Next add a Filipino designed Moro Bolo. Mix in some modern materials like textured micarta and … presto. What you get is the TOPS Knives Power Eagle Kuk a Bolo.
To understand the design of this monster, we must go back to its roots.
The kukri is a curved Nepalese knife designed primarily for chopping. Although well known for its use in the military, the kukri is most commonly used as a multi-purpose tool. It’s a very common agricultural and household implement in Nepal. Its use has varied from building, clearing, chopping firewood, and digging to cutting meat and vegetables, skinning animals and opening tin cans.
After spending some time in the Philippines, when I look at the Power Eagle, I see the distinct influence of the Moro Barong-style Bolo. This singleedged, leaf-shaped blade is an amazingly effective slicer and the preferred blade style for jungle travel, as well as marketplace use, in the Philippines.
The blade tends to be thick and heavy, with the weight aiding its slicing capability. Bolos are also used as military weapons and as such were a particular favorite of the Filipino resistance during the Philippine Revolution against Spain, the Philippine-American War, and the Commonwealth period. For this reason, the study of the bolo is common in Filipino martial arts.
Many custom makers, as well as production companies produce either a kukri or a bolo, but no single company has combined both designs into one lethal tool. Leave it to TOPS Knives to be the pioneers.
Aside from the actual appearance of a knife, out-of-the-package sharpness is like a first impression, and I do it by seeing how well a knife can shave hair off my forearm. It’s also a way of letting people around me know one of two things. Either I joined a sorority and had to shave my arms, or I got a new knife. Well, mine was the latter of the two.
I’m not the kind of guy who takes a blade like this into his backyard for testing. I had bigger plans for this one, as I was about to embark on a trip to Peru. We were going from the airport in Iquitos straight to Nada, where we would catch a boat and hit the Amazon. This meant there wouldn’t be a whole lot of time to get a machete ready.
If you’ve ever bought a machete in South America, you know what I’m talking about. Some work needs to be done to the machete before it will be ready to work—for example, putting an edge on it. I decided to bring the Power Eagle with me because it was ready and eager to eat some jungle.
Before heading out into the jungle, I used the Power Eagle to pry a rotting tree apart and retrieve the tasty suri (grub worms) that would be my meal for the day.
As the trek took us into the jungle, we traversed waist-deep swamps, often needing tree roots or branches to help us out of the steep pools. When driven into the mud, the Power Eagle made for a good handhold.
When we stopped to make camp, rain was falling and only about three hours of sun were left. Night comes on fast in the jungle, and time is never our friend when it comes to making shelter. Time to make a swamp bed, which is usually constructed with an 18- to 20-inch long bladed machete.
The Power Eagle sheared through green saplings up to 1 ½ inches in thickness with one swift motion. The length of the stout 12-inch blade allowed me to chop into more confined spaces than a long machete.
While making shelter, I had a chance to use the elastic bungee cord that comes attached to the handle for use as a lanyard. The cord is flush with the handle scales and can be used ambidextrously by slipping the hand in between the handle and cord, thus putting the cord over the back of the hand. You can also avoid this and just grab the handle without sliding your hand in between the cord and scales.
When it was time to make fire, the wood was processed from wrist-size pieces down to pencil size, then shaved into thinner fuzz sticks and toothpicksize pieces using the big chopper. On logs approximately four feet long, the Power Eagle was batoned into the wood in a two-man team effort.
One person would hold the knife by the handle with the blade stuck into the top of the log, while the other person would whack away on the top of the spine, driving it into the log and splitting it. From this point, it was split farther down to finger- and pencil-size pieces. The smaller pieces were shaved down with the first four inches of the blade, which was always sharp because most of the chopping is performed farther up the blade.
The Power Eagle’s dramatic taper from spine to cutting edge not only increased its chopping ability, but also allowed it to really shine in the finer work category as well.
At the end of the day, the Power Eagle sharpened up nicely with a small double-sided diamond hone. I used the coarse side for the chopping area and the finer side for the carving area. The 5160 steel takes an edge well and can take a beating worthy of a Rocky movie.
The Power Eagle’s sheath is ballistic nylon with a front pouch for gear storage. While walking in the jungle, I left the sheath behind on the boat and carried the big knife at my side.
The TOPS Power Eagle is a tool you can bet your life on, whether you seek adventure in the wild or a car camp in your local woods. The TOPS Power Eagle is definitely jungle certified in my book!
The suggested retail price is $199.95 and includes a TOPS ALRT-XL.