Femme Fatale

Drawing the katana Photo Credit: John Dingman

My dad surprised me with a plastic sword from Disneyland when I was young. I also had a retractable lightsaber… You know, just all the girly essentials. I would sit in the back seat of the vehicle and look through the karate weapons catalog that my dad got in the mail every year. I would circle the prettiest swords, sais, nunchaku, escrima sticks, and bo staffs. Pageants just aren’t my thing, guys! I sought to learn more about the strong women warriors in ancient legends and emulate their good qualities. Let’s explore some of the most famous swordswomen that impacted history.

One of the earliest swordswomen, Yuenu (“Lady of Yue”) from Zhejiang Province, China lived around 496-465 BCE. She learned archery and the art of the sword from her father, who took her hunting regularly. She impressed the King of Yue and ended up training his army in swordsmanship. Her art of the sword is one of the earliest recognized and has influenced martial arts. Although she didn’t know it at the time, her instruction has been immortalized and succeeded in traversing time itself.

Legendary warrior of the 15th century, Saint Joan of Arc, started out as a peasant who had no money, no sword training, and no military strategy lessons. She attained each of those things with much passion and her inspiration from God. She wielded a banner and sword in battle, mostly giving out strategic advice to the warriors. She obtained her sword of from the church of Saint Catherine of Fierbois, which is rumored to have previously belonged to Charles Martel. Contrary to popular belief, she is known for her short-fused temper and volatile speech, but did not kill any Englishmen. The English ended up burning her at the stake and she died from smoke inhalation.

Tomoe Gozen was a samurai woman from 12th century Japan. She is known for her exceptional bravery and loyalty during the Genpei War at the Battle of Awazu. She was beautiful, skilled in the sword, masterful in archery, and able to handle unbroken horses with expertise. Another game changer, Nakano Takeko was a Japanese Warrior of the Aizu Domain during the 19th century. She trained in martial and literary arts from a young age and specialized in bladed pole and one-sword fighting. She had killed 172 samurai before she got shot with a bullet to the chest and died in the Boshin War.

I believe that anyone can do whatever they set their mind on. If someone wants to learn the sword, they will practice the techniques repeatedly until the actions becomes second nature. Not surprisingly, most female warriors from Japan wielded katana. If you want to learn more about the katanas used in feudal Japan, give my previous post a read. Also check out this young woman warrior, Karate Kid Jesse Jane McParland, performing with her katana at WAKO 2018 by WAKO Kickboxing YouTube Channel.

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Photo Credit: John Dingman

Don’t Knock Neck Knives

John’s neck knife by maker Michael Rader (Seattle, WA). Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Neck knives are typically a lightweight, slender fixed blade knife. They don’t normally consist of any moving parts (just solid construction) and are often encased in a Kydex (thermoplastic) fitted sheath. The sheath is tight fitting so that no accidental deployment of the blade occurs. The handle may have a skeletonized core with a paracord wrap for lightweightedness and grip. Usually these knives are carried inverted with the blade facing upward and handle facing downward.

People even hike and run with neck knives for protection and survival. The neck holster is usually suspended by a ball chain necklace like the soldiers wear military dog tags on. That way, if something or someone pulls your chain, it should break without damaging your neck or obstructing your breathing. My husband used his neck knife for wood carving, which is a great use for a neck knife while out camping. These minimalist-oriented neck knives can be used for kindling and small tasks around the campsite.

They have karambit neck knives that feature an inconspicuous way to carry a fixed blade for self defense. Karambit neck knives are inspired by the traditional karambit from Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia). Forged in Fire Judge, Founder and Owner of Marcaida Kali, and Edge Impact Weapons and Combat Specialist, Doug Marcaida, illustrates the true potential of the karambit neck knife in this video by Max Venom (the company that makes the DMax karambits).

Doug stressed that retention in the hand is a big problem for small neck knives. You don’t want to lose the grasp you have on the handle, especially in a self-defense situation. Karambits feature a ring at the end of their handle, which makes the knife easier to draw and retain. The advantages are that the knife is not bulky and will not bring any attention to the person carrying it. The disadvantage is that knife drawing quickness may be hindered when worn underneath clothing. I discussed knife fighting and some implications in my previous blog post.

