Simple knife sheaths made of jeans and some thoughts about knives' grinds and shapes

To start with, I want to suggest that leather is not necessary to make a simple knife sheath. What is more, tailoring skill of 3 is not needed to make such sheath.

These sheaths are mine. They are very simple, although fully functional. They have belt loops, middle stripes of jeans that protect thread from being cut. They are easy to dry and repair. I did not need much time to make such sheaths.

Another suggestion is connected with ‘cutting’ and ‘butchering’ levels. A few things to consider:

  1. Steel of a knife does not cut. Edge’s gemoetry (a grind) cuts.
  2. Edge retention depends on the quality of steel, although grinds also have an enormous influence on edge retention. The less resistance to the edge, the better edge retention. In other words: the thinner edge, the better retention.
  3. Skinning and butchering animals requires control. Overpenetration of the blade may be a serious problem. That is why sheepfoot folding knives are so popular when it comes to skinning. They provide the hunter with 100% cut control due to the shape of the knife. They are VERY easy to sharpen. Their grinds are usually ‘v’ grind (a flat grind) or a hollow grind. These grinds are fragile but very sharp. A good example of such knife is Opinel. One of the sharpest knives on the market.
  4. Hunting knives are big, heavy, clumsy. Folding knives are light, very sharp and provide us with great control.
  5. Hunting knives are solid, durable, full-tang knives (usually) and they are good for fighting. Folding knives should not be used for fighting or batoning. There is a risk of breaking a knife

This is a great example of how useful folding knives are. This channel is ‘no bias’ about knives.

My suggestion is to buff a pocket knife, folding knife and nerf a hunting knife. Butcher knife is ok. They are light, durable, sharp and have a great shape for butchering that gives us more control than hunting knife.
Implementing knives’ grinds would be great but I think that it may be difficult to make. There are 4-5 main grinds for knives. Flat, scandi, hollow, convex, single bevel. Players should be able to change grinds with an angle grinder (fast) or a file (very slow). Different grinds should add (or remove from) points to ‘cutting’, ‘fine cutting’ and ‘butchering’. What is more, different grinds should have a huge influence on the durability of a given knife

2 Likes

Literally none of the above is true. Sheepsfoot knife is useless for skinning, you need a knife with a fair bit of belly to do that correctly (which sheepsfoot completely lacks). Type of steel is very important in edge retention actually, and thinner bevel does not automatically indicate better retention. Hunting knives are not “big, heavy, clumsy”, they’re typically between 3-4" with a decent belly and a pretty slim saber grind, and present a compromise between ability to skin, cut meat, and cut joints, all operations which require different characteristics (belly, straight edge, strong spine).

Also, ability to quickly touch up the edge with a sharpening steel in the field is critical, which further influences choice of steel and blade geometry.

Also, you can make a sheath out of ducktape and a piece of cardboard that will work just fine. What you’re making in-game is a leather sheath and that does take some skill and effort.

‘Type of steel is very important in edge retention actually’. I said so. ‘Edge retention depends on the quality of steel’. But it does not mean that blade’s geometry does not matter.

There is an interesting video about the influence of blade’s geometry on edge retention. Just watch it. From my experience, Opinel no.7 has much much better edge retention than Mora Basic 511 that is made of much much better steel. I own these knives

Some thoughts about hunting knives vs butchering knives vs folding knives. Let me compare them.
Victorinox Hunter Pro Alox: Blade 3.9 inches, weight 180g
Victorinox Swibo 5.8435.26 (butchering knife): Blade 10 inches, weight 162g
Opinel No. 7 (folding knife): Blade 3 iches, weight 35g

Hunter Pro Alox is heavier because it is a thick knife, 2.8mm. In comparison, Opinel No.7 is 1.6mm thick (usually).

