Need A Knife ‘Scalpel-Sharp’? Try A Replaceable Blade

Replaceable blade: Gerber Vital Folding Knife

If you need a razor-sharp edge for every cut, there’s no better tool than a replaceable blade knife. Because they provide a perfect cut every time, this style has grown in popularity among hunters, anglers, and others demanding a precision cut. Of course, these knives aren’t for everyone and many outdoors enthusiasts are better served with standard knives.

Ray Witt, an associate category manager at Cabela’s, noted there are more options than ever in replaceable blade knives. We spoke with Witt to learn more.

Havalon Baracuta Pro Fillet Knife

GearJunkie: What are the benefits of replaceable-blade knives?

Witt: The biggest benefit is you never need to sharpen them. You can just pop on a new blade and be back to a razor-sharp edge. Sharpening a blade on a stone is an art form that can take years to master. There are sharpeners out there such as the WorkSharp and models by Chef’sChoice that allow anyone to sharpen like a pro. However, replaceable blade knives have eliminated the need to sharpen in the field.

Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite Knife

What are the best applications for replaceable blades?

Any that require a razor edge, such as cleaning, skinning, and/or caping wild game. We carry a replaceable blade fillet knife that makes quick and easy work of fish as well.

Who should consider a replaceable-blade knife?

Hunters and fishermen, as noted. They are popular in the taxidermy world and make great knives for arts and crafts projects around the house that require fine, razor blade style cuts.

Havalon Piranta Zytel Folding Knife

What should a buyer look for in a quality replaceable blade knife?

Quality in the blade and handle material. Buying a replaceable blade knife from a reputable brand will help ensure you will receive the quality you need. Havalon, Outdoor Edge, and Gerber all offer great options.

Any disadvantages to replaceable blades?

There are a few slight disadvantages. They do not have the edge retention of a standard fixed or folding blade knife. However, last winter during a wild boar and deer hunt in Texas I used one of these replaceable knives and processed 2 boars and 1 