Ray Ennis, the designer and and maker of Entrek USA employed cold forged and shaped his first knife with the use of a bran spike. In 1973, Ennis made $10.00 upon selling his first custom knife. This slightly curved knife was made from the leaf spring of a vehicle. Because of this sale, Ennis officially became a professional knife smith.
A little after that event, Ennis bought his first O1 Tool Steel from Young Manufacturing in Grand Forks, ND and then he learned to grind, heat treat and polish his knife blades.
In 1977-78 Ennis studied gunsmithing at the Colorado School of Trades. The learnings he had on this term in machining and polishing techniques were then incorporated into his knife smithing.
Aside from focusing to knife smithing, Ennis worked on related jobs. He worked as a gunsmith, a machinist, a tool and die maker and a tool designer. As of the present, however, he went big and full time on knife smithing.
As a knife smith, his stated mission is “to provide customer with more knife than they expect for less money than they expect to spend.”
All the skills he accumulated from his studies and hands-on experience, along with the latest technologies like laser blanking combined with the old yet trusted and proven methods such as drill fixtures to provide the topmost quality handmade knives in multiple quantity production, are the main things that helps Ray accomplish his goal.
For this you can expect all Entrek knives to be top quality handmade products.
As a matter of fact, each Entrek knife undergoes an austere manufacturing process that consists of the following methods:
surface grinding to flat and parallel
marking the blade for grinding
a freehand rough grind (40 grit)
a freehand finish grind (120 grit)
drilling the handle for quillions, handle screws and thong hole
tapping the screw holes
assembly of the handle components
hand sharpening the blade
sandblasting for a non-reflective finish; and finally,
proofing and finish sharpening
In all these processes, it is important to note that all work except blanking and heat treating are done in house.
As for Entrek’s blade steel choice, Ennis has been very mindful to choose 440C stainless steel exclusively. The logic behind this choice is in the fact that 440C stainless steel has proven itself as a very reliable steel for hard use combat. This steel also makes great blades for survival knives because it is tough enough to resist all but the most extremes abuse whilst being hard enough to take and retain a very sharp edge when properly heat treated, subzero stabilized and then double drawn to 57 – 58 RC.
440C stainless steel also has 17% Chromium making it one of the most corrosion resistant blade steels available.
For all this, each Entrek knife is a proof of the company’s truthful promise of providing every customer with more knife than they expect for less money than they expect to spend. The Entrek Bison Survival Knife is a very great example. And in this review, I will talk to you about it.
The Entrek Bison measures 14 1/2” overall and has a 9” Persian style Clip Point Bowie blade made from bead blasted, 1/4”, 440C stainless steelof Rockwell Hardness 57-58. It’s steel features a stainless steel bolster with double quillions and handle slabs made from black canvas Micarta fastened to the full tang with three stainless steel rivets. Plus, it includes a black Kydex sheath.
As I have stated in other articles I have written for this web site, when given the choice, I always prefer a two knife system over a single survival knife when I am in the field. Also, I like for one of my knives to be a dedicated heavy chopping tool and for the other one to be a combination camp knife and hunting knife. In addition, my largest knife must have a heavy enough spine to be able to withstand hammering with a small log to spit kindling and yet has a fine enough edge to be an effective cutting tool.
The Entrek Bison nicely fits this bill with its hollow, saber ground bevel. Also, 440 C stainless steel is one of my favorite blade steels for survival knives because it contains 0.95% – 1.2% Carbon (thus making it a very high carbon steel) and 16% to 18% Chromium (which makes it highly corrosion resistant) with 1% Manganese and 0.75% Molybdenum as it only other alloying elements.
Last, canvas Micarta is one of my absolute favorite handle materials for heavy-duty because it is made from multiple layers of linen canvas that has been impregnated with an epoxy resin and then heated and subjected to extreme pressure to create a finished material that is impervious to water absorption as well as to chipping, cracking and splitting.
Plus, the man-sized handle is very ergonomic since it incorporates an integral quillions, a rounded belly and a Bird’s Head grip to help the user maintain a secure grip on the knife when chopping.
Consequently, the Entrek Bison is a fine camp knife and would also serve well as a dedicated survival knife. Plus, when paired with a smaller knife such as Entrek’s “Backup Utility” or a folding Spyderco knife, you would have a very serviceable survival knife system.