Dawson Knives was started over 40 years ago by legendary knife maker Barry Dawson. Barry has not only continued to perfect his craft over the years, but also passed his knowledge down to his nephews and nieces and his grandnephews and grandnieces. As a result, Dawson has grown into a three-generation, family-run business that produces some of the most functional hard-use knives in the industry.
Working on my own knife project with Dawson Knives (the Kalanu Fighter) has given me the opportunity to see first-hand the quality of craftsmanship that goes into their knives, as well as the number of satisfied and loyal repeat customers that Dawson has. I have talked to more than a few customers that have told me they owned more Dawson knives than they could number.
In this third Dawson Knife review (with many more to come) I will discuss some of the qualities that make their Pocket Knife one of their best selling and most widely used knives. I will also demonstrate just how tough and versatile this little piece of steel is.
The Pocket Knife is constructed out of 1/8” 52100 high carbon alloy steel hardened to RC 60 on the edge and RC 53-55 on the back. This 7 ¼” knife has a hollow-ground 3 ¼” drop-point blade, making it a great little multipurpose design. It has a pommel design that will allow it to double as a flat-head screwdriver for making field adjustments, and a wire notch behind the bevel for bending wire. The entire knife is coated in Cerakote™ and is finished off with Micarta handle scales (other materials are available as well).
I started with a basic hardness test which entailed stabbing the tip of the knife into a 2x4 and then levering it out. The tip held up like a champ and experienced no bending, folding, or breaking—a sign of good heat treating. I then took that same 2x4 and began whittling away with the Pocket Knife to get some good use out of the blade and test it for its edge retention capabilities.
After a good amount of cutting at the wood, I was still able to slice off pieces of paper during a paper cutting test. I figured it was time to turn up the heat a little, so I grabbed a rubber mallet and hammered the Pocket Knife through a 2x4, splitting the board in the vise. I then repeated the test and went through two stacked 2x4s. I repeated this process a few more times because I forgot to start the video camera and had to replicate the test to get it on video.
I really had no intention of trying to baton with this knife due to its small size. That’s really not what a general purpose knife this size is intended for, but since it proved to be so tough, I figured I might as well give it a shot. As to be expected, trying to baton through a two-inch piece of mesquite with a blade just over three inches long was not very efficient, but it did prove that this little knife could take a beating.
One of my favorite features of this knife is actually the Kydex sheath. Dawson has created a unique sheath that slides inside the pocket and clips in a manner similar to a tactical folder. What you end up with is a full-tang knife that can be carried as conveniently as a folding knife. Just be prepared to have a lot of people stop you to ask, “where did you get that knife?” I carried the Pocket Knife every day for over a month prior to completing this review and received a lot of compliments on it.
So, if you are looking for a high-quality general purpose knife, I highly recommend the Dawson Pocket Knife. This knife can be purchased directly from Dawson Knives at www.dawsonknives.com for $215.00. If you are a returning Dawson Knives customer, then you can expect a much lower price. Dawson also offers a lifetime guarantee on all of their knives, which includes sharpening and reconditioning at no charge to the customer.
You can click the link here to go directly to the Pocket Knife at the Dawson Online Store. Be sure to follow Dawson on Instagram and Like them on Facebook. If you are looking for a quality sharpener for your knife, I recommend the Wicked Edge sharpener. I use this sharpener almost exclusively and cannot recommend a better sharpener. (I used the A.5 Top Level setting for the Dawson Pocket Knife.) I will also be reviewing the Wicked Edge Generation 3 Pro system in the very near future, so keep your eye out for that.
Watch the Video
Photo Credits: Chad McBroom