Commonly known as spring steel, 5160 has excellent shock absorbing properties making it resilient to shattering and extremely durable as a knife steel. We harden to 57-58 Rc to maximize its performance.
This blade is full bellied with a strong, thick point for heavier tasks. It can also be used as a general work knife. The top of the blade drops down toward the tip, which minimizes accidental puncturing while skinning. The drop point blade is strong and very versatile.
Love this Hood Thug knife. It feels very good in the hand, is balanced well, and just feels well made. It's such a perfect length for a large knife. Although I am still a skeptic of high carbon steel, like in this blade, and some heavy chopping of wood unfortunately led to the steel breaking in half in two places in the handle, (there is thin metal in the tang and I believe it was defective), I was told to send it in by a gentleman that I spoke with on the phone from Buck Knives Warranty. I sent the knife in with their turnaround time of 4+ weeks hoping it would be a little sooner. I knew I would not have it before the next camping trip. Well it turned out someone on the phone was listening when I told them my story. Their Warranty Department, without my knowing, rushed out my replacement the same day they received it. Plus they sent it like almost next day air or something, it was delivered back to me so soon that I had thought they had refused my shipment and had the carrier send it back to me. A brand new knife is what I got and I was impressed. Thanks Buck for doing such a rapid replacement with no questions asked. -Dan
First off the name is just stupid, what this line's nomenclature has to do with woodscraft escapes me. That aside I find the Thug to be an impressive knife. The weight forward design lends to chopping and hacking yet with the included finger choil you can choke up on the blade for better cutting control or shaving control. The ridges on the blade spine and handle facilitate grip as well. The handle itself is ok, it could use some swell in the design versus the flat scales. This set back can be improved upon with para cord wrap or use of gloves. The sheath is just fine, I prefer a form fitted kydex sheath like Cold Steel offers on their large knives of similar type but with some modification the sheath works for me. Mine is a true woods knife, not a tactical mutant nazi zombie slayer. I don't care about fast acquisition. The front pocket is too small for my uses so as I said the mods I made allow the sheath to work fine for me. I have owned and used Buck knives for over 30 years. I have always been pleased. This knife is a great addition to Buck's future in the knife market. My search to find a heavier knife led me to settle on the Ka-Bar BK line or this one. Either would meet my needs. Having handled both the weight forward design won me over along with the finger choil.
This turned out to be an excellent knife. I had been looking are reviews both on Amazon and Youtube about using this for "Bushcraft" and was intrigued by its resemblance to a small Khukuri (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukri). It is a very large knife and might not be easy for some folks to use for detailed work, but that is not to say that it cannot be done. I have seen chefs in Japan prepare very intricate presentations with knives a lot longer - it is just a matter of slow practice. Anyway, I had been using a bolo machete (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machete) for most tasks up to now (which makes sense spending so much time in Asia/Pacific), but machetes are designed for resilience in hacking and tend to be a bit too thin and springy for much else (which I guess is good for swinging around, as the forward CG and light weight reduce fatigue), so it can be necessary to have a belt knife and a small whittling knife with you for other tasks if you are out more than a day. I have never had much of a problem with this, as the other tools are always welcome - but it does mean more to carry. I bought the 'Thug' (which I call the "Buck 070" because the name 'Thug' sounds unnecessarily belligerent to me) after deciding that the Buck Hoodlum (http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Knives-Hoodlum-Survival-Sheath/dp/B004VS05E8) design was ridiculous, potentially fragile, and too heavy for the amount of usable edge you get - not even mentioning the cost (remember, machete user here). I wanted to try a tool that could do some of the machete's work but be stiff, sharp, and 'small' enough to be used for a variety of other things with precision that is a bit harder to achieve with long, springy blades. I was not disappointed by this purchase in the least, but I have made a few notes for potential buyers out there now that I have had it with me for a while and used it in a few different ways: 1. Hollow grind. I hear this is a big deal for some folks; so much so that Buck has apparently released new models with a flat grind. I imagine something like that would be quite a beast - but let me say that while a hollow grind does technically reduce the amount of steel in line with the edge (thus technically reducing potential strength) we have to remember what this thing is made of: the same steel as automotive shock absorbers. If a person can break this tool with the strength of their arm, it will be due to a flaw in manufacture or an extreme user error (like trying to pry open manhole covers), not because it is hollow-ground. In fact, this type of grind (at least near the handle) can help with shearing cuts and is very easy geometry to maintain in terms of edge retention. Remember that this is a knife, not an axe, hammer, or crowbar - it can do a lot of those things, but only at the risk of eventual breakage. That's just bush-knives in general. 