This material goes back to the well-known US knife maker Bob Loveless, who discovered 154 CM (US designation) as an almost ideal knife steel. Originally developed for the manufacture of ball bearings by the US manufacturer Crucible Steel, the ATS 34 quickly became a favorite of knife makers and was soon used in series production.
ATS 34 belongs to the so-called 14-4 family of steels, which includes tool steels that are refined with around 14 percent chromium and four percent molybdenum. In terms of wear resistance and edge retention, ATS 34 is superior to the well-known and most used 440 C but does not come close to CPM steels produced using powder metallurgy.
Instead, it has the advantage over them that it can be sharpened with conventional tools without any problems – for CPM blades, you need diamond sharpening tools. For a hunting knife, ATS 34 is an excellent compromise between edge retention and easy re-sharpening. Every blade gets dull and has to be sharpened – no problem with the ATS 34.
The 9 cm blade in the tried and tested drop point shape is an impressive five millimeters thick and therefore very stable. The back of the blade has transverse grooves that run the length of the blade and act as a finger rest for precise cuts.
If you use the knife with the cutting edge up, your thumb will find the best grip in the large finger recess.
With a blade width of 26 mm, the knife only weighs 150 g and is not too heavy. With a total length of 21 cm, it is handy enough to be used for fine cutting work. The guard and the pommel with a hole for a lanyard are made of stainless steel.
For the handle that completely encloses the tang, fine cocobolo wood with the beautiful grain is used. Cocobolo is very hard and difficult to split, but still easy to work with. The great hardness and hard, dense surface enable Cocobolo to produce shiny and very smoothly polished surfaces.
The knife handle is very well polished and fits snugly in the hand because it is slightly thickened in the middle. The large finger groove in the front grip area also supports the comfortable hand position. The 2.5 mm cowhide sheath also encloses part of the handle.
The quiver sheath encloses a large part of the knife handle.
During the redwork, the handy, fine knife showed its best side. It is already sharp ex-works, and the blade is stable enough to be used for rough work.
After three sows and two deer, it was time to sharpen it; it took less than 10 minutes to restore the original sharpness with a Lansky sharpening set. The handle lies comfortably in hand for all work, even if the blade is held in the reverse handle. The thumb is then in the large recessed grip and can be optimally supported. The size is ideal for all hunting work. You don’t need more knives.