It has taken me a little time to get to this article. I wanted to give this knife a different test than I normally give the knives in the articles I write. This one intrigued me to say the least. I was impressed with the craftsmanship of this blade, yet more importantly I think I was interested in how different this knife is for TOPS line of unique blades. First off, this knife is 1/8 inch thick, different for TOPS but, becoming more common in their line. I also noticed the distal taper of the blade from handle to tip. This takes the material from 18 inch at the handle and narrows it down, as you get closer to the tip. There are many different reasons I have heard as to why this is done; in my opinion, I strongly believe it makes the knife more agile. What I mean by this is the greater control that is gained for all around use. It boils down to less material to move through the object you are cutting.
For starters, I will talk about the sheath. The Baja 3.0 comes in a high quality leather sheath that will allow for a few carry options. It is an ambidextrous sheath, meaning you can carry it on your right or left side. The sheath can also be carried horizontally or vertically on a belt. This in my opinion is a great addition to this package. The sheath is also a retention sheath, which will hold the knife in place and is very secure. The photos are a demonstration of how the knife can be carried on the belt.
I have several knives, many I use for cooking either in the field or even while at home. This, I thought would be a great test for this agile blade. I have recently started on a more Paleo style diet and even utilizing some raw foods as well. The first dish I prepared was a squid dish with a grilled chicken breast on the side. I began by gathering all the ingredients and washing them. I laid them on my cutting board and began to slice them into the desired sizes for this meal. I found that whether I was cutting the vegetables or the meat this blade offered me a lot of control. I found that with many of my other blades I have good speed while slicing and cutting however, this blade offered more speed and control while getting the job done. From the zucchini to the peppers, this knife was a very welcome addition to my kitchen tool kit. My wife and my stepdaughter both have small hands. They will at times be intimidated by some of the knives I will use whether in the field or in the kitchen. I have heard them say on several occasions that the knife is too heavy for them or the handle is too big for their hands. When I asked them if the wanted to try the Baja 3.0 I almost didn’t get it back. While they are cooking in kitchen cutting up chicken, beef, fish, or even veggies, they seem to prefer this blade to any other knife in the drawer.
The next dish I prepared was raw beef heart ceviche; a more Mexican style dish that I prefer to eat raw. In most cases, I have used fish like salmon and tuna or even the more common shrimp. This dish uses citrus juice from lemons or limes, which will “cook” the fish to an extent. The fish will react with the citrus and essentially firm up the meat, much like cooking. With the beef heart however, this is not the case. This can be dangerous due to E. coli, so know your source of raw meat well before attempting this dish. Heart is also very bloody, while cutting it up the handle of the knife became soaked with blood. The micarta handle scales kept the knife firmly in hand with no worries of slipping. I have used expensive chef’s knives that did not offer that kind of safety while in use.
As many people may know, when it comes to cutting up beef hear properly it can take a little skill to get the job done. The Baja 3.0 allowed me to cut the heart into very small pieces with surgical precision. With the veins and fat that are on a beef heart, it is best not to add this to the ceviche dish. Use as lean and clean of meat as possible to make it very tender while eating. This knife worked like a scalpel to remove all of these from the heart. From there I began to slice up the onions, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and carrots. Personally, carrots are not necessary for a ceviche dish however I find while using raw beef heart it goes very well with the mix of flavors. It will add a very sweet tinge to the sour making a very pleasant balance.
Cooking is something that most of us have to do everyday. In my house most if not all dishes that are prepared are made from scratch. It does not matter what it is; whether I am making enchiladas or chicken casserole to preparing the gathered food that I bring in from the field. Having a knife that is not only capable but also quality is the most important tool of all.
The Baja 3.0 is also very lightweight, weighing in at only 3 oz and 5.1 including the sheath. This is light enough for any to carry and will make a great addition to any kit. I found this blade to be not only great in the kitchen but in the field as well. In future articles I will be using blades and other items in the kitchen to get a better feel for the everyday use of the items. I think this is the best possible way to show how these tools can be utilized in day-to-day life. My goal is give the best demonstration possible while making is fun and educational as well.
O/A Length: 6 1/4″
Blade Length: 3″
Steel: 1095 High Carbon RC 56-58
Handle: Green Canvas Micarta
Blade Color: Coyote Tan
Sheath: Leather Horizontal / Vertical Carry
Weight w/Sheath: 5.1oz
Designed By: TOPS Knives