I have long been on the prowl for the perfect knife. If a knife is made from cheap steel or isn’t full tang, it’s not on my radar. I’ve tried cleaning enough game with dull knives to make two men crazy. In my search, Bark River knives have come close. With a convex grind, hard tool steel, and excellent balance, they’re hard to beat.
by J. Bridger, contributing writer
Looking at Half Face Blades
Still, I wasn’t completely satisfied. I knew what I wanted, and found the perfect design and maker, but gave up hope after 18 months of setbacks and missed deadlines. Then I stumbled onto Half Face Blades (HFB). HFB was founded by former NSW operator Andrew Arrabito. They make fighting knives, kitchen knives, tomahawks, and a couple other remarkably interesting tools.
Their products are not cheap, but they are unique. I would describe them as utilitarian, with curious native American-esque undertones. They say there is nothing new under the sun, but HFB has done an outstanding job securing their brand.
One of their more popular designs, the Crow Scout, caught my attention. I decided on a basic (more affordable) G10 handle. The knife came wrapped in paper and in a high-end box. They sent a small set of care instructions, a sticker, and a small bottle of oil, which I appreciated.
High-End Steel Construction
The Crow Scout is made from 0.12” thick (about 1/8”) S35V steel, and rates HRC 60. S35V is a high-quality steel made by Crucible. It can be found in knives from Zero Tolerance and Spyderco. S35V steel is an improvement over S30V, with better ease of sharpening. It retains an edge well, it is tough, and it resists corrosion (it is 14% chromium, making it a stainless steel).
The full tang blade is 5” long, and the knife is 10” overall. It is finished with black cerakote and looks very nice. It is not a small knife, but falls right in that sweet spot for bushcraft, utility, fighting, and processing game. There is almost 2” of jimping on the spine of the knife.
It is aggressive, but not sharp. It allows you to place your thumb on the back of the blade for a little more control. The handle sports deep grooves for grip. It is much more comfortable than it looks. This is the basic model.
HFB offers some very cool scales made of ironwood, burlwood, koa wood, turquoise, carbon fiber, micarta, giraffe bone, gold web, maple, and more. One of the features I like most about this knife is the exposed tang with a 3/8” lanyard hole. This is good for hammering, prying, and cracking skulls.
Crow Scout Knife Sheath
It isn’t uncommon for a knife sheath to feel as though it was designed as an afterthought, like it was thrown together at the last moment with no shame. This knife’s sheath is the exact opposite of that. This came with a steel clip that is perfect for in the waistband carry. I like it more than the traditional belt loop attachment. I can carry it comfortably at 2 o’clock IWB, or I can carry it inside my belt OWB at 4-5 o’clock. I can also carry it on my Mystery Ranch Scree’s hip belt.
I was pleasantly surprised at this new attachment method. You can move the clip to the opposite side if you’re a southpaw. There is no retention other than friction, which I like.
I carried this for 50 miles through some pretty rough country in Escalante, and it never came loose. There is a drain hole at the bottom, but the most notable feature is the felt lining. The kydex is lined with black felt and produces almost no sound when the knife is drawn or replaced. This gives us a subtle insight into the designer’s warrior mindset and background. Very bad ass.
Crow Scout Knife Conclusion
This knife is a joy to use and to carry. It throws sparks from my ferro rod and feels well-balanced. It’s such a well-made and expensive tool, it feels like I should be admiring it more than using it. The blade is razor sharp out of the box, and after months of light work, I still haven’t needed to sharpen it. This is a hard use knife, no doubt about it. You can use this knife for decades and pass it down to your children.
Do you have experience with Half Face Blades? Let us know in the comments.