Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead [Tiny Fixed Blade Knife]

There's been a proliferation lately of these micro fixed blade knives. There's a few smaller knives in my collection that I am fond of, such as the Becker BK14. But this class of knife makes my BK14 look big. This class of knife makes everything look big. A couple people have questioned me about the usefulness of these tiny fixed blades. Think about it this way: you get the functionality of a small knife that's much more robust than a pocket knife. I could probably pound most of my tiny fixed blades into concrete if I wanted. With a pocket knife, the lock will fail with N pounds of force, and sometimes it's not safe to find out what N is!

So ... it's the right tool for the right job, and I picked up this little Boker Magnum from Amazon as part of a fairly large order that I'm finally getting around to reviewing.

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead Product Link
Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead Product Link


Product Description

Price: About $17 Online

It looks like there is more than one "Boker Magnum" model. This review is for the "arrowhead" version. Some people look at knife reviews and completely miss the size of them due to the difficulty with seeing scale in the photos, so I'd like to point out that this knife is teeny tiny.

Weighing in at .9 ounces (with sheath) with a 1 3/8 inch blade, it's hard to get a feel for how small this thing is without holding it in your hand. Other than that, it's a basic fixed blade knife with an arrowhead blade geometry and a bare frame which begs for a paracord wrap.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Blade length: 1 3/8".
  • Overall length: 3 3/8".
  • Weight: 0.6 oz.

From Left: Ka-Bar Becker BK14, Buck Smidgen, Boker Gnome, MTech MT-20-30, Boker Magnum Arrowhead
From Left: Ka-Bar Becker BK14, Buck Smidgen, Boker Gnome, MTech MT-20-30, Boker Magnum Arrowhead
Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead With Chain Attached
It's probably way too small for a neck knife, but whatever floats your boat..
Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Product View 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Product View 2

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Product View 3

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Product View 4

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Product View 5


Looks like the same stonewash finish as my MTech MT-20-30. I also noticed other similarities in their small knife product line, so I wonder if they are made in the same factory?

Initial Impressions


This is one I had high hopes for as a backup knife to live my disaster bag. The arrowhead point coupled with the light weight made it seem like it was made for my bag, so I was really excited to unbox this little knife. The excitement was short-lived. 

The Magnum is only my second Boker, and it doesn't bode well that this is the second Boker in a row to arrive with a loose-fitting sheath. This one is Kydex. You have to work really hard not to get Kydex right.

So from this point forward, for me it almost doesn't matter how good the knife is, because it's unsafe to carry without a tight-fitting sheath. In many years of collecting knives, I still haven't cut myself on one, and I don't intend to start.

Build Quality


The quality of the materials is actually pretty good. The steel is probably some variation of  8Cr13MoV which is a decent Chinese steel. I'm not a big fan of this type of steel for other types of tools, but it's pretty good for knives. The machining is decent, and top it off, the knife has a nice stonewash treatment on it.

The material of the sheath is regular Kydex and seems well done considering it doesn't fit the knife. If it wasn't for that, I would say the quality of the sheath rivals more expensive knives.


Blade


The knife itself is nice. The blade on this model is not just arrowhead-shaped, but arrowhead-sized as well. The hollow grind on mine is pretty good. It didn't come with much of an edge but that can easily be remedied with a coffee cup. The stonewashed finish on the blade is well done.

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Blade View 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Blade View 2


Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Blade View 3

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Blade Tip Closeup
Looks like they went through the trouble of actually trying to put an edge on it!

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Blade Tip Closeup 2
The tip is decent for a cheap knife. You can also see the intricacies of the arrowhead grind


Handle


The handle on the Magnum is skelatonized to save on weight. There are no scales or wrap that comes with it. This thing definitely would do well with a paracord wrap. There is a lanyard hole with some jimping around it. You could also attach custom made scales easily.

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Handle Closeup 1Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Handle Closeup 2

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Handle Closeup 3


Sheath


The sheath holds the knife securely if I put the knife in upside-down. But doing that dulls the already dull blade. It's made of Kydex and looks to be decent quality. The way it's formed, cut, the rivets: everything looks like a more expensive sheath ... except for the fact that the knife doesn't fit.

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Sheath View 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Sheath View 2

Usability


Since putting the knife snugly upside-down in the sheath dulls the blade, and since the blade came dull already, I didn't see much point in doing much testing testing with my review sample. But from the design I can see that this might make a decent EDC knife.

The tiny blade rules out certain camp tasks like food preparation, but there's lots of other tasks it would be well suited to for EDC, like opening packages and cutting cord and so forth. But I really think it could shine as an emergency backup since it's a lot of functionality in a small package. Not to mention that if you are Rambo, the arrowhead blade could be fashioned in to an actual arrowhead or tip of a makeshift spear. 

Holding the knife has a surprisingly good feel to it. The ergonomics are great for a knife this small.

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: In Hand 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: In Hand 2

Note: Since this is being marketed as a neck knife, and since most people think neck knives are for self defense, I'd like to point out that this would probably make a lousy neck knife you intend to use it in that capacity. One of the Amazon reviewers mentioned that it might be good for self defense against mice, so there is always that.

Conclusions


A dull knife in a sheath that is too loose to fit it. Out of the box, my review sample was worthless. I know Boker has a solid following and I respect that. But I have to go by experience, and so far I've been 0 for 2 with Boker.


Project Knife?


I still have hope for getting around to fixing this knife some day since the knife itself is first rate. It could easily be sharpened to a good edge. The sheath can be heated in a toaster oven or other means and re-formed. I just need to think of the quickest way to build that apparatus. Right now I'm thinking some foam, stiff cardboard and a wood clamp or two might do the trick.

Someday very soon I am going to start making my own Kydex sheaths, so if I can't re-form this one, I'll probably just make a new one. 


Gallery


Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: In Box 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: In Box 2

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: In Box 3

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Caliper Measurement 1

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Caliper Measurement 2

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Caliper Measurement 3

Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: On Scale
Boker Magnum 'Lil Friend' Arrowhead: Next To Ruler




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