Edged tools crafted from stone are one of the ways that archeologists and anthropologists date the history of man. Some of the earliest finds in Africa stretch that history back more than two million years. While the story of man on this continent is far more recent, evidence of the presence of ancient residents is still being uncovered.
Recently, Mike Jones and his wife Kristy came across an edged stone tool in the vast Wyoming Red Desert near Farson. The tool was a scraper or some type of hand axe. The fine chipped edge and broad gripping surface spoke silently of its purpose. Once in hand, Mike recognized the fact that he had never seen anything quite like the primitive stone tool. Mike took the stone tool to his favorite knife designer, Michael Draper and asked him to come up with a modern steel version. Aptly named, the Farson Tool, the modern steel version of the ancient tool possessed a nearly identical shape and edge, with the addition of a gripping hole.
The so-called “Farson Tool” caught on with many hunters who used them for skinning and fleshing, much like the Inuit people of the Far North use their famed Ulu. After receiving a lot of hunter feedback on the tool, a handle extension was added providing even more usefulness. Now, in addition to the original Farson Tool, Mike Jones has introduced the Farson Hatchet.
Crafted from 1095 carbon steel, Farson Hatchet weighs just 9.6 ounces and has a cutting edge length of 5 1/2-inches. The overall length of tool, including the handle extension is 9 1/2-inches. To protect the steel from rust and discoloration, it is coated with titanium nitride that is heat imbedded directly into the steel surface.
The gripping hole from the original tool is retained, allowing the hatchet to also perform double duty as a skinning and fleshing tool. A short section of rounded serrations is placed on the back of the tool just forward of the handle to enhance cutting control. And the handle itself, which is nothing more than a full-length tang extension of the tool head, is wrapped with two stands of nylon cordage for a comfortable gripping surface. Finally, the hatchet comes in a nylon-carrying sheath that has a plastic edge protective insert.
Not only is the Farson Hatchet lightweight, it’s also an extremely handy game care tool. I’ve used one on a couple of wild hogs and the tool goes right through cartilage and bone like a scythe. Moreover, the rounded sharp edge is helpful in hide removal chores. When it comes to quartering the carcasses, the hatchet performs reliably with edge to spare. Unlike other hand axes or hatchets, the Farson Hatchet is lighter and far easier to use, and the thin blade (0.250”) simply slides through the work with ease.
To make the Farson Hatchet even more useful, Mike added a new skinning tool called the Hide Glider to the package. Typically, gut hooks are way too small for the use intended. They clog up with hair and simply don’t work very well. The Hide Glider has an oversize hook opening that takes advantage of the natural hand position necessary to efficiently skin a big game animal, regardless of size and pelage density. The Hide Glider is made from 4CR15 stainless steel and comes either as a free standing tool all by itself, or in a dual combination as a companion to the hatchet. Best of all, both tools comes in a dual sheath; making the pair an outstanding game care combination.
Mike Jones has clearly stated, “These products are odd. You may just say they are quite possibly the strangest knives you have even seen.” I must agree, the original Farson Tool, the Farson Hatchet and the Hide Glider are weird. However, weird is all right, because these tools work and that’s what it’s all about. Stone Age man may have birthed the concept of the Farson Tool and Hatchet, but they are as important today to the big game hunter as they were in millennia past.– Durwood Hollis