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Thread: Douk Douk

  1. #1
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    Douk Douk


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    I just had to order a Douk Douk last night. The small one with about a 2 1/2 inch blade. Carbon steel blade, pretty rough as to fit and finish but solid seems to be the most often way they are described. Anyone got one?
    Rob - (Goofy Doofus)
    "Oil the Joints"

  2. #2
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    I've got the small medium and large, I love them. But then I have a thing for funky low tech working knives like Douk-douks, Okapi's, Opinels, Mercator K-55' and sodbusters. I love how they get really scary sharp like an opi, or large sodbuster. Very good blade geometry!

    Mostly I like the medium best, but the large gets carried on picnics and woods walks because it slices up bread and cheese and hard sausage so well.

  3. #3
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    Gotta love those working man's knives !

    Here's some history on the Douk Douk....taken diectly from "Cutler's Cove" website :

    Douk Douk History

    Douk Douk

    The firm of Gaston Cognet and company created the Douk Douk in the town of Thiers in 1927.
    Gaston's grandson Pierre Cognet is now the director of the factory and is assisted by his father Guy Cognet (the previous director for the past 50 years).

    The original knife has a 4-inch blade and is now accompanied by small and large knives with 3 and 5-inch blades. The 4-inch blade remains the best seller.
    The shape of all three knives is similar although the handle of the large knife is swollen in the middle.
    The handle is stamped with the image of a sorcerer called "Douk Douk." He is a God of doom in French Polynesia.
    The handle is made of sheet steel folded into a U shape and encloses a spring which holds the blade open or closed. The whole knife is assembled with two pins. One forms the blade pivot and the other secures the spring and the steel loop for the lanyard.
    Although the Douk Douk is an industrial production, all its assembly and checks have been made by hand since 1927.
    The blade shape is a Turkish clip: a cross between a Bowie and a Scimitar. The steel is 1075, hot drop forged and integral hollow ground with a Rockwell hardness of HC 52-53.

    Douk Douks were made in their thousands for the former French colonies, especially for the Pacific islands. However they also found their way to the North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia etc.) where they were very popular. In some African countries, the word "Douk Douk" is synonymous with "knife." The knife came back to Europe after the Algerian war of independence when many Algerians moved to France.
    Some variants of the Douk Douk are:
    El Baraka, produced for northwest Africa.
    Tiki produced for Oceana and decorated with a Tahitian idol.
    Squirrel produced for the French market.

    Why was the knife so successful?
    Douk Douks were and are inexpensive, but the steel is of premium quality. The temper and the grind are so good that Algerians even used the Douk Douk for shaving instead of a razor.
    They are very easy to re-sharpen.
    The handle covers its spring, so that it cannot harm the user if the spring explodes.
    The Douk Douk can fit easily in a pocket or a wallet and can complete a medical or survival kit.

    Many people may regret the fact that Douk Douk is not a lock back. But, without the lock (yet with a secure spring), the knife is internationally legal.

    The medium size comes in a stainless version for mariners and deep forest explorers such as Geoffrey De Gentille who used the Douk Douk in the Congo. The Douk became the main knife of the Pygmy tribe who worked with him over the years. Pygmies used a lot machetes and the Douk. Their Douks were sharpened one side only, like a chisel.

    Cheap but excellent material quality; when you need a knife for hard chores and you won't mind losing or destroying it, call for a Douk Douk!
    -Regards
    Last edited by Gramps; 10-28-2006 at 03:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    Great users with a bit of history (a 1920's design). They are best thought of as sodbusters on a diet. Tough as nails with all steel construction, although I haven't had to fix anything on it, nothing about it that can't be straightened or peened back into service. Good old fashioned carbon steel, tough and easy to resharpen. The darn thing gets a lot of back pocket carry from me on the weekend (often as the knife that saves a pretty knife from damage, just stick in your pocket until that moment when things turn sticky, gunky, or nasty). In short, the Douk is like a sweet tempered wife who can cook-makes you aware of the old saying "pretty is as pretty does" next to the super model knives lounging in the drawer.

  5. #5
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    I Am Embarrassed To Say I Have Never Heard Of A Douk Douk Till Now.

    You can learn something new every day. Are all the blades shaped like the one in the photo ??? That is a strange shape to my Teutonic eyes.

