Schrade SCHF26 Extreme Survival Knife Reviewed
Marketing from Schrade
Schrade Extreme Survival Full Tang Fixed Blade, Black 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel Drop Point Blade with Jimping, Ergonomic Ring Textured TPE Overlay Handle Slabs with Spine and Grip Jimping, Lanyard Hole, and Ballistic Belt Sheath with Storage Pouch.
The ergonomic, ring textured handle slabs and curved design make this knife easy to handle and comfortable to grip. Made of heavy duty 8Cr13MoV high carbon stainless steel, the drop point blade will sink in and stick in dense wood, slice through cardboard like silk, and chop through tree limbs in no time at all. A hunting, camping, and hiking must, the knife comes with a ballistic nylon belt sheath for easy carry. This hefty blade can withstand almost anything you can throw at it.
Manufacturer: Schrade, www.schrade.com
Overall Length: 10.6″ (26.8 cm)
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel full-tang blade
Blade Length: 5.3″ (13.4 cm)
Handle Material: Ring Textured TPE Handle
Handle Length: 5.3″ (13.4 cm)
Weight: 13.92 oz.
Accessories: Ballistic Nylon Sheath, lined with Kydex
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturing defects
In my relentless hunt to find the perfect survival knife that can handle everything from bushwhacking to fine bushcraft techniques, I decided to give Schrade’s SCHF26 Extreme Survival Knife a shot as a low-cost alternative. So far, I have been pretty impressed with both of Schrade’s SCHF9 and SCH10 models. Their quality, durability and very small price tag make them attractive alternatives when you are on a tight budget. However, since the SCHF10 has been discontinued I thought I’d give its replacement a shot.
The SCHF26 has an overall length of just over 10-1/2 inches and weighs in right around 13.9 ounces. It has a stout 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel full-tang blade that is nearly a quarter-inch thick. Like the SCHF9 and SCHF10 that I previously reviewed, the SCHF26 also felt solid and well-balanced in my hand, and it looks like it would likely stand up to a rigorous beating too.
At first glance, the SCHF26 has the exact same profile as the SCHF10, but with a ring-textured TPE handle instead of the rough Micarta one. So much so, that it looks like the handles may even be interchangeable. As a result, I expect much of this article to be the same as the SCHF10. I will also have to try to interchange the handles as well.
The stainless steel blade came very sharp out of the box and protective coating with an attractive black finish. This time however, the blade’s edge was ground perfectly down the center and the grind-angle was consistent on both sides. This time around I think Schrade really got it right. Kudos to you. At only $40, I am really impressed with high-level of tolerance on this one.
The attractive and ergonomic ring-textured TPE handle embodies a durable textured finish which provides a firm non-slip grip to the knife, even in wet conditions. I certainly prefer the textured TPE handle over the rough Micarta handle for sure.
I also appreciated the smaller palm-swell on this model. I wear a large glove size so it was fairly comfortable to wield and fit my hands perfectly. The palm-swell of the SCHF9 was much larger so it was not nearly as comfortable with smaller hands like mine. Additionally, there is plenty of machined jumping strategically located around the blade providing a wide-variety of gripping options.
I would have to say that I am very impressed with this blade. And with the new textured TPE handle, even more so than the SCHF10.
Now lets focus on the SCHF26’s features in more detail…
Schrade’s SCHF10 is a medium-sized fine-edged knife with an overall length of 10.8″, a blade length of 5.4″ and a total weight of 13.9 ounces. The SCHF26 is made from a single piece of 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel running throughout. Its full-tang design provides the superior strength and rigidity that you would expect from any good survival knife.
8Cr13MoV is a Chinese stainless steel that is similar in quality to AICHI, AUS8 and 440B stainless steels with regard to strength, hardness, corrosion resistance and edge retention. Stainless steel is a popular class of material for knife blades because it has properties that are commonly resistant to rust and corrosion, while remaining easy to maintain. This makes it an excellent choice for a survival blade. While this alloy is typically easier to sharpen than other stainless alloys like 440C, it generally does not hold an edge quite as well.
While the 8Cr13MoV High Carbon stainless steel and full-tang blade design are certainly durable enough to withstand a moderate amount of punishment, it is only rust resistant, and not rust proof. Even with the protective Teflon coating, it is still susceptible to rust without proper care and maintenance. If the blade becomes wet, simply dry it thoroughly and lightly coat it with an oil like Break-Free CLP before storage. If you do, it just might last you a lifetime.