Another comparison:
Boker Arbolito Hunter (very expensive hunting knife): Blade 6.2 iches, weight 220g
Cold Steel Commercial Series Butcher (20VBKZ): Blade 7.9 inches, weight 122g
K-Bar 1211 (USMC knife): Blade 6.6 iches, weight 304g
K-Bar is not much heavier after all… And it is much cheaper than Boker Arbolito Hunter

One more:
LKW Knives Classic Hunter: Blade (expensive Polish hunting knife): 5.1 iches, weight 250g
Dexter Russell S112-10PCP, 10-inch Butcher Knife: Blade 10 inches, weight 199.5g
Fallkniven S1ZI: Blade 5.1 iches, weight 190g. And it is 5mm thick… It is a very thick knife. Knives for chopping are 6mm thick

Although there are great hunting knives like Buck knives, most of hunting knives are trash. They are thick, heavy and clumsy. Knives do not have to be long in order to be clumsy.

Buck 102 Woodsman: Blade 4 inches, weight 71.2g, thickness 2.5mm. This is a good hunting knife. People love it. Despite the fact that it is made from 420HC. It is an ordinary steel. In Poland, most of very very very cheap kitchen knives are made from 420. It is soft and very easy to sharpen.

I have tested friend’s few hunting knives and they were awkward. 2/10. This is the main problem of modern knives. Knifemakers and companies often do not make knives that they want to make. They make knives that they HAVE to make because they need profit. Knives become thicker and thicker. They are made from ‘better’ steels that become harder and harder to sharpen. Even with good whetstones. Knives on the market change due to increasing interest in bushcraft / survival. Customer requires very durable knives (all that ‘torture tests’ from YouTube) so knifemakers make them thicker. This is a snowball effect.

I would rather use a sheepsfoot folding knife that weights nothing and allows me to put my finger on the end of the blade in order to gain 100% control over cutting. The blade is straight so it is very sharp till the very end of the blade. With a little practice, you do not need a pointy knife to do the job. And a knife without ‘belly’ is much more easier to sharpen (especially for a beginner).

Do you want to sharpen a modern, very thick knife that is made from high quality ( usually very hard) steel without a whetstone or even a file? People often complain about high quality modern knives if it comes to sharpening. And they have whetstones. What may happen in a survival situation when a flat rock is the only option? It may be catastrophic…

I did not write this to disrespect you. Maybe it is because I live in Poland. Here in Poland, generations and generations of people used folding knives and small fix-blade knives for skinning, butchering, processing wood, carving etc. In Poland, folding knives are called ‘grandfathers knives’. Maybe this and my experience (I live in village) are reasons why I have such perspective on knives

1 Like

There is an interesting video about the influence of blade’s geometry on edge retention. Just watch it. From my experience, Opinel no.7 has much much better edge retention than Mora Basic 511 that is made of much much better steel. I own these knives

I also happen to own both of those knives and they’re made of similar steel actually (chemically similar to 1095). Both are great knives and they’re tempered to approximately same hardness (58-59 rockwell).

The reason your 511 appears to dull more quickly is most likely because you’re keeping it at a true zero scandi grind (this is what happens when you lay the main bevel flat against the stone), while your opinel has become convexed (I don’t know anyone who sharpens an Opinel in a way that would preserve the full flat grind it comes in from factory - you always put a secondary bevel on it, be it saber or convex).

If I was using a Mora for hunting I’d probably end up putting a scandivex (rounded bevel) on it to help it survive contact with bone better.

Despite the fact that it is made from 420HC. It is an ordinary steel. In Poland, most of very very very cheap kitchen knives are made from 420. It is soft and very easy to sharpen.

420HC and 420 are very different beasts. HC designates high-carbon, which is the primary component that dictates the ability of steel to be hardened. This is why your standard kitchen cutlery can only be sharpened to a certain point and stay there without rolling over - that steel is indeed very soft. Buck 420HC will take a much better edge and keep it longer, thanks in part to the HC bit, and in part to their manufacturing process.

I won’t attempt to argue your examples of hunting knives for two reasons - without hands-on experience that kind of a moot point, but also I don’t trust marketing terms, i.e. just because a company calls something a hunting knife doesn’t automatically make it a good hunting tool.

Thankfully, the game doesn’t specify a model either, so it’s open to interpretation, and I choose to interpret this to mean something along the lines of Loveless drop-point hunter, Canadian belt knife, traditional puuko, etc.

