President, Liquid Advertising
We contacted Mark Kovalsky and Black Mamba Knives to help work with us to create a custom Damascus Steel folding knife as a holiday gift for our clients. This was an order of 200 knives that took less than 60 days from the drawing board to final delivery. The communication between my staff members and Mark to add custom features was impeccable and almost instantaneous over text and phone calls. Mark was a pleasure to work with. The final product was a beautiful and functional handmade work of art that harkens back to an era before mass production. Each knife is unique. Our clients have since written us many thank you letters expressing how much they love the gifts. I hope we will have an opportunity to work with Mark again in the near future.
President, Liquid Advertising
I received my bmk-167 today and it is above and beyond what I expected. Beautiful pattern in the blade, nice sturdy gut hook and great craftsmanship in the handle. Jack was more than helpful on the service end of the deal, I will highly recommend these knives to family and friends and will be a future buyer.
As I was looking to get some knives Damascus steel as part of my collection. I stumbled into a YouTube video of the company Black Mamba. I visited the website and made a contact with the administrator Jack.
Wow he was extremely helpful. He gave specific instructions on how they work and how to select the different parts for my custom made knives. The follow up with Mark was also exceptional and he called to make sure the address was correct and also to make sure I received the package.
The result was amazing as all the details, blade, handle and contrast was exactly how I envisioned it.
I Started using them and the handling while cutting was perfect with raw tuna, carving a ribeye and slicing vegetables.
It’s not just the looks, it is also the quality of the knives. In my opinion they are superior
10/10 is my score....
Hello, my name is Art Poling I have been a Tool & Diemaker and Inspector for going on 56 years. I have just purchased over the last few months a Katana Sword, Premier pocketknife, and Two Hunting Knives from Mark the owner of Black Mamba Knives. We have not met but we now have the pleasure of being a friend of his. He is an Artist, Jeweler, Metal Forger, and a Knife making Expert. He brings all his Talents to his Knife making skills. Between the Damascus Blades that he makes and the Artistry and Jeweler skills that he puts into his knives in my opinion. He sets the Standards for the rest of the World as to what Perfection is. He has been at it for over 50 years so between the two of us we have over 100 years of making things out of Metal. If you want personal care and great knives purchase from Black mamba and for sure you will get way more than your Money’s Worth. In everything Mark makes. Just visit his Web Site www.blackmambaknives.com you will be Convinced.
p/s I’m not done buying
Enclosed is my truthful, and faithful review of Black Mamba Knives…
A year ago I was looking for a Damascus hunting knife, primarily for skinning deer, and some hogs. I live in northwest Georgia, and we get a good bit of both to hunt, though hogs are more down in the south of the state… hey, I got a truck, and coolers… and a .308. We on!!! Anyway I was looking for a Damascus blade. The mix of steels when done right give you the perfect blade. Able to bend and not chip or break on bone, able to take a super sharp edge and keep it, and, just all around the best steel in my opinion, because of the “flex” in the steel, the edge, and just the durability and dependability.
So why should you keep reading? Because I am damn picky!!! Yup, it is a fault, ask my wife! I looked all over the internet, and came across what was a sweet knife on Amazon.com. Yep, I was skeptical. Damascus, quality, basically up to meeting my pickiness on Amazon of all places? Well I ordered it. It was the Black Mamba Knives BMK-100 Hyena. 3 Deer later, still not re-sharpened, and still just like it came in the box. Well I did clean and oil it after the deer…
It was the real deal. I was blown away. I reached out to Black Mamba Knives and was able to get in touch with Mark the owner. Could he make a custom blade for me? We texted back and forth, an email or two, because what I wanted was special to me, and took great trust. Great trust. He won me over.
