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Discussion Starter #1
That's what I propose that we discuss, converse about, in this thread. Karambits.

Can be spelled Kerambits, but not Korambit, etc. It's a language thing.

I know it sounds like pet food. Kibbles and Bits are for the tame puppy or kitty.
Karambits are for wolves and sabertooth tigers.

Or maybe a breakfast cereal for kids, named after a superhero. Karambits!
Admittedly, it could be better named Shazambits, but ... whatever.

But this thread is about neither pet food nor cereal, but a fairly serious kind of knife.

Karambits.

I've been admiring them for over a decade, but haven't owned one ... yet.
That's going to change soon. I've already got my starter unit picked out. $35.
There are many that are way more expensive, but we'll get to them later.

What motivated this blade lust? Handling my Walther tomahawk and admiring its arced 4" edge.

Um hm.

It's late in my day -- getting ready for teens F on Wednesday, at least got the ATV into the garage -- and I'm ready for another plate of food. So I'll add more in this thread later, including links to: the best overview of karambit that I've found yet, along with some of the best made on this planet; an encyclopdic article with some history; the karambit I'm likely to buy first.

Ok, the latter looks like this.
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Discussion Starter #3
I've been watching ^that training video^ by Mr. Marcaida. He's quite impressive (and I've seen him before in other videos with other weapons; seems to know his stuff and be well trained in it).

It's a bit advanced for me, though, as a total beginner. And admittedly, at 70, I'm not planning to become a karambit master in my remaining years. I don't have the time, nor I think the need. I'm more of a pull out the pistol and get it done quickly sort of person. So I'm looking for some much more basic skills and training to start with -- and maybe not much more. I found a good starter last night. Will post it after this busy day. (Battening down my camp this week for serious winter, which is coming -- 15F will be the high T on Wednesday.)

My goal is not to become proficient with fighting skills, but to get to know this type of knife a bit -- especially its history (I'm fascinated by the history behind a lot of more "primitive" weapons) -- and its utility, as in around camp. What else can one do with this knife other than CQC that's either as easy or better as with a regular knife? Articles I've read suggest (without much detail so far) that the karambit surpasses other knives for certain uses other than combat (which of course, they also claim it excels at). After all, historically, it was first an agricultural tool, then it became weaponized. I've even read that the original ones weren't curved like a claw, at least as much; more a straight angle. But don't quote me on that; I still have much to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
OK, these lead paragraph will seem a bit OT for this thread, but this is the context for me getting a karambit. (I'm likely to order it tomorrow.)

I got camp buttoned up enough for today. I'd hoped to get further along, but we're on the way to an overnight T of 5F, and the drop began in early afternoon accompanied by strong winds = wind chill was super cold. I was OK, but handling cord for lashings (I'm building a frame) and guy lines was just impossible. I'm the process of installing a new 8'x10' heavy duty (10 oz) canvas tarp for a "porch" on my canvas tent, and a port for my ATV. The former 9x9 poly tarp (see pic attached below) got ripped up by a recent nor'easter with winds just right to get into camp. I'm building a better frame for the new tarp. The whole rig pretty much stays up there (unless I move the entire kit to a different camp about 10 miles north of here (I'm near Bay of Fundy in far eastern Maine) on public lands at a public lake), and in three seasons is where my ATV lives. (Now it's parked in a nearby garage.) Well, I'll leave the tent and new tarp up at least until we start to get heavier snows ... it's not really a 4-season tent, but a 6' tall canvas bell tent supported by a heavy duty steel tripole inner frame. I'm curious to see how well it and the tarp pitched A-frame sheds and holds snowloads. (The ice storms concern me more. This is my first winter in this location in Maine, so I'm not quite sure what to expect.)

So what does this all have to do with a karambit (one or more)? Karambits for most people -- these days -- are seen first and foremost as SD/combat weapons, and second as a utility tool. Utility is an "also ran", an honorable mention. For me, it's the other way around: I want to see what it'll do around camp. They get really high marks for cutting cord, rope, sling and fabric, all of which I use a fair amount. And if I inadvertently get caught in a zombie apocalypse and run out of rounds for my pistol, and the tomahawk is on the other side of camp, I've got a back up weapon.

So I can tell I'm going to spend another part of tonight either watching videos about karambits, and/or reading articles about them. The best site I've found so far for reading is the "What is a karambit?" section of one of the menus at karambit.com. If you mouse-over that menu item, a drop-down menu offers about seven well written essays. I found one of them using a search: karambit overview. But there's a sequence that's useful for those of us new to the concept. I'm starting again with the essay named the same as the section: What is a karambit? Then you can move on from there if your interest holds.

Then, after you've read your fill -- or maybe even before -- go back to the main menu and hover over "Shop". Meander through the pages and you'll see dozens and dozens of karambits, fixed blade and folders, lower end to upper end. (Save the custom section for last; two in there have price tags of $1k.) I'd start with production models, then move up the price ladder.

