Outdoor Edge Game Skinner and Arthritis.

Aug 10, 1999
I was somewhat surprised not to have seen lots of comments and opinions of the Game Skinner and other T handled knives on this forum.
I have had a great experience with mine, and since I have some specific comments about it maybe people can add their ideas. If you have arthritis or know of hunters who suffer from it, perhaps some of the following will be of value.
My point in writing this is to generate discussion that might improve a design - since my arthritis is fairly certain to come back to haunt me.

I realize that the design dates back more than ten years, and I may have missed some comments. If so let's collect them in one place..
There are two ways of looking at the knife - from the perspective of a disabled person, and from that of an able person. My perspective from a disabled person's point of view is very specific, so please bear that in mind. Given the fact that people with various forms of arthritis have different problems, mileage might vary.

I got my Game Skinner when I suffered from arthritis in my thumbs. It used to come on very fast and sure was painful until I'd downed enough pills and waited long enough to reduce the swelling. I'd packed out a moose for a friend of mine - and done enough with my thumbs to set them off. When it came time to skin the quarters ready for butchering we had to work fast - and I just couldn't with a regular knife. I'd brought a few along, and had no luck with any. You'd figure that you could come up with a way of holding the knife without banging your thumb around, but you can't. This was with hanging quarters which should be simple.

Since T handled kitchen knives are made for people with arthritis, I decided to give the Game Skinner a try.

What sold me on the knife right away was the design of the sheath. For starters it has a well made sheath - very solid and safe. The important part about the sheath is that it rides horizontally. You can place it in such a position on your belt that you automatically open the safety strap by putting the base of the palm of your hand on the T handle and opening the snap with your fingers. This is very important since even if you suffer pain with arthritis with your thumbs, you will still attempt to use them without thinking, given the chance - and it really hurts. I don't know if Outdoor Edge gets any requests for sheaths made for left handers, but that would be handy for some people. I can't fault the sheath in any way.
Just as important is the fact that when you draw the knife, you have a strong grip on it because of the T handle. Try unsheathing any regular knife without using your thumbs, and consider that hitting your thumb on something will give you a sudden jolt of pain - and you'll see that regular knives can be very unsafe for people with arthritis.
The knife was sharp, and the handle surprisingly comfortable and adaptable. It feels solid not spongy despite the Kraton handle. You absolutely can use this knife without any guidance from your thumb. Even better, the thumb doesn't get banged around while you are cutting. The grip is surprisingly stable in the hand, wet or dry, due to the texture of the grip and the finger grooves. For a while I used it for just about all kitchen duties - since I didn't have much choice with heavier jobs. It and a very small paring knife took care of everything. Try doing a simple job like peeling and chopping an onion without using your thumbs - and you'll see why it's pretty slow and awkward without having a T handled knife around. Even jobs like dividing large chunks of frozen meat are pretty easy because of the tremendous force you can generate with this knife. Combined with a rocking motion of the curved blade it does really well. I doubted that it would be so easy given the thickness of the blade.
The knife works well as a hunting knife. I'm not a great fan of gutting hooks, feeling that any gutting hook is pretty miserable when measured against even a small (point protected) knife held at an angle. The one on the GS is worse than most due to it's position on a thick part of the blade - resulting in an edge with a pretty wide angle. It sure works though. The main reason is the tremendous force you can exert with the T handle. The knife is stable for skinning and cutting without use of thumbs, and works as well as it is supposed to.

After my thumbs recovered to a large degree, I went back to using regular knives in the kitchen. The simple fact is that if you are able to use them, they are the fastest and most efficient. Perhaps I would feel differently if I used a true Ulu. I guess the question to answer is if I see the game skinner as a good replacement for a normal skinning knife IF one has the choice of both.

The tradeoff with this knife is the thickness of the blade. Because of a narrow section at the neck of the T, the blade stock has to be thick. This is not a bad thing because it certainly is possible to use the knife comfortably with fingers on the back of the blade (for more control), despite the gut hook. While the grind leading up the edge is hollow ground (on mine at least) the hollow grind wasn't deep enough, so the edge angle is pretty wide. This is not a big deal with moose where you are holding back a flap of hide - but I could see where it would be with other animals. For sure the short blade and handle configuration generates a lot of force in cutting, but it seems that you need to put more force into using it than should be necessary. The knife works well with a coarsely ground edge and holds such an edge well. I find that such an edge is more efficient than a fine edge, due to the "many small teeth" effect - but it's generally not durable.
I guess the bottom line answer is that some people like thin and narrow knives, and they'll find this one very different. You have to get used to it to see its advantages.
Sometimes you might need to whittle, even with a skinning knife. I did find the blade awkward to use on whittling - due to the angle of the grind of the blade. This surprised me since I had used it to such effect in the kitchen. Note that whittling or cutting "fuzzy sticks" with any implement with a short blade (and you will be using mostly the front of the curved blade on this one) which also is capable of transferring a lot of force - is best done with the wood held against a log etc. for safety!

I find myself carrying the knife more and more because it's easy to carry. It is very efficient for a great variety of tasks - I even find it great for cleaning salmon. As I sharpen the grind back to a much narrower angle - slowly because there is a lot of metal to be removed - I find myself liking the knife more and more. I am very puzzled why this is not done at the factory.

Comments and discussion?
One point that I would like to know the answer to is why in using a ferrocerium (flint) fire starter I seem to able to get a much better spark than I do with a similar 90' edge on my Gerber folder. I had not expected to see the difference I think I am seeing - with two stainless steels. I realize that a piece of hacksaw blade works better than either...
Any ideas on how the knife could be adapted to a more all purpose implement for people with a disability?

