Petzal: A Pair of Peerless Pendletons

When it comes to sheer variety, no cutlery company comes close to Cold Steel. Where else can you get Zulu spears, Russian Special Forces e-tools, machetes, tomahawks, and fixed- and folding-blade knives, and all other manner of weird edged weapons, all on the same website?

Lynn Thompson, the guy who heads the company, has long been friends with custom knifemaker Lloyd Pendleton, and is now offering two Pendleton-designed fixed-blade hunting knives which are more than worthy of your consideration.

The first is the Pendleton Custom Classic (bottom), a handmade knife with a black micarta handle, stainless steel hilt, and a 3 ½-inch blade of VG-1 San Mai steel. San Mai is Japanese for "three layers"--in this case, a hard steel core sandwiched between two softer steels. The spine is quite thick, but the blade is deeply hollow ground, and the edge can best be described as supernatural. I don't think you can get a knife sharper than this. It comes with a most excellent tan-leather sheath. The price is a penny shy of $500, but for that you get an eminently usable, virtually indestructible tool that is as nicely made as anything you can get from anyone.

If that's too rich for your blood, I commend to you the Pendleton Lite Hunter (top), which has essentially the same blade shape, but is made of Krupp 4116 stainless. It has a polypropylene handle, a Cordura sheath, and a price of $21.99. For the past three years I've kept a Cold Steel Finn Bear, which has the same construction, in my garage, and I use it for all the nasty, rotten jobs that come along. I have to resharpen it every few weeks, but otherwise I can't make it blink. Nor will you be able to faze the Lite Hunter.