The SCHF26 has an attractive drop-point edge with a moderate recurve and narrow-pointed tip. A drop-point profile is best explained as a blade with a convex curve from the spine to the tip of the blade which provides a strong, robust tip that is easy to direct when chopping, cutting and prying, but is often less suitable for piercing. However, in the case of the SCHF26, the spine is also has a slightly tapered swedge providing a narrower point angle which is good for piercing.
Many blade types including the drop point, clip point, and even a hawkbill can have a recurve. A recurve is best described as a blade characteristic or feature rather than a blade shape. A recurve generally refers to a blade with a sweeping “S” shaped edge which are often used to help balance a large chopping blade as well as changing the blade’s angle in an attempt to improve its slicing, chopping and draw-cut capabilities.
The SCHF26 is ground with a deep high-flat grind and a slight compound bevel without any serrations. This is a very common grind on factory knives today. The shape of this blade provides a bit more leverage perfect for heavy bushwhacking tasks like chopping and lighter bushcraft techniques like carving and shaving sticks. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat challenging to sharpen with a stone due to the inward curve (or recurve) at the base of the drop-point.
The Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener or Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic are perfect for providing a quick edge when in the field. However, they tend to leave striations down the length of the blade which are likely to cause it to dull much faster, as opposed to perpendicular striations that are left by most stone sharpening methods.
Jimping is a term used when describing the small notches cut into the back of a blade or put on the choil or other areas of a knife to prevent your fingers from sliding when using the knife. The SCHF26 has seven notches located on the top of the handle, ten notches located at the bottom of the handle and another six notches located on the spine-side of the blade just beyond the thumb-rise which provide a wide variety of gripping options.
The blade also works perfectly when striking a ferro rod, with or without the protective coating.
The SCHF26’s TPE handle is a hard, durable rubber with an aggressive ring pattern providing an excellent non-slip grip even in wet conditions. Thermoplastic Polyester Elastomer (TPE), sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubber is made from a mix of plastic and rubber polymers providing both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties.
The two halves of the TPE handle are attached through the full-tang blade with two recessed allen bolts threaded directly into the knife steel allowing it to absorb much of the shock when chopping or batoning, thereby reducing fatigue. The handle is shaped with two finger cut-outs, tapered ends and a moderate palm-swell making it easy to hold on to with or without gloves, especially with smaller hands. Those with very large hands may opt for the SCHF9 instead.
The end of the SCHF26’s handle also has a lanyard hole at its base sized perfectly for a paracord strap and can be used for light hammering in a pinch.
The SCHF26 comes with a lightweight sheath made from a heavy ballistic nylon material. It is flexible and appears to only be single-stitched so it is really only for light-duty use. The SCHF26 fits snugly into the Kydex lined pocket and is held firmly in place with an adjustable Velcro retention strap. The Kydex lining is removable, held snugly in place within the pocket of the sheath. While the sheath is really shaped for right-hand carry, it can easily be reconfigured to carry on the left. While this sheath is not as bad as some, it is not nearly as nice as the one that Schrade provides with the SCHF9 and they go up from there.
Now lets see what the SCHF26 can do… In order to provide a some sort of apples-to-apples comparison between blades, I will be performing five durability tests; Batoning, Chopping, Feather Stick, Tip Strength and Edge Retention. In a survival situation, all resources are fair game. However, since I am not in a life-or-death situation, I’ll stick to some dead wood that I have lying around for these tests.
Per Wikipedia: Batoning is the technique of cutting or splitting wood by using a baton-sized stick or mallet to repeatedly strike the spine of a sturdy knife, chisel or blade in order to drive it through wood. The batoning method can be used to make kindling or desired forms such as boards, slats or notches. The practice is most useful for obtaining dry wood from the inside of logs for the purpose of fire making.
To test the SCHF26’s ability to be used with a baton, I found a stick around 2″ in diameter by about 18″ long for my baton and a few logs around 3″ in diameter also about 18″ long to hack into kindling. Like the SCHF10, I chose to use a smaller-sized log than I had used when I tested the SCHF9 as the blade length is a little more than an inch shorter than the SCHF9 as well. I placed the first log on its end and began to whack both sides of the SCHF26 evenly with the baton. It went through the entire log with the same ease as the SCHF10. Very little effort was necessary to split the log from end-to-end. However, since the tip-end of the SCHF26’s spine has the same taper as the SCHF10, the baton does not have much of a surface to to strike against. The SCHF26 had the same result. The spine was digging into the baton much more than it would have had the spine not been tapered.
