Knives Over The Years

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KNIVES OVER THE YEARS

Through out this website in various locations such as hunting stories and short stories, I have either written about and/or posted pixs of some of the knives I have used over the decades.  The majority of those knives would be related to hunting, field dressing and skinning Whitetail Deer, small game animals and birds.  What prompted this impromptu short story; don't grin at the semantics used, was a knife handle that I recently fabricated from a deer antler and installed it on a standard factory Victornox "Rabbit Knife" 4 inch length blade.  I will get to the details later on in this short story about that particular knife.

Going back in time to the mid to late 1950s, most boys carried some type of pocket knife on their person and some even carried a fixed blade knife in a scabbard on their belt, especially when the popular TV movies about Davy Crockett, Jim Bridger, Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie and other frontiersmen were first broadcast to the ole black and white TVs.  There was not any restrictions on carrying knives in our local Anson County schools back then, since school violence was practically unheard of.

The young boys I were friends with, had some type of pocket knife and the ones made by Barlow was the coveted ones being fairly inexpensive at that time, but a dollar was hard to come by to purchase a Barlow pocket knife.  You could go upscale and own a Queen Steel, Boker Tree Brand or a Case XXX pocket knife, but the bone handle Barlow was the standard for us young boys living on the other side of the tracks; e.g., shallow pockets.  I can't remember right off the top of my head what specific brand of pocket knife I carried back then but I do believe I owned a Barlow.  However, the Barlow pocket knives were and are a little bulky due to the handle thickness.

Below is pix captured from the internet of the Barlow knife I am referring to:



Besides, cleaning our fingernails, shaving hair off our arm and lower leg to test the knife sharpness, we carved all sorts of things including whistles, geometric designs on small trees, shaping up dogwood tree prongs for a sling shot, cutting up red rubber inner tube tires into narrow strips and leather shoe tongues to complete the handmade sling shot.  The ole pocket knife along with a draw knife or hatchet were used to make self bows aka long bows from hickory or small ash trees. The pocket knife was used to fabricate arrows for the bow and used various types of wood including some heavy stalked weeds.

Young boys back then would throw knives, meaning; you would throw your pocket knife on the ground and swap with the other boy, knife unseen.....you had to keep a junk knife in your pocket if you "threw knives."  We also threw knives, hatches and axes into trees testing out our Jim Bowie throwing skills. 

It didn't take too long to remember what our Pop had taught us about knife safety which was not to cut toward yourself, but nevertheless, accidents did happen for not paying closer attention to knife safety.  I don't think I ever made a trip to the local hospital to obtain stitches, we just put salve and or a little touch of kerosene on a cloth and bandaged the cut with strips of white clean cloth.  We must have been tough as nails back in those days.  I still have a few visible scars from the edge of sharp knives, including sheath knives, hatchets and even an arrow head wound.  I am hoping most of those cuts are behind me, but using sharp knives, chisels and other woodworking tools, sooner or later safety is violated and Murphy's Law never sleeps.  Sharp kitchen knives leave their marks on my fingers far too often and keep a good supply of Band Aids of various sizes and shapes on hand just for such occasions.

While in the US Navy and married to my beautiful bride in 1968, I purchased a large Buck hunting knife from the US Navy Exchange there in Norfolk, Virginia and used that knife for a number of years.  I remember cutting down a small sapling with it using the knife like a hatchet, whereas the knife broke where the handle joined the knife at the knife hilt.  I sent the knife back to Buck Knives which I believe where located in California at the time and they repaired the knife free of charge. 

The above knife pix was taken off the internet which is an identical model to the one described, of which was worn many times by my bride when we were out hunting and/or just rambling around during the time period of the mid to late 1970s when all three of our kids were in the public school system.  I have a short story about her called Pistol Packing Momma and below is a pix of her with the knife on her left side:

 

Wow, every time I view that pix, I get extra heart beats......grin if you must!  What a baby doll and my bride is still beautiful for sure!  My bride commented about the above pix when I asked her to proof read my spelling and grammar and she stated, "I wished I looked like that now" and I replied "No", because I would probably have a heart attack thinking I was young man again also......grin if you must!

KLEIN ELECTRICIAN KNIFE

While working with the NC Telephone Company from August 1968 to June of 1975, I used and carried a single blade knife that was made by Klein Tools of Chicago, IL.  It was great for skinning wires and kept it in my pocket most of the time.  It was easy to sharpen and very inexpensive.  Companies catering to the Telephone Industry, kept them in stock.

