In this weeks article I want to kick around the discussion of “fixed blade knives” mainly in the context of hunting or should I say skinning and field dressing wild game. I would really like to know what your opinion is regarding the use of any fixed blade knife that you have and or continue to use for your field dressing chores.
I will break down the discussion with the following sub topics……..
- Fixed Blade Knife – History
- Knife Anatomy
Looking forward to your feedback and opinions.
Fixed Blade Knife – History
Well other than rocks and spears I would venture to say that the “knife” is also one of the most earliest tools used by man which were made from flint type stones by the Egyptians who fashioned wood handles to hold firm the flint blades they had chipped away from stone.
Next up where the ancient Greeks who dabbled in bronze blades that could be customized a lot easier than stone and by the time of the Roman Empire is was very common to have blades made of steel which we still use to this day. (source Encyclopedia Britannica)
The knife in particular “fixed blade” has been a part of man’s weaponry / toolkit and hunting companion for centuries albeit there are so many variations and combinations of blades / handles that a person can choose from in the following chapters we will refer to some of those variations……..
I am sure you all are familiar with the blade and the handle, but do you know the other parts that make up the total anatomy of a knife?? See listed below a brief description of each part………..
- The point is the tip of the blade; it comes in numerous varieties defined by their function, such as the clip point, the gut hook (which I personally prefer), and so on.
- The tang is the part of the blade that continues into the handle. Only fixed-blade knives have tangs.
- The bolster is the thicker part of the blade that touches the handle.
- The sharpening angle is the angle the between the blade’s edge and the center of the blade. A thin knife, like most hunting knives, has a lower sharpening angle.
- The profile is the shape of the blade which can come in many forms.
- The butt (or pommel) is the weighted area at the end of the handle; it helps balance the weight of the blade.
- The groove a knife makes in whatever it’s cutting is called a kerf (source: Encyclopedia Britannica, Fisher].
For the article at hand I will refer to most if not all applications of the “fixed blade knife” as it pertains to hunting and field dressing of wild game.
I would have to mention that the type or should I shape of knife I use for hunting is a gut hook rubber handled knife (pictured below) the gut hook is for obvious reasons to use for field dressing wild game preferably whitetail deer and the gut hook (located at the tip of the knife) comes in extremely handy when field dressing wild game. I also like the rubber handle so that when wet it does not tend to slip out of your hand and accidentally cut you or someone else!
All fixed blade knives have a “full tang” which means basically that the knife’s body is one continuous piece of steel which with the proper weighting can chop / hack thru bone and other tough parts of a deer’s anatomy. It goes without saying that you should have a sharpened blade in order to make precise cuts especially when you are in the butcher phase of field dressing you game.
A chiseled point is beneficial for skinning your game and is used in a surgical manner if you are trying to preserve the animal’s hide for tanning or taxidermy, there are so many variations of a knife’s handle and bolster which feature finger guards and handle grooves cut out for a person’s fingers to lay perfectly on the handle for the best grip you can achieve thereby giving the user safety while cutting.
This section in my opinion is paramount for if you do not utilize the knife in a safe manner it could result in bodily harm and in some instances could be serious should you still be in the field and far away from any sort of medical assistance.
I would go on further to say that when you are in the “field” I highly recommend some sort of compact medical supply kit in the event of an accident!
If you can wait for some assistance when field dressing your game, that way you will have help in the event of an accident (hopefully not) but will also have the advantage of another pair of hands to hold your game steady while skinning and cleaning your game.
Please do not be reckless when performing your field dressing duties as good stewards of God’s natural resources I believe you owe it to your recently harvested game the respect of diligently utilizing any and all parts that can be consumed by man. And after all we definitely want you back with us in the field enjoying hunting and spending time with your hunting buddies not spending time at the emergency room!!
The Final Cut……..
In closing, I hope that I have shed a little light on the subject of fixed blade knives in particular hunting applications albeit there are many other uses for knives outside of hunting and field dressing game. I would wrap up this post by stating please respect this item called a “knife” as it can be a great tool but if misused can cause great harm.