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Thread: Okapi knives

  1. #1

    Okapi knives


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    Junk or jewels in the rough guys? Just looking for opinions...thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Raton, NM USA
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    I have a few old Okapi knives that were actually made in Germany for export to Africa (or so I've read). Calling them "Hit or miss" would be generous.

    -Bob

  3. #3
    They are ok. Very cheap to buy. Workmanship is a bit rough and they often aren't sharpened very well when you first get them. The blades are good honest carbon steel and perform pretty well once sharp.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
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    Hold a great edge. Excellent beaters. Throw one in your picnic basket.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W View Post
    I have a few old Okapi knives that were actually made in Germany for export to Africa (or so I've read). Calling them "Hit or miss" would be generous.

    -Bob
    German production was ceased years ago. Now their made in South Africa.

  6. #6
    I have a few Okapi's.. They are much like Opinel's & cut things really well like the Opinel's. They will need a sharpen job if you buy new one's. They sharpen easy like Opinel's. The blade will not swell shut like an Opinel which is why I prefer the Okapi. Great knife for a few bucks IMHO.

  7. #7

    Really appreciate it guys

    Just wanted to confirm that they held a decent edge....I like to customize things anyway....but I teach outdoor classes a few times a year and was thinking of trying a bulk order of Okapis for the folding knife portion for this next batch of students....they always need to learn how to sharpen anyway....

    I really appreciate the feedback

  8. #8
    They come dull. But, that way you can put your prefered edge on them. I still have some more to do on the one I picked up. They're pretty interesting and worth having one just for what they are. I have the larger one that has the inlay on it. It has a workman's feel to it. By that I mean it just seems like something you would find on a working class fellow in some rural area of Europe or Africa.

    Beware though, you may find yourself opening it to hear the ratcheting and then playing with the ring to close it. They are interesting, inexspensive, and one shapened, make, can you believe it, work knives. In addition to putting in the class of Opinels, I think you could also include the Kissing Crane Brown Mules. They all represent working, peasant knives - solid, basic, and inexspensive, old designs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    German production was ceased years ago. Now their made in South Africa.
    Yep, that's what I read - my Okapi knives are from the 1950s, and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone except for their historical interest. I haven't handled any of their 'modern' knives, but I'm interested in trying the ratchet system.

    -Bob

  10. #10
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    I ordered half a dozen or so of them, and was NOT very impressed. For the price range, I believe a person would be much better served by an Opinel, a Douk Douk, Mercator, an EKA folder, Sodbuster, or a Hackmann. (all priced from ten to twenty dollarsish)

    They come remarkably dull, have poor edge geometry and don't hold an edge worth a hill of beans. They also have a very small pin holding the blade in it's wooden handle. Not that I can really complain, since it never broke, but it's something I noticed.


    best of luck, whatever your decision!

  11. #11
    Hmmmm... The Okapi I have is not Hen n Rooster quality but, cuts tough weed eater plastic line unlike a few high dollar knives! I guess its what you like..but, the Okapi cuts with the best of em except my Douk Douk which is the best cutter I found so far!

  12. #12
    Geeezz.. Forgot to add that Runs Wth Scissors is not too far off with the EKA, Brown Mule Sodbuster or the Hackmann CIA knife. I preffer the Okapi for everyday cutting chores & the Douk Douk for the tough stuff However, I have used all the above with decent results. Give one Okapi a try...you will not be busted on a 600.00 buck custom like I was & if you hate it.. use it as a Beater!

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    I had an Okapi before my nephew ended up with it. It was not a bad cutter, but I had to do ALOT of work to get it sharp. Mine too came pretty blunt and I resented that. If a 10 dollar Opinel, Douk-Douk, Kissing Krane brown mule, can come with a good using edge out of the box, then the folks at Okapi need to do so as well.

    Once I had it sharp it cut well, and like pogo said, they won't swell shut when wet, something thats very important to me as april thru Early November we spend time on the water in some sort of boat. But they are interesting as a sample of an old style of clasp knife that goes back centuries. But I could never get it to cut with my Douk-Douk or sodbusters.

    There is that neat ratchet sound when opened...

    Makes me think of that old Frank Sinatra/ Cary Grant/ Sofia Loren movie "The Pride and The Passion" with the Navaja fight.

  14. #14
    Well said Jacknife! I am only comparing the Okapi's to how other knives cut different materials & I found the Okapi's to be up there! No...not at the top but, still up there! I find the Okapi's to be decent cutters but, not the top cutter. I test all my knives on cardboard, Polypropeline Rope & Weed Whacker Line. This tells me at least what is a good cutting knife & which is not. My tests could be flawed!

  15. #15
    Geeze Guy's... I forgot to add that I convex my Okapi's. Sorry about that fact! I do em on a Mousepad & 600 grit sandpaper...the Automotive kind! Boy they cut like all getout after that!

  16. #16
    Covex....is that similar to Scandi grind pogo? I dont know as much about geometry and things as a lot of you here....I just know how to use a knife and survive. I can sharpen decently and have used wet/dry sandpaper a lot and with good results....just trying to figure exactly what you mean....thanks so much for the input!

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    this page explains the concepts behind a convex edge better than most of us can post:

    http://home.nycap.rr.com/sosak/convex.htm

    a convex edge does have alot of benefits, and I've long since convexed my own Okapi's, but they still can't cut a biscuit in half without losing thier edges. Perhaps my expectations are just a bit high?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    I have just obtained one as a free gift with some knives I bought. It is very crude and will sit in the drawer as a curiosity. For the money, Opinel and the otehrs are better value. There is no edge except some grind marks. I have much better knives for EDC that don't cost much more. Here in Aus there is a brand called Excalibur. You can get a 4 inch stockman in stainless for $25 australian (about 20 USD). Why pay 10 for an Okapi when you get 4 times the knife for twice the price.

  19. #19
    I really appreciate everybody's opinions and help. To me a pocket knife for survival doesnt have to be pretty or highly polished....just a worker that wont fall apart. Edge retention would be my only concern so far from what I have read but I guess I will just buy one or two instead of 25 and test....just seems like I never have enough time to test all the knives and axes....but I have a love for the old ways and old styles even though I still only 30. My grandpa put a love of "the old days" in me. Thanks for the link!

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    a biased opinion

    the Okapi is good value

    I swapped my Opinel I carried for years for an Okapi 907e and havent looked back , OK , I did a month ago , the opinel has a better profile for skinning , the Okapi does good , but in that one area , peeling goats , I personaly found the Opinel to be better , likely because I am more familiar with that knife for that task.

    Besides that , I have no regrets . The Okapi holds its edge longer and puts up with rougher treatment .

    But then again , an Okapi doesnt quite slice cheese as neat as an Opinel does ... but I can carve hardwoods with my Okapi where the edge just rolls over big time on my Opinel

    I say this is a based opinon because I import and sell Okapi now . Ive been trying to find a cheap knife with a carbon steel blade that was more robust than the Opinel for years , and it turned out I had to import them myself , now its a self funding hobby .

    I also collect Marttiini knives anything cheap and that takes good edge and puts up with a fair amount of abuse , I like

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