2. Recurve edge. I liked this from the moment I first saw it. The Khukuri is an amazing tool primarily because of the belly it can embed into material with a chop and this same belly adds good edge geometry for slicing and shearing as well. The curve closer to the handle lends itself well to carving notches and sharpening stakes, since it tends to keep the subject in one place rather than slipping off the tip as one works forward with a cut. The bolo and larger 'butcher' knives can manage this as well as a function of their length or tip-heavy balance, but this knife is balanced near the finger choil and uses the shape of the edge instead. This edge looks difficult to sharpen, but it is not as bad as one might think. The blade is 7 inches long and the curve is very gentle, most small stones will work if care is applied to the process. I use a cylindrical diamond 'stone' and have no issues in the rare cases the knife has needed a touch-up. Stropping with a thick leather belt is about all you'll need most of the time. 3. Chopping. Knives are not made for chopping, though they can chop if necessary. To clarify, anything with an edge can be used to chop - it is more a matter of how a person is affected by using certain tools to chop. Hatchets and machetes chop all day and the khukuri (which obviously influenced the 070's design) chops very well, but these are all blade-heavy tools and have designs that manage impact shock and swing momentum efficiently. Knives like the KA-BAR (http://www.amazon.com/KA-BAR-Marine-Corps-Fighting-Straight/dp/B001H53Q6M/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1433802285&sr=1-1&keywords=ka-bar), the Thug, and other heavy, but centrally-balanced edged tools tend to require a lot more swing velocity and transfer a lot more impact shock into your hand when chopping. This makes them fine for a little wrist-action chopping, but they are not meant to fell trees or process large timber. Use an axe or a saw for lumber-jacking. That said, the 070 chops well and the shape of the blade lends itself to very deep bites into softer woods - it might be able to keep up with a very small/lightweight hatchet, but you'd wear yourself out. 4. Battoning - This is an addendum to the chopping note above: The knife batons nicely and the shape of the blade caused the knife to crawl through wood with surprising ease. Green wood offers very little resistance and it is capable of working through knots with equal ease. One must always be safe while battoning a knife, since the process reduces control of the edge - always take your time and reposition as need be. Early on, I used a combination of chopping and battoning to field-fab a rough maul from some hardwood, then used the maul to baton the knife through some similar-sized wood for kindling and such (mostly just practice, so I would be used to the knife's natural tendencies before depending on it in the field. I must say that I have been pretty impressed with the 070's ability to split wood - it is just about the right length for that. As I said, machete's are a bit flimsy for that kind of thing and I have no plans to try it with my multi-tool, so that's a plus for the new tool. 5. Edge usage. I think some Bushcraft bros may have some preconceptions about the design of the knife being like a military entry tool. The end of the blade is not the part one wants to use for hacking and slashing; that is the part you need to try to protect if you can, since that is the 'scalpel' for detailed work or processing fish or game. This knife is very big when it comes to game and one might find it helpful to hold the ridge of the blade and orient the index finger with the tip in what one might call a 'sharp finger grip'. It will get your hand messy, but it offers unmatched edge control and your finger will keep the point from punching holes in the animal's guts or muscles while getting the skin off. I usually have a pair of gloves, so I protect my fingers, since a sharp-finger grip on a 7-inch blade means none of your hand is on the handle - always try to be safe. It's better to have a dedicated surgery-sharp skinner for skinning (but the 070 can technically be used for it and is no slouch in the edge department). Anyway, the edge closest to the handle is the place you want to be carving and doing woodwork. You'll have a lot better control of the knife and whatever you are working on. In