Bark River Canadian Special

Bark River Canadian Special CPM 3V steel, big horn sheep handle main (Photo: bax_40 - knifeforums)

Knife Collectors Org. Review:

The Bark River Canadian Special is one of the most well known and popular knives in KnifeForums. It is a nice handy knife with a decent length of 4″, which is an “in-between” length and a good choice for bushcraft. Pictures of this knife make it look quite small, but it actually thicker and larger in hand than what the photos make it out to be. The blade edge is also straight, with no recurve. The Canadian Special’s blade design is quite unique, not quite a leaf-shaped blade, but yet obviously different from a normal blade shape. This blade shape is unique to the ‘Canadian Series’ from Bark River.

In explaining the unique blade shape, Mike Stewart says, “The Hump on the Canadian Blades is to keep the point out of the innards in field dressing”. The curve of the blade, or the humped spine (or sometimes called “bow back”), is a great feature and adds to the ergonomics of the knife. This makes it much easier to place the thumb on the spine for delicate tasks like whittling wood, and the index finger on the spine when paring or slicing food. Some have said that the Canadian Special’s curved back makes it easier to baton, but it can also be argued that a traditional flat spine would not move as much as the Canadian Special’s while batoning. Another plus of the blade design is that it has more belly than other bushcraft knives (for example the Bark River Aurora) and this allows it to cut thicker things.

Here’s what Mike Stewart himself has got to say about the Canadian Special:

For me–the Canadian Special is the Ticket.

It has plenty of blade for any use.

It is a eye opener for most folks that have a small, medium , medium large or large hand.

If You are a Skilled user–You pick it up and it’s like a Light bulb Goes on and You smile.

The point is closer to the Center line of the blade–like a Bushcrafter.

The Curve of the Edge to the Point is like a Drop Point Hunter.

The slightly Hump Top Spine adds mass for powering through Batoning with ease.

The handle for me–naturally rights itself in the hand and –even though it has Finger Grooves–does not limit the user to any one grip.

From what we have seen on My forum–About 80% of Folks that have tried them find the Canadian Special to be that “One Knife”.

We have found that Folks that actually have a very large hand do NOT feel the same way and have Issues with the handle. There are no perfect knives for Everyone but this one is what I feel serves me best as an all around Belt Knife.

Overall, the Bark River Canadian Special has an excellent task and is suited to a very wide range of tasks, much more than other comparable knives. The humped spine of the blade serves to add to the ease of use of the knife, and also adds more blade to assist in cutting tasks. Of all the Bark River knives, the Canadian Special is perhaps the most outstanding and a highly recommended knife, one that most newbies to Bark River end up getting. Most never regret their purchase!

  • Good size at 4″ Effective all round design, handles camping tasks well
  • Great Blade ShapeHumped spine – better thumb placement when doing delicate tasks
  • Has enough Belly than other bushcraft knives (good for cutting meat)
  • Good ergonomics – finger grooves on handles, balance point in middle
  • Convex-edge – cuts and sharpens easily
  • Mike Stewart’s (BRKT owner) personal choice!


  • Top of blade not flat, may cause difficulty in batoning
  • A2 Steel rusts easily if not properly maintained
  • Expensive

Editor’s Rating: 9/10

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Blade Length: 4″ x .170″
Length Closed: -NA-
Overall length: 8.75″
Blade Steel: A2 Carbon Steel or CPM 3V Tool Steel
Blade hardness: Rc. 58
Blade Finish: Polished
Weight: 5.75oz
Edge: Plain
Lock Type: -NA-
Carry System: -NA-
Handle Material: (Customer’s choice)
Knife Type: Fixed Blade
Country of origin: USA
Part #: -NA-

Rarity Details:

Production Status: In Production
Last Known MSRP: Premium Member Content (see FAQs)
Current Estimated Price: Premium Member Content
Production dates: Premium Member Content
Production numbers: -unknown-
Limited run?: No
Other things of interest: –
Rarity Index: 2.5/10 (10 being the most rare)

Rarity index scale (1 to 10, 10 being the most rare):

1 – Very common; easily available on ebay, google product search and almost every knife selling website. Spammed with at least 10+ listings on ebay.
3 – Has been around for at least 2 years and are selling reasonably well, with retailers favouring other newer models over this knife.
5 – Knives that are on the borderline of being discontinued or have been discontinued for less than 6 months
6 – Products from 6 onwards are either discontinued or limited edition.
7 – Discontinued knives that pop up once every few months on the “For Sale” part of forums or on ebay. Still can be found at a few online shops though.
8 – Knives that need lots of researching to find. Not available anymore in online knife shops and pop up (if you’re lucky) >4 months for one at a time.
9 – Knives holding this rarity are the shadowy kind. You can’t find any information on them at all (not even from online knife shops that have not taken down that knife’s product page). If you see one for sale grab at all cost.
10 – The rarest of all knives. If you hadn’t been here you wouldn’t even have known that it existed. Should you have one of these you better lock it up in a triple-combination safe and treat it like a family heirloom…


Product Description:

The Canadian Specials are the full size addition to our Canadian Series.

You will find this a serious working belt knife that will easily handle most field and hunting chores. It’s old time styling has it’s roots in the bow back skinners we all commonly called Canadian skinners. You will find the shallow finger grooves handle to be very secured in the hand and still not limiting in the way you can hold or use the knife.

The Canadian Special joins the Mini and Mikro Canadians, the Canadian Sportsman and Sportsman II and the larger Canadian Camp Knife in the series.