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Undoubtedly, a stockman knife is one of the most iconic slip joint designs from America. Its history is hard to track, but many believe it to be made first around 1900. Since then, the knife has been the choice of livestock breeders who used it for a myriad of jobs on and surrounding the farm.
Its charm is such that even today, a knife fan cannot imagine the traditional models without a stockman.
What are Stockman Knives?
A stockman knife is a pocket knife featuring three blades but, sometimes, also has two or even four blades. Typically, it is a three-blade folder. Practically, it has a spey blade or a kind of blunt spearpoint for skinning, Wharncliffe or sheepsfoot blade for dicing and cutting, and the popular clip point blade as the main one for detail work.
The clip point on a stockman is useful on the ranch for tasks such as punching holes, cutting hay twine, and opening cans. The sheepsfoot blade having a dull point and back enables you to apply thumb or finger pressure without being cut. The spey blade is used for castrating the bull calves.
Made usually of carbon, stainless, or Damascus steel, the three blades make this knife versatile. The clip blade is the largest one. Behind it is a smaller sheepsfoot blade, and the spey blade is on the opposite side. All of them are slip-joint non-locking ones; the back spring triggers a ‘snap’ due to which the blade does not close.
Stockman knives typically come with two nickel silver bolsters that are polished and somewhat tapered towards the handle’s end. The handle usually has a curvy shape.
These knives are available in the size ranging from 2.0 to 4.5 inches in the close position. The smallest ones are the tiny stockmans followed by small, standard, or medium and large stockmans. Of these, the most popular size is the medium one, which is usually 3.5 inches long when closed.
Best Stockman Knives in 2023
CASE XX WR 178 Indian Sambar Stag – Best Small Stockman Knife
From the part of the stag collection, this small, classic stockman seems to have a unique look, due to which it has been in use even today. When closed, it measures 2 5/8 inches only. Just as any typical stockman, this one also comes with the three blades in the body of a convenient pocket knife.
Two blades, namely, clip and sheepsfoot, reside on the pocket’s end, and the pen blade stays on the cap end. The clip blade is versatile but is commonly used for detail tasks, cutting, and slicing. The Sheepsfoot blade provides extra strength, due to which it is ideal for whittling, carving, rope cutting, and electrical tasks.
The pen blade is ideal for doing some light work, such as light whittling, cutting cardboards, and opening boxes. While the clip is the master blade, the remaining two are the secondary ones, which is the case with most stockman knives.
All of them are made using the Case Tru-Sharp stainless steel, the distinct high-carbon steel known for edge retention for a longer time than conventional steel. This steel is also admired for its astonishing strength and the ability to resist corrosion.
This durable multi-purpose folder features a handle made using genuine stag, which is a bone. It is ideal for use in daily situations, especially outdoor ones.
CASE XX WR Amber Bone – Best Medium Stockman Knife
Case makes some of the most popular stockman knives, and this one is another from its arsenal. Just like the above Case stockman, this Amber stockman is designed for outdoor applications such as hiking and camping.
However, this one is bigger than the aforementioned Case stockman. It is a medium-sized stockman, according to Case. When closed, it measures 3 7/8 inches long. Another point of distinction is that this one has a spey blade instead of the pen blade.
Just as pen the pen blade. The Spey blade is useful for performing a variety of daily chores along with light whittling. It is an all-purpose utility blade. The clip and sheepsfoot blades remain the same.
All the blades and the body, except for the handle, are made up of Tru-Sharp stainless steel. This Case steel contains high carbon and is known to retain a sharp edge for a period longer than standard stainless steel, great strength, and corrosion resistance. This survival steel is also easy to sharpen.
The knife obtains its name from its handle material, which is a jigged amber bone. Notably, this Case knife is far more affordable than the premium pocket knives. It is a light, durable, and economical option.
Buck Knives 0371BRS Stockman
Buck needs no introduction, and neither does this classic stockman knife. The knife seems to be recognized as the largest of all multi-blade folders from Buck. It is promoted as a smart tool that is small enough for daily carry, while at the same time, being big enough to get several tasks done. When closed, this light knife measures 3-7/8 inches.
The convenient, versatile knife features three blades, with the 2 3/4-inch long clip blade being the master one. The secondary ones are spey and sheepsfoot blades, each being 2-inch long.
This set of blades handles a myriad of tasks: clip for cutting in tight zones and detail work, spey for sweeping strokes, and sheepsfoot for clean cuts, particularly on a flat surface. All of them are made using 420J2 steel that is known for hardness and resistance to wear as well as corrosion.
However, the most striking part of this knife is its handle. This elegant brown handle is made using woodgrain, a class material known for its ageless look and great performance. Boosting its look are the bolsters of nickel silver. With the handle, they make this knife capable of absorbing force easily apart from lasting for several years.
In short, this Buck stockman is a multi-purpose, convenient pocket knife.
