Sunday, April 10, 2011

Buck Ron Hood Hoodlum Knife Review

I recently purchased a Buck Hoodlum from knife center. It caught my interest when I saw some youtube videos on it (nutnfancy and Ron Hood) and was interested in getting a large chopping knife as a lighter-weight, more useful, axe replacement.

The price isn't terrible depending on where you get it from.

Overall....I didn't like it. I returned it last week.

Not sure what it was in the end that turned me off it. The weight was fine, the blade/handle orientation seemed excellent for chopping (wouldn't recommend it as a fighting knife)....the finish of the handle seemed off, the scales didn't line up well. Something about the overall blade, the longer I held it the less it appealed. Plus, I'm not sure if something that long is something I'd actually carry on me very often.

The notch on the blade was weird. Lots of people have criticized it as a blade failure point. I've seen the rebuttal video from Ron Hood, showing them smashing the blade and stating that it won't cause breakage but I don't see the point of adding it - maybe it won't cause a break but it sure doesn't make the blade stronger and it's value seems dubious at best.

I didn't care for the sheath either. It's functional but I was surprised that there was absolutely no retention without the snap or cord, the knife would just fall out. After reviewing the videos, I suspect that was somewhat intentional for ease of cleaning and for allowing ambidextrous carry - just didn't appeal to me.

I'm sure many people will still enjoy it and I wasn't going to put up a youtube video slagging it without actually using it. Unfortunately I wasn't able to test it with chopping and such because then I wouldn't be able to return it . For $170, I didn't want to hang on to something I wasn't totally happy with, especially since I was going to want a kydex sheath for it, adding a lot of cost.

In the end, I think I would rather stick with my Fallkniven A1. I'm cooling a little on the idea of large, expensive, carbon steel blades due to where I live. I had an Esee6 that I recently took on a winter survival training course, was wearing it strapped to my thigh. I ended up slogging through some very deep snow, some of which ended up all over my knife. I was shocked at how quickly it started to rust. It was easy to clean off, no harm done, but if a well oiled blade can't stand up to a little snow, I don't think it is for me. Sold that one already.

I did order a Cold Steel Recon Scout recently....couldn't help myself, lol. Damn you ebay and nutnfancy for feeding my knife addiction! :)

Still like the carbon steel Mora but it carries around my neck so little risk of it getting wet. Plus, it's $10, so it's not a big deal if it does get rusty.


  1. I'm itching to try it out. Not that it'll replace my axe on anything more than 1 day excursions but you know why you buy knives. :D

    I'm still apprehensive on wether it's a good chopper at all. I'd love to see a review on someone trying it out but haven't found one as of yet. I won't take down trees with it but clearing brush and trimming down parts for shelter building is something I'd really like it to be good at.

  2. The handle shape would keep your wrist pretty straight when chopping and the large finger choils made it feel surprising comfortable for small work.

    I think it would be a decent chopper, but you just never know for sure until you try. If it started to chip or something I would have been furious. Which shouldn't happen with that kind of steel but, every now and then, you come across some carbon steel that seems bad.

    I generally don't carry an axe around other than in the car (too heavy for me) but I do miss it for some work. I've been looking at various large knives to pair with my saw. I like my Fallkniven a lot but I'm open to other options - plus it gives me an excuse to buy more knives!


    I really wanted to like the hoodlum and I suspect it would have been a good knife but...if it doesn't feel right, best to try something else for that kind of money.

    Any particular brand/type of axe you like?

  3. Seems my comment up and dissapeared!

    Well, I have the Hoodlum now and it is a decent chopper. I had to sand down the scales, it lacked in fit and finish somewhat. The coating had a cheesy feel to it but it sticks solidly to the blade.

    I think the FFG and the possibility of slipping down the handle for good machete style wrist chops (w. machete grip) allows it to bite pretty deep for it's weight.

    I use all sorts of old and new axes. My lastest purchase was a bit of a dissapointment though. I bought a Hultafors Agdor Hy20 for using this summer. I'm building a structure far out in the woods with hand tools. But the handle was sub par. I will have to re-hang it.

    My preferred "new" axes are mostly Swedish since they are more available and cheap here. Scandinavian forest axe from Gränsfors is a really nice one that I use allot.

    On the off chance someone reading the comments haven't seen this:

    Practical Axe Manual:

    Accompanying videos:

    Hand tools for trail work pt. 1
    Hand tools for trail work pt. 2

  4. I agree on the fit and finish on the hoodlum knife, there was something off. Glad you were able to fix it, that's great!

    I've almost bought a Gransfors small forest axe several times, they are beautiful and it looks like an amazing tool. Expensive and generally hard to find where I live though. My axe technique is poor, I need to improve it, I will definitely review the information you provided - thank you.

  5. I have four 5160 knives. I've never had a problem with any of them rusting, and I've spent many hours chopping brush, up to small tree size with a couple of them. I really think it's not fair to compare a 1095 knife to a 5160 one for rust prevention.

    Regardless, if you're not happy, you're not happy.

  6. Hi J.R.Shirley, thanks for commenting and the information, I'll keep that in mind if I am looking at another 5160 knife.

    Do you own the Buck Hoodlum? If so, what do you think of it?

    Is 5160 your preferred steel?

  7. Mr. Lorisen,

    I'm sorry for the long delay in reply. I don't always have access to blogs.

    I don't have the Hoodlum. 5160 in general is my preferred "big knife" steel for a number of reasons. It is strong, resharpens easily, will tend to bend rather than chip(depending on how hard it's treated), and is surprisingly inexpensive. It won't take the absolute sharpest edge possible, but it can take a very good edge. It also is more rust resistant than 52100 or many of the tool steels.


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