Review on Old Hickory butcher's knife


March 9, 2010, 08:58 PM
I have been looking at Ontario's Old Hickory line-up for a couple weeks. I love carbon steel. Sure, you have to care for it more than stainless, but it just takes and holds a fantastic edge. I have noticed how inexpensive the Old Hickory line was so I figured, "screw it, I'll bite."
So for a whopping $8 (including shipping) I bought one on eBay.

Fit/Finish- Yeah. Right. The handle is smooth (so smooth I think it might slip in my hand actually) but doesn't look like it has an oil finish or anything to protect from moisture. The blade has those phony lines marked into it that are supposed to make it look 'aged.' I think they look cheesy. It came with no edge. I've bought unsharpened knife blanks that kinda feel approximately similar in their edge.

Balance- It's incredibly light. I expected that a butcher's knife with a 7" blade would have some heft. It doesn't. The blade is very thin so there is no forward momentum if it is swung. I'm not convinced this would hack through frozen stuff or bones or even take off a trout's head in one shot. It just doesn't have the oomph.

Steel quality- I've only actually had the thing for about 4 hours now, but so far it has taken an incredible edge that I would not mind shaving with. The combo of the razor edge, and the very thin blade helped it slice through a cardboard box like it wasn't even there. Time will tell about edge retention.

Overall- I'm happy with it. It is as rough as one would expect an $8 knife to be. I don't believe it will live up to its title as a butcher's knife. The "bendability" of the steel, and it's thinness are more reminiscent of a boning or fillet knife. I'll find a use for it though.

Before receiving it, I had even toyed with the idea of it being a backup weapon to store around the house. But a long wimpy blade, and slippery handle don't exactly bode well for a fighting knife. (most of our back-up around the house weapons are blunt instruments like bats anyway. Gotta love $3 bats from goodwill!)

Mods-If this is too off topic because it's intended as a culinary knife and not a weapon, please feel free to delete.

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Brian Williams
March 10, 2010, 05:46 AM
I have 3 Old Hickorys and they are great, one needs to be reprofiled and the others are shaving sharp.

March 10, 2010, 07:35 AM
Oh yeah. It's got a edge that's awesome.
No doubt that I like the knife. It's shortcoming is the thinness of the blade. But it seems to be really good quality steel. For an $8 knife I'd put it up against any of the garbage you could get at WalMart or Target at that price.

I have heard that in the last year or so, Ontario started making the Old Hickory knives thinner in order to help keep the costs down.

March 10, 2010, 07:45 AM

Ya I agree they are great. Here is a pic of a rescue I am going to restore for kitchen duty.

Mike U.
March 11, 2010, 04:01 AM
Here's one of my Old Hickory's.
The blade is 12" of Carbon Steel goodness!:D

Here's a close up of the blade marking.

Good ol' timey knives.

March 11, 2010, 02:52 PM
Mods-If this is too off topic because it's intended as a culinary knife and not a weapon, please feel free to delete. Say what?

If you pick up any item with intention to inflict bodily harm, it's a weapon.

Some of you need to rethink your self-defense scenarios before issuing such statements.

Smokey Joe
March 11, 2010, 07:17 PM
Mike U--Now THAT's an oldie!! AFAIK, the Shapleigh's Hammer Forged 1843 blades were what Old Hickory put on the blades before the brand was bought by Ontario Knife Co. Don't know when that was--'50's? '60's? perhaps--but I have some of the "Shapleigh's" OH knives, and some of the "Ontario Knife Co."OH knives, and the older ones seem to have better quality steel--they take & hold an edge really nice for a kitchen knife.

When I see a "Shapleigh's" OH blade @ a rummage sale or such, you can bet I snap it up! 'Course, I'd snap up an "Ontario" OH, too! :)

March 11, 2010, 10:56 PM
When I got the chance I got all the old ones my Grandpa used. I like to look for them at Estate sales.

March 12, 2010, 07:41 AM
The majority of my OP was about culinary use of the knife. It's only the last 2 sentences where I tied it in to self defense.
Considering that the vast majority of my post was about cooking and not about the knife as a weapon, and taking into consideration that this is a weapons forum and not a cooking one, I couldn't blame a Mod if he wanted to close it.
That being said, I figured I was pretty safe.

I'm glad to hear all the OH love!!!! Bring it on!

Joe Demko
March 13, 2010, 02:32 PM
The lines on the blade aren't "fake." OH knives have had them for as long as I can remember. They are a result of the manufacturing process, as I understand it, and are simply not polished out.
They are making the blades thinner these days, though.

March 14, 2010, 11:13 AM
I just got a full set of the older Ontario knives that my mom had in her kitchen and were being neglected. They do have a thicker tang than the new ones and good heft. Search out some older ones and you might be happier. I haven't gotten mine shaving sharp yet but that is probably due more to my poor technique than the quality of the knives.
What is everyone using for sharpening duty? I picked up a wet stone, is there something better?

March 14, 2010, 11:31 AM
Tormek T-7, maybe :)

March 14, 2010, 11:40 AM
The blade has those phony lines marked into it that are supposed to make it look 'aged.'

You're mistaken about that.

March 14, 2010, 12:00 PM
Yakkingallover said,

What is everyone using for sharpening duty?

Me, I use stones or emory paper glued to sticks, in progressive grits.

It might help to mark the edge up with a sharpy repeatedly to help you maintain a consistant angle. Give it a try.

March 14, 2010, 05:02 PM
OldHickory cleaver
Sharpening, belt sander and convex that puppy? Mine will shave carrots paper thin yet still baton through frozen beef without damage.
Handles, I am just about to send one to a friend. I replaced the scales with birdseye maple and used Walunt dowel for pins. Hes going to finish the scales on his end.
If you want one and cant find it email me and I will shoot you a lead.

March 14, 2010, 06:01 PM
I have a number of the Old Hickory kitchen knives. They are used all the time. Years ago I bought a set of Case XXX knives that are very similar and have been using those for a long time, like 35 years. They were fairly expensive at the time, at least to me. Very good knives and easy to sharpen. You just have to wipe them off periodically with oil.

March 14, 2010, 11:22 PM
I bought a skinner from them this season and used it to good effect.

Also an Ebay special, I'm very happy with the purchase.

Worked well after sharpening. How can you beat that price?

March 15, 2010, 01:02 PM
What is everyone using for sharpening duty?

The same I use for my straight razor. Norton Waterstone, double sided. 4000grit/8000grit. Overkill? perhaps. But I love it.

You're mistaken about that.

Ahh. That's what I had read, but I suppose it was incorrect. Ok, so then what the heck is that pattern all about?

March 21, 2010, 06:51 PM
A set of Arkansas stones and a leather strop will make them shaving sharp.

March 21, 2010, 09:11 PM
I have owned 10,000 knives for whatever reason.

Old Hickory probably gives as good service per dollar as any of the 'good' cutlery, and costs maybe 20% as much.

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