The Bear and Son 115 Silver Vein Balisong Review

The Outdoor Wire put together a perfect history of Bear and Son Cutlery: “This company all began in 1991 when Ken Griffey and two partners bought the Parker Edwards knife facility, a sister plant to w. R. Case and Sons in Jacksonville, Alabama, to create Bear MGC Cutlery. A lot has happened since then to establish Bear and Son Cutlery as a rising force in the knife industry.

After a series of twists and turns, including a time when the firm actually as owned by Swiss Army Brands, Ken Griffey still heads the operation as president. His son Matt, who began working in the factory when he was 18, is vice president, as is Ken’s wife Sandy, who has played a key role as vice president of purchasing and premium department.

With their supervisors and management team, they bring a combined knife experience of more than 290 years, including positions with Gerber, Case, Buck, Parker Edwards and Schrade. They head a skilled team of 82 craftsmen.

As Americans become more and more concerned about jobs lost to overseas sources, they resent it when they see the words “Made in China” on a product. And they have less confidence in the quality and reliability—especially if it’s a knife.

Bear and Son Cutlery meets the test because 100% of their high quality knives are made in their state of the art Jacksonville, Alabama plant, where they do all their own tooling, pressing, heat treating, grinding, hafting, finishing and assembly.

‘Our fundamental positon is clear and absolute: we make high quality knives, and we make them all right here in the USA,’ said Ken Griffey. ‘And when we say Made in America, we mean everything—set steels, every component right down to the tiniest screws, and of course every step of manufacturing. We’re a family company and we are dedicated to keeping it exactly that way.’

With a wide range of knives—from big Bowies to popular Butterflies—Bear and Son covers almost every knife need. Bear and Son Cutler is a family business that insists on top quality knives and is dedicated to America.”


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 1095 Carbon Steel. This is the most popular 10 series standard carbon steel with low corrosion resistance and average edge retention properties. So why would you even want 1095 steel? The appeal here is 1095 is a tough steel that’s resistant to chipping, it’s easy to sharpen, takes a crazy sharp edge, and is inexpensive to produce. This makes it desirable for larger heavy duty fixe blades and survival knives which are going to be subject to more abuse than your typical EDC.

The finish on this knife is a coated black finish. This coating finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. Unfortunately, ALL coatings can be scratched off after continuous heavy use and the blade will then have to be recoated. Coatings can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rust. Quality coatings add cost to a knife but provide more corrosion resistance, less reflection, and do require less maintenance.

The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape. If you are looking for a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything, then you’ve come to the right place.  A drop point is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The most recognizable knife that features a drop point is the hunting knife, although it is used on many other types of knives as well, including the larger blades in Swiss army knives. To from this blade shape, the back, or unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and adds strength to the tip. While the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. Because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. Drop point knives also feature a large belly area that is perfect for slicing. There is really only one disadvantage of the drop point blade and that is its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. However, it is this broad tip that provides point strength that is not found on clip point knives. It is this tip strength that is crucial in survival knives. When you are choosing a knife with a drop point blade, you are choosing a knife that is going to help you in a wide variety of situations, whether it is the expected situations or the unexpected.

The Bear and Son 115 Butterfly knife has a plain edge. The plain edge is one continuous sharp edge and is far more traditional. The plain edge is better than the serrated when the application involves push cuts. Also, the plain edge I superior when extreme control, accuracy, and clean cuts are necessary, regardless of whether or not the job is push cuts or slices. The plain edge is going to work better for applications like shaving, skinning an apple, or skinning a deer. All those application involve either mostly push cuts, or the need for extreme control. And, the more push cuts are used, the more necessary it is for the plain edge to have a razor polished edge. Plain edges are going to serve a much wider purpose as their most useful application is what most of us think of when we think of using a knife: a strong, steady pressure. Another one of the key advantages of a plain edge is that it doesn’t snag or fray when cutting through some ropes, though with other ropes, particularly ones made of plastics or other synthetic materials, the blade may simply slip instead of cut. A plain edge cuts cleanly.


The Handle:

The knife handles on this Butterfly knife are a speckled black and grey casted zinc. Having zinc knife handles is one of the most unique aspects about this knife. Zinc is not commonly used in knife handles; however, zinc has been here for years. US architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries relied on the chemical substance for making sheet based roofs. Zinc is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity due to increasing demand for eco-friendly products. Zinc is known as spelter in commerce and is a silvery white metal that is mined from the earth. Long before zinc was used to manufacture alloys such as brass, which is a combination of zinc and cooper, and was used throughout the world for a variety of applications that included weapons buckets, and wall plaques. By the end of the 18th century, Europeans had begun smelting zinc and the process spread to the US by the mid-19th century. Some of zinc’s best qualities is its ability to keep away corrosion. In fact, because of the ability to keep away corrosion, zinc is used for coating iron and steel to inhibit corrosion. Another advantage of since is that it is one of the most durable metals out there. Thirdly, zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, so it makes sense to use it for everything we can. Plus, zinc is considered a “green” material. Zinc is known for being eco-friendly because it requires less energy for production than other metals because of its lower metal point and because zinc is completely recyclable.

