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Choosing the best skeleton knife could be a daunting job. There are many options out there and they are cheap as well. Some products are better than others, of course, yet your personal needs are just as important. Make sure you understand what a skeleton knife does.
Skeleton Knives – An Overview
Skeleton knives are difficult to define because they come in more styles and with different purposes. For instance, the first skeleton knives ever made were built as cheese knives. They came with large holes on the blade – usually three. These holes were used to reduce the contact between the blade and the food, so the food would not stick to it. They are used for fruits and vegetables too – mostly very soft foods that can stick to the blade or get easily crushed.
Then, you have the penknife, which is not very popular. This unit is usually made without any extras – no handles or no bolsters. They are taken to jewelers for proper finishing. Such knives are not too common these days. They used to be finished with precious metals or precious stones in the customers’ styles or demands.
Finally, the skeleton knife is also a general term that applies to every type of knife, as long as it has a skeleton design. Such knives come with many holes. They have a reduced volume and they are compact and lightweight. They have the frame of the handle, but they aim to be as light as possible. Any type of knife could be referred to as a skeleton knife in this style whether the hole is in the handle or in the blade itself.
From this point of view, skeleton knives could be kitchen knives, hunting knives, or any other outdoor knives. There is one type that makes the difference though – a general type that could be used in camping trips, small jobs around the household, hunting jobs, and so on.
This article focuses on skeleton knives for outdoor purposes.
2023’s 5 Best Skeleton Knives
We have 5 skeleton knives here suitable for outdoor tasks. The first 3 are fixed bladed skeleton knives with holes on the handles. The last two are folding skeleton knives.
Multiple uses – Ka-Bar is one of the leading names on the market when it comes to knives. This is a good skeleton knife if you are interested in a general knife for camping, hunting, self-defense, and everyday tasks – such as cutting paper or cardboard. It is a versatile tool with a compact design and a stunning skeleton design – the skeleton design mostly affects the handle though and not the blade.
Safe sheath – The knife has a fixed blade. In other words, it does not fold or retract. Make sure you store or carry it responsibly, rather than randomly – you risk injuring yourself. The good news is it comes with its sheath. The sheath is durable and will hold it in place – it also fits like a glove. It is made of a hard type of plastic, so it is solid and durable.
Sharp durable blade – The blade is made of 5Cr15 stainless steel. This type of steel is extremely durable in terms of rust and corrosion. Your knife is less likely to face such issues if you look after it. Other than that, the blade is 2.5 inches in length. You get a plain edge – razor sharp out of the box, so be careful as you unpack it. Also, it is worth noting that the blade is hollow ground.
Skeleton handle – When it comes to the handle, it measures 3.6 inches. It has a skeleton profile, so it is lightweight. Both the blade and the handle are black coated. The handle is made of the same type of stainless steel. It has a hang guard and it ensures a pretty solid grip, despite the skinny profile. Based on the size, quality materials, and uses, the knife brings in excellent value for money.
- Lightweight and compact design – 1.44 ounces in weight
- Good sizing proportions for a balanced use
- Comfortable and good grip on the handle
- Super sharp out of the box and easy to sharpen
- Compact and simple sheath for good carrying and storage
- Hard plastic sheath might dull the knife after too many uses
Superior build – Ka-Bar does not fool around when it comes to quality. If you want a quality, decent sized and good looking knife without spending a fortune. In fact, given the fact that you can get a Ka-Bar knife for such a price, the knife comes with excellent value for money.
Versatile uses – The unit is quite versatile and will help in a series of situations. It is great for everyday tasks, opening boxes, camping, and even mild hunting adventures. The skeleton profile applies to the handle only. It is aerated and compact. It also reduces the overall weight of this knife, meaning it is easy to carry around and quite comfortable.
Super sharp edge – The blade is made of 5Cr13 stainless steel. This type of stainless steel is quite standard in Ka-Bar’s knives. It is easy to sharpen and retains its sharpness over time. It is also rust and corrosion-resistant. The blade has a single edge sharpened at 15 degrees on each side. Overall, the blade measures 3.12 inches in length and it comes with a super sharp tip. It is sharp out of the box, so be careful with it.
Comfortable handle – The handle is made of the same material. It measures 3.25 inches and it feels comfortable to hold. The knife has a fixed blade, but there is nothing to worry about – it comes with a plastic sheath as well. The sheath is super thin and just enough to cover the blade, so it is safe to have around without risking to injure yourself.
- High-quality materials used in its composition
- Durable design and excellent edge retention
- Good value for money
- Comes with a compact sheath for carrying and storage
- Super sharp out of the box
- The handle might feel a bit too small for those with large hands
Smith & Wesson SW991
Likely to last – Smith & Wesson’s skeleton knife is great if you want something compact, dependable, and durable. The skeleton profile of this knife is given by the handle, which features a few large holes and looks like a frame. The knife is lightweight and versatile, so you can use it for camping, small chores around your house, or even skinning game on a hunting trip. It’s a great neck knife
Compact dependable blade – The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV black oxide high carbon stainless steel. This type of steel can resist rust and corrosion. Edge retention is pretty good as well, yet the knife is sharp out of the box, so you should have no problems using it. Other than that, the blade measures 2.5 inches in length, so do not expect a massive weapon.
