Couple my love for bowhunting and a knife edge and you know you’ve got my attention. My first look at Silver Stag Knives was, of all places, at a gun shop in Illinois. I was immediately taken with the obvious craftsmanship and beauty of these blades. Each of the blades was handled with genuine deer, elk or moose antler.
Ok, I admit it. I am addicted to knives! My dad gave me my first pocket knife when I joined cub scouts at eight years old, and I have carried one ever since. My grandfather was a master with anything with an edge, and by the time I was twelve I had my own sharpening stones and I sharpened anything that looked like a blade. Sometimes I wonder if I was attracted to bow hunting because of the need to sharpen the broadheads!
So it won’t surprise you that I stop at every display case that sports a supply of knives. Neither should you be surprised that I happen to own scores of knives - pen knives, pocket knives, sheath knives, filet knives and knives big enough to be used for hackin’ your way through a jungle. One thing I am always on the lookout for is high carbon steel in my knives. All my knives as a youngster were high carbon steel, steel that would discolor and even rust if not taken care of. I didn’t mind, because I was always polishing the edges on my favorite stone.
So, given my history, modern knives have been a bit of a disappointment. The art of sharpening a knife is not practiced by many these days and most knife manufacturers have transitioned to blades that are more stainless than high carbon. This makes these knives less subject to coloration or rust, and harder blades that will hold an edge longer. But it also makes the blades much harder to sharpen and very difficult, if not impossible, to get to the fine edge of a high carbon steel blade. The simple truth is that high carbon knives hold an edge longer and sharpen to a keener edge than stainless blades do. Now, look, I own some very nice stainless knives and they do the job very well, but I just can’t stay away from high carbon blades.
When I found out that Silver Stag hand crafts knives with three steels including 1095 High Carbon steel, I knew I had to have one. When my Skinner knife arrived with it’s genuine deer antler handle and four and a half inch 1095 blade I couldn’t wait to try it out. The knife came in a custom leather sheath, and protected with a light coating of oil to protect the blade.
One way I always check the sharpness of my knives is to see if the blade will shave my arm. My wife has often remarked about my “bald” arm spots. So, of course, I had to test my Silver Stag Skinner knife out on my arm – and unlike many store bought “razor sharp” stainless knife, this one cleaned the hair off my arm like it wasn’t even there.
I have often seen knives that used deer antlers in some fashion, but rarely with the full natural curve of an antler. I was a little concerned that the handle might not fit my hand, but the blade was attached to the antler so that the handle fit perfectly in my hand. I cannot imagine a more completely balanced knife.
Now, I haven’t had the knife long enough to give it a good workout. It’s craftsmanship is so good, this is a knife that should probably stay in a display case with some of my other fine knives, but knowing me, I won’t let it stay there. It will find it’s way into my fanny pack this fall and will likely be involved in dressing out a deer or two on one or more of my bow hunting trips. I can’t wait to have to sharpen it!
Silver Stag makes knives with other high carbon steel as well, and even Damascus knives that folds different steels into unique patterns. And there is much more. For more information about Silver Stag knives visit their website at www.silverstag.com