Thursday, December 12, 2013

Choosing A Quality Brand Name Knife

A quality knife is a must for almost everyone.  Whether you are a crafter, hunter, fisherman, camper, hiker, outdoorsman or just plain old handy all around a knife is a tool that you will not be able to function without. A knife is such a valuable tool that any new young man or women in our family acquires one at the same time that they receive their drivers license.  Whether for cutting a box, opening a can, cutting your way out of a tangle or as a security blanket walking to your car in a dark parking lot a knife is an essential tool.

The old adage that you get what you pay for is true when it comes to the purchase of a knife.  Don’t waste money on a cheap gas station pocket knife.  You will literally be throwing money away.  Invest in a decent knife as a gift for someone or for yourself, it will pay you back tenfold in years served.  A quality knife will last long enough to be a family heirloom so look at the purchase as such.  A terrific knife to start with is a folding knife with a locking blade.  There are many companies supplying knives that fit this description narrowing the selection down is the hard part.  Below I will share a few personal favorites.

One brand that stands the test of time is W.R. Case & Son Cutlery.  Started in 1889, each knife and blade that is made is different form the next.  Case blades are stamped from steel and hardened using their special heat method.  After this is completed the handles are carved from a multitude of materials.  Case handles come from hardwoods, mother-of-pearl, exotic animal bone as well as unique stones.  All the parts used in making a Case knife are superior metals such as silver, nickel and brass.  If you purchase a Case knife you are not only buying a quality tool you are also purchasing a collectable heirloom that will be passed on from one member of your family to another for years.

Another quality knife company that is known for their quality, heirloom pieces is Fallkniven knives.  A Swedish, family business that began around 1980 has grown into one of the most popular brands for fishing and hunting enthusiasts all over the world.  With a knife designed and manufactured by Fallkniven you are guaranteed a knife that is second to none.  The knives have it all; good looks unbeatable craftsmanship and unrivaled performance.  You can choose from many styles of knives including folding, fixed blade, military, collectors and chef knives. 

These are just two of the many knife brands I would suggest to purchase as a knife that will ultimately become a family heirloom.  It is priceless to see how a child lights up when they are given great grandpa’s pocket knife from when he was a young man.  With either of the brands listed above and plenty of other you are purchasing an essential tool that will carry a multitude of stories with it throughout the years. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Blade Is Important When Choosing A Quality Knife

In hunting you will find there are two distinct types of knives to choose from, the fixed blade knife and the folding or lock blade knife.  As with most products there are distinct benefits and drawbacks when deciding between the two.  When choosing between the two you will want to consider your unique and specific hunting approach as well as your preference for carrying your knife.  If you prefer to carry a knife in your pocket you will want to go with a folding or locking blade knife but if you want to wear the knife on your belt or in a boot sheath you will be looking at a fixed blade knife.

Folding or locking blade knives often come with a unique feature that allows them to be opened using only one hand.  Often times the knife is equipped with a small lever that you place your thumb in that assists in opening the blade.  Another nice feature about folding blades is the locking mechanism that prevents accidental blade closings.  If a blade closes accidentally it is likely to cause injury.  To close a knife with a locking component you must press the lever down and apply pressure to fold the knife back into the handle.  A lock blade knife is convenient to be carried within a pocket or worn easily on a belt.  They are usually smaller in size then fixed blade knives which make them a terrific option for an everyday knife or for a knife used in fishing, hunting or outdoor adventures.

If you are into big game hunting or are adventurous in survival outings a fixed blade knife might be a better option for you.  A fixed blade knife is often larger and sturdier and is better suited to the stress that will be put on it in survival and big game hunting expeditions.   They are considered a stronger knife as they do not rely on a hinge to fold the knife.  The blade is made from one solid piece of metal and is part of the actual handle using a full tang.  In my opinion this is the highest quality fixed blade knife you can purchase.  The knife will be carried in a sheath that is worn around a belt, within a boot or around your leg.  The sheath that you will choose to carry your knife in with depends on the game you are hunting, the clothing you are wearing and personal comfort.  When venturing into deep woods camping or large game hunting looks into a good quality full tang fixed blade knife.

Several different types of blades are available on folding blades and fixed blade options.  The clip point and drop point blades are the most popular for hunters.  A clip point blade is best for smaller areas where as the drop point blade is best for skinning and larger animals.

Another blade option that is popular is the gut hook blade.  This style blade has a hooked end that is used to open the animals mid section without clipping into the entrails.  If choosing a gut hook blade look for one that has a wide opening to accept the thickness of the animals hide.  It is important to remember that the animals will have their winter coats, hair and hide so you will need a hook blade that is substantial to get through the animal.