I have tested friend’s few hunting knives and they were awkward. 2/10. This is the main problem of modern knives. Knifemakers and companies often do not make knives that they want to make. They make knives that they HAVE to make because they need profit. Knives become thicker and thicker. They are made from ‘better’ steels that become harder and harder to sharpen. Even with good whetstones. Knives on the market change due to increasing interest in bushcraft / survival. Customer requires very durable knives (all that ‘torture tests’ from YouTube) so knifemakers make them thicker. This is a snowball effect.

I absolutely agree, the sharpened prybar trend is annoying. Super-steel trend less so, though people should really put more effort into learning about knife maintenance rather than focusing on “best” steel. Check out this video by Lonnie of Far North Bushcraft - he hasn’t taken his Mora to a stone in years - turns out you can simply realign the edge and get it back to shaving sharp (my father who’s a vet and has used knives as surgical tools on occasion does the same).

I don’t own any knives in the supersteel category so I’m not sure if they can be aligned but if yes then they offer a definite advantage, even if you will need to use a diamond stone when you eventually need to fully resharpen it.

I would rather use a sheepsfoot folding knife that weights nothing and allows me to put my finger on the end of the blade in order to gain 100% control over cutting. The blade is straight so it is very sharp till the very end of the blade. With a little practice, you do not need a pointy knife to do the job. And a knife without ‘belly’ is much more easier to sharpen (especially for a beginner).

I’d call this a learned preference rather than objective advantage. Sure, finger-guiding your knife is pretty much the most precise way to do this but is a) not necessary and b) would work just as well with a short pointy knife such as a Mora Eldris (and I would wager you can get even better control with that than with a sheepsfoot blade). Sheepsfoot blade is easier to sharpen, but if you’re using sharpening steel and realigning the edge rather than removing material from it it won’t really matter since you won’t be doing actual “sharpening” in the field anyway.

Do you want to sharpen a modern, very thick knife that is made from high quality ( usually very hard) steel without a whetstone or even a file? People often complain about high quality modern knives if it comes to sharpening. And they have whetstones. What may happen in a survival situation when a flat rock is the only option? It may be catastrophic…

In that situation it would be easier to find some flint and get a good sharp flake instead (and I know you have plenty of that over where you are).

I did not write this to disrespect you. Maybe it is because I live in Poland. Here in Poland, generations and generations of people used folding knives and small fix-blade knives for skinning, butchering, processing wood, carving etc. In Poland, folding knives are called ‘grandfathers knives’. Maybe this and my experience (I live in village) are reasons why I have such perspective on knives

No offense taken, I happen to spend a lot of time in Poland since my wife has family there. In fact, I often visit her uncle who used to be a hunter and a forester long the Bug river and his house looks like something out of Ace Ventura’s worst nightmare :smiley:

To summarize, a hunter’s knife in my mind represents the best possible compromise between several tools - skinning knife, butchering knife, and a hatchet or a cleaver. This means it needs to be capable of gutting and skinning a reasonably large animal without damaging the hide or fouling the meat, cutting and boning the meat, and separating joints.

The game only specifies several archetypes of knives, which means there’s one layer of abstraction. Then, there’s a second layer of abstraction in the “butchering quality” number, which doesn’t really correspond to any real-world quality as such. Much is left to your interpretation and I choose to interpret “hunting knife” as being best suited for skinning and butchering an animal with least improvisation necessary, compared to other options.

In real world terms, the skill of the user is what dictates the success and duration of such an operation anyway.

Also, you can add a simple knife sheath and change butchering values of pocket knives by making a mod :slight_smile:

420HC steel is a stainless steel after all. This steel has more carbon in it so it is more appropriate to use in bushcraft / survival.
‘This is why your standard kitchen cutlery can only be sharpened to a certain point and stay there without rolling over - that steel is indeed very soft’. You can sharpen a spoon to the extent that it will become a razor. It depends on your sharpening skill, quality and grits of whetstones. Then you have to hone or strop your spoon. It will cut through the time and dimensions. And will hold an edge.

This is an interesting video. This butter knife is quite sharp despite the fact that it took a lot of abuse…

Outdoors55 has a similar video about a butter knife. Watch it if you want. I think that both knives are made of 420 steel. I have test it on my butter knife and it proved it.

