The overlooked kitchen knife.


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Carl Levitian
June 15, 2008, 09:57 AM
Have any of you ever used a common butcher knife or paring knife in the outdoors?

For a long time I've been using one of those Russells Green River knives that came with a simple leather sheath as my outdoor knife, and it's worked great. Pretty good carbon steel, thin blade took a great edge, held it for a decent amont of time. I made up some simple one piece leather pocket sheaths for a Victorinox paring knife, and an Old Hickory paring knife. Both have worked out way better than I thought they would.

Thinking about the old mountain men who got by with a simple large butcher knife, it makes me wonder why I would need anything more, unless involvement in some fantacy concrete comando action. Between a good butcher knife like an Old Hickory or Russells, and a good pocket knife, all the cutting chores seem to be covered exept for heavy chopping. In truth, after 30 years of backpacking and canoe camping, I have rarely needed to chop.

I guess maybe simple cutlery has gone the way of the single shot shotgun.

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Rupestris
June 15, 2008, 10:44 AM
I've referred to this one as my "Mini-Bolo" ;)

Its a Dexter Russell with a rather rigid 9" blade that takes a very nice convexed edge. I've used it to cut some brush around the yard and it serves as the camp kitchen knife. Way too big to use as a canoe/boat knife, fillet knife or skinner but it's definitely not a knife that is assigned solely to the kitchen.

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg135/Rupestris/MiniBolo2.jpg

Chris

hso
June 15, 2008, 11:17 AM
Carl Levitian,

Welcome to THR.

A little searching here will show you that SM has been extolling the virtues of the using Old Hickory/Chicago Cutlery knives in the outdoors for quite some time (and the merits of the cardboard/duct tape sheath for same) so you're not the only one.

Also, there are several websites that show how to convert an Old Hickory skinner into a reasonable replica of the legendary (legendary in the sense without pictures who knows what it exactly looked like) Nessmuk knife.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Basemetal/7firstcut.jpg

Thinking about the old mountain men who got by with a simple large butcher knife, it makes me wonder why I would need anything more, unless involvement in some fantacy concrete comando action.

Keep in mind that those amazing men of days gone by purchased what was commonly available to them and made do with it. It makes their efforts even more impressive when you realize that that was whatever the manufacturers in Sheffield and Boston/Philadelphia churned out at the time. Occasionally you find something different historically, but most Mountain/Frontiers Men made do.

There have actually been real improvements in cutlery since those days, but they've been in materials as much as anything and recognition of the merits of some fundamental knife designs from other continents (bolo, kukri, golock).

Most of what's offered, by volume, is directed at the adolescent (regardless of age) who has never canoe camped or pack hunted and learned all they know about knives from "Final Fantasy" or TV/Movies. They're impressed by flashy, and often unworkable, designs. That doesn't mean that amongst all the rhinestones there aren't real gems out there in the cutlery world that take those basics available in traditional cutlery designs and improve upon them.

The Tourist
June 15, 2008, 11:20 AM
I believe ignoring kitchen knives comes from a misunderstanding. For most of their lives, a kitchen knife is used indoors, so the thought of camping with it seems wrong.

What many people do not know is that laminate knives are made in the same way that samurai swords were constructed. Those knives can perform any duty outside from boning to simple food preparation.

In many ways, a laminate deba, sashimi or gyuto knife is probably even a better defensive knife than the 'tactical knife' a camper has clipped to his pants.

MaterDei
June 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
The fact that they are sold without sheaths is why they are mostly ignored as outdoor knives. Many are fabulous knives though. I've got some Wustof's that I bought when I was stationed in West Germany during the cold war that are still serving me and my family daily. Great knives.

The Tourist
June 15, 2008, 12:41 PM
sold without sheaths

Good point.

Most Japanese kitchen knives can be sold with a wooden scabbard. Ask upon ordering. Most of the resellers I know provide them.

sm
June 15, 2008, 01:04 PM
Really A Simple Curmudgeon Life

hso, I appreciate the kind words.

MaterDei, yes, I grew up with these simple kitchen knives being used for hog killing time, butchering deer, used for game and fish, working the farms, ranches, and properties.

I know folks that used the Old Hickory, Case, Chicago Cutlery, carbon steel knives for 30 years in the BBQ joint they owned, or 45 years they spent in the Mexican food business, or 51 years in the family diner, serving the best damn steak, and homemade desserts one could dream of.

They used the same knives afield.

I have personally used these up in Canada canoing and portaging for weeks at a time.
Down in Jamacia for weeks at a time as well.

In Canada, I have cleaned Pike longer than my arm, made fire, spread peanut butter, and it was a spare Old Hickory I gave to the Guide of Outward Bound Ladies.
Storm hit them, and supplies lost,
Later, in Deluth, MN, she shared how the Ranger at a station gave her a toothbush holder for that knife .

