By Bill Bernhardt
Ray Ennis of Entrek USA made his first knife by cold forging it and then filling it to shape from a barn spike. Then, in 1973, he officially became a professional knife smith when he sold his first custom knife for $10.00 which he made from the leaf spring of a vehicle and was still slightly curved. Next, he purchased his first piece of O1 Tool steel from Young Manufacturing in Grand Forks, ND and shortly thereafter, he learned to grind, heat treat, and polish his knife blades.
In 1977 and 1978, he attended the Colorado School of Trades where he studied Gun smithing and there, he learned machining and polishing techniques which he then incorporated into his knife smithing.
In addition, Ray has spent time working as a gunsmith, a machinist, a tool and die maker, and a tool designer, and now, as a full-time knife smith and his stated mission is to provide his customers with more knife than they expect for less money than they expect to spend.
In order to accomplish this goal, Ray combines the latest technologies (such as laser blanking) and some old, but reliable, methods like drill fixtures to produce the highest quality hand-made knives in production knife quantities.
In fact, every Entrek knife goes through a rigorous manufacturing process that consists of blanking, surface grinding to flat and parallel, marking the blade for grinding, a freehand rough grind (40 grit), a freehand finish grind (120 grit), drilling the handle for quillions, handle screws, and thong hole, tapping the screw holes, heat treating, assembly of the handle components, hand sharpening the blade, sandblasting for a non-reflective finish, and finally proofing and finish sharpening. Last, all work except blanking and heat treating are done in house.
In addition, Ray has chosen to use 440C stainless steel exclusively on his knives because it has proven itself as a reliable steel for hard use combat and survival knives because it is tough enough to resist all but the most extremes abuse but is also hard enough to take and retain a very sharp edge when properly heat treated, subzero stabilized, and then double drawn to 57 – 58 RC. With a Chromium content of 17%, it is one of the most corrosion resistant blade steels available.
Therefore, when you purchase an Entek knife, you get custom knife quality at price of a production knife and the Entrek Elk is a certainly a knife that any hunter would be proud to carry.
The Entrek Elk measures 11 7/8” overall and has a 7” Persian style Clip Point blade made from bead blasted, 1/4”, 440C, stainless steel (Rockwell Hardness 57-58) with a stainless steel bolster with double quillions and handle slabs made from black canvas Micarta fastened to the full tang with three stainless steel rivets. Plus, it includes a black Kydex sheath.
As I have stated in other articles I have written for this web site, when given the choice, I always prefer a two knife system over a single survival knife when I am in the field. Also, I like for one of my knives to be a dedicated heavy chopping tool and for the other one to be a combination camp knife and hunting knife.
In addition, my smaller knife must be the proper length and shape to provide fine control over the knife for camp chores and it must have a fine enough edge to be an effective cutting tool for removing the hide from harvested game animals.
Consequently, the Entrek Elk nicely fits this bill with its hollow, saber ground, bevel. Plus, the Clip Point blade featured on the Elk is an excellent design for skinning game. Also, 440 C stainless steel is one of my favorite blade steels for survival knives because it contains 0.95% – 1.2% Carbon (thus making it a very high carbon steel) and 16% to 18% Chromium (which makes it highly corrosion resistant) with 1% Manganese and 0.75% Molybdenum as it only other alloying elements. Thus, it is tough enough to withstand hard use but is also hard enough to take and hold a very keen edge.
Last, canvas Micarta is one of my absolute favorite handle materials because it is made from multiple layers of canvas that has been impregnated with an epoxy resin and then heated and subjected to extreme pressure to create a finished material that is impervious to water absorption as well as to chipping, cracking, or splitting. Plus, the man-sized handle is very ergonomic since it incorporates an integral quillions, a rounded belly, and a Bird’s Head grip to help the user maintain a secure grip on the knife when chopping.
Consequently, the Entrek Elk is a fine camp knife but would also serve well as a dedicated survival knife. Plus, when paired with a larger knife such as Entrek’s “Destroyer” camp/survival knife, you just may have the ultimate knife system!