Any Alternatives in the UK - all the knives look the same

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airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello All ,
I hope I don't offend anyone on the forum by posting this thread but I do think it is a subject that needs to be addressed. The subject I would like to discuss is alternative style custom made camping / hunting knives made in the UK. I don't know what most members think but I have been around knives most of my life and I am 63 now and in my opinion its very hard when looking for a decent quality hunting / camping knife by UK knife makers to find any alternative styles other than the majority which seem to be based on or around the Famous Woodlore model.

Now I am not criticising the makers or their knives because there are many who make excellent strong, sturdy camping / bushcraft knives that will outlive all of us if looked after correctly. They use some wonderful modern day steels that stand up to the rigours of most campcraft duties and they use beautiful native woods in their manufacture. The only problem I can't get my head around is that they all look very similar in their general shape of both blade and handle. I suppose the point can be argued that it works, so don't change the fundamentals and ergonomics of this particular style, but by the same token so do many other styles of bushcraft knifes with the exception that there are many different styles out there which aesthetically appeal to lots of users.

I think the point I am trying to make is that on a personal basis, if possible and taking price into account, I would prefer to buy British from a patriotic stand point but I really do not like the Woodlore style of knife. I prefer a nice stag handled 7 1/2" to 8" slightly arched , drop point style knife with a quality practical blade with a slight recurve. For all it works the Woodlore style of knife just lacks a little aesthetic imagination and lets face it we all like the look of whatever style knife we buy or we probably wouldn't buy it in the first place .

Like I said I don't want to hurt peoples feelings with my own views but surely there are people here who would agree with me .

Thanks
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,214
4,561
Mid Wales
I agree :)
I find the Woodlore style knife dreadful for skinning small game for example, but I know people that are quite happy using them.
 
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Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,727
747
Cornwall
Alan Wood who basically invented the Woodlore, does do a good range of hunting knives, as he has a keen interest in Hunting, and makes knives to suit, Stuart Mitchell has a good range too,etc, Even Emberleaf who now make the Woodlore do a good range of knives for hunters, so there is a good selection of makers and knives to be had, you may not find them on this site, but no doubt you will find them on hunting related sites, I suggest if I may looking on,

https://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.uk

and other hunting related forums.
If you have a specific design in mind, I am sure there are makers on here that would be glad to make you a knife to meet your needs.
 
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Damascus

Native
Dec 3, 2005
1,546
114
63
Norwich
Rory Connor, knife maker but based in Ireland makes fantastic knives away from the bushcraft type of blade, more in traditional styles. I am slightly biased as I own several knives for different uses and cannot fault to workmanship.
only down side the cost, well worth a look and I’m the same as you!
 

Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
863
679
42
UK
I agree :)
I find the Woodlore style knife dreadful for skinning small game for example, but I know people that are quite happy using them.
Hi Broch, by small game do you something like a rabbit or a hare? Or smaller, like a squirrel? Personally, I skin a rabbit by hand. I have no use for the skin, so I don't need it to look pretty. Genuine question, no attitude or offence intended matey.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

stevec

Full Member
Oct 30, 2003
489
104
Sheffield
Shing is also worth talking to be makes a good solid knife. Or guy stainthorp, or if you fancy really up market, Paul mason
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,214
4,561
Mid Wales
Hi Broch, by small game do you something like a rabbit or a hare? Or smaller, like a squirrel? Personally, I skin a rabbit by hand. I have no use for the skin, so I don't need it to look pretty. Genuine question, no attitude or offence intended matey.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

None taken :)

Certainly, in the past, I've used the skin and I tend to use a knife upside down with my index finger under the tip to prevent cutting into the gut. These days I'm not trying to preserve the skin. With squirrel I just use the 'foot on the tail' technique. But my comment applies equally to gutting a trout to be honest; I just don't find a 'bushcraft' style knife the best tool for the job.
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
863
679
42
UK
None taken :)

Certainly, in the past, I've used the skin and I tend to use a knife upside down with my index finger under the tip to prevent cutting into the gut. These days I'm not trying to preserve the skin. With squirrel I just use the 'foot on the tail' technique. But my comment applies equally to gutting a trout to be honest; I just don't find a 'bushcraft' style knife the best tool for the job.
I have never used my SWC Woodie to skin small game or fish. I agree that it just isn't the right knife for game/fish prep. Unless it's a deer, where for me it works very well but I'm no artist with butchery either . My prefered knife for big game prep is a victorinox boning knife. Kept razor sharp, I cut in a reverse grip mostly and to quote Brick Top 'it's goes through like a knife through butter'

For fish I use an el cheapo flexible fillet knife from my local angling store.....

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,656
1,591
Bedfordshire
As a rule, I think starting conversations with "I don't want to offend...but this is a subject that needs to be addressed" is unnecessary and sets a combative tone. I could go on about how it reads to me and the pall it casts, but then I would be in danger of doing the same thing myself ;)

I don't altogether disagree with you that there is a lot of similarity in the output of some of the best known makers in this field, but there are some qualifications.

