A fixed blade knife is an important tool for every woodsman. There are countless shapes, sizes and designs. Of these, the woodsman will likely find that a small hunting knife is more than adequate for most uses. In addition to the smaller folding knife and hatchet, the hunting knife will be the perfect companion to your trio of bladed tools.
Hunting knives tend to be a bit smaller than survival style knives and are not designed for extreme use. Heavy use should be left to heavy knives or better yet, hatchets or small camp axes. Hunting knives are designed for field dressing, skinning, cleaning, and to a degree, butchering game. In addition to these uses, they are preferred for cutting camp food and on occassion, have been used as dining utensils.
I have been collecting useful knives for years and have owned several different hunting knives. Most of which have been purchased with little knowledge or planning and have later been given to fellow woodsmen for their enjoyment. In December of 2011, I found a Schrade Sharpfinger which intriqued me and seemed like a perfectly designed hunting knife as compared to any that I have owned or seen available. Not willing to spend my hard-earned money without some knowledge of these knives, I immediately began researching the Sharpfinger. To my delight, they received great reviews and were well-respected and considered excellent knives. However, all of the information I found led me to believe that I should not purchase the Sharpfinger from the big-box store where I initially found it. It seems that Schrade went bankrupt in 2004 and sold out to another company. Every piece of information that I found indicated that the quality of these knives declined significantly thereafter.
My search for a pre-2004 Sharpfinger began and ended on eBay. I found a seller, did my research to ensure that the knives weren’t counterfeit (apparently this is a concern among knife aficianados) and that the seller was legit. Ultimately, I purchased my Sharpfinger from Ideal Knives. My knife arrived quickly and was exactly as I had expected. The blade and tang were original pre-2004 Schrade. However, the pakkawood scales on the handle were not original and were assembled later. The latter was of no concern to me as I purchase knives for use as opposed to looks. Additionally, this gives me an excuse to attempt fabricating my first deer antler scales (probably a winter 2013 project.)
The Sharpfinger is approximately 7 1/2 inches from point to heel with a 3 1/2 inch blade. The knife itself weighs 3 1/8 oz. and when cased, it weighs 5 5/8 ounces. It has a unique curved point and an overall design which fits perfectly in my hand. It takes an edge well and holds it comparable or better than most hunting knives I’ve carried.
As I do with all of my knives, I became familiar with the Sharpfinger and began its testing in the kitchen. This is a great location to see not only how the knife performs but how it feels to the user. Through years of practice, I’ve learned that how a knife feels in use is one of its most important attributes. After a few meals, my intitial expectations were realized as the Sharpfinger felt perfect to me. My next step was to see how it performed in day-to-day use. I’d much rather find out that a knife doesn’t perform well at home as opposed to in the backcountry where it is my only option. Again, I wasn’t disappointed. For several weeks, I left my Spyderco folding knife at home and carried the Sharpfinger at my side. I’ve grown accustomed to using knives constantly and it wasn’t long until the Sharpfinger was a trusted companion at home on our property. After it proved its worth, I cleaned it, re-sharpened it and put it away with my camping gear.
The Sharpfinger accompanied me to my last backwoods adventure where it excelled in every regard. From cutting meat, peeling potatoes, to cleaning fish, it proved time and time again that it was a perfect woodsman’s knife. As hunting season approached, I anticipated testing its field dressing capabilities on whitetail deer as well as small game. As of this time, it has field dressed and butchered squirrel exceptionally well. It has yet to have an opportunity to prove itself on the whitetail, but based on how spectacular this knife handles, I don’t anticipate being disappointed.
My only complaint concerning the Sharpfinger is that the edge of the blade does not continue to the bolster. This is likely a safety feature to keep the user from cutting their index finger. I have a tendency to use this part of a blade for tedious work and the Sharpfinger doesn’t allow for this. However, I have learned to work around this issue and have little problems doing so. At some point, I may have it machined to reach the bolster.
Based upon the usefulness and overall feel of the Schrade Sharpfinger, I highly recommend it as an outdoorsman’s knife. It will prove useful, durable, and enjoyable to handle. If you would like to purchase one, I recommend contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting their eBay store.
If you have any questions or comments about the Sharpfinger or have any recommendations regarding fixed blade knives, please feel free to comment.