Hey Mark. Merry Christmas. I just wanted to know I field tested the Persian you made me. I field dressed and completely quartered and deboned a buck I shot yesterday and the blade preformed flawlessly. It’s still razor sharp.
Mark thank you so much for my skinner . It performs so well I would reccomend the black mamba Brand to everyone. Not only is your damascus beautiful but preforms well ... again thank you Josh
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.
Ride Free...Live Free
Mark knife arrived this Am .The pictures on your site do not do it justice..this is a thing of beauty!!! Absolutely love it and so happy i decided to give you my business.. you are an artist and so easy to do business with. thanks again for such a nice piece of work.. I cant stop looking at it... happy memorial day to you and all your veteran brother and sisters!
I have just purchased my fourth BMK knife- one KaBar and three Persian Yumas. I've got to say, these knives are pure works of art. The Damascus blades are outstanding and Mark also puts a lot of effort in the scales. I have been a collector for 42 years and own 954 knives. I will be buying more of these as they enhance my collection. I have read some other reviews and understand they are as functional as they are great looking. I am a big fan of Damascus blades and I can say these are second to none. Mark has hit the "Mark" when it comes to making a great knife. If you want a great knife and great service from Mark, you gotta get a BMK knife-you will not be disappointed
I received my Bowie knife today and from the time I open the box was impressed. Your packaging and letters for care of my knife and the thank you letter impressed me. The communication was flawless just like the quality of the knife. Your A jewel in the knife industry waiting to be found. Black Mamba and Mark made this the easiest and best purchase i have ever made. I will be back for another very soon. Not only good looking but works flawless in the field.
P/S if your looking don't go past these knifes they are well priced and quality is way above price. Buy a Black mamba you won’t be unhappy.
Mark the knife arrived today and WOW WOW !! It totally exceeded my expectations! I own many knives and this is certainly my new favorite. I will be taking it hunting this upcoming season. What a work of art that has function. The construction is flawless and the sheath and blade are both incredible. Worth the wait for sure! Your communication skills are truly great customer service in a world that has lost this skill...........................
Many many thanks,
A very satisfied customer
I was always afraid to order a custom knife but was ready to take the chance. So I had A damascus steel straight razor and A damascus fishing filet knife made by Mark from Blackmamba Knives. Today when I opened the package and saw the both of them how beautiful they were. I could not be happier. I explained to Mark email what i wanted we exchanged a few pictures and picked the woods i wanted and told him lengths. They were exactly as I envisioned. Bot are razor sharp. The packaging was also done well they were packed well both oiled to preserve the damascus and handles. They even came with beautiful natural leather sheaths. Inside was a nicely written thank you letter and a two page letter on how to care for my knives. Mark GREAT QUALITY AND WORKMANSHIP AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL.. I would definitely order from mark again.
I received the first Red Dragon Slayer- it's hard to describe the quality and finish of this one. Mark has created a masterpiece with this knife. He has taken Damascus steel to the next level. The Damascus guard is integrated into the blade like nothing I have ever seen. The stag handle is a work of art and makes this creation very colorful with the Damascus a perfect blend. The shape of the blade makes the knife look incredible. I mentioned to Mark that I had been collecting knives since 1976 and this one makes number 1000. It is a fantastic work of art to help me cerebrates this milestone. You have to order this one- it will not disappoint!
This is More than “JUST A KNIFE”. This knife is a piece art that has amazing function! I own many mamba knives and have never been disappointed in any of them . Mark is a master craftsmen and takes pride in his Work and has always been a man of his word his communication is the best. Thank you for the help in all my projects. Purchase one you will not be disappointed!
I bought a customized BMK-420.
The balisong has the right weight and balance for basic flipping.
The blade is half double edged (the upper side is half edged but not too much sharpened).
The other blade is razor sharp.
The leather sheath is very nice.
Overall e very good knife.
Overall, pleased with the knife. Very sharp out of the box. The box should come with a warning: “Sharp edge. Handle with care” . Sliced my thumb open wiping some oil off the blade. Has good action. The tang pin cups are a bit too large resulting in loose latch lock-up in the open or closed position. The leather sheath that came with the knife is very nicely made. I would have preferred adjustable/removable pivot pins like what’s pictured rather than the hidden pins. The overall look is cleaner with the hidden pins but I like to be able to adjust the pivots as the pivots tend to loosen up with use and I won’t be able to adjust it as needed. Still, I am very pleased with the knife especially with the fairly quick turn-around time and the price. Any of my nitpicking will be addressed with my next order which I plan on doing soon. Thank you.
Just received this knife in the mail and like I stated on Facebook, I know quality when I see it.
This knife is a Christmas present for my daughter and she will be thrilled to get it!
Also, I like the way the knife came oiled and with information on how it was made and
how to care for it!!
I’ll probably get one for myself
Thank you Mark Kovalsky and Merry Christmas
Beautiful knife. perfect attention to detail just received as a Christmas gift very excited to carry and use daily . Will definitely be put to the test being in my possession.Feels way to nice to use as a daily knife but hey all things that are nice need to get used only to get better get character and than pass on thank you for making such an awesome knife !
