CRKT Ken Onion Skinner Knife
When the folks at Columbia River Knife and Tool company sent us the Ken Onion Skinner, we were immediately impressed by the high hollow ground blade. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before. Oh, we have seen some high hollow ground blades before, but not like this one. If the steel was a good as the design of the knife, this was one blade that would get a lot use by the Clarys.
Over the next month, Jim exchanged several emails with Ken to get the details on how he came up with this design. Ken told Jim that he spent five years designing and redesigning prototypes of this knife, before arriving at the design we had. Five years to design one blade? That is true professionalism. Ken also stated that he informed the folks at CRKT that this knife had to have the best blade steel available and they complied. The blade is made from Bohler 110D2 steel, not quite stainless, but darn close. As such, it is very resistant to corrosion. For those not familiar with D2 steel, it has a reputation for holding an aggressive edge when properly sharpened. Ken's knife is no exception.
According to Ken, he wanted the money spent on this knife to be in the blade and was content to have a rather plain "rubberized" handle. While an ergonomically designed handle is important (and this one is), the steel and blade shape are what make a good knife.
Anyone who is familiar with our knife reviews know that we use them on actual hunts, or send them out for testing by guides and other hunters across the country. This one was going to be our baby. We took it with us last December on our whitetail deer and wild pig hunt in south Texas with Prickly Pear Outfitters, LLC. On that hunt, Mary shot a trophy-class whitetail deer and I managed to get a 300 pound sow. (The story of that hunt can be found on the Hunting Stories page.)
We normally cape, dress and quarter our own animals, but wanted our guides to use this knife to insure objectivity. Kevin Cross was first up with the buck. He easily caped, dressed and quartered the animal, without sharpening the knife, only using a saw to cut the joints. He handed the knife to his partner, Jody Dietert, who tackled the sow. As tough as that critter's hide was, the knife went through it like butter. Even with an inch and a half of fat covering the pig, the knife remained sharp throughout.
After they finished both animals, Jody gave the knife with four swipes on a sharpening steel (I counted) and it was sharper than when they started. I asked them how they would rate the knife. Both guides gave the Ken Onion Skinner a thumbs-up "A" grade and Jody wanted to buy it right then and there. No sale, as we are keeping this blade as our primary hunting knife.
If you are a hunter, you definitely need to check out Ken Onion's Skinner. If you buy one, we think it will become one of your favorite hunting knives.
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