If you’re ever looking for a cheap way to have some DIY knife fun, Ontario Knife Company’s line of Old Hickory kitchen knives are a great place to start. At $8-$18 a pop, less if you can pick them up used, the investment is small. Full tang 1095 steel means you are starting off with some really solid building blocks. The key is to go slowly and frequently dunk the blade in water to avoid ruining the heat treatment. The pinned wooden handles lend a classic look, but can easily be replaced with custom micarta or G10 scales.
The Butcher Knives are a popular place to start, and their general size make them well suited to Bushcraft or Kephart projects. Pictured above is my “steak knife” that was made out of a 7” butcher’s knife. It was created using only a rotary tool with cut-off wheel and a belt sander. The blade takes a razor edge that is quite satisfying when excising fine morsels of meat.
And here is another project that I am working on, using an Old Hickory meat cleaver. I am creating a trio of tools that should complement each other in a camping food prep situation. Both of the blades have convex edges. With an inline point and neutral balance, the larger blade should do well as a general camp knife, but can also pull off some chores where one would usually reach for a chef’s knife; the long curved edge works well at rocking motions, mincing herbs or garlic, and long slicing cuts off a roast. The smaller blade makes a good paring knife/small utility knife. The third tool started out as a simple tinder/ferrocium rod scraper, and then I added a bottle opener to one side as well.
And now lets hear from the Edged Intelligentsia. How many of you have modded an Old Hickory? How many of you are getting ideas even now?