Review: Swenson Custom Sheath for the Hoodlum Knife

Guest Post: Tim Adams Reviews Luke Swenson's Custom Sheath for the Hoodlum Knife

If you missed it, please check out the review of Ron Hood's Hoodlum knife that Tim did on August 19th of last year.  In it, Tim shared an email exchange that he had with Ron just days before he passed away.  Ron mentioned that for his personal Hoodlum, he used a custom sheath from Luke Swenson.  I connected with Luke and was able to secure a T&E sample of the sheath for Tim to report on.  Here it is:

As readers of IfItHitsTheFan.com may recall, I recently wrote a review of the beyond excellent “Hoodlum” knife conceived and created by the great Ron Hood. In that review I shared a treasured piece of correspondence that I received from Ron only days before he left for his eternal walkabout. I had sent an email to Ron, which I had done infrequently over the past decade or so, to comment on this or that aspect of a video or product he and Karen had brought into a grateful world. On this occasion, I wrote to thank him for pouring his entire wisdom into his latest creation, the Hoodlum knife. Mine had just arrived and I was writing to thank him for personally signing the inside of the micarta slabs on the handle…and to bust his chops for allowing Buck Knives to send it down range in a CHI-COM sheath, of all things!! Ron, ever the gentleman, replied that he understood my concern and that HIS Hoodlum had no truck with the Dragon either…But rather rode in a custom sheath made for him by a craftsman by the name of Luke Swenson. Very shortly thereafter, Ron left us to fend for ourselves albeit after dedicating his life to teaching us how to do just that. Enter my boon companion and partner in no small number of crimes, Donald Green, the host of If It Hits The Fan. Apparently his readership extends to the great Republic of Texas and he had connected with Luke Swenson. Luke and Donald came up with a plan to provide yours truly with an evaluation sample Luke Swenson sheath for my Hoodlum and quiet my bellyaching once and for all.

Since I was already going to be in Las Vegas at the S.H.O.T. Show, Luke and I planned to meet there. I had learned only days before in a conversation with Luke that he was making a sheath for my Hoodlum and that he wanted me to HAVE it to test and report on. Hopefully it goes without saying that I was THRILLED! The idea of meeting Luke to receive a sheath just like Ron’s for my Hoodlum…especially in light of the message from Ron, was so far fetched that it was understandably incredible.

Some associates of mine and I were hosting industry guests at a suite in the Mirage when in walked a tall, quiet man and his lovely companion whom I soon learned was his wife. It was immediately apparent to me that this could only be Mr. Swenson. In short order we went from introductions to him producing the sheath and my jaw quite literally dropped open as I stared in disbelief at what he had presented to me. I sincerely hope that you have had the opportunity in your life to behold an artifact that is truly transcendent. Art is art, regardless of the medium, and the sheath produced by Luke as a mate for my Hoodlum was indeed a piece of working art, worthy of a spot on Robert Falcon Scott’s belt.

Luke’s sheath design for the Hoodlum is a friction-fit frontier style with no mechanical security strap-a design I have always preferred. Because Luke understands the constraints of the operational environment, the top strap of the sheath has grommets on either side of where the handle rests to facilitate lashing down the handle thus rendering it “jumpable”. Continuing down the back of the sheath I was very impressed to find two straps running perpendicular to the length of the sheath that allow for running the sheath parallel with a belt-as well as allowing for M.O.L.L.E. style attachment to your kit…Very well thought out! There is a similar strap running across the sheath on the front about three quarters of the length down that is useful in and of itself, but it also is purposely included to provide a lashing point for a pouch he’s designed to house various and sundry survival odds and ends. Luke clearly understands not only the mechanics of excellent construction, but also the way stuff works! The bottom-most strap on the back of the sheath contains a slightly dropped grommet that is the PERFECT place to anchor your leg tie-down! It’s not at the bottom peak of the sheath where you’ll find 99% of other grommets for the same purpose…Why? Because when you put it there the bottom of the sheath (and hopefully NOT the knife) jabs into your leg when you’re maneuvering because there is nowhere else for it to go! Anybody who’s ever been operational in any capacity knows that it’s the little things that distinguish one piece of kit from another and Luke Swenson gets it.

The absolute pièce de résistance was that Luke had hand stippled the logo of my company into the front of the sheath! This act of gentility and skill left no question that my new sheath, as well as my new friend Luke, would remain dear to me until the day that I might hope to join the likes of Ron Hood on my own walkabout through eternity.

Hoodlum Knife in the Swenson Sheath

Luke Swenson's Sheath (L); Hoodlum Knife (C); Factory Sheath (R)
Luke Swenson's Mark
Back of the Sheath with M.O.L.L.E. Points

I want to thank Tim for writing this review, and Luke for providing the sheath.  I've seen the sheath and the pictures really don't do it justice.  It is superbly constructed, securely holds the knife, and extremely well designed.  In addition to sheaths, Luke also makes some really cool "Hardcore Knives for Hardcore Adventure" with a lifetime warranty.  Give his site a visit at http://www.swensonknives.com/ and see the quality of all of his work.

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