The knife blade I wanted what a copy of the blade of my U.S. Army issued Benchmade 9101-SBK, which carries a National Stock Number of NSN: 1095-01-577-1801. Yup, I got issued it in spring of 2005 somewhere on Camp Striker, Baghdad Iraq, infantry (yeah, I got a CIB to prove it). If you ever got issued one, you know how precious they are!!! And how amazing a knife they are!!! I have carried it daily since (well, pretty much, I did lose it in my garden for a while…). And I mean, even if I am in the shower, there is a good chance the knife is with me. I carry it that much. (I am just joking about the shower… mostly, well, not really.) Mark said I would need to remove the blade and send it to him so that he could spec. it out and make a true and perfect copy using a CNC. Okay I get that Mark, but, ummm… that knife is like a part of me, it is my “go to” and I am like naked without it clipped into my Wranglers… I understand you need the blade as a template, but, ummm….. NOT getting a warm and fuzzy on this… nope, not at all!!!!
So I broke down and sent it to Black Mamba Knives in late December 2019. Mark said it would take a bit, maybe 6 weeks maybe a little longer, with his other orders and all that was going on at the shop. It was Christmas, lots of orders I am thinking, so my reply… “No problem” I said, as I reached for another knife to clip in my jeans, well I didn’t have old faithful, but, I at least, could open a box…
Well, then covid-19 reared it’s ugly head in the middle of everything. Everyone was locked down, work outages, people laid-off, and everyone worried as all get out. I was worried and Mark was too. I stayed in touch with Mark, and he always responded right back. Yep, nothing he could do, my order would be delayed. (This was the week before my blades were to ship and only needed the time at the CNC.) But, Mark couldn’t get access to the CNC he needed because of the stupid Corona. Did that stop Mark? NO! It did set him back a bit, but, Mark and Black Mamba Knives are going to adapt, overcome, and improvise!!! Now there are a LOT of angle cuts in the steel, a beveled tang, a drop point, and the blade is ½ serrated. This was not going to be an easy job to do even with a CNC. But, BMK (Black Mamba Knives) and Mark pulled it off!!!
During our texts and emails, over the time I waited, I got to know Mark more as a friend than just as a knife maker and proprietor of fine blades. We talked about the virus, how our lives were changing, how he couldn’t see his grand-children, but one thing really came across loud and strong. Was how he was so frustrated in not being able to get the work done the way he wanted for his customers. He felt like he was letting them down. He couldn’t do what, in his mind, he thought was the way he needed to get things done to serve his customers with the care, timeliness, and attention to detail that he wanted. That ticked him off. To the nth degree.
My patience was rewarded. Wow, Mark had made 3 blades for me, I had ordered 2. I suppose (and this is only a guess, from getting to know Mark and BMK a bit) that he always planned on making 3. That way if one got messed up (like I said this was a complex blade design) on the first run, then he could adjust, and still fulfill the customer order with no problem and no issues. Well, I got the blades, tore down my old trusty knife (I had put it back together without the blade so I didn’t lose the springs), and swapped in the blade (and of course, he sent back the beaten to death, been to Iraq 3 times, been tilled into my garden on my tractor, tilled back up 2 years later, been run over by my dodge, and I don’t know how many times I have used it to cut everything from 550 cord to food… to you name it…) and bang, it was a perfect fit!!!
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT recommend tearing down a Benchmade 9101-SBK Autostryker, this will void the lifetime warranty. Also, if you are not careful the springs shoot out all over the place and they are hard to find. You, Dear Reader, have been warned!!! Also DO NOT SEND BLACK MAMBA KNIVES A FUNCTIONING SWITCHBLADE!!!! Switchblades are illegal in Il. And would cause problems for Black Mamba Knives and Mark. They ARE legal where I live; and I am exempt under Federal Law anyway!!! Black Mamba Knives and Mark were only sent the blade after it was removed from the knife. Everything was done LEGALLY!!!!
