Sarge Knives TK Retro Review: Throwback Bushcraft

Sarge Knives TK Retro Review: Throwback Bushcraft
The knife performed admirably under the dead blow hammer in splitting kindling.

Sarge Knives TK Retro has throwback looks, but modern performance.

The TK Retro from Sarge Knives reminds me of my first fixed blade.

The blade was pitted and the leather handle was cracking. Still, the knife field dressed many squirrel, rabbit and game birds throughout my childhood. It was an excellent camper’s or outdoorsman’s knife.

As for the TK Retro, like my first fixed blade, the stacked-leather handle still gives my hand a warm feel. It has a 440C stainless steel blade to make its good looks last even longer. However, how does it cut?

TK Retro Sharpness Test

Retro cutting paper
Using the knife’s weight, the author employed push cuts in the stationery. There were no “bad starts,” just smooth slicing.

The first test medium was 20-pound bond copy paper. The TK Retro started slicing and made nice, clean cuts in the stationery. Using the knife’s weight, I employed push cuts. There were no “bad starts,” just smooth slicing.

TK Retro Light-Duty Cuting

TK Retro vs leather
The blade audibly crunched the leather with each skive and made it easy to control the width of slices.

The TK Retro bit deep and smooth [into drywall], with minimal bending of the cut pieces. I could feel the cardboard’s layers with each cut. Edge performance was nice and aggressive. The handle provides a very secure grip.

Leather skiving followed. The blade audibly crunched the leather with each cut and made it easy to control the width of slices.

Heavy-Duty Cutting With Sarge’s Fixed Blade


TK Retro firesticks
Melissa did a great job whittling a fuzz stick with the TK Retro over her painted bench.

While camping, I was splitting firewood for the weekend. My wife, Melissa, wanted to start the fire so I showed her how to make fire sticks. She took to whittling very quickly and did four of the sticks to aid in her fire starting. She used the TK Retro to make some very nice curlicues. Before I knew it she had a beautiful fire going—excellent job on her part! I was surprised to see her whittling over her bench that she had painted. She seemed to feel very confident using the little fixed blade.

Splitting Wood

I had some dry hackberry wood to split for kindling. A dead blow hammer and the TK Retro made short work of the task. I didn’t see or feel any edge/knife damage while batonning the edge through the wood. The guard acted like a guide for my hold hand, keeping the wood away from my knuckles. The leather handle absorbed the vibrations perfectly.

Vs Rope

TK Retro cuts rope
The fixed blade made 82 crunching cuts in the half-inch sisal rope before the edge started to slide.

On the half-inch sisal rope, the TK Retro crunched its way to 82 clean cuts before the edge started to slide. I did find that the guard had a sharp edge that needed softening a bit. It would create a hot spot on your hand after a while. It was an easy fix with some sandpaper.

Chopping Antlers

Chopping antler
After 20 hard whacks on the antler the edge showed nary a chip, a sign of outstanding heat treating.

The last test for the edge consisted of a series of chops into a whitetail deer antler. After 20 hard whacks, I expected to see some minor edge chipping but there was none. The edge was as sharp as when I started. Sarge Knives nailed the heat treating.


The guard and buttcap need to be softened a tad. They will bite you after a period of hard use.

Final Cut

The TK Retro is a very nice medium-use knife great for game or camping.

Sarge Knives TK Retro Specs
Blade length: 3.5 inches
Blade steel: 440C stainless
Blade finish: Mirror polish
Handle: Stacked leather
Fittings: Stainless steel
Construction: Full tang
Weight: 4 ounces
Overall length: 7 3/8 inches
Sheath: Brown leather pouch w/snap and belt loop
Weight w/sheath: 5 ounces
MSRP: $53.95

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