Field Test – Erik R. Meade

MeadeErik R. Meade, with the Minnesota Department of Tourism, reviews the Model #11, 3 Finger Bird & Trout Knife.

I’m an avid fly fisherman and also enjoy upland bird hunting. Two years ago I was in need of a small, dependable fixed bladed knife. I purchased a Sunrise River Knives Model #11, 3 Finger Bird & Trout Knife. With a 2-5/8″ straight blade of 440-C. stainless steel, it has been hollow ground for ease of sharpening. For added control, thumb notches are provided on the top of the blade. Osage Orange, a native wood, was my choice for the handle material, set off with royal blue liners. To personalize the knife just for me, Jay etched my full name into the blade. A nice touch.

It has become my preferred knife to carry in the field for hunting and fly fishing. The blade’s geometry is well suited to my uses, much better in fact than any clip point blades I have tried, due to its tapered profile. The knife arrived in my hands razor sharp, with the handle, pins and blade fitting together perfectly, with no gaps, rough spots or blemishes of any kind. After two years of fairly heavy use, it still cuts effortlessly, with no signs of needing to be sharpened yet. When the time to sharpen the edge finally arrives, my preferred method will be to use my favorite and trusty fine India and hard Arkansas stones.

The multi-layers of Danish Oil Finish that were applied to the wood handle have shown no signs of chipping, peeling or working away. Nor has the wood shrunk or warped at all, it’s all just as tight as the day it arrived. To keep it up, after each use, I simply wash it off with warm, soapy water, then dry it thoroughly. Twice a year, I polish the wood handle with a quality liquid, lemon-oil furniture cleaner.

MeadeJay Maines makes fine quality fixed blade knives, all at very affordable prices. I also own and enjoy one of his small skinning and caping knives, a model #22. Watch for my review of this knife later on in the year. I’ve had a fine old Marble’s “Ideal Pattern” hunting knife for many years. Unfortunately over the years, the stacked leather handle had become loose, and the leather was deteriorating. Jay did a repair and conversion on this knife, that now makes it a favorite of mine once again. Sunrise river Custom Knives always gives their customers more than they expect, and a true value for their investment. Having had the opportunity to visit Jay’s workshop twice, and owning and using two of his working class knives, I’m please to recommend his craftsmanship to al blade enthusiasts.

-Erik R. Meade.