TBS Sabretooth Folding Lock Knife - Black Micarta
The TBS Sabretooth Folding locking knife is our "tribute" to a knife that was a firm favourite from 20 years ago. We loved it so much then, we made repeated requests to the company to makes batches just for us but they continually refused and discontinued it....
We have decided to resurrect it by making it ourselves but with a few changes, just to make it better, of course!
I used the Prototype Micarta variant exclusively on a week long, wild camping, canoe trip in Sweden and it performed faultlessly. There simply wasn't anything that I decided to change apart except I wanted a linear thumb knick that features on the Badger.
It features a N690co, 90mm (3.5") Stainless Steel Blade that is Sabre Ground (or High Scandi) with a secondary bevel.
Bohlers phenomenal N690co Stainless Knife Steel is a Martensitic chromium steel with cobalt, molybdenum and vanadium added. This steel is especially to make hardened cutting tools with excellent edge-holding properties. It was developed for tools and components which can be hardened to very high hardness levels and great corrosion resistance. When fine ground it produces a wickedly sharp edge and will retain that edge far longer than many other steels available on the market today.
The handle is 115mm (4.5") long and features a very comfortable palm swell and a locking mechanism that not on the back of the knife but on the Butt. to unlock it simply depress the triangle of metal (with the lanyard hole) and the blade will fold. The handles will be available in Curly Birch, Turkish Walnut and Black Micarta and our timbers are from entirely sustainable sources as the trees being used today were planted by the previous generations for timber use. The Walnut, for example, is a brilliant by product of the Walnut farming industry where trees are trimmed and thinned periodically.
There is also various belt pouch options for the Sabretooth that are made in Europe from full grain, veg tanned leather to our exacting designs. This does make the leatherwork a little more expensive but we simply do not want mass produced leather products, from poor quality leather that end up horribly polluting the environments they are made in...
- N690co Stainless Steel - 3mm Thick at the Spine
- 90mm (3.5") length blade
- 115mm (4.5") length handle
- "Sabre" (or high scandi) grind with secondary bevel
- Curly Birch, Turkish Walnut or Black Micarta handles.
- Leather Pouch option
- Linear Thumb Knick
- Lifetime Guarantee against any defect in manufacturing, material and workmanship.
Typical Steel Analysis:
N690co Stainless Steel - Carbon 1.08%, Molybdenum 1.10%, Chromium 17.30%, Silicon 0.40%, Manganese 0.40%, Vanadium 0.10%, Cobalt 1.5%. (HRC 60)
A beautiful reimagining of a classic.
I used a Normark Super Swede in the early noughties daily at work and really enjoyed the design and burly presence of it. This is a reimagining of that classic, in most ways an out and out improvement on the original. I also carry an EKA Swede 9 regularly these days, but the sabretooth will likely be replacing that.
I’d say the sabretooth is a little burlier with a chunkier stock and wider scales. This is really welcome, fills your grip and feels like it would handle anything you throw at it.
The blade is a really decent clip point with a lovely angled swedge tapering along to the tip of the blade. I love the horizontal nail nick which looks much more modern than the traditional slim half moon nail nick of the Normark. I’m not a fan of the Swede 9’s thumb stud, a nick is absolutely consistent with the locking mechanism of the Normark design. The logo and steel details are crisply marked on the blade and the whole thing oozes quality.
Out of the box, the opening is a little stiffer than I’d imagined, but I suspect with a bit of use, this will become smoother. It certainly locks into place accurately with a nice clunk as the mechanism engages. The blade has zero play and feels firm when tested side-to-side. Blade centreing was spot on straight out of the box. Blade sharpness was very good and I’ve seen no issues with the grind so far; I’d be confident I could improve the sharpness with some more work on a finer stone and a strop, but that’s the case with knives several times the price of this too.
The optional pancake sheath for the knife is a high quality item and well worth it if you like to carry a knife on your belt.
I’ve only had a short trip out to the woods to make a brew over a fire. The sabretooth rattled through a small branch to create a feather stick, you could apply loads of downward pressure in the smooth grip. It was really comfy to use, so much better than knives with pocket clips. This is where the sabretooth beats my EKA Swede 9 hands down; the confidence inspiring micarta blowing the Swede 9’s skinny G10 scales out of the water. I also used the spine of the blade to strike a ferro rod, which worked well too.
I miss the rubbery scales of the Normark, but also acknowledge the micarta scales on the s’tooth will last for lifetimes which you couldn’t say for those rubbery ones. I do miss the simplicity of the chunky flat head pivot screw that the Normark sported, you could adjust the pivot tension with a thin coin, whereas the sabretooth would need a small hex wrench. Probably just whimsical as I’ve never actually had to do this in the field and the smaller hex bolts blend into the scales brilliantly.
I really can’t think of many improvements. Aesthetically, I’d prefer a more nature-toned liner to the scales, but that’s just personal preference. I’d like some jimping on the blade spine, but that probably doesn’t suit the classic 20th century style that this is trying to pay homage to.
I think the price is spot on and you get a lot of knife for the money. Bravo TBS!
In my experience there are very few knives that can match the cutting ability of a Stanley knife blade
However on using the TBS, I found that it was a match with a razor shape edge.
The knife in general is a pleasure to hold and use with the build quality set at a high standard.
Would I recommend this knife? Most certainly and to add to this, I will now be purchasing a small version of of the TBS knives that is legal to carry all the time. It’s a great tool to have, and to use.