U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Years ago I talked to Charles Allen, the owner of Knives of Alaska and Diamond Blade knives about the need for a boning knife for the outdoorsman. Then we discussed it further in 2016 while we were brown bear hunting in Alaska. Long story short, in 2019 he called me and told me that he was sending me a prototype boning knife that he had developed that he wanted me to test and evaluate. Great, I had talked to at least six major knife companies about the need to produce a quality boning knife for the outdoorsman. Now Knives of Alaska, which is the leading producer of quality outdoor knives was on board.
Upon receiving the knife (Named the Knives of Alaska Professional Boning knife) I decided to test it out at Demkota Ranch Beef which is a high-speed beef plant in Aberdeen, SD. Testing would be performed under high-speed rigorous boning conditions. If it held up and performed there, it would be the leading outdoor boning knife for us outdoorsmen.
Knives of Alaska Professional Boning Knife
Everyone has personal preferences so just because I say this or that feature is the ultimate realization, some of my statements are the gospel according to Tom. With that said, many people mistakenly have the idea that a boning or fillet knife should have a flimsy knife. Not so. For boning, you want a blade that is classified as a semi-flex. It should have a slight flex in the first 1/3 of the blade, not the full length of the blade or it is so flimsy that you have no control over it while boning.
With a semi-flex boning knife, you can obtain clean bones. By clean bones, I’m referring to removing all the meat off of the bones. In a true high-speed beef processing plant, we use three-blade flexibilities. Stiff for a couple of jobs, a semi-flex for the lion’s share of the boning jobs, and then a super-flex for a couple of the jobs-like pulling tenderloins, scraping the rib cage to remove the Outside Skirt (diaphragm), etc.
Knives of Alaska offers the Professional Boning Knife in two of the above three options:
- Flexible (Compared to the packing plant options this would be a semi-flex blade).
- Semi-flexible (Compared to the packing plant options this would be a stiff).
I haven’t discussed in depth what led him to make the decision to offer these two options but if I were him, I would have done the same and here’s why. If he had of made a super-flex, 99% of the buyers would have applied way too much pressure which would have resulted in bending the blade and they then would have demanded a refund saying that it was a faulty blade when in all actuality the problem occurred due to their lack of boning knowledge and misuse of the knife.
So, if it was me, to be able to bone any animal in North America from an antelope on up to a moose, I would have offered these same two options. The semi-flex will work well for boning out my big game and also suffice for filleting my fresh water and most of my saltwater fish. This will be my go-to boning/fillet knife from now on.
A blade gets its rigidity/flexibility by having a thicker/thinner spine. Grind the spine down and you increase the flexibility. Grind further back on the spine and it flexes further down the blade. Make sense? Over 40 yrs. ago we’d use a belt sander to slightly grind down the last 2-inches of the blade to make it super flexible so as to be able to remove all of the tenderloin. The life of those knives would be 1-2 wks. That wouldn’t work if you’re producing a knife that retails for $49.99. So again, this is a well-designed knife for our outdoor needs.
After testing, Charles made the necessary adjustments and then sent me the final version. As stated above, the KOA Professional Boning Knife is offered in two options, flexible and semi-flexible, depending upon your choice of flexibility. Both options come with a Sure-Grip handle for added knife control and comfort.
Now, what sheath would work best? At first, he was going to make a leather sheath but ended up going with Boltaron blade guard. I think this was the best. Boning knives are wicked sharp and I feel safer carrying one in a hard-plastic type of sheath rather than in a leather one. Yes, I think leather sheaths are cool but I’m not going to be carrying it on my hip while hunting. I’ll be carrying it in my backpack. So if I fall, I will feel safer with this sheath.
As we come to a close, the Knives of Alaska Professional Boning Knife is now available. And have no fear, if you only kill a dinky buck you can redeem yourself and be cool when you ceremoniously pull out your KOA Professional Boning Knife to process your animal. All eyes will shift from the dwarf-sized rack to your cool new boning knife and you’ll be the envy of your hunting camp.
If you’re nervous about processing your own animal don’t panic. In January I am going to meet Charles at his ranch and we’ll process a hog, deer, and a steer with this knife. Keith Warren will film the process for his High Roads TV show. Hopefully, that helps train you as to the tricks of the trade.
The MSRP on the Knives of Alaska Professional Boning knife is $49.99 and as is usual, we will close with the specs.
- Blade Steel D2
- Bevel 18-20 degrees
- Blade Length 5.0”
- Wt. 4.2 ozs.
- Overall Length 9.625”
- Blade thickness .06-.065”
- Rockwell Hardness 59-61
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoor writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net, and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal, you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening #ad for $.99 if you’re having trouble.”