As many people already know, the most important thing you can bring with you into the woods is a good quality cutting device. With this, you can obtain a vast majority of your other survivability needs in the field without the added burden of bringing the extra weight with you on your excursion. In a world now full of high end marketing on several levels, one may think that heading to the local big box sporting goods store and paying a chunk of change for that fancy packaged knife will be just what you need for survival under hard conditions. While that blade may get you through a long hike, or a few overnights, I simply would not trust my life to it.
When you start looking at good quality knives you should pay attention to several things such as length, steel that’s used and the grade, the grind, handle material and overall construction. There’s plenty more you may want to take into consideration, but that is a good start in most cases. Along with construction, you will want to take a look at the company you’re potentially purchasing from. Along with looking at the products you may want to take a look at the reviews the company has received over time for past work and present. One knife maker that has always stood out over time in my eyes has been L.T. Wright, who has a long and rich history in knife making first as a solo custom maker, then as one of the founding members of Blind Horse Knives and most recently, started up his own company justly named L.T. Wright Handmade Knives. More about L.T.’s history can be found on the web with a little research, I am to keep this review on the product that I have had the pleasure to work with for some months now, the Genesis.
When I found out that I was going to be given the chance to review the Genesis, I was pretty pumped and immediately thought about some things I wanted to do with it so that it would get a good workout. A few earlier reviews over the web had some very positive things to say about the knife, plus knowing that L.T. produces quality blades, I was ready to get my hands dirty! I have had the pleasure of reviewing a few other custom blades over time here for the Monkey, but in recent days, I have fallen back to my Condor Bushlore with green micarta plates that I reviewed here a few years back. I still always like to take a variety of blades with me into the bush to try different tasks with different blades, but the Condor tends to wind up on my belt more times than not. I knew beforehand that the Genesis I was going to receive had many of the qualities that I heavily favor in my go-to blades.
I was floored when the Genesis arrived the day after I was told I would have the chance to work with one. It turns out that L.T.’s shop is located in Ohio (one state over from me) so shipping was amazingly quick! My first impression of the Genesis was very positive. After unwrapping the knife from the shipping paper (kudos to L.T.’s shipping-packing team) I immediately noticed the heft the knife had and how my big hands were able to grip the handle. The handle itself consists of bead-blasted micarta overlays that feel as good as they look. Somehow to me, it feels like I’ve been using this knife for some time now, even though I’m likely the first person to touch it outside of the shop in Ohio. I believe that the bead-blasting gives the micarta that aged texture I’m feeling. It’s hard to explain, but trust me when I say it feels and looks great. I also prefer micarta handles because they perform well even when they’re damp, so if it’s raining, you’re still going to be able to get a decent grip with working away. The handle is rounded from butt to its guard. Immediately in my head I see Horace Kephart’s design shine through and my smile grows even bigger. I have reviewed a few other Kephart designs for Woods Monkey in the past and found their simplicity very pleasing, while being quite functional at the same time. The rounded handles on the Genesis will really help when working on camp chores. I know from using rounded handles in the past that with extended use your hand feels less fatigued, which helps over time. The Genesis also features two thumb scallops on either side, which is the perfect place for your thumb to rest while doing wood work, processing game, or any other task where you’re looking for more precision control in your cut. The Genesis also comes with a nice lanyard hole for those of you who like to add a lanyard.
The blade itself come in right at 4 ¼” with the entire knife being 9” long. I’m a big fan of a scandi grind, and the Genesis not only comes with the mentioned grind, but a highly polished one as well! The mirror finish was a surprise to me, even after reading about it previously over the web. It almost seems harsh to muck up such a beautiful grind and finish, but this blade is screaming “get me in the woods and abuse me!” The steel being used for the Genesis is a strong tool grade A2. They say that A2 has all of the qualities of 1095 (another popular steel used in bush knives) but A2 will hold its edge for longer and is less apt to rust, something that 1095 tends to do when not maintained as it should be. The steel is said to be much more user friendly and tough as nails. My Genesis came with a drop point tip, with the blade width being 1/8” thick. A fantastic feature this blade features is a squared spine which will make striking a ferro rod effortless and scrapping items just as easy.
Not wanting to wait, I took the Genesis into the back yard where I have more firewood than I know what to do with and started working on some feather sticks and light carving. Out of the box, the Genesis was sharp enough to shave with, which made creating a few feather sticks effortless. With little effort, you can dig-in and carve out larger strips for adding to an existing fire before your larger material. After 15-20 minutes of use, the Genesis still felt great in my hand with no hot spots to report and again, I have to say that I love the slightly longer handle since I have some pretty large mitts. With a nice pile of feathersticks, I put the 90 degree spine to the test and was easily able to pour a shower of sparks on to the sticks and get a fire going.
My first outing came shortly after the backyard test. I was able to sneak out for an overnight to one of my favorite local places where I have a few camps hidden away in the Hoosier National Forest. After getting to my spot and setting up a majority of my camp, I wanted to get to work on firewood collecting and processing. The first test that evening for the Genesis came in the way of batoning some firewood. After some initial processing with my saw, the Genesis made quick work of the old pine and oak branches I had gathered. As long as they are under four inches in width, the Genesis will baton through them with little effort. I then made some stakes for my tarp, cut up some pieces of tarred line for lashings and got busy with some others chores. Everything I did with the Genesis turned out as good as I would expect. Again, the primary thing I noticed was the comfortable grip and the fact that the knife stayed as sharp throughout the evening as I worked with it.
Not to be forgotten, the sheath that comes with the Genesis is one that I am well familiar with, and very happy to receive. Just like everything made by JRE industries quality is combined with functionality and I have yet to be disappointed with any of the work that Spen, the chief leather bender at JRE, makes. The sheath that comes with the Genesis is American made, full grain leather with a nice deep drop-in pocket that hugs the Genesis well and keeps your knife safe from accidental pop-outs when you’re charging through the brush. Included is a loop that holds a 3/8 firesteel, as well as a dangler for free-hanging at your side. I have been getting very used to the dangler for the Genesis and prefer it now opposed to the traditional belt method. It’s easier to access your knife that way, plus it’s just simply more comfortable over time. The sheath has a square bottom, and the JRE logo stamped on the backside.
When all is said and done I’m very pleased with the Genesis and honestly can’t find anything wrong with it, which is kind of odd to be honest. The A2 steel is still very sharp, almost as sharp as the day that I got it. The bead blasted micarta handle is a dream to hold and easy to grip in any weather condition. The slightly longer handle helps us big handed guys maintain more control, and being rounded helps a lot with hot-spots over time. That nice shiny scandi grind also cleans up well after an outing.
So for a full tang, custom knife with all of the features I mentioned you might be shocked to hear that this gem sells for only around $170.00 and to make it even sweeter ALL of LT Wright handmade Knives come with a lifetime warranty. I haven’t had to use it yet, but I also hear that their customer service is excellent as well. If you’re looking for a great quality bush knife that will last you a lifetime and not break the bank, I would suggest you give the Genesis a close look. You won’t be disappointed.