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Swamp Rat Knife Works Bog Dog
Combat Knife Review

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Swamp Rat Bog Dog

History of Bog Dog and a few more D2 blades is kind of funny. According to Jerry Busse, Busse Combat Knife Company was sorting out their inventory and found around 30 000 lbs D2 steel, which was used by them in early years. Later as you might already know they've switched to INFI steel for all their blades. So, all that D2 went to Swamp Rat Knife Works. I think SRWK did the right thing choosing to produce relatively thin, light use blades from D2 steel which is known for its wear resistance. For 1/4" thick, 9" long blade SR-101 will be better, but for small blade, not intended for prying and chopping D2 is definitely better. Plus it's semi stainless, added benefit for some folks. Anyway, D2 blades were announced in 2003, then usual naming contest, mandatory waiting for long months, some delays, and finally I got my Bog Dog.

General

 - Bog Dog(BD) is a medium size (4 1/2" blade length) fixed blade knife. As mentioned above, like other SRKW blades made out of D2 it is 1/8" thick, which makes it much better cutter compared to 1/4" thick counterparts. Out of the box quality is very good. Satin finish blade, even grinds, no blems, scratches. The edge was shaving sharp, easily slicing through the free hanging paper. In standard configuration BD comes without sheath. Leather sheath costs additional 20$, or alternatively you could get one of custom sheaths made of Kydex, there are several of those available on the market already. As you can see by design BD falls into medium or even small knives category. Intended for light utility cutting. As later tests showed it is quite versatile knife and can handle wide variety of tasks.

Handle

 - I've always liked SRKW knife handles. Glad to report that on BD the handle is even better. The new handle uses the same Respirene C, plus the Mud Pattern texture, which significantly increases grip security, without compromising handle comfortability. Not that I've had grip security problems with previous models, but for those concerned, this must be a good news. Handle geometry has changed too. Pommel side is more rounded, and drops slightly, finger guard is slightly more defined. Overall, I'd say handle ergonomics are improved over older models.

Blade

 - BD features 4.5 inch long blade. Major benefit or design plus for me in BD is the thin blade - 1/8" :) If it was up to me perhaps I'd choose even thinner, but 1/8 is ok too. Definitely much better than 3/8 or 1/4 inches. Blade material, D2 is a well known steel in knife industry. Famous knifemaker Bob Dozier uses it almost exclusively for very long time, and he's perhaps the best there is when it comes down to D2 heat treatment. There are a lot of custom makers that favor D2 steel too. Interestingly, during last 2-3 years D2 steel appeared in high end factory knives. First it was Ka-Bar, then, now deceased Camillus Knives, later Benchmade joined the club, with 710 D2 models and some other knives, although in case of Benchmade, D2 steel was a downgrade from a better M2 high speed tool steel. Anyway, the D2 steel is heat treated by SRKW using their proprietary heat treatment procedure. Which as far as I can tell based on my experience with this knife is good. Generally both, Busse and SRKW are very good at heat treatment of their knives. And because D2 was widely used by Busse in the past they have considerable experience with this steel.
    On of the positive aspects of SRKW D2 steel is its hardness. Unlike may production blades and even some custom knives SRKW D2 is hardened to 60-62. As far as I am concerned the aim is at 62 HRC. I have another blade made by Neil Blackwood - American Ninja, which was hardened to 62 HRC per my request. That one exhibits very good edge holding capabilities for light/medium cutting. I haven't done direct comparisons, but BD should be close. So far I was not disappointed at least.
    One specific characteristic of D2 steel is its aggressiveness. Not sure why, probably because of its rather large grain size? Anyway, unless you polish the edge on very fine abrasive, and even then is it still more "grabby" that many other steels I've been using. Depending on the task that can be a big advantage. For slicing it definitely is a good one. I'll discuss that aspect later in this review.