WARNING: If you have even an iota of attraction to these blades, take your wallet with all credit cards into another room, then have someone chain you to your desk so that you are unable to purchase a karambit on impulse. You can thank me later.

So which one am I going to buy first? After a lot of reading, I'm seeing that the expensive folders like Emerson and Fox are claiming that a 3" blade is optimal. So I'm focusing on 3" blades -- which is a length I like a lot anyway (when I can find a scandi with that length blade). This one in stone washed (darker) blade with kydex sheath that offers a LOT of mounting options. About $33 on A'zon with free shipping for me. This company Masalong seems to be at (or near) the top of the game for low end karambits in the <$50 category.

I confess there's one other 3"er on karambits.com that's even less money, and it's double edged (!), but 1) its skeletonized with optional (additional price) micarta scales, and 2) I'm not ready to handle a double edged karambit yet. It's alluring, but ... no thanks. I'd rather just keep my own skin intact until I know how to handle one of these little velociraptor claws.

Ok, time for pizza. Good thing I've got one in the freezer.
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Discussion Starter #8
This thread seems more dead than the battery in my '57 Chevy from '63 ... today.

It's a little surprising. I thought a gun forum would have more karambit owners.
But internet forums are interesting that way. Kind of like Forest Gump's box of chocolates.
You never know what you're going to get.

But I'm not going to give up.
After all, I've ordered one, and -- by email confirmation -- ETA is Monday.

I'll keep you posted ..
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Just doesn't look like something I would use.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ramblin, that Fox is beautiful. Wish one was in my budget. But then, I prefer fixed blade these days anyway.

Terry_p, I hear you. I suspect most people will agree. I'm not sure how I'm going to ... interact with this knife, use it, etc. It's going to be an experiment of sorts for me. Like I think I said above -- and if not, I should have -- this is one of those (fortunately rare) occasions when I'm acquiring something just because I'm fascinated by the idea or design, and pure curiosity. I've long been attracted to the concept of karambit, and have looked into them before, but usually wound up feeling the same as you: not something I'd really use. Time will tell for me whether it becomes part of my EDC kit or a tool hanging on the wall as a conversation piece.
 

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I will be interested to see which one you ordered, they had a lot more of them than I expected. The idea of trying to 'learn' (I am not and will never be a 'Martial artist')about them with the double edged version (pictured above) was far too intimidating for me. I am also somewhat unsure about the idea of the finger ring, Not being able to drop it in utility use seems like a great idea, getting a finger broken during a 'confrontation' looks like it might be easy to happen. Much as I like Doug and his video, I am way to old and immobile (particularly after 3+ hours of plowing on the Mv7, even had to winch it out twice today) to think about learning to function like that.
Mine says that it will be here on Sunday, should be interesting, at worst it will be in the knife drawer when my grandson inherits it.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@FireEscape, I hear you about proficiency with a karambit. I'm not going to be a master, or probably even proficient. This is as much about historical and cultural curiosity -- I find the design pretty fascinating (call it blade lust) and perhaps, utility use. Buried in some post upstream is the one I purchased: this one. But I got mine on Amazon for $34.

@ramblin84, check out this video by Mr. Marcaida about the Fox 599. Makes a lot of sense. Pretty basic useful stuff.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Sunday, December 19. My Masalong karambit arrived this morning in an unusual Sunday UPS delivery. (I don't think I've ever gotten UPS delivered on a Sunday; must be overtime due to the current situation in the US plus holidays.)

{Added by edit: LOL, I thought I jumped a day ahead. It's Saturday, not Sunday! When the delivery person came, the door buzzer woke me from a late morning nap, so I was a bit dazed and thought Sunday. But once the coffee kicked in ... }

I unboxed it and have been examining it for about half hour. So far, I'll give the knife quality (initial impression) a 4.5/5, but the sheath a 3.5. I have to keep in mind this is a $35 for this knife, so an Emerson it's not.

Sheath (main compartment) feels cheap and not stiff enough -- this deserves kydex, not this plastic. Blade is secure once "clicked" in, but it just doesn't feel as ... confident a fit as my other knives, especially with kydex. The belt loop thingee is hella hard to open. Of course, there's nothing in the box with suggestions about it, neither diagrams nor words. It wasn't horribly hard to figure out -- "this part pushes down, releasing some catch, and there's a hing at the bottom" -- but the parts don't work right, so actually opening it was tough. Not something I'll use anyway since I rarely belt carry (except in the heat of summer).

The knife quality? Again, for a knife of this price, yeah, I think 4.5. It feels solid. Grips feel pretty good (not sure I like the relatively sharp surface angles, but better than smooth and rounded) and is solidly attached, but leaving the thick D2 blade exposed on top and bottom all the way to the ring. The blade came very impressively (surprisingly) sharp out of the box. Sliced heavy paper like a banshee. I can tell a touch up with a ceramic rod will be welcome, but ... Even the serations on the back of the blade (hilt half) are surprisingly sharp. I think they will cut (the right material), and I sure as hell won't be putting my thumb on the back of the blade for those choke up carving jobs. :oops:

But probably the most impressive part of the knife is the point at the end of that wicked cat claw curve. Wow, is that thing sharp -- I learned that with a very gentle (fortunately) inadvertent tap of the point against my leather glove; it went right through but drew no blood [memo to self :oops: ] -- and tapered further back than my dagger (SW HRT9B, another curiosity purchase from years ago, and a knife I have little use for, except it just feels good near the bed on a dark night, right next to the pistol).

