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Bark River Knife & Tool......factory tour 2018 !


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Published: 10 months ago
Brooke and I pay a visit to Bark River Knife & tool in Escanaba Michigan, where we are given an awesome tour by owner Mike Stewart!


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I just heard of the company last month when one couple went into the factory and toured it. I may have heard of the brand before that, but thought their knives was made in China, Taiwan, or some other country. I lived in Michigan and was glad to see that the company is there and I may end up buying one of their knives. I checked out knivesshipfree.com and saw the Bark River knives there and will be looking at their knives further and see if I can buy one soon.

15 hours ago

I would love to learn & work there

1 week ago

EXCELLENT video, on top-grade weapons.
Oscar

1 week ago

It was a cool tour.

1 week ago

With love from Russia! The best knives.

1 week ago

+Bushradical Bravo-1 for hunting and fishing recommend. (I use it). I think to buy a Bark River Classic Drop Point Hunter 3V this one. For each his own. I am not an expert. In Russia, it is quite expensive. I would buy Bravo 1 Lite (LT). I have a friend, very satisfied. And here's what: sharpening a knife with a lens is very convenient. With all respect, Andrew.

1 week ago

One day I will have to buy one. People really talk highly of them, Ive just never owned one. Which model would you recommend?

1 week ago

+Bushradical I have a knife at work for 2 years. I understand what I'm talking about. Maybe they misunderstood me? Excuse me.

1 week ago

Hello Russia!! I think the Bark River Knives look awesome....but honestly Ive never owned one so I can't comment on them that way. They sure do a great job with fit and finish.

1 week ago

Just ordered my first BRK. Fox River LT in CPM3V. Can't wait to try it.

1 week ago

Let me know what you think when you get it.

1 week ago

OMG WHAT IF SOMEBODY CRACKS UP!! AND STARTS THROWING KNIVES EVERYWHERE!! OR EVEN BERSERK.

1 week ago

It would be bad...

1 week ago

So where in the heck can I buy one

1 week ago

I don't know.....The site "knives ship free" has them.

1 week ago

So did you guys buy a knife while there ?

2 weeks ago

Nope. Later that weekend when Brooke and I visited "KnivesShip Free" Brooke bought a knife there. I've never owned a bark river knife.

2 weeks ago

Slab handle stainless knives are cookie cutter as far as I'm concerned. Much rather see the Black Jack type ( Bo Randall)of knives they make. They are much more difficult to make and nicer IMHO. They wont show the quench and temper because it is a cookie cutter procedure. Plain tool steel is another thing. I'm a romantic. I like to use the blacksmith method so I get a distal taper. Convex grind in the end. No two are alike. Ball bearing steel(52100) is my favorite.

2 weeks ago

Right on. I'm not familiar with the Black Jack line they make, but I'll look them up. And I believe they send their knives OUT to be heat treated.

2 weeks ago

They gave us some Alaska love!

2 weeks ago

This just makes me want a bark river knife even more love American make knifes like this plus love he uses 3v

2 weeks ago

Right on

2 weeks ago

My favorite knives, i'm fortunate to own 3 of them, and yes i use the HELL out of them !

2 weeks ago

Right on!

2 weeks ago

Bark River son wake-up

2 weeks ago

What does that mean?

2 weeks ago

Top man nice as well 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

2 weeks ago

yup

2 weeks ago

nice people!

3 weeks ago

Very nice

3 weeks ago

Great video

3 weeks ago

Thanks David.

3 weeks ago

Nice but see these styles of knives everywhere coming from all over the US and I have quite a few of them so would like to see some OTF's (out the fronts) being made at your shop...and no they are not illegal to own...well unless if you live somewhere like California which is now trying to ban butter knives that have the serrations on them lol

3 weeks ago

+Bushradical
Oh I see what's going on now :o) ....my initial comment was obviously being given to the manufacture who your video is based on. I didn't realize at first when you replied that you were responding as if the my question was being directed at you instead of the manufacture who has made thousands upon thousands of knives as well as many different styles/designs

3 weeks ago

You must have me confused with somebody else, LOL. Ive made hundreds of Ulus but VERY few other knives. I'm just learning myself.

3 weeks ago

+Bushradical
Oh come on...I think you could have come up with a better excuse than that ;o) ...I'm know for a fact if you even put just a small fraction of the effort that you put into the other knives that you initially had no idea how to make but then after some trial and error you got them perfected to how you and/or customers wanted them, then you could easily make an otf knife especially when there's NUMEROUS designs all over the internet which is at the tough of your fingers

3 weeks ago

Thanks , But I have no idea how to make one.

3 weeks ago

damn.. those are so pretty. too pretty

4 weeks ago

LOL

4 weeks ago

So funny that all the QA personnel are women...lol...

