Here at RR we often use knives more than pens or pencils.
As Christmas and the Holidays approach, we find our thoughts drifting from Corten to brightly wrapped goodies that make us giggle with delight!
What? Old Montana Miscreants can giggle! So what if it sounds like Elk’s coughing and snorting! :)
Living in Montana has taught me many things. When we’re not welding on boxes or pouring pilings, we don’t linger on the couch. We live outdoors. Our trucks and horses are our transportation to the places where we hunt, we fish and we work in one of the most beautiful and challenging environments in the United States.
We’re tool users.
And one of the most essential tools in Montana is a good knife. To live here (or in any other challenging environment) you need a high-quality, do-everything-you-throw-at-it hunting knife. If you or yours hike, hunt or fish, you’re in the same boat, rowing against the current! We don’t have to wander far from our porches to see Deer, Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Antelope and even Bears. The broad variety of all that game requires that we carry a knife with several key abilities.
Add the rigors of Bushcraft (the lost art of thriving in the wilds) to that and you’re looking for a very special knife indeed.
As a result, we’re always on the hunt for a really nice Hand Crafted AMERICAN MADE blade at a really good price that is purpose driven and ready for bird or beast. In our opinion, the right hunting knife is designed to tackle many tasks; Hunting, surviving in the bush and even tactical duties right down to it’s handle.
First, a great hunting knife must be sharp and it must be easily resharpened when you get back to camp.
Second, it better be “Tonka Tough”. A great hunting knife has to be tough enough to handle use and abuse. If “Sharp” is it’s first name, “Strength” has to be it’s middle name. A great hunting knife must be strong enough to power through elk sockets and agile enough to skin a deer without making it look like you killed it by tearing it apart with a sawed off shotgun.
It’s ergonomic handle must allow multiple grip options to accommodate any task at hand. A great hunting knife has to be easy to handle in the gloom and doom of dusk and dark, as well as in the snow or cold pouring rain. A great hunting knife will be nimble and quick when it’s covered in elk blood when you’re elbow deep, trying to get the carcass processed before the bears show up to eat somebody…
Well, after a lot of searching (and a lot of knife education) we found a blade that we really like and we’ve been putting it to the test on beast and bird, elk and turkeys with great success.
Long-time readers know that we’ve had some bumps along this road. It forced us to learn a LOT about blades AND their makers. But it doesn’t mean we quit.
We kept looking and then the clouds parted. Okay, actually, we found this guy on the Internet. When we discovered him, it was lust at first sight. This guy crafts blades that make you proud even before you strap them on.
When we spoke to him (at length) and gave him our wish list, the discussions started in earnest. We traded literally a thousand emails and PMs back and forth over weeks. We told him what we wanted, he told us what we DIDN’T want… and then he started working to produce a blade that he even named in our honor;
He calls it; “The Bitterroot”
We call it; “The ‘Root”.
Frankly we nicknamed it so that we don’t spill beer out of our mouths trying to use 4 syllable words when we try to talk about it during supper… :)
The knifemaker’s name is Kieran Klein (no relation). He runs a Custom Knife Shop called the “Hammer Down Forge”. His claim to fame is that he builds “high quality, affordable, purpose driven blades for the common man”. And he doesn’t just “talk about it”. He actually DOES it. Man, does he do it…
Take a look;
He became our blade building hero seemingly overnight because… not all of us can afford $1,000 Collector EDCs that never see the light of dawn in the field. Kieran told us that from day one, his goal was to build affordable, high quality EDCs, Skinners, Hunters and Camp blades for “us little guys”.
Kieran really builds for “us”. You know, the kind of guys who use their lunch money and what’s left of their paychecks to buy great gear, one piece at a time after weeks of saving up…
He’s dedicated his trade to that. I hear that he even has a ‘Hawk in the works.
Now as disclosure, I have to reveal that I personally own one of Hammer Down Forge’s blades now. It’s handled every test we’ve thrown at it. It’s powered through game (large or small) with ease. It’s strong, light and fast. It’s wicked sharp. We really couldn’t be happier with it. Several of us have fielded this blade to test it’s steel. All of us are smiling. Well, most of us are smiling. Some guys scowl when they have to give it back. Me? I’m grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
In fact, I have Kieran making me another one for delivery early next year.
(The reason should be obvious. It’s because this blade will probably disappear before then… my co-workers are thieving, coveting miscreants and they’ve all flat told me not to leave it laying around where it might grow legs and walk off.) :)
I’m not kidding. When the box arrived from Virginia, I had to go track it down. The knife had already made the rounds of the shop and people were trying to hide it. Apparently, I work with a group of no-good, disloyal, kleptomaniacs… LOL! :)
Beyond being a high quality blade that will make you smile from ear to ear right out of the box, your ‘Root will look almost the same as mine. There are a few little differences. The finish on your blade will be “antiqued” and not “satin”. That means that it’ll be slightly darker and much more durable than the finish on my blade. It’ll make that Central American Cocobolo handle really pop! In fact, when I saw his “new” finish, I was disappointed that it wasn’t on MY blade! LOL! Guess what finish is going on the new blade he’s building me?
Say it with me; “ANTIQUED”. LOL!
The Central American Cocobolo handle will be slightly different because after all, Cocobolo comes from a tree and not a printing press! The pattern will be very similar. It’ll be rich and lustrous and sexy. And, it’ll be as smooth as a baby’s butt. :)
The leather on your sheath will be scribed with a cool border pattern that outlines it and highlights the kydex sheath. I asked for “Something sporty” so he scribed mine with a racing stripe. He did it because “I’m Special”…
Oh stop it! I know it’s true. My mom used to tell me that every day before she crowbarred me into that “little white bus” and then fastened my football helmet on my pointy little head before I departed for that gulag they called a school. In fact, if my mother was still alive, she’d probably forbid me from playing with a knife this sharp. :)
FYI: I’ll warn you up front that I’m not kidding. This knife came to us out of the box wicked sharp.
“The Bitterroot” Blade
Shallow Drop Point Hunter
Full Tang Knife
15n20 Steel – Antique finish
1/8th” thick blade with Jimped Spine
Full Flat Grind with .012 behind the edge
4″ blade – razor sharp
8.5″ overall length
Palm Swell Contoured handle
Central American Cocobolo with G10 Liners
Carbon Fiber pins and lanyard tube
Kydex/8-9oz Shoulder leather sheath (with border scribing) and Chicago Screws
It skins like there’s no tomorrow and it slices like a pro. In fact, around here, it’s an EDC of dreams… :)
This is a $400.00 knife, all day. Knives of similar quality by other knifemakers will cost you upwards of $600.00.
The first $300.00 will put it under your tree for Christmas.
He’s included Priority Shipping and insurance via USPS in the price. Buy it before Monday the 22nd and it’ll arrive Priority Mail in time to find it’s way into your present pile!
You can contact Kieran at Hammer Down Forge by sending email to:
Or call him direct at:
What? You thought Santa was going to do everything? :)
Ho ho ho!