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
The communication and advice is very professional and response to queries was very quick.
I’m very happy with both designed knives, the quality is very good and the craftsmanship is out of this world.
I ordered the model BMK-406 Custom pocket knife with corkscrew, from Black Mamba Knives, and when it arrived, I was totally impressed. It by far exceeded my expectations.
The craftsmanship is exceptional, and I could see how it was meticulously hand crafted, with keen attention to detail. I can feel how well built and solid it is every time I use it. I’m loving this knife and looking forward to many year of use!
Very beautiful knife. Got it as a gift for my boyfriend and now will need to order one for myself.
I love good art and when I discovered blackmamba knives, I was very impressed. Beautiful and very accurate craftsmanship.”
“Mark is a man who, when you meet him, his aura is as if you’ve always known him. You will not be disappointed. Love him and the company.”
“Also, Mark always wants you to be satisfied. If not he always makes it right. His knowledge and ability are very impressive”
I look at it as a work of art personally, functional work of art which is what they're meant to be. If people don't understand that there has to be creative compromise then they aren't looking for a custom knife. I mean i gave you ideas on blade shape material and handle material but everything else was going to be a unique one off creative surprise. This is something i will use and be able to proudly pass this down for generations. It's new but already priceless to me. I'm not a blades man or whatever but it looks like you put quality time and energy in this piece. It's not stamped from a machine and there isn't another one like it anywhere
- I have ordered 6 knives from BMK. In fact, I just received the 6th knife today. I am very impressed with the quality of these knives. They are built like a tank. Fit and finish are excellent. I highly recommend BMK. I will be ordering additional knives soon. A full 5 stars for BMK!!!
Really love the knife and can't believe how fast it got to me. This is my first damascus hand forged blade and couldn't be happier. Definitely will be coming back for more, till next time.
I bought BMK 103 bobcat knife for my father who has been an avid hunter for 40+ years. My dad doesn’t get excited about much, but he got excited about this knife. After holding it you’ll think knives you used in the past were toys. The knife is certainly very solid and robust, and on top of that it’s a thing of beauty. Thank you for the hard work you’ve put into this, and I’m ecstatic I could support a company making great products like this in the USA.
Love this knife. Purchased a few months ago and use it as one of my EDC. I get lots of compliments.
Well made product, I use it a lot and have no complaints.
I just purchased another knife this past Sunday and look forward to receiving it.
Been collecting for about 40 years and this knife is one of my favorites.. so far
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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