1 month ago

Makes sense.

1 month ago

i fancy einstein

1 month ago

?

1 month ago

No thanks. Shysters.

1 month ago

I don't own one..but I'm curious, why do you think they're shysters?

1 month ago

absolutely awesome! Would love to see you guys start making folders. thanks for the video

1 month ago

Thanks

1 month ago

I bought a barkriver ultralight bushcrafter and I love the knife but I wish they did what they say they do with sharpening their knives sharpening that many times and yet I needed to strop it for a long time before it was sharp don't tell us it's tested so many times before it's sent out it doesn't leave before it cuts paper come on it's very rare a knife will come that sharp I don't mind stropping but don't tell me it's tested so many times before it's sent out when clearly it's not that's all I've to say other than that what a great knife it is

1 month ago

Thanks Shane

1 month ago

Great inside vid. Love my Barkies!

1 month ago

Thanks Lucel

1 month ago

Nice!!!   Gotta look at their gear.

2 months ago

Awesome video. Thanks guys.

2 months ago

Thanks J.C.!

2 months ago

oh yeah the women at details, they're like equipped with natural God-given electron microscope eyesight and "fail" scanner program running on their brains. Its why we come home on a payday with every cent accounted for.. ehem yeah bark river knives are pretty cool esp bravo 1 in cpm s35vn' s

2 months ago

Thanks for the comment.

2 months ago

I love Mike Stewart. He makes some of the best semi-production knives in the industry and makes himself extremely available to his customers. It says a lot when the President of the company gives you the tours too.Its great to know another Stewart will be keeping the company going long into the future also.

2 months ago

Not my style of blade but what I love is the hand work built in America family atmosphere.

3 months ago

What do you like as far as knives? these guys make a thousand different versions of their knives... The don't really have any ESEE or TOPS type knives though.

3 months ago

I want to make one myself. They are awesome knives

3 months ago

Its hard to get into a grind- in. They are booked a year ahead.

3 months ago

I would do just about anything for a job there.

3 months ago

Its a cool place for sure but dusty and smokey. LOTS of knives being made there!!

3 months ago

Great video. It’s very nice of bark river to show all the behind the scenes stuff

3 months ago

Those guys are great at what they do.

3 months ago

I like this company. Family owned and keeping it real.
Now its time to save up and order one of these great knives for my camping trips.
Cheers, Bark River
A cut above the rest

3 months ago

Thanks CC.

3 months ago

awesome vid! you should tell them to make more Auroras! I've been waiting to get one because they're all sold out!

3 months ago

I doubt they would care what I had to say....Ive never owned a Bark River knife. But they do look awesome

3 months ago

That was very cool! Thank you for sharing this tour of an amazing knife company.

3 months ago

It was pretty cool.

3 months ago

Thanks for the Tour Dave. You certainly shed some light on the behind the scenes of their operation. I've been enlightened to this knife brand and respect the quality, work ethic, and 'grind' behind their knife making efforts. Bring on Christmas.

3 months ago

right on.

3 months ago

AWESOME , BEAUTIFUL KNIVES

4 months ago

A lot like the old Randall knife out of Florida.

4 months ago

Fred Allen, I noticed the same thing !  But what company doesn't ? I got my Randall knife in 1970 ? Two years after I returned from Nam. I had noticed several of the Warrant Officer chopper Pilots had them and got a chance once when flying to or from Hospital to see and handle one once. I believe it cost about $100 and took 9 - 10 months to get.   What a difference from now .

4 months ago

Great knives Ive heard, but Ive never seen one.

4 months ago

go see Great Eastern Cutlery. You can see the same thing, but with Traditional folding knives.

4 months ago

it is in Titusville, Pa about 40 miles south of erie. If you search on youtube  you can see a tv show done years ago about the tour.. Very unique tour. the upper level is all glass so you can see the plant running below..

2 months ago

Titusville, Pa. Not to far but well worth the trip.

4 months ago

Where is that? I only did this tour because I has a speaking engagement in Tomahawk Wisconsin and I drove right through Escanaba MI. 
I actually don't own a Bark River knife.

4 months ago

Dang, I guess I know where my next knife 🔪 is coming from.

4 months ago

I can't recommend them, because I don't own one and have no experience with them, but they sure seem like a fantastic piece of gear.

4 months ago

Ps: It's strange that he said custom knifemakers will sharpen the blade then fit and finish the handle? 😕

I learnt the hard way that's never a good idea haha.
And I don't know anyone personally who does it like that.
Sharpening is about the LAST step we'll do.
For the same reason.

5 months ago

Maybe he meant doing the grind( I hope). Otherwise there is nothing to hold onto and dangerous. Simple common sense.

2 weeks ago

+Wolf H - Hmm sorry bro that's an interesting perspective but I have to disgree.

