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Steel Will Druid 240 Reviewed

Steel Will Druid 240
 

Marketing from Steel Will

The Druid 240 is versatile enough for most tasks but the main one is skinning as well as it’s a task the knife was created for. Its drop point blade is suited for most outdoor jobs. Although it handles delicate work very well, it’s equally at home with more demanding tasks due to its extremely thick blade. The Druid 240’s light weight makes it ideal for any outdoor adventure where every extra ounce matters.

 

Manufacturer: Steel Will, steelwillknives.com
Model: Druid 240
Overall Length: 10.43 inch (26.49 cm)
Blade Finish: Satin
Blade Material: 9Cr18MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel
Blade-HRC: 58-59
Blade Length: 4.92 inch (12.50 cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.2 inch (5.08 mm)
Handle Material: Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Handle
Handle Length: 5.51 inch (14.0 cm)
Weight: 8.85 oz
Accessories: Leather Belt Sheath
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturing or material defects
Origin: Made in China
MSRP: $84.99
 

 

The Review

This time around, I will be reviewing Steel Will’s Druid 240. While it was part of their 2015 lineup, this was the blade pattern that really caught my eye. Billed as a skinning knife, it has all of the characteristics of a rugged and versatile outdoor survival blade. So let’s take this thing for a spin…

 

Initial Thoughts

This is the fourth Steel Will knife that I’ve reviewed and I have liked every single one of them. As with all Steel Will packaging, it is superb. To gain access to the blade inside, the inner box slides out from either side of the outer box. The blade itself is covered with a thin cardboard sleeve and fixed to a cardboard support platform with two hook and loop straps to protect the blade during shipping. Below the cardboard platform lies the durable leather belt sheath.

Steel Will Druid 240The Druid 240 is 10.43″ overall with a blade length that is just a little shy of 5″. Most of Steel Will’s Druids have long and slender design patterns, but not this one… The blade actually has some meat to it. The width of the blade at its widest point is almost 1.5″ and weighs a total of 8.85 ounces by itself.

Steel Will originally designed the Druid 240 as a skinning knife. But with its large size, rugged build and broad blade pattern, it is easily capable of heavy bushcraft tasks like batoning, and even some light chopping as well. I felt it was more like a survival or large bushcraft blade than a skinning knife due to its size and weight. However, I do see how the long sweeping edge and broad blade used with a pinch grip would also excel at skinning. This blade pattern has got to be my favorite one of them all from Steel Will… I can’t wait to get it out in the field where I can really see what it can do.

The blade is constructed from a rugged 9Cr18MoV high-carbon stainless steel with a beautiful scratch-resistant brushed satin finish that features a long full-tang design with a sharp 90° spine, a nice drop-point profile with a subtle swedge and recurve, and is factory-sharpened with a high-flat saber grind and polished micro-bevel. The tang extends beyond the end of the handle forming a smooth-surfaced pommel surface that does not interfere with the handling of the knife.

Steel Will Druid 240The 5.5″ black TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) handle is very durable. It has a well-balanced design with a moulded finger guard and an enlarged rear bolster at the end of the handle where there is a metal-lined lanyard hole just big enough to fit some paracord through. For a slip-resistant grip that is extremely comfortable to wield wet or dry, there is an attractive grid pattern molded right into the body of the handle wrapping around the sides and finger area, but smooth along the top edge so there aren’t any hot spots to contend with.

The black leather belt sheath has a simple, but high-quality form-fitted design that is a little over 8.5″ long, leaving a little less than 2.5″ of the handle exposed and accessible. The sheath weighs about 3.14 ounces and features a dangler-style belt loop capable of holding a belt up to 2″ wide and a small drainage hole on the back side.

 

Features

Now for a closer look at the Druid 240 and its features…

The Blade
The Druid 240 is a full-tang fixed-blade survival knife nearly 10.5″ in length, 0.2″ thick and almost 1.5″ at its widest point making it very stout. The blade is made from 9Cr18MoV which is a Chinese stainless steel alloy somewhat comparable to the Japanese AUS-8 and the American 440B alloys. 9Cr18MoV is a high carbon, high chromium stainless steel alloy that is best heat-treated to a hardness somewhere between 58-59 HRC to achieve a good balance between strength, rigidity, edge retention and resistance to wear. At this hardness, the blade is not overly difficult to sharpen and it holds an edge rather well.

Steel Will Druid 240To further enhance the integrity of the tangs used in Steel Will knives, there are no sharp corners or tight radiuses cut into the pattern which tend to create weak points susceptible to stress and fracturing.

High carbon stainless steel alloys are popular for use in knife blades due to its exceptional rust and corrosion resistant properties, and 9Cr18MoV is no different. However, it is important to note that stainless steel alloys containing carbon are only rust and corrosion resistant, and not entirely rust and corrosion proof. Therefore, it is susceptible to various forms of rust and corrosion without proper care and maintenance. If the blade becomes wet, simply dry it thoroughly and lightly coat it with a protective oil from time to time and it will likely last you a lifetime. Please keep in mind that some oils are not food grade and could taint any food processed with it.

