Many moons ago, I traded out my hatchet in the woods for a chopper – or a “camp knife”– albeit one on steroids. I wanted something that was big and hardy enough that it could perform a wide-breadth of tasks from cutting down a tree, to splitting kindling, but could also prepare food, and even defend me in a jam (I’m waiting for that epic bear fight). Though there were a few blades on the market that would suffice, being a design engineer and knifemaker myself, I decided to make my own and it now lives by my side whenever I leave the comforts of modern society. And though it would take an act of the gods for me to leave “Rosie” behind on my adventures, I won’t lie: the new CL1 Outdoor Cleaver from ESEE Knives has me a little smitten.
Expected to launch later this month at the SHOT show in Las Vegas, the CL1 Outdoor Cleaver is a beast of its own breed. Built off the classic kitchen cleaver, the CL1 comes in at 11.5”, 5.25” of which is razor-sharp blade, and is made from a solid piece of tumbled and oxided 1095 high-carbon steel. The CL1 features beefy G10 handle scales, and an exposed pommel designed for cracking and hammering; the whole of which will come in at around 1.5 lbs. There’s no word on the steel thickness just yet, but I would assume that the 1095 slab used here will be at least a quarter-inch thick.
I’m a big fan of ESEE knives and what they stand for in the industry. Steeped in survival and inspired by life in the military – across the world – I used their Izula II as an Everyday Carry belt knife for six years before retiring it for one of my own design. To give you an idea of how engrossed ESEE is in survival and military tactics the Izula II featured a pocket under the handle scales, which was recommended for storing a cyanide pill in case shit went sideways out in the rough. No joke. So, I expect the CL1 to be nothing short of a war hammer with a razor-sharp edge. After all, Cleavers have long been used in survival situations and were widely used during the Vietnam war.
Let’s just stop for a minute here. Imagine seeing someone coming at you in full military garb with a cleaver? I mean, what the heck do you do in a situation like that? A cleaver can split a side of beef with one hit – through the ribs – what could it do to you, average man? Let’s hope none of us ever have to find out, but I would encourage anyone who spends a considerable amount of time in the to consider the ESEE CL1, as it should be a viable multi-function tool that can get you out of a lot of jams, not to mention replace a belt knife, hatchet, and a few different food prep tools. Just make sure to keep it clean if your slicing your onions and peppers with it.
Details, including pricing, availability and a thorough review to follow in the coming months.