Denney’s Knives Custom Hunting Knife
There was a time on this continent when many men spent the better part of their lives in wilderness areas. These men depended on a few necessary tools, and one of the most essential was a good knife. Knives in that era were simple, tough, and above all practical. A good knife of proper steel that would hold an edge and was built to last a lifetime, was a valued possession. More than one Nineteenth Century outdoorsman said he would sooner be without his rifle than his knife.
Time passed and mass-produced “hunting knives” took a more impractical form. For most of my life, I have been generally disappointed by the knives I have used, though some were not too bad. I began to pay attention to some of the blade designs used in the past, and recently, while speaking to Steve Denney of Denney’s Knives, I scribbled out a rough sketch to describe the style of knife I thought I would prefer.. He looked at the sketch, and several weeks later he handed me a knife.
The knife is very simple – a carbon steel full-tang blade with ironwood scales riveted in place. There is no modern-type guard – I hate them because they are always getting in the way – and a leather lanyard runs through a hole in the butt of the knife. The sheath is leather and is very deep, molded to the shape of the knife to hold it securely. The belt runs through a belt tunnel on the back of the sheath that is wide and tight, holding the knife securely in place and preventing it from swinging loosely from the belt.
The 4 inch blade has what I consider to be an ideal shape for an all-purpose knife. The drop point design has a somewhat deep belly and high spine. The blade is heavy in the spine for good strength, but flat ground for ideal cutting ability, and is made of hand-tempered high-carbon steel. The finish is an old-style browning, which is a very good finish and protects steel better than modern bluing. It looks very nice as well. I prefer carbon steel over stainless for the advantages of longer lasting edges and stronger blades. Dealing with rust or staining does not bother me, and up here on the salt water, a good high-carbon stainless will show rust anyway. The knife came with a beautiful edge that I have not yet needed to sharpen.
I put the knife to its first serious test on a bear that attempted to come in my back door after my children. Stretching the bear out on my porch, I went to work skinning him with my new knife. The shape of the blade offers a great advantage in this kind of work. When splitting the hide (or the belly), the blade does not dig into the meat (or worse, the entrails). The shape allows it to ride smoothly just under the hide and gives great control. When separating the hide from the carcass, the deep belly leading into the point also gives good control and prevents the marring of the hide that is easier with a more sharply pointed blade. One problem I have with clip point or trailing point blades is that I always seem to impale my other hand with it, especially when working the meat off of bones. The drop point blade style on my Denney hunting knife prevents me from doing so.
Once I had the hide off, it was time to gut and butcher the bear. The knife proved handy for opening the abdominal cavity and splitting the ribcage, and since I didn’t have far to pack the meat, I quartered the bear and finished each quarter on the kitchen table. The quarters were boned out and the meat packaged and frozen. From beginning to end, the Denney knife held its edge and seems as sharp now as when I started. I was very pleased. I am often frustrated during these endeavors by knives that continually need to be sharpened. When working on the last moose I butchered, I had laid out a handful of knives so that I could switch knives and keep working while someone else sharpened them for me. Now I have a knife that can butcher an entire animal without loosing its edge. This is a big deal when you are out in the bush with night closing in, a moose on the ground, a cloud of mosquitos around your face, and every bear for miles sniffing the wind and heading your way.
I couldn’t be more pleased with this knife. If you do any hunting or spend any time in the bush, you should have a knife like this Denney Hunter. Steve Denney also built a really nifty saw that breaks down and packs in a small canvas bag. I will post a review of that soon. Each of Steve’s custom knives are made for the customer and he can adjust the design to best suit your needs.
Denney’s Knives is located in Palmer, Alaska. Contact information is listed below.
9070 N Sun Valley Dr
Palmer, AK 99645