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October 16, 2009 Comments (0) Blades & Tools

SOG Knives Creed Review

IMG_5046cLong a leader in the tactical knives field, SOG Knives also produces quality blades for the field.  The SOG Creed shows off its chops during Woods Monkey’s field test.

 

 

 

 

IMG_5039aProbably more often than not, I take a smaller knife with me into the woods.  Generally, something in the 4 inch range, plus or minus an inch or so.  Usually, that works fine for me, but I have to admit sometimes it would be nice to have something a little heavier, with a little more length that would make some of the heavier chores of fire prep and shelter building easier.  With that in mind, I’ve been taking the opportunity lately to try out some larger blades and one that managed to find its way to the official Woods Monkey Proving Grounds is the SOG Creed.  The Creed is a good sized fixed blade that looks to be a great companion for folks heading into the bush.

You can see the Creed’s SOG heritage in its Tech Bowie handle of kraton rubber, white spacers, and heavy stainless steel pommel and guard.  When you draw the knife from the scabbard, though, you’re met by a long blade with a traditional bowie’s clipped point and upswept tip with a goodly amount of belly.  The blade is 7 ½ inches of 3/16th inch thick AUS 8 steel and is lightened by a 2 ½ inch fuller in either side.  The Creed features a hollow grind with a secondary bevel that comes from the factory hair popping sharp.  It has a solid, sturdy feel in your hand and the heavy pommel seems to balance out the long broad blade nicely.  The Creed weighs in at a respectable 12.8 ounces and is available with either a stain finish or a TiNi coating like what I had on my review sample.  Overall length of the Creed is a bit over 12 inches.  It’s pretty fair sized, but not exactly a machete on the hip.

IMG_5044aSpeaking of carrying it on your hip, the Creed’s sheath is befitting the solid blade that it carries. It’s of rugged black leather and is both stitched and riveted. It has a full welt and a loop broad enough for wide work and gun belts. The strap is a unique arrangement, which has a slot cut into it that actually rides around the top guard of the knife. This is a pretty clever arrangement that makes for a snug and secure carry. It also allows for easy removal of the knife from the scabbard by popping free the snap with your thumb and slipping the retention strap out of the way. It seems much less likely to get in the way of the knife edge while drawing than a more traditional strap that would go around the knifes handle. I like the set up quite a bit. It’s distinctive and quite functional. Sheath color is a basic black and it features the SOG logo embossed upon the front.

IMG_5109aI had the chance to use the Creed over the summer on a couple of woods trips and for some informal testing around the old homestead.  Some of the general things I noticed are that, while the Creed is a big knife, it doesn’t necessarily handle like one.  It’s well balanced and seems to allow a good deal of control for detail work.  I like that the Creed has a plain edged blade and it comes down fairly close to the guard. That’s often the spot of the blade I use most for tasks like carving and notching.  The bulk of the Creed rests in what lies in front of that though, and that’s the big broad bowie style blade.  The blades heavy clip along the spine of the blade adds mass that is welcome when it comes to chopping.  You can do a fair bit of work by holding the Creed loosely between thumb and forefinger and letting the blade do most of the work.

IMG_5104aThe sweet spot for chopping seems to be right below the point where the curve of the belly really starts.  This puts the greatest amount of mass behind the blade.  I had some mild concern over how the Kraton rubber handle would feel under long term use but that seemed to be unfounded.  SOG has what appears to the right mix of tackiness and checkering for a solid grip, but not so much so as to cause chafing or wear on the hands.  There’s enough firmness to the Kraton that I didn’t have any issues like I’ve seen with softer handles.  It seems to be a good balance between having a firm grip in wet or cold conditions, and not grabbing the hand so much as to cause hotspots while chopping or in other uses.

IMG_5052aOver the summer, I spent the weekend up at my in-laws camp near Kettle Creek State Park in the upper-central part of Pennsylvania.  I had a good chance to use the Creed in a field environment and test it out a bit with my father-in-law in tow.  One of the first things we did was to find a suitable oak sapling and take it down to make walking sticks for my son and myself.  We found that even in this dense, hard wood the Creed took out big chunks and sent the chips flying.  It wasn’t long before we had the small tree down and I was limbing it using fast snap cuts with the Creed.  That heavy pommel again came into play and made a nice counterbalance to the blade when making the cuts.  After limbing it, we took the top of the tree off, and then sectioned the remaining portion into two pieces by batoning cross grain.  The Creed went through the inch or so piece of oak without issue and without any obvious damage to the edge.

Creed1aHaving harvested the sticks, I settled down to build a campfire for the evening and used the Creed for all of my kindling prep.  I batoned seasoned cherry by trimming along the edges of larger split logs until I had enough to start the fire.  Then, I proceeded to take those quarter logs and reduce them in size further so I had wood ranging in size from gathered twigs, through pencil sized batoned pieces of cherry, larger Lincoln Log sized bits and finally pieces about 2 inches by 2 inches and between 10 and 12 inches long depending on the log.  That’s pretty heavy use, but the Creed went through it all with aplomb and I was still able to scrape hair off my arm afterwards.  It did take some of the sheen off of that original factory edge but it held up very well considering the use.  The TiNi finish also did pretty good through all of this as well.  I’ve used other coated blades that have been pretty well stripped after just a day of chopping and batoning like this but the Creed maintained its finish.  There were some scuffs on the blade, but nowhere was it worn through.

IMG_5119aDuring some other trips I used the Creed on some similar tasks as well as the old standby’s like making tent pegs, cutting cordage and busting open packages.  After the heavy wood splitting use this stuff went by pretty easily.  What it told me though was that the Creed is stout enough to handle big chores like taking down saplings for shelter building and prepping your camp fire, but still maintains enough versatility to handle most of your other chores you’re likely to encounter in the field or around camp.  It strikes me as a bit long for a hunting blade but for folks who like the bigger blade in the woods it is possible to choke up on the blade by gripping it along the spine and guiding the tip of the blade with your index finger.  With your fingertip positioned just behind the blade tip it would allow you a fair deal of control and let you take advantage of that broad belly that the Creed sports.  Optimally, though, I’d probably like to pair the Creed with a smaller utility folder, or perhaps something like one of SOG’s multitools so that I had something a little handier for small tasks and could reserve the Creed for the heavy jobs.

If you generally prefer a larger knife in the outdoors, or find yourself in the kinds of areas where it might be beneficial to be able to build shelter and get a fire going fast then its worth your while to take a look at the SOG Creed.  It’s capable of big jobs but handles and carries like a smaller blade.  The Creed retails for a healthy $250 but with some online shopping you can get into one for $150 or less and that strikes me as a pretty good deal for a knife as well made as this.  With the savings your getting there you could easily pair it up with something like an SOG folder or multitool and make a complete woods package out of the deal!

Visit: www.sogknives.com

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