I have not owned one in many decades and will try and locate an internet pix of one,  I found out they are still made with their catalog number 1550-11.

When I started hunting Whitetail deer in the mid to late 1970s, I carried that Buck knife and it had a seven (7) inch length blade and the knife was large enough to skin an elephant or prehistoric Mastodon or Woolly Mammoth.  It was probably around 1982 when I was serious into bowhunting for Whitetail deer, that I decided to cut the knife blade in half and make two obviously shorter knifes for deer hunting.  One was strictly for removing a deer hide and the other for field dressing and/or skinning a deer.  It was then I found out after removing the handle, that Buck Knives welded the tang of the knife back together where it had broken at the knife guard and put another handle and end cap on the knife which worked fine.  Over the decades, I have found that a four to five inch blade is all you need for field dressing a Whitetail deer.  If you plan to cut through the sternum, a fairly stiff blade knife is needed but you can cut off center of the sternum and open the carcass up if so desired with a thinner backed knife. 

RANDALL MADE  MODEL # 3 HUNTER

On June 2, 1998, I placed an order with Randall Made Knives of Orlando, FL for their model # 3, 5 inch length blade Hunter model with several options; stainless steel blade, nickel silver hilt, stag handle - natural and with finger grips for the right hand.  I received the knife on June 14, 1998 and used the knife for a decade or more.  The knife was designed to field dress big game and it worked fantastic for that.  However, I found the knife did not function very well as a general purpose knife due to the thickness of the blade which was around 1/4 inch thick.  The knife was later auctioned off on EBay and brought a considerable amount of money above the original knife cost.  Currently, Randall Made Knives are running five (5) years behind, however you can purchase them off EBay which will cost you about double what they retail for if you need one in a hurray.  Randall has dealers that have standing orders years ahead for such retail sales.

Below pix of the Randal Model # 3 Hunter with a deer harvest:

BUCK VANGUARD KNIFE

I replaced the Randall Made Knife with a Buck Vanguard with a synthetic handle and used it for a decade or more.  It would hold an edge through field dressing a deer or two and fairly easy to sharpen on a diamond stone finishing up with a hard Arkansas white natural stone for a razor sharp edge.  Below pix is from the internet.  I gave the Buck Vanguard knife to our son Bill, Jr. when our Grandson Will, III was fairly young.

J. A. HENCKELS PARING KNIFE

After the Buck Vanguard Knife, I used a couple small knives to field dress and skin deer and one of them was a J. A. Henckels paring knife; sharp as a razor.  However, the blade length was about 3 inches and a little short for field dressing a deer, whereas you had to insert the knife handle about 1 inch or more beside the anal opening in order to detach the rectum from the pelvic bones.  The knife worked great for skinning a deer though.

BUCK 345 USA FOLDING HUNTER LOCK OPEN KNIFE

Below pix of the little Buck # 345 USA folding lock open knife with a 3 1/4 inch length drop-point blade which would still shave hair after field dressing the below deer.  I removed the belt clip from the side of the knife and use an older leather Buck belt case instead.  The below knife was a Christmas gift from a friend, Shane Hough:

It only takes between 5 to 10 minutes to field dress a deer once you have done it a few times and certainly renders much better tasting meat in my humble opinion.  Also, when dragging a deer out and/or loading onto your four wheeler or truck, you have about 20 to 30 percent less weight to handle.  Work smarter not harder! 

The only disadvantage to this knife is its length and also the blade width is a little wide when a small doe is harvested needing to insert the blade around the rectum to detach it from the pelvic bones.  It is still my "go to" general purpose knife when hunting and scouting and keep it on my belt in case I need it access it quickly.  I normally, keep a longer Chicago Cutlery boning knife in my back pack for field dressing deer, of which I ground the blade length to around 4.5 inches and made a spear point aka drop point.  

CHICAGO CUTLERY BONING KNIFE MODIFICATION

Above is a pix of the modified Chicago Cutlery boning knife that was recycled from worn out knifes used at a Poultry Processing plant in Union County.  I cut about 3/4 inch off the tip of the blade for a total blade length of 4.5 inches which is about the maximum I desire for field dressing a deer.  The tip was reground to a spear point similar to a drop point and left the cutting edge at a thicker angle to keep the edge from turning while cutting through the sternum.  The blade was worn out by the processing plants standard but still has plenty of useful life left for what I plan to do with it.  Appearance wise, it looks like a "rat turd in a flour sack" but it was no trouble to open a deer up from "stem to stern" cutting through the sternum and brisket with ease.  The thickness of the blade is around 1/8 inch and the height of the worn down blade is small enough to insert between the deer's rectum and pelvic bone to detach the rectum from the wall of the pelvic to allow pulling the rectum through the pelvic bone attached to the viscera which is the way I learned to field dress deer.