My experience has been that makers tend to become focused and good on one or two overall styles. This makes sense for practical, material and business reasons. I have seen excellent makers of full tang Scandi bushcraft knives make the most awful bowies, and people who make great bowies make very boring and poorly performing bushcraft knives. So I think the issue is less that the well known bushcraft knife makers don't make other styles and rather that makers of other styles are less visible if one starts looking on bushcraft forums and bushcraft shows.

Stag handles are likely to be a problem all around since the good stuff came from India and became harder and harder to source. Even15-20 years ago makers were complaining about it.

Several of the makers below do not have their own web sites, but post extensively on Facebook and Instagram. These are powerful platforms for makers trying to sell their work and if one wants to find this stuff, it may be necessary to register for both. :aargh:

Alan Wood makes some nice hunting knives, but isn't really a big camp knife/bowie maker. Member on Edge Matters.

Jamie Mackie a member on Edge Matters - makes big knives

TobyC a member on Edge Matters - makes damascus bowies

Geoff Hague - hunting knives

Tom Weldon

Gue Stainthorp

Wendon Sharman


PieSlicer knives - Jimmy Pie


Stu Mitchell

Dreadnought Forge

Mark Jacob - member on this forum

As mentioned, Rory Connor

Bowland Blades - a member on this forum
 
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airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
I thank you all for your replies and take your advice on the subject but I find that like many things these days many good quality knives are frankly too over priced for what they actually are or used for . Like everybody else I appreciate good professional workmanship and to hold and indeed use a good quality hunting / bushcraft knife is something else .These days I am more of a knife collector than a user as unfortunately medical problems prevent me from accessing some of the areas I used to wild camp in . I would just like to add to my collection a nice quality small full tang what we used to call a sheath knife for general purpose use and to carry in my small back pack but as I said , looking at many of the makers now amazes me at what they charge and in my opinion is way over the top with prices ranging up to £500 , so something in the £ 100 - £130 price range is enough for me . Interestingly enough after a little research I find that there are some excellent skilled knife makers in some of the Eastern European countries especially Hungary for some reason who are reasonable in their prices . One company Ive found is Puli knives which seem worth looking at . I will have to carry out a litle more research .
Thanks
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,656
1,591
Bedfordshire
So when you said "I prefer a nice stag handled 7 1/2" to 8" slightly arched , drop point style knife..." were talking about the overall length of the knife, not just the blade? I took you to mean the blade. I wonder how many others were mislead. When someone describes an 8" kitchen knife, they are not talking paring size.

The alternative is that you did mean 8" blade, but only the same as you meant British, and in the span of 5 hours completely changed what you wanted to Eastern Europe (or other lower cost economy) and 3.5 to 4 inch blade?

After labouring to find you UK makers.... :censored:

Could have shared your budget constraints to begin with too.
:banghead2::banghead2::banghead2::banghead2:



:goodnight:
 
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Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
5,366
1,852
W.Sussex
I reckon the guy has a valid question and is being shot down for being polite after the scandi arguments in the past. He’s been a member since 2016, clearly mature throughout, and keeping his cool.

The reply above is combative and is likely to see an interested OP not wanting to take the conversation further.

As I see this, it’s a question about the boring slab of flat 3 or 4mm steel sandwiched between two wooden handle scales, a design intended mainly for wood working but at a pinch will do most other things but just not as well. Hence we have serrated bread and rope knives, full flat grinds that lend themselves to food prep, and a multitude of others.

Airborne, if recurve in the blade is something you want then I’ll put Stuart Mitchell in the mix. His knives are not cheap, but he’s been prolific and there are many owners and collectors, thus a good secondhand market.
 
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Kav

Member
Mar 28, 2021
46
46
68
California
Not UK but Commonwealth: The Canadian Grohman-Russell knives may be ordered with stag and either SS or carbon from a delightful bird/trout knife, the classic up to a survival version.
 
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Murat_Cyp

Full Member
Sep 16, 2020
81
24
38
East Midlands
Yes there are lots of woodlore makers out there and probably thats what the UK knife makers are famous for. But saying thats all they offer is not fully correct. There are lots of makers out there doing different styles. Of course not as much as USA, but then again the UK is a smaller country with less maker and less buyer. So no surprise there.

What you have described is a very basic style knife which I am sure any half decent UK maker can pull off (apart from the stag part, it seems good pieces -Sambar Stag- are getting less and less common and more expensice).

If you are determined about the stag part, see Guy Sainthorp, he ususally seems to have a good stock of them. Sharman also made few knives recently with good stag, so he worth checking. Origin Knives should have a camel bone if that is OK, and he has a unique style. His bushcrafter model might something for you. Ian Bailey is the guy if you want a loveless style knife (hint hint drop point or semi skinner loveless rings bell?) and if you can not afford Paul Mason. I do not even think Paul Mason will agree making a knife. The last time when I spoke to him, he said he is not taking comissions anymore.

