Spotlight: Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex 3720 bushcraft knife
With the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex 3720 Real Steel Knives decided to shake things up in the world of bushcraft knives. Such an amazing knife enhanced with a convex grind, for such a price, is that even possible? We will highlight this knife to find out!
What makes this knife so special?
Bushcraft knives come in many shapes and sizes. But what makes this knife so special is its convex edge. Other brands who use this type of grind are Fällkniven and Bark River Knives. Both brands that usually produce knives that end up in a higher price range. This immediately raises the following question: can Real Steel's convex edge live up to these expectations?
What is a convex grind?
You might have heard of the term convex grind before, but what is a convex edge? It comes down to this. The grind isn't hollow or flat, but convex. In one flowing line the knife becomes thinner as it moves from the spine towards the edge. As such the edge doesn't have a 'shoulder' that could get in the way as you use the knife. You will therefore experience a lot less resistance when you use a convex edge as when you use a knife with a conventional V-edge. In addition, a convex edge is a little stronger, because directly behind the apex (the end of the edge) the knife has a little more material. As such, in theory, a convex edge won't chip as easily. A disadvantage is that a convex edge is a lot more difficult to produce. Sharpening a convex edge also requires a different sharpening technique. Especially experienced bushcraft enthusiasts will notice the advantages of a convex grind. Because you don't experience that much resistance the more detailed tasks are easier to carry out.
What about the convex grind on the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex?
On a production level there are some 'bumps in the road' when it comes to convex grinds. Sometimes, for instance, you can tell that you are basically dealing with a flat grind with a convex edge at the end. For some this might work, but it doesn't offer you all the advantages a convex grind can offer. It is also extremely difficult to end up with an even, symmetrical and consistently thin convex grind.
At Real Steel they have truly mastered this process. The grind is nice and thin, symmetrical and even. A thin grind is especially great when you are looking at performance. Some convex knives, even those in the much higher price ranges, have a blade that is relatively thick at the end. It might not break as easily, but is also not as great to work with. With this knife the combination is perfectly balanced.
The Japanese connection
The convex version of the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex already existed before it was launched worldwide. Initially this knife was only made available for the Japanese market. In Japan convex grinds are more common. Because of the popularity of these grinds and the increasing popularity of Real Steel in the rest of the world they decided to also make this convex version available to the rest of the world.
In Japanese a convex grind is also called a hamaguri grind. Literally this means: clam. This name comes from the convex way the side of the shell moves to the end. Exactly like a convex edge. A convex grind is sometimes also called an appleseed grind. Again because of the pointy tip of the seed of an apple.
Sandvik 14C28N steel
Just as important as the grind are the steel itself and the heat treatment used. In this case Real Steel selected Sandvik 14C28N steel. This is a stainless type of steel from Sweden. It is relatively unique that this type of steel was specifically developed for knives. Often types of steel are used that are meant for other purposes, but also work well with knives. This was therefore carefully thought out. We won't bore you with the chemical composition but because of the addition of a healthy amount of manganese and silicon, the grain structure of the steel is really fine. Because of this fine structure it is incredibly strong and will retain its sharpness for a long time. At the same time we know that 14C28N can handle its own and is easy to sharpen yourself, without using complicated sharpening machines. Also great!
The type of steel used is only part of it, the heat treatment is just as important. After all, a good type of steel that is not properly hardened will still not perform well. We have some experience when it comes to Real Steel and can wholeheartedly say that they definitely know what they are doing when it comes to the heat treatment. Especially for an outdoor knife such as this one it is important to find a good balance between toughness, sharpness retention and strength.
Sharpening a convex edge
With so many positive features you might start to wonder if there are also negative sides to the convex edge. Of course the convex edge has a negative side. We, however, believe that this 'negative' side is considered to be worse than it actually is. Many find a convex edge difficult to sharpen. Or they think it is more difficult to sharpen.
When you use a strop to keep your knives sharp, you are in luck when it comes to a convex edge. The leather polishes the 'curve' perfectly, making it easy to maintain the edge. Properly sharpening the edge is also easy enough, as long as you know what to pay attention to. Want to learn more? Read more about sharpening a convex edge. This does, however, mean that sharpening systems that use a fixed sharpening angle are not that great.
Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex test
Before we wrote this article we decided to put the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convext to the test. Batoning, creating feather sticks, making a fire: it is also possible! But to really put this knife to the test, and don't try this at home, we decided to throw the knife. Tip and edge: everything perfectly intact. After using it to its full extent the edge was still perfectly intact. Okay, yes, it was no longer razor-sharp, but we could still easily cut through a piece of paper. We stropped it a little and it was razor-sharp once again, ready to be used. Aside from some minor scratches we even couldn't find any traces of use. This knife is strong.
