Mastersmith Daniel Winkler is showing off a prototype of an upcoming survival knife that’s a twist on the old “hollow-handled Rambo knife” idea from the 80’s.
Instead of a hollow tube for a handle, with the knife blade screwed onto it — a weak design that we recommend everyone stay far away from — Winkler has hit on the idea of stashing a tiny fire kit in between the handle slabs on a full-tang knife.
The resulting knife is incredibly thick and strong, and the handle is quite large, as it has to be to accommodate the kit. It’s a beast of a blade (I wish I had taken a picture of the spine of it), can be pressed into service as everything from a pry-bar to a hammer.
In addition to the ferrocerium rod visible in the picture, there will also be some steel wool in the handle. Steel wool catches a spark and burns very easily, so it’s a great accelerant. You’re meant to scrape the rod with the spine of the blade, throwing the sparks into the steel wool to kick off the fire. (For more on selecting and using a flint and steel, see our review of the best firesteels.)
That small metal tool on the outside of the Kydex sheath is a screwdriver for getting the handle open.
(This is a nice setup, but if I got my hands on this, I’d be tempted to re-mold that little Kydex tab that holds the screwdriver so that it also holds the rod. Then I’d cram some stormproof matches in the handle alongside the steel wool.)
The handle slabs come in canvas micarta and G10 variants, with the G10 being slightly more expensive. The price they gave me was in the $400 range, so this will be an expensive tool no matter where you buy it from.
Winkler will make an initial batch of 100 of these, and depending on how sales go they may add it as a regular part of their line.
We’ve covered a number of Winkler’s designs in the past, specifically his collaborations with Case. The Case Winkler Recurve is one of our picks in our knife guide, and I personally have spent… well, my wife sometimes reads this blog so I won’t say how much I’ve spent on Winkler steel.
Winkler made the knives and tomahawks for the movie Last of the Mohicans, and his knifes, tomahawks, and hatches have famously found their way onto the belts of many US Special Forces operators — in some cases, an entire team will have a specific, unique Winkler design that they all use.