Tag Archives: knife

Fremont Knives

There are many individual knife makers, each with their own following, that seldom receive broad exposure. Many are part-time, producing a limited number of knives as a financial adjunct to their main employment. Others are fully invested in the craft, but also are involved in other activities. Even though most of these makers are not well known beyond their own local customer base, however, many of their products manifest unique design, peerless functionality and incredible production excellence.

Mike Jones, a former resident of the Pacific Northwest, who now resides in Lander, Wyoming, recently launched Fremont Knives to make available edged products that are not only made in the U.S., but also exhibit the tradition, skill and independence of an exclusive group of makers. Mike felt his new home in Wyoming provided: “ A simpler place where people still wave when they pass each other, enjoy hard work, keep their promises and do what needs to be done.” And this attitude of simplicity, dedication to purpose and looking inward, rather than obtaining offshore products, has become a guiding principle in Mike’s business model.

The new Draper lock-blade folder from Freemont Knives combines custom design with quality materials and superb craftsman ship. An everyday edged tool, this knife can easily deal with a host of cutting chores, from field dressing and skinning game to slicing tomatoes for lunchtime sandwiches.

With nearly two decades of previous cutlery experience, Mike Jones not only knows knives he also understands the cutlery business. Shortly after his move to Wyoming, he became acquainted with knife makers, Mike and Audra Draper. The Drapers live in nearby Riverton, Wyoming and have not only become business associates; they are also some of Mike Jones’ closest friends. Since Mike Draper has an abiding interest in making folders and Audra is a fixed-blade enthusiast, this couple is well suited to their business venture. When Mike Jones saw the skill level that was manifest in the work of this knife making team, he knew right off that one of their knife designs would be a leading example of what Fremont Knives was all about.

Since four-out-of-five knife users select some type of folding knife, Mike Jones asked the Drapers to design a lock-blade folder for Fremont Knives’ initial public offering. This new knife features a 3-inch long, slightly hollow-ground, drop-point pattern blade made from 154CM stainless steel, with a glass-bead-blasted finish. Since 154CM stainless is produced domestically (the American equivalent of ATS-34, a Japanese stainless), this allowed Mike to keep his commitment to an entirely U.S. produced product. A premium blade steel, 154CM is well known for is excellent corrosion-resistance, solid edge retention and overall toughness.

Both the leading end of the back of the knife frame and the blade tang feature rounded serrations, that mate with one another when the blade is deployed, offering enhanced cutting control.

A readily accessible, blade-mounted thumb stud allows the knife to be easily opened and closed with one-hand. And a liner locking mechanism, nestled within the knife frame, secures the blade in the open position. Interestingly, the liner lock has a short section of very fine serrations, which provides secure thumb contact when disengaging the lock (a definite custom touch, not seen on most production liner locks). Additionally, both the blade tang and the leading end of the back of the knife frame have sections of rounded serrations (jimping), that mate together and serve as a thumb rest for enhanced cutting control. The knife frame, bolsters, attachment clip, main pin and fasteners are all stainless for ease of maintenance. Handle scales are crafted from G10, a rugged thermoplastic and features light texturing for added hand-to-knife contact. A unique lanyard attachment port, for added security, is situated at the handle terminus.

Makers who understand the functional need for a folder that meets the needs of those of use who spend much of our time in the outdoors designed this knife. This is definitely not a so-called Tactical knife that sets low in the pocket, so it hidden from the ever searching eyes of big city law enforcement. Since the knife is essentially an edged everyday tool, the attachment clip actually positions the knife a little higher in the pocket so it’s easily accessible. When put to use, the blade rotates out of the frame without any noticeable friction, truly a mark of quality craftsmanship.

Whether field-dressing a buck, skinning an elk or one of the myriads of everyday cutting assignments that seem to regularly pop up, this new lock-blade folder is fully capable of every task and affordably priced at under $200.– Durwood Hollis

Swiss Army Hunters

Various Swiss Army Knife models have always featured a functional assortment of blade types specific to a particular assignment. The new Hunter XT (shown) and the Hunter XS models have blades designed to aid hunters with game care chores in the field.
Various Swiss Army Knife models have always featured a functional assortment of blade types specific to a particular assignment. The new Hunter XT (shown) and the Hunter XS models have blades designed to aid hunters with game care chores in the field.

Famed Swiss Army Knife manufacturer, Victorinox now adds two new folding, lock-blade hunters to their extensive knife line.

Long before there were multi-tools (folding pliers with tool blades integrated into the handles) there was the Swiss Army Knife (SAK). The basic knife was a folder that in addition to the main spear-point blade, also feature a minimal assortment of useful tool blades. The basic knife was made by both Victorinox and Wenger with each company producing half each of the knives issued to Swiss Army personnel.

Over time, the blade assortments grew and varied, with multiple knife versions produced to meet a wide variety of both sporting and everyday activity needs. Even the traditional red thermoplastic handle scales emblazoned with the Swiss cross and shield could be had in other materials (wood and aluminum), and depending on the model an assortment of different colors. Designed to be a friendlier, less aggressive appearing pocket folder, the basic SAK military version (still being produced) evolved into a palm-sized tool kit that could be useful in any setting¾military or civilian.

