESEE 4 handle has grown on me but for a long time I didn't care for the RC3/4/9 handles that they used for the ESEE knives after the split.

I've seen TKC builder but from what I recall they only offer G10 rather than micarta.

The Izula sheaths look terrible but they work flawlessly. Great retention to the clip, can clip to a belt, waistband, pocket etc. Very secure fit, won't ever pop out on accident even carried inverted. They scratch easily but being softer makes them less likely to dull the edge I'd imagine. Plus they can be bought for about $10, which lets me keep one setup for vertical carry and another for horizontal belt carry.

Have you seen any uncoated 1095 ESEE? I've only seen 440 versions left uncoated. That would save me a lot of work if my next ESEE came in uncoated 1095.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:49 am

Never have been personally a fan.

I always thought of them as vastly overrated lawnmower blades with handles on them and overpriced for what they are.

Opinions will vary, but that one is mine. :)

There are plenty of other options on the market.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:26 am

Wartstein wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:57 am
Vivi, I can remember that a lot I have to say about ESEE knives I´ve already disussed with you, or better you gave me advice.

I am a bit divided in my opinion.

The only ESEE I ever really owned (and still own) myself is a Laser Strike (only pic I have right now: See below, together with my Endela when the latter was still quite new...)

Just like you, I like the basic, simple design and no nonsense Micarta scales (I guess when it comes to scales and the Esee 6 I´d even prefer the more blocky scales of the "regular" over the rounded ones on your HM).
I also like how the coating slowly is wearing off (VERY slowly, it´s a good coating!) in certain areas, and the Micarta of the handle gets more "personal" through use - looks great imho.

I am not sure I like the 1095 steel . It seems very soft, and looses its sharp edge very quickly (though that got better after some sharpening processes I have to say).
The factory edge was very obtuse on my Laser Strike, it sure is the worst knife for whittling wood or cutting deeper into material with just one powerfull cut I have.
But you already recommended to me to regrind the edge, I just did not have the time till now and not the right equipment.
I am totally convinced that my Laser Strike could take a much thinner and slicier edge without any problem, cause, and now I come to the good side of Esees 1095: The steel is very tough:
I use my Laser Strike almost mainly as a throwing knife, and it took any impact so far without any damage to the tip whatsoever (I have to point out again :I would NOT take advantage of Esees life time warranty when damaging the knife while throwing, that would not be fair imho. Esee even points out that their knives are not meant for throwing, cause for that application an even "softer" and thougher steel would be indicated).
It has some chips in the ede, but that is from when I missed a target or the knife did not stick and hit some rock with high speed. I am sure ANY steel would chip from such an impact.

Some say, the Laser Strike looks odd and is one of the worst knives in Esees line up,but I totally feel the opposite. It has by far the best choil of any Esee I personally handled (the "steel part" of the choil is not just a cutout in the blade, but actually thicker than the blade stock at the edge and really more an extension of the handle), it is just a bit longer and has a bit more edge than the "4", which I like, and the rather symmetric spear point works great for me.
The hollow handle with the compartment for a fire steel and tinder is a bit silly though imho and I´d rather have three handle screws per side than just two.

I removed the coating on a section of the spine and grinded the spine still sharper, now it works very good with a ferro rod.

I attached a small pinky lanyard, when using that the Laser Strike is a good chopper for such a still rather small knife (normally I like to use a longer lanyard, wrapped in a certain way around the hand for chopping, but such a lanyard would get in the way when throwing the Laser Strike)

All in all: Like you I just love the feel in hand of my Esee, and though with its current edge it is really not a good tool as a cutter, I´d never want to get rid of it.

Image
Their steel is definitely a little on the soft side, 57rc I believe. I've used the same steel at 60-61 and it holds an edge much better, but does lose a bit of toughness and ease of sharpening. While my Izula doesn't hold an edge nearly as long as my K390 Police, it touches up very fast with minimal effort.

I've never been impressed with a factory ESEE edge, but once they're reprofiled they cut very well for the thickness. My Izula is a great carver, and the 6HM handles very well for the size and thickness. It didn't feel cumbersome at all using it to craft a walking stick, though for more detailed cuts I would prefer one of the smaller two.

While their knives will never be the epitome of edge holding, I favor toughness and ease of obtain high degrees of sharpness over edge longevity for my woods knives. Same thing with axes and other chopping tools. If I accidently hit a rock while chopping some wood, I want a minor roll at worst, and ESEE's deliver in that respect. I cut more abrasive stuff with my EDC folders than I do camp knives. They mainly see fatwood, apples and sausages :)

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Vivi
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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:27 am

Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:49 am
Never have been personally a fan.

I always thought of them as vastly overrated lawnmower blades with handles on them and overpriced for what they are.

Opinions will vary, but that one is mine. :)

There are plenty of other options on the market.
I can see thinking they're overpriced considering I've purchased customs made out of similar materials as an ESEE 3 for $55-80, but they always perform well for me, are USA made, great sheaths, amazing warranty and the knives are available 365 days a year. Sometimes waiting on a custom can be annoying, and I've received some knives that weren't quite as expected.

If you were going to replace all three knives in my original post with some with roughly the same dimensions, what would your picks be? I'm curious.

I still keep an eye out for models I'll like better, because I feel a lot less particular about fixed blades than folders. I'm not tied to a specific opening system, lock type, etc. so it's more fun shopping around. For example this knife has been on my "maybe" list for the past year. Looks exquisitely crafted, but its also just under 3x the price as my Izula 2 and made in a much more fragile steel.
Last edited by Vivi on Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:30 am

Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:27 am
Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:49 am
Never have been personally a fan.