Boker Traditional Series Stockman
If you are looking for an elegant as well as a performing stockman with some weight and height, this Boker stockman tortoise knife can be your best bet. At first glance, it looks sophisticated, with the blade’s silvery reflection contrasting with that of the fire-brown handle.
This one is a bit heavier than all the aforementioned stockman series still is lightweight. Just as any other stockman knife, this traditional series model comes with three sharp blades. Although not mentioned in the product description, the main blade is the clip blade and the other two are sheepsfoot and spey.
All these blades are made using high-carbon steel, which means you can expect great edge retention, wear resistance, and strength. All blades are tight inside the handle, which is perhaps the result of a good hinge mechanism.
This traditional yet novel pocket knife comes with some of the best parts. It features brass linings, classic nail nick, glassy smooth pivots, and nickel and silver bolsters, all adding to the durability aspect of this stockman. It is a breeze to open and close this folder.
The faux handle scales seem to be sturdy. This 4-inch knife is for those who do not hesitate to use two hands.
Bear & Son 547 Genuine India Stag Bone Large Stockman
This is another highly functional split joint stockman in this list but is bigger than the above four models. Bear & Son knives are all American models featuring a hand finish, a collector’s stamp having the date dotted print, and a remarkably distinct quality. The highest quality materials make this stockman knife tough yet comfortable.
This 4-inch (when closed) pocket knife comes with three blades of high-carbon stainless steel and a handle of jigged and torched bone resembling the Indian stag antler. Overall, it feels unfinished and rough in your hand.
However, a little longer polishing could have given some smooth rough spots along with the nickel silver bolsters and spines. The liners are of stainless steel, not brass. The back springs possess gaps, which do not flush when the spey and sheepsfoot open. It flushes well once the main blade, clip blade, is opened.
The edge of all these blades is functional though inconsistent. Flat spots exist where the bevel differs. The blades are short, but they are responsible for making the knife reliable for a variety of applications, ranging from detail works to sturdy tasks such as whittling and electrical jobs.
The high-carbon stainless steel makes them sharp, long-lasting, sturdy, and resistant to wear as well as rust. The blades are also easy to sharpen. The light handle is contoured to ensure a secure grip.
Old Timer 8OT Senior – Best Cheap Stockman Knife
This is the stockman knife built with both style and traditional aspects. Old Timer is one of the old but valued brands when it comes to knives, as outdoorsmen, tradesmen, landowners, and ranchers have always trusted its products. The 8OT Senior is one of these knives.
With 6.9-inch length, 3-inch blade length, and 2.8-ounces of weight, the knife is compact and holdable. It comes with clip point, spey, and sheepsfoot blades that are made using 7Cr17MoV high-carbon steel, which is admired for its hardness, resistance to wear and corrosion, and extra strength.
Although corrosion resistance is not going to be great, the steel is tough and retains a sharp edge well. The saw cut handle is strong enough to ensure a good grip. The blade will just not slip due to the heat-treated back springs.
With a convenient size, quick access, and nail pulls, this knife is ideal for daily carry. You can trust it when around the house or in the wild.
This stockman knife truly looks and feels like an imperial asset. The credit for this goes to its finished look and high-quality build. This folder differs from other EDCs with its couple of admirable features such as heat-treated back springs, stainless-steel bolsters, and brass.
Further, this Imperial stockman comes with an elaborate glossed, melded pattern, making a catchy impression on whoever sees it for the first time. It also sustains itself well to maintain this impression even after months of use.
Forged with style and quality, the blades are razor sharp and capable of performing any cutting task efficiently. The main blade is in the style of clip point, while the other two are spey and sheepsfoot. So, you can expect this knife to do a variety of jobs for you, including wood whittling and cutting.
The sheepsfoot and spey blades are cut more thinly than those of many other stockman knives. Thus, they are ideal slicers. However, at the same time, they are likely to be vulnerable to breakage or damage because of their thin profile. So, just do not use them for too hard tasks. The clip blade is sufficiently thick, due to which it is ideal for light to medium jobs.
All the blades are made using 3Cr13MoV stainless steel, a material known for its high resistance to wear as well as corrosion, great toughness, satisfactory ability to retain a sharp edge, and ease of sharpening for being in the category of soft steels.
The grey swirl polyoxymethylene handle seems to be hard yet comfortable to hold. The grip level is reliable to which the heat-treated springs contribute significantly. With easy and quick access to each blade via nail pulls, this stockman is truly reliable.
For the affordable price at which this knife is available, its features are truly commendable.
A stockman knife is one of the most useful types of pocket knives, the credit of which goes to its three different blades. Having it means having a timeless slip joint folding knife that can handle most of the general tasks. While there are many good models to consider, you should choose the one that is within your budget as well as meets your functional requirements. Case knives have the largest variety of these knives and I am sure you can find one that suits your purpose from their collection.
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.