These are Rugged Bushcraft Knives disguised as Butcher Knife Sets
The Ontario Knife Company Old Hickory Butcher Set is a perfect example of beauty over function. While it’s a great tool in the kitchen, it is better suited to outdoor food preparation on a camping trip and for butchering meat on a hunting trip. It is not a coincidence that the butcher knives are the stars of this show. I don’t intend to butcher it, but I will get into that later.
If you don’t want to read any more, the most important thing about this set is that it works well for cooking and butchering. However, you will need to sharpen and hon your knives in order to make them perform well. However, their factory performance is not what makes them appealing.
These knives are not just rustic in appearance. Their real value lies in their ability to be modified and transformed quickly from mediocre kitchen and butcher knives into high-impact survival knives.
A few blades are often overlooked when discussing the whole set. This set is no exception. Everyone has a favorite one or two knives. This set includes the Old Hickory knife. Before I get into a review of only two knives out five, let me briefly explain what this set is and how they are made.
|8 inch slicing knife – This knife has a long edge, so there is plenty of space to cut with. This is a great tool, but it’s probably the most dull.|
|7″ Butcher knife- This is a tall, curved blade that’s great for bushcraft tasks. It’s probably why you’re interested in Old Hickory knives.|
|6″ Boning knife – Thicker than many boning knives on market, but it has an edge that is decent and seems to work well for boning despite its thick blade stock.|
|4″ Paring knife- A clever blade design makes it easier to cut deeper into meat.|
|3.25″ Paring Knife – This handy, small knife cuts well and can be used in a similar way to EDC pocket knives.|
Although the factory edge does not cut meat well, it handles very well. The handles are made of wood and offer a lot of utility for cutting and stabbing. However, the factory does not consider sharpness a priority.
Paring and boning knives have sharp edges. They can cut paper and ligaments at a level I would expect from a new knife. The 3.25-inch paring knives outperformed all three slightly, but they are still sharp enough to make basic cuts with ease.
I tried several different tasks using the paring knives, including peeling carrots and potatoes, cutting vegetables, and coring apples. Although the knives’ sharpness is not ideal, their relative blade shapes can be very useful. Although I initially thought it odd that there were two paring knives in the set, the drop point and trailing points of the one and the other have proved to be extremely useful for me as I switch between tasks.
THE SLICING KNIFE
OKC calls the 8-inch “slicing knife” an 8-inch cutting tool. It cut through the meat with a little more sawing, pressure and pressure than I prefer to see. However, it was great for pushing through ligaments and joints.
You could crack a pelvic bone using the knife and the butcher blade. This is why this set is so special.
THE BONING KNIFE
Although it might not be the most attractive knife, it has one of its best edges, particularly near the tip. This is what you would expect to find in a boning knife. It’s not the sharpest knife in the bunch, but it isn’t as sharp as any of those $30-priced blades.
The knife has a strong, rigid structure. This knife is great for dressing large game such as deer and boar once you have the edge in place.
THE BUTCHER KNIFE
This one has a more refined edge and the big curve makes it easier to slice and chop quite a bit. To be fair, I will admit it. When I saw this knife, food was not my first thought.
It was easy to cut some meat and vegetables. It worked well. It will perform better if it has a little more home improvement. This thing will be a rockstar when it has a better edge.
However, I have other important issues to talk about regarding this knife.
BUTCHER KNIVES – HARD-USE SURVIVAL SKNIVES
Old Hickory doesn’t like it when you need to sharpen your knives if you want to skin and butcher meats with them with any reasonable success. Despite their core strength, these knives are so strong that even a half-decent sharpening will not be enough to make them more useful.
I am particularly drawn to the paring knife and butcher knife measuring 3.25 inches.
THE BUTCHER BLADE
The butcher blade is the main star of the show, as I stated at the beginning. It’s likely that Old Hickory was familiar to you before reading this blog. This is probably because of the 5.5 inch butcher blade. OKC began selling the Old Hickory separately in 2019 with its own sheath. It was even more popular than ever before, with many people carrying it in their custom sheaths for years. This knife can be almost as valuable as the whole set for some people.
After having had the opportunity to cut through some logs and branches, I am inclined to agree.
I batoned my butcher knife halfway down into the middle of a log, where the pressure from wood was strong enough to bend it. To get the knife out of the log, it took about ten minutes of hammering. I was afraid that we would have to bend it back in order to continue testing it. It came out exactly the same as before.
Plus, I couldn’t see any evidence that I had smacked my spine with a large piece of wood more than 100 times. It’s hard to mark the texture or finish of steel that way.
This knife cuts like a lighter Condor Stratos. Although the blade shape and weight are different, the grind works exactly the same way when you’re cutting wood.
THE SMALLER EDC
The 3.25-inch paring knives are my personal favorite. It is a better choice than any of the others, but it’s a great tool for small, fixed-place EDCs. Its size and shape make it look like a fixed-blade version the KaBar Dozier, or the Esee Zancudo. While there isn’t much market for either model, I love the range of useability that this little tool offers.
Although it is intended for delicate kitchen work, its steel blade and shape make it an excellent outdoor EDC. You can use the drop point to work under or into objects to clean up or pry loose things, and it won’t break easily.
It would be a great neck or boot knife if you could find a way to transport it with any leather or kydex scraps.
The Old Hickory set’s styling is what people buy, if we are being sincere.
They are rustic and woodsy, in a way that appeals to people like me, who consider themselves rustic and woodsy.
If you’re just looking at these knives, this can quickly become a problem. People who take care of their knives will be most interested in the materials that give them that rustic, natural look. It is important to take care of your knives.
This may seem like a common practice, but high carbon steel combined with hardwood handles makes it a great combination for incubating bacteria and rust. This is the reason for most of the negative reviews about these knives. We are quick to feel disappointed when stainless steel blades start showing signs of oxidation after just a few days.
Old Hickory knives are only of true beauty to those who put in the effort. They can always be re-used, no matter how badly they get.
Allow them to rust, chip the edges, and let the handles become stained or scarlet. There is almost no way you can grind, polish, or replace them without compromising the design. You’ll almost always get a functional, stylish knife.
The set doesn’t come in a roll case so it can be awkward to use at first. There are two solutions to this awkwardness.
We chose to get a roll case instead. You can find a variety of leather and canvas cases in the $20-30 range. Many of them are large enough to hold the entire Old Hickory set, plus some extra slots if you need to carry a honing rod or extra blade.
OKC sells many of these knives separately with leather sheaths. You can typically get a knife with a leather sheath for about twenty dollars if you only like one or two. The Old Hickory Hunting Knife might be worth considering if you go that route. Although I haven’t tried it yet, it seems to be similar to the butcher knife in this set. It will likely need some sharpening before it can be taken out.
CONCLUSION: IT’S THE BEST VALUE BUTCHER SET, BUT NOT FOR THE LAZY
You don’t need a modernized set of knives if you only want to slicing meat or vegetables. While the Dexter-Russel or Victorinox sets that we discussed in our Butcher Set Guide are quicker and more efficient, these options also highlight the price advantage of the Old Hickory range.
The Old Hickory knife offers more knives and tougher knives for $50. This is a great deal, as it’s $25-50 less than the Victorinox Field dress kit which comes with a carrying case and three knives. These three knives have a sharper factory edge but don’t offer the same longevity as Old Hickory.
If you like to use knives, the Old Hickory Butcher Set is technically excellent. The Old Hickory knife design is simple and tough. They also offer a lot more knives for your money than any other company. It just takes a little more effort on your part.