Because this is a butterfly knife, there are actually two handles that unfold and attach together to form one larger handle. There are oval cut outs all the way down both of the handles.


The Mechanism:

Bear & Son 115 Butterfly
Bear & Son 115 Butterfly

The Bear and Son 115 is a butterfly knife, which is also known as a balisong, a fan knife, and sometimes even a Batangas knife. This type of knife was commonly used by Filipino people, especially those in the Tagalog region, as a self-defense and pocket utility knife. Hollow ground butterfly knives were also used as straight razors before conventail razors were available in the Philippines. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called “flipping”, are performed for art or amusement. Blunt versions of these knives, called “trainers”, are for sale to practice tricks without the risk of injury.

While the meaning of the term balisong is not entirely clear, a popular belief is that it is derived from the Tagalog words baling sungay (broken/folding horn) as they were originally made form carved caribou and stag horn.

This specific balisong is called a sandwich constructed balisong. This means that the knife is assembled in layers that are generally pinned or screwed together though may sometimes use a ball bearing system. They allow the pivot pins to be adjusted more tightly without binding. When the knife is closed, the blade rest between the layers.

There are a couple of main parts on a balisong that we will go over. First, the bit handle. This is the handle that closes on the sharp edge of the blade and will cut the user if they are holding the handle when they go to close it. This is the handle that usually has the latch on it.

The second part is the choil. The second part is the kicker. This is the area on the blade that prevents the sharp edge from touching the inside of the handle and suffering damage. This is sometimes supplanted by an additional tang pin above the pivots.

The third part is the latch. This is the standard locking system, which holds the knife closed. Magnets are occasionally used instead. It also keeps it from opening up when the user doesn’t want it to.

Fourth, the latch gate. This is a block inside the channel of the handles that stops the latch from impacting the blade.

Fifth, the tang pins. This pin(s) is meant to hold the blade away from the handle when closed to prevent dulling and in some cases, a second pin to keep the handles form excessively banging together while the butterfly knife is being manipulated.

Sixth, the safe handle. This is the handle, which generally is the handle without the latch, that closes on the non sharpened edge of the blade.



The blade on this knife measures in at 4 inches long. The knife has an overall length of 9 inches long with a handle length of 5 inches long. This knife weighs in at 5 ounces. This knife is made in the United States of America.



The 115 series of butterfly knives are one of several new knives released by Bear & Son Cutlery this year. This line of knives has expanded off of the popular 114 and 113 series of knives by offering different handle colors with the same traditional blade finishes and options. Offered in a wide variety of sizes, colors and finishes, these butterfly knives showcase pin construction and the blade smoothly operates on bronze phosphorus washers and precision ball bearing surfaces. This model, 115, features speckled black and grey casted zinc handles, a closing latch with a double tang pin design and a drop point style blade in a black finish. The zinc handles are eco-friendly and one of the most durable materials that you are ever going to work with. The drop point style blade is going to help you work on a large variety of tasks, form the everyday tasks that you expect to the unexpected emergencies that tend to pop up. Pick up your new favorite butterfly knife today at BladeOps.



Bear & Son Bowie Knife

Bear & Son Bowie
Bear & Son Bowie, Bone Handle, Leather Sheath

Bear & Son Cutlery makes some fantastic, classic American knives.  The Bowie knives they produce with smooth white bone handles are no exception.  In common parlance, a Bowie knife is described as any sheath knife that has a clip point and a crossguard.  While this definition is fine for our uses, there are much more specific definitions that can be found as to what actually constitutes a Bowie knife.

