Friday, January 29, 2010

Grayman Suenami 4

A couple of years ago I was reading in a magazine about a custom knife maker named "Mike". His company is Grayman Knives. The magazine described a knife maker who made knives for hard military, law enforcement and civilian use. I contacted Mike and discussed with him a knife to use for a review. Mike responded and we decided to get a Suenami made for the review.

A little background about Grayman knives before we get into the review... Mike is experienced in combat and has worked around the world with combat personnel both foreign and US military, contractors, and indigenous personnel . When Mike first started making knives he never felt they'd be good enough to sell. Eventually his designs were sold to and marketed by Mercworx. Not completely satisfied with the knives being made by Mercworx, Mike created Grayman knives.

Grayman knives are not pretty knives. They aren't for display and aren't going to win any beauty contests. Grayman knives are tools meant to be used. They're meant not only for cutting, but for digging, chopping, prying, or any other tough task thrown at them. They are functional handmade pieces. No two Grayman knives are exactly the same. Some don't like Grayman knives because they "look" handmade and you can even see some slight flaws where the grinder slipped, two pieces of handle that aren't exact on each side, etc, etc. Those that use Grayman knives as tools however have nothing but good things to say about them.

When I first got the Suenami I was very impressed. On the spine you could see some imperfections from when the knife blank was cut out. I actually like this. It gives the knife that handmade look and you know this is a tool that was made by a person that put effort into it, not some automated machine.

The Suenami was chosen for the review because it was a knife that I felt I could best review due to it being a mid-sized knife.

First I'll talk about the sheath, then get into the knife itself. The knife comes with a nylon handmade sheath. The sheath has a MOLLE strap on the back for use on PALS as well as on the belt. There are also 2 rows of PALS webbing on the front of the sheath to attach additional pouches. The Kydex insert keeps the knife from cutting into the nylon. There are lanyard holes at the top and bottom. The bottom ones double as drain holes as well, which came in handy this past fall when I took a spill in some pretty mucky water. I expected the cutting edge of the blade to rust a little too, but was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. The only thing I'd change on the sheath would be 2 straps on the back. INitially I also thought having the kydex fit to the blade shape as opposed to a generic rectangular shape would be a good improvement at well (for better fit), but then I got thinking that if this was done the blade could only be inserted into the sheath in one direction. the way it is now it doesn't matter which way the blade is inserted.

The Suenami (and all other Grayman knives/tools) is made of 1/4 inch thick 1095 high carbon steel. This steel is chosen for it's strength. With this steel you will want to keep the exposed cutting edge oiled, or at least oil it when moisture is expected. The thickness of the blade really works well in combination with this steel as it makes this knife an extremely tough tool for more than just cutting tasks.

The edge on the knife is the only part exposed, the rest is coated in a black TAC coating that prevents rusting and gives the blade a more tactical look. The edge is double bevel ground and works great. When I got the knife the tip of the blade wasn't as sharp as the rest of the blade and almost seemed dull. At first I was find of disappointed that this area had been overlooked, but when I got thinking of what this blade was meant for I get thinking differently. this blade isn't made for precise cuts using the's more of a tool, and by leaving the tip with less of a grind on it it makes the tip less prone to chipping and breaking. I'm not sure I'd call the entire blade "razor" sharp, but it's pretty darn close.

For a handle there are different options; a smooth Micarta handle, a checkered G10 handle or a alligator skinned texture like the one here. This, again, was hand made and feels awesome in the hand, a perfect fit and a good grip. You'll notice that the new Suenami knives have a lanyard hole for retention.

With the blade of the Suenami 4 being 4 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick it's been perfect for digging, bayoneting smaller pieces of wood and general cutting tasks. It's even small enough for some closer work with the tip, but again, the tip is left slightly thicker (therefor not as sharp) for strength, so for real fine tasks you may leave them for a pocket knife. I've used this knife while camping, hiking and as a backup weapon on my military gear. No, this may not be a perfect fighting knife, due to it's shorter length...but I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of one. As a general purpose knife for military or camping/survival....I think it's great. It's strong, durable and since it's not a display don't mind being rough with it.

In addition, personalized engraving is available and you can always email Mike to request customized features.

When ordering, keep in mind that Grayman knives ships to our military and law enforcement first. They have priority over "civilian" orders, as they should. The men and women who defend our nation, and each other deserve priority! So keep this in mind when ordering.

Grayman knives will also resharpen the knife for you for free...just send it to him, he'll resharpen it for you and send it back.

The warranty - Break it, he'll fix or replace it, don't like it when you get it, send it back for refund...the warranty is on the knife and no matter who it may get passed on to, they can always ship it back to get sharpened or fixed. Pretty good warranty in my opinion!!

Grayman knives have been used all over the world and they're definitely a knife that I like. Again, nothing fancy, but something that is built like a tank!!

Suenami 4 Stats:
Price: $195
4.25"x1.5"x1/4" blade, 8.5" overall
Textured Handle (Add $20)

Suenami 5 Stats:
Price: $215
Smooth Micarta Handle (green or black)
5" x 2" x 1/4" blade, 10.5" overall
Textured G10 Green or Black (Add $20)

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