Easy to hold and use – The handle is three inches in length. It has a skeleton profile and it is also made of stainless steel. It has an ergonomic shape, so it will match the contour of your fingers. It has a small hole at the end, so you can hang it or use it on a breakaway chain. The handle has a large finger choil that will prevent your fingers from slipping on the blade. It is a must-have safety measure.
Comes with a sheath – The package is quite complete. You will also get a convenient nylon fiber neck sheath. The breakaway chain can be used on the sheath too. It is not a large sheath, but thin and small enough to cover the blade only. In terms of maintenance, there is not much to be concerned about – clean the knife manually after using it and never wash it in the dishwasher.
- Good grip due to the ergonomic shape and finger support
- Large finger choil to prevent cutting accidents
- Comes with its sheath and a breakaway chain
- Durable, rust and corrosion-resistant materials
- Durable and dependable
- It might take a while to get used to the handle
Safe folding profile – Gerber’s best skeleton knife is a folding knife unlike the first three. It also has holes on the blade instead of the handle. It is convenient to carry around with no risks at all and it will never need a sheath. It is compact and can be used for a series of applications. It makes a good knife for camping adventures, hunting trips, self-defense, and everyday tasks around your house.
Easy to carry – You can open the knife with one hand. The handle also features a sturdy pocket or belt clip in case you do not feel like holding it inside your pocket. It is easy to look after and it can be sharpened like any other knife – no special requirements. Make sure you manually clean it after using it though.
Quality blade – The blade measures 3.52 inches. It is made of 420 high carbon steel, meaning it is less likely to be affected by rust or corrosion. While some knives come with a skeleton handle, this one has a skeleton blade – three large holes on the top side of the blade, far from the cutting edge. It also has a sharp tip, not to mention the razor-sharp edge out of the box.
Ergonomic handle – The handle measures 4.56 inches. It is bolstered and has an ergonomic shape, so the knife is comfortable to hold and use. It also has a soft grip that is textured. The knife will never slip out of your hand, even if it is wet or sweaty. The opening mechanism is located on the handle and easy to use.
- Does not need a sheath due to its folding profile
- Rust and corrosion resistant high carbon steel blade
- Comfortable soft and textured grip handle
- Great balance and stability
- Can be opened with one hand only
- Easy to open with one hand, but you will require two hands to close it
Gerber Paraframe I 31-001731
Easy to open and close – Gerber’s knife comes with a skeleton handle and a super convenient folding profile. You will never need a sheath for it. Instead, it is easy to open or close with no issues at all. Given its size, it is quite versatile and will work wonders in a plethora of different situations. It could be a tactical or a survival knife, but it is also good for camping and hunting adventures.
Durable coating – The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV steel. It is a high carbon stainless blade. High carbon steel is excellent for edge retention. Moreover, it is easy to sharpen as well. It measures just over three inches in length. It has a sharp tip and a tanto style appearance. It is razor sharp out of the box, so be careful when you unpack it. It features a black titanium nitride coating to prevent reflections and help against corrosion. Plus, the blade is half serrated.
Protective handle – The handle is worth some consideration too. Its size (the same size when closed) is 4.11 inches. It is made of 3Cr13 steel, which is solid and durable. It has an ergonomic design and will match your fingers. Furthermore, it has a bit of protection against sliding, so your fingers are less likely to get on the blade.
Ambidextrous uses – Opening and closing the knife is fairly simple. It has a couple of thumb studs, so you can open it whether you are left or right-handed. Moreover, the handle has a sturdy pocket clip. It is great to keep the knife around your belt or pocket and provide easy access. Maintenance is quite easy – clean it after each use manually. You can also oil it when not in use for long periods.
- High-quality materials for durability
- Coated against corrosion
- Beautiful design
- Easy to open – ambidextrous uses
- Frame lock safety function
- The black coating might get off when sharpening the knife or after too many uses
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main benefit of a skeleton knife?
If you purchase a kitchen skeleton knife for cheese or other soft foods, the main benefits of these knives are pretty obvious – food is less likely to stick to the blade. If you get a classic survival or tactical skeleton knife, chances are you will appreciate the convenience and lightweight profile. A skeleton handle or blade will come with a reduced weight due to the lack of material. Unlike most expectations, the skeleton profile will not reduce the integrity or stability of the knife.
Is there a way to improve the handle of a skeleton knife?
Whether you are in love with the blade or you do not find the handle to be too convenient, lots of people rely on paracord to come up with a larger handle. This solution is quite common among those with large hands too. Get some paracord and wrap it around the handle until you come up with a thicker and more solid design.
Are skeleton knives made entirely of the same material?
It depends on the manufacturer. You can find skeleton knives made of two similar, yet different materials. The blade and the handle are then mixed. You can also find skeleton knives made of the same material. They are more durable.
Different materials are more commonly used when the knife consists of two parts. For example, a folding knife is more likely to consist of different materials for the blade and handle.
Deciding on the best skeleton knife is often a matter of personal preferences and necessities. Make sure you know why you need such a knife. Is it for your hunting adventures? Is it for your camping trips? Is it for self-defense or random applications around your home? You should then make a more informed decision when it comes to materials, size, and type of blade. What works for some people will not necessarily work for everyone else, hence the necessity of a little research. The above-mentioned products are among the top-rated knives on the market based on reviews and recommendations.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.