Regardless of your style of hunting, there is one tool that is absolutely necessary on a successful hunt; a knife. Not just any knife, but a sharp knife along with a sharpening stone to maintain that sharp cutting edge. Most all hunters go afield with a stainless steel knife of some variation, but one alternative is ceramic knives. Ceramic blades offer a very sharp cutting surface and an edge that lasts for much longer because of the hardness of the Zirconia ceramic crystalline structure. For this review we are taking a look at the Stone River ceramic hunting knife.
The Stone River knife comes in a presentation box with sheath and simple instructions for knife care.
Our review model is the SRG41RCW which includes a standard fixed white blade knife and a sheath in a presentation box. The knife ships with a plastic tip protector installed to avoid damage during shipping and could be used while taking the knife afield as well.
Other than the white blade, most people will notice the lightweight of the knife versus a similarly sized steel blade knife. The lightweight is a nice bonus if you'll be carrying this knife around as a secondary or backup knife for caping and skinning since it doesn't add much weight to your belt or pack.
The edge on our review knife is very sharp and did not seem to dull during testing. While we have used and owned steel blade knives that were sharper, the ceramic knife seems to maintain its edge without noticeable change for much longer than comparable blades. In other words, while it may be possible to obtain a sharper edge with steel than what came out of the box with our review model, the steel quickly loses its edge versus the slightly less sharp ceramic that continues to cut with the same sharpness.
The Zirconia ceramic is a shiny white which is striking and definitely stands out in a crowd.
Due to the possibility of chipping the edge, Stone River does not recommend attempting to sharpen the blade yourself. If your blade should need to be resharpened, simply ship up to two knives to Stone River with $10 and they will sharpen the blades for you. We found a few on-line "recipes" for sharpening ceramic blades that involved diamond hones, but unless you're an expert or just like the adventure of trying something new, it would probably be best to send back the knife to Stone River to have them re-sharpen the knife for you.
The downside to ceramic knife is they simply are not going to take the prying and jarring impacts that stainless steel blades will as matter of everyday service. Like other very hard materials, Zirconia will chip or shatter under chopping or twisting. This means that the blade should not be used in a hacking motion or pry around in joints when butchering game. The upside is that the sharp, long lasting blade makes for an excellent caper, especially when doing the fine work around eye-sockets for preparing a head mount.
Street price on our review model is around $80-$90 which is relatively inexpensive for a ceramic knife. If you're willing to take the necessary precautions with a ceramic blade, the Stone River knives are an excellent way to benefit from the long lasting sharpness of Zirconia based ceramics. If nothing else, the white blade and lightweight knife make for an interesting campfire discussion.
For more information visit www.stonerivergear.com .