Schrade SCHF34 Tanto Fixed Blade Knife Reviewed
Marketing from Schrade
A rugged, multi-functional knife as well as an excellent self defense blade, the SCHF34 full tang fixed blade knife weighs in at just under 7 ounces. This blade is 3.4 inches of stone washed finished metallic muscle. Made from edge holding, high quality 8Cr13MoV high carbon stainless steel, the sturdy drop point tanto recurve blade is built for every-day-carry. The SCHF34 features jimping on the spine accompanied by an ergonomic finger guard on the bottom of the blade to ensure the knife rests both comfortably and securely in your hand.
With an overall length of 8 inches, the SCHF34 is plenty long enough to handle any task in an urban environment, yet suitable for everyday carry.
Tough and textured G-10 glass fiber composition handle slabs with a well designed index finger groove give this knife a truly custom feel in the hand adding to the knife’s overall ruggedly handsome appearance. A lanyard hole at the base accommodates cordage.
The kydex sheath allows for multiple carry options and offers 4 grommet holes for an array of carry options.
Concealable and capable… made from premium materials… and built for a lifetime. This is the Schrade SCHF34 full tang clip point tanto recurve fixed blade knife.
Manufacturer: Schrade, www.schrade.com
Overall Length: 8.00 inch (20.30 cm)
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel Blade
Blade Length: 3.40 inch (8.60 cm)
Blade Thickness: 5/32″ (.396 cm)
Handle Material: Scaled G-10 Handle Slabs with Index Finger Groove
Handle Length: 4.60 inch (11.70 cm)
Weight: 7.9 oz including sheath
Accessories: Multi-Carry Option Kydex Belt Sheath with Grommet Holes
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturing defects
Origin: Made in China
Part of Schrade’s 2015 lineup and nearly a mirror image of one of my favorite Schrade blades, the SCHF35 Fixed Blade Knife, the SCHF34 Tanto Fixed Blade Knife shares its similarities in all the right places… It’s compact, it’s lightweight, and it’s an attractive workhorse.
Like the SCHF35, the SCHF34 is sized perfectly for an EDC or Bug Out Bag. Both the pattern and materials are so similar to that of the SCHF35, much of this review might seem a bit redundant, but necessary.
A Kydex sheath is provided with each SCHF34 that is both lightweight and extremely durable. Once the SCHF34 has been inserted fully, it is held firmly in place without any risk of it falling out. Additionally, the removable belt loop can easily be flipped to the other side for left-handed use, utilizing two of the four grommet holes.
Two black G-10 handle slabs are securely fastened through the tang with two steel bolts. Each slab is deeply scaled to provide a firm, comfortable grip even in the wettest of conditions. The slabs are slightly smaller than the tang so it can be used as a pummel when necessary.
The SCHF34 features a 3.4″ 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel blade with stone-washed finish and an attractive tanto-point on the blade’s forend and moderate recurve. There is a small amount of jimping on the blade’s spine with an aggressive index-finger groove for the perfect amount of traction for increased blade control.
Now lets look at the SCHF34 features in more detail…
The SCHF34 features a very sharp 3.4″ blade with an attractive stone-washed finish. The pattern was cut from a single slab of 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel 5/32″ thick end to end. This full-tang design provides all of the strength, rigidity and durability 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.
Although the 8Cr13MoV high carbon stainless steel and full-tang design are certainly tough enough to withstand a moderate amount of punishment, it is only rust resistant, and not completely rust proof. Even with the protective stone-washed finish, 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 a protective oil before any long-term storage. If you give it a little oil from time to time, it will likely last you a lifetime.
The SCHF34’s design pattern consists of a unique combination of blade characteristics including a modern tanto profile, clip-point and recurved edge resulting in a rugged, tactical survival blade.
A tanto profile is a common blade pattern found in modern tactical knives dating back to the Heian period in Japanese history. The American version of the tanto profile is a modern pattern reminiscent of the Kiriha-Zukuri blade geometry, free of any curvature on the blade’s edge and without a central ridgeline like that of a Shinogi-Zukuri blade geometry. The tanto was designed primarily to be an effective stabbing weapon. However, the edge is also very well-suited for hacking and slashing.
The clip-point profile is one of the most common knife blade shapes specially designed for maximum penetration when thrusting and piercing. Clip point blades give the appearance of having the forward most section of the blade from the spine to the tip point “clipped” off in a straight or concave line.
Many blade types including the drop point, clip point, and even a hawkbill can have a recurve. But not commonly used in conjunction with a tanto point.
A recurve is best described as a blade characteristic or feature rather than a blade shape. A recurve typically 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 SCHF34 has a deep, hollow-grind with a compound bevel and no serrations. This is a very common grind on factory knives today. The shape of the blade provides a bit more leverage perfect for piercing 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).
The jimping and finger guard are very well placed on the SCHF34. Jimping is the term used to describe the small notches cut into the back of a blade’s spine to prevent slippage and improve fine control of the blade. The spine of the blade also works perfectly for striking a ferro rod, with or without the protective finish.
