Hawaiian knifemaker Ken Onion told us he was working on the ultimate
hunting knife, but it wasn't ready yet. We assumed that he meant he was
putting the finishing touches on a prototype, and were we wrong!
Instead, Ken was concluding an extensive field testing program spanning
more than five years, making dozens of custom skinners and giving them
to Alaskan guides, professional hunters, and taxidermists in exchange
for their feedback. He kept modifying the design and sending out more
knives, which have now been used to skin over 60 Alaskan bears, and have
been proven on deer, elk, moose, antelope, hogs, sheep and cattle.
While some were skeptical at first, it has become the favorite knife of
many of the top guides. It also works well for skinning, gutting,
deboning, the fine detail cuts preferred by taxidermists, and even
kitchen and camp chores.
We call it simply the Onion Skinner™. It features a three-quarter tang
Bohler K110 tool steel blade, high hollow-ground and polished to a satin
finish, with a hardness of HRC 58-60. The scales are Twin-Fused™ with a
Zytel® core and soft textured TPR outside for grip. A lanyard is
included. The custom leather sheath is molded and fitted to grip the
scales and lock the knife in position until needed. It can be worn left
or right, inside or outside the belt.
Here's an explanation of its unusual features and their functions:
First, the knife has a thin tip, with a slightly convex grind near the
tip that minimizes drag. No caping knife is needed for detail work.
Second, the top of the blade has a pronounced "camel hump". This allows
the hunter to insert the tip under the skin and rock the hand back,
which raises the tip up and away from the paunch.
Third, the tip has a straight section at an offset angle. This makes the
knife a useful utility and cooking tool around camp.
Fourth, is the short 3.75" blade length. This is just the length of the
average finger, which has proven perfect for the pencil grip favored by
Finally, the Onion Skinner features a handle which has a deep finger
choil, which greatly improves grip in slippery conditions. The thin
cross section allows for less obtrusive carry while still locking in the
So here is Ken's ultimate skinner. Field-tested for five years, and
finally ready for production and your own field test.
K700KXP: Razor-Sharp Cutting Edge
Blade: Length: 3.75” (95 mm)
Thickness: 0.142” (3.6 mm)
Steel: Bohler K110 Tool Steel, 58-60 HRC
Knife: Overall length: 8.00” (203 mm)
Closed: Handle length: 4.375” (111 mm)
Weight: 3.7 oz. (105 g)
Onion Skinner Sheath
Overall length: 6.75” (171 mm)
Width: 4.00” (102 mm)
Weight: 2.1 oz. (60 g)
Made in Taiwan