I always thought of them as vastly overrated lawnmower blades with handles on them and overpriced for what they are.

Opinions will vary, but that one is mine. :)

There are plenty of other options on the market.
I can see thinking they're overpriced considering I've purchased customs made out of similar materials as an ESEE 3 for $55-80, but they always perform well for me, are USA made, great sheaths, amazing warranty and the knives are available 365 days a year. Sometimes waiting on a custom can be annoying, and I've received some knives that weren't quite as expected.

If you were going to replace all three knives in my original post with some with roughly the same dimensions, what would your picks be?

Just about anything would be better really, ESEE is at the bottom of my list, the very bottom. ;)

Flip a coin, just as long as they are a reputable maker etc.

They are fine for some I suppose if that's what they want to buy.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:33 am

I was hoping for some specific models. I know you value edge retention more than I do, and that probably plays into your dislike of ESEE, but saying "just pick anything else" doesn't really do much.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:35 am

Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:33 am
I was hoping for some specific models. I know you value edge retention more than I do, and that probably plays into your dislike of ESEE, but saying "just pick anything else" doesn't really do much.

Pick a flavor... ;)

Not all edge retention.... I used to test field knives and a lot of them over the years.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:36 am

So you're going to come into my thread about ESEE, call them trash, not explain why, not offer alternative models, not contribute anything at all?

What's the point of that?

I really do want to know which knives you'd pick. I was hoping to learn something.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:38 am

Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:36 am
Well if you're going to be weird about linking to a specific model comparable to what I own I guess that's that.

Not weird at all.

You could pick a model from any other maker that is close to the same size etc and it would be a better choice.

Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice, and that's just one Company.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:45 am

Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:38 am
Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:36 am
Well if you're going to be weird about linking to a specific model comparable to what I own I guess that's that.

Not weird at all.

You could pick a model from any other maker that is close to the same size etc and it would be a better choice.

Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice, and that's just one Company.
Ok, why do you think my krupp 4116 stainless cold steel fixed blade with glued on nylon scales and a bad sheath is superior to my 1095 ESEE?

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:46 am

Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:45 am
Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:38 am
Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:36 am
Well if you're going to be weird about linking to a specific model comparable to what I own I guess that's that.

Not weird at all.

You could pick a model from any other maker that is close to the same size etc and it would be a better choice.

Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice, and that's just one Company.
Ok, why do you think my krupp 4116 stainless cold steel fixed blade is superior to my 1095 ESEE?

You have to be somewhat serious and realistic about the models.... ;)

Nobodies budget line is really all that great... They are what they are...

Like I said realistic...
Last edited by Ankerson on Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:49 am

Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:46 am
Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:45 am
Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:38 am
Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:36 am
Well if you're going to be weird about linking to a specific model comparable to what I own I guess that's that.

Not weird at all.

You could pick a model from any other maker that is close to the same size etc and it would be a better choice.

Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice, and that's just one Company.
Ok, why do you think my krupp 4116 stainless cold steel fixed blade is superior to my 1095 ESEE?

You have to be somewhat serious and realistic about the models.... ;)

Nobodies budget line is really all that great...

Like I said realistic...
"Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice"

hmm.

Ankerson, I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from further posts in my thread. I do not feel you are here to contribute anything of worth.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:53 am

Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:49 am
Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:46 am
Vivi wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:45 am
Ankerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:38 am



Not weird at all.

You could pick a model from any other maker that is close to the same size etc and it would be a better choice.

Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice, and that's just one Company.
Ok, why do you think my krupp 4116 stainless cold steel fixed blade is superior to my 1095 ESEE?

You have to be somewhat serious and realistic about the models.... ;)

Nobodies budget line is really all that great...

Like I said realistic...
"Anything Cold Steel makes as an example would be a better choice"

hmm.

Ankerson, I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from further posts in my thread. I do not feel you are here to contribute anything of worth.

Like I said realistic...

Budget lines are not and never are a consideration for field blades...

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Ankerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:59 am

Fiddleback Forge is one of the brands that I can recommend without any hesitation at all.

https://fiddlebackforge.com/collections/field

Then there is Busse, any of their 3 brands... I would put those against anything on the market...

Other than those, it would be customs for the most part.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby marty_bill_ » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:46 am

20191023_115135-1440x1920.jpg
Izula
Izula ll
CR 2.5
AGK
These are the 4 I have and they are great. Esee makes great knives and have awesome ergonomics for me. Definitely a workhorse knife company for real users. They are some great folks and back up what they sell. My CR2.5 is with me bout everyday. I've paid a lot more for other knives. But my Esee's get the nod. I'd never be afraid to be stuck in the bush with an Esee.

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Re: ESEE Knives

Postby Vivi » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:17 pm

marty_bill_ wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:46 am
20191023_115135-1440x1920.jpgIzula
Izula ll
CR 2.5
AGK
These are the 4 I have and they are great. Esee makes great knives and have awesome ergonomics for me. Definitely a workhorse knife company for real users. They are some great folks and back up what they sell. My CR2.5 is with me bout everyday. I've paid a lot more for other knives. But my Esee's get the nod. I'd never be afraid to be stuck in the bush with an Esee.
That's a nice looking edge on your CR 2.5. I think I saw that model last time I was at a local store that carries ESEE. I think I'm going to swing by today and see if they still have any in stock.

Do they sell those kydex sheaths with the knife? I was only seeing leather options on the couple of sites I checked out.


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