Tell us a little about yourselves (what are you doing that makes you famous? We are Dutch Bushcraft Knives (DBK). Maarten and Mikkie B, 2 best friends who love having a laugh, the outdoors and changing history and lives with knives of course. We have been friends since we were four years old and have grown up together like brothers. We have the annoying habit that we can’t just make or practise something. When we decide to do something we won’t settle for anything else but the top. Together with the childish humour, no embarrassment, refined knowledge, field experience and passion to improve our edits and video material we have proudly become one of the most popular knife channels on the internet and the biggest in the Netherlands. We focus on bringing the outdoors to the mainstream by taking away the dull side of this subject and showing people that you don’t need to be an ‘outdoor nerd’ to appreciate it and all that may come with it while keeping it interesting for the enthusiasts.
DBK – what is it? DBK or Dutch Bushcraft Knives is our ‘brand name’. We are a YouTube channel from the Netherlands (Dutch) focusing on bringing bushcraft etc. to the mainstream in our own comedic style. At the time of writing we have around 125,000 subscribers and the views differ every week. That always remains the challenge!
Maarten and Mikkie B from DBK showing their comic approach to knives
When did you make your first DBK video? October 2013. It was a video where I just wanted to show that a cheap fire steel can be better than an expensive fire steel. The first videos where we actually started thinking as a youtube channel were in May 2016.
Is there one video that made you popular? Not specifically one video but we got a major boost from our Mora Robust destruction test which suddenly exploded reaching around 2.0 million views, at time of writing. After that video we made quite a few successful videos with one topping 3 million views.
How did you start off making videos? I (Maarten) started off alone. Inspired by ‘Virtuovice’ his passion for knives, I wanted to share my experiences with different steels and knives. Because I was partially raised in a private piece of land in the forest where we shoot our videos I always had a love for the outdoors. This and the interest I had in militaristic stuff as a child made me fall in love with knives and bushcraft. The subject for my videos was determined by this interest and the knowledge I gained from both experience and reading.
A year later Mikkie B joined the videos for the fun of it and around that moment the channel took a more comedic turn showing the humor on screen that we always have together, even off screen. We now had a reason to push each other to create better content. Mikkie B came from a completely different background being in a band for the past 3 years touring the world. The influences he got from that also gave the ‘knife’ channel a unique taste. These two forces together of Mikkie B and Maarten made the channel what it is today always striving to be fresh and original every week.
Is it just the two of you? Yes Sir!
How long does it take to edit each video? (From filming to on YouTube?) A video takes around 18-28 hours to make (several hours writing a script, 8-12 hours to prepare and film and around 8-14 hours to edit). Besides this we also try to update our social media based on the most recent content.
You are Dutch but you produce your videos in English. Any reason? The content of our channel would be useless in Dutch with only 17 million people speaking the language in this country.
We always aim for the top and that includes crossing our boarders and speaking to the whole world.
How did you get involved in Bushcraft? As kids we loved to collect stuff from the military. However, we also wanted to test the stuff we bought in the field. With the little money we had as kids to spend on gear I can assure you it wasn’t comfortable! We started watching Ray Mears who inspired us to learn the basics of self-reliance. Getting back to nature and using the skills our ancestors used everyday just feels right to do. With all the things we learn today it is actually so strange that we don’t know the basics to survive in our own natural environment while this was once common knowledge. It’s also just bloody fun.
Knives – why? We have always used knives. As kids, we used them to make points to sticks or chop twigs for fun. Later when we got interested in bushcraft and survival we wanted a good knife. We decided to watch and read a lot of reviews on knives and were intrigued by the amount of different steels and factors of steel that makes a good knife. With our curiosity about the difference in performance between different types of steel we bought one after the other. We became experts and oddly addicted that way... We also believe a knife is perhaps the most important tool for both survival and bushcraft.
Apart from that, doesn’t a knife just ignite a spark in every human’s soul? Or perhaps we’re just insane….
You work with knives. Logically, have you ever cut yourself? Very often actually. Sometimes you forget that knives can be dangerous. Working with them all day can make you lazy about safety. Cutting yourself is a good reminder to work safe or adjust your technique. After cutting yourself you won’t cut yourself for a few months.
Only Mikkie B cut himself real bad. He chopped very deep into his hand. Without any means of transportation we had to wait for someone to bring him to the hospital. Ever since Mikkie B has been half cyborg and mentally not the same.
For our readers who are not knife experts, when you look at a knife what do you look for? What makes a great knife in your opinion? Knives and steels are actually pretty personal. Every hand is different. Some people want a knife to stay sharp very long while others prefer a knife that is easy to sharpen. Another important factor is what the main use of the knife will be.
Our personal top 3 most important things are:
1: Handle geometry (you won’t use a knife that pains your hand)
2: Blade and bevel shape/geometry/grind (what are you going to use your knife for?)
