Quite frankly, I am a sucker for innovation, especially when it comes to cutlery design. At this year’s SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) show, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was stopped in my tracks by such a find. The latest fixed-blade offering from Klecker Knives was simply eye-popping. Bearing the name Abiqua Hunter, the new edged tool is collaboration between Glenn Klecker of Klecker Knives and David Kurt, a veteran hunter and custom knife maker.
Glenn Klecker wanted to take his products to a new level and that actually called for a degree of reinvention. In his past life, Glenn served as a Marine Captain in the Iraqi Desert Storm conflict and he is an engineer by trade. As an engineer he is gifted with a consuming passion for creating new and better problem solving avenues. His work for Klecker Knives has resulted in winning the annual Blade Show’s Most Innovative Custom Design twice, as well as the Most Innovative Import and the Best American Design. And he won the IWA International Tool of the Year two times in a row and the prestigious “IF” Product Design Award.
Glenn Klecker’s collaborative partner in the new fixed-blade Abiqua Hunter is David Kurt, a veteran hunter and custom knife maker. While Kurt has been making knives for more than a decade, he became a full-time maker in 2010 with the opening of David Kurt Handmade Knives. Together with his partner Sonequa Martin they have produced some stunning examples of edged tools. Committed to quality, fit and finish, Kurt considers his knife work a labor of love and to that end he feels that part of his soul resides in each new design.
As already been stated, the Abiqua Hunter is a fixed-blade design with a 3.97-inch long, drop-point pattern blade, crafted from 7Cr17MoV (7% Chromium, 17% Molybdenum, and 17% Vanadium) stainless steel. While this particular steel is similar to the domestically produced 440A, the addition of Vanadium modifies the formulation and provides enhanced strength, wear resistance and toughness. In reality, 7Cr17MoV is a great value for the performance it provides. Heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of Rc 56-58, the steel offers relatively easy edge restoration with solid edge integrity.
The drop-point blade pattern or profile provides a sweeping blade edge to facilitate skinning and the design reinforces the tip for general field dressing and trophy work. The Abiqua Hunter blade offers a high flat grind, which simply means that the blade in cross-section tapers equally on both sides (“V” shaped) for the most part, but moves into a compound grind by adding a slightly tapered back swedge that runs from the blade tip to just about two-thirds of the way along the spine.
At the point where the blade tang (extension of the actual blade itself) disappears into the handle scales, there’s a short section of jimping (small grooves) that not only offer a excellent non-slip thumb rest, but when depressed and moved slightly rearward frees a full-size guthook from its resting place within the handle frame. The bottom line is you won’t even know it’s there, until you need it! My main objection to guthooks on fixed-blades knives they are generally ground into the blade spine near the tip. This not only destroys the esthetics of the blade profile, but such a design has a tendency to hang up or accidentally slice into internal tissue beneath the hide when field dressing an animal. The separate yet, inclusive guthook in this knife eliminates all of these negative attributes and provides an excellent method to slice through tough hide and thick pelage without impediment.
Knife handle scales are made from G-10 (glass-reinforced nylon) and can be had in brown, black or high-visibility orange. Ergonomically shaped with finger grooves for a secure hand-to-knife handle grip, the handle material won’t crack or slip even when in contact with animal bodily fluids. The knife is supplied with a cut-proof, molded Kydex blade sheath for carrying safety. While many hunters carry a knife in their packs, others still prefer belt carry. For that reason, an optional leather sheath for belt carry is available from the manufacturer. At this time the Abiqua Hunter is available direct from the manufacturer, or from one of their distributors (check the website for a list of retail outlets). Price wise, this knife sells for about $100, which in my opinion is a lot of value for a custom designed product. For more information: visit the Klecker Knife website at www.kleckerknives.com.–Durwood Hollis