More locally, we were canoing, technically in a area flooded.
Some folks in a jonboat, took a "route" that was not the river, by mistake and the johnboat was wrapped around a tree...
Folks on a bank not sure how to assist them, Sheriff dept called.

We tossed a canoe in a truck raced up river and rope tied to me, and the canoe, and one other rope.
Dicey, still I got my canoe to them.
Scared, one of the 3 persons was only 8 years old and holding onto a branch of tree, in total fear.
I got the boy in the canoe first, and he held onto another life vest, besides the one he had, I got his mom in next, but his aunt...fighting against current and when she got into the canoe, I went into the river.

The truck hit the gas and that canoe was jerked out, and onto the bank...
I was going under, as folks would not let go of the rope, and I was yelling "let go", because them holding, the force of the current, was pulling me under, despite the life vest I wore.

Old Hickory, one I had drilled a hole in, and attached a "boat buoy" key ring was on my person.
Same knife I had used in Canada...

I cut the rope, and rode and fought the current.
I managed to get to "shore", actually the property, where the river really did not run, best guess, every bit of a 1/2, heck it could have been a mile.

Now the search was for me...there I was adrenlin still pumping, stumbling back with rope dragging behind me.
I looked up see folks, raised my hand fell down...
"Did...."
"Yes, they made it".

That knife for "river chore" was sharpened with the tip portion sharp, the area nearest tang, hit with a file only, next coarse Norton, and the the rest Norton India. Four "edges" if you will.

Same knife, I used to poke holes in coconut, slice red bananas for a banana split, and open a few Red Stripe beers in Jamacia, assisting with a big shin-dig, like a BBQ.
Lots of Jerk Pork, Jerk Chicken and the side dishes.


That knife was the 5" Steak Knife.
I had shaped the handle to fit me better, drilled two lanyard holes, to do allow me to use a old trick with lanyards.
Filed a finger guard, if you will and the handle fit me, well.

The blade, I had used a file to make it just about 3 1/2 long.
I do better with a shorter blade. No power tools, as I have skills sets doing things by hand, so I used a triangle file, to cut a notch, and not lose any temper of the blade.
Hand filed the blade to finish the shape, or geometry.
Free hand sharpened with Norton India combo, coarse /fine stone.

Then I decided , being "new" to show off a bit, and went on to a Case Moonstone.
It was scary sharp!

A lady that worked with tack, made me nice leather sheath.
She incorporated into that sheath, some things I wanted.

I used that knife during search and rescue, tornadoes, floods, and fire in timber country.

It was a small shotgun house in a rural area...
Lightening struck a tree, and set the house on fire.
We knew a elderly lady, that had lost a leg , lived alone ...
I cut the screen on the window, then busted the glass with a rock, got the window unlatched and went in, and handed the lady out...
then her faithful mutt.

Then out I came forgetting all about the knife...I had just stuck the whole thing in my back pocket and ...it burned with the house.

She kept what was left of that knife after the fire.
Electrical, just a electrical fire, and she wanted the knife that got her out of that back bedroom.

I share, not for me, instead for those that were not raised as I was, that did not have parents that parented, or mentors that mentored to them, as I was.
Sad, it is really sad.
Anger is another emotion I get, as these folks really want to have things passed onto them.
Marketing, takes advantage of them.

Buy a handful of Old Hickory paring knives and some Norton combo coarse/fine stones.
India, or Crystalon, use the stone dry, and teach someone how to free hand a knife - please!

I am just a dumb old southern boy, but I got heart, and it means a helluva lot to me, to see folks learn correct basic fundamentals.
I promised my Mentors & Elders some things, and I promised myself some things.

Why?

It might be someone's daughter away at college, that has a tornado rip through, and she can sharpen a Delica to keep her safe...
It might the only son in Iraq, or A-Stan, than needs to get a edge on a knife, as he and his are boxed in one night.
Maybe the knife is nothing more than a SAK Tinker, or a custom knife someone sent them.
It might be 3am, dark, on a farm, where tornadoes have ripped through and all one has is small stone, to touch up a Buck 110, a Chicago Cutlery, a Shrade Sharpfinger, a...

Reality is real, and comes at one hard and fast.
Correct basic fundamentals, can and will keep one and others safe.

Get a handful of these knives and stones .
Each one- Teach one.

Get another handful of these knives and stones, and when a disaster strikes, as Mother Nature dishes out, these can be passed out, to those in need.
Proven, trust me on this!

Can't buy it, gotta earn it.


Steve

sm
June 15, 2008, 01:29 PM
Rascal2 is mine.

Mentors & Elders and I come up with this and we used it.
It is special and sentimental to me, they are gone, please respect this and if you use it, please give them and I credit.