PERSONAL KNIFE COLLECTION FOUND A NEW HOME

In the below pix, the two upper right hand knives were made from the Buck Hunter knife blade purchased in 1968 while still in the US Navy stationed at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, VA.  I had to regrind the knife blades for a concealed tang to epoxy into the bone handles.  The knives below were given to Bill, Jr., when Bill and Nichole visited with us on July 7th and 8th, 2016. 

The third knife from the top on the right belonged to my Father-in-Law, Henry Adcock and my bride purchased it from the Adcock family auction after the passing of her Dad.  Henry used that knife for skinning catfish and at one time there was a scabbard for it.  The two top knives on the right were fabricated from a Buck seven (7) inch length Bowie knife that I cut into two pieces and fashioned the handles on them from deer antlers.  The fourth knife from the top right is an Old Timer that I reshaped the tip into a drop point and Bill field dressed the first doe he ever harvested with it.

I inlaid and cut finger grooves on a Buck Duke lock back folding hunter knife model 500, fifth knife from the top on the right and inlaid mother of pearl into both sides of the knife. 

The Buck lock back blade knife below it was inlaid for my Dad and Mom gave it to me when Pop died in August 2007.....I sure do miss him!

Bill, Jr. with the Porter inlaid Buck folding hunter lock back knife.  Below, a couple close-up pixs of both sides of the inlaid mother of pearl knife.  Pop was really proud of that knife and I got great satisfaction doing the inlays for him.

There is a good patina on the brass since this knife is well over forty (40) years old.  Back in the middle 1970s when I was doing custom musical instrument inlays on a daily basis, "Porter was considered the source for accurate pre-war reproduction inlays" to quote David Nichols of Custom Pearl Inlay.  I think he said that with a little pun intended, because he certainly is a Master at cutting and inlaying various inlays and that phrase was used in my 1970s advertisements......grin if you must!

Bill, Jr. was given a special knife I inlaid back in the mid 1970s.  Information archived from my Biography blog and a copy and paste below.  Click on thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

       

Above pixs of a custom inlaid Smith and Wesson skinning knife that I did for myself around 1975.  I retired that knife to my show case in the early 1990s.  The mother of pearl inlays are from a copyrighted pattern of mine titled “Flaming Claw” and my standard pattern I used on banjos and Dobro aka resophonic guitars.  The inlay work on the knife handle was all free-hand if I remember correctly due to the curvatures of the handle on all sides.

Bill sent me a pix of the knives on 07-14-16 and plans to get a more permanent display case for them.

I told Bill, Jr., that I hope this was not a premonition of myself kicking out anytime soon, but felt like he would give those knives a good home and some of them has special meaning.  On the other hand, we are not promised tomorrow either and time waits for no one!  "Live today, the best that you can."

VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY RED TINKER KNIFE

Around 10 or 15 years ago, I purchased a Victorinox Swiss Army Red Tinker knife, of which I recently misplaced it and have looked high and low for it without success.  If I did lose the knife, it was probably in Albemarle, NC at one of Medical facilities.  During the past seventeen years of employment with the NC Department of Correction, we were not allowed to have a personal knife on our person which is understandable in a correctional environment,  However, since retiring in 2012, I have gotten back into the habit of keeping a small knife in my pants pockets which comes in handy at times.

Below is a screen capture of the Victorinox Swiss Army Red Tinker model knife:

That knife was used frequently during the past five years and hope I can locate it.  In the meantime, I ordered a replacement knife; cost only 18 bucks including shipping and it should arrive from California tomorrow, whereby I will be one happy camper again.  It is a production knife but keeps a good edge and easy to sharpen.  The various tools on the knife come in handy at times.

LOST AND FOUND

While putting on a pair of dress slacks on March 19, 2017, I found the missing Victorinox pocket knife in the right pants pocket.  If memory is correct, I felt several pairs of dress slacks that I had recently worn prior to the knife missing, but I didn't do a thorough "shakedown."  Now, I have a  spare......grin if you must!

KITCHEN KNIVES USED

Like my hunting knives, we have used many various brands of Kitchen knives over the years....some being literally junk and a few others doing the job they were intended to do.  We have never owned a high dollar set of kitchen knives. 

