Monday, April 8, 2013

Boker Plus/Martin Knives Apparo Review

Hollowed handle knives get a lot of bad press from the "Rambo" knife era. As a kid I had one that I thought was the best thing since sliced bread. That was until the blade fell out of the handle and I made it into a spear that I threw around the yard (not like survival spear, think more gladiator spear). With that experience, I also discredited hollow handled knives. It also lead me to question the functionality of them. I mean is it really that important to sacrifice durability for a small storage area? Testing this knife definitely gave me a different perspective on the hollow handle knife concept. There are many "Survival Experts" that will tell you not to purchase them. But if your preference is a hollow handled knife, their are some good makers out there. These well built hollow handled knives I'm referring to are usually expensive custom models. However today we will be looking at a reasonable production model that is worth looking at if your into the hollow handle style knife.
Martin Knives Crest
This is the Boker Plus and Martin Knives collaboration named Apparo. Apparo is Latin for "prepared". Martin Knives is a small knife company based in Texas, ran by Ed and Newt Martin a father and son team. The Boker Plus Apparo is actually a reproduction of a custom model that Martin Knives builds and that version runs for about $550-$600 depending on steel type or other add-on features.

The Boker Plus model as I said above is basically a exact replica of the custom model, other than steel quality and a few minor details that I'll go into later. This model features a very thick 440C stainless blade. I actually like the fact they went with the 440C over some other steel options. Sure 440C isn't S30V, but it is a good stainless option. The blade is just at 7 inches with an overall length of 12 inches, as you can see it's definitely on the larger side. Having a hollow handle I believe helps save some overall weight of the knife, it is surprisingly only a pound.
Rasp style saw

I was relieved to find out that the clip point was un-sharpened. When I first looked at the pictures online I thought that portion was sharpened and wouldn't serve well when batoning. The blade features a "blood-groove" and a "rasp" style saw. This saw in use performed quite well for notching which would be great for making triggers for traps. As a general purpose saw it took a lot of energy and it got clogged up a bit, so don't expect to do any serious sawing work with it. I've read that this type of saw was designed to be used by aircrew to saw through fuselage.
Using the bottle opening function
The gaurd of the Apparo is pretty unique. When I first received the knife I noticed that one side was longer than the other. Adding to the knife's utility, this allows the gaurd to act as a bottle-opener. There are also two lashing holes on both sides for securing the knife to you or spear construction.
Similar to most hollow handled knives, the Apparo has a black cord wrapping. Not only does it help with grip but also stores a few feet of valuable cordage. I know many guys that will wrap fishing line and snare wire under that cordage as a method of storing them to free up the storage space in the handle. The threaded butt cap has a lanyard hole and an O-ring seal to protect the contents inside. The production model doesn't have a compass in the butt like the custom model. But you can purchase an additional butt cap with compass from the Martin Knives website. I plan to get the upgraded butt cap and will share my thoughts on it with you guys.

I put together a few survival items to store in the handle that consisted of: a small ferro rod, button compass, spiderwire fishing line, lead weights, fish hooks, a tinder quik tab, four strike anywhere matches, and a heavy duty sewing needle.
The handle cavity measures about 2 1/2 inches. In my opinion, that's plenty of room to store various survival items. As I said above, the butt cap has an O-ring seal to protect the contents within the handle.

The stock sheath is constructed of thin black leather. While it is not extremely high quality, it is better than some sheaths that I've seen supplied with other production knives. Martin Knives also has an upgrade version that can be purchased on their site for around $125. I've had a custom leather sheath built similar to the Randall Knives Version that I will be posting a review on in a few days.

Overall I like the Boker Plus/Martin Knives Apparo. I'm glad that someone finally built a tough hollow handle production knife. If you are a fan of hollow handle knives and don't have the cash to purchase a custom model, check out the Apparo. You won't be disappointed. If you would like a custom version, check out Newt Martins creation at Martin Knives.

I've attached a link to the lowest price I found on Amazon:






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