3: Steel (corrosion resistance vs toughness vs wear resistance)
As an example, we love a knife with a coke-bottle shaped handle, a scandi-vex edge geometry and a steel that holds an edge really well (CPM-3V, Elmax etc.). We care less for how hard it is to sharpen.
Besides the top 3 above, depending on the purpose the blade, we also look at blade length, blade thickness, weight, if it’s full tang, rat-tang etc., handle material (care free vs beauty), sheath (leather vs artificial) and of course aesthetics.
What trends are you seeing in knives? This is a hard one. There are various trends going on. The people who know less about knives quickly go for knives marketed by TV like the Bear Grylls knives. No questions asked warranty also seems to be a trend. Mostly (not all) brands who use cheaper materials that give no questions asked warranty sell well. People pay for the warranty instead of the quality. Theses knives are often made not to break but bend reducing their edge holding. As a lot of people quickly consider a knife sharp nowadays this edge holding is of less importance to them than knowing they’ll get a new knife no matter what.
On the other side the trend of maximum edge retention is going on. Modern (powder) steels are no longer being forged traditionally but use another technique too long to explain here. Grain size decreases and even elements that could not be used in traditional ingot steel can be mixed in to increase wear resistance. Companies are focusing on making steels that hold an edge for an incredibly long time. This often decreases the balance between easiness of sharpening vs edge retention but seems to be very popular amongst knife enthusiast.
What would you like to see more of? We would like to see more people not take knives and the outdoors over the top seriously because it is also just fun. It scares a lot of people of thinking this is not their cup of tea.
Also a lot of companies are focusing on making knives look tough and aggressive. I’d love to see more companies focus or make a line of more classy looking knives for those who don’t want to scare away people.
I’d also love to see more quality overall. We live in a ‘throw-away’ society. I hope people and companies will realize that selling/buying quality will actually be cheaper in the end and much more sustainable for our earth.
Will we see a DBK special edition knife? We are working on it! It’s hard to design the perfect knife while keeping the price acceptable. We have an enthusiast partner in this who really respects our wishes. It might take a while but we’ll definitely work hard to make it a reality.
What is your favourite knife, at the moment? Maarten’s favourite knife is currently the Bark River Aurora in CPM-3V steel. It’s not our most beautiful knife but definitely one of the most versatile knives in our collection.
Mikkie B’s favourite knife is Malanika Puukko Scandi in CPM-4V. It’s not our most versatile knife but the size, handle geometry and performance really suit Mikkie b’s needs. Just a beautiful piece of art and it was given to Mikkie B directly from the knife god in the heavens above.
Who are your heroes in Bushcraft? Ray Mears! His knowledge and relaxed way of filming and presenting his series is amazing. We learned a lot from him. He just shines passion for what he does, something we can really respect and find enjoyable to watch.
Our other hero would be Sir David Attenborough. Why for bushcraft?, I hear you asking. Sir David Attenborough just enhanced our passion and respect for nature even more. Knowledge about nature will make you enjoy bushcraft/the outdoors even more. Respect every plant and every animal how small they might be. Use nature as long as you don’t misuse it.
What are your day jobs? Maarten is a municipal official in The Hague. He’s responsible for the budget used for trees, plants, parks and forests and manages their preservation.
Mikkie B is a musician working on different projects. You might even hear him in a video commercial! Also in his mind he’s a super model, too bad even Maarten is more handsome.
What is next? We want to leave a permanent mark in the Youtube and outdoor world. We don’t only want to be a Youtube channel but we want to become a (quality) label with our own knives, clothing and what not. If we say something is good people know it’s good.
Why merino wool? Because it has definitely proven itself. The first purchase will be hard because of the above average price and that you don’t know what you’ll get for that price. Once you wear it you know and it’ll be hard to wear anything else. Merino wool is both warm in the cold and insulating in the warmth, it doesn’t itch, it has elastic properties for a comfortable fit and it doesn’t burn which all are excellent properties for bushcraft, survival or the outdoors in general. Because of its wear resistance and flexibility it has been performing amazing for our hard use.
How did you discover Armadillo Merino? We had a chat with your Dutch agent (Vriezz Trading) about outdoor clothing. He really liked Armadillo Merino and said that we just had to try it. He gave us 2 long sleeves to try and we were instantly hooked. Armadillo Merino looks good, it feels good and it has excellent properties for outdoor use. Especially the fire resistance is great for bushcraft. We really do like Armadillo Merino a lot.
What is your favourite piece of Armadillo Merino? The Panther Big Cat Long Sleeve with crew neck. It has a great price to quality ratio, has a great fit and feel. The weavings on the Panther are not too fine and not too broad giving it a very sturdy feel.