Knife sharpening is just one of those tedious tasks that seems to demand our attention at the wrong time. Last hunting season, I was faced with such a situation. I had game on the ground and it was imperative that field dressing and skinning begin immediately. It didn’t take too long to realize that my knife wasn’t going to make it through the entire procedure without some attention to the blade edge. Stopping to sharpen my knife was the last thing I needed. That’s how it always seems to happen. I start out with a sharp knife, but at some point in time edge maintenance will raise its ugly head.
Unfortunately, there is no blade material or edge treatment known to man that can keep a knife sharp forever. While many have sought to lengthen edge life by using various methods (high carbon alloys, heat treatment to higher Rockwell values, etc.), these alone are not the solution to the problem. While greater edge retention will keep the need for sharpening at bay, it also guarantees that such blades are infinitely more difficult to sharpen when the need arises, especially under field conditions.
The folks at Havalon have taken a different approach to the knife-sharpening problem. They have designed a lock-blade folder that uses replaceable scalpel blades, which eliminates need for blade edge maintenance. When blade edge erosion begins to affect performance, the user need only replace the old blade with a new one.
Using the same proven technology that’s found in any hospital, a replaceable scalpel blade is at the heart of the new Havalon Piranta-Z Pro Trophy Skinner lock-blade folder. The innovative knife starts with a strong, thermo-molded Zytel handle, which is long enough and wide enough to fit conveniently in the grip pocket of the hand. For added grip texture, gray rubber inlays are inlaid into the handle. The back of the handle is open for easy cleaning, which reduces the tedium of keeping a folding knife free of dirt, grit and tidbits of offal. A handle-attached stainless steel pocket clip offers a means of secure knife transport.
The blade attachment foot mechanism has ambidextrous thumb studs for one-hand opening. When opened, this mechanism locks by means of a handle frame locking liner. A small longitudinal slotted projection on the mechanism provides an insertion point for a corresponding opening on the replaceable scalpel blade. The blades that are used are crafted from 60XT stainless steel and measure 2-3/4 inches in length. Replacement blades are packaged in foil and are contained within the accessory pocket in the belt-attached carrying case.
Simple, Secure Change-outs
To replace a dull blade, the user grips the back of the blade with the needle-nose pliers jaws of a multi-tool (this can also be done by hand, but it’s a lot safer to use a multi-tool pliers). Lift the heel of the blade with the tip of your index finger, being extremely careful to avoid the blade edge. Simply slide the blade off the locking mechanism by pulling it free from the engagement slots. A new blade can be reinserted in reverse order. The blade is simply slid into position over the engagement projection until it “clicks” into place.
This past hunting season, I used a Piranta-Z folder to field dress, skin and remove the head skin of a pronghorn. A single blade stayed sharp throughout the entire field dressing and skinning procedures. Afterwards, I switched out the old blade for a new one and put the knife to work again removing the cape. Best of all, I didn’t have to stop to sharpen my knife.
For years, taxidermists have used medical scalpels to carry out their work. However, taking a standard straight-handled scalpel and a supply of replacement blades to the field would be a huge nuisance. The Piranta-Z provides the hunter with all of the advantages of a surgically sharp scalpel blade in a handy lock-blade folding knife configuration. Simply put, the days of hunting-knife sharpening are over.
The Piranta-Z has a retail price of $39.95, with a dozen stainless steel replacement blades for $4.50.
For more information on Havalon Knives visit www.havalon.com or call 800-638-4770.