The knife functions flawlessly, the blade is a perfect copy. Sadly it was perfect!!! This is not a fault to BMK or Mark, this is just reality and life. I had worn down that original blade so much, the tanto angle had worn down. So when Mark make the copy, the blades also had a slight rounded edge to them. Now Dear Reader, you could get miffed or upset on that. But, when I took the blades made by Mark and BMK, and placed it dead on top of the original, they were an exact match. So BMK and Mark are not to blame for making exactly what I asked for; this one is on me, and I should have informed BMK and Mark that the tanto edge was worn (basically, away completely, from abuse and misuse) and could BMK add back the tanto edge and angle). Had I done that, I am sure the angle of the tanto shape would have been perfect. So again, not a mistake or flaw on BMK or Mark, I own this one, but, you know what? I actually like the angle better, and it cuts better for me anyway. I rather like the slightly modified semi-tanto better so I actually got an improvement, in a round-about way!!!
During all this delay due to stupid Covid-19 I had bought another Benchmade (remember I felt naked…) 9101-SBK. When I tore it down the blade had been changed by Benchmade. So not all Benchmades are created equally. However, Mark had sent an extra!!! So, a rat file, and a little time on the bench with a Dremel 8220, a vice on the bench, and a touch of patience and cutting oil (you can’t put steel back on, measure, cut 1/2 and measure again) and that went into the new knife!!!! Works like a champ!!!
To say I am stunned and amazed by the quality of craftsmanship, the honesty of BMK and Mark (due to this stupid Corona thing), and just how down to earth and just what great people everyone at BMK is, well, this has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise hard time for all. There are real and good people out there; if you are thinking of the people at Black Mamba Knives, you have found them!!! And if you are thinking of buying a knife, don’t hesitate!!!! The quality in the knife you are gonna get is out of this world!!!
I had written off ever getting my blades back. I figured with the whole corona thing, it just wasn’t gonna happen. Many small businesses are collapsing and going under. Tons of people losing their jobs and livelihoods. The money I had spent was water under the bridge (so I thought…), and I doubted there was gonna be much I could do about it. Water under the bridge… freaking Corona… a week later, a text from Mark, my blades were going to CNC on Tuesday and should be done Wednesday, and was this the right address to ship them to? Then a photo of the finished blades. I got them on Saturday. Into the knife on Sunday (after Church via internet). And Bang!!! The first (original) one was perfect as soon as it was in! The second one (remember Benchmade changed their blade design since mine was made for the war back in 2005) took a touch of work, but, no problem and poof, it is functioning flawlessly!!!
To say I am a happy customer would be an understatement. I am a customer for life. Black Mamba Knives are flawless. Hands down. If it leaves Marks shop it is perfect. `Nuff Said!!! I have ordered 3 other knives, one has already arrived already (it was a standard pattern BMK-100 Hyena), and I know the other two (custom designs which take a little longer) are easily worth a 2-3 week wait. Those will be a slight modification of the BMK-100 Hyena to help with skinning hogs. The hogs are big, have tough skin, and needed a little modification on the original BMK-100 to suit my purpose.
It is a long review, but, these are special times, and Black Mamba Knives are special people. Is the Benchmade Autostryker 9101-SBK the perfect general purpose knife? Almost. Is it the perfect knife with a Black Mamba replacement blade? I believe so!!!! Am I replacing my hunting, fishing, and just all round general purpose knives with Black Mamba Knives? Well, they are on order (Covid or not). So I guess you know the answer to that question.
So how do I rate my Black Mamba Knives? I put them up there with my 20+ year old Dodge Cummins, my diesel tractor, my Savage .308, Ruger 10-22, Remington 700, or my 45-70 Govt. Marlin. I would put them up there with a 240 Bravo or a Ma Duce (If you are Infantry you know what I am talking about). Some things on day 1 are just going to stand the test of time. Black Mamba Knives are one of them. After 3 trips to Iraq, I just want stuff that works, every time, period, no questions asked. No excuses, no ifs, ands, or butt’s about it. Black Mamba Knives are there!!!
I almost never give reviews (yeah, like ever, this is the first). This is one of the few times I have.
The views and opinions presented here do not reflect upon those of the United States Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Federal Government. They are mine and mine alone.
