As we eagerly await the beginning of the Second Korean War, it’s prudent to remember that if you’re not going to be carrying a rifle in the Land of the Morning Calm, hunting season will be here before we know it, which means it’s time to think about knives.
Here are two real good ones. Both have much in common, yet they’re considerably different.
Both come from makers who have won Best of the Best Awards for their cutlery.
Both sharpen with extreme ease, and take true razor edges, despite the fact that both have stainless-steel blades.
Both come with excellent sheaths.
Both have molded-on handles that are excellent, especially in cold weather.
Both are eminently affordable. I feel very badly about this, but what can you do?
The first is the Hunt Plus Drop Point, a 4-inch-blade all-purpose knife from Ontario Knife Company, hereinafter known as OKC. Ontario’s bread-and-butter lines are military and butcher knives, which keep the company away from frivolity in its designs. Accordingly, this one is all business. The steel is a modified 420 stainless, with a much higher carbon content than regular 420 SS, and is given a good cryogenic freezing in addition to its regular heat treat. The blade has a thick spine and a deep hollow grind. It’s hardened to Rc 55-57, which is on the soft side (it’s about where Randall hardens its blades) so it will not hold its edge forever, but if you wave the knife in the general direction of a Crock Stick you will almost instantly have an edge you can peel hair with.
The tang is skeletonized to save weight, and the synthetic rubber handle was designed by someone who has used a knife in the field. It’s slab-sided with rounded corners, slightly sticky to the touch, and long enough to accommodate even a big hand. It will not twist, or fatigue your hand, or cause you to yell “Mommy!” if you pick it up in cold weather. OKC has equipped the Hunt Plus with a nylon sheath that actually fits, and has two keeper straps instead of one. As I said, whoever designed the Hunt Plus has hunted or, if not, he/she has listened very carefully to people who have. The MSRP is $56.95. It’s made in the United States and backed by OKC’s lifetime warranty.
The Morakniv Kansbol is an all-around knife that weighs only 4.7 ounces, and has a 4.3-inch clip point blade and a molded-on polymer handle. It also has a type of grind that I have not seen before. There’s an additional flat on either side of the blade, starting just behind where the clip begins and running right out to the tip. This results in an extremely thin (0.1 inch) front half of the blade, which is where most of the work is done, and in turn creates a blade geometry that slips and slides through whatever you’re slashing at. It cuts with very little effort, or none at all.
The sheath has no straps or keepers, this being a Scandinavian knife, but the Kansbol snaps in and will not emerge unless you want it to. Those of you who remember the wonderful sheaths that came with Morseth knives will be reminded of them.
The edges of the spine are left sharp so that you can strike sparks off them if it comes to that.
Just as OKC is guided by military necessity, Morakniv is directed by 400 years of knifemaking tradition, and probably a lot longer than that. Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish knives are produced to traditional patterns that have worked well for centuries, and even if the handle is polymer, the overall knife is pure svenska. The price, with the basic sheath, is $39.99; with an attach-anywhere Multi-Mount sheath it’s $59.99. Industrialrev.com.