Buying a knife as a gift?.

A question we are often asked, particularly when someone is buying hunting knives a Bowie knife and or a pocket knife as a gift, is why do two seemingly similar knives have such a cost differential.

With a plethora of knife options available to purchase from Knives Ireland a tricky part of selecting a suitable knife often comes down to choosing from two quality knives featuring quite different prices, you can and will find two small or large-sized knives with the same style and similar length, but one is much more expensive than the other.

Thus, the question is: Why is one knife more expensive than another when they serve the same purpose and are similar in size and style?. Outside of the aesthetic and brand which is often where the answer is found there are generally three areas that will be factors in a price difference.

Blade steel, handle material and finish, below we have a comparison between knives similar in shape, style and length, all very good knives with very differing prices.

pocket knife

A comparison between a Cudeman pocket hunting knife and Pradel pocket hunting knife.

First off, the Cudeman Pocket Hunting Knife and Pradel Hunting Knife are both quality products from excellent manufacturers, simply put, one is better than the other and this is why there is such a difference in cost

  • Handle material

The Pradel  pocket hunting knife handle is made from teak, a wood which has high tensile strength and tight grain, now while the teak in my humble opinion is a superior handle to the olive wood it really lacks any aesthetic character and gives a rather plain looking handle, teak handles are weather-resistant and can be easily worked.

Many regions grow teak extensively and knife manufacturers can source teak materials easily because of the tree's high population and from mill off cuts and fallen trees and branches.

The Cudeman pocket hunting knife features an olive wood handle, expensive but beautiful. This material is very hard with high durability, nice color, and interesting grain patterns. Due to the tree's slow growth and small size, it is relatively more expensive. Read more on knife handle materials here.

  • Steel

The Cudeman pocket hunting knife comes with a molybdenum vanadium stainless steel blade which is part of the Tool steel family, tool steels are a family carbon and alloy steels having distinct characteristics such as hardness, wear resistance, toughness, and resistance to softening at high temperatures.

Tool steels comprise carbide-forming elements such as chromium, vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten in different combinations. Tool steel is the hardened alloy steel that’s used in cutting, pressing and extruding tools, it is also used to produce knife blades. tungsten, chromium, vanadium and molybdenum are the four major alloying elements that form carbides which give this steel strength, hardness and resistance to wear. Read more on knife steels here.

The Pradel pocket hunting knife uses 420 stainless steel in the knife blade. 420 steel is a widely used steel in mass produced knives its part of what is referred to as the stainless steel category of steels.

Stainless steel, stainless steel is an alloy of Iron with a minimum of 10.5% Chromium, in knife blade production this should be a minimum 14%. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the passive layer. This prevents any further corrosion of the surface. Increasing the amount of Chromium gives an increased resistance to corrosion.

The term stainless steel is a bit of a misnomer as any metal will show evidence of corrosion given enough time exposed to the elements. This steel remains one of the most popular steels used in knife blade production. The addition of a minimum 14% chromium helps stainless steel resist corrosion. The downside being stainless steel doesn’t hold an edge in the same way high level carbon steel does and its a tad harder to sharpen.

  • Blade Finish

The Pradel hunting knife 420 steel blade comes with a standard polished finish, which is less costly and easier to complete meaning less production hours.

The Cudeman pocket hunting knife comes with a high-end satin finish.

Hand Satin Finish, a hand satin finish involves sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive . Hand satin finish is normally the reserve of high end handcrafted knives. A good hand satin finish takes time and will increase the cost of the knife due to the extra hours involved in production.

A comparison between the Cudeman Bowie Knife and Leopard Bowie Knife.

bowie knife

Unlike the Leopard Bowie knife handle which is a teak wood handle (see above) the Cudeman Bowie Knife is designed with Black Micarta®, thin layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phenolic resin, producing a material  which is very lightweight, very strong and quite pleasing on the eye.

It was originally created as an electrical insulator and is one of the best plastics out there for knife handles. The labor involved in its production and finishing will add to the price of the knife.

As stated earlier, teak woods can be sourced easily from the remains of cut and fallen teak trees though while being an excellent handle lack the look, feel and overall finish of Micarta®.

  • Steel

The Cudeman Bowie Knife is made with Molybdenum Vanadium (see above). This gives the product a higher tensile strength, durability, and improved wear resistance over the Leopard Bowie Knife's 440 stainless steel blade. Thus the Cudeman Bowie Knife requires less sharpening and holds an edge better than its counterpart.

  • Knife finish

The Leopard Bowie knife features a standard polish finish which is just fine however the Cudeman Bowie knife blade has a satin finish (see above}, which is a high-end satin finish.

While all the knives mentioned above are all excellent knives, the price difference and so the answer to the question of same comes down to the quality of materials used in the construction and the hours spent in the production and finishing of the knife. Hopefully this has been of help to you when it comes to picking out a gift knife for that special someone.