GameDay Knife Test: 10 Knives vs. 10 pounds of wings.


Bring on the wings..

My money is on the knives. I actually did this test on Saturday afternoon, to welcome the return of college football. I know that there are almost as many issues facing the NCAA as there are facing the real world, but for 12 hours or so every Saturday in the Fall I can suspend my disbelief and pretend that all is right with the world.

Typically I prep wings with my Wusthoff kitchen shears. Over the years I have found that these are one of the most efficient tools extant to process animals. Saturday however, I figured I would be better served by rounding up a mess of knives and attacking the wings in the interest of science. Or lunch.

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The Hootenanny’s hollow blade profile slid easily between the joints.

In this application the thinness of the blade seems to be the most important factor. The CRKT Hootenany combined a thin, extremely sharp blade and enough heft to aid in the cut. The blade’s belly adds a level of mechanical advantage to the cut as well.

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The “Fish & Fowl” by Woody’s Custom knives has the profile of a short filet knife and does an excellent job.

This belly is lacking in the Woody’s Custom Fish and Fowl, but the sharp, thin, and pointed blade naturally found its way in between the joints.

The Opinel #8 does not have either the belly or extremely pointed tip, but is so thin and sharp it was among my favorite knives to test.

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The Opinel is not a kitchen knife, but sharp and thin are always good attributes for this task.

The second tier consists of the Gerber Strong Arm, Caleb White Penance, Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife, and MD Caldwell. The Gerber’s heft allowed a bit more press-cutting, even shearing epipheses (bone caps) from the ends of the bone if the cut wan’t perfectly lined up between the segments. The MD Caldwell performed similarly, having a greater weight than many of the knives.

The leaf-point of the Caleb White was easy to insert in the joints, and as I have mentioned in the past the wonderful ergonomics make any slicing task a pleasure. Its thicker profile bumps it down into the second tier, but the knife is more than up to the task.

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The Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife is overwhelmingly adequate. It is the most uninspiring and unremarkable knife I own.

The Canadian Belt Knife by Cold Steel did a perfectly functional job. The belly and grind make it a good choice for this application. That said, I have never used a knife that I find so completely unremarkable. It just feels dead in the hand. I have no other words to describe it.

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Topping the 3rd tier is the Gerber Propel Auto

The knives in the 3rd tier are fairly predictable. The Gerber Propel and Milwaukee Fastback are tanto blades, about as far from a kitchen or game knife as there is, That being said, the partial serrations on both were a greater impediment to a clean cut than the blade shape. This was especially pronounced in the Fastback because the blade is smaller and the non-serrated portion of the blade is so short.

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The CRKT minimalist is not a front-lane blade for this application.

The CRKT Minimalist is an interesting case. The results further cement my impression that it is one of the best back-up blades for almost any situation. It is never the perfect tool for the job, but the little blade can even process a pineapple if necessary.  Given the choice, I would chose the Propel over the Minimalist simply for weight and size.

I enjoyed this test. It was fun to see how the variety of blade shapes and styles performed in a meat processing task. I think that the wings were a good test material since it is easy to see how the test can be easily scaled up for larger game,

What knife would you chose for the task?

The wings were delicious.


  1. jlottmc says:

    I would suggest a good old fashioned Mora (not of the bushcraft line), and something more along the blade style of the top tier blades. I suspect the Buck Smidgen would either do really well or really poorly due to its size. It has the right shape and lines, but is tiny.

  2. Sam L. says:

    Clearly (and I mean that emphatically), you need to do a side-by-side comparo test on the CS Canadian Belt Knife and a real Grohman CBK. With measurements–thickness of blade, angle of hilt to blade, weight and balance, sharpness, edge retention, ease of sharpening, and all the rest of the usual.

    1. Clearly, I do.

      I like that idea a lot. The Cold Steel one is the most uninspiring knife I have ever come across.

      1. Jon M.. says:

        I feel the same way but about *all* of Cold Steel’s knives. They seem like decent examples of pocket cutlery for the everyman, but everything about them is just meh compared to their competitors. If they didn’t have the Tri-Ad lock and bombastic salesmanship, I’m not sure anyone would pay attention…

        1. Kind of hard to not pay attention when Lynn Thompson walks by in bicycle shorts *snicker*

    2. cmeat says:

      please include the murphy’s knife version in your comparo.
      priced between the cold steel and the grohman, and made in usa.

      1. Sam L. says:

        Hadn’t heard of that one!

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GameDay Knife Test: 10 Knives vs. 10 pounds of wings.

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