I repeated the test a few more times by splitting the log into smaller and smaller pieces, and then again a few more times with similarly-sized logs. Some fresh logs and others that have been drying out for a couple of seasons. The SCHF26 and baton performed just as good as I thought it would. Even with all of the knots I ran into. Like the SCHF10, I was also very impressed.
Next, I decided try my hand at chopping some long branches into a manageable size which would be necessary for building a shelter or creating a stockpile of firewood to get through the night. At a few ounces shy of one pound, the SCHF26’s weight provides a moderate amount of force when striking. By gripping the SCHF26 at the flared end of the handle with your thumb and forefinger, you can extend the radius of your swing providing even more force when chopping. Even with the smoother TPE handle, if you do need to swing the blade for any length of time, I thoroughly recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands and absorb some of the shock.
The SCHF26 did make quick work of smaller branches 1-2″ in size. However, I did struggle with the larger 3″-plus material. SCHF26’s smaller profile and lighter weight greatly affected its ability to chop. The SCHF9 performed much better at this task. Although it could certainly be used in a pinch, a hatchet or small axe are much better suited.
Per Wikipedia: A feather stick (sometimes referred to as a fuzz stick) is a length of wood which is shaved to produce a head of thin curls protruding from the wood. It is used for damp wood to start a fire (or campfire) when dry tinder is hard to find.
For the next test, I thought making a feather stick would be in order.
For this test, I used a stick about 2″ in diameter and a little shy of 18″ long. I began taking short 2-3″ strokes along the bottom-end of the stick creating finely shaved curls otherwise known as “feathers”. I found that the recurve area just behind the recurve of the blade to be the sweet-spot for feathering the stick.
As I continued my way around the stick, I tried to be careful not to shave the curls too long or dig too deep causing them to break off. However, I was using a hard wood so it was not as easy as it could have been with a softer material. About 6″ up, I began to work my way around deeper and deeper into the stick until I was almost all the way through. Then I snapped the feathered section off leaving what can only be described as a 6″ tall pinecone. I had a perfectly feathered stick to start a fire.
All in all, the SCHF26 performed flawlessly at this task with the exact same result as the SCHF10. Much better than with the SCHF9. Its shorter stature and lighter weight made it much easier to control and maneuver than the SCHF9.
To test the SCHF26’s ability to stab or pierce without the tip bending or breaking, I simply drove the tip of the blade into the end of a 12″ stump with a baton about 3/4″ deep. Then I loosened the blade using a side-to-side motion until it became loose enough to pull out. I repeated this action five more times without any sign of damage.
I also used the SCHF26 to bore a hole into the side of a log approximately 1″ in diameter and about 1″ deep by twisting the blade. The SCHF26’s sharp, pointy-tip performed flawlessly on this task.
Even after all of the other functional tests, I was still able to slice through a single sheet of paper without issue. The testing left no sign of cracks, chips or imperfections of any kind with the exception of some slight wear on the blade’s protective coating. The SCHF26 held its edge and remained very sharp the entire time, even with all of the punishment that I threw at it.
Schrade’s SCHF26 is a rugged survival knife designed to get the job done at an excellent price-point. While there are certainly many higher-priced alternatives out there, it is the SCHF26’s durability, medium-size and weight, and ergonomic design that make it an ideal knife for most survival situations.
The SCHF26 can be found most anywhere for right around $35. So the bottom-line… Schrade’s SCHF26 is an impressive survival knife that is built to last at an amazing price. At only $35, I plan to purchase a few of these myself to stash around the house and in my survival packs.
You can find this and other Schrade products here: http://amzn.to/2c0kjZF
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the product(s) mentioned above for free in consideration for a complete, honest and impartial product review for publication on LetsTalkSurvival.com with no gurantee of the outcome whatsoever. Any opinion provided herein is based entirely on our personal experience with the product(s).
About Taylor Brands and Schrade Cutlery
Founded by Stewart Taylor in 1975, Taylor Brands has been manufacturing, designing, and distributing high-quality stainless steel cutting tools and accessories since our inception. Taylor Brands owns and produces Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, and Imperial branded products, and are also licensed to produce multiple product lines under the world famous Smith & Wesson brand. In total Taylor Brands manufactures several hundred different products including fixed and folding knives, collapsible batons, tactical pens, handcuffs, tactical and survival accessories, and flashlights.