The other day I was browsing bladeforums, somehow ended up in the exchange section, and decided to sift through the Busse knives section. Haven't had a new Busse knife for almost a year, so I figured I'd ought to do some looking around, may be I'd find something new. One area I really have to give credit to Busse Combat is the creativity. Year after year they put out very cool knife designs, and as far as variety goes, many mass production knife companies would have hard time catching up with them, in terms of number and variety of the designs. In the end, I've stumbled up this desert tan(or sage?) Boss Jack, it's not all that unique design, rather old school, somewhat resembling the Satin Jack, but whatever it was I liked it and decided I had to have it. Email exchange followed with successful transaction, and couple weeks later I had it with me.
General- Busse BOSS Jack is a medium size fixed blade knife. I think it's obvious the design has its roots in famous Satin Jack family. There are several noticeable differences as well, enough to warrant a different name and model. However, the basic geometry and outlines are the same. Although, I think the design is more refined compared to earlier models. At least I like it better. BOSS Jack is the usual Busse standard ¼" thick, full tang knife. The knife was not used by its previous owner, so I got it in pretty much brand new condition. There was no sheath in the package, and I still have to get one, but that shouldn't be a problem, there's plenty of custom sheath makers working on Busse knives, starting from leather and ending with kydex. No complaints in the quality department. Coating is evenly applied, and covers entire blade. Can't say I am a big fan of desert tan color, I'd rather have it in black, but it's alright. The handle slabs are quite precisely machined and fitted. No gaps, or misalignments. The knife is quite heavy for its size, which is expected, given its thickness, but in general, it's nothing especially heavy. As far as ergonomics and comfort goes, I'd rate BOSS Jack very high, it is really user friendly knife, and a super tough one at that. If it was up to me, or ideally, I think 3/16" thickness would've been better, but as it is, BOSS Jack is still a very solid piece of cutlery.
Blade- BOSS Jack features 152.40mm(6") long, drop point blade, which is 32mm at its widest, and like I said, its thickness is ¼" or 6.35mm in SI system. Initial edge is pretty much what it was out of the Busse shop, and measures around 20° per side. The edge was approximately 600-800 grit finish, and it was pretty sharp. Other distinct or different feature form the original Satin Jacks include the fuller, also known as a blood groove in the upper half of the blade. For the sake of correctness, let's mention that the fullers are not designed to let the blood out, it can serve to reduce the weight, as a design feature, increase blade structural integrity, but has nothing to do with blood or any other liquid flow. Just like the Satin Jack, BOSS Jack also has a choil, which I personally find quite useful for more precise cutting tasks. There is a small fingerguard formed by the extension at the choil, which also has a hole, and there's another hole the handle butt. Often those two holes are used to make sort of D-guard using lanyard or paracord or something. The knife is made using Busse proprietary INFI steel, and speced hardness it 58-60HRC. I've written enough abut infi steel in other Busse Knives Reviews, so we can skip long discussion here. In short, it is a steel very well suited for medium and hard use knives of all sizes. High toughness and good wear resistance, make it one of the best choices for all around type of steel. Other than that, I'd have to note that INFI takes very nice polished edge, it is quite fine grained alloy, so the edge gets super sharp. Also, it is relatively easy to sharpen, it is fun to sharpen. As per Busse recommendation, 40° inclusive edge is where INFI performs the best for hard use knives, and for heavy duty knives I think it is more optimal. For light use knives I was quite successful with 30° inclusive edge angle. Although, if you want a light use knife, more optimized for high performance cutting, then ¼" thick knife is hardly a good choice to start with, and INFI isn't the best performer in that role either. For all around use, 30°-40° interval is quite sufficient and INFI truly shines in hard use knives.
Handle- The handle on the BOSS Jack is very similar to that of the Satin Jack, I've compared the two by laying them on top of each other and the only noticeable difference was slightly narrower front section of the handle, and the hole on the choil seems to be a little more forward on the original SJ. As far as handle ergonomics go, I really like it. It is rather simple handle style, not too many grooves or anything like that, but works surprisingly well in various grips and doesn't cause irritation during prolonged use. I've had enough time with Satin Jack to for positive opinion about that handle and the knife itself. The slabs on the BOSS Jack are made of micarta, and fastened to the knife with three tube fasteners. All quite traditional for Busse knives. I do like the pattern on the handle though. More interesting than the simple single color handle on the original Satin Jack. Overall, BOSS Jack handle is slightly more on the flat side, or you could say the original had more round handle. Haven't used a new one long enough to tell which one is better, but so far can't really tell much of a difference.
Usage- Nothing serious so far. Well, it is kindda hard to come up with adequately serious cutting tasks for a Busse Knife, even if it's a medium size piece. ¼" thick chunk of steel, made out of INFI steel at that. There isn't much that can do any serious damage to that knife. Either way, I am not really into destructive knife testing, and as far as INFI performance goes for all sorts of cutting, I already have pretty good idea what it can do. So, whenever I've used it, the main focus was on how well it handled and how comfortable it felt. Basis for comparison was the Busse SJLE - Satin Jack limited Edition 3/16". There are a few differences in the blade construction and grind, but the key difference of course is the thickness. Going from ¼" to 3/16" thick knife is noticeable. On the other hand, unless the medium is thick and you have to sink the whole blade in it, then the thickness doesn't affect cutting performance that much. BOSS Jack held an advantage in terms of chopping performance, that's also obvious, due to the same difference in thickness and mass. I haven't changes the original edge angle, just polished it to 100K finish, which does improve both, cutting/chopping ability and edge resistance to fracturing during chopping. As an all around or one knife do it all type knife BOSS Jack works just fine, although if I was expecting serious amount of chopping, I'd most likely pick up Busse FFFBM Battle Mistress, or one of the Himalayan Imports Kukris. For usual cutting jobs(at least usual test cutting), including wire, plastic, rubber, cardboard and wood whittling, BOSS Jack performed either well or very well. Actually, it was only cardboard cutting where it felt I needed more effort compared to SJLE, for all other cutting and whittling it was on par, and like I said, for chopping it was definitely better. It would be worth noting that the extra weight of the knife will definitely have its effect for prolonged use. Something which I have not really tested, but if I were to do wood whittling for let's say 3-4 hours continuously, I am sure I'd fare a lot better with SJLE than with BOSS Jack, but then again, it is highly unlikely I'll have ever to do that, chopping a branch or two, may be splitting a small log, that is more likely. So, if thickness is your main deciding factor, you have to weigh potential cutting chores carefully, if that is possible :) Otherwise, if you are not very picky about detailed performance differences between 3/16 and ¼" knives, get the one you like the best. I have hard time imagining anyone breaking Busse knife during hard use. I don't think you can do that even with a sledgehammer, just enjoy the knife and keep it sharp.
- Blade - 152.40mm(6")
- Thickness - 6.35mm
- Width - 32.00mm
- OAL - 288.00mm(11.34")
- Steel - INFI steel at 58-60HRC
- Handle - Micarta
- Weight - 356.00g(12.04oz)
- Acquired - 11/2010 Price - 315.00$
- Warranty - Unconditional Lifetime;
Last updated - 10/08/11