In choosing a knife there are many brands to consider.  Some of the top brands are Boker Tree, Browning, Case and Zero Tolerance.  Take your time, do some research and get a feel for the knife you want.  Look around at stores but when it comes to the big purchase, check online as the deals are often far greater than what you can find in store.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stockman Pocket Knives

I am often asked about the different types and brand names of pocket knives.  There are so many companies producing pocket knives and with the different styles, shopping for the perfect pocket knife is an adventure in itself.

This is the first part in a series of articles to be written about the different types of pocket knives available.  I thought a very traditional way to begin the series was with the Stockman Pocket Knife.  The Stockman has three different types of blades and usually is in the middle when it comes to the length of pocket knives.  The Stockman is sold by various knife makers; the most prevalent being Case XX Knives and Rough Rider Knives.
Stockman’s are special because of the three different types of blades that make up this style of pocket knife.  The blades include a clip point blade, a sheep’s foot and a spey blade.  

Clip point blades are the longest blade of the three and are the one that does the most work of the three.  It can be used in the field to slice meat, peel fruit, filet fresh fish or even skin small game.  This blade makes the Stockman an ideal medium sized pocket knife for hunting, fishing, camping or outdoor adventures. 

The sheep’s foot blade is a short, straight blade that is used for cuts that require extra control.  The strong, blunt point is good for cutting open boxes or delicate jobs like cutting an article out of a newspaper. 

Spey blades were used by farmers and ranchers long ago to spay however I believe that spaying animals with a pocket knife has died out.  The spey blade is used to carefully slice meat.  The blade offers a ninety degree point that helps prevent puncturing struggling animal’s vital organs.  The keen edge makes it the most practical for cutting through flesh. 

The Stockman pocket knives medium size makes it incredibly convenient to be carried.   They generally come with two different types of handles including a straight handled version and a sowbelly version. 

As with most folding knives the Stockman style uses nail nicks to open the blade.  A nail nick is a slot on the top of the blade that is used to allow your fingernails to pull the blade out of the knife handle.  The three blades make this pocket knife a good choice for handling a variety of tasks and are practical for many different knife carriers. 

Choose the Stockman, three blade pocket knife if you are looking for a traditional style pocket knife that is small enough to be carried conveniently but large enough to be held comfortably in larger hands.  It is a style that has continued to stand the test of time and remains a popular option in folding knife options. 

When looking for a Case XX Stockman Pocket Knife or a Stockman Rough Rider Pocket Knife check out the variety of knife suppliers online.  You can often find a great deal purchasing online paying up to forty percent off of the prices charged by sporting good stores.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Benefits of A Good Kitchen Cutlery Set

The worst part about cooking is not having a good set of kitchen cutlery.  I never knew this was an issue until we received a Forschner Six Piece Kitchen Knife Block Set for a wedding gift.  At first I didn’t understand the magnitude of this gift.  I thought, to be completely honest, that it was a sign for things to come in our marriage.  Heck when the in-laws give you a knife set what else are you to think?  This gift however has changed my relationship with cooking forever.

Once I used the new cutlery and realized how easy they made cutting meat and vegetables I was hooked.  My biggest pet peeve before the new knives was cutting the fat off of the meat.  It was never easy and always involved me cutting myself.  With the new block set I had a knife for everything without washing in between.  I could cut chicken on one board, veggies on another and have one for cutting the dessert!

I was a novice before.  I had one knife for pairing, cutting, chopping and for the cutting meat at the table.  After I was done I would throw it in the dishwasher to get it good and sterile and the process would begin again.  When I received the new kitchen cutlery I learned there is something about caring for knives that cannot be taken lightly.  Caring for the knives will make them last longer and work properly.

The storage block has become a center piece next to my stove. It properly houses the clean, dry knives ensuring the sharp edges and knife points are not exposed.  The block also protects the knives as well and is a great storage piece as well as incredibly sharp to look at.  My storage block is made out of Oak.

I find myself hand washing these knives.  I do not soak them in water ever.  The handles are made of strong, durable wood however I don’t want to risk the chance of them losing their beautiful finish.  I also dry them right away.  When you don’t properly wash and dry them your kitchen cutlery will show signs of oxidization and slight surface rust.  Not attractive for cook wear.

Knives should be used on proper cutting surfaces.  A good quality cutting board will prolong the knives blade and keep it sharper longer.  With that being said a quality cutlery set will come with a knife sharpener.  Take time to learn how to properly use the sharpener to create a sharp cutting edge.  Improper sharpening will decrease the life of your cutlery set.

A good kitchen cutlery set will cost upwards of two hundred dollars.  You will find you get what you pay for.  Remember that a starting cutlery bock set is just that a start to your kitchen knives.  Overtime your set will grow to include pieces that are used at the dining table and more formal settings.  You will find yourself interested in special knives for cheeses, breads and meats; appetizer knives.   Another cutlery piece I love is my Sabatier kitchen shears!  I recommend you purchase a pair right away.  Scissors ease cutting in biscuits ten-fold over a kitchen knife.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Purchasing Your First Fixed Blade Knife

All of us have moments in life that we remember like they just happened yesterday.  For some it is their first kiss, going to college, getting married, purchasing a home; this list could go on forever.  For me one of these days is the day I was able to purchase my own fixed blade knife otherwise known as a “survival knife”.  I was beyond excited.  I had waited a long time, done a lot of research and finally decided upon the knife I would come to carry on my hip for years to come.