You can easily spend 1K to 2K for a set of very good kitchen knives and by no means the most expensive.  For 175 bucks +- you can get an excellent 10 inch Chef knife manufactured by Henckels, Wusthof, Messermeister, Shun, Global and/or Mac, but the inexpensive 10 inch Case Chefs knife will perform fine.  The same goes for the 300 to 500 dollar Randall Made hunting knife; a 50 dollar factory stock hunting knife will do just as good and sometimes better; been there, done that.  It is all about what you want, what you can afford and whether or not you want to impress someone.  If that is your thing, go for it!  

The worst knives, I believe were manufactured by Wilkerson Sword and Farberware of which were a set of knives and don't remember how many were in those sets; but again, they left a lot to be desired.  They would not hold an edge or was about impossible to get a razor sharp edge on them.  Factories have the ability to polish a razor sharp edge on them, but is very difficult to get in the same edge in a home environment.  I have one curved boning knife made by Forstner which was bought out by Victorinox and keeps a razor edge very well too. 

Over the years, my bride and myself have had excellent success with kitchen knives made by Case and some of them are probably forty (40) years old and still going strong today.  They hold an edge fairly well and not difficult to get a razor edge on most of them.   

My favorite paring knife is made by Victorinox and it will maintain a razor edge and again, easy to sharpen.  All through my Recipe pages, you will find the knives mentioned above in usage, with the paring knife and the 10 inch length Chefs knife used the most.

FUR SKINNING KNIFE

Back in the early 1980s when I was fur trapping, I had a couple knives used exclusively for skinning fur bearing animals, but they were lost and/or misplaced.  Below is a screen capture off the internet of one that I used and it worked excellent for skinning raccoons, etc.  It is currently misplaced somewhere.

RECENT KNIFE MODIFICATION

Now we are getting to what started this entire "short" story.  I did not do a photo essay of how I did the modification to the Victorinox Rabbit Knife, but will more or less describe what I did.

Below is pix of a Victorinox Rabbit Knife with a 4 inch length blade:

The Rabbit knife has a stiff flat ground stainless steel blade and sharp as a razor.  I was debating on whether or not to make the modification, since I didn't know how far the concealed knife tang extended into the molded Fibrox handle.

Quite a number of years ago, Robert Hough of Carolina Antiques & Restoration in Ellerbe, NC gave me a walking staff which had a four point deer antler screwed into the handle of the walking staff.  The walking staff was heavy enough for Goliath to use as a walking stick or implement of war and never did use it as intended.  I removed the deer antler a few years ago and he had the screw glued in place with epoxy in the base of the antler and I broke the screw off trying to remove it from the deer antler.  Sometime later, I ground and drilled the screw down where I could use some type of medallion to cover up the unsightly screw.  I cut the antler length to fit the width of my hand and it sit around on my work bench for about a year before getting around to it.  I finally drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the end where the tang of a knife blade would go. 

I drilled a few holes in the Victorinox Rabbit Fibrox knife to ascertain the length and width of the tang which was at least two inches in length.  I used my band saw to remove the Fibrox handle from the knife tang.  I had a good amount of grinding to do to the tang as it was much larger than my 3/8 inch diameter hole and was irregular in shape, since I needed basically a rectangular shape.  I used masking tape; several layers on the knife blade for safety reasons while grinding the tang to shape.  I had a glass of water close by the grinder to keep the knife blade cool while grinding to prevent changing the hardness aka temper of the blade; not desiring to make it harder or softer.  It didn't take too long to get the tang reground using a 6 inch diameter coarse grinding wheel and also a fine grit 6 inch diameter grinding wheel and finished up on the 1 inch width x 42 inch length aluminum oxide sanding belt.  A Dremel tool and a small grinding disc was used to square the tang of the knife to the blade since I planned to use a brass hilt or guard more or less just for decoration.  It would not offer any protection to keep your hand from slipping onto the blade if you went crazy with the knife......grin if you must!

After getting the tang ground to shape, I then found a small piece of flat sheet brass that was approx. .062 inches in thickness that was left over from a stamping operation that I did on my banjo tube and plate flange sometime in the mid 1970s.  The piece of brass was removed from the brass flange circle to allow the banjo neck to fit onto the wood rim assembly for you non banjo folks.  I believe that particular piece of brass was the initial test sample that the tool and die maker sent me after they manufactured the die set for my approval.

