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I got a GEC Buckaroo (#68) about a week ago. Gotta say I like this knife a lot. I searched different models, sizes, etc. and this was my choice. I wanted 2-3 blades, size 3.5"-4" closed and bearutiful. This was after I decided I wanted a knife based on quality and features I wanted without regard for price (within reason). My target price was $150. Of course that means I'd go $175 if the knife I wanted was a bit over $150. I normally don't refer to price when talking about a knife but it is a factor when deciding so I mentioned the $ I was limiting myself too. I'm happy to say the knife I decided on was under my budget. This doesn't happen to me very often. :) I decided to get a GEC Northfield knife based on reputation. The reputation is limited to my reading the forums and reviews. I've never held a GEC before. The forums and reviews did not let me down. My GEC is a very nice knife. BTW, this is going to be an EDC user. No pocket sheath. It will be in my pocket with whatever else is in there. Meaning I expect scratches and that's ok. It is a gorgeous knife that will show it's usage when my son then grandson carries/uses this knife. Hopefully none of us will lose it. :)

The burnt stag scales are a bit thicker in the middle than I expected. The bottom picture shows this. I like how the thicker handle feels when using the knife. I was concerned about the thickness being a negative in how it feels when in my pocket. Turns out it's not a problem at all. The handle length of 3.5" is perfect for my hand. I had been considering a GEC #82 model. I think I liked the looks of the knife in the pictures better than my knife. I liked the angled bolsters for one thing. However, I laid a ruler in my hand to picture different handle lengths and I think the 4 1/8" handle would be a bit uncomfortable in my pocket. I don't need a big knife for an EDC pocket knife. I do carry larger knives for EDC but for the knife that is a default (for lack of a better word) pocket knife, smaller wins out. Seldom do I cut something requiring a larger knife. The main blade (clip) on this knife is 2 1/2" long. The sheepfoot wharncliff and spey blades are both 1 13/16" long.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the 1095 carbon steel holds an edge. For perfections sake every blade needed a serious touchup on the edge. The knife came sharp enough to be completely useful. Only sharpening obsessed (idiots :)) folks need to touch up any new knife that isn't perfect. Not that my sharpening results in PERFECT edges. The steel sharpened easily to be very sharp. Just for conversation's sake I used a Spyderco fine grit stone to try to touch up the edges. It was the only stone I had on me when I first got the knife. I feel the stone did not cut the steel very fast at all. I could get the edge sharper by using higher bevel angles but any sort of reprofiling was going to require coarser stones or stones that cut faster than ceramic stones. I was very happy to see this. It indicates the steel is hard enough to hold an edge for a good long while. Since getting the knife I've now reprofiled the blade edges a little lower with polished bevels. To do this I used Shapton glass stones 320 grit through 16k. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the steel cuts and holds up when using it with a smooth edge that 16k leaves compared to a coarser edge like 1k or 2k leaves. This will take time and probably isn't going to be that much of a difference. I tend to lean toward smoother edges instead of toothier. I'm going to give the edge a pizza box test. I just cut up some cardboard and that gives me a basic idea of edge retention. Not very scientific or accurate I know.

One thing about the knife that is really a bummer as well as a surprise is the blades don't have the half-stop when opening/closing them. The half-stop thing was one of my requirements in this knife. While I'm disappointed not to have that it's not enough of a disappointment to return it.

One thing that is a common comment on reviews is the smoothness where the scales and bolsters meet. The scales/bolsters on this knife are very smooth except for where the shape of the burnt stag is below the bolster surface. I don't mind this at all. See picture. I only mention it because it's a common feature people mention. The fit and finish on this knife is very nice.

I notice the pins in the scales are countersunk. Not a problem at all, just an observation. I probably wouldn't have considered this at all except for how detailed some of the reviews I've read. Every detail gets mentioned in a lot of them. The alternative is to have the pins flush with the stag. This won't work for the middle pin because they are located where the antler isn't smoothed down. I am curious about this. Countersunk or flush. Either is possible. Why are the pins lower than the surface of the scale? Manufacturing reasons?