The Druid 240 features an attractive drop-point profile with an ever so slight recurved edge and a sleek tapered swedge along the spine from the midpoint of the blade all the way to the tip providing a strong, robust tip ideal for chopping, cutting and prying, but is typically not suitable for piercing tasks. The edge of the blade was factory-sharpened with a high-flat saber grind and polished micro-bevel which is very easy to maintain on a good flat stone or diamond dust sharpeners both in and out of the field, even with the slight recurve.

The blade itself is just under 5″ long from the tip to finger guard with a sharp 90° edge for half length of the spine, perfect for striking against a ferro rod without fear of damaging the edge or the beautiful brushed satin finish. This finish is not only attractive to look at, it also tends to hide minor wear and scratches rather well, keeping the blade looking good much longer.

Steel Will Druid 240
The Handle
The handle is just over 5.5″ long and it is made from a durable black synthetic thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) overmolded onto the Druid 240 and secured with a 1/4″ OD lanyard tube, perfect for securing a paracord lanyard for quick and easy knife retention. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) are sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubber, and made from a comprehensive mixture of plastic and rubber polymers that provide the handle material with the best characteristics of plastic and rubber.

The handle features an attractive grid pattern that wraps from side to side around the handle except for along the top edge to prevent any hot-spots from appearing. The handle also features a pronounced finger guard and rear bolster providing an exceptional slip-resistant grip that is extremely comfortable to wield wet or dry. It also works well with gloves, but they are certainly not necessary with this grip pattern.

The tang protrudes from the end of the handle just beyond the lanyard hole providing a smooth pommel surface for use as a multi-purpose hammer and glass breaker.

Steel Will Druid 240
The Sheath
The Druid 240 comes with a an attractive high-quality black leather dangler-style belt sheath a little over 8.5″ in length leaving only the topmost 2.25″ of the handle exposed and accessible. The high-grade leather is durable and form-fitted to hold the blade securely in place unless you physically draw the blade. The sheath also features a thumb rest for convenient knife extraction, a dangler belt loop that is capable of accepting a belt up to 2″, and a small drainage hole near the bottom of the sheath to allow any unwanted moisture in the sheath to drain out.

Steel Will Druid 240

Functional Testing

So now lets see what the Druid 240 can do… In order to provide a some sort of apples-to-apples comparison between blades, I will be performing five durability and functional tests; Chopping, Batoning, Fine Blade Control, 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.

Chopping
One of the features that I like most about the Druid 240 is the broad blade which inherently gives it more chopping power than other Steel Will knives. As a result, I was certain that the Druid 240 would excel at chopping. To test that theory, I found a section of 1″ manila rope, placed it on a stump top and struck it with the blade. It almost made it all the way through with a factory edge. Just a few strands remained.

Steel Will Druid 240I hacked on the rope a few more times just to see if I could make it all the way through it in one chop, but alas, I was never able to make it all the way through in one shot. I figure I could have easily made it through the rope with a stone and stropped edge.

To further test its ability to chop, I quickly bucked a 4″ pine log into a few pieces that I could later baton into kindling. Unsurprisingly, the Druid 240 made it easy. I repeatedly struck the log at a 45° angle from two perpendicular directions along the cut-line, effectively making a V Notch in the material. This is also known as the kerf. The kerf should equal the diameter of the limb or trunk, and if you are cutting from both sides, the kerf would essentially be half diameter. This works with branches of any size.

The ergonomics and the soft TPE handle material is very shock absorbing which helps a great deal with fatigue, especially with a lot of use. In this case, it only took two cuts to get all the material that I needed. After I was done, I didn’t feel winded whatsoever, and no soreness or fatigue in my arms and hands. Of course it was only two 4″ cuts.

Batoning
The Druid 240 has a blade that is nearly 5″ long. As a result, you wouldn’t typically baton anything larger that 3 or 4 -inches. Since the material that had chopped up was about 4″ in diameter, it was at the upper range of that leaving only 1″ for the baton. I also found a baton about 2″ diameter and 18″ in length, perfect for the test at hand.

Steel Will Druid 240With the size of the blade and material in mind, I was able to half, then quarter the material and further break down the material as I went. At a little over 3/16″ thick, the blade is very stout and didn’t flex or find excessive resistance whatsoever as it made its way through the material. Even through all of the knots and twists that it incurred.

Fine Blade Control
In many past reviews I would often try my hand at some fine bushcraft tasks like making spear tips, tent pegs, and even some various trap triggers. Lately, everyone on YouTube seems to be making spoons these days. I always try to test using consistent processes from product to product as much as possible, but not spend an inordinate amount of time on each test. As a result, I’ve decided to make a Try Stick with each knife in the spirit of those originally made by Mors Kochanski.

Steel Will Druid 240There are no rules for creating a “Try Stick” so they can include many different kinds of notches, and over time I will likely explore some of these as I learn them. But for now, I’ve standardized on the variation close to the one that Mors Kochanski originally made consisting of ten common bushcraft notches; Blunt End, Reduction, Pot Hook Notch, Saddle Notch, Dovetail Notch, Latch Notch, 90° Planes, Bow Notch, V Notch and a Root Stripper.