When it comes to Opinel and Mora Basic… I have sharpened my Mora in many different ways and it still acted strange. Vinniesdayoff has a video on Mora Knives. You can check it. He also implies that Mora Knives have problems with edge retention. Also with chips and nicks of the blade.

I am aware of the honing issue from The Far North Bushcraft. David Cantebury has the same opinion on this subject. I have tested it and it works, although it is quite strange… Such ‘sharpening’ may be very annoying due to the fact that it may require a VERY frequent honing. Honing steel straightens and polishes the blade (every blade rolls). You can observe it on Gordon Ramsay’s and many other chefs’ videos. They hone their knives VERY often. The frequency depends on materials that are cut, strength behind the cutting, angle of cutting etc. But it works.

PS: You should watch this video:

It really depends on the steel type and tempering. A spoon can be brought close to a “scary sharp” level but only at certain edge angles. Convexing helps a lot here, actually, since you’re leaving more material behind the leading edge that supports it. If you use a guided sharpener (and your bevel is perfectly flat), you will notice a difference much, much quicker.

For example, I put a very, very acute edge on my Opinel 7 and polished it up to a mirror finish - now it’s basically a surgical tool. I tried the exact same angle on a 440C knife and the apex kept rolling over and I had to reprofile the blade to make it sharp again. Both of these knives are able to shave free-standing hair (meaning you pass it over your arm and it will take hair off without touching the skin) but the Opinel will outslice the other easily because the angle is so much more acute.

Therefore you will be able to bring a spoon to a very high degree of sharpness but NOT with the same edge geometry and I can guarantee you it will not last nowhere near as long as a Buck knife in 420HC steel.

I have read about people having issues with Mora’s but I can’t tell what the cause is. I’m quite happy with mine and I have used them in direct comparisons with similar geometry blades. Bahco for example started subcontracting knives from a different manufacturer and I bough one thinking it’s a branded Mora Clipper. When I tried using that knife to carve a seasoned piece of oak it absolutely devastated the edge (I’ll have to bring it back to 220 stone to restore it and I can’t be arsed to). I finished the job with a Mora 510 and it could still shave hair afterwards.

Sharpening steel is a great tool, though it takes some practice to use, but there’s a reason every professional is skilled in using it - it makes a huge difference, especially when processing animals. I saw a video of a professional processing sheep in Australian outback and he was able to do it in minutes, with the knife every bit as sharp when he finished as it was when he started.

I watched a couple of minutes of that butter knife video (the kid one) and I can tell you off the bat that the amount of effort that kid is using to carve a point in a stick indicates fairly obtuse blade geometry - any of my Moras would sail through that stick with almost no effort.

Also to correct what I said previously, I don’t own the 511 any more. I found out a friend of mine was into carving wooden models so I polished that thing up to mirror finish and gave it to him as a gift. He was flabbergasted at how effortlessly it sailed through the wood, compared to pocket knives he used previously :smiley:

Hi Wojtek. I’m in! I agree with everything you just said there

Hi dovia. I have been using a sheepsfoot knife for some years for field dressing deer and for skinning. It works great. I think many people think skinning involves constant paring away at the skin. It does not. Watch a butcher skinning a sheep for example. he will make the starting cuts and then he will take off the skin by punching with his fist or by simply pulling on the hide. A few touches are needed here and there with the knife but that is all. Too much use of the knife will leave nicks on the hide which will reduce it’s value. Skinning a rabbit is similar to skinning a banana. You make a few cuts and pull the skin off. I like a sharp sheepsfoot because it allows very precise cutting on slippery hide

1 Like

We can also use scissors like this man:

Or just use John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman’s technique and do this with our bare hands. You can find this technique in this video:

1 Like

Hey Vinnie, I’m aware of the procedures you talk about and I won’t argue that a small blade is handier when skinning than a large one - it obviously is. I would argue that most short blades have the exact same advantage, and that blades with a belly have the advantage of being better at slicing to boot (by virtue of having a longer cutting edge with same relative length).

Being easier to sharpen shouldn’t be an issue for anyone skilled at maintaining a knife in the first place - sharpening a blade with an outward curve in it is not exactly rocket science (recurves are a different thing), and if you use a sharpening steel becomes a non-issue.

