A few weeks ago we did a review of the SCHF36 and SCHF51. While they were great knives at a great price, they have several major flaws that we feel did not make them a good candidate to be used comfortably as a stand-alone, all-purpose blade.

While we were impressed with the overall quality and durability, something about the knives was lacking. So, we tried to find a comparable companion knife for the SCHF36 and SCHF51. After some searching, testing, and a few lost drops of blood we found the SCHF42D.

Schrade SCH42D knife review

Taking a quick glance at the SCHF42D full tang fixed blade knife stands out. It’s a Brian Griffin Design which matches many similar designs from TOPS knives and ESEE knives. The streamlined, Scani edge pulls itself into a gorgeous full tang and comes covered with Grivory scales for the handle.

Coming in at 5.12″ and made from 1095 steel we expected this knife to really hold up well with anything we could throw at it. So, we decided to do just that.

schrade sch42d knife on a log

The Negatives

Let’s get some of the negative things about this knife out of the way before we even consider positive attributes of the knife and show them in action. The blade, despite its Scandi edge, is a recurve blade that is incredibly difficult to evenly sharpen with a stone. On top of that, we haven’t come across a Schrade knife that has a very even bevel, to begin with. That puts the initial, out-of-the-box usability very low. The scales, despite how great they look in pictures, are uneven and feel like plastic coated cardboard.

Up to this point, everything is easily correctable. The major negative, in my opinion, is the sheath. It comes with a full leather sheath that secures with one simple belt loop. The leather feels cheap, like Toyota leather. From my understanding, the knife is made in Taiwan but the sheath is made strictly in China, and it shows.

The Positives

Regardless, of these negatives, there is a lot right with this knife too. Comparing it to the SCHF36 and SCHF51, the SCHF42 picks up where those two knives failed. The contoured blade makes it easy to use this knife for fine work, the handle is small enough to easily be held by people with smaller hands while still having a good length, and the blade is thinner and lighter so using it doesn’t fatigue the hands quite as much. While the sheath may be the ugly duckling it holds up well to normal use and does support itself quite well without a thigh strap.

Schrade SCHF42D Frontier Full Tang Fixed Blade
65 Reviews
Schrade SCHF42D Frontier Full Tang Fixed Blade
  • 1095 High Carbon Steel Blade Desert Grivory Handle
  • Brown Premium Leather Belt Sheath
  • Blade Length: 5.12 inch (13.00 cm) Handle Length: 4.83 inch (12.27 cm)

Being a thinner blade the concern would be how it would hold up against battoning, or other rough activities. It was able to easily slice through dry wood, wet wood, and wet/dry wood. The coating matched that of the SCHF51 so it did not hold on to debris like the SCHF36. The weight was nearly perfect; heavy enough to feel but light enough to carry for days without fatigue. It also held up to heat incredibly well (sans handle) as the coating held strong and easily polished back up.

schrade42d knife used for battoning

I, personally, would hate for this blade to dull while in the field. I love Scandi edges but find they chip easily under even slight pressure. While the blade on the SCHF42D did not chip it’s not to say it won’t in the future, so I leave the heavy word for a more durable grind.

This knife makes the perfect compliment for the SCHF36 or SCHF51 when fine detail work is needed and they cannot fulfill the user’s needs. Both knives can easily be attached to a work belt for the perfect tool within easy reach.

Schrade42D Knife used to make kindling
Schrade42D Knife used to make kindling

This is not a $200 bushcraft knife. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find one for over $50 USD. With that money saved, it might be a good idea to invest in a quality sheath, which we feel is the biggest downfall of purchasing this knife. The SCHF36 and SCHF51 each came with a decent sheath, sharpening stone, and firesteel but the SCHF40 comes with a very un-aesthetically pleasing sheath. Attaching it to your hip may raise a few eyebrows from your knife buddies but will still guarantee you are adequately prepared for your next adventure into the woods. When combined with the SCHF36 you’re looking at an $80 investment to keep you ready and prepared for decades.

Stay tuned for our next review of the Schrade SCHF40D, the tactical knife to end all tactical knives.

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Jonathan Kilburn is a Martial Arts Instructor, Special Needs educator and businessman. Jonathan has focused on self-reliance and survival in some of the most difficult areas, urban areas. Natural disasters have pushed Jonathan to teach about urban farming, homesteading, and survival. As a Special Needs Educator, Mr. Kilburn has developed a neurological approach to executive function, meaning: pushing the boundaries of human needs vs human wants. This mindset and philosophy assists in training himself, and others, in self-reliance and survival. Mr. Kilburn has also studied martial arts for a number of years which include Aikido, Sambo, Judo, TaeKwon-Do, Haidon Gumdo, and various other sword arts.

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