NEW DIRECTIONS – The Return of Camillus

The Camillus Cutlery Company was one of this nation’s oldest knife manufacturers, with beginnings dating back to 1876. However, like many new millennium businesses, after decades of production Camillus was forced to declare bankruptcy early in 2007. Later that year, the Acme United Corporation purchased the brand name and its intellectual properties, and in 2009 the Camillus cutlery line was re-launched.

New-Directions-Camillus-TyrantA look at the 2015 Camillus cutlery lineup revealed a couple of very affordable and “hunter-friendly” knives. The new Tyrant-fixed blade is the result of the folks at Camillus teaming up with cutlery innovators, Grant and Gavin Hawk. Based in Idaho City, Idaho, this father-son team has been developing unique folding and fixed-blade knife designs since 1995. While the Tyrant seems to be a rather extreme design, it solves a number of issues common to many outdoor knives. First of all, the lanyard loop wraps around the knife handle lengthways and then is stashed out-of-the-way within the handle itself. A lanyard is a feature that many prefer when working with a knife over snow, water or high above the ground. Simply put, the lanyard is insurance against the knife becoming accidentally lost. That said, when the lanyard is not being used, it could get caught on nearly anything in its path, as well as being a constant nuisance when dangling from the knife. Therefore, the ability to not only use the lanyard when needed, but also to keep it out-of-the-way is a unique design element specifically integrated into the knife handle to address a particular problem.

The Tyrant features a drop-point pattern, 3-inch blade crafted from D2 tool steel. While this steel isn’t classified as stainless (it contains 12% chromium, which is 1% shy of possessing the necessary chromium content to be listed in the stainless category), nevertheless, it is very stain-resistant. Since D2 is one of the primary steels used in planners, it is also extremely chip-resistant. Moreover, the D2 Tyrant blade is Rockwell hardened to Rc 57, so it’s relatively easy to sharpen in the field. And the Carbonitride Titanium non-stick blade finish further helps to resist environmental invective and scratching.

Another unique feature found on the Tyrant is a deep forefinger choil (groove) at the leading edge of handle. This feature prevents accidental slippage of the hand forward onto the sharp blade edge. And it provides an enhanced hand-to-knife handle contact when the knife is in use. The handle itself is G10 composite, which is a durable mixture of fiberglass soaked in resin, then highly compressed and heat cured to produce a material that is imperious to moisture and temperature extremes.

The Tyrant sheath includes a diamond disk on the reverse for quick edge touchups in the field.
The Tyrant sheath includes a diamond disk on the reverse for quick edge touchups in the field.

Finally, the Tyrant is supplied with a slip-in pouch-type black leather sheath that provides safe and secure transport.  And on the back of sheath there is a diamond-impregnated sharpening disk for easy edge maintenance in the field. Uniquely designed, the Tyrant is a 21st Century edged game care tool.

Another Camillus fixed-blade that deserves special mention is their new HT-7 skinning knife. The full-length tang, 3-1/2-inch fixed-blade is made from Titanium-bonded, 3CR13 stainless steel (similar to 420J2 stainless) and features a broad drop-point design. Created by an in-house Camillus design team, this particular edged tool has a lot of forward-thinking features. The blade is deeply hollow-ground and possesses a full sweeping belly, especially created to facilitate hide removal. Furthermore, the blade has both a recessed choil for safe forefinger placement and thumb serrations where the spine meets the leading edge of the handle. Combined, these blade features allow for total cutting control, even when dealing with delicate trophy work issues.

New-Directions-Camillus-HT-7The HT-7 knife handle is made from Micarta (resin impregnated linen), which is so tough it was initially designed for use in the manufacture of high-tension electric line insulators. Ergonomically shaped to fit perfectly in the grip-pocket of the hand, this particular handle design eliminates user fatigue, one of the problems associate with long-term knife usage. Lastly, the knife comes with a Cordura nylon sheath that has a cut-resistant liner. This knife has more hide removal specific features than many other so-called “skinning” knives and is priced affordably.–Durwood Hollis

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