The Spirit from SOG Specialty Knives & Tools
I recently received a Spirit for evaluation from SOG. It is a unique blade with a very cool idea behind it... take a wide, double edged knife, add a removable grip handle that is threaded to accept a standard broomstick, a paint roller extension handle, or a correctly sized branch or sapling.
Although the SOG website lists it at $51.75, it is much less expensive on Amazon.
The Spirit is 10.65" overall, with a 4.25" blade. It's 420 stainless, Rockwell hardness of 51-53, and made in China. The sheath is a sturdy cordura nylon, with a large belt loop, and a snug, snapped, retaining strap.
I like the feel and heft of this knife. It is comfortable in the hand. I started by trying it on a couple of threaded implements. It fit perfectly on the thin, cheap aluminum handle of my shop broom, and also on a heavy duty, expandable paint roller extension handle. The paint roller handle goes out to about10 feet or so, so it was unwieldy and off balanced. The broom handle was light and about 4.5 feet long... it was weighted slightly toward the blade end. I tried throwing it like a spear, but achieved neither accuracy nor a penetrating impact. I attribute that solely to my lack of skill as a spear thrower, and not at all to the design of the blade.
Realizing that one is unlikely to carry a spare broomstick into the wilderness, I next set about preparing a sapling to use as a handle. The Spirit is nicely weighted for chopping down a sapling. Because the handle screws in, when chopping at an angle, you need to be sure and use the edge that will put tightening pressure on the blade. Using the other edge will cause it to unscrew. Just a few whacks, took down the sapling of about 3/4 inch in diameter. I then used the Spirit to lop off the branches, and it worked wonderfully for stripping them off. Next up, I whittled down the end until it would fit in the Spirit's hollow, threaded tang. To help secure it, there is a small set screw... one just needs to have a tiny screwdriver with him.
I would like to see the hollow tang be about an inch or so longer. You really need to get a firm grip on the knife to turn it onto a branch tightly enough, Having the sharp blade with the two points facing the direction where your hand is, is a bit disconcerting. I can see a self-inflicted injury happening pretty easily if your hand slips.
After tightening down my sapling branch, I tried another couple of spear tosses. Yep, equally as unimpressive as my broomstick attempt... again, due solely to my lack of skill, not the blade's design. In a true survival situation, I can't see most folks throwing it like a spear, that would take a great deal of skill and practice to be successful. I can see a person squatting in a tree and leaping down with the spear onto the back of a hog or a deer, or else using it to chase down something like a raccoon or opossum, and lunging after it with the spear.
Not having the time to wait in a tree for a deer to come by, I figured I'd try jabbing it down into a piece of old, well seasoned fire wood. The blade easily pierced the log, going in 1/2 to 3/4" with only moderate effort. I had to rock the blade to get it out each time. Here's where I had a problem, after the 4th or 5th jab with it, the blade tip bent. I don't think it is hardened enough. Now, one could say that it is not intended for jabbing firewood with, but if you are throwing it and miss, or lunging at a squirrel on a tree trunk, you could end up with the same type of damage.
So, what are my final thoughts? The only cons are that you have to be very careful when twisting the blade on and off of a handle so you don't cut yourself, and it needs to have a higher hardness to make the blade less likely to bend. For the pros, it is nicely balanced, feels good in the hand, serves as a pretty good bush hatchet, and is a really cool idea.
Would I want to depend on this to take game in a survival situation? No. There are too many variables such as finding a straight branch of the right diameter, and the lack of skill in throwing a spear that I'd be the vast majority of us have.
Do I think this is going to be a ton of fun to attach a broomstick to and go on backyard safaris, as a way to improve my spear throwing skills? Heck yeah! I'm going to straighten out the tip on mine and will continue to use it. For the Amazon price of under $30, it's a neat idea, decently constructed for what it is, and a good way to expand my skill set. I'd love to see SOG come out with a higher quality (and priced) version... made in the USA of a better quality steel and with the longer tang.
I want to thank SOG Specialty Knives & Tools for giving me the Spirit to test.
Early Morning Edit
I woke up dark and early the morning after writing this and asked myself about the metal's hardness. Is perhaps a softer metal that will bend actually better for a spear than a harder metal that might break?
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