It seems like every time I look at the Bark River Knives website (formerly known as Bark River Knife & Tool), I discover yet another of the best designs I have ever seen!
BRK is a family-owned business located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mike Stewart, a veteran knifesmith employs, trains and leads a group of skilled knifesmiths to manufacture some of today’s topnotch knives.
The next blade we are going to cover is the extremely useful Golok blade. This machete type design is a modern adaptation of a Malaysian and Indonesian knife designs that are traditionally both shorter, slimmer and heavier, but otherwise similar to a machete which is why we throw this more into our survival gear section of our site.
The Bark River Golok features an overall length of 16 ¾ inches and it has a 11 ¼ inch long, 0.187 inch thick, 57 Rockwell, A2 non-stainless steel blade.
This model is available in your choice of blade point. So you can choose to have for it a standard point, a drop point, a clip point, a trailing point, or a seax point.
Also, BRK allows you to choose from their wide range of handle slab materials. So you can chose from different colors of Micarta, to burl woods, to exotic hard woods and so many more.
Going back to the machete’s build, the Golok features a straight edge with a slight positive forward angle, a flat ground bevel, a short ricasso and full-tang construction with a very ergonomic handle that incorporates an integral quillion on the front and a moderate hook on the back to help the user retain a grip on the blade while chopping.
In addition to designs like the Indonesian and Malaysian parang and the bolo knives which feature wide, heavy, weight-forward blades that are specifically designed to handle medium to heavy chopping tasks by people who live in areas where the vegetation is very fibrous and/or woody, the Golok has a rather different design. It features a long and slim blade that allows its user to tend to several tasks.
This type of blade design resembles a miniature machete with a slimmer profile and a lighter tip that is meant for slicing and light chopping tasks rather than medium and heavy chopping tasks and thus, it is best described as a “high-speed straight razor” as opposed to a “hatchet-knife”.
Consequently, the BRK Golok is a modern rendition this extremely useful bush blade type that can be used for a multitude of camp or wilderness survival tasks such as cutting saplings to build a shelter, carving notches in sticks for trap triggers, splitting saplings for lathes and, it can even be used as a draw-knife for creating flat surfaces on saplings or logs.
In fact, it can be used for just about anything a machete can be used for but in a smaller, lighter, easier to handle size.
Therefore, when the BRK Golok is combined with a smaller general purpose, knife such as those in the BRK Fox River series you have a wilderness survival knife system that can handle any job.
In addition to the very useful 11 1/4” blade with your choice of several different point profiles, the blade is made from high carbon A2 non-stainless steel which is a very tough, high quality, steel with a carbon content of 0.95% – 1.05%, a chromium content of 4.75% – 5.5% , a manganese content of 1.0%, a molybdenum content of 0.90% – 1.4%, a nickel content of 0.30%, and a vanadium content of 0.15% – 0.50%.
Thus, A2 is a high-carbon steel that is fairly corrosion resistant for a non-stainless blade steel.
With the addition of molybdenum to combine with the chromium during forging to form hard, double carbide bonds which help improve the abrasion and corrosion resistance of the steel.
The addition of manganese increases the steel’s toughness and hardenability and nickel adds strength while Vanadium helps produce a fine grain during heat treat.
Furthermore, the BRK Golok features full-tang construction with a very ergonomic handle shape that features an integral quillion and a moderate hook on the back to help the user retain their grip on the blade when their hands are wet and a lanyard hole with a stainless steel liner for those times when you think that you might need additional retention abilities.
Last, although I did search the BRK website, I could find no mention of what type of sheath the Golok is supplied with and thus, I assume that it is supplied with a heavy-duty leather sheath like their other knives.
Consequently, since I tend to think of wilderness survival knives as a system consisting of two or even three knives, it would be very difficult for me to have to choose between one of the BRK Fox River models as my general purpose knife and the BRK Tail Buddy III, the Bark River Grasso Bolo Il or the BRK Golok as my large knife because each of them is designed for a different purpose and each of them excels at that particular purpose.