With the spine of the blade we could easily use a firesteel, and even scraping of the bark off a birch tree was a piece of cake. We, do, however, have to say that the spine of blade, like the Mora Garberg, isn't razor-sharp. You can easily use different cutting techniques with this knife. The 11.5 cm blade is exactly long enough for batoning purposes and short enough to also make good use of the pointed tip.
The handle: feels great in hand
When it comes to bushcraft knives designers always find it challenging to find a balance between nice and round for long-term use, and angular enough to always feel what you are doing. If the handle is too rounded you can no longer blindly tell where the edge is located. Edges that are a little more angular will then definitely come in handy.
At the same time you are looking for a nicely rounded handle for long-term use. With every angular angle you will run the risk of ending up with blisters. You won't notice that within 10 minutes, but when you are using the knife for an hour you will definitely know if it is the one for you. That is when you realize that the large finger grooves that tell you where you are, are no longer that great. In addition, finger grooves that are too large and sharp angles limit the ways you can hold a knife. In our article about basic knife safety we show you a couple of cutting techniques.
We can say that Real Steel has found the perfect balance for the Bushcraft Plus Convex. The handle is large enough to offer you enough grip even when you have large hands and while wearing gloves. At the front of the handle you will find a subtle finger groove that is just present enough for you to know how to hold it. And yet it won't get in your way, which is great. At the end of the handle it becomes a little wider to make sure the knife won't fall from your hand.
The coke bottle shape Real Steel selected in terms of profile looks great. This means that when you look at the handle from above, that it is thin in the front, becomes broader, thinner and broader again. Like the glass bottles from the famous coke brand. For years this shape has been very popular because it nicely fits the shape of your hand and offers you enough grip.
Some prefer to add a lanyard or wrist strap to the end of the handle. You often see that the tang of the blade protrudes to add a lanyard eye. That is one way to do it. This protrusion, however, as said protrudes and could cut in your chest during certain cutting techniques. Think of a chest lever cut for instance. Not that great. Both for your chest and the clothes you are wearing. Real Steel thought of this and came up with a great solution: at the end of the handle the lanyard eye is almost invisibly incorporated. By making the tang thinner and adding a cut-out in the scales you are left with a practical lanyard eye, without it ever getting in the way. It could perhaps be a little more difficult to attach a wrist strap, but you often only do this once, while a protrusion will get in your way every time you use your knife.
The choice of G10 as a handle material is also great. G10 is a strong composite material made from glass fibres and synthetic resin. Incredibly hard and strong, and it holds its shape well. G10 can also easily handle changes in temperature and humidity.
What do you use the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex for?
As the name might already suggest you primarily use this knife for bushcraft purposes. Woodcraft, building a shelter and harvesting and preparing food. The combination of the thin convex edge and the blade thickness of 4 mm ensure that this knife can handle it all. In addition, this droppoint blade can also easily be used for hunting tasks. Many hunters will have little left to wish for with the Bushcraft Plus Convex.
Because of its solid construction quality and the materials used you can also use the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex during survival trips. It won't easily break and with the strong and comfortable handle you don't have to worry about surprises
What about the sheath?
A good knife won't do you any good if you can't easily carry it with you. Fortunately a lot of attention was paid to this as well. In the basis the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex comes with a custom-made kydex sheath. It is attached in a nylon sheath. As such you benefit from the tight fit of a kydex sheath, combined with the carrying comfort and the versatility of a nylon sheath. You can take the kydex sheath apart and turn it to make sure left-handed users can also easily use this sheath. If need be you can also use the kydex sheath separately with a carrying option of your liking.
There are different carrying options you can choose from. A belt loop that has enough room for belts up to 8 cm wide. But also loops that make horizontal carrying an option, and, with a little practice you can even safely mount it to a MOLLE web.
The front of the sheath is enhanced with a nylon compartment. In it you can store a couple of practical accessories. Think of a firesteel, survival tin, sharpening stone or tinder. It makes the sheath even more versatile.
Because of its excellent production quality and amazing price the Real Steel Bushcraft Plus Convex is, according to us, a knife every bushcrafter should consider purchasing. For many people this knife will be a great introduction to the world of knives enhanced with a convex grind. A versatile outdoor knife for an amazing price. Definitely worth it!