The SCHF34’s handle is 4.6″ long consisting of two attractively scaled G-10 glass fiber composition slabs providing an excellent non-slip grip even in the wettest of conditions. The G-10 handles are made from a durable fiberglass-based laminate resulting in very hard, lightweight, and extremely strong knife component.
The two halves of the G-10 handle are attached through the tang with two recessed allen bolts and slotted nuts threaded directly into the knife steel allowing it to absorb much of the shock when chopping and batoning, thereby reducing fatigue. The handle has a slightly curved shape with an index-finger groove make it ergonomic and easy to hold on to with or without gloves.
The SCHF34 also has a lanyard hole located at the base of the handle pommel sized perfectly for a paracord strap providing a wide-variety of tethering options.
A Kydex sheath that is virtually indestructible is provided with every SCHF34 blade. Its form-fit design holds the blade securely in place without any movement or rattle whatsoever. The belt loop is designed to accommodate any belt up to 1-7/8″ wide. Additionally, the belt loop can easily be flipped to the other side for left-handed use. The sheath can also be lashed to your gear utilizing the four reinforced grommet holes.
Now lets see what the SCHF34 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 SCHF34 at batoning, I chose to split a couple of 3″ logs about 12″ in length. I think anything much larger would be a futile exercise with such a short blade. I used the baton to strike the spine of the SCHF34 as I worked my way around each log toward the center core. Once the core of the log was narrow enough, I was able to quarter it without any difficulty whatsoever. After splitting both logs, I had about 30 pieces of small kindling. The aggressive blade profile and grind angle split through the grain cleanly and without much effort.
The short blade of the SCHF34 does not lend itself well to batoning anything but smaller material. Aside from the small clip-point at the fore-end of the blade, the SCHF34 does not have a narrow tapered swedge along the spine to contend with like that of the SCHF35. As a result, the spine does not dig into the baton, therefore outperforming the SCHF35 at batoning.
The SCHF34 doesn’t really have any of the characteristics of a good chopper. It’s short stature, light weight and recurved tanto blade profile are much better suited for other tasks. However, the handle is very comfortable to hold, even toward the end which does add some additional power to your swing.
With each swing the blade does bite into the material you are chopping. However, due to its pointed blade shape only a small amount of material is cut with each strike. As a result, it is a very slow process to get all the way through even the smallest logs with such a short blade. You are definitely better off if you can have a hand axe or hatchet with you as well. However, if it is all you’ve got, just go for the smaller material instead.
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.
Like the SCHF35, feathering a stick is one of the test that I expected the SCHF34 to perform well at. Its small size, jimping and scaled ergonomic handle coupled with its aggressive recurved cutting edge certainly provide a high-level of fine blade control. This fine control translates directly into an easy to wield blade perfect for light bushcraft and survival tasks.
To test the SCHF34 at feathering a stick, I chose a stick about 1″ in diameter and around 18″ in length. I began taking long 5-6″ strokes along the bottom-end of the stick finely shaving off curls otherwise known as “feathers”. Due to the material that I had on hand, I had some difficulty keeping the curls from breaking off. As a result, I ended up with a pile of curls instead of a true feathered stick.
I found the sweet-spot on the SCHF34 for feathering is just behind the lower point where the tanto angle meets the blade’s recurve. Even though it was not entirely successful at feathering a stick, I was very successful at creating the tinder necessary to start a fire. Schrade’s SCHF34 did perform exceptionally well for a compact tactical survival knife with a factory edge.
The SCHF34’s tanto blade profile is stout and ideal for stabbing and piercing. For the first part of this test, the SCHF34 was to be driven deep into a stump without bending or breaking the tip. In this case, I drove the blade into the end of a 12″ stump with a baton about an 1-1/2″ deep. Then I loosened the blade using a side-to-side motion until it was loose enough to pull out. I repeated this action a few more times without any sign of damaging the tip.
For the second part of this test, I used the SCHF34 to bore a small hole into the side of a 6″ log approximately 1″ in diameter and about 1″ deep simply by twisting the blade back and forth. The SCHF34’s tanto profile and aggressive tapered tip performed this task flawlessly.
After all other functional testing was completed, the SCHF34 was still able to slice cleanly through a single sheet of paper without issue. 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 SCHF34 held its edge and remained sharp through the entire testing process.
Schrade’s SCHF34 is a rugged tactical survival blade with all of the characteristics of a perfect everyday carry. It’s compact, lightweight, ergonomic, and most of all it was built tough enough to last a lifetime. The Kydex sheath is form-fitted and well designed, providing excellent edge protection and blade retention.
As a survival blade, I like everything about the SCHF34 from its small stature to its light weight, its affordable price tag and especially its extreme durability. For those of you that prefer the tactical look and functionality of the tanto blade profile, the SCHF34 is the perfect choice for you. Personally, I do prefer the blade profile of the SCHF35 so it really comes down to your personal preference. Like the SCHF35, I happily give Schrade two thumbs up on this one too.
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.