Bush Craft & Wilderness Survival Articles, Gear Reviews & Videos
Charles May Stump Knife Review
by Keith A. "Bootlegger" Williams
I’d heard of knife maker Charles May for a while but had never seen any of his work in person until a couple of years ago. I was attending a yearly event called PWYP ("Practice What You Preach") in Western NC, when I was privileged to have a look at several of his fine knives. Without exception, the fit and finish was flawless, and each and every one appeared to be a beautifully constructed example of an extremely practical design.
I am not easily impressed, frequently finding many of the blades that I see being sold these days to be impractical, and surprised myself my spending a lot of time around these creations. Of about a dozen of his blades that were on hand, one model in particular felt as if it was just made specifically to fit my hand. This model was called the Stump. It had an overall length of 8”, with a 3 5/16” blade. The one that I was particularly interested in was made of D2 steel and had Black Micarta Slab handles.
More often than not, I find myself drawn to knives on a strictly utilitarian level. How a blade feels and functions is far more important to me than fancy pins, custom handles, mirror polished finishes, or any bells and whistles that might be added to make it more appealing to the masses. I had handled this knife all day trying to make a decision on whether to spend my hard earned cash to buy this knife or another high priced blade that I knew fully well that I did not need, when a photographer and friend of mine named Garrett Lucas approached me and inquired as to whether I had made up my mind or not. It seemed that he had also had his eye on this particular blade, and if I wasn’t going to buy it, he planned to snatch it up before anyone else could. To make a long story short, I let him have it, but the next day, I woke up regretting it, so I purchased the only other one that was present. This model is identical except that it had camel bone scales, mosaic pins, and is constructed of S30V steel. Happy with my purchase, I tucked it away and went on with my busy little life.
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