During the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT), I stopped at the Victorinox display booth and discovered that the firm now makes two different SAK designed specifically for hunters. Bearing the names “Hunter XS” and “Hunter XT,” both folders feature one-hand opening blades with a integral frame lock. In addition, there’s a Phillips screwdriver or a corkscrew (depending on whether the knife is marketed in the U. S., or Europe and Canada) positioned on the opposite side of the handle, as well as an attached lanyard. The major difference between the two models is the addition of a wood (also works well on bone) saw blade in the “Hunter XT” Model.

All blades in these knives are crafted from cutlery grade stainless steel, which provides a significant resistance to rust and staining. Even though stainless can rust if not adequately cared for, the enhanced chromium content of the steel formulation is excellent insurance against the adverse effects of moisture and bodily fluids encountered during primary big game field care.

Both knife models have two one-hand-opening, modified drop-point pattern blade with a pain edge for general field care, mated with a curved serrated blade that’s ideal for opening the abdominal cavity and cutting through ribcage cartilage. The curved blade design of the gutting blade provides added leverage when put to use and the dull point won’t pierce underlying viscera. Moreover, when either blade is opened a locking mechanism, which slips in behind the heel of blade, is automatically engaged and prevents the blade from accidentally closing. When the cutting chore is completed, the lock can easily be disengaged with the thumb, allowing the blade to be folded back into the handle.

Another distinct advantage engineered into both of these lock-blade folders is the orange handle scales. No matter what type of terrain or lack of adequate visibility, the brightly colored handle scales will stand out from the background and prevent accidental knife loss. Made from a rugged, slightly tacky, molded thermoplastic the scales are also fitted with additional contact surfaces so that either knife model fits comfortable in the grip pocket of the hand.

And both folders come with a formed, heavy-duty nylon case that allows safe and secure belt carrying. The short lanyard, positioned at the knife handle terminus, made it easy to retrieve the knife from the carrying case. While I often tote a folder, even a larger lock-blade model, in my pocket, having the option of using belt-mounted containment make real sense.

I used the “Hunter XT” folder on a recent wild boar hunt and found that the blade combination was ideal for basic game care chores, including field dressing, skinning, quartering (saw blade came in handy here) and even opening up the chest cavity by using the curved serrated blade to cut through the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breast bone.

Various Swiss Army Knife models have been around seemingly forever. And it’s gratifying to see that the folks at Victorinox have left big game hunters out of the multi-bladed, folding knife equation. While their “Hunter XS” and “Hunter XT” folders are not necessarily configured like s typical folding hunting knife, nevertheless, the serve that purpose brilliantly.– Durwood Hollis

Remington Model 1100 50th Anniversary Knife

Remington introduced a new Model 1100 50th Anniversary knife to celebrate 50 years of the most famous autoloading shotgun of all times.

The limited production knives feature “B” grade American walnut scales–the same wood used for the Model 1100 stocks–with a laser-etched signature “R” utilizing the same checkering pattern as the Model 1100 shotguns.

The 440A modified stainless steel blade features a nail pull styled after the vent rib of the Model 1100 and a laser-etched “Model 1100 50th Anniversary” inscription. The nickel silver bolsters are serialized from 0001 to 1100 and each Model 1100 50th Anniversary knife is made in the USA. Suggested retail price is $99.90.


Model 1100 50th Anniversary Commemorative Knife Features:

  • 100% made in the USA
  • B Grade American walnut scales
  • “R” laser checkered
  • 440A modified stainless blade
  • Nickel silver bolsters
  • 304 nickel-based stainless liners
  • Nickel silver pins
  • Lanyard hole
  • Limited production of 1100 knives
  • Nail pull styled after vent rib of Model 1100

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McMillan Friction Forged Caper

McMillan recently introduced as a companion to their Fixed Blade Hunting Knife, a smaller Custom Caping Knife designed to handle all of the fine detail work involved when removing the head skin cape for trophy mounting. The knife is well suited for this task because the scalpel-like blade and the fine blade point easily handle the delicate work around the antlers/horns, ears, eyes, lips and nasal passages. Also, the ergonomically-designed handle, the slightly recessed choil and the short section of jimping on the back of the blade (near the point) are all designed to assist the user in the work.

mcmillian-010813Crafted from D2 tool steel, which is well known for its resistance to chipping, edge deformation and stain resistance, the blade has been differentially heat-treated by the proprietary Friction Forged process. This means that the spine of the blade at a Rockwell hardness of Rc 45 is not nearly as hard as the cutting edge zone at a Rc 65-68. The forging process reduces the size of the nano-size steel grain microstructure in the extremely hard edge zone, which in turn provides peerless edge retention without the usual brittleness. In addition, the chromium content of the steel composition is enhanced to produce a corrosion-proof edge.

The knife measures 6.75 inches overall, with a blade length of just 2.5 inches. This is a full-width, full-length tang design, which provides enhanced strength at the critical blade/handle junction. A slightly recessed choil near the base of the cutting edge acts as a guard of sorts, which is a safety mechanism to prevent the forefinger from sliding forward onto the sharpened edge. The choil also allows the user to grip the handle in an alternate manner when performing precision incisions.

The handle scales are blue/black Micarta (layered fabric impregnated with epoxy and subjected to extreme heat) and feature mosaic attachment pins. The handle configuration mirrors the grip pocket of the human hand, which provides better blade control and increases the comfort level during the term of the caping assignment.

Furthermore, the design incorporates a slight curve to the entire back of the knife so that cutting pressure is inherently positioned at the point of the blade. Simply put, the overall design of the knife has been so engineered that all of the bases (function, user comfort and enhanced edge integrity) have been covered.–Durwood Hollis