There are also push dagger neck knives available for purchase. You hold this blade handle in between your forefinger and middle finger and the use is primarily for self defense. Again, you never know when you may need a cutting edge. I prefer a lightweight neck knife like John’s made by Michael Rader (Seattle, WA). It has a paracord wrapped handle and is extremely light. Although I don’t have one, the Esee Izula seems to be a great neck knife with a solid architecture.

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Neck knife with Kydex sheath and paracord wrapped handle. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

World of Woodcraft

Original Wood Carvings by John Dingman Left to Right: Battle Axe, Tai Chi Sword, Mini Master Sword, and Katana. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

My husband, John Dingman, inspired me to share about wood carving artistry culture. Even before he started making knives, John has always been an avid wood carver. It was a creative outlet where he could make anything he wanted. He carved out wooden knives, bowies, neckerchief slides, walking sticks, katana, broadswords, and battle axes. I’m pretty sure he has a PhD in wood carving. A regular plain edge paring knife is typically used for wood carving. Many wood carvers may use fixed blade or folding knives depending on the situation. Palm chisels (which have specialized edges and scoops) may be used for detail work. Just like a small paintbrush for detailed painting, a long and thin knife can get into tight spots on what you’re sculpting. Understanding three main techniques and practicing good safety, anyone can start basic woodcarving!
According to John, there are three main carving techniques: stop cut, v-cut, and paring cut. You use the stop cut to score a line and cut toward that line so the knife won’t go any further past it. This method is used for precision when chipping away material. The safety stops are established so that knife blade will stop at the pre-determined score. You are essentially control the depth of the cut. The next essential technique is the v-cut; A proper v-cut is performed by cutting a wedge into the wood using two diagonal cuts to create an angular indentation. Using this method is great to contour a piece of wood. Last but not least, the simple pear cut is executed like you are peeling a potato. You can pare slice out away from yourself and also slice toward yourself. Be careful when paring toward yourself because that’s where most accidents in wood carving occur.

There are books that will teach you all of the basic cuts and show example diagrams. You can also get step by step guidebooks that direct you from start to finish during your wood carving projects. Bill Burch known as “Scouting’s Whittler” of the Boy Scouts of America, made artistic caricature neckerchief slides. The crowd of Boy Scouts would gather around him while he whittled to watch as he made small blocks of wood come to life. According to my sources, it took him 20 minutes flat to make a detailed neckerchief slide. Wood carvers are few and hard to come by. Wood carving time-lapse videos by Viral Maniacs with various artists and projects let us see all of the detail that goes into making these unique pieces of art.

With wood carving it’s always important to keep your knife sharp. It’s not the sharp knife that’s dangerous, it’s the dull knife you need to worry about. The dull knife doesn’t cut very well, so you press harder, slip by accident, and cut yourself. The main sharpening methods and some additional honing techniques to keep your knives in tip-top shape are examined in a previous blog post of mine. When cutting with a sharp knife, cuts should be smooth and clean, with minimal effort. Always check the blood circle, with your folding knife closed or fixed knife sheathed and stick your whittling arm out to make sure that nobody is within arms reach. That way, if your blade slips, nobody else in your proximity will get hurt.

When it comes to wood carving, it’s always a better idea to use soft woods. The more minimal grain in wood, the better. If there more grain lines, it’s more difficult to cut through precisely and you may end up removing more wood than you bargained for due to the weakness of that section in connectivity to the rest of the wood. Wood carvers try to avoid these common pitfalls by planning the best way possible and adapting to the textures of the wood. To plan your project, draw a stencil or draw on the object to help create the profile. You have to really plan three dimensionally. Safety is dramatically increased by wearing a Kevlar glove in your holding hand. The Kevlar glove should be the first thing you purchase if you want to begin wood carving. If you can help it, always cut away from yourself. John advises to always have a first aid kit nearby and wear your Kevlar, as his many hand scars illustrate the accidents he experienced throughout his artistry. We can really appreciate the hard work that goes into these rare and eclectic artistries.

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Wanna Katana?

Picture of John Dingman holding a Cold Steel Dragonfly Katana at Blade Show West 2018. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Let’s travel back in time to the Muromachi Period in Japan (approximately 1392-1573 AD). The samurai of ancient and feudal Japan used curved, svelte, single edged swords called katana on the battlefield and in martial arts. Katanas were carried around upside-down with the cutting edge facing upward for quicker draw. The first to draw and slice the opponent was typically the victor. Wakizashi (smaller swords) or tanto (dagger) were often paired with the katana. The signature of the maker on the blade (mei) were meant to be worn facing outward. The samurai carried the katana and wakizashi pair called “daisho” as an illustration of honor and social rank.

