Holiday Gift Guide: Specialty Knives, Hand Axes & Multi-Tools

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posted on November 26, 2022
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Recently, we posted about a variety of handy folding knives for everyday carry. While small- to mid-size folders can handle a plethora of daily tasks, some jobs call for bigger blades, more specialized tools or even a small hand axe. So, as we head into the holiday season, here are a few more handy tools that will give the outdoor enthusiasts on your shopping list a reason to smile.

WOOX Outdoor Tools

WOOX has built its reputation by successfully blending innovative designs with the warmth of old-school hardwoods, leather and handcrafted features. The company's offerings include high-performance rifle stocks, tomahawks, axes and a variety of fixed-blade and folding knives using components manufactured in the United States and Italy. Shown here is a hand axe and fixed-blade knife pairing that pleases the eyes while getting the job done.

The AX1 (top) hand axe exhibits a blended hand axe and tomahawk-style design. The octagonal Appalachian hickory handle is both durable and comfortable to work with. The tempered carbon-steel head is Cerakoted for improved weather resistance. The AX1 is finished off with a laced leather handle wrap and a tough steel diamond heel set into in the pommel. This axe is available in three color schemes including walnut (shown), phantom black or midnight grey. MSRP: starting at $229

The Woox Rock 62 Walnut knife (bottom) features a full tang, 4.25” drop-point blade formed from Sleipner Steel. This is a next-generation D2 steel that offers improved hardness, toughness and edge retention. The blade is available in mil-spec black (shown) and stonewashed-grey finishes. The knife has an overall length of 9.5”, it weighs 8.7 ozs. and has a lanyard hole at the base of the grip. A total of eight grip scale options are available, including the smooth American walnut scales shown here. The company also offers a snap-retention black leather belt sheath, which is sold separately. MSRP: knives starting at $398, sheaths $79.

Buck Knives 119 Special Pro

The fixed-blade knives made by Buck Knives have been favored for more than a century by hunters, outdoorsmen and my own family. The 119 Special Pro Hunting model features a 6" long clip-point, full-tang blade made from heat-treated S35VN steel. This is a top-end martensitic stainless steel which is high in carbon, vanadium and chromium for a useful balance of toughness, hardness and corrosion resistance.

The handle of this version of the 119 is made from a canvas Micarta. This material gives the handle a grippy feel that is enhanced with subtle finger grooves. The highly polished aluminum guard and pommel add good looks and function while keeping the handle light and well-balanced. The black leather sheath has an extra wide snap-retention strap. Like other Buck knives, the 119 Special Pro ships with the company's forever warranty. MSRP: $205.

SOG Pentagon FX Combat Knives

The Studies & Observations Group (SOG) has developed the Pentagon FX series of dual-edge, fixed-blade knives as durable, hard-use options for many applications.

The Pentagon FX Professional (r.) is the full-size version of this design with a full-tang 4.77" blade formed from American-made CRYO CPM S35VN steel. This type of steel features niobium and vanadium carbides for a high degree of toughness and wear-resistance. With an overall length of 9.93", the entire blade and handle are treated with a matte-black titanium-nitride coating. The textured G10 grip scales are removable to give the knife an even slimmer profile. The Professional arrives with an adjustable tension GRN sheath that employs a universal mount system with all of the components needed for a variety of fits. MSRP: $250.

The Pentagon FX Covert (l.) is a smaller version of this dual-edge, full-tang design reminiscent of a boot knife. With a blade length of 3.41" and an overall length of 7.52", this knife is made with the same steel, finish and removable grip scales as the larger Professional version. However, the Covert ships with a simplified minimalist GRN sheath with only a removable UMS-compatible steel belt clip. MSRP: $190.

Real Avid AR-15 Multi-Tools

Sometimes when you need to work on a semi-automatic rifle at a shooting range, or in the field, a typical folding multi-tool may not be enough to get the job done. This is why Real Avid offers an affordably priced series of multi-tools specialized for servicing firearms. Shown here are two offerings geared towards the popular AR-15 platform.

The AR-15 AMP Gun Tool could best be described as a hand-held tool box which separates into two major components. The pocket knife (l.) is outfitted with several folding tools treated with titanium and black-oxide finishes. The tools include a locking 2.6″ Tanto-style knife blade, takedown punch and a variety of scrapers for carbon build-up removal. The holster (center) features a bit driver, a nine-function bit set and a MOLLE-compatible belt clip. MSRP: $70.

AR-15 Core Gun Tool is a sleek, compact-size multi-tool that weighs just 5.5 ozs. It has a no-snag profile that allows it to comfortably slip into a range bag or front jeans pocket. Despite its small size, it sports a variety of functions, including bolt, BCG and firing-pin scrapers, a bolt override, bottle opener, cord cutter and scope-turret adjuster. The twist-off, four-prong front sight adjustment tool can also be used like a carabiner loop to secure the Core Tool to MOLLE straps. MSRP: $40.