A quick history–the bowie knife was first made popular by Colonel Jim Bowie back in the early 19th century.  Contrary to many people’s belief, the knife was not designed by him, rather it was first designed by James Black.  Jim Bowie just made this fighting knife famous when he used his during the Sandbar Fight duel.  The duel was between two men.  Jim Bowie supported one and Major Norris Wright supported the other.  Each man fired, neither hit and the men shook hands to settle the duel relatively amicably.  The story goes that Jim Bowie ran up to greet his friend, Wright and his friends also came forward to meet their friend.  Two other men, who had previously fought with each other, decided on the spot to settle their differences.  One of them fired, missed, and hit Bowie in the hip.  Bowie got up and ran at Crain (the man who had fired and hit him) but Crain hit him so hard on the head with his empty pistol that he knocked Bowie down to his knees.  While he was down, Major Wright took a shot at Bowie and missed.  He then drew his sword cane and stabbed Bowie in the chest while he was still on his knees.  Oddly enough, the thin sword was stopped by Bowie’s sternum bone.  The sword was stuck–in Bowie’s sternum.  Wright tried to pull his sword out.  While he was doing this, Bowie reached out and grabbed his shirt.  He then pulled Wright down, right onto the point of his Bowie knife.  Wright died immediately.  Bowie, still on the ground with a sword sticking out of his chest, was shot by another member of Wright’s group and he was stabbed again by another.  He stood up and was fired on twice more.  One of the bullets hit him. At the end of the fight, six men were dead and four wounded.  The legend of the fight grew and the Bowie knife became an American icon.

The Bear and Son Bowie knife is built with a bone handle and comes with a leather sheath.  Made with a high carbon stainless steel blade, this knife exhibits all the characteristics you would expect from a Bowie knife.  Check out this USA made American classic and “Bowie up”.


Great Starter Butterfly Knives

Looking for a great starter butterfly knife?  Check out the Bear & Son line of butterfly knives.  The 114 series and the smaller 113 series are perfect starter butterfly knives.  Each one is pin construction.  This means the pin which connects the handles to the blade is not a torx screw-it is an actual pin.  This means the handles cannot be detached from the blade.  This is especially good for beginners because it means you don’t have to worry about managing the tightness of the swing.  The other thing I especially like about these two series is that they are relatively inexpensive.  At under $35.00 for most of them, they are a great knife to start with.


Bear and Son Butterfly Knives–2nd Generation

Bear & Son Bear Song II Butterfly Knife
Bear & Son Bear Song II Butterfly Knife

Bear and Son makes some very good, no nonsense butterfly knives at amazing prices.  The 113 series and the 114 series have been popular butterfly knife choices for entry-level butterfly enthusiasts for several years.  These two series are built solid, have pin construction for minimum fuss, and are priced so everyone can have a butterfly knife.  Just this past year, Bear & Son Cutlery released their newest version of the butterfly knife.  These knives are part of the tactical division of Bear & Son known as Bear Ops.  The Bear Ops butterfly knives are named the Bear Song.  Currently there is a Bear Song I, II, and a III.  These knives are built for the butterfly user that is willing to pay a bit more to have a product that is a step up from entry-level. 

For instance, the Bear Song III features skeletonized G10 handles with a 154CM stainless steel blade.  You can pick one of these up for under $150.00.  With higher quality handles and a much better steel on the blade, you have a butterfly knife that is going to perform better in your hands, last longer, and can double as a solid cutting knife if the need arises.  Check out the full line of butterfly knives from Bear & Son Cutlery on our website.


The Straight Razor

Bear & Son RazorAbout 15 years ago I was given a straight razor.  It seemed cool when I opened the present.  It came with the razor, some old school powder that mixed into foam as well as a small brush to apply the foam.  It felt very old school.  Until I tried the razor.  Then it just felt painful. My face burned for the next few weeks as I kept trying to figure out the “trick” to using a straight razor.  I’m quite certain I didn’t know what the crap I was doing.

So over the past few years I have watched bemusedly as the straight razor craze has slowly grown.  We even started carrying a few razors from Bear & Son as well as Boker.  People are definitely buying these old style razors–I’m curious whether they are buying them for a collection or if they are using them on their faces.

We had a company rep in the other day that was explaining to us the intricacies of the straight razor.  Apparently, the best razors will bend slightly if you press them at about a 30 degree angle on your thumbnail.  Don’t get crazy here–you are pressing down to see if the razor bends just slightly–you aren’t actually trying to cut something.  If you cut your thumbnail, you did it wrong.  Don’t come crying.  The rep claimed that the very best razors will give you the closest shave you have ever had.  It could be true.  Or he could have been selling something. 

I may have to give the old straight razor another try.  It can’t be much worse than any of the three or four electric razors that feel like a bunch of tiny fingers individually pulling my face hairs out at high speed.  Whenever I talk to a razor company about how uncomfortable their electric razors are, they tell me that I must need new razor heads. I get a bit fired up when I hear this from them–those stupid machines feel like that right out of the box.  Maybe they should make a razor that actually works like they claim it will.   I absolutely hate shaving.  If anyone has had a great experience with any style of razor–let me know what they use.

To me, it seems that the buyers of straight razors are one of three things:

  1. Nostalgic Collectors
  2. Know something I don’t about how to use a straight razor
  3. Flat out crazy.

Maybe I will give the straight razor a try again–it couldn’t have hurt that much, could it have?