addition to this, the part nearest the handle is the strongest part of the blade, so you can ramp up the pressure as needed with no fear of slipping or breaking the blade. Wood offers far more resistance than flesh, so this makes sense. Lastly, the area where the curve turns convex into the belly near the center of the edged area of the blade is the sweet-spot for any light chopping that needs doing. Hitting on the handle-ward side of the belly is going to keep the wrist aligned and hit the material at a slight angle (like the edge of a guillotine blade). If one takes a look at axes and hatchets, one will see the similarity in the orientation of many hatchet blade/handles and that of the sweet-spot on the 070's blade. In all, the recurve is the selling point here; it offers a great deal of versatility to the edge without making it so long that it becomes an obese bolo machete instead of a balanced bush knife. 6. Handle. I have seen the handle receive a lot of mixed feedback, but in my experience, this is mostly derived from the preferences of the individual users. If the scales were made of cheap wood, they would be roughly the same as the long-knives used throughout most of the equatorial regions of the world. The 'flat sides' or 'rough edges' did not seem to cause me any discomfort. Far from it - intact, the Micarta handles were a plush dream compared to what I was used to using. I suppose one could sand them down and make them rounder, but I have found that a little blockiness helps with edge awareness. A round handle has a tendency to seek its place in the hand and may twist. That's not such a big deal with a small knife, but the bigger the blade gets, the more of an issue that can be. I'm guessing some folks get blisters from the handles on this series - this is probably because Micarta is a pretty grippy substance and seems to be more so when saturated with sweat. It may sound simplistic, but I use gloves for anything that's going to take a while. The scales themselves are removable and some have suggested storing things inside cavities in the tang or removing the handles for lashing the blade to a pole for a spear. At the risk of running off on yet another tangent, neither idea is very good. First, the handles are attached with Loc-Tite-secured flathead bolts. You need a screwdriver to get them off, so anything stored in the handle will be trapped there is you lose your ability to drive those screws - just put your fish hooks into a pillbox and use the knife as a knife. As for using it as a spearhead, it is anathema to me to put my most important field tool at risk of loss or unnecessary damage for use as a spearhead, when I can use it as a knife and sharpen unlimited numbers of spears, stakes, traps, etc. Using it as a spearhead is technically a feature of any knife - but so is the ability to use it as a tent stake or a sinker for a fishing line - knife is knife: use knife as knife. Lastly, there appears to be some importance to the gasket material between the handle scales and the tang. It is said to be for shock reduction. As I mentioned earlier in the review, shock is not really a huge consideration unless you are chopping - which is not a knife's main job. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's there - but I do not think it really does anything other than keep the handle secure to the tang under the pressure of the two bolts holding the handle together. Gimmicks are fine, just don't let them be the reason you buy anything. :-P 7. Lanyard hole. It's a large opening. I like this. It might seem like a small thing, but a big lanyard hole lets me use a cow hitch for my 550-cord lanyard. Tying it this way allows me some flexibility in the use of the lanyard, but I won't get into that here - for the sake of simplicity, the cow hitch just lets me take the lanyard off very easily in case it gets in the way or I need the cord for something else. in addition, the large hole allows greater variety of cords to be used in a pinch. Since I use the lanyard as a tertiary retention method in conjunction with the clip buckle on the sheath (more on that in a second), this feature is one I appreciate. 8. Finger choil and ridge jimping. I initially thought this was a thing added after the fact to give the knife a more 'tacti-cool' silhouette (it sells knives, let’s be honest). Few traditional large knives from way back exhibit these features and since the trappers and such in the old days lived off their knives, these features might arguably be considered extra. It was not until I did some detailed carving with the knife that I realized they do actually have some use. They allow the hand to get right at the edge of the blade for added strength and control. My only comment on the ridge jimping is that the hump in the back may be a bid excessive. The hump sometimes gets in the way and I can only really see it as being useful for edge control in a situation where a stab might be needed. I have not needed to stab anything with this knife since the day it arrived, so I have no comments there. I have hunted hogs with a knife in the past, but this does not strike me as an ideal pig-sticker (though it's more than big and sharp enough to do the job in a pinch). If the hump were a bit less aggressive, this thumb-control for poking things might be lost, but it might be more comfortable for carving. 