Sharpening is always pretty nuch the last step, for me and anyone I know really.

Mostly because it's very dangerous otherwise!

And I've got a nice five inch long scar on my wrist to remind me of that. ))

From a 1.5" deep cut that went over halfway through my wrist from one of the few times I was careless enough to mess around with the finish on a (very) sharpened blade.

I was just lucky I didn't hit any arteries or anything and bleed out, or lose function in my hand.
(somehow.)
I've got several other scars from being careless like that too. But that's the worse.

It's not worth the risk to try and save a few bucks bro.
Your life and limbs are far more important.

Plus, who stuffs up the sharpening anyway?
It's like one of the easiest things.
At least not to the point where you have to or should throw the knife away for it. :/

Even doing it on the belt grinder... worse case I might put a few scratches on the finish or grind the angle a bit high or something.
All which can be easily corrected anyway.

Again, its not worth it bro. Sharpen last.

4 months ago

Matthew M

It’s best to finish the blade first and add scales last as if you mess it up all you loose is a blade, not expensive wood scales, liners, glue, bolts and labour time.

This, I suspect, is why occasionally some real lemons get out as the company has invested too much time, money, materials and labour in it to just throw it.

It’s poor practice all round from a quality perspective but from a business perspective it’s good practice as it makes more money.

The other option is to grind the blades to almost sharp, then add the scales and then finish the final blade apex in a few simple passes. It requires no extra materials, cost, or time and when mistakes happen it will infact save you money.

4 months ago

I'd have like to have seen their heat-treating facility or methods.
(Or they out-source it?)
Imho a good careful heat-treat is one of the biggest advantages of buying from a (well experienced and outfitted) small-time knifemaker who does it himself and gives careful attention to each and every blade and gives consistent high-quality results.

Heat treat is one of the most important things in making a good blade imho.
And I haven't seen a really good, efficient way of mass-producing that.

5 months ago

+Bushradical - How's i miss your last replies? Youtube. :/

Yeah that makes sense. I'm sure they wouldnt be doing it if they could buy cheaper.
Be nice to see the process.
I wonder if there's any copyright involved or if they have to make them slightly different.

I've made my own bodged loveless bolts before, quite easily, but not corbys.

But yeah hardware is expensive.
I do like using corbys though, especially on like bushcraft and some hunting knives etc.
Gives it that extra really strong mechanical bond.
Plus I just find them nicer and more convenient to use than just rods. You can screw the handle up for test fitting or some shaping etc before permanently fixing iit.
One size does cover a good range of typical handle size and thicknesses, and you can grind them down/modify a fair bit to fit more too...
And they're really not hard at all to use in my experience.
You can just use a larger drill bit to counterbore the scales which works fine.
(a proper step drill will give a slightly better fit though. But expensive.)

Getting into removable handle scales is probably more expensive hardware, as well as abit harder to fit and has to be more tightly matched to the handke thickness etc.
(but i like them)
You can use something like some of the cheaper screws they sell for making kydex sheaths. But theyre not as nice.
Or even like chicago screws but theyre big.

But thats cool you're getting into knifemaking.
You probably have a good head start with your knowledge already as well as a good customer base and marketing with your youtube etc.

Be interested to see how you do.
Good luck.

4 months ago

Bushradical

Hey, Dave

Just use brass rod, epoxy and then clamp it. That will hold and it’s highly unlikely to ever fail. You could also peen the brass rod for an extra layer of security. Just do a very small counter sink with a slightly larger bit in the scale material so the peened rod is flush, snug and solid.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

4 months ago

I'm just getting tooled up to get into knife making myself, so sourcing fasteners at the best price is becoming obviously important. I personally don't think I will use Corby bolts in the future, for a number of reasons.....price being one huge reason, and the fact that they need to be sized to a close tolerance is the other.

5 months ago

Yeah, I get it ....it seems like it would be cheaper to buy them than tool up to make them...but at $2 a pin, up to three for the Big ones.....I guess it makes sense. If they ship 40,000 knives a year and can get their cost down to .50c each ....thats a lot of money.

5 months ago

+Bushradical - Btw that's interesting he makes his own corby bolts.
I'd like to see how that's done also haha.
They are rather pricey. As are other fasteners.
Though I'd have thought that one of the more difficult and costly, specialty-type things to manufacture themselves.
Interesting.

5 months ago

Wow as a keen hobbyist knifemaker/leatherworker -and a businessman (of sorts ) - I'm impressed by the combination of so much of the handcrafting process (that's so familar to me. Belt Grinders, hand presses, hammer and punch etc )....
And still the efficient factory and line-type work...
(That I'm more familiar with ordering people to do. :)

Good way to give people a quality knife still, but for a lesser price.