This was my third review attempting at a “Try Stick”, only this time it is with the larger Druid 240 so I thought that I should also start off with a larger stick as well. To get things started, I took straight piece of oak that was a few inches over a foot long, rounded it to roughly 1/2″ in diameter, keeping it as straight as possible. I often find this part more difficult than many of the notches themselves.

The Druid 240 is much larger than the Druid 265 that I reviewed back in December. I really loved carving with the Druid 265 so I was very interested to see how comfortable the Druid 240 would be to wield and maneuver around the work with the different grips.

Steel Will Druid 240From the first notch to the last, the Druid 240 performed exceptionally well. Certainly on par with the Druid 265. Especially after I choked up on the handle to help offset the additional weight of the broader blade limiting any negative effect it might have on my ability to wield the knife as I whittled the notches around the stick. However, I did come across a hot spot as I whittled away… Over time, my thumb was rubbed raw after using it to leverage against the sharp 90° spine. Using glove or even a finger-wrap would have easily alleviated the raspberry problem so I’m going to put that one on me. I ended up using a piece of black Gorilla Tape on my thumb so I could keep moving forward with the test.

For the second part of this test, I decided to feather a stick as it is probably the most common bushcraft task for testing fine blade control and edge retention. I started with one of the pieces of kindling that I had split earlier while I was batoning. It was a little over 1″ in diameter and about 16″ in length. I started off by taking long strokes down each of the corners, rounding the stick as I went. I was careful not to dig in too much which was somewhat easy due to the blade’s geometry and polished edge. As a result, I was able to achieve some pretty fine curls with the high-flat grind and secondary bevel. After a few short minutes, I had a decent pile of dry tinder ready to light.

Tip Strength
A knife’s ability to stab or pierce without bending or breaking the tip is imperative. To test the tip of the Druid 240, I drove the end of the blade into a 12″ stump and began to pry on the handle like a lever with a side-to-side motion until it popped out of the stump with a chunk of material. I repeated this process a few more times without any sign of bending, breaking, or chipping.

Steel Will Druid 240For the final tip strength test, I tried to bore a hole into the side of a log approximately 8″ in diameter by rotating the blade back and forth as it removed the material. Within a few minutes, I had a hole approximately 1″ deep and 1″ in diameter. Due to the shape of the blade, the tip was really not angled efficiently for this task. But the tip of the Druid 240 was easily rugged enough to perform well anyhow.

Edge Retention
The last test of the bunch was to slice through a single sheet of copy paper with the Druid 240. Did it hold its factory edge? When I began the functional testing, it was certainly not hair-popping sharp. But it was sharp enough to slice a single sheet of paper with the same rigor as it can now. The tests left no visible sign of cracks or chips of any kind, and with a quick wipe of a lightly oiled rag you could hardly tell it had ever been used with the exception of a few minor scratches likely a result of batoning through the logs.

 

Final Thoughts

Steel Will’s Druid 240 is a rugged and well-balanced fixed-blade knife constructed from quality materials, easily capable of most any bushcraft and survival tasks. Yet another great knife from Steel Will, and likely my favorite Steel Will design that I have had the opportunity to review thus far. Though, I would love to find this exact blade pattern in a smaller model like that of the Druid 265 someday. For me, it would be a must-have like this one.

The Druid 240 is exceptionally comfortable to wield, especially for extended periods of time without becoming overly fatigued, and with the weighted blade it chops extremely well. The quality is really very high for a production blade. It features everything that one would expect from a good affordable outdoor blade. Two thumbs up!

 
You can find this and other Steel Will knives here: http://amzn.to/2bv7Joq

 

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 SMG Inc and Steel Will

Steel WillSMG Inc. is an American company established in 2008. They specialize in the production of pneumatic guns under the brand “Gletcher”, as well as tactical and outdoor knives under the brand “Steel Will Knives”. SMG prides themselves on making products with the highest level of performance, quality, and craftsmanship. For more information on their entire line of products, please visit www.smgoutdoor.com.

OUR BRANDS
Gletcher is a brand of pneumatic guns and accessories, established by SMG Inc. Our slogan, “Military Precision”, emphasizes the high level of implementation of our air guns both in function and design. It also reflects the passion it evokes in our customers. In creating the Gletcher brand and products, we tried to fill a void for customers who appreciate firearms but due to cultural and regulatory issues were unable to own these types of items.

We are proud to debut our new brand of knives called “Steel Will”. In creating these beautiful knives, we’ve combined the finest steel with extremely practical and innovative designs. The result is a line of knives that are meant to be used and adored by their owners. Steel Will Knives are produced according to the highest standards of quality, using the most modern methods of production. We have set a high bar for our products and will continue to do so in the future. We are confident that the quality of our knives will meet the requirements of the most discerning buyers.
 


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  • John Lane

    Just discovered the blog and read a couple of reviews (Boker Tool Tech 7 and the Druid 240), and damn you, you made me want buy both knives. Exceptionally well written and in-depth reviews. I’ll be a loyal reader in the future.

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