And ever faithfully, your humble servant,
1Lt. James Lee Kirchner (USA, Ret.)
I just received this knife , beautiful in the picture Was NOT disappointed when I received it. Beautiful ,true craftsmanship. Funny was looking at it for awhile should have ordered it right away. Great purchase on my part. James
I just received the knife and I am very impressed, exquisite craftsmanship my friend. Definitely going to be ordering another one from you guys soon, a fixed blade this time though.limited edition knife ! Bmk-1011 Poseidon
Not many things look like the sample picture but this knife came exactly as displayed if not looking even better in person. It is razor sharp and locks up tight. The bone handle material was a pleasant surprise and really stands out. The customer service is also excellent with helping me have an engraving put on it. Would highly recommend. Limited edition knife !Bmk 1008 Zeus
🇺🇸 I just got my knife and I have to say first that pictures did this knife no justice this knife is built extremely well, I have been collecting knives for many years and this is definitely the best knife I have ever owned I will be a customer as long as they are making knives and I will show and tell everyone that Black Mamba Knife Co makes the best knives
Mark! The beautiful replacement sheath for my son-in-law's knife arrived yesterday. He is very happy, and so am I. Thank you for being true to your word and for coming through big-time. We wish you all best in producing, marketing, and selling you exquisite knives, and we look forward to doing business with you again in the future. Peace.
The BMK-108 is a really nice looking knife I got for my friend's 50th B-day. I spend a significant amount of time on the internet to find a special, high rated knife. I personally own many good quality knives from Czech Republic, Germany, Japan and US. But since I've never had Damascus design, I was a little skeptical especially when you can see on the market so many of fake, low quality and cheaply made Damascus knives or steel shanks which are imported to US from other countries. After getting all my questions answered with unbelievable speed by Mark Kovalsky I finally decided to get one for my friend. I am looking forward to working with Mark again in near future to get a few more of such beautiful knives.
The Bikerspot Magazine
What do you get when you cross a jeweler with a bladesmith? You get Black Mamba Knives, and some of the finest work you’ll ever see in the art of knife making. Their name came across my desk while we were deciding who to invite to the 2018 Gear Review Expeditions. Having never seen their work, I took a look at their website, and then reached out. I’ll tell you up front, I’m glad we did. The first thing that grabs you is the beauty of the knives that Mark Kovalsky, owner of Black Mamba, makes. But it’s no wonder they are so attractive. As Kovalsky puts it, I’m a Jeweler by trade, and own a custom jewelry shop. Now it makes sense!
His take on using Damascus is tried and true, which is evident in his version of the iconic Ka-Bar you see here. Forged in his shop in northern Illinois, the Ka-Bar is Damascus made from 1095 High Carbon and 15n20. it comes in at a rock solid rating of 58-60 HRC. The Handle is made of over 150-200 stacked separate pieces of leather and epoxied together. Then machined to put the grooves in the handle. The tang is full and threaded at the end so the end cap can be screwed on with no movement and epoxied in place so it will not loosen or come off. I asked how he arrived at taking on the Ka-Bar design, and this is what he had to say: “I was making a knife for a disabled marine who lost his knife in the field when he was shot in Iraq. He introduced me to another marine who he met in Iraq and the second Marine told me about a man in the company that he served with that saved his life in Iraq and he said to me I want a special gift to give him. I said to him what about the original military knife a KA-BAR. He said, ‘so tell me more’. I told him I would make a KA-Bar by hand, using a very nice Damascus pattern, and he said ‘I have never seen a KA-bar in Damascus’. Thus came the first creation of the KA-BAR in Damascus.”
