More than thirty years ago, I met a young man at a shooting fair held near Corona, California. His name was David Bloch and as a college project he had designed an innovative knife that was a total departure from the traditional hunting knife concept. This knife, called the Game Skinner was a T-handled, gut-hook skinner, with a Kraton handle. His new company, of which he was the president and possibly the sole employee at that time, was called Outdoor Edge. Today, located in Denver, Colorado, that firm is a corporation, a major employer in the Inner-Mountain region and can boast of dozens of one-of-a-kind edged tools designed for hunters and anglers.
One of the latest hunting knife designs from Outdoor Edge is their new Razor-Pro double-bladed folder that features both a replaceable main blade and a European-style gutting blade in the same non-slip rubberized TPR handle. Available with either a black or orange handle, this particular knife allows the user to quickly and easily replace a dull blade with a new sharp edge, as well as using a separate gutting blade to slit open tough game hide without compromising the underlying viscera or muscle tissue.
The main knife blade is crafted in a drop-point pattern from 440J2 stainless steel with a 3-1/4 edge zone Rockwell hardened to Rc 57-58. Unlike other replaceable blade knives that use scalpel type blades, the Razor-Pro blade is an Outdoor Edge proprietary design. The blade fits snugly into a rigid blade holder that opens one-handed with the assist of a protruding stud, and locks open by means of a back spring lock that releases with simple thumb pressure. Exchanging blades is accomplished by pushing the blade release located on the knife handle, adjacent to the main pin. Once the dull blade is removed, a fresh sharp blade can be inserted into the holder and is firmly seated with an audible “click.”
The European-style gutting blade is made from 7Cr17 stainless steel and Rockwell hardened to Rc 57-58. While the function of this blade is similar to a gut-hook, unlike the gut-hook, which has a very sharp hooked point, the end of this blade isn’t sharp at all. This means that the blade and won’t puncture underlying viscera when field-dressing, and it will not cut into muscle tissue when slitting open the skin in preparation for skinning. While I’ve used both gut-hook skinners and European-style gutting blades, the latter is by far my own preference. Like the main blade, the gutting-blade also features a one-hand opening stud and locks open by means of an inner-frame mechanism, which can easily be manipulated with nothing more than thumb pressure.
The knife frame handle scales are a rubberized molded TPR synthetic that is somewhat resilient to the touch, forming a non-slip hand-to-knife contact surface. Furthermore the handle scales are available in either black or orange. Having misplaced a knife a time or two in the litter of the forest floor, I can well appreciate the high-visibility nature of the orange handle scales.
The knife comes with a rugged nylon belt case for unobtrusive carrying, and a special pocket within the case houses five separately packaged new replaceable blades. Additional blades can be purchased from the manufacturer at a nominal price. A provision for the attachment to a belt is provided on the back of the carrying case, as well the entire package can be safely contained in a back or waist pack.
I’ve used this knife on both antelope and wild pigs with great success. Quite frankly, there’s nothing tougher to deal with than an old boar hog. Their pelage is like wire and it can destroy a blade edge in a hot minute, so being able to quickly exchange a dull blade for a fresh sharp one is a distinct advantage. And the using the European-style-gutting blade is like having a built-in zipper in animal hide. And unlike many gut-hook designs that clot-up when animal hair is long and dense, this blade simply slides through the work with ease.
David Bloch has put a lot of his own hunting experience in the creation of this folder. He knows what works in the field and it shows in the Razor-Pro design. This is one tough folder that definitely is the “Hunter’s Edge.”–Durwood Hollis