We chose to bring along this Spyderco Schempp Rock bushcraft style blade to one of our wilderness survival schools (no longer available in the US) to see how it held up against some routine outdoor tasks. We categorize this as a bushcraft knife because of the large, forward-sweeping blade that lends itself well to cutting and chopping. Although this knife is too large to carry as a combat/fighting knife or a defensive weapon in most cases, it would serve those purposes well if one had it on hand. We evaluated the use of this knife for food preparation, clearing brush, chopping wood, creating tinder, hunting, gathering, and for use as a potential weapon in a survival scenario. A few of the unique properties that stood out to us in the testing process were: choice of steel, overall weight, sheath quality, and the overall design of the knife itself.
The Schempp Rock fared well in the woods and would prove handy for the average outdoorsman or outdoors woman. Trekking through dense brush allowed us to see if this knife was decently suited to blazing trails, but the Schempp Rock proved to be too light and small for clearing brush. It worked well for chopping kindling into more appropriately sized pieces for fire building. Up until this point the surprisingly light blade for its size had been a major benefit since it was easier to carry than a traditional large bushcraft blade. Now it was apparent that due to the thin profile and VG-10 construction of the blade it wouldn’t handle chopping as easily as a thicker, more traditional high carbon steel blade. The grip area of the knife was designed extremely well in that it fits the ergonomics of the hand allowing for a very secure purchase. The excellent grip and maneuverability of the light blade allowed for easy tinder shaving and whittling. When we gathered some eggs and cooked them in the coals of the fire, the length and shape of the blade made preparing the eggs easy. When we used the knife to set snares and traps it fared well in cutting small branches and twine necessary for this procedure. It did not lend well to skinning an animal but it worked and was much better than not having a knife. In the case of meat preparation and skinning the knife proved to be a little long and it’s obvious it was not designed for this purpose. Next we fashioned the knife into a spear. This proved difficult because the width and contour of the handle scales. We had to take a convex center section out of a relatively large sapling and affix the knife in place with cordage and some gorilla tape we had on hand. The spear worked and we even used it to kill a copperhead that infiltrated our camp. The copperhead made a nice addition to the eggs and rabbit we had for food that day. The spear also would have worked well for defense against large animals, and could have possibly worked for spear hunting as a last option.
The knife itself is well designed and well built. VG-10 is one of my personal favorite types of steel for use in knives, but this is the first time I’ve tested it strictly as a bushcraft blade. It held an edge relatively well yet also chipped, this makes me suspect the possibility of improper heat treat, unless the blade in this steel type is truly just too thin for bushcraft. Again, the blade is very light for its size. This is good and bad depending how you look at it. It’s excellent when carrying the knife all day, its bad when chopping. The forward-sweeping, kukri like blade is obviously designed for chopping but it lacks the weight of a kukri and the angle of forward projection is also less than that of a kukri. This means it doesn’t chop or slash as well as a kukri but chops better than most other blades in its weight class. The rear upswept portion of the blade on this knife is well suited to more precise tasks like that of creating shavings for tinder as mentioned earlier. The injection-molded, fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle scales are simple and feel good in the hand, they are a nice compliment to a well-designed grip. The butt or pommel section of the full tang knife is steel and shaped well for hammering objects. There is also a cutout for those who may want to attach a lanyard. The injection molded sheath for this knife is very well made and the retention is nearly perfect. Although I’m a big fan of the Spyderco G-clip as an attachment method it almost seems like an afterthought as an attachment for this large sheath. However, the sheath has plenty of attachment points and the user can choose and easily use a better suited method of attachment. We recommend this knife for anyone who wants a large, multi-use fixed blade knife that is light enough to carry all day.
Lightweight yet large, well made, excellent sheath, multi-use knife.
Lightweight yet large, thin blade profile, slightly uncomfortable to carry using the G-clip.
Seven out of ten bones.
length overall: 12.25 " (311 mm)
blade length: 6.75 " (171 mm)
blade steel: VG-10
length closed: n/a (n/a)
cutting edge: 6 " (152 mm)
weight: 9.1 oz. (257 g)
blade thickness: .125 " (3 mm)
handle material: FRN