We attached a number of words to the letters, some I best not type, ...err...Art's Grammaw and her washrag and soap . *wink*

ras·cal (rskl)
n.
1. One that is playfully mischievous.

Made up of, belonging to, or relating to the common people:

Skofnung
June 15, 2008, 02:07 PM
My first hunting knife was (is) a Green River "sheep skinner" that my father made a mountain man sheath for. He gave it to me when I was ten.

It has served me on many outings and it is showing some serious age. It still holds a gleaming edge, one that even The Tourist might be proud of... well maybe not that pretty. :uhoh:

Unfortunately, it is down at the family homestead at the moment, as I saw no reason to bring it up with me to the big city.

Reading this thread makes me want to drive down there and get it.

The Tourist
June 15, 2008, 02:16 PM
The Tourist...not that pretty

*sniff* I'm actually very pretty.

In truth, a Green River knife is one of those implements (much like an Opinel) that should be celebrated for wear, patina, shape and color.

In fact, during the heyday of trapping and mountain men in the 1830s, a Green River knife that had been traded to a new owner could also be identified by others at a rendenzvous. Each knife had been ground, broken and discolored into it own individual shape and style.

For me to "straighten and buff" the edge of a Green River would in fact be ruining it.

JShirley
June 15, 2008, 04:04 PM
I have a knife made from one of those Old Hickories cut down into Nessmuk. I'll post pics sometime. My buddy Andy in ATL put it into a nice little wooden handle and a primo leather sheath with clip. :)

I've used it in the kitchen quite a few times, and it would be an excellent food knife for camping.

John

Browning
June 15, 2008, 07:55 PM
Anybody seen these?

http://pm.home.pl/gunsold/photos3/rinaldi_12.jpg

It's the Trace Rinaldi TTKK (Talmadge Tactical Kitchen Knife).

He's taken the general design and shape of a kitchen knife and then refined it and made it out of some really good materials. I don't know about all of you, but to me the majority of the mid-size kitchen knives out there are decent in shape, size and feel, but made out of really crappy materials.

I certainly wouldn't mind owning one, the price kind of ruins it for me ($400+).

Too bad someone doesn't make something like it in decent materials that just don't cost so damn much and then just charge $125 to $175 for them. I'd be the first in line. In Rinaldis case you're obviously paying for the name, but I still like the knife.

Brian Dale
June 15, 2008, 08:35 PM
I have a couple of J. Russell & Co. "Green River Works" skinners on a basement shelf next to a medium-small "Hibbard Hand Made" brand butcher knife. All of them sharpen up very nicely. These past few years, they've only been used during deer season, but that's OK. They're not going anywhere. They do just what I need them to do.

The Tourist
June 15, 2008, 11:09 PM
seen these?

No, I had not. Thank you for posting the pics. Yikes, they are beautiful. When you get the chance, tell us a bit about them.

Brian Dale
June 15, 2008, 11:31 PM
I have a hunch that my question here at least goes along with the original topic, though it isn't part of it.

How does the unglazed bottom (or lip) of a crock or ceramic coffee mug compare to the Norton/Arkansas/other stones that you folks have written about? I've certainly touched up old carbon steel knives on those.

I'm guessing that Japanese water stones are a whole different breed. It's not that I don't care about them; I just have no experience around them.

sm
June 16, 2008, 02:37 AM
I sharpen freehand, with a dry stone, not even water.
This is akin to using the un-glazed portion of a coffee cup, or bowl ( the bottom)


Japanese stones use a really odd word I cannot recall, spell, or pronounce but basically the stuff swimming around in the water.
These stones have to be used wet.

Basically the stone sheds into water, which is the cutting media.

Two different mechanisms for removing metal.


I do not use oil or water on a Norton, or Arkansas stone...
The metal swimming around the oil or water ("swarf" ) IMO/IME, impedes the cutting mechanism of the stone, because the dad-burned metal keeps taking nicks out of the steel I am wanting to sharpen.

Rebel, Free hand, Dry Stone and Curmudgeon here.

Besides, I like wiping off a dry stone on my right blue jean thigh, as the left blue jean thigh is for stropping .

*yep*

My thing goes back to , includes Diamond, Blue Sapphire, and Ruby impregnated tools, files, burrs, and the like too.
Water was needed, to keep these cool, as they would break down.
Light machine oil was suggested for some, and some applications as well.




I gotta SAK Classic sitting here, that needs sharpening...it has needed sharpening for 2 weeks...one of these days.... *smile*

JShirley
June 16, 2008, 03:07 AM
Chris,

I guess your Dexter Russell could only be better if it were black (http://www.dexter1818.com/Search_details_non_login_version.asp?id=11824&group_name=sofgrip.asp).

