The original and a very good copy.Maybe only second to their rifles, knives are one of the most discussed items when a bunch of hunter gear-nerds get together1. Of course they should be. A knife is an invaluable tool for processing what you kill, a good one makes the job so much easier, a bad knife, well, don’t do it.
Not long after I got into hunting, I was told that I should just get a Mercator. For a long, long time, it’s been the knife of choice. So, obviously, it interested me to find out why.
I have a few knives these days and have a few more on their way to me2 and I love being able to compare them.
I was told that I should just get a Mercator.
Like I would pick many guys do, I initially went out and purchased a massive knife – in my case the SVORD 370B. It’s a phenomenal knife. For Bushcraft/all around work, it’s great – but I quickly realised it’s really too big for processing an animal. What’s been interesting, as I have learnt more about the dressing of animals, that smaller is often better – provided it is small, and razor sharp. Which describes the Mercator perfectly. Though, I also have a 270B under test… 😉
The Mercator as we know it is around 150 years old in it’s design. It’s a simple lockback blade, generally with a flat grind carbon steel blade3.
The Carbon Steel is easily my pick – it’s much easier to sharpen and easier to keep sharp.
What is interesting – is as you start looking – you start noticing that there seems to multiple versions available – some with and some without the unique K55K stamp on the side. There is certainly a price difference. I would be interested to know if there are any differences in the blade itself.
Enter, the copycat. I am sure it’s not the only one either.
Sheffield Knives is a UK knife company. Though I would be interested to know if the knife I have (from Bunnings) was actually made in the UK, or by that Sheffield at all. Richard at Balnagown Hunting swears by this version. Having watched him dress more than one animal with them, they certainly perform very well. Though I have a feeling Richard could probably skin an animal faster than me with a blunt spoon.
The Sheffield is a stainless blade. It’s going to be a bit more work in the sharpening front – but as Richard will point out – at the price – you can just have a couple of them floating around – and – if you drop one – it’s only $8!
Is the price difference between the two worth it? Hard call. Really hard call. I prefer the carbon steel blade – as much because of the way it patina’s as the blade itself.
Either way, the design and form factor of the knife makes it ideal for field dressing deer. It is small and manoeuvrable, but has enough strength in it to sever tendons and split a rib cage (with a bit of muscle behind it).