Sean O’Hare has been making custom knives since 2001, and he began doing it full-time in 2009. He hails from Canada and he is also a very skilled photographer. Sean makes fixed blade knives, including drop point hunters and tactical tantos, as well as folding knives, including flippers.
If you’re into knives, you owe it to yourself to look him up on the ‘net and check out his knife creations. They are utterly beautiful, both in form and function. Some of his knives are very dressy and ornate, while others are simply well-executed and practical. One thing is for certain–he makes something for every taste that’s out there.
The fit and finish of his knives are extraordinary, whether we’re looking at the dressier knives or the knives intended for more hard, practical use. It seems he prefers G10, stabilized woods, and Micarta for handle material on his fixed blades. He uses the stock removal method.
I have an example of one of his knives that I’ve owned for quite some time: over ten years. It is the Badger model, which falls under the tactical class of knives, although it could certainly be used for a host of duties, including Bushcraft/Survival, defense, or hunting.
The blade of the Badger is made from CPM 154CM steel and is approximately 4 ½ inches long, although the choil adds a bit of length (I did not count the choil portion as part of the blade). Blade configuration is of the drop point variety. The blade stock is somewhat thick and stout, but the flat grind lends this blade as an excellent slicer.
The CPM 154CM steel is not the latest, greatest wonder-steel, but it is a solid performer that’s been around for quite a while. Its virtue is that it is fairly easy to sharpen and it holds an edge for a respectable length of time under use. I’ve been completely satisfied with it.
There is a guard built into the knife in front of the handle to keep the hand from sliding up onto the cutting edge. In front of that is the aforementioned choil, which is useful in the event the user wants to choke up on the knife for added control during finer cutting chores. The handle of the Badger is full tang and it has a triangular striking pommel at the butt of the handle, complete with lanyard hole and jimping. The edges of the pommel were sharp and tended to abrade my side when I carried the knife, so I took a diamond stone to them and rounded off the edges ever so slightly, fixing that issue. It would still be very effective as a striking surface.
Three mosaic pins go all the way through to hold the handle on, securing the scales solidly. The handle is made from dark green canvas micarta that is smooth, and yet it provides enough traction for a positive purchase. It allows the hand to slide around enough that it reduces friction and eliminates “hot spots” when chopping with the knife so that there is no discomfort to the user.
At the same time, the knife is not likely to slip out of the hand during use. Sean really got this aspect spot on! In addition, the shape of the handle fits wonderfully into the hand, filling the hand well but not being so large as to be uncomfortable. Several people have tried the knife and, despite having various sized hands, each remarked that it felt as though the knife had been made just for them.
The jimping on the spine of the blade, where the thumb is placed, does a perfect job of anchoring the thumb to that spot while not being overly abrasive to the skin.
In the hand, this knife has the most “lively” feel of any fixed blade I’ve ever handled. Not to sound corny, but it almost strikes me as “magical”, in that the balance, weight, and configuration become a perfect extension of my hand when gripped. The weight of the knife is 6.2 ounces, and I’m sure the low weight contributes to the liveliness in the hand. The balance point is right where the handle ends and the guard begins, making the balance perfect. Sean really did his homework on this point, and the finished product reflects that.
The finish of the metal appears to be hand-rubbed satin, which gives a pleasing appearance. The overall fit and finish of this knife are outstanding.
Fixed Blade Performance
For years now, this has been my go-to fixed blade when I’m venturing into the outdoors and decide that I’d like to have a fixed blade with me. I would feel very comfortable using this knife for camp chores or any other woodland tasks such as building a shelter.
Beyond that, I look at this blade as a serious defensive tool if it ever came to that. Let’s face it, if we ever have to use a knife to defend ourselves, we’re having an exceedingly bad day, but it is what it is and I like to be prepared for all eventualities. And these days, one never knows what sort of misadventures might rear their ugly head.
Knives never run out of ammo, if you know what I mean. And they’re rather silent in operation. This particular knife would work great for defense, given its light weight and nimbleness in the hand.
The Badger is not huge, nor is it small, by any means. I’d call it slightly larger than medium-sized. It’s not something I conceal on my person when going about my daily travels. But for hiking and the like, it is just what the doctor ordered.
A word about the sheath: it is simple and excellent. Period. It consists of a single piece of Kydex folded over and secured with rivets that allow cordage to pass through them in the event you want to lash it to a piece of your kit.
It has a belt clip that slips over your belt and hooks over it so that when you draw the knife, the sheath will not follow (see the photos, my description may not be the best here). It can be donned or removed very quickly and easily, yet remains secure when it’s on your belt. Tension retains the Badger in the sheath until it is drawn out.
How does it cut?
Fabulous! Light wood cutting, chopping small branches, slicing through paracord, and a myriad of other tasks, it passes with flying colors. It’s not a blade that I use regularly; I have smaller folding knives that are my workhorses. Rather, the comfort that this blade provides simply by being there on my side is what makes it golden, because I know it will perform and it’s dependable when needed.
On top of all of what I listed above…this knife is simply a work of art. There’s no other way to put it, it just looks awesome on top of being a totally functional piece of gear. Sean O’Hare is a real artist when it comes to crafting sharp, pointy things.
If you haven’t checked out his cutlery, jump on the internet and look him up. Be aware, though, his knives are very much in demand, so it’s not certain if he will have inventory lying around ready to go out the door. There may be a bit of a wait, but I can personally tell you, it is worth it! There’s just something about holding a hand-made tool like this in your hand that gives a feeling of satisfaction.
These days, his fixed blade knives seem to be in the $425-$450 price range, but don’t quote me on that. Check ‘em out, you won’t regret it!