I received the "Dragon Slayer Bowie" today and words could not express how I felt when I opened the package. The smile on my face was ear to ear. Box was nicely packaged and shipping only took 2 days for delivery. Mark was great to work with and did a remarkable job on this knife. From end to end the fit & finish of this Bowie is outstanding! Although a big knife, it feels really comfortable and well balanced in the hand. I highly recommend this seller!
I thought shipping was delayed so I contacted the owner he contacted me in a very timely manner. The night came with some instructions great packaging and very well oiled. The craftsmanship is beautiful and I would love to buy from him again.
Exceptionally detailed workmanship and the fastest shipping I have ever experienced. Thank you again !
Very cool knife. Everyone that sees it is impressed.
My husband loved the knife. Supper excited great company Was very helpful to someone that knew nothing about what to get the hunter in my life. Thank you so much
The Chef knife I bought for my brother-in-law is amazing. He loved it...first present I’ve ever bought him that he really, truly loves!!!
Great quality, my husband loved it! However the note I wrote out for him to read when he opened it wasn't placed in the box. I was pretty disappointed about that.
Bought as a Christmas present for my nephew (I have three). He loved it!!! Excellent service. Fast shipping. Beautiful craftsmanship. Will definitely be making more purchases from this shop.
I know zero about knives but I wanted to get one for my boyfriend who knows about what it takes to make a great knife. After reading the reviews and googling I went for it. He was amazed by the quality of the blade, handle and even the leather case. I think he was more amazed I picked it out!
This was a great purchase! It was a gift for my boyfriend and he absolutely loved it. It's beautiful and well made. Fast delivery too. Looking forward to watching him use it daily.
Such a beautiful knife! I am so excited to give to my partner, who is a collector! Thank you so much! I will be back to shop again!
The seller has good responsibility. I will get a new one very soon since the previous one has a little problem. 👍👍
Thank you for the prompt shipping! It is a true piece of art! It is a Christmas gift for my husband, so I'll let you know his response!
Amazing this guy makes quality knives and goes above and beyond for your satisfaction. My knife came oiled In a sealed bag with great packaging and a cover for the tip. Amazing absolutely amazing.
I bought This originally for my dad for Christmas but when I showed it to my husband he was so impressed he kept it for himself! I should probably say that my husband is a Chef and has access to all kinds of knives but was incredibly impressed with this ones craftsmanship! I ordered another one for my dad.
Fiance loved the early anniversary present After his pocket knife tip broke off.
This knife is awesome!! The craftsmanship is beautiful. It came to the house in 2 days!! Got this as a gift for my nephew who is a collector. This will be his first Damascus knife and I can’t wait to see his face when he opens it.
Fast shipping, and the seller is willing to work with you to solve problems.
Knife was exceptional and really well made! Seller answered all my questions and gave me his recommendations and it was a big hit as a gift. Thank you so much!
The knife is gorgeous and didn’t take long at all to reach me, especially being a international order into Canada. Wonderful service and beautiful product.
! This is awesome!!really wanted a “ heirloom knife” that i could carry in front pocket this size and weight appears to be right.truly a work of art, beautiful!! To say the least, the quality is apparent, the scroll-work and detail of the tsetse fly, buy this knife you will not be dissapointed, truly a masterpiece!!!! Is it really 150,000 year old woolly mammoth handle?im gonna take their word
I was looking for something unique and special I could carry as my hunting knife when I found Black Mamba Knives. I liked the size and shape of the Persian Yuma with buffalo horn inlays, thinking it would be a good skinning blade, so I ordered one. Mark kept me updated throughout the process as he was handcrafting the knife. Upon receiving the knife I was impressed with the quality of the fit and finish. I wouldn’t hesitate to order again. I’m sure my hunting buddies will be jealous when they see it.
Here’s a quick little freestyle. Awesome traditional style Black Mamba balisong! Opened the box and started flipping great product. I loved the sheath as well, it is very nicely made
Purchased this knife in my quest to find an heirloom quality knife that could be carried in my front pants pocket,being a collector, I have a lot of knives,I carry a skele tool on my belt for the handy pliers and screwdriver,too much weight and pulls my pants down,or have to wear belt too tight,so weight is primary concern,don’t get me wrong there is solid “heft” to this knife but not overly heavy have had Texas toothpick,wears a hole in pocket,my little buck two blade has been good but hard to keep an edge and the old timers and case folders everyone has ,wanted something different,this is what I was looking for!now to the knife,what a awesome piece,one of the nicest I have ever seen, from the scroll work on the back edge,to the beautiful steel,it is truly a piece of art,is it really 150,000 year old woolly mammoth tooth,tusk,or bone handle?sounds not too likely but you never know,by the sheer beauty,I will take their word for it!thats what I am telling anyone who asks anyway,will keep posted on the longevity of holding an edge,but I don’t think that will be an issue,if you are looking for a small quality knife you ca n brag on and show off,you won’t be disappointed!everyone that has seen it has been impressed
Once again seeing is believing on how nice this piece really is,so to finish”WOW”