The katana is typically 24 inches or more in length, 1.2 kg in mass, and has a long grip for two-handed wielding. The hand guard, called the “tsuba,” separates the handle portion from the blade portion of the sword. Katana are traditionally made from Japanese steel called “tamahagane.” Tamahagane steel is made by smelting (heating) iron steel on charcoal at low temperatures. The katana contains layers of different carbon concentration: a softer core steel of lower carbon content called “shingane,” and a hard exterior jacket of higher carbon content called “kawagane.” This construction gave the katana a strong and flexible architecture, and very sharp edges. During the purification process, steels are folded, welded, and hammered to create a unified material. Once purified, the steel is drawn out into a billet and hammered to become longer.

The sword doesn’t get its notorious curve until the hardening/quenching process. Differences in the densities of the steels microstructures cause the blade to bend during the hardening process. The edges of the katana receive a thinner coat and the spine receives a thick coat of special clay slurry. Black rice straw ashes are used as a coating to retain carbon content. The blade is heated, then quenched using water. The distinct design along the sides of the blade called the “hamon” are made using clay; every sword makers hamon is a distinguishing artistic mark unlike any other. Polishing stones are used to make the hamon stand out against the rest of the blade. For the blade to perform at its full potential, it must be sharpened using a whetstone process I describe in a previous blog post.

To test katana sharpness and strength, Samurai would slice condemned criminals or those who insulted their honor in half. Bushido was the code of honor and self-sacrifice for Samurai. Adherence to Bushido was dynamic; some truthfully followed it and some merely acknowledged the principles. In addition to having a katana, wakizashi, and tanto, Samurai regularly practiced archery.

How do I get a katana? Authentic Japanese katana can cost thousands of USD! John and I were intrigued by the Cold Steel katanas at last years Blade Show. Although they are not custom made in Japan, their feel and functionality makes for an affordable alternative. They are made out of 1095 spring steel or 1095/1060 folded damascus. This Cold Steel video provides demonstrations of the Emperor series tanto, wakizashi, and katana. Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home.

If you enjoy blade artistry and Japanese katana, please say hello and leave a comment below!


Lots of katana at the Cold Steel Booth Blade Show West 2018. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Multi-Tool Mania

A Leatherman MUT from Scheels Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Multi-tools can be extremely helpful in a myriad of circumstances. Unfortunately, we can’t have our toolbox everywhere, at all times. The multi-tool was created to be portable, durable, and functional. Almost every major knife company out there makes their own multi-tool. They may contain but are not limited to: a large blade (flat or serrated), pen blade, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips), pliers, scissors, file, fish scaler, corkscrew, magnifier, bottle cap opener, can opener, awl, tweezers, toothpick, wire cutters, wire strippers, saw, and cutting hook. A multi tool with knives and various other tools incorporated could be a serious life-saving instrument, as I’ve written about in a previous blog post.

When we think of multi-tools, the golden standard Victorinox Swiss Army Knives might be the first thing that pops into our mind. Victorinox was founded in 1884 (135 years ago) by Karl Elsener of Ibach, Switzerland, and is considered to be the world’s largest pocket knife manufacturers. “Victorinox” was named for his late mother, “Victoria,” combined with “inox,” an abbreviation for stainless steel in French. His knives and surgical instruments were constructed from German and French steels and made for the utilization of the Swiss Army. The warranty they provide is a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer’s defects and workmanship (no charge to the customer).

Leatherman was in 1983 founded by Timothy Leatherman and Steven Berliner in Portland, Oregon USA. They called their first multi-tool the “pocket survival tool” or PST. Leatherman’s goal was to design a “Boy Scout knife with pliers.” He did just that and sold his first PST multi-tools through Cabela’s and Early Winter’s mail-order catalogs. They are both designed and manufactured in Oregon. I know for a fact that Leatherman stands behind their products with their 25-year guarantee warranty. They have excellent customer service that aligns with their brand values. If you send your leatherman in, the company will either completely fix the problem or will replace the whole tool with a new one (no charge to the customer).

