The Uluchet...right in time for the hunting season

Kodiak PA

Gold Member
Dec 3, 1998
The following is a review of the Uluchet, a knife that was designed by BFC member PJ Turner, President of turner MFG. The knife was tested by a friend of mine deep in the Alaskan bush recently and the following is what I compiled from him on a recent interview. I will be posting more pictures as I get them.

A military buddy of mine took the Uluchet on a recent moose and bear hunt to the wilds of Alaska just north of Tok and south of Chicken (yep, there really is a town in Alaska called Chicken---don’t ask me why). Bill, my co-worker was accompanied by his father and uncle. Bill was looking forward to this trip for a long time. What added to his excitement was the prospect of using the Uluchet. The Uluchet is a knife designed by PJ Turner, president of Turner Manufacturing. The Uluchet is an innovative design. Half Ulu and half hatchet. Take a look at it in the open position (photo courtesy of WOW):


PJ designed this knife to be a pure hunter’s tool and companion. The zytel-glassed reinforced handle is quite sturdy. In the closed position one can grasp the knife like a traditional Alaskan Ulu to perform food chopping, field dressing and skinning. In the open position it acts like a hatchet to perform a variety of chores such as chopping and quartering. The blade is bead blasted cryogenically treated D2 steel with a very sharp convex grind. It is about as sharp as any cutting edge I have ever felt. The locking mechanism is an opposing 180-degree rotational stopping mechanism that envelops the shank of the blade. There is an additional pin to maintain the handle in both the open and closed position. The knife is very secure. Before the hunt everyone who was examining the Uluchet (and there were quite a few of us who were) were wondering how the locking mechanism would hold up. It held up beautifully. The knife is compact in the closed position and it comes in a very sturdy leather “holster” type sheath that sort of looks like a pistol holster. We were all excited for my friend, Bill. He was going to take a very simply designed concept that had a lot of high tech uses.

Did I say that this knife was sharp? Several folks examining the knife before the hunt found out the hard way.

Right before the hunt, Bill let me take his knife home for me to examine it and to apply some mink oil to the sheath and to Tuf-Cloth the blade. I decided to take it to the woodpile to see how she would chopped. The handles swing open in opposite directions; easily locks and I then had a nice hatchet in my hands. I completely demolished several large pieces of driftwood that I had on my stoop. The handle was very comfortable and there are three large holes in the handle that really help facilitate your gripping ability. I have to learn to stop laughing loudly when I am cutting things. The neighbors look at me weird. Anyway, I was initially impressed and it was a blast to see all those wood chips flying. The big test was to see how it handled in the bush during the trip.

Well…it handled magnificently! Bill bagged a 57-inch moose that weighed between 1600-1800 pounds. The rack on this animal was incredible. I will post a picture of it next week when I get it. Bill and his party were 12 miles from their base camp when they got the moose. It was late afternoon and they really wanted to get out of there before dark. They were in bear country after all and it was getting cold. He skinned the entire moose in the closed Ulu position in only 30 minutes. He said the knife just caped the hide off in no time. In fact, his dad who was assisting by caping near the antlers dulled two hunting knives by the time Bill was done skinning the remainder of the animal. The knife was still very sharp! He then boned and butchered the meat right there with the Uluchet and used a bone saw to remove the antlers. Bill had some difficulty with the primary cut during the initial skinning phase since he was incising near the gut and was afraid he would penetrate inside the abdominal cavity if he pushed too hard and he wanted to avoid that. Retrospectively, he said he would start skinning around the shoulder blades since the knife would easily penetrate there and he wouldn’t have to worry about inadvertently gutting it like he did on the belly side. The knife had some difficulty around tight areas like the joints and the antlers but Bill supplemented by using a small utility knife he was carrying but the ease of skinning the moose more than made up for the slight inconvenience of the tight spots.

The whole party was amazed at how quick he was able to skin it. “Like a pro” he said.

Another interesting use he did with the knife was to chop into the ground replanting saplings that they initially tugged out of the ground to find their favorite trail. They pulled out the sapling's roots and all since they wanted to replant the small trees later to hide their favorite trail. Bill used the Uluchet to chop into the ground in quarters so he could replant the trees. I found this really amazing since I don’t think PJ had this chore in mind when he invented this knife. Bill said he had fun doing this. He also used the knife for camp chores like any other knife would be used.

When he got back from the hunt I thoroughly examined the knife. It was not sharpened once in the two weeks it was in the bush. There were no appreciable edge deformations or chips in the blade. Though it wouldn’t shave, the knife was still sharp enough to easily cut and chop if need be. Even though it was bead blasted D2, there was absolutely no rust. That is a testimony on how good Tuf-Cloth is. It took less than 10 minutes to get it shaving sharp on the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker though I had a little difficulty sharpening it near the top of the edge where it curves towards the tang since it would slide off of the ceramic sticks.

A few observations: We all loved the knife and we’re glad to hear that PJ will be using some optional kydex sheaths that will just cover the head of the blade. He will be using a “tech lock” mechanism so the sheath will be able to snap right onto the belt without having to remove it to put the sheath on. Even though this is Alaska, sheaths that look like pistol holsters can still raise a few eyebrows and with the optional kydex sheath that won’t be a concern.

Another possible option could be to “rubberized” the zytel handle. Bill mentioned that the handle gets a tad slippery when covered with blood and perhaps adding a hard rubber handle would not be a bad idea. Of course I would rather see a handle inlay like the Busse Basic Combat series has instead of a Kraton one since they don’t seem to last.

This knife is now being “borrowed” by other friends. It is scheduled to go on a black bear hunt next week and several folks mentioned they wanted one for deer season. One of my trapping buddies thinks this knife will be good for otter and foxes, too.

I also think that this knife has a strong potential to be a rescue/survival tool. In an emergency the Uluchet would out perform any knife I have ever used for chopping so it could easily help fabricate emergency shelter in the woods, or you could use the knife in a closed position to easily punch out a car window if you had to. Simple things like cutting kindling or food preparing would be a breeze.

In closing, we think the Uluchet is an excellent knife and an exceptional skinning tool. It passed with flying colors on this recent hunt and I will report more on the subsequent hunts that it will go on.

Specs (taken from web site):
Length: Open, 9.5”, Closed, 6.5”
Handle: zytel/glass reinforced
Handle shape: Dogbone
Steel: D2, cryogenically treated
RC: 56-58
Weight: 10.5oz (without sheath)
Cost: $129.00 (price includes shipping to US addresses)
Water resistant instruction cards included
Guarantee: Lifetime

Also, check back next week to see a few pictures on how big that moose really was.

You can see PJ’s web site by clicking here



[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 02 October 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 02 October 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 02 October 1999).]
Congratulations PJ on a job well done and thanks Kodiak for posting a fine review. I have never used the Uluchet however as a hunting knife designer/manufacturer, I never had any doubt this tool would perform as well as Kodiak described.
Sorry..the photo of the moose is no longer available on my site.

[This message has been edited by Kodiak PA (edited 20 November 1999).]
One of the things that stands out to me is how comfortable he was in using the Uluchet. No matter what the task, even some digging to plant a few trees, no problem. This is probably the most important aspect a blade can have to me as the very instant I hesitate to use one on something I wish I had something else instead. Nice job on the writeup.

Here's a comparison view of the Uluchet in both the open and closed positions. I promised to post this earlier. Sorry for the delay.