Another popular alternative to woodlore is the bushtool. A bit more belly which would be usefull for skinning if that is what you are after. Rob Evans, Ash Harding and Broc knives makes bush tool knives. I got mine from Broc and for the price if is a great knife very accommodating guy too. He also makes another classic design called Kephart. Spear point blade and a bit belly at the front section which might make you happy.

Dreadnoughforge another maker which makes good knives for a very good price. He has nesmuk, canadian belt knife variants and loveless semi skinner. Not exactly a bushcraft, but you never know what you like.

The original maker of the woodlore, Alan Wood is a well known and respected maker with more design than I can count. He does not only make woodlore ;)

Yorkknife is another maker with lots of different designs from cleaver type knives to modernised pukkos.

There are also, Adrian Etheridge, Shepherd custom knives, Oz Hughes who are knows to have differen styles. Greenman knives also have a few different styles blades, some of the quite similar to woodlore some are bit different. Also, Bison knives have a quite considerable range of knives, but they are more inline with woodlore, so, I am not sure if you will like them.

Anyway, you should be able to see something you like if you check these makers social accounts. If not they can make you what you want based on your spec ;)
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,355
2,134
McBride, BC
Step aside and give some serious consideration to edges in common use by other cultures. They tend to be discounted by the ignoratzi out of sheer cultural bias. Some of them are a whole lot better that whatever you might have held in your hand.
Camp tools include little 6" cleavers, ulu and umialik. They can be cut from rusty 10" saw blades for next to nothing. I made 3 x 6" cleavers from junk saw blades, likely the most commonly used edges in my kitchen.
Crooked knives of all sorts of shapes and sizes which are used in the Pacific Northwest.

Need to step back a couple thousand years? Get a bunch of "first strike" flint blades to do kitchen prep cutting meats and veg. A remarkable experience.
Bison or pork sausages, green onions or tomatoes, a lot of satisfaction.
 

Kadushu

Full Member
Jul 29, 2014
289
254
Kent
Going back to the OP, maybe what you're really saying is that there are no UK based production knives of that size and style. The kind of thing that was bread and butter in Sheffield 50+ years ago.
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,656
1,591
Bedfordshire
I reckon the guy has a valid question and is being shot down for being polite after the scandi arguments in the past. He’s been a member since 2016, clearly mature throughout, and keeping his cool.

The reply above is combative and is likely to see an interested OP not wanting to take the conversation further.

As I see this, it’s a question about the boring slab of flat 3 or 4mm steel sandwiched between two wooden handle scales, a design intended mainly for wood working but at a pinch will do most other things but just not as well. Hence we have serrated bread and rope knives, full flat grinds that lend themselves to food prep, and a multitude of others.

Airborne, if recurve in the blade is something you want then I’ll put Stuart Mitchell in the mix. His knives are not cheap, but he’s been prolific and there are many owners and collectors, thus a good secondhand market.
But what was the question? Looking for UK makers of large camp knives, or UK makers of small hunting knives that don't look like the Woodlore (full tang, Scandi), or looking for cheap maker of stag or hunting knives? I would agree that any one of those, clearly stated, is perfectly valid.

I wanted to help and I spent much more time trying to find useful links than I should have. To learn that the effort was entirely wasted because the OP wasn't clear and had overriding budget constraints was annoying.

There is only one maker that has been mentioned on this thread who I consider to be over priced, at the £450-£500 range, but that is in comparison to comparable and higher quality work by Alan Wood, Stu Mitchell and Guy Stainthorp. Airborne09 wanted something UK hand made, fancier, more aesthetically pleasing than a Woodlore, with a more demanding grind, in stag, but secretly didn't want or expect to pay more than £130 for it. Hard not to see that as insulting to the UK makers that I know, myself included.
 
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airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello All ,
First of all thankyou Nice65 for your understanding of what I tried to discuss , much appreciated . Maybe I didnt make myself as clear as I should have but C Claycomb you really need to stop becoming so agitated by showing an agressive attitude on the forum . There was nothing secret about me wanting to spend £130 , I am just not prepared to spend hundreds of pounds on something that is just not worth that amount of money . I have insulted no one including yourself unlike your attempt at trying to humiliate me and believe me you aint clever enough to do that . I have spent many years of my life working in jobs that present a life risk including service with UK Special Forces , part of that as a combat survival instructor , so please give me the credit that I have some knowledge on bushcraft and the implements used , ie knives . A knife is a knife is a knife and as I already stated everyone has their own choices , a £5 Mora knife will do the same job as a £400 hunting knife , its just personal choice .
Now you can take the stance of banning me from this site or just leaving it at that and lets agree to disagree .
Thankyou
 

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