I purchased it online and when it arrived at my doorstep I was as ecstatic as a young child on Christmas morning.  I wear is as casually as a pair of underwear only removing it from my hip on occasions that a knife is not allowed.  I won’t share the brand or exact fixed blade knife I choose because I truly believe you decide for yourself when choosing fixed blade knives and in no way do I want to influence your decision.   I will however give you a more in depth look at choosing a knife that is right for you and exactly why I believe, especially given society today, that a knife is a staple for everyone to carry; whether it is a pocket knife, fixed blade or liner lock.

Survival knives such as the Cold Steel Tai Pan Double Edged Dagger Knife are not only beautiful to carry and treasure but also incredibly useful.  You can use the knife in a variety of ways: cutting, slicing, self-defense, first aid, food preparations, assist in building shelter and to help as a tool in prying and screwing.  I know everyone is currently thinking of some random movie scene where the good guys life is saved with the use of the great knife tool, right?

When considering your knife purchases always consider its practicality. For some people a pocket knife or liner lock knife make more sense as their jobs don’t entail a knife to be worn on their hip.  For other like myself my career makes it a necessity.  Pocket knives are easily concealed and are simple to use.  This is a popular option for almost everyone.  I make my daughter and wife carry one when they leave the house.  Sometimes it assists them in opening a box or removing a tag but there in case something occurred that it might become a tool in saving them from a bad situation.

The things I considered when choosing my fixed blade knife were basic considerations such as the blades size, I like to be at around 5- 6 inches, it was full tang, one continuous piece of metal, it had a single-edged blade with a flat ground spine and a sharp point tip along with a solid pommel.

The decorations that have almost no bearing on the function of the knife include items such as if the blade is carbon steel or stainless steel, the material of the handle, the finish, millings, whether to have a serrated or non-serrated blade as well as the designer or brand name of the knife.  Knife enthusiasts argue that Cold Steel, Boker, Case and Smith and Wesson are amongst the top brand names amongst knife makers and who am I to argue with that!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Choosing A Pocket Knife That is Right For You

There is no doubt that choosing a pocket knife comes down to personal preference.  Women and men alike need to have a pocket knife handy at all times.  It is a multipurpose tool. Pocket knives come in handy because they are compact and can easily be stored as the name applies in a pocket or purse.  Whether you need it to open a package, slice a string, peel and apple or sharpen a pencil a pocket knife proves its purpose over and over again.

I often get asked how someone would go about choosing the perfect pocket knife.  Most pocket knife owners are not looking at the knife for collectability but instead for ease of use and longevity.  If this is what you are looking for I guarantee you won’t find it at the local five and dime or corner mart.  You can find quality options online and fairly inexpensive.  Most distributors of specialty knives offer free shipping and their products are backed not only by their individual warranty but also the manufacturers.

A quality, folding pocket knife is not difficult to find.  There are many top knife companies that offer widely different characteristics in pocket knives.  Some things to consider are if you are looking for something simple, tactical or something traditional.  If the knife is to be carried in ones pocket it is preferable to have a knife that folds.  Other things to consider are the thickness of the blade, the length of the blade, the way the knife locks as well as the material the handle and blade are made out of.  Here are some top brands to look into when considering a pocket knife:

1)      Boker Tree Brand Knives

Boker is a German based knife supplier and is known throughout the specialty knife community for manufacturing high quality blades at all different price levels.  They are popular among knife enthusiastic for their tactical, sport, pocket and collectors knives.

2)      Smith and Wesson Knives

Smith & Wesson is widely known for their production of handguns along with their presence in the law enforcement community.  S & W knives are made of the same attributes as their line of handguns and rifles.  They also offer a variety of pocket knives in varied price ranges.  You can’t go wrong with a Smith and Wesson pocket knife.

3)      W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery

Case is a popular American manufacturer of premium, hand-crafted pocket knives. They offer an intense selection to choose from in regards to the metal and handle materials on their pocket knives.  You can find anything from Carbon Fiber to Mother of Pearl.   Blade variety as well is varied amongst the pocket knives that hold the Case brand name; whether looking for a pocket knife with a gut hook and saw blade or hoof pick and clip blade.

You can find a pocket knife for everyday use from any of the three brands mentioned or from thousands of other manufactures such as: Benchmade, Spyderco, Kershaw, Swiss Army and Victorinox.  There is a knife for every user, the goal is to identify the uses you have for a pocket knife and to find one that represents you and that will meet your needs.