My intuition also already tells me that it may be more useful for some kinds of camp chores than my Mora's, but I'll need to test a couple of those first before I say.

Now for what I don't like ... so far. I don't like how it fits my hand, especially when the finger loop is correctly employed. I don't know if I've mentioned in this thread that I have small hands for a man. Well, I'm a smaller, thinner man with hands to match. Size small gloves. With a pair of gloves on -- either my un-insulated leather work gloves or my 5.11 shooting gloves, it fits fairly well -- even though the grip is at least 1/4 to 1/2" longer than I'd really like -- but the angle feels a bit strange in my palm when I position my index finger as Mr. Marcaida recommends: not fully inserted to the knuckle, but only to the second metacarpel, in between 1st and 2nd joints. Holding it that way, the handle is not comfortably seated in my palm like I would prefer with a reverse grip, blade edge out. Feels weird. Feels like it won't be as stable during a punch, thrust or slicing action. Maybe it's a familiarity with time thing, but for me to start, it's a negative.

Speaking of gloves, none of my others will fit into the finger ring, which is large for my bare fingers.

So overall impressions summarized? Do I like it? Will I keep it? Will it become part of the standard camp kit, or hang on the wall? Will I replace it with a different (smaller) karambit? I don't know yet. I may be shaping up as more of a tomahawk guy (I've already got my eye on another smaller one) than a karambit guy. (I'm not really surprised by that.) Gimme a week or so ....

Oh, I'll do up some pics later today. Right now lunch is late.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Over a week ago, just above, I promised some pics of the new karambit. Then life got in the way, "the holidays" happened, along with some challenging weather (I'm not new to Maine, but the climate in my new part of it is different from anything I've experienced in other parts), yada yada yada. I didn't get around to the pics. I'll shoot some later today and get them posted asap.

I'll also update my impressions of this knife after a week with it, fondling, trying uses, and a lot of thinking. I'll get back to you soon ....
 

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OK, so two weeks have passed and I still haven't posted my impressions. But those two weeks will be written about in history books -- not here -- so I got distracted and forgot to get back to this.

Short story for now. I'm returning it. There's a significant design flaw.

More importantly, I learned by experience that a karambit is not the knife I want in camp.
 

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Mine has not left the proximity of my desk and hasn't yet cut anything, not even to open a package. While it is 'cool' (and I am a sucker for cool stuff), I am finding it hard to see it as anything beyond a weapon. Strangely, to me at least, the sheath comes set up for left hand use, presuming that you will be using the 'normal' karambit reverse grip with your index finger at/through the ring. It isn't hard to reverse the clip, of course then it won't go back in it's box unless you rearrange the layers of foam packaging.

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Katahdin, I would be interested in your thoughts about it not being the knife to have in camp. It certainly would not be my ONLY knife, anywhere. My first thought when taking it out (probably a good illustration of my judgement about what is important) was that it was not going to be very useful to slice cheese or make a sandwich. I expect it will have some uses as a utility blade but what?

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FireEscape, at least yours appears to be very beefy with a far less fine point. The latter is the problem with mine. It's a very thin, fine (not as in good) tip that has a tendency to bend when stuck into wood. I'm concerned that if it hit bone in a stab, it wouldn't be stable. Looks like yours would do OK there.

I thought it might be a good carver, because the edge is very sharp. But it's not. That curvature doesn't lend to carving. It's actually harder. Cutting food? Forget it. It's more like scratching it.

As stated earlier, I was more interested in its utility uses, knowing that SD would be secondary for me. But it's clear to me now that it's a fighting weapon, and I guess once it also served a utility knife in ag uses, especially in growing rice. Just not for me.
 

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I could see it being useful cutting corn stalks. I sometimes get a call to haul chopped corn from field to the bunker when friends need a driver. The chopper works great on standing corn but if a bear or racoon has broken down an area we have to cut them by hand and throw them (don't want to be too close) into the chopper. New England farmers are pretty much waste not, want not people, can't say I blame them with how much seed costs these days.
I haven't thought of many other utility uses yet. I did carry a Spyderco Merlin (cheaper version of the Harpy) for work for a while. The blade shape was quite similar (but about 2/3 the size/length) to a karambit, it was however fully serrated, very useful for cutting clothing and seatbelts but as a friend who also had one learned - cutting off a down coat made for a long time cleaning out the back of the ambulance!

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Discussion Starter #20
I can totally see a karambit as corn knife. Afterall, reportedly, from what I understand, it evolved as a knife for use in growing rice in Indonesia. Corn is a grass like rice. Bigger for sure -- and in my opinion -- way better tasting. But still a grass.
 
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