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  1. #1

    Rhinos knife buying guide.

    As I'm no longer really involved in actively selling I'm in a decent position to offer some advice, I will try and keep it as unbiased as possible. Before I began constructing my own I had a lot disappointment in what was available.

    *What do you intend to use it for?
    A blade should be built with some sort of purpose behind its design and the materials selected and used in its construction need to complement this purpose.

    No point in getting a fancy custom Damascus or carbon steel blade if it's going to be spending time filleting flathead most weekends, that things going to want to rust everytime you pull up at a boat ramp. Anything to do with regular use around water should be stainless, some carbon steels do perform well but will degrade in all the nooks and crannies where you can't clean and oil and will eventually lift scales etc
    Steel thickness is another consideration, dirty big thick powerhouse spines intended for strength and bushcraft purposes are a hindrance for any fine work, don't get a chunky blade and expect to do a good job caping or skinning bunnies.
    Unknown steels, if your bladesmith can't tell you what it's made out of, its time to look elsewhere.

    *Custom vs off the shelf.
    You can buy several cheaper store bought blades for the price of one custom blade, do the math and work out what's right for you.
    Custom doesn't mean quality, I've had quite a few handmade blades brought to me for repairs that were bought unseen online and some were ridiculously priced and we're soft, weak and had so many flaws that they probs should have been thrown out before they were finished.
    Same goes for those using secondhand steel, its way too unpredictable and can harbour unseen stress fractures etc, modern day tool steels are often carbon coated with a soft cast or mild steel centre/ case hardened and these have been turned into beautiful albeit useless, custom blades. If your bladesmith doesn't know the steel type, then the hardening and tempering process is a guess, it could be brittle enough to shatter if dropped or soft enough to bend.

    *Warranty and replacement.
    Ask and if there is any doubt then look elsewhere. If a company or individual isn't prepared to stand by their product then either should you, take your hard earned elsewhere.

    * Sneaky tricks.
    Facebook seems to be risky af, lots of newbies pumping out custom blades, plenty of blades being sold here that are made in India and China as cheap blanks, get a handle and sheath put on over here and a $400 price tag. Seems legit right?

    *Paki Dami.
    Damascus steel made in India, generally made by peasants, by hand, may contain bits of lighters, match box cars basically anything metal they can find. This is so hit and miss as to whether or not you receive a useable instrument. Once corrosion gets into the layers of cheap Dami it will start to split apart. The other point with damascus is its chemically etched to bring out the pattern leaving a rough surface to the steel which tends to drag and can harbour bacterial if used for butchering.
    Part 2 to come.
    Last edited by Rhino1; 27th September 2019 at 02:58 PM.
  2. #2
    Before ordering online, get a ruler and a tool or knife you like to hold and measure it. No point owning the world's best knife if you can't hold it properly or your hand starts cramping up whilst pulling apart a red or sambar.
    Tapered spines are a thing now, apparently to reduce weight and improve balance, unless your a circus performer, balance has no place in the consideration of purchasing a decent blade.
    The tapered handle could be considered a weak point especially in an emergency situation, I had a customer use a rock on one of mine to chisel the skullcap off a large stag, it took 10 minutes to tidy this up like new, free of charge (just an example, not a selling point).
    File work on spines looks pretty but needs extra attention to keep from corroding, deep down if you know you couldn't be stuffed cleaning all the bits out then by all means choose the plainer option.

    *Handle materials.
    Are a personal choice, be honest with yourself and know what's practical for how you use things, if your heavy handed opt for strength.
    Timber and antler are a great choice but both will split if not properly prepared and stabilised.
    Aus bladesmiths have some of the hardest timbers in the world growing here in our backyard and is a fantastic choice.
    Manmade handle materials such as kirinite and G10 are weaker with G10 being the stronger option but no where near as pretty, kirinite is great to look at but can chip and crack with rough handling.
    Coloured liners are neat but be aware more joins mean more areas that can be penetrated by moisture and corrosion. Pinless handles are a risk with scales simply glued on, if you get more than 5 years of regular use then your going well.
    Stacked leather is beautiful and should be hard and finished/polished like timber, if it seems dodgy then piss it off, there are world war 1 knives with original leather handles still in excellent condition, they do require a little maintenance but need to expertly installed to avoid rust and deterioration, I personally wouldn't buy a leather handled blade from a Smith with only a few years experience as it's probs going to die in the ass within 5 years.