I have my eye on the new Leatherman Free P4 (the new king of pragmatic pocket tools). It goes for about $139.95 on Leatherman’s website. It has 21 tools configured in an all-in-one easy to open multi-tool. The tool was actually created to be operated with one hand. This means no nail grooves and struggling to get the tools out. The engineers really put together a new beast and I’m so excited to try this tool out. They call it the “ultimate problem solver,” for a reason.

We have the Top 10 Multi-Tools for 2019 by Jordan Carter from Gear Hungry to help guide our new multi-tool selection process. Gear Hungry has always given me great product reviews so that I’m educated on the pros and cons before I go shopping. I also watch all the YouTube Videos I can find before making a purchase. Blade HQ provides an authentic review of their products online with either an unboxing or functional video to accompany each.

Leatherman Free Collection Review by Blade HQ:

I hope you enjoyed this post on multi-tools! Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!


Game of Blades

Who’s ready for GOT? Yes, this is a Lord of the Rings King Théoden Sword. It felt right.
This is my best attempt at GOT. We really need to get some GOT swords!
Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Most of us are quaking in our seats for tonight’s big season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones (GOT). I know I’ve been humming the theme song all day! An integral part of Game of Thrones is their sword fighting choreography. The most famous blades on GOT include Jon Snow’s Longclaw, Arya Stark’s Needle, Ned Stark’s Ice, Joffrey’s Widow’s Wail, and Brienne of Tarth’s Oathkeeper. One of the most famous types of steel in the show, Valyrian steel, is the most prized sword and tool material. In addition to fire and dragonglass, Valyrian steel weapons may be used to kill the white walkers.

Valyrian steel was forged using magic in Valyria. They are lighter, stronger, and sharper than regular steel swords. It is distinguished by its rippled patterns that bear resemblance to damascus steel (folded billets of contrasting metals treated with acid to etch). Forging damascus is an ancient artform involving ingots of wootz steel and lots of folding.

Think about how croissants are made! This type of steel derives its namesake from Damascus, Syria. There’s some rumor that the damascus steel swords cut through the European’s steel swords when they came through Damascus. Many high-end custom blades are made out of damascus steel. Folding the billets is an artform within itself! Ice from GOT is hand-forged by Man at Arms in Season 3, Episode 35. This video is amazing as it shows you the process it takes to make Ned Stark’s Ice.

The blade is dipped in ferric chloride or muriatic acid in order to etch the damascus. There are well known designs such as ladder, reptilian, random, vines & roses, typhoon, raindrop, diamondback, basketweave, herringbone, fireball, etc. Damasteel has a great selection of traditional and original design damascus billets that you can purchase for stock removal. I have written about stock removal methods in a previous blog post of mine.

Damascus steel is very pretty, but it took us a long time to get there. The first swords were forged out of copper and were very quick to dull and bend. Then swords were revamped and made stronger with bronze (an alloy of tin and copper). Bronze is still a soft metal; There wasn’t a decent sword until stainless steels made from iron and carbon entered the scene. Swords are rated for their balance, harness, strength, and flexibility. GOT weaponry has a lot of similarities to the real world materials used in real-life blades. Who will sit upon the Iron Throne as the next Monarch of Westeros?

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Felt cute. Might conquer the Iron Throne later.
Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

My Great-Grandfather’s Knives

My great-grandfather was a kind and simple Oklahoman man. Although I was born after he had passed away, I know he was just like my grandmother who raised me: a hard worker and good advice giver. He had a small knife collection of humble necessities. A collection can be unique and interesting, no matter how big or small. His treasures have been passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, to myself. This post is about his every day carry (EDC) knives, which he cherished. It’s important to have a good EDC knife, which I have written about along with my recent selection process experience in a previous blog post.

There are mostly elegant cream and bone colored knives in his collection. The handles are made from plastic composites, micarta, and wood. One of the most interesting knives in his collection is a 1950’s vintage 7″ Colonial Shur-Snap Cream Sabre Ground Blade Fishtail Automatic Switchblade Knife. I think this one must have been his favorite according to the telltale wear and tear on the blade. Another knife in his collection is a 4″ small version of the French Chatellerault Stilleto Fishtail Knives produced in the 1950’s to 1960’s. Although more of a novelty-type knife, it gives off a dainty and elegant aura. Another favorite of his was the Disneyland multi-tool. Multi-tools always come in handy, so the Disneyland collectors edition (which bears a resemblance to a short and compact swiss army knife construction) is a very useful utility knife for any gentleman. Last but not least, he has a well used Old Timer which bears resemblance to some case knives. Cabela’s still sells Old Timer knives with their vintage design! See how Gentleman’s knives have updated their image in Blade Magazine article by Dexter Ewing.