Initial cutting tests

 - Well, I haven't done much testing with NIB edge. For testing purposes I wanted to compare polished and rough edges on D2. But the factory edge although being very sharp was too rough to my liking. So, after cutting some cardboard and minimal wood whittling(both tests went very well though) I've grabbed my Edge-Pro and proceeded with sharpening. As usual factory edge was rather thick by my standards. Knowing that I was not going to use this knife for heavy duty works it did make sense to thin down the edge. So, I've re-profiled the edge to V grind, ~18 degrees per side. Which was considerably thinner than the NIB edge, but still not all that thin for high performance cutters. But again, I was planning to use BD in the kitchen, for the jobs where I would use Global Knives GS-1 4.5" Kitchen utility Knife. Kitchen environment and use can be real hard on knives. Therefore, the resulting edge was mirror polished, shaving sharp. This one I've measured using Cliff Stamp's method, i.e. measuring the force required to cut the thread loop. Not exactly 100% precise, but gives very good idea. Anyway, it required around 130gr force to cut the thread. That's a very good sharpness. blade that sharp can shave in both directions effortlessly, slice through free hanging paper cleanly, and so on. The edge was finished with 3000 polishing tape and after that CrO loaded leather strop.

Bog Dog with Mirror Polished Edge

 - One thing I've noticed immediately was the degradation of the edge aggressiveness during slicing. While cutting cardboard became a lot easier, because that's mainly push cutting with the knife this sharp, in other cuts, when I was using slicing motion it would quite often slide over the cutting medium. So, I'd have to apply greater force to make a cut. This became especially visible once I took BD to the kitchen. On the other hand, BD's edge holding ability on cardboard which is rather aggressive on the edge was simply great. After around 270 inches of cardboard the edge was still able to shave and slice through free hanging paper. I didn't take measurements this time, but I don't think it would've been much worse, judging by those 2 tests mentioned previously.
    For next 2 weeks I was using BD in the kitchen. It became primary cutting tool for those weeks, unless its size made the task too difficult, but I haven't had anything that'd require kukri size knife to make a cut, so BD was the one knife for all stuff. Obviously spreading the butter on the bread with BD was less that interesting job, but for the sake of experiment... I am not sure how it works, but Global Chef's Knife having the same polished edge performed better as a slicer than BD. One apparent reason for this is the blade thickness, BD while being thin by Tactical Knife standards is still thick for the kitchen knife. But I don't think that's the only reason. This would only matter on thick mediums, on surface cuts, when only the edge is contacting the medium blade thickness can not really make difference. The edge thickness can though. BD has thicker edge than the GF-33 chef's knife, that's for sure, plus apparently different steel behaves differently even with identical sharpening jobs.

Bog Dog with 600 grit finish edge

 - It was clear that for slicing, which is the type of cutting you'd use for vast majority of kitchen cutting rough edge would perform a lot better. Not that I didn't know it before. But for D2 steel the difference was very large. Especially on the mediums like meat and certain vegetables. Making the edge rougher was an easy job. All it took was probably 15 minutes of work total. Using 600 grit automotive sandpaper and a mousepad I've converted V edge to much rougher convex edge. BD aside, it may not be the best choice for slicing by the way. I am referring to V edge versus convex for slicing. Although I'm postponing that test for later times. Anyway, currently BD sports convex edge with 600 grit finish.
    The slicing abilities increase was immediately visible. The edge even at 600 grit finish was nowhere near to the factory edge roughness, but it became several times more "grabby". Obviously that type of the edge performs worse in specific tests, i.e. requiring push cutting performance, but the increase in slicing ability is large. The knife performs a lot better. For now I keep the knife at 600 grit. Works just about perfect for kitchen use. As far as the edge holding goes I can't tell the difference in short term. I don't need to sharpen BD although it's been almost 3 weeks since I put the initial 600 grit edge on it. Although, I have to mention I do steel my knives on regular basis. Obviously that extends the edge life at least twice if not more.
    In general rougher edge needs slightly less frequent sharpening. Simply because it is not as sharp as mirror polished one, that is when sharpened properly. Besides, edge degradation is less visible on rough edges, because micro abrasions on the edge act as saw teeth. And breaking one tooth off won't affect cutting performance that much, because most likely the chipped place will still have teeth like structure, as the chipping leaves rather irregular surface. Of course all that is true only to certain degree, after a while the edge will blunt anyway, micro chipping won't be much help as the tooth become larger.

Specifications:

  • Model - Bog Dog;
  • Blade - 114.30mm(4.5")
  • Thickness - 4.76mm
  • OAL - 244.35mm(9.62")
  • Steel - D2 tool steel at 60-62HRC
  • Handle - Respirene C
  • Acquired - 10/2003 Price - 250.00$
  • Warranty - Unconditional Lifetime;

Last updated - 09/01/11