And probably a safer way for knife-naive people to buy ... than from some of the small custom/handcrafted knifemakers out there. Imho because there's not much regulation I see alot of quite amatuer makers selling these people quite amatuer, poor quality, even dangerous knives to use.... as "high-end handcrafted knives" for top dollar.
(Hell just look on YouTube at all the newbies doing knjfemaking tutorials after only their first or second knife themselves.)
Bad for customers and bad for the craft. And makes many people start-up thinking it's an easy way to make get rich overnight...
Its not! Haha.

Hard to even make a meager living, from my calculations.
(Unless you dont have any values and are happy swindling people. In which case you might as well become a drug dealer or a politician. :)

But this seems like a good way to make quality knives with some of the benefits of individual hand-crafting while still making a decent buck from it.

I'd almost call this semi-custom...
Like alot of small makers do.
(As there's just no money in doing only one-off, complicated custom projects.)

This kinda gives me hope that maybe one day when I'm older I could do like this and do the craft I love but full-time and professionally.
While still making a decent living.

Though no-doubt it'd be a massive decrease in income.
(And alot more physical work)
Which I wouldn't care about personally, especially since imho Ive already got more than I could ever spend on myself...
except for I've got a very lovely fiancee who (despite being highly-educated) is very traditional Armenian girl and likes being provided for well by her man and for the 7+ children we are planning. 😂

But maybe one day. ☺

5 months ago

I think the people who try to make a living making knives fail because they make a product and look for a buyer..........it should be the other way around.....build your market and then create the product.
Take Youtube for example....I made $4,000 last year selling ULU knives to my subscribers. The market of buyers was already built....they were ready to buy something related to this channel.....when my wife & I put out a videos showing the ULU I made her, we got flooded with people who wanted one.. There was already a relationship between myself / my wife and the subscribers of our channels ( we try to answer every single comment). So when I made a knife that they could buy people bought!! Its a very awesome thing to have people ready to buy your product.


I think where people fail is that they don't have a relationship with their customers. Bark river Knives has someone on Facebook until 1am every night talking to fans of the brand. People know that company listens, cares, and responds to their fans/ customers.....and the customers of Bark River are LOYAL.


I have never owned a Bark River Knife, but I like what Mike Stewart is doing.....he has a bulletproof warranty, and he is in constant interaction with the users of his knives......there is a lot there to respect.


Take Walter Sorrels for example: he has tons of videos on knife making. He has spent a TON of time helping other people make better knives and learn the craft. He has a ton of subs.....he has a report with hundreds of thousands of like minded folks on youtube.....he could probably sell 30x more knives than he could ever make because of the relationship he has with his fans and the good will he has cultivated with his how to videos.

5 months ago

+Bushradical Thanks for the replies mate.
Gotta love that about youtube. ))

Yes that part is impressive to me.
I see alot of really talented knifemakers who make a great product and try to make a living off it and could even...
, but struggle so because they don't understand or focus on the business aspect of it. Nor have the savvy.
So no one knows who they are, no exposure, they don't sell their product or their brand well, don't buy well, run it well, charge well or make it an efficient enough process.
Plus give out free knives, under-charge, be too nice and other such things that'll ruin a business. ))

It's all fine as a hobby to be spending weeks on just one knife and experimenting, learning new things, making everything from scratch etc...

But if you start selling and depending on it for you and your families well-being...
Well that's a business and it's a whole different ballgame. ))

It's another reason I don't do it professionally. It'd become a business and a job/chore and I think I'd probably lose alot of the love for doing it.
Whereas now its kinda my escape from and stress relief from all that crazy, hectic part of my life.... ))

5 months ago

I Think Mike Stewart has it figured out. He sends out for water jetting / heat treating etc. But he builds his own Corby bolts to cut the cost of fasteners in the long run. I think he knows how to make a great knife and make money doing it, and that seems to be elusive in knifmaking.

5 months ago

I've got one of their Gunny models. The sheath and knife are both top notch.

5 months ago

Ive never owned one but they look nice.

5 months ago

BEAUTIFULL knives made here

5 months ago

It was a fun tour.

5 months ago

this place just gets me soooo jacked up in a good way I LOVE THIS PLACE made in the USA still holds true here

5 months ago

right on.

5 months ago

What is the knife on 7:17 ?

5 months ago

I have no idea .

5 months ago

I am suddenly a huge fan of Bark River

5 months ago

It was a fun tour.

5 months ago

Good job sir

5 months ago

Thanks

5 months ago

You should try a Bizzarro Blade from Fairbanks Alaska. They are convex ground if wanted and they are custom made one of... Guaranteed for life on workmanship. :-) Custom Leather or Kydex Sheaths....

5 months ago

I'm in Fairbanks Alaska right now, but Ive never heard of those knives.

5 months ago