The Hunter by Lapin Puuko
I will admit that when Paul asked me to review the Lapin Puuko Hunting knife I was excited. I had never handled nor used a Lapin Puuko product.
I researched the company and the knives prior to receiving the knife from Paul. I was impressed by the company’s longevity, quality assurance, product guarantee as well as its ability to stay focused on a line of knives suited for the hunter and fisherman.
The Lapin Puuko Hunter has a blade length of 3.8” and is made from high quality polished carbon steel. The blade has been induction-tempered for extremely demanding use. The blade is tempered to a hardness of 63 HRC. The handle is made from waxed Lapland Birchwood and is ergonomically shaped. The sheath is made from tough ox-skin leather.
The best part is the lifetime guarantee covering material and manufacturing defects. A guarantee they take seriously.
All that sounds great but when Paul asked me to review this knife he did so in hopes I would cause this high quality knife great stress and abuse. This knife was designed, manufactured and marketed for hunters and fisherman. However as a search and rescue operator I am well aware that you may become engaged in a wilderness survival emergency at any moment while fishing or hunting. Therefore your knife must be capable of so much more than skinning and cleaning animals.
So with that in mind I created a list of qualities I wanted to test to see if this knife could handle a true wilderness survival emergency.
Ease of carry
Comfort in Use
Retention of Sharpness
Ease of Sharpening
These qualities would not be tested in the comfort of my home rather while engaged in an advanced winter survival course.
Ease of Carry and Comfort in Use
I was truly sceptical of this knife when I received it due to its shorter blade and wood grained handle.
However, the first time I used it to construct a fire bow drill set I was made a believer. The shape of the handle allows a comfortable grip that reduces fatigue and helps eliminate slips.
The leather sheath covers ¾ of the knife which provides excellent retention and protection while still allowing a smooth draw.
Rating : 9 out of 10
As a bush craft and survival practitioner a knifes ability to carve, shape, cut and whittle wood is a very important part of primitive living.
The first task was constructing a fire bow drill kit. This task requires a knife to split, shape, carve and cut through wood. This knife handled the task with ease and with the blade being shorter than the average survival knife it allowed great control and performance.
Rating : 10 out of 10
In an emergency survival situation you must be able to make fire. It’s as simple as that. Therefore your knife’s ability to split wood into kindling and larger fuel sizes is a life or death situation.
I was not sure that this knife had the ability to withstand the brutal abuse that splitting wood places on a blade and its handle.
I completed all other tests prior to attempting this one. I started by splitting small dried wood slicing thin pieces from the larger log. I used a 4” diameter piece of hardwood as the baton. I fully expected the handle to break free from the blade but it did not. With each piece I attempted to split a larger slice off the log.
I split until I reached a diameter of log that was just less than the length of the blade. This was the point at which the knife fatigued and I stopped.
This was the test that most concerned me however I was pleasantly surprised by the knife’s resilients to the abuse. This knife was not constructed or designed for this abuse so its ability to be smashed with a baton log driving it through a piece of wood was an extremely telling test.
Rating: 7 out of 10
This knife was designed, manufactured and marketed as a hunter’s and fisherman’s knife. Therefore its bread and butter is in its ability to skin hide and clean fish.
It’s no surprise that its performance while skinning snowshoe hare, muskrat and beaver was nothing short of effective and efficient.
Rating : 10 out of 10
Retention of Sharpness and Ease of Sharpening
I have always been a fan of carbon steel over stainless steel. Carbon steel has an amazing ability to retain its sharpness through hours upon hours of hard abuse.
As mentioned before this knife was designed as a skinning and cleaning knife and not as a hard use survival knife. With that being said the carbon steel blade hardened to 63 HRC remained effective throughout the tests and was never sharpened once throughout the process.
When I did complete the test I sat down with my Lansky sharpening system and went to work. Within 10 minutes I had this blade razor sharp and tested it in the usual way - by shaving a patch of hair off my arm. It passed.
Rating : 10 out of 10
I have never tested a knife designed for skinning and cleaning in this manner. This knife was used as a survival knife for one week. I used this knife exclusively for all the tasks necessary to survive and self rescue in the great Canadian Wilderness.
I know that most end users of this knife will be hunters and fisherman but I believe that it is truly important to purchase a knife that can complete all the tasks you want it for and all the tasks you may really need it for.
The Lapin Puuko Hunter 3.8” Carbon Steel knife is a high quality, hard use and reasonable priced everyday carry blade.