I'm very happy with this knife. The things that sounded negative are just trivial things. Except the lack of a half-stop. I still wish the knife had that feature. Not a fault of the knife though. I should have verified this prior to buying. Still a great great knife IMO though.

In the picture below I hope you can see how the antler is lower than the bolster at the bottom corner where the antler is black.  This picture shows what may be called a defect. I don't consider it that way.  I am curious as to how these type issues are viewed in the knife world by users and collectors both.

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Beautiful knife. Fantastic looking stag. I have many GEC knives and love everyone of them. They have definitely become my favorite knife company.

I am so happy with GEC Knives. I Don't have a lot of them, but the ones I have are indeed very good knives. In my case the Dixie Stampede I am carrying has 4 pins. The top pin is flush and the bottom 3 are recessed.  By the way if you did not know the Dixie is a 3 bladed stockman knife.The knife scales are Osage orangewood which is anything but orange. Its actually a light brown tone that changes colors depending on lighting conditions. It did come in other material like bone, but I could not pass up the wood. The scales are sanded flush to the bolsters. IMHO that is how they should be regardless of the scale material.

I'm loving this GEC more and more. I cut up a pizza box into narrow slices.  I tested the edge by slicing phone book paper before cutting the cardboard and afterward. I could feel a very little bit of sharpness lost. This was noticable using the phone book paper but I couldn't tell any difference in how it cut the cardboard. This testing is not scientific or very accurate I'm sure. But I do the same thing to test edge retention on different knives and I've gotten used to testing this way.  The knife cut up one whole pizza box with barely noticable sharpness lost. IMO this is pretty good edge retention. So my first opinion about edge retention on this knife is that it is very good. This is my first GEC and it is living up to the reputation I've been hearing about.

Jack


Doug Thrower said:

Beautiful knife. Fantastic looking stag. I have many GEC knives and love everyone of them. They have definitely become my favorite knife company.

Loving the GEC more.  Here is a picture of my EDC knives and a flashlight today.

This is the patina forming on the main blade.  There isn't any on the other two because I use Tuf-Glide on the blades.  I have used the main blade as a dinner knife a couple of times.  Depending on the steel, it seems Tuf-Glide is no match for a patina forming when used for food prep or eating.

One thing I've become severely accustomed to is knives that can be used using only one hand. I REALLY LOVE this when I need it.  But I've been using only the GEC for everything unless my other hand is busy.  If I need to get a knife out, open it, use it, then close it and put it away using only one hand I use one of the other knives. But using only the GEC has resulted in me liking the knife more and more.  I got a couple of Case knives a few days ago.  I got a peanut and a toothpick.  I like these knives but upon close inspection the GEC seems to be  a bit more solid.  It is bigger than the Case knives but I tried not to let that influence me on how "solid" they feel.

The only thing that was lacking IMO with the GEC was a good sharp edge.  It was sharp enough to be usable by someone who isn't picky about their edges and how sharp they are. But I'm pretty picky.  I like polished, even bevels from heel to tip and a very, very, very, very sharp edge after sharpening the knife.  As the edge gets a little dull I keep them touched up frequently.  This way I never have a dull knife. Being retired however means I don't use knives as much as I used to. The amount of use per day is far less than when I was working. So a few minutes is all that is needed to keep them super sharp. I'd say it took me 2-3 hours to get the blades form "barely sharp enough" to extremely sharp with polished bevels when I first got the GEC.