9. Coating. Get ready - that biz comes right off. Don't take it the wrong way, it is probably one of the strongest coatings I have ever seen and it is apparently applied in several coats, but wood is hard and (depending upon the frequency of use) it will erode off the hot spots in time. I actually thought about just taking a solvent and removing all of the coating from the blade (leaving it on the tang to reduce maintenance of the handle portion), but thought better of it. Some coating is better than none for oxidation prevention. I know that there are some that would disagree about leaving the coating and I get why, but this is a utilitarian decision based upon my climate and general use. I'll not be throwing sparks from this blade if I can prevent it - but if I have to, I'll scrape the coating off. For now, I'll leave as much of the coating on as I can, knowing that it's not a permanent feature. I'll add here as a good neighbor: clean the blade after use and apply a thin coat of olive oil. It's stable, protective, does not react with plastics, and it's non-toxic (think food preparation). Anywhere that there is no coating on this blade (including the edge) will rust over time - keep it clean. 10. Sheath. Feels like I have been on this review all night, but I from what I have read on Amazon and elsewhere, the public needs some of this info. This is not a back-yard crash-test, so I'm going with what I have come up with over time. Now the sheath (despite the nylon sheath haters out there) is probably one of the better nylon sheaths I have received with a production knife. I am more a fan of the leather/kydex hybrid myself, but not wanting to shell out more money for a knife I had not gotten to know at the time, I decided to make regular use of the sheath that the 070 came with. A. Molle. The sheath is molle-compatible for those who just absolutely have to have that, but since it is pretty big, I have been carrying it edge-up in a scout carry configuration that I effected by simply looping 550 cord through the grommets at either end of the sheath. This holds the whole thing horizontal just below my belt and gives it a little freedom, since the knife and I are not the same shape. It also lets it rest just below my backpack, so I have the benefits of it being out of my way, but still attached to my body. B. Hip Carry. It will support the traditional hip-carry method off a belt (of course) but it's a big knife and rides a bit high. This can cause issues from time to time, especially if there is a lot of climbing or squatting going on - this is the same reason I generally do not tie a long sheath to my thigh. C. Extra 550 cord. It came with a length of 550 cord tied to the bottom of the sheath, which I just removed and put into my bag of cords. D. Hard Liner. The sheath has a hard-liner made of plastic (hopefully something study like Kydex; hard to tell) which is actually a nice addition to any nylon sheath, as a large knife will always find a way to chew through a nylon sheath, given enough time. The liner is neutral, so it will support the knife being oriented in either direction - but this was probably more manufacturing efficiency than forethought, since the snap-button retaining loop is offset for the curved knife's curved handle. C. Primary Retention Method. The snap-button retention strap is pretty sturdy and is stitched to the sheath body rather than riveted. I have found stitching to last longer, since the rigid grommets can sometimes pull through the fabric and allow parts to simply fall off. That said, I have my own opinions of snap buttons for retention methods in general; I have a great Air Force Survival Knife (http://www.amazon.com/Ontario-Force-Survival-Knife-Black/dp/B001CZDQPI) that was made by Camilus back in the day and I love it, but the snap button eventually failed and I was forced to use boot lace tied in a cute little bow until I could find a new sheath. Snap buttons are faster than old-fashioned toggles and more secure (and quieter) than Velcro, but once on gets used to how a Kydex sheath retains a knife, it’s hard to appreciate anything else. D. Secondary Retention Method. With that in mind, I noted the amusing secondary retention method tied through the center pair of grommets with a lanyard tightener. It's a good idea for long hikes or packing the thing for travel, but not useful as a retention method during use of the tool in the field. The blade will make a mess of that 550 cord in short order unless one takes special care to keep it out of the way when drawing or sheathing the knife. This is not always practical with the scout carry putting most of the knife and sheath out of sight, so I removed this and heat-formed a kydex clip in its place, using the cord as my lanyard instead. The Kydex clip holds the knife by the shape of the handle and will retain it