Spyderco HatchetHawk & Bow River Knife

Spyderco is constantly seeking out innovative tool designers to contribute to its product catalog. The Genzow HatchetHawk (below) designed by the German historian and outdoorsman Martin Genzow, is a flexible utility hand axe unlike anything else on the market. It draws from classic bearded axe, Francesca Frankish axe and tomahawk design influences. The HatchetHawk’s 5160 tool steel head is drop-forged, heat-treated and hand-finished to ensure top-notch performance. The 6.14" blade's bearded profile and slightly canted edge provide a longer working edge for chopping or more detailed cutting. The hammer poll is ideal for focused impact work and contributes to the HatchetHawk's well-balanced feel.

The handle consists of polypropylene plastic injection-molded over an aluminum core. This makes the handle lightweight, weather-resistant and durable and gives this axe an overall length of
15.82". This handle has an oval cross section with a contoured shape designed to provide maximum energy transfer and control. The HatchetHawk ships with a handmade leather sheath that features a snap-fastened leather strap and belt loop. MSRP: $420

Although Spyderco's folding knives often steal the spotlight, the company offers several fixed-blade knives as well. An affordably priced traveling companion for walks in the woods is the Bow River knife (above). Designed by avid hunter, fisherman and custom knife maker Phil Wilson, the full-tang 4.36" trailing-point blade is made of polished 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The handle features nicely rounded black-and-white G10 scales, secured to the handle using polished stainless steel pins, and a lanyard hole. The Bow River ships with a riveted-and-stitched black leather belt sheath. MSRP: $66.

Civivi Kepler Knife

All too often, it seems like the larger fixed-blade knives have oversized handles to go with them. It's as if the knife designers think only linebackers and grizzly bears would want to enjoy the advantages provided by a longer working edge. So the first thing that caught my attention when I picked up the Civivi Kepler for the first time was the slim shape of the full-tang grip and its G10 scales. A deep finger groove at the front of the grip enhances this knife's comfortable feel.

Designed by Maciej Torbé, the satin-finished, flat-ground 4.48" drop-point blade is formed from 9CR18Mov steel. This is a top-grade Chinese stainless steel that offers high corrosion resistance with a blade hardness of 58-60 HRC. The Kepler is available with OD green (shown), black or tan grip scales. Each knife ships with a black Kydex sheath, a T-Clip belt clip for the sheath and a black paracord lanyard. MSRP: $100.

Cold Steel XL Folders

The Cold Steel Voyager series of folding knives includes various blade shapes, blade sizes and a choice of plain or serrated edges. The largest models of the series bear the XL designation. Shown here are the recurve plain-edge Vaquero blade (bottom) and the more outdoor-friendly plain edge clip-point blade (below). The 5.5" blades are made from Japanese AUS10A, a high-carbon stainless steel known for its toughness, hardness and easy sharpening. The company's Tri-Ad locking mechanism keeps the blade firmly locked in place when open. The signature curved and textured Griv-Ex polymer handles are reinforced using heat-treated 6061 aluminum liners. The small spring-steel pocket clip is reversible. MSRP: $120.

Since this is a gift guide, I thought we should include at least one product that would make the collectors of unusual and exotic knives grin. That's why the Cold Steel 6" blade Ti-Lite Kris is here (center). Some knife designs are not about utility per se, but it’s the cool factor that makes them an attractive collector's item. And Phil Boguszewski's Ti-Lite is cool from stem to stern. This knife's styling is inspired by the Italian stiletto switchblades that became popular in the 1950s. The AUS 10A stainless steel is held in place by a stainless-steel leaf spring lock. The Kris-style blade is available in 4" or 6" lengths (shown) with plain or serrated edges. The handles are made of round-port ventilated flat dark earth Griv-Ex polymer. MSRP: $110.

Spyderco's Tri-Angle Sharpmaker

Perhaps the best gift for your outdoor enthusiast isn’t another knife but a professional-grade system for keeping their blades nice and sharp. Spyderco’s Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, which has been a steady seller for more than 40 years, is designed to take the guesswork out of maintaining a consistent angle when drawing a blade's edge across the sharpening stone. The durable ABS plastic base features molded-in ports which secure the sharpeners at 30 degrees (15 degrees per side) or 40 degrees (20 degrees per side). Simply hold the knife blade in a vertical position and draw the edge along each stone.

The Sharpmaker system ships with two sets of alumina ceramic stone rods (medium-grit and fine-grit) and a pair of aluminum safety rods to protect one’s hands from unintentional slips while sharpening. The components can all be conveniently stowed inside the plastic base and each Sharpmaker arrives with a detailed instruction book and DVD to guide new users through the process. This system can be used to sharpen knives, scissors, awls and a variety of other tools. MSRP: $115.

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