  6. #6
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    In short, the Douk is like a sweet tempered wife who can cook-makes you aware of the old saying "pretty is as pretty does" next to the super model knives lounging in the drawer.
    ...great metaphor, Bartleby.

    Here's my Douk Douk story. True. In the mid seventies I was on the night run from Nice to Bordeaux. I managed to get seated in a compartment with a VERY drunk Algerian dock worker who, once he found out I was American, began to let loose a steam of ugly words directed toward me and my country of origin. I took offense. As things got heated the Algerian pulled out a Douk Douk...just as the train's conductor entered the compartment to take tickets. The Algerian then coolly reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a hunk of dried sausage and began to cut off chunks with his Douk and feed his face. Sensing something wasn't quite "right", the conductor briskly grabbed me by my elbow and nearly pulled me from the compartment, escorting me into another train car.......into another compartment....all the while telling me in French and English NOT to move from the car until the train reached Bordeaux; I knew I had just escaped a tight spot. Before and since that incident I have traveled worldwide both with impunity and a sense of ease.

    -regards
    Last edited by Gramps; 10-28-2006 at 04:31 PM.

  7. #7
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    Great story Gramps! I imagine almost any travels after that would be more at ease. Wil, I have seen photos of a more traditional drop point version of the Douk made for sale in the European market with a squirrel on it instead of the witch doctor. I think this version is called "The squirrel" but in French, of course. Don't know if they are being imported here.

  8. #8
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    Incredible story Gramps on the train ride, those are the kind of interesting items that make this board really great...

    On the Douk's I am glad that I am not the only one who had not heard of them, thanks for the enlightenment...

    Sunburst

  9. #9
    An educational place to hang out. I've seen pics of that type before, but didn't know what they were called. Years back I had something similar that had a tiger, or something like that on the side. It was thin and very sharp. I used it as a patch knife with my muzzle loader for a while. Fairly soft steel in it, but it cut and sharpened fine.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby View Post
    ...I have seen photos of a more traditional drop point version of the Douk made for sale in the European market with a squirrel on it instead of the witch doctor. I think this version is called "The squirrel" but in French, of course. Don't know if they are being imported here.
    Bartleby, the blade shape you see on Thomasons picture is actually the traditional shape for a DoukDouk.
    And the traditional for The Squirrel would be a drop point.
    Re-reading your post, I'm not sure I understood it correctly, so maybe I'm just stating the obvious to you.
    In which case you can just ignore my comments, of course...

    / Karl

  11. #11
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    Sorry for the confusion. The squirrel is a drop point for French domestic sale with a squirrel on the side. The export models which share the same odd "double dip clip" blade are the Douk Douk (with a witch doctor), Tiki (with a Tiki idol), and the El Baraka (with a geometric design, so as not to have a human image, for Islamic areas). There is also a stainless version out there.
    Amos had a Mercator "cat" knife, there's a big post up on the Bernard Levine forum on these. I ruined one by trying to parkerize the handle after the paint came off. The phosphoric acid melted the plastic spacer/spring retainer. Another valuable life lesson learned.

  12. #12
    Someone posted this link before showing that there were some interesting variations. One of these days, I'll have to break down and buy me one.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amos Iron Wolf View Post
    Years back I had something similar that had a tiger, or something like that on the side. It was thin and very sharp.
    A I W, might you be describing a Mercator 55? I just purchased one a couple of weeks ago after seeing it praised here on BF and I've been VERY impressed. Although I like other 'working' folders like Opinels and Okapis, the Mercator is the first knife I've bought that I would honestly pay twice or three times as much for -- I'll have to get another!

  14. #14
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    I also ordered a small Douk Douk just last week. Should be here soon.

  15. #15
    SteveKt...Don't forget to tell us how you like it. I need to get a small version of the Douk Douk but, would like some feedback first. I have the original 4" version & love it as it cuts great!

  16. #16
    I believe mine was a Mercator, but it was sure a lot cheaper then (late 70s).

  17. #17
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    So darn tempted to buy one of those................. You guys are killin my wallet.

  18. #18
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    I'm looking for one, but Garrett only has the small and medium. Any ideas on where to find large?

  19. #19
    The large one is a whopper & a Doozie! Szabonic carries em I think. The website has a huge page to download and the Douks are at the bottom...wouldn' ya know it!

  20. #20
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    Smile I got one!

    Gramps,Thanks for thge history writeup.
    Thomason,Great thread,and Thank You for the Douk Douk,too.
    Vince

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