Story - I've met Ricky Fowler at BAKCA 2000 annual knife show. I was just wandering around when noticed Ricky's table. He had quite a few interesting blades :) You can check those out at his website www.fowlerknives.com. At this time I've chosen this tiny skinner. This is my smallest fixed blade currently :) Not that I do a lot of skinning, but I really liked this small knife :) I've asked Ricky a lot of questions about his knives in general, steel, handles, processing, etc. He was very helpful BTW. After all I've ended up getting this knife & a nice sheath, made by his wife Susan.
Blade- This is a very simple knife basically, tough & rugged tool. The blade made of O1 tool steel hardened at 59 HRC. For the larger blades this would be too brittle, e.g. Randall uses O1 steel in their knives, but HRC is 54 as I know. Anyways, for the blade of 2.75 inches long high hardness is an advantage, offering a better edge holding ability (granted that the heat treatement was properly done :) Assuming that one wouldn't try to chop with the blade this small, which would be problematic anyways, but you can always whack your knife on something. So, at the end we have a small blade, made of high hardness O1 tool steel. For the skinner it's the best combination, well you might want to have a stainless blade, however that's generally a tradeoff in edge retention(depends). Ok, arguably it'd be better if 1 knife would do it all, but that's not an option, besides personally I don't want that either. I'd rather have several blades optimized for particular cutting & other kinds of tasks, more interesting that way.
Overall- the handle is kindda small to me, since I have rather large paws, but feels comfortable, especially that the blade has nothces on the spine. On my knfei the handle is made of Micarta. Although Ricky has lots of options for you, if you are interested in different materials, like stag, sheephorn, ivory, exotic wods, etc. For the user knife I think micarta is just fine.
In the end, this is a neat, small & tough knife :) Small enough not to get in a way, yet does it's job very well. I've done some cutting with it, mostly cardboard. The edge holding was just great. To bring back the razor edge I needed 7 strokes on each side with my 800 grit ceramics stick. Later I've thinned down the edge by 3 degrees, this will improve slicing abilities, plus I was interested about the ease(& the opposite) of grinding. It was quite hard to reprofile the edge :) At HRC 59 O1 is quite wear resistant.
- Blade - 69.85mm(2.75")
- Thickness - 3.17mm
- OAL - 146.05mm(5.75")
- Steel - O2 57-59HRC
- Handle - Micarta
- Acquired - 08/2002 Price - 99.99$
Last updated - 09/01/11