    *Bolsters, pommels, hilts and Quillons.
    There's no need to have a big heavy brass bolster on a caping or small game Skinner, but for sticking pigs this is an essential requirement. Know the tools purpose and intention and make a decision based on common sense. Lots of brass or stainless incorporated into a handle drives the weight up, if it's on your belt all the time it's a hindrance, if it's in a day pack it's not so important.
    I'm done for now will add a part 3 soon and talk about grinds, blade profiles and pros cons and purposes of different steel types.
    Happy hunting gentlemen
    * Side note. Ive had a lot of **** come through my workshop doors to be repaired, it's not in my interest to dog other bladesmiths, name names or brands to avoid. I'm simply offering info to help those make an informed decision on their purchases.
    Regards Rhino
    Last edited by Rhino1; 23rd September 2019 at 11:28 AM.
  3. #3
    *Blade size.
    This is again a common sense thing. A six inch drop point will do everything you need to do in the field and will be able to break down everything bar buffalo in Aus. Unless your battling Conan the barbarian leave the oversized impressively heavy blades at home, once you get past 8 inches you start limiting yourself very quickly

    * Blade profiles for hunting.
    Will only select the most useful profiles and grinds here.

    Drop point is essentially one of the most useful for an everyday hunter.

    Straight back is similar but you loose some precision.

    Trailing points are good skinners and not a bad profile for boning out meat.

    Spear and clip points give a little more precision at the tip.

    Sheep foot is ok but you start limiting yourself on what this can do.
    Common sense prevails here again, weigh up what works for you, clip points tend to be the style that snaps on the end with misuse.

    *Grind time.
    Not talking about when I go all disco inferno on the dance floor.
    Flat grind or full face. Good choice but lacks strength, glides through meat with no step up to slow things down. Is ground past the spine and has a secondary grind along the edge.

    Scandi or Scandinavian grind.
    Another popular choice, there is no secondary bevel or grind on this grind profile, it's the same angle right to the tip. As this blade wears and gets resharpened it sort of turns into a sabre style grind eventually, this profile keeps all or part of the original spine thickness.
    Convex or concave grinds.
    Hollow grinds are very popular but over rated if it's getting a lot of use, I hear some ppl have difficulties sharpening, after lots of sharpening and wear you start running out of useable blade. The hollow or concave grind is mostly put out by factory's punching out cheap stainless blades.
    Convex has no place in your hunting kit, there's a joke regarding that these only came about by crap bladesmiths, it's not even a good choice for axes and such.

    Sabre grind. This profile keeps about half of the spine thickness the whole blade length, resulting in excellent strength and durability. Similar to scandi but has a defined secondary ground edge along the blade.
    Last edited by Rhino1; 27th September 2019 at 03:03 PM.
  4. #4
    These are measured in degrees and we are talking about the sharp bit.
    Here's where it gets confusing when I do 15 degree grind it's actually 30- 15 degrees ground on both sides of the centre line adds up to an angle of 30 degrees.
    So a knife that has a bevel of 20 degrees is ground on both sides at 10 degrees per side.
    A 20 degree grind is quite thin and more prone to chipping but is better for skinning and butchering than a 30 degree, 30 degrees is great for bushcraft purposes, once again it's a right tool for the job scenario.
    A good strong useable grind for a hunting blade will fall around the 22-25 degree mark.
    Last edited by Rhino1; 27th September 2019 at 03:07 PM.
  5. #5
    These are the associated attachments that refused to load with the text.
    Hope this helps someone out with their next addition to their kit.
    Cheers Rhino
  6. bent arrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    adelaide hills
    Great info, thanks Rhino
    If you don't do it, you won't do it, and if at first you don't succeed, it's more than likely because you're crap at it.

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