SOG Pillar Knife Review

SOG Pillar

Many knife company histories start with a person, a passion, and a new knife design. SOG’s history actually starts years before the person, the passion, but it did start with a new knife design. Kind of. In Vietnam there was a US special ops unit made up of high classified members. This unit was called MACV-SOG. The members in this group worked on covert missions that were primarily based in the jungle. This is where the new knife design comes into play. The jungle required features of a knife that they hadn’t previously had. This knife was a unique combat knife called the SOG Bowie.

Years later, Spencer Frazer came into the picture. He had always had an interest in knives, but became inspired by this SOG Bowie and what it had come to represent. Spencer founded SOG Specialty knives with a mission: to reproduce the original SOG Bowie Knife and pay tribute to the special ops unit that had created it. SOG Specialty Knives started with a single commemorative model but soon branched into becoming a full line of innovative tools. These tools are field proven by the US Special Forces and have even been honored as the Navy SEAL knife of choice.

Today, when you carry a SOG knife, you can carry it with confidence. You know that these knives have been “Forged out of tradition, hardened in the field, honed for you.” You know that these knives will stand up to any task, from protecting other, to leading a hunting expedition, to tackling one of life’s everyday challenges. Even if you are in the most extreme conditions, your SOG knife will be able to stand up and represent. “Lead the way with SOG.”

SOG Pillar
SOG Pillar

The Blade:

The blade on the Pillar has been shaped out of CPM S35VN steel. Years ago, Crucible released a steel that had been specifically designed for use on knife blades. They called it the CPM S30V steel. This steel became known as the steel that had the perfect balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention. The steel was able to avoid rust and corrosion effortlessly. However, the users quickly realized that the steel was tricky to sharpen. In 2009, Crucible and Chris Reeve released this newer version of the older steel and named it CPM S35VN steel. This is a premium steel that is a slightly superior version of S30V steel. However, they used a much finer grain structure and added small quantities of niobium (which is where the N comes from in the name). With these two switches, they were able to make the newer version of the steel much easier to sharpen. The finer grain structure also gives the finished steel a more polished look. Crucible and Chris Reeve were also able to improve the toughness of the steel. The S35VN steel also resists rust just as effortlessly as the beginning steel type. When the first version of the steel was considered the best steel that your blade could be, just imagine how much better CPM S35VN steel actually is.

The finish that has been applied to this steel is a stonewashed finish. This finish is created by tumbling the stone with small abrasive materials, which are usually small pebbles. After the steel has been tumbled around, it is smoothed out and polished. This finish creates a rugged look, because it looks pretty textured. This finish also works well to hide scratches and fingerprints, which significantly cuts down on maintenance time with this blade. The stonewash finish creates an even, matte gray finish. This helps cut down on glares and reflections.

The premium steel has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a very versatile blade shape because of all of its great characteristics. The shape is created by having the unsharpened edge of the knife run straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area of the knife looks to be cut or clipped out, which is where the shape gets its name from. The point on this blade shape is lowered, which helps to give you more control while you are using the knife. This is similar to the drop point blade shape, except for on the clip point shape, the point is sharper and thinner. This gives you more stabbing and piercing capabilities because the point has less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. One of the other reasons that a clip point blade shape is so versatile is because it has a large belly, which makes it perfect for slicing and other everyday activities. On the Pillar, the clip point is less dramatic than many clip point blade shapes. Near the handle, on the back of the blade, there is a short area of thick jjimping. This jimping helps add increased control for when you are working on precise cutting tasks.

 

The Handle:

The Pillar is a full tang knife, which means that the CPM S35VN steel forms the entire shape of the knife. However, holding the handle on this knife would not be comfortable and not give you excellent grip, so SOG has covered the handle portion of this knife with a canvas micarta. This material is made by soaking thin layers of canvas in a phenolic resin, which produces a product that is lightweight and strong. Micarta also provides you with a little bit of a classier look when compared to the similar G10. However, just like most materials, there are drawbacks to it. Micarta is a brittle material. Because of the way that it has been built, it is extremely strong in one direction, because the canvas is all going in that direction. However, when it is stressed in other directions, it has the tendency to break down. This means that if it is subjected to an impact on a hard or sharp object, your knife handle might break or crack. The other drawback to having a micarta handle is that micarta has no surface texture whatsoever. Because of this, the manufacturer has to hand carve or etch the handle to add any amount of grip. This takes time and hand labor, so it does increase the cost of the knife by a decent amount. In the Pillar, SOG has carved five deep grooves going across the width of the knife. With these, you will have a solid grip on your knife whether in wet or dry conditions. They also have a deep finger groove that you can rest your hand in with a finger guard to protect from slipping and cutting yourself.