But are they more than just eye-candy? You betcha they are! Unlike most of our Bench Tests, we put this Ka-Bar through some pretty rugged tests that are normally reserved for our Field Tests Reviews. I knew marking was wanting to know how his work stood up. The end result was that I came away feeling very confident about the knife’s performance in real-world situations. And if I’m being honest, when I first unboxed the knife the weight on it concerned me...it is light and nimble in the hand. But once I started working with the knife, I fell in love with everything about it. The stacked leather on the full tang handle is very solid, which I attribute to his attention to the assembly using the threaded stud at the end of the tang. Rocky was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t hold up when using it to strike and smash. I think I just heard Mark cringe! Don’t worry Mark, it’s as solid now as the day it left your shop. I would recommend this knife in a heartbeat...especially for bikers and military personnel.
The second knife Kovalsky submitted reminds me a lot of a modified Tracker...with a Jewelers twist. I asked Mark to give me the history of this guy. “The Persian Yuma. It was just a thought of making something colorful. When it was completed to me it looked like Arizona where my cousin lives so it became Yuma ie Yuma Arizona and then a friend said that most Persian made knives had jeweled handles or spacers and it reminded him of Persian knives so it became the Persian Yuma. I have made this style in lapiz and jade. I also want to try this with lab created opal spacers which are very colorful . Blade is over 325 layers of 1095 High carbon and 15n20 steels with an 58-60 HRC. The handle is natural Stag, polished at the end to fit flat against the end cap, with turquoise spacers. The turquoise spacers are in disk form for structure and strength and the steel around it is built like a cage...the turquoise is notched so the cage lays flat inside it. The tang is full and threaded at the end so the end cap threads on to it and then epoxied in place like this I get a tight fit with no movement and the epoxy keeps it in place for ever. “
Although different in many obvious ways from the Ka-Bar, what they both have in common is quality, durability, and superb craftsmanship. The attention to even the smallest of details is evident from the point down to the pummel. In my hand the knife was well balanced with a comfortable and stable grip, giving me a confidence with this knife that it wouldn’t fatigue my hand by the end of the day.
We performed the same exact tasks with the Yuma as we did the Ka-Bar...and the results were the same. Feather sticks were tight and curled, notching was very easy, and the knife stood up to some heavy battoning well. When I came back to the bench I thought it would be interesting to how the edge held up. The paper test proved my suspicions...the blade cut smooth with no rips, tears or jagged edges. Feeling down the cutting edge I could find no inclusions or burrs.
Although I prefer larger knives when in the bush, the style and performance of the Yuma with its 4 1/2 inch blade wouldn’t deter me from putting on my side. It is as rugged as the Ka-Bar, and performed just as well. Oh, and did I mention how good this thing looks. And by the way, take a look at the sheath these come with. As beautiful and functional as the blades that rests in them.
The Beauty of these 2 Beasts are only out-shined by their performance under tests!
Out Of The Box: 1 Ka-Bar with custom Sheath. 1 Yuma Persian with custom Sheath.
The Design: Ka-Bar: It’s a no brainier. If you know the classic Ka-Bar, you’ll get the design of Kovalsky’s knife. Yuma: As mentioned above, I believe the bones of the Yuma were inspired by the classic Tracker design.
Features As Reviewed: Both knives are made of fine Damascus, are both full-tanged, and both come with a custom leather sheath. Other than shape and size, the difference up front on these two are their handles. One is a stacked leather system, and the other is stag with real turquoise spaces.
Price Point as Tested: Ka-Bar is $299 with Sheath / Yuma is $299 with Sheath (Knives of this quality regularly go for between $650-$1200)
Conclusion: The people I can see being interested in owning this knife range from serious collectors to military, to hunters and outdoors man. They’re both great as an EDC knife and would perform well in any situation where they are deployed. I’m particularly fond of the Ka-Bar because of its size and weight. I prefer the scout carry, especially when I’m on the scooter. This knife would do well for any Biker who carries knife out in the bush. It can perform tasks such as chopping, splitting, feathering, and processing game. The Yuma, it’s the Ka-Bars little brother, and the same can be said of it as well.
Contact Black Mamba for more info and to order today. Lead time is about 6 weeks on all his knives. PS: I look for the price of all his knives to go up once our articles and videos become available in the late fall after our return.
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