securely in every situation other than turning the sheath upside down and shaking the knife out. This in conjunction with the snap-button retention loop is a pretty secure setup and I continue to put it to the test. I wish Buck would consider incorporating a clip like this (one better than mine) in replacement sheaths, but this would probably increase production costs and would limit the sheaths to being right or left handed. Just thinking out loud. E. Tertiary Retention Method. The sheath has a very nice little adjustable pouch for additional stuff. I just keep a sharpening stone, ferro rod, and a powerful magnet in there (more on that in a bit). The pouch has a sturdy little 'tacti-cool' buckle on it and I have rigged my multi-use lanyard such that it loops through the webbing the buckle is on when the knife is in travel mode. This offers three layers of stop-loss for the knife when it is not in my hand or in immediate use. It's not a cheap knife and it's pretty big and sharp, so keeping me safe and keeping it from venturing off on its own are two high priorities. This is not as important when in camp or sitting in a blind or some-such - but over water or on a long trek, if you lose the tool, it's long gone. Better safe than sorry. F. Rattle. I noted in reviews that the blades of these knives were rattling in their sheaths due to the neutral box shape of the hard-liner insert giving the blade a bit too much room to move around. I noted some rattle as well, but having the knife in my possession did allow me to make an observation as to the practical application of the 'loose' liner. The whole bottom opens out into a drain hole, which is awesome - I can clean it out with a can of compressed air instead of going nuts with a rifle cleaning kit. Since the blade is not snug all the way around, grit is free to fall off and out the hole at the bottom. In the edge-up scout carry method I usually use for it, the ridge of the blade lies on the side of the liner, so the edge is well-protected (katana and certain other long blades are traditionally carried with the edge upward in order to allow gravity to help keep the edge from biting the inside of the scabbard). Lastly, this knife has an unusual shape and that can be murder on sheaths (think Khukri, Kris, Scimitar, etc.) if they are too form-fitting. A tight sheath on a curved blade puts a lot of reliance on careful drawing and re-sheathing - and let's face it, we are not going to see a whole lot of Iaido 4th Dans carefully drawing and re-sheathing their Buck Thugs in the woods. Best to keep the design compatible with the lowest common denominator (sorry to say): the bush-bro with logs in their back yards and some jingle in their pockets. That said, now I'll get to the magnet I mentioned earlier. Over the years, I have learned a lot of interesting uses for a small but powerful rare-earth magnet out in the outdoors - not the least of which being that it can be used to rapidly magnetize other things (like makeshift compass needles or little screws), used to recover metal objects, or used to hold things down. It is this last use I have discovered as the solution to most of the rattle complaints a user might have. This little magnet is a Neodymium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet) shaped like a disk and it is SERIOUSLY magnetic. I place this in the bottom of the pouch on the side of the sheath (with my sharpener and ferro rod) and it clamps down on the carbon steel blade of the 070 like magic. The magnet holds the blade against the wall of the sheath and it doesn't budge unless I'm doing jumping jacks (which is rare). The whole thing stays nice and quiet. Another advantage to this whole 'magnetic sheath mod' is that anything made of ferrous metal that I put into the pouch (like a little baggy of fish hooks, safety pins, or needles) will never, ever, EVER fall out - even in my sideways scout-carry configuration. Yet, when you remove the knife from the sheath, the magnet is just sitting in the pouch and easily removed. Good stuff - but this is not a review about magnets, so I'll get myself back on track. Conclusion: All said, I try to stay away from knives that market themselves as the ultimate tactical survival hunting bushcraft zombie apocalypse knife. This one does not do that too much, and it is based upon some proven historical bush knife designs. Plus Ron Hood seemed like a nice guy who knew what he was talking about and Buck backs the product with the Forever Warranty, which is pretty awesome considering what these tools are likely to be put through here and there. In the end, the best knife for you is what you will have with you when you need it. This is one of a few tools I use outdoors and I like it just fine. Also, given the prices the market supports for knives with these dimensions and capabilities, the price is actually quite good. After all this reading, if you want it - get it. If you don't - don't. At least at the end of the day (assuming anyone is still reading) you'll know what I know about it and knowledge is the lightest and most versatile of all your tools. :-)