Pros: Materials, Handle Material, Blade Material, Finish, Weight, Overall Quality, None
Cons: Blade Sharpness, Sheath/Scabbard
Not just a "shank"!
I like my Ontario Shank, I expect it to serve me long and well.Pros:* Long enough blade* Thick enough blade* Short, comfortable palm fitting handle.* Blade material handles sharpening good and keeping sharp nicely.* Very comfortable for all around cutting utility (Assuming you sharpen it properly!).* Light to carry, even it is long.* Reasonably priced here!Cons:* Sheath - even nicely made - does not fit quite right, and does not retain the blade!* The thumb grooves seem to be more cosmetic/irritating than anything else.* You need to put that nice cutting edge to this knife yourself. * The blade could have been 1/8th of an inch wider. Shape and design:It is long and slim. The knife received was slightly different from the one pictured here, but for the better I think. The handle is moved all the way to the back, covering the bare lanyard hole (in the picture). No worries though, the hole is still there. It sits very naturally in your palm, any which way you want to hold it. Very comfortable handle and blade balance and I experienced no fatigue after an hour with a block of firewood that I turned into a silly gnome to amuse the kids.If the overall design suits your taste, this is an excellent utility knife for camping off ready and pre-made campgrounds. You can opt to leave your camping "cooking" knives home with this one. I use mine to adjust live fire(wood) too and turning fish stakes when cooking outdoors, just long enough for me to skip pitch-forks.I do like the canvas micarta handle, how it feels, fits and works. Not really black, until you get it wet. More of a darker greenish tan, with a black undertone, if that makes any sense. Looks good enough for a work knife to me. The handle material covers the tang from the but end about 3 and 3/4 inch length, ends a little less than inch before the sharp edge/blade starts. The handle is a touch less than an inch wide, and just about 3/4 of an inch thick. If you want finger guards or need the handle to be at least 1 and 1/2 the width of your palm in length, and you have man sized hands, this type of knife is not for you.If you go hiking with the armed forces, having this one will enable you to leave the other long and slim blade home, that one that has very few uses while building camp and most times serves as a fancy nail cleaner. Assuming you know how to use a knife without finger guards, but that's beyond this review. This one works on anything I tried it yet: bagels, salami, raw and cooked fish, avocados, sharpening wrist thick wooden stakes, pencils, cardboard, wooden whistles, kindle, cleanly thin the skin on the hard corners of my thumbs and heels, even silly gnomes if there's a block of wood and no game consoles around.Thumb Grooves:With gloves on I barely feel them, and without they are sometimes too sharp. I have a bad habit of working with a knife the blade upside down, the sharp grooves rubbing inside my finger joints that could be raw from climbing hills all day. If the grooves were half the width, half the depth and double the amount of grooves within the same distance, it might not be that irritating.I would have just left the whole grooving off the knife as I did not notice them do anything good for me, regardless how gooey or gloved/bare my hands were. I have to say I did not notice those grooves before my hands were raw, needed to put some pressure on the spot with the grooves to cut some solid material, and no dremel tools around. Good thing I had my trusted multitool pocket thingie with that silly little metal file in it, few light strokes on each groove fixed the excess groove-edge sharpness. But perhaps that's just me.If you have weird ways to hold your knives too though, check if you need to dremel them grooves down before you hit the great outdoors.Edge:I did not expect this to arrive razor sharp, but the start of the edge could have been better done. I took out a little more metal than I hoped for as there were marks of careless grinding on the wrong parts of the edge that I did not need there. This was one of the reasons I hoped more width on the blade, but I guess I can live with what I got. I just had to even and change the sharpening angle. But that was just for my personal use and preference, what you get might suit others just fine.Carry and Sheath:Sometimes less to carry is more. The Shank is not heavy enough for chopping firewood, come on now, who would use a "shank" for chopping firewood? But if you really need to do that, opt for a much much bigger knife. Or for a light weight axe, depending on your intended terrain and usage, naturally. Assuming you are dragging your own gear all over and do your traveling on your feet, less is more.Ontario Shank is very light to carry on belt, but if you do any moving around, picking anything from anywhere that requires you to bend from the hips, a word of warning: The sheath will not retain the blade!The sheath that comes with this Shank seems to be made to the earlier model (as in the picture above), and even reasonably well made, not quite properly fitted. The velcro type retainer-snap just does not hold the knife. There is practically nothing for the retainer to hold on to. Be prepared to either modify the sheath, make your own, or find someone to help you out with it.I made a couple kydex sheaths, one to hang freely from a belt for those in-the-middle-of-nowhere camping excursions, and another one with two molle clips, that readily and easily attaches to and from belts and other gear, carries upside down, sideways, you know the type, something very handy for the active person. I happened to have the material/hardware around already, but I would say those two sheaths cost me about $15 with every goodies included when I made them myself. Solved my sheath irritations with the Shank.(No, I will not make sheaths the random reader, sorry)Conclusion:I believe the knife was worth the trouble. Should this ship with a properly fitted molle compatible sheath and still keep the package sleek and slim, and should they just skip that thumb-grooving, the Ontario Shank would be very close to perfect for it's type.It is hard to find long sleek knives you can actually use for utility, made with great utility blade material and have a comfortable handle. And absolutely no hints to no intentions to design it to ever be used as a hammer, a saw, an axe, an entry tool for concrete doorways and a fashion accessory! Most importantly, no need to pay an arm and a leg and then realize it's a pure "sticker" and you still need to carry that other knife on top of everything else anyways.I must stress that if one can not deal with the sheath malfunction hassle, you might want to skip this one for now.And remember, it is long... did I mention it is long already? If you normally use less than four inch blades for utility, always prefer the paring knife over the chef's knife in the kitchen, take a ruler and compare how long it really is. The blade is also only an inch wide from the widest part, it handles a little differently from a standard same length bowie. If one is not used to such contraptions for utility use, please consider the shorter Ontario Shiv instead. They should have that one here on KnifeCenter as well, and if it is anything like it's taller brother, you should be as happy with it than I have been with the Shank. Want it longer, go with Shank.