TimboKhan
June 16, 2008, 06:18 AM
Despite the occasional criticism that floats up with using a kitchen knife in locales other than the kitchen, I guess I have always just viewed a knife as a knife. I commonly use an ulu for chopping chores, and the Inuit have been using the same knife for hundreds and hundreds of years in the outdoors. I also like a cleaver, because I like a big knife in my hands, and I fail to see how that couldn't be just as effective in quartering something as anything else would be. About the only knife that I use regularly that doesn't seem like it would be hugely useful in the outdoors would be my bread knife, and even then I am sure I could think of something that a long serrated knife could do.

The fact is, I probably don't need but maybe three or four of my knifes (kitchen and otherwise), and those three or four would get me through a lifetime. Honestly, I could probably do all my cooking with a chefs knife and never look back. The problem is that I like knives, and I can always think of an excuse as to why I should buy another one!

Rupestris
June 16, 2008, 07:01 AM
Chris,
I guess your Dexter Russell could only be better if it were black.

True, But I couldn't argue over the color when the price was just within my budget - FREE :D

That one was a gift.

Browning
June 16, 2008, 09:29 AM
The Tourist : No, I had not. Thank you for posting the pics. Yikes, they are beautiful. When you get the chance, tell us a bit about them.

Here you go.

This is really all I know about them, I don't own one (yet).

Rinaldi TTKK with an exotic wood handle.

http://kkhosting.cafe24.com/pd/trace/ttkk_6.jpg

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_164_27/ai_101879033/pg_2

http://www.zknives.com/knives/custom/trittkk.shtml

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/products/?id=6135

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/sold/?artist=227

They're made out of CPM S30V steel and heat treated by Paul Bos.

The handles are usually made of G-10, Micarta or Exotic woods.

It uses a kydex sheath.

I like the style and feel of kitchen knives, just not the materials.

The Tourist
June 16, 2008, 12:17 PM
I spent some time reading the various deprtments of his home page.

He describes his knives as a "humble collection." I agree, I own perhaps one dozen knives that I find of value. An interview with a Japanese sharpener showed that he had only four on the wall.

Seeking out Bos hardened S30V steel says a lot about his process. He was thinking about quality before he first cut.

He was correct on his views of sharpening.

Eleven Mike
June 16, 2008, 05:40 PM
Those Tactical Kitchen Knives are beautiful, but I can't see how they're different from my drop-point hunting knife. Paging Bob Loveless...

Browning
June 17, 2008, 11:20 AM
Eleven Mike : Those Tactical Kitchen Knives are beautiful, but I can't see how they're different from my drop-point hunting knife. Paging Bob Loveless...

Well they aren't any better at their job (which is just cutting things, plain and simple) than a Loveless or a Dozier, those knives will cut just as well as this one will. Half of the price of these (Rinaldi) knives is just the name.

It's just a slightly different take on the same concept. Is that slight difference worth $200+ more on your part as a buyer? I don't know about anybody else, but up until now it hasn't been enough for me even though I REALLY like the Rinaldi TTKK.

Sawyer
June 17, 2008, 02:09 PM
I have a pretty awesome Dexter Russell knife with a 10 in blade and white Sani Safe polypropylene handle, it's my go to home defense knife, the very pointy tip and sharp edge would make short work of any unwanted intruders. :)

Eleven Mike
June 17, 2008, 05:14 PM
It's just a slightly different take on the same concept. Is that slight difference worth $200+ more on your part as a buyer? I don't know about anybody else, but up until now it hasn't been enough for me even though I REALLY like the Rinaldi TTKK.

I'd like to have one, too. I'm just pointing out that the "tactical kitchen knife" idea seems to be a marketing gimmick for what is essentially a drop-point sheath knife like many others. And just to clarify, I recognize that they are not Loveless copies, despite similar blade shape and dimensions.

Browning
June 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
Eleven Mike : I'd like to have one, too. I'm just pointing out that the "tactical kitchen knife" idea seems to be a marketing gimmick for what is essentially a drop-point sheath knife like many others. And just to clarify, I recognize that they are not Loveless copies, despite similar blade shape and dimensions.

It's okay, I knew what you meant.

I just wish they didn't cost so much.

There are other knife makers who use exactly the same materials without dropping that kind of price tag on it. I wish someone else that's good would start making something along these same lines (hint, hint Valkman) and then just price it reasonably ($150 to $250) where people could actually afford to buy them.

Brian Williams
June 18, 2008, 11:33 AM
My pair of kitchen knives, a 5" old hickory, a 6" cataraugus french knife, and a US military kitchen knife of unknown manufacture. I wish I could find another cataraugus.

http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=67981&d=1196186431

Goblin
June 18, 2008, 04:23 PM
I have a 100 year old Green River 6" butcher that I use to cut my steak on Saturday nights!!!:) Love it!!!!

Eleven Mike
June 18, 2008, 05:09 PM
I have a 100 year old Green River 6" butcher


Nice.

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