I traced the outline off the end of the antler which had the hole in the end and marked a couple reference lines and drilled three 7/64 inch diameter holes using my drill press into the flat brass to accept the reground tang.  I then, wallowed out the length of the holes with the drill bit in a portable hand drill and used a small rectangular needle die makers type file to finish the rectangular opening to allow the tang to fit into it.  The purpose of the brass hilt would be to cover up the 3/8 inch diameter hole that was drilled into the antler for the knife tang to fit into using epoxy to secure the brass hilt to the knife tang and to secure the tang to the antler handle.  I used a pair of hand held Weiss M6R cutters to trim off excess material from the brass hilt.

In order to make certain the knife tang would be very secure inside the antler, I ground lines into the edges of the tang where the epoxy glue would adhere to using a Dremel tool and carbide fluted end mill.  I also ground/drilled small holes into the wall of the inside 3/8 inch diameter hole in the antler for the same purpose.

After everything was dry fitted, I used 5 minute epoxy to glue the hilt and knife tang to the antler handle and also the pewter turkey track medallion.  I allowed the epoxy to set up several hours and ground the brass hilt to match the antler handle taper connection using the 1 x 42 inch aluminum oxide sanding belt.

Below, a few pixs of the completed knife:

This knife will definitely make a good general purpose usage knife for sure.

Below pix taken with the upper soft light box operating properly.  Makes a difference too!

My white back drop paper definitely needs changing, since it is badly soiled.  I like the handle drop of the knife instead of just a straight handle.  This knife would serve well for the traditional muzzleloader hunter as a patch knife too or a trappers knife.  I can envision this knife in a sheath hanging from a Mountain man's neck or belt back in the middle 1800s while trapping beaver for the European fur trade.

As stated earlier, this was an impromptu project, therefore didn't really do any serious planning for taking pixs, etc.  It was a rainy day and needed to have a fun project to do and this one was it.  There has been many more knifes over the years, but these are the ones I could remember and find pixs of them.  I have several utility knifes that I had left over from my musical instrument repair days and a few of them are still going strong.  I will get a pix of them just for ole times sake!

UTILITY KNIVES CURRENTLY IN USE

Also, my earlier pixs I took of the custom handle Victornox knife didn't come out very well.  I later found out that my upper soft light box had no power to the light fixture head and was due to a loose power cord connection and was corrected.  Seems like, Murphy's Law never sleeps.  The above utility knives get used pretty regular in my shop and/or archery corner of my basement "Man Cave."

KNIFE PHOTO SHOOT OUTSIDE

I took the knife and scabbard outside and used a large milky quartz rock in our upper yard for my back drop and the following pixs posted:

The below pix shows the turkey track medallion real well

I used a piece of black nylon braided cord to make a safety tie down for the knife scabbard since there is no finger guard on the brass knife hilt.  The knife will not slip out of the case with the safety cord pulled tight due to tension created by the cord going into and out of the scabbard.  I might inlay a piece of oval brass into the white area on the side of the handle where the deer antler brow tine was removed.  The knife scabbard was made (cut down to size) from the original scabbard for the Buck Hunter 7 inch length blade knife of 1968 mentioned in this short story.  I used a hand sewing awl, small drill bit and glued and stitched the holster together using a simple stitch.  This was done back in the mid 1980s and made originally for the Buck blade cut down blade with the spiral finger grooves ground into the handle.  That knife was given to one of my friends, C. W. McKenzie of Robertdale community adjacent Rockingham, NC  and later traded him a set of Boker Tree Brand railroad commemorative pocket knife set for the knife.

This will probably be my favorite hunting knife for the time being......grin if you must!

I am looking forward to using this knife to field dress deer this coming fall, the Lord willing of course.

There have been many other knives used over the decades, of which I have forgotten the brand names, etc., and/or don't have any pixs of them.  I have given numerous knives away to family and friends and remember giving one of my classmates Ralph Coble of Wadesboro, NC a bone handle Case pocket knife as a graduation present in 1963 and he still carries that pocket knife with him today.  It would be scary to know how many knives I have lost and misplaced over the years too!

LEAVING ON A SPIRITUAL NOTE

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please take this moment to accept him by Faith into your Life, whereby Salvation will be attained.   

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Open this link of Bible Verses About Salvation, King James Version Bible (KJV).

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
 

IN GOD WE TRUST - GOD BLESS AMERICA - "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE"   JOHN 3:16 KJV 

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 03-15-17; updated pixs on 03-16-17.

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