Upgraded to the new kydex sheath
Calico Forge is a small company in Idaho that produces hand-made, field-tested working knives. That description, however, does not begin to touch on how classy this work is! Quality materials, an eye for both tradition and innovation, and an over-the-top attention to detail result in a simply fabulous heirloom knife. The Calico Forge military knives are stock removal; the utility, hunter, bowie, and skinner patterns are all hand-forged. With the exception of a bit of outside work machining the guards on the military knives all pieces are sole-authorship.
A customer in Holland described this series as having "something of the old US Marine Fighting knife... and something 2011 as well". He's right. The Mk series knives have what looks, at first, like a traditional stack handle which reveals surprises in both materials and construction. Calico Forge builds the stack with very grippy, very durable micarta washers or spacers, a material as grippy as leather but not prone to dry rot or cuts and nicks (if you've ever come across a Korean-war vintage Ka-bar in someone's garage you know how tough time is on them).
Calico stacks these micarta spacers around a steel jacket that forms the handle. Two steel compression gaskets pull them together; marine-grade epoxy cements them. The tang of the knife, threaded at the end, runs inside the steel jacket. The butt cap w/ conical glass breaker (case-hardened to 47 Rc) is screwed on and secured with epoxy. A cap-screw lock-pin is then inserted to fix the pommel permanently in place. A metal-based epoxy applied to the cap-screw lock-pin threads creates a cold weld that will not allow the assembly to be un-screwed.
This piece, the Mk42 Trench, is 10 1/2" in overall length and features a 6" hollow-ground 5160 carbon steel blade with an un-sharpened swedge. This steel is typically used in applications such as axe heads where impact resistance is important. The tang, despite being protected by the steel liner that forms the handle, is separately annelaed for maximum resistance to fracture under tensile stress. Although invisible to the user, I believe this is the sort of detail Andy Franco at Calico has in mind when he writes about "redundant, fail-safe features" in this line.
This particular design looks something like an upgraded, toughened Gerber Mark 2 blade on an old-style KaBar handle, except the handle is stacked OD green micarta as described above.
The Mk Series knives come with a manganese phosphate finish, also known as Parkerizing, that is not commonly used on knives. This is a mild hot chemical process that stays well within the tempering range of the steel. It is a finish commonly used on firearms and military weaponry that holds up to moisture and abrasion very well.
An OD green kydex sheath, made by Calico Forge, is included. Originally these came with a nylon Spec Ops sheath but I have upgraded this one to the kydex. Along with knife and sheath you get a warranty cert. (includes a once-a-year free sharpening) and detailed care and sharpening instructions. This description is in the small field manual that comes with the knife:
"Your Mk series is a combat utility knife that is designed and made for unconventional military infantry application. The Mk series knife is a tactical weapon made to work with your primary battle weapon system (M4,M203, M14, M249). Your Mk series knife will also function as a field expedient tool when mission critical tasks are required: demolitions, como, weapons clearing, entrenching, combat medical, aviation breakout and SERE. The Mk series has built-in redundant, fail-safe features that will absorb shock, sustain impact, and tolerate stress. The Mk series is made to mil-spec and can be utilized within SOF SOPs (Special Operations Forces Standard Operating Procedures)."
In the extra images here (link above right) is a picture of this knife, the Mk42 Trench, alongside the Mk44 Attack. This is for comparison of the blade profiles - only the Mk42 is for sale in this listing (I have the Mk44 up separatley).