Got off subject a bit on the sharpness. I don't consider sharpness very important when evaluating a new knife. I consider it "extra credit" if they come super sharp. This is my first GEC so it's all I have to go by for them. I may have gotten a poor example of the out of the box sharpness of GEC knives. IMO 85% of Spyderco knives come very sharp. 10% of them come super sharp, shaving face sharpness.  5% of them come dull or with uneven bevels, different angles on opposite sides, etc. Uneven bevels, different angles take time to fix. Sharpness can be achieved pretty quickly. The more detailed result requires more time and effort. I can't say a "prettier" edge cuts better.  I just love a sharp, consistent edge. I hate to see a beautiful knife with an edge with uneven bevels. I mean obviously uneven. I don't measure them or anything. lol  Anyway, I may have just gotten a "lemon" regarding sharpness on my first GEC.

Didn't mean to ramble so much.  Sorry bout that.

Jack

I like my knives to be sharp as well Jack ,I also love GEC knives but the two things don't normally coincide in my opinion at least not out of the box.  This is no big deal to me I buy a knife and then sharpen it how I need it to be. I have 6 GEC knives now and none of them were all that sharp from new , but all of them have been a pleasure to own and look like they will be for some time to come.

Personally, I don't put too much value on the sharpness out of the box either. I enjoy sharpening and like you I usually re-profile the edge to lower angles than come on the knife even when they are very sharp.  OTOH, there are lots of people who don't sharpen or don't sharpen well. When they buy a better quality knife and are promised a super sharp knife and then they get one that is not shaving sharp they feel cheated. I can understand that. I won't mention the company but I saw a video advertisement of a company owner demonstrating how sharp their knives are. The knife he used was obviously very sharp. Almost straight razor sharp. I've had many knives from this company and one or two may have been this sharp.  If I didn't know how to sharpen and I bought a knife after being promised at least arm hair shaving sharpness this is what I'd expect. If it wasn't this sharp and I couldn't sharpen it I'd feel cheated.

I think it would be a wonderful feature of a reseller to offer a sharpening service when selling a knife.  For an extra $10 the sharpness would be guaranteed BY THE RESELLER, not the manufacturer. Production knife manufacturers don't have time to put a super sharp edge on every knife. In fact I've tried to sharpen a knife fast with a grinding wheel. I can't do it. Not even close. So my hat goes off  to the guys/gals who do sharpen production knives. Some of them are truely skilled IMO at that method of sharpening. Grinding wheel, belt or however they do it.

John Bamford said:

I like my knives to be sharp as well Jack ,I also love GEC knives but the two things don't normally coincide in my opinion at least not out of the box.  This is no big deal to me I buy a knife and then sharpen it how I need it to be. I have 6 GEC knives now and none of them were all that sharp from new , but all of them have been a pleasure to own and look like they will be for some time to come.

Just my 2 cents. But I find it strange, I can buy a Rough Rider and it will come razor sharp, but a $100 GEC, will barely cut paper. I love my GEC knives, but come on guys, buy a better sharpener. Knife companies can sharpen knives, just some are lazy or careless and send out effectively useless knives.

I have to agree. When paying higher dollars for "better" knives sharpness should be of an acceptable level so you can use the knife out of the box.  Maybe not razor sharp but not dull like I've seen some. I also agree that since some knives from all companies do come very sharp when they don't come sharp it's because of a lack of skill of the person sharpening the knife or they don't really care. Almost every company (good ones) advertise their knives as being very sharp. This is not always the case of course. Some companies offer free sharpening on their knives for the life of the knife so we can get them re-sharpened for free but it usually means a couple of weeks without a brand new knife after getting it in the mail. Getting a new knife is an important thing for most of you guys. Not me of course. lol Then to get it not sharp can be a disappointment and having to send it away to get it sharpened is a real bummer.

I think the only way to guarantee carrying a sharp knife (even new ones) is to learn to sharpen. But you don't hear any company advertise their knives as "sharp most of the time". :)

Doug Thrower said:

Just my 2 cents. But I find it strange, I can buy a Rough Rider and it will come razor sharp, but a $100 GEC, will barely cut paper. I love my GEC knives, but come on guys, buy a better sharpener. Knife companies can sharpen knives, just some are lazy or careless and send out effectively useless knives.

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