On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. There are so many advantages to having a lanyard on your fixed blade, but I’ll just cover a few of them. The lanyard helps you to secure your knife against loss. This is because you can easily tie your knife onto you or your backpack. If you are using this knife to skin anything or work in wet environments, you can actually put the lanyard in between the handle and your knife, which helps to add some extra texture. This will help your knife from slipping up the length of the handle and getting cut on the blade of the Pillar. When you are using your knife, you can easily slip the lanyard around your wrist to secure it against loss. And, if you are using your knife in the outdoors or dark environments, you can attach a brightly colored lanyard for greater visibility, just in case you drop or misplace your knife. The last reason that a lanyard is such a great addition is that it can add a little touch of your own personal style.

 

The Mechanism:

The Pillar is a fixed blade which comes with a large variety of benefits. Many people think that they prefer folding knives because they are easier to transport, easier to have with you at all times, and easier to conceal. They like the convenience of a folding knife. But if you haven’t given a fixed blade a shot, you are really missing out. For starters, a fixed blade is much stronger than a folding knife. This is because the full tang prevents any weak spots from forming while transitioning from the blade to the handle. Also, the handle is solid, because the blade doesn’t have to be stored inside, so you do have more strength coming from the handle. The blade can also be thicker, because it does not have to be stored inside a small handle. One of the other major benefits of having a fixed blade is that maintenance time is significantly reduced. Instead of having to clean the inner mechanisms and all the small parts, you really just have to wipe down the blade and handle and call it good. Another benefit to owning a fixed blade is that they are a great survival tool. Not only can a fixed blade cut, but it can also dig, split wood, hammer, pry, and of course, it can be used as a weapon. Lastly, on a fixed blade, you have the benefit of having a longer blade. This longer blade also helps with some of the previously mentioned activities.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is a black Kydex sheath. This is a more modern material that can be used for your sheath. Kydex is a thermoplastic that has also been sued for holsters. The reason that people love Kydex is because of its durability and ability to withstand many extreme environments, including being submerged in salt water. However, Kydex also has some cons to it. One is that it lacks any personality. It is basically a hard lump of plastic. The advantage to this is that it is dark and can work great if you are trying to conceal your sheath. Unfortunately, Kydex is a very loud material when you are sheathing and unsheathing your knife. There is a definite “click” when you pull your knife out of the sheath. This click is loud enough to give you away if you are trying to be stealthy, so it isn’t the best option for tactical missions. The biggest negative characteristic about Kydex in my opinion is that over time, with repeating sheathing and unsheathing of your knife, the blade will dull and lose its edge. The sheath includes a Tek-Lok compatible mounting option.

 

The Specs:

The Pillar is made in the United States of America. The blade on this knife is five inches long, with a thickness of 0.16 inches. The overall length of the knife is 9.9 inches long, with 4.9 inches making up the handle length. This knife weighs 7.3 ounces.

 

The Designer:

This knife was designed by Spencer Frazer, who is the founder and head designer of SOG. He had a variety of life experiences that led up to him founding SOG and designing knives. These include graduating with a science and math major and starting his own company in the professional audio industry, working in the aerospace defense industry, and becoming involved in the modern art movement and meeting many of the top artists. When he became inspired by the SOG Bowie knife, he felt like all of these experiences converged. Since then, he hasn’t stopped designing knives and has come out with many innovative designs.

 

Conclusion:

SOG has been a reliable company since the 1980’s. They have won awards for their exceptional knife designs. When you carry a SOG knife you know that it is going to be able to stand up to the challenges of life, whatever those might be for you.

With the Pillar, they built the knife around the superior S35VN steel. They carved it into a versatile blade shape that will be able to help you accomplish the expected and the unexpected. The full tang knife has a handle covering made out of canvas micarta. The Pillar comes with a fantastic sheath. All in all, this is truly a remarkable knife that you can feel comfortable using in any situation.

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