This is a great thread. I don't have arthritis (yet), but I'm really interested in knife ergonomics. My concern with the Outdoor Edge design was that the grip seemed less flexible for general blade use than a straight handle and the angle seemed awkward when you invert the blade to use the hide ripper. A knife that seemed like an interesting alternative is Browning's Swivel-Lok design. This lets you use the blade either as a very straight T-handle or a straight hunting knife. I give a Browning link below. What do you think?


[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 01-10-2000).]
You might want to give the Wedge a try. You can hold that one like a pushknife, too. It's a very thin blade and the full flat grind makes it seem even thinner.

-Cougar Allen :{)
This post is not merely the author's opinions; it is the trrrrrruth. This post is intended to cause dissension and unrest and upset people, and ultimately drive them mad. Please do not misinterpret my intentions in posting this.
Thanks guys! Sorry I took a while to get back online.

The Browning looks very promising, as does the Wedge. Given the prices I'm going to pick them up and give them a try. I don't know how long I get away with little pain from arthritis - but it's certain to come back in the long term. I'm getting know what to look and feel for in knives now, and it's time to prepare. It isn't as though there are hundreds of knives to choose from!

Hopefully by trying things, I'll come up with some ideas which I can get made in a custom design - to remove shortcomings.

Thanks again!

Hi Jimbo....

I've been looking at these knives also,, and they seem like they would do the trick for many different hand related problems.

You know a horizontal sheath out of Concealex or Kydex,,could very simply be built for this knife,, without snaps,straps or buckles. A simple pull would be enough to draw the knife, while holding it securely in place....

Speaking of Lefty.. I'm a lefty. Most of the sheaths I design can be flipped over for left, right, even horizontal use.

Glad you found a product you like and will recommend...



Eric E. Noeldechen
On/Scene Tactical
Custom made, High Quality
Concealex Sheaths and Tool Holsters
Canada's Only Custom Concealex Shop!


Had a look at your mom's knife...

Very interesting design...
Looks like it would come in handy for many things around the kitchen...

I really like that setup..Good stuff!

ttyle Eric....

Eric E. Noeldechen
On/Scene Tactical
Custom made, High Quality
Concealex Sheaths and Tool Holsters
Canada's Only Custom Concealex Shop!

Thanks Howard!

How does the knife handle when you use it for cutting without use of thumbs? I know I'm selfish here since I'm also very lucky in that I have specific degeneration and so far just my thumbs are affected. Will you give it a try without use of thumbs to see how stability is affected? I guess what I'm asking is whether the knife might slip sideways without lateral thumb pressure.

I'm also very interested in how your mother does with the knife and which fingers are affected. I not only want to solve problems for me. The only knives I've seen designed for people with arthritis are either regular knives with some enhancements to help grip, or T handled knives which give good grip but you cut by sawing back and forth. Often you need to put some serious downward pressure to speed up chores. Your concept is the first that uses a design like the ulu where you can use the heel of the hand to put on the pressure.

I guess a lot of people are wondering what is wrong with the Ulu shape with a lot of curve in the blade. I'm ordering some now to try them. I would expect though that the design emphasises motion of the wrist. This moves the bones in the palm of the hand which move the knuckles which leads to pain. In my case at least it's best to let everything settle while the anti-inflamatory pills work. Sometimes you have to prepare stuff at the worst of times.
I can see where you thought of this in coming up with your design where the upper arm can provide the movement.


I just tried some experiments holding the Wedge with a pushknife grip. I can hold my wrist straight and move from the elbow and I don't have to use my thumb at all. The Wedge is pretty short, though -- probably too short for some jobs. Using a longer knife would put more strain on the wrist -- does strain on the wrist matter if you can hold it straight?

-Cougar :{)
Thanks Cougar!

You've convinced me - and luckily I've found a store that carries the Wedge - not always easy up here in Canada. I'll pick one up tomorrow. First of all were you trying a wedge or a wedge 2? I guess I'll start off with the little one..
In my case as long as the wrist isn't flexed around too much the bones in the palm of the hand aren't moved too much. If they are moved then the other end of the bone at he base of the thumb isn't moved and inflamation has a chance to decrease. It should work about the same for people with arthritis in fingers.
For sure a paring type knife that can be gripped and exert force using the palm of hand (away from the affected area)- is a pretty good tool for someone in my position.
What looks good for me and terrible for other users with arthritis in fingers is the release on the sheath.
As I've said - little things catch you out - some of my most painful moments have been with stuff like keys which take a lot of force to twist in the lock. Catches you most unexpectedly and the pain is a real jolt.
I'll let you know what I think of the wedge tomorrow after shopping!



Please pardon my delay in answering you. I temporarily lost track of this thread.

I just spoke with my mother this evening. The pain she was experiencing in the joints of her fingers has decreased and is not bothering her much now. She never did have a problem with her thumb.

She said that although she does use her thumb when using the knife, she thinks it can be utilized without lateral thumb pressure. She had the knife in her hand when she gave that opinion, and she did try putting pressure on the knife without the use of her thumb.

She also noted that although the knife was the best thing she had for cutting pizza, or chopping vegetables and meat, it didn’t do very well peeling potatoes or cucumbers. For that she had to revert to a traditional paring knife or vegetable peeler. The peeling type operations may call for a different type of solution. Perhaps a T handle would work there.
I lost track of this thread too ... so many forums, and only twenty-four hours in the day! I haven't had a chance to try out a Wedge II -- the blade is a little longer but the handle shape is different; I'm not sure if it would work as well in pushknife grip or not. It's only a 3" blade, too, so you wouldn't gain much length.

I put a bit of cordwrap on the narrowest part of the handle of my Wedge, using thin cord. I think it helps a lot but YMMV.

-Cougar :{)