There are many things to consider when looking to purchase a quality handmade hunting knife. I know many folks who simply end up purchasing a new hunting knife every other season because they simply won’t hold a good edge any longer. This is really a shame and it stems from a lack of knowledge and the assumption that a knife is a knife is a knife. They’re all made of steel, they all work fine. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Handmade Hunting Knives
There’s a reason why many knife makers still produce knives made in the old world fashion of hammer, anvil, and coal fire why there’s still a demand for knives made in this fashion. Many knife makers simply take a bar of steel and simply grind it into a blade and assume there is no difference between what they’ve just created and a handmade hunting knife that’s actually beaten out with a hammer. This is a misconception wherein lies the secret of between what makes a good hunting knife and what makes a truly great hunting knife. Many modern knife makers (especially those that are mass produced), are counting on you not noticing the difference until it’s too late.
The fact is that hammering out the steel increases the toughness (shock absorbency) and refines the grain structure. This is the science behind what’s actually going on when a knife is hammered out on an anvil. By actually hammering the steel of a knife, sword, or any type of blade the grain structure of the steel is fractured and compacted, forming smaller carbides that improve the edge-holding ability of the blade.
It’s this ancient technique that was employed by our ancestors, people for whom knives were actually everyday tools that they took with them everywhere and depended upon heavily. There’s another allegory to this principal. If you think about it, some modern “advancements” are not really. I’ve nothing against machines. Machines are great and can make our lives easier in many ways. But for some things there’s no equal to the human touch. Quality Knife making is a skill that cannot, and never will be duplicated by modern automation. It’s the spark of a human craftsman that truly lends something unique to the forging of a blade.
So before you head out to buy yet another throw away hunting knife consider having a custom handmade knife made to your specifications. There are still many knife makers all over the country who can satisfy your needs without breaking the bank, and many are happy to provide special customizations such as engraving the family name on the blade or a customization of the handle in terms of material or size. In the end you’ll have a knife you can be proud of to show off at deer camp, and a custom tool that will last for generations.