The Entrek Elk Knife: A Full Analysis

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Founded by internationally known knife maker Ray W. Ennis, Entrek USA is an American knife company that produces very high quality, semi-production knives.

Ray has been professionally designing and making knives since 1973 and, although his present line mainly focuses on tactical knives, the company also includes several knives designed for wilderness survival, hunting, and general use.

Entrek Elk Knife

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Entrek USA fulfils Ray Ennis’ vision of producing a custom quality knife at a production knife price.

The  is one of Entrek’s more interesting designs. It features an overall length of 11 7/8” with an 7” clip point, sabre grind blade made from 1/4″ 440C stainless steel that has been heat treated, sub-zero stabilized, and double drawn to 57-68 Rockwell. It has a bead blasted, non-reflective finish is applied.

In addition, the Entrek “Elk” features full tang construction with stainless steel quillions and black canvas Micarta handle slabs which Entrek purchases from only one source in order to maintain uniformity. Last, this knife is supplied with a Kydex sheath like many other fixed blade knives that includes either a belt loop or a belt clip and hollow rivets so that you can lash the knife to your gear.

In my opinion, the “Elk” is one of Entrek’s more fascinating designs because the blade shape tends to defy classification.

Although it is clearly a California clip point blade shape with a straight edge and a sabre grind, it is obviously heavily influenced by Persian style knife designs and thus, the slightly concave “clip” combined with the deep belly of the sweep tend to lend it the appearance of a trailing point.

Consequently, not only would this knife serve the user well as a wilderness survival knife, it would also perform well as either a hunting knife or a tactical knife; thus making it even more difficult to classify!

However, for the purpose of this article, I am going to view and asses it as a dedicated wilderness survival knife;  for this purpose, it is an excellent compromise between a knife like the Entrek Destroyer which has a Bolo/Kukri like blade length that measures 8 7/8” and is clearly designed for medium to heavy chopping tasks and a knife like the Entrek Javalina which has a drop point blade that measures 4 5/16” and is clearly designed for general purpose use.

Thus, while the blade is long enough and heavy enough to perform light chopping tasks and the sabre grind will prevent the knife from binding in the cut, it is obviously not a dedicated chopping tool.

However, it is an excellent design for the numerous other tasks that a user would normally require of it in a wilderness survival situation such as carving, cutting and slicing. Also, the 1/4” spine combined with the full tang construction make this a very sturdy knife so that it could safely be used to split saplings using a baton without fear of breaking it.

In addition, the clip point tip shape combined with the deep belly on the edge make this knife an excellent tool for removing the hide from harvested game animals and then processing the carcass into edible sized pieces.

Plus, being made from 440C which my favorite stainless steel for dedicated outdoor use because it contains enough carbon to hold an edge very well (.095% – 1.20%), enough chromium to be very corrosion resistant (16.0% – 18.0%), just enough molybdenum (0.75%) to combine with the chromium to form plenty of hard, double-carbide bonds which increases the hardness, toughness, wear resistance and abrasion resistance of the steel and just enough manganese (1.0%) to make the steel properly tough.

In addition, after shaping, each Entrek blade undergoes a rigorous regimen which consists of heat treating, then sub-zero quenching to relieve any internal stress in the metal which might cause a weak point, and then double drawing to a Rockwell hardness of 57-58.

Thus, the user is provided with a knife that strong, tough, corrosion resistant, holds an edge extremely well and will survive most any task the user may ask of it. However, I am not particularly enamored of the bead blasted finish.

While I would certainly prefer to have this type of finish on a knife that I intended to use for tactical purposes because it does not reflect light the way a polished surface can, it also tends to hold moisture against the surface of the metal unlike a polished surface and thus, I am concerned that it would be more prone to corrosion than a polished surface would be even though the steel contains 16.0% – 18.0% chromium.

Also, while I do appreciate the fact that the bolster/quillions are made from stainless steel instead of brass, I am not particularly enamored with quillions on a dedicated wilderness survival knife because the top quillion tends to prevent me from placing either my thumb or my index finger on the spine of the blade for greater leverage when cutting or carving and greater control when working with the tip of the blade.

On the other hand, I do like canvas Micarta for handle slabs because not only does it provide a positive griping surface, it is a very tough material that is impervious to chipping, cracking, or splitting and it will not absorb moisture the way some natural handle materials will.

Last, I greatly appreciate the fact the Ray Ennis chooses to purchase his Micarta from only one source in order to maintain both the quality and the uniformity. In fact, it is just such attention to detail that tends to set a custom made knife apart from production knives.

Consequently, the Entrek “Elk” is, in my opinion, a very well-designed and well-constructed knife that would actually serve several different purposes well but would excel as a dedicated wilderness survival knife. Last, I presently own an Entrek “Scout” which is no longer in production and, I have owned another model that is also no longer in production and I have to say that I am very impressed with both the quality and the craftsmanship of Entrek knives and thus, I have no qualms what so ever about recommending them.

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