There are a lot of great everyday carry fixed-blade knives out there, and being the closet blade nut that I am, I’m always excited to get my hands on a new knife. A recent early Christmas gift from an old friend has landed me a second-hand Bark River Northstar, and man this thing is awesome. There’s something that’s just great about the simplicity in its design, not too big to carry discreetly on my belt, but big enough to fill out the hand and be put to some harder-than-average use. This knife is capable of cultivating and maintaining a razor-sharp edge with ease and not only looks good on the hip, but is a pleasure to carry daily.
To get down to the facts, the knife retails for around $170-$200; it can be found in stock at a number of online sources; but I have heard that it is no longer being produced. It has an overall length of 7.25 inches and a blade length of 3.37 inches. Made out of CPM3V crucible steel with a flat grind, this gives it great edge retention and comes in at a Rockwell hardness of 58-60RC. Double pinned with contoured brown canvas micarta (although other colors are offered) scales give the end-user a solid purchase, while the jimping on the blade’s spine creates a nice spot for the thumb to wedge in and create pressure/control for power cuts. I wear size large gloves and the knife fills out my hand nicely.
Having a 90 degree spine also gives the user the ability to strike a ferrocerium rod, which is a nice feature that is often overlooked and I believe is a must for an outdoors EDC knife. Its standard leather sheath adds a nice classic touch to the underwhelming knife. It needed some forming, but the overall quality and finish are very nice. A Kydex sheath option is also available to those who wish for a more modern approach. These knives are produced in Escanaba, Michigan as is noted on the side of the blade; so if American-made is your thing, no worries there.
Some minor critiques I have are things that I usually bitch about with knives. The jimping on the spine is too small for my taste, and is not as intuitive to use as I’d like, given the knife’s small stature. The leather sheath did not come pre-formed to the knife and for the money you’re paying for this thing, it’s something I’d like to see be included with the package. The blade’s finish is a little too clean for my taste but that’s just personal issues and preference.
I am incredibly pleased with this little pig sticker and will continue to put it to good daily use. Some things I’ve noticed with its use is that it caters to a convex edge very well and with a leather strop, getting it to slice paper is not a challenge in the least. I would highly recommend this little work horse to anybody looking for something for a small fixed blade to carry routinely. Many may be dissuaded by the somewhat hefty price-tag but let me assure you, you will not be disappointed and it will last you through thick and thin.