These knives led meaningful lives of daily utility and had a home in my great-grandfather’s pocket. A gentlemans knife is usually stored in their shirt/jacket or pants pocket and used daily. You can tell that my Great-Grandfather loved every gift that my Grandmother (his daughter) gave him by the way he held her gifts close to his heart. If any of you know my Grandmother, she has the best taste in all things décor, clothing, and style. This collection shows me that she is also an expert EDC knife picker!

The purest form of knife collecting is all about the sentimental value of your pieces. If something speaks to you, you should do your research, buy it at a good price and add it to your collection. Many knives appreciate in value if they are kept in good condition or if the custom maker passes away. Of course, this depends on who or what company made the knife, what materials its made out of, how large it is, and how exclusive or common it is. “There never was a good knife made out of bad steel.” – Benjamin Franklin

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My Great-Grandfather’s special knife collection. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Talking About Tomahawks

As symbols of Native American cultures, tomahawks were single-handed axes originally made from rock or antler based blades and wooden handles. They were made and used by Native North Americans which traded with European colonial settlers in the 17th century. The Europeans made metal axe heads for their tomahawks, essentially improving the design to be more robust. Tomahawk nomenclature originates from Powhatan tamahaac, which translates as “to cut off by tool.” A straight staff or pipe is typically used for the construction of the tomahawk.

Interestingly, pipe tomahawks had a hole drilled down through the shaft and a bowl on the opposite side of the blade and could be used for smoking tobacco. They were designed to be diplomatic gifts from the European settlers to the Native Americans. The pipe side was symbolic of peace; whereas, the axe head was symbolic of war. The pipe tomahawk is a blend of the technologies from the two North American cultures during this time- that of the Native Americans and the new North American settlers. A great review of the best tactical tomahawks is written by Christopher Joseph from Total Guide Best Tactical Reviews.

Tomahawks were used by some United States soldiers in the Vietnam War during the 1950s. They have survival and tactical versatility as they are lighter and slimmer than hatchets. They are also useful in camping and bushcraft related activities. The cutting edge of a standard tomahawk is usually around 4 inches. They tend to feel rather ergonomic when used out in the field.

Tomahawks feature a nice long grip for leverage and good weapon control during chopping tasks and hand-to-hand combat. Similar to the concept of throwing knives, which I have written a blog post about, tomahawks may be thrown for self-defense or attack. Tomahawk throwing is considered to be a constituent of competitive knife throwing. Okichitaw, a martial art created by Plains Cree Northern Native Americans in regions of Canada, incorporates tomahawk (and other traditional indigenous weapon) fighting techniques.

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Decorative mini tomahawk in John’s collection.
Photo Credit: Julie Dingman

The Legend of Master Craftsman Roderick “Caribou” Chappel

Master Craftsman, Roderick “Caribou” Chappel, was a custom bladesmith based primarily out of Washington state. All of his blades were high-caliber works of art. He was an artist that brought his pen and paper drawings to life with ease and dexterity. A trail blazer, his passion for bladesmithing greatly impacted the custom knifemaking industry. His artistry is immortalized through his unique one-of-a-kind knives, daggers, and bowies. He has even been known to make a few hatchets and swords (very rare).

Rod Chappel was of Spanish and Native American descent. A man of artistic and calculating intellect, Rod switched gears from engineering to knifemaking exclusively. He learned some of his skills from working with famous knifemakers Harvey Draper and Gil Hibben as well as Bill Moran. He would make blades with standard cocobolo handles and brass finger guards and pommels. It would cost customers extra to upgrade to a superior handle materials, sub-hilts, and stainless steel finger guards and pommels. Interestingly, due to his Alaskan Native American lineage, Rod was able to legally utilize supreme materials such as walrus tusk ivory or whales teeth for some of his knives.

