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C.T. Fischer Knives

Knife Review and Video: C.T. Fischer Four-Inch Bushcraft knife

Knife Review and Video: C.T. Fischer Four-Inch Bushcraft knife

There are knives you need and knives you want. My latest four-inch bushcraft knife acquisition from C.T. Fischer fits both categories! 

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: C.T. Fischer knives were advertised on this website, after the products first passed a rigorous testing process. The following review is my opinion and had no prior input, feedback or editing by C.T. Fischer Knives. 

A few years back, I tested the C.T. Fischer Nessmuk knife, and liked it so much I got one of his four-inch Bushcraft knives. I haven’t needed a knife in many years, but the Fischer’s catalog photos showed a knife I really wanted.

The C.T. Fischer four-inch bushcraft knife is a wonderful all-around knife.

The C.T. Fischer four-inch Bushcraft knife is a wonderful all-around knife. (Pantenburg photos)

It all has to do with feel.

I hunt squirrels, rabbits and other small game with Annabelle,  a handmade .40 caliber flintlock muzzle loading Pennsylvania rifle. Annabelle has a custom-made, gorgeous curly maple, full length stock. In 2003, the late Jim Grenfell made me a tomahawk, with a curly  maple handle to match. All I needed was the right knife, and I would have the quintessential eastern long hunter setup.

I saw the knife I was looking for in the C.T. Fischer catalog. C.T. Fischer Knives are based in Elk City, Idaho, and knifemaker Christopher T. Fischer hand makes his cutlery one item at a time. The knife I wanted was the four-inch, full tang Bushcraft knife, and it bore a striking resemblance to a  Mora. The knife handle could be made of a variety of different materials.

Yes, he had some curly maple, Fischer said, and a deal was struck. The waiting list for Fischer knives can be a few weeks or months, and finally, my Bushcraft knife arrived. I immediately took out the rifle and tomahawk, and the knife matched almost exactly.

The handle fits like it was made for my hand, and the finish, wood fit and shape of the blade were just what I was looking for. But I won’t carry any piece of equipment that hasn’t been proven, so I started testing it.

The quality of Fischer’s steel was a given after I wrung out the Nessmuk, so I didn’t do any outright abuse to the Bushcraft knife.

Fischer handmakes a variety of knives made out of used circular saw blades that formerly saw duty in a lumber mill. Fischer knives are  shaped by grinding, and he didn’t do any additional tempering on my Nessmuk. Since last year, though, Fischer has perfected a new heat treating method that he claims makes the steel even better for blades.

My knife testing is a lengthy process. All of them start out in the kitchen. The knife is used at every opportunity, to evaluate how the blade and handle work for different common tasks. Then,  I’ll find some lengthy cutting job, to test the handle design. I cleaned a few fish, peeled some potatoes and carved some meat. The knife did just fine, even though it wasn’t the best for all those tasks.

The C.T. Fischer four-inch Bushcraft knife comes with a custom leather sheath.

The Bushcraft knife comes with a custom leather sheath.

Once the  knife passed the kitchen test, it went outdoors. I didn’t  baton (pound the knife through a piece of firewood to make kindling) with it. I don’t believe this test proves much about blade  quality. With the right technique and piece of wood, you can split kindling with a butter knife.

But I did I cut up a bunch of jute twine, cut up a bunch of cardboard (which is a real test of edge-holding), and whittled a bunch of sticks for starting fires. Since hunting season wasn’t for several months, I had to postpone actual hunting field use.

The blade held its edge, though the cardboard finally dulled it.  A few swipes with my butchering steel returned it to shaving sharp. The Bushcraft knife  comes with a Scandinavian bevel edge to it, so sharpening is a snap.

Mostly what I did though, was carry it on a daily basis. The sheath is a fine piece of leatherwork, and secures the knife well. The only addition I made was to put a brass D-ring in the belt loop, so I could attach the knife to a belt key holder or the outside of my pack.

The Bushcraft also rode to the office in my briefcase, where it was used for letter opening, slicing bagels and spreading peanut butter. In the field and in the office, the Bushcraft did every task required of it.

The four-inch Bushcraft retails for $125, which I think is a steal for a product hand-made by an American craftsman.

Look at it this way: Every cutlery enthusiast can afford a few nice knives, the ones that you enjoy looking at as well as using. The good knives will last forever and be passed down to kids and  grandchildren.

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C.T. Fischer Knives

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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