How Knives Are Changing

There was a time when one could learn the names of 6 or 10 knives, and be set for life. Over the next 40+ years, you would not expect much to change in the knife world.

If you have looked around lately, you realize those days are long gone.

All those ‘Rambo’ Wanna-Be Knives 

Drop Point Skinning Blade

Drop Point Skinning Blade



Remember when we drooled over the “cool” factor of Rambo-styled knives? Now, emergency medical technicians, the military and police routinely use those knives because they offer job-specific tools, such as seat-belt cutters, safety blade tips and wire cutters.

It seems that “if you can dream it, you can make it” in the world of knives. Individual craftsmen keep pushing the envelope of invention and technology continues to provide more techniques and materials.

Hunting Knives

The era of specialization has hit hunting knives, as well as most other types of knives. MDH’s* favorite pocket knife looks like an arcane memento from the past.

Although made of stainless steel, his knife wouldn’t know what a knife lock was! It was made in the day when honing one’s knife was a ritual that a man passed on to his son.

Now we have hunting knives specific to each task: gut-hook knives for field dressing and small, sharp knives for caping deer  – as well as other close work.

Specific AND Generalized Knives

Actually, you can have knives both ways: very specific tools or generalized instruments. Some knives labeled hunting and camping knives can do everything from food preparation to skinning and butchering wild game.

Most of the hunters I know have  about a dozen knives – but tend to use 2 or 3 faves.  Once folks find a tool that feels good and works well, they tend to find more uses for that tool.

Safety Has Become More Important

Twenty years ago,  blades had slip joints or basic locking mechanisms. Now, most knives come with high-tech locks, plus other safety features to avoid lock failure.

Who would have ever thought we would have knives with replaceable blades? Or locking sheaths? Or knives that keep their edge for years?

The Future of Knives

The future looks very rosy. Sportsmen and women are willing to pay for innovation. The prices charged for knives as collectibles seem to increase every week.

With knives, people have learned that “you get what you pay for.”  As more people try crafting their own knives, they have come to appreciate the craftsmanship of both the very old and the very new.

Knives and You

If you have thought about collecting knives, prices will probably never be lower. Jump in soon!

Because of the ever increasing improvements in today’s knives, you may be shocked by the huge variety of knives available to hunters and anglers.

My problem is that I’m afraid to buy today for fear that tomorrow they will improve it so much, I’ll have to have that one too. Maybe that is the definition of a “knife collector.”  Hmmmm.


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 8:45 am  Comments (1)  
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The 10 Commandments of Knife Use & Maintenance**


Golden Rules for Knives

Golden Rules for Knives


This topic is serious, the way I state it is not. I hope no one is offended.


And the Lord gave unto Abraham 10 Mighty Rules of Knives.

(First) “Thou shalt not let thy blade go dull.” A dull blade is a dangerous blade. It takes more pressure to use a dull blade, and accidents often happen when your hand slips or you lose control of the blade.

(2nd) “Thou shalt not hand thy knife to another – blade first.” If it is a folding knife, pass it on in a folded position. Hold a fixed blade by it’s spine (top, unsharpened edge) with the blade away from you, allowing the receiver to take the knife by its handle.

(3rd) “Thou shalt not use a knife’s weakest point (the tip) as a pry-bar.” Buy a small ‘chisel point rescue’ for daily use, and keep your knife intact.

(4th) “Thou shalt take thy time to sharpen thy knife blade.”  Use the sharpening system as instructed by the directions that came with it. More knife blades are damaged by poor honing than use!

(5th) “Thou shalt keep thy knife as clean as thyself.”  Most of the time, knives traspass where our hands don’t want to go – acids, oils, dirt, etc. Three things that knives come most into contact with are – salt, blood and sweat. They are corrosive and damaging to the blade.

Wash a knife in mild soap, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Always wash blades before food preparation. To avoid contamination with bacteria, knives should be washed after working with meat, and before using it on other foods.

(6th) “Thou shalt not leave thy knife in water or exposed to heat/sunlight for long periods of time.” As water is the universal solvent, it can unglue the handle, or other parts. Excessive heat can warp the knife.

(7th)  “Thou shalt not throw thy knife – even in fun.” More knife tips are broken by careless handling than  people can imagine. If you are playing a knife throwing game, get one specifically for it – don’t take a chance on your prized knife(s).

(8th) “Thou shalt not oil thy leather sheath.” The oil discolors the leather and sometimes causes thread failure. Best practices: saddle soap for cleaning and dubbing (a water-resistant shoe wax) to protect your investment.

(9th) “Thou shalt protect thy blades during temporary storage.”  Use a light touch when adding a coat of wax to the blade. High carbon blades may need a bit more – a thin layer of petroleum jelly before storage.

(10) “Thou shalt be tender in preparing thy knives for long-term storage.” Knives and sheaths should be placed in plastic bags separately. Use a vapor-protector (desiccant – think little bags placed in shoe boxes to protect leather) in the bag.

And Abraham took these Golden Rules for Knives down to the multitudes. And all was good.

MDH,* who advises God regularly 🙂 has an 11th – Thou shalt not use metal on metal (don’t cut meat in the frying pan – use a cutting board).

This one isn’t nearly as catchy as the first 10. But ‘He who wants to be obeyed – and rarely is’ asked me to add this one.

** This posting was inspired by: Knives: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Knives for Fighting, Hunting and Survival. Pat Farey; 2003; $24.95)


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