Rod started his first knife shop in Airway Heights, WA. At one point, he had his knife shop stationed at a shooting range in Mountlake Terrace, WA where he received custom orders for knives and would also serve to regrind and sharpen blades for $5 dollars each in less than 7 minutes flat per knife. The knife shop he established in Spokane called Davis Knives derived its namesake from his maternal grandfather (who we believe was a boat maker). He made hunting and fighting knives of all shapes and sizes that incorporated his elegant grind lines. He had knives ranging from small to very large, all with heft and quality feel. These include the Pioneer, Scout, Pheasant, Quail, Bobcat, Little Wolf, Redwood Forest, Mohawk Warrior, Salmon River Utility-Skinner, Lady Diana, Arctic Fox, Coeur D’Alene Fish Knife, Chief Joseph Utility Knife, Barren Ground Caribou, Micro Mini-Mag, Mini-Mag Bowie, Eagles Talon Boot Knife, Trophy Caper, Mini-Skinner, Sheffield Dagger, Marquis Lagdames De Espina, Hunter’s Bowie, Woodsman Bowie, and Hunting Leopard Bowie. From his smaller skinners to his big bowies, Rod’s artistry contributed timeless pieces to our knife culture. Typically, his blades were clad in beautifully tooled knife cases made by none other than the master saddle maker, Jesse Smith, of Jesse W. Smith Saddlery.

Rod Chappel and John Dingman visiting over lunch in 2015. Photo Credit: John Dingman

Notorious for his ergonomic hand sculpted grips and the superior mastery in his sweeping grinds, he implemented a hollow grind with a rolled convex edge that would be resilient and sharp through many events of usage. He was known for putting his body weight into the grinding wheel with expert sweeping motions during his knife profiling. He believed that there are 200 essential steps that must be executed in the construction of a good knife from beginning to finish and that a masterfully made blade can be made in only 22 hours. He used the stock removal procedure which is generally outlined in this previous blog post of mine. He was esteemed as a top member of the American Knife Makers Guild in the ’70s.

The world lost one of its greatest knifemakers as Rod passed away in 2017, but his elegant and pragmatic artwork remains ever alive and inspiring for collectors and sportsmen alike. He was passionate about inserting his unique knifemaking flare by making products that looked as fantastic as they performed. Many, intrigued by his work, took to Blade Forum’s discussions on Rod’s artistry. It’s great to hear everyone’s nostalgia via experiences with him and how his knives affected their lives. As collectors, we appreciate the hard work and artistry that went in to making these fantastic tools

If you appreciate knives and artistry, please leave a comment and subscribe! This post is dedicated to the memory and legend of Master Knifemaker Roderick “Caribou” Chappel, may he rest in peace.

1999 Roderick “Caribou” Chappel King Hunting Leopard Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Field Dressing Kit

Organic meat beats the hormone pumped alternatives any day. That’s why I support hunting and conservation. Once you receive your hunter’s safety certificate, you are able to purchase a hunting license and tags either through a raffle system or over-the-counter. In Nevada, we have a raffle system. There are different types of game to hunt from small to large. For big game there are various seasons such as muzzle-loader, archery, and regular rifle seasons. 

My brother is actually the one that got me into archery and hunting. He taught me how to shoot a BB gun, 22 rifle, and bow. I find the most enjoyment in doing archery for target practice. Arrows are basically reusable ammunition that last for a while. Archery is more difficult than rifle due to the close range you must be within to harvest the animal. Regardless of the method chosen, a field kit is a necessity for your hunting pack. Even a simple, but good knife can make a difference.

A decent field kit is a must. It will allow you to properly process the animal to the point where you can efficiently transport it to your campsite or kitchen for consumption or freezer storage. Listed are the components of a field dressing kit: caping knife, skinning knife (which may have a gut-hook), boning/fillet knife, bowie knife, wood/bone saw, and game shears. The first three types of knives (caping, skinning, and boning/fillet) are very essential and are the base of most kits. The purpose of a field kit is to essentially be as efficient as possible when processing the game. A variety of tools with plain edges and serrations are used. Here is a review of some popular field dressing knives by James Johnson from outdoorhunt.net. 

There are new advancements in field dressing equipment such as the Havalon series of knives. Each time the blade dulls, you are able to easily switch out the old scalpel for a new one. If interchangeable parts aren’t for you, sharpening your blades in advance and packing a field guided sharpening kit for on-the-go sharpening should do the trick! Check out this previous blog post of mine for tools and tips on sharpening your knives!

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Polished damascus steel knife by John Dingman made for our friend, Blaine.
Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman