Taylor Brands Uncle Henry LB7 Bear Paw Folding Hunter
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Illustrations courtesy of Taylor Brands, LLC.
After the Imperial Schrade Corporation, once the largest knife maker in the United States, closed their doors in 2004, Taylor Brands, LLC (http://taylorbrandsllc.com) purchased the Schrade, Uncle Henry, Old Timer and Imperial brands. The Uncle Henry brand was the top of the old Schrade line and Taylor Brands has revived many of the most popular Uncle Henry knives. These are now produced at much lower cost in China. This allows the Taylor Uncle Henry knives to be priced competitively with other knives imported from Red China and other Third World countries.
One of the flagship models produced in the USA by the old Imperial Schrade Corp. was the Uncle Henry LB7 Bear Paw. This premium folding hunter was designed to compete with the very popular Buck Model 110. Guns and Shooting Online has previously reviewed the American made Uncle Henry LB7 Bear Paw as well as the Buck 110 Folding Hunter, so we thought it was time to review one of the new, Chinese made, Uncle Henry LB7 Bear Paws to see how it compares to its illustrious forebears.
The original LB7 was available with either Stagalon or wood handle scales with an "Uncle Henry" medallion inlet into the right grip panel. Three large brass pins secured the handle scales to the liner and there were heavy brass bolsters at both ends. The stainless steel blade was made from 0.119" thick stock and pivoted on a husky stainless steel pin. All of the pins in the old LB7 are heavier than the equivalent pins in the new model. In fact, the American made LB7 is larger in all dimensions than the new model, including its brass handle bolsters. This accounts for its noticeably greater mass. Our example weighs 8.2 ounces. A brown leather belt pouch was supplied with the knife.
The new LB7 is supplied with wood scales, brass liner and bolsters, four (smaller diameter) brass handle pins, stainless steel back lock, 0.1085" thick stainless steel blade and a leather belt pouch. The Uncle Henry medallion is absent and the brass bolsters are smaller. The knife weighs 7.2 ounces, has a 3-11/16" blade and is 4-7/8" long with the blade closed. Its overall length with the blade open is 8-1/2". These dimensions are very similar to the Buck 110 and smaller in all dimensions than the old LB7. The stainless steel blade pin is also smaller in diameter than in the old model, but the blade is tight and without play when locked open. As before, a brown leather belt pouch comes with every knife.
The new model is clearly a replica of the original LB7 and incorporates similar styling, but in most respects it is actually closer to the Buck 110 in size and feel. The 2014 retail price for the Taylor Brands Uncle Henry LB7 is $37.50 (not including shipping) on the Taylor Brands website, which is a lot less than the $62.95 the American made LB7 cost in 2004 when Imperial Schrade finally closed their doors for good, or the current (2014) $73 MSRP of the American made Buck 110.
We found the published specifications for the LB7 somewhat inaccurate, so we made our own measurements. We used an accurate digital scale and a precision electronic digital caliber to measure some of the new LB7's parameters, which are given in (parenthesis) after the catalog figures where applicable. Catalog and measured specifications follow.
Bear Paw Specifications
The new Bear Paw may be slightly smaller in all dimensions than the old model, but it is still a large, heavy knife. With the blade open, you are holding an 8-1/2" long hunting knife. This is not a pocket knife, so use the supplied leather belt pouch for carrying the LB7 in the field. The new belt pouch is actually an improvement over the original model's sheath. The new sheath has heavier stitching and a sewn-on belt loop.
The new LB7's blade is fabricated from heat treated 7Cr17MoV stainless steel, a Chinese stainless similar to U.S. 440A. It combines a relatively low cost with high tensile strength, medium corrosion resistance and can be honed to a very sharp edge. It attains a Rockwell hardness of about C 56 and maximum toughness when heat treated. In addition to cutlery, this steel is typically used for pivot pins, valve parts, dental and surgical instruments.
The LB7 has a concave curve to the handle and a gently curved, hollow ground, clip point blade about 1/10" thick. The handle shape allows a secure hold and the blade shape is excellent for field dressing big game animals and detail work. The top and bottom surfaces of the new LB7's handle are slightly angled for non-snag comfort, similar to the original LB7. The new model LB7 is comfortable in the hand. It cuts well and it is easy to touch-up the edge on a hard Arkansas stone.
The blade has a deep nail notch for opening. There is plenty of blade above the handle to make opening easy with two hands. There is quite a bit of spring tension keeping the blade closed (the back spring, like the blade, is heat treated). This is a good safety feature, but it makes opening the LB7 with one hand impractical. However, since the Bear Paw is a hunting knife and a dead game animal isn't going anywhere, opening speed is irrelevant.
There is probably too much spring tension on the back lock, which must be overcome to close the blade, and we could feel some roughness (grit) when operating the lock. The lock to blade engagement surfaces should have been polished at the factory.
The LB7 Bear Paw is covered by Taylor Brands Limited Lifetime Warranty. This warranty applies only to the original purchaser and covers defects in materials, manufacture or assembly. Taylor Brands, LLC will repair or replace the knife free of charge if it fails. Note that this warranty does not cover damage caused by abuse, misuse, improper handling, etc.
To summarize, while the new Taylor Brands Uncle Henry LB7 Bear Paw is not made in the USA, it remains an attractive, heavy duty, folding hunting knife. At its 2014 MSRP of $37.50 it seems to be an excellent value for the money.
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