What I will argue is that a small blade will be better at butchering (not field-dressing) a carcass, which also involves gutting, boning, skinning and dismembering (this is what “butchering” means in-game) - it just won’t - and this is where the hunting knife has an edge (sorry).

Also sorry for editing the post while you’re replying to it, I’m sure it won’t cause any confusion whatsoever :smiley:

Ok. When I say field dressing I mean gutting. I use a small sheepsfoot to gut deer and I prefer it to bigger blades. I used an Opinel with a five inch blade one day and I found it awkward in comparision to my small knife. For boning and dismembering I use a five inch boning knife although I have butchered a deer with a Rough Rider stockman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gif59mPxmU I have to figure out how you guys get the videos to play :slight_smile:

Sure, I think you need to put a video link in a separate line for it to show as embedded player.

Basically, my point about hunting knives is that they won’t beat any single dedicated blade (there’s a reason why skinner and butcher knives exist) but if you have to use a single knife, they are the least miserable option with their balance of features.

Since butchering in-game is treated as an abstraction of a combination of procedures that are involved in processing an animal carcass, a hunting knife is the best single tool for it.

I would need to check but I’m not even sure what the weight of the “Butchering” value even is in calculations that determine outcome of the procedure, and frankly I think it would be a better idea to have the “Survival” skill determine the outcomes and the “Butchering” value determine the length of time it takes to perform the task, rather than the outcome itself.

Meaning, sure you can (fully) butcher a deer using a SAK with a 2,5" blade, but it will take waaay longer than with a 4-inch hunting knife, even if you can do the skinning part just as well with both.

Not being difficult here but it won’t take way longer. a deer is not a very large animal. Butchers steak knives are needed for cutting large beef steaks such as the round steak. I would say it would be a little easier with my boning knife

Ok, let’s say I agree about the deer. In fact, it probably works better on small game such as rabbits, squirrels, etc, but the game also allows you to butcher bears, cows, humans, former humans of Hulk-size, etc. So then you’d need to start differentiating between butchering values for individual tools for individual animals and that seems a bit over the top, especially now that we have “Dissection” to determine chances of recovering CBM’s, which was what made the quality important in the first place.

You got me. Hands up in despair :slight_smile: If I wanted a knife to do everything you mentioned I would pick a boning knife as the best all round knife.I have to say I never cut up a hulk

Yeah this stuff gets real complicated real fast. My idea of the in-game hunting knife is pretty much along the lines of something like this:

and not one of those silly oversize “hunting” knives.

Also, apologies to @Wojtek94 for coming on a bit strong. Obviously you’re not wrong in your particular example (and I should try sheepsfoot skinning), but in-game I don’t think changes like this make much sense…

Also, there’s a Makeshift Items mod that you could probably add the cloth sheath to.

1 Like

Also, there’s a Makeshift Items mod that you could probably add the cloth sheath to.

Don’t add it to the mod, add it to the base game.

1 Like

Is that a wild Cutco knife? I’ve never actually seen one :slight_smile:

Im no expert but i have a fair bit of experience with knives both modern and antique.

Shape matters a lot with skinning. You want something with an upturned tip like the old finnish broad knives. Makes it less likely you will pierce your hide. Skinning usually involves cutting the skin away enough that you can pull it away from the carcass and cut away the membrane holding it in place. You want it sharp with minimal point.

Actually working the hide is another beast. You want a dull fleshing knife that looks a lot like a draw blade.

As far as the debate for the kind of steel, I will take an old mid or late 1800s blade made of carbon steel, beef cake and attitude with a nice coat of black oxide any day over modern blades. They are built to outlive you plain and simple and that was the pinnacle of the hand forging/drop forging era.

Little known facts. Stainless doesn’t hold an edge worth crap. Stainless can still rust and if you keep the black oxide well oiled on an old tool it will actually resist damaging red rust better.

I accidentally left my fav gilpins billhook in the olympic rainforest for a week once. Was kicking the crap outa myself expecting a pile of ruined rust and there was barely any speckling of red rust where i ground out the edge. 20 minutes later was as clean, sharp and happily oiled as the day i got it.

Most people dont use a single knife for processing carcasses either. Irl i have a variety of knives, large and small including several old cleavers for skinning and processing game.

1 Like