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Member, Friends of NRA
I recently placed a large order of knives with custom laser engraving for gifts to sponsors of a charity banquet with a pretty short turnaround. I have never dealt with any business that was as responsive as Mark Kovalsky at Black Mamba knives. Great communication at every step of the process and timely delivery. The knives turned out way beyond our expectations are are obviously the work of a true craftsman. The recipients were thrilled with the knives and we could not be happier with the service.
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 am 42 and I've had a pocket knife since I was 5. I am an avid "folding pocket knife enthusiast" if such a thing exists. My wife got me one of your folding pocket knives for our anniversary and I absolutely love it.
Fit, form and function: this thing hits all of those key points. You make an outstanding product. 🖖
I ordered this Sequoia Bowie Knife for my husband as a Christmas gift, the knife arrived today and it is absolutely beautiful! The craftsmanship of the knife itself is superbly excellent and the knife has a gorgeous wood handle with a pleasing smooth finish. I couldn't be happier with my purchase! This is the second knife I have ordered from Black Mamba Knives, the first one was a birthday gift for my husband, the Frilled Shark. He was so happy with the Frilled Shark that he wanted the Sequoia and I already gave it to him early and he is just so thrilled to have this fine, well made piece. Both knives are on display on his desk and they are just outstanding! Thank you Mark and Black Mamba Knives!
I purchased this knife for my husband as a birthday gift in 11/2021 and he was so thrilled with the knife he asked for the Sequoia for Christmas this year. We just received the Sequoia today and both the Frilled Shark and the Sequoia knives are absolutely beautiful! Outstanding craftsmanship and wonderful customer service! I could not be any happier with both purchases! Thank you!
My experience with the company was really good. I have submitted a custom design and they've made it exactly as per my specifications.
Design completion time - 5/5
It took just over 2.5 months from submitting the design to getting it delivered. Although this may seem like a long time, keep in my that my design was a custom one made from a template, nothing that could be bought in a store.
Quality - 5/5
I could not believe how well the final product has turned out, both in specifications and finish/coating. My hat goes off to the makers.
Communication/custom service - 5/5
Brian and Mark were great to deal with. They have responded to all my inquiries in a timely manner.
I highly recommend Black Mamba Knives. Thank you Brian and Mark.
I paid extra for immediate shipping but received a communication that it was a popular item and it would take a few days. They refunded my shipping fee, shipped out in just a few days and received in a week (give or take a day). Oh, Quality is superb thus why I ordered from these folks as I needed a quality tool that can be utilized in almost any situation (research folks!).
Beautiful knife, the Damascus pattern is beautiful, the weight distribution is perfect, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful or better knife. I will be ordering from black mamba knives again!
Just received the Anaconda and I must say it is a work of art. A truly fine piece of work with damascus steel. If you don't have one of these in your collection it is a must have. At some point I plan to add another with some other type of handle. Great work Mark!
I got my much anticipated Hyena knife today, and could NOT be happier. The workmanship is fantastic, and this knife feels both solid and comfortable in my hand. The bolster transitions to a smooth, perfectly sized, comfortable handle with absolutely nothing that would preclude me from using this for a long time. The blade is a work of art; two separate billets of Damascus seamlessly forged into one blade with a razor sharp edge. The size is perfect as well—the 4” blade is neither too big nor too small, and the knife is a showstopper. It came with a great sheath and in a magnetically closing box that itself is perfect for storing it. I could not be happier, and above all else it is made in America, in a suburb perhaps 30 minutes from me. If you are on the fence about buying a knife from Black Mamba Knives, you will not regret your purchase with them. On top of it all, they are very responsive if you have any questions about your purchase.
Excellent craftsmanship! Was so thrilled to get my knife. It was exactly what I was looking for! Their customer work is the best
Will buy from Black Mamba again!
I purchased a custom knife and it is a one of a kind wonder. I was able to specify the knife type from the existing ones (bmk 105) shown on the web pages with my own desired materials and a different Damascus pattern. It costs more but is worth it.
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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