Case Ridgeback Skinner

By  Steve Hanner

If I told you today you could get a US made fixed blade for under $50 would you beleive me? How about if I told you the knife was produced by W.R. Case and when shipped included a sheath? I can’t wait to tell you about this knife! If you are a hunter  you most likely need a good skinning blade when on the trail. A good knife can make a skinning job go quickly and save you hours.

First let’s look at the requirements of a good knife for skinning:

  • A sharp blade, preferably a good fixed blade knife
  • Good rust resistance 
  • A non slip handle
  • A sharp tip that gets in all the small spots
  • A wide belly for scraping

This Blackie Collins designed Case Ridgeback skinner really fulfills all those requirements and more. The size of the knife is a handy 8 1/2 inches long. It is very important that the knife you use for the job is not too large or too small to get the job done. A knife used for skinning will need to be cleaned and when it is cleaned you don’t want the knife to rust.This Case full tang blade is brushed Tru-Sharp Surgical Stainless Steel. The knife has an upswept blade, a sharp point, and a wide belly. The handle is Zytel Camo.

For detail work, on the top of this 1/8 inch wide blade are some grooves called gimping which allow for choke up on the knife. All in all there are three potential hand positions on this knife.

  • The first position is grasping the handle with a regular grip
  • The second position involves moving the thumb to the first set of gimping and placing your index finger in the choil. (Illustrated)
  • The final position involves placing your thumb over the second set of gimping, much closer to the tip of the knife. This grip greatly increases your control of the Case knife.(Illustrated)

Here are some samples of the last two positions:


Knifemaker and designer Blackie Collins worked with Case to design this knife. Who is this designer? His actual name was Walter Wells Collins (1939 -July 20th, 2011) but went by the name Blackie. He was an American knife maker who designed and popularized the assisted opening mechanisms and various automatic knife designs within the art of knifemaking. Other knifemakers and collectors call him one of the most innovative knife designers in the world. He was an author and founder of what became Blade Magazine. Collins died July 20th, 2011 in a motorcycle accident.
The Case Ridgeback Skinner is handcrafted in the U.S.A. And comes complete with the Case Limited Lifetime Warranty. The working knife was designed for a hunter. The handle is large with a rough surface and flared at the base to assure a good grip. A lanyard hole, another great feature of the knife, let’s you secure some paracord or leather to help you maintain control of the knife when skinning.

A nice black nylon sheath comes with the Case Ridgeback which provides a way to secure the knife for carry. It can be worn on a belt and is marked with a Case XX. A snap closure keeps the knife securely in place.

This knife is an excellent value at twice the price. Fit and finish of the knife were just beautiful. This is a hard working knife I am proud to carry.
Where to purchase: Smoky Mountain Knifeworks

War Eagle Blades Button Assist Lock Folder

By Steve Hanner

When you manage a farm, you end up going in multiple directions every day and often with a handful of tools, bags of feed or square bales of hay. As many of you know I carry a knife every single day and the easier the knife is to locate, open, close and then put away quickly sometimes makes all the difference in the time it takes to get something done. That urgency is what got me looking at a new knife offering by A.G.Russell called the Button Assist Lock.

First a little history on the name…War Eagle Blades.  In the 1970’s A.G.Russell did sell a brand called War Eagle, but that was War Eagle Whetstones from his farm on War Eagle Creek in Northwest Arkansas.  As you may know A.G. Russell has placed his trademark on knives designed by top knife makers and designers for many years.  War Eagle Blades come from unknown knife makers or designers and but come with the same guarantee offered by A.G.Russell.

The guarantee is what told me it would have quality  and the Button assist lock on this knife is what intrigued me to buy the knife. The Button assist lock was pioneered in 1991 with a Japanese made City Knife, designed by a Japanese designer and sold by A.G.Russell. This same Button assist lock is on the knife I am using right now.

The War Eagle Blades Button Assist lock folder opens as any normal knife equipped with a thumb stud opens. Use the thumb stud to open the knife completely or you use the thumb stud to open about 30% of the way and then you can snap your wrist and the blade opens and securely locks in place. 

Now for the close and this is where the Button Assist comes in handy. First press the button and disengage the lock. release the button and finish closing the blade. You cannot close the blade entirely until you have released the button. This helps to keep you fingers out of the way of the blade, different but safer than a standard liner lock. The knife can be closed against your pants, a door, a shelf or whatever is handy. It is one-handed opening and closing at its best and absolutely no auto assist. It’s safe because your fingers never cross the blade on the close as the knife settles back into the handle. As I said earlier, in a normal day I may be carrying feed bags or buckets, tools, equipment or square baled hay and with that one free hand I need a knife! I need that knife opened and closed easily.

The handle of this knife is black G-10  which offers a very usable surface and the black G-10 almost looks to be outlined with a white underlay.  There is some gimping  at the top of the knife for your thumb and at the bottom of the knife. It all assists to keep your hand where you want it to be. 

This is a sabre ground, drop point blade made of 8Cr13MoV steel, hardened to 57-59 Rc.  The blade length is 3 3/8 inches. It has a black TiNi coating and the blade is in good proportion to the rest of the knife. It is an ideal size for the things I do on the farm. The knife also has the convenience of a lanyard hole so you can even strap this to your wrist or hang it from your neck. It also includes a right handed tip up pocket clip, if you choose to use the clip.

I have had the chance to use this knife for about two months and use it for virtually every knife related farm chore there is to do. It has only  required a brief sharpening touch up on the blade. The knife opens and closes well and still looks to be new. I would recommend this for rotation as an Every Day Carry knife.

Where to buy: