In many families, passing down a prized possession from one generation to another has become an honored tradition. In such a manner, my father’s 20-gauge Remington Model 31 pump-gun now resides in my own gun safe. And on occasion it still sees service in the field. Not only firearms, but also knives often see their way from grandfather-to-father-to-son, or daughter.
Russ Kommer, former licensed guide in Idaho and Alaska, and one of this generation’s most creative hunting knife designers and makers, has embodied the concept of passing the best of one generation on to another in a fine fixed-blade knife he proudly calls “Grandpa’s Favorite.” Produced by Columbia River Knife & Tool Company (CRKT), this straightforward fixed-blade design is everything you could want in a knife, without any frills or useless add-on features.
To begin with, this knife features a full-length (all the way to the handle terminus) blade crafted from 12C27 Sandvik stainless steel that’s just a tad over 3-inches in length. Heat-treated to Rc 59-61, it’s obvious that CRKT was concerned about edge retention in this
particular model. The basic formulation of this steel is: carbon 0.60%, chromium 13.5%, silicon 0.40% and manganese 0.40%. Right off, a couple of things are obvious when we look at that chemical makeup. One, the carbon content portends exceptional toughness. Two, the chromium component offers solid corrosion resistance. Moreover, with a Rockwell heat-treatment finding of Rc 59-51 the steel combines both optimal granular structures with high hardness (edge retention). All together, this combination of assets makes for top-notch hunting knife blade steel.
The blade also features a drop-point configuration, which has proven itself over the years to be a favorite of many big game hunters. While pointed enough to be useful in detailed work, nevertheless, the point is better supported than the narrow point of the common clip pattern and less prone to fracture. The sweeping belly of this design aids in skinning and the highly polished finish allows for easy maintenance. The full-length tang (the blade and its tang extension are one continuous piece of steel) combines a forward stainless bolster and genuine stag handle scales for a traditional look and superior hand-to-knife contact. One final touch is a short section of jimping (rounded serrations), situated just forward of the bolster, which aids thumb contact for enhanced cutting control.
The carrying sheath also exhibits tremendous forward thinking. Not only is deluxe leather used in sheath construction, but also heavy-duty stitching for extended outdoor usage is seen throughout. Moreover, an additional sheath feature is the presence of a two-shell carrier with snap closure, attached to the main body of the sheath. In this sheath you get it all, both a safe knife carrying component and the availability of instant access to a couple of extra shells.
I’ve had the opportunity to use this knife on both wild pigs and antelope. The blade steel has proven itself to have exceptional edge retention, with strong resistance to chipping and edge rollover. Thanks to Russ Kommer’s excellent designed sense, the knife fits into the hand easily and is comfortable even when extended use is involved. Everything about this knife and sheath combination speaks of heritage and tradition.
There was a time in our past when the words “hunting knife” were defined as a fixed-blade design. However, now less that one-in-five big game hunters use such an edged tool. Today, it would seem that the lock-blade folder has taken over cutting chores; nevertheless, there is still a dedicated minority of hunters who are fixed-blade devotees. The bottom line is, the farther away from camp I find myself, the greater the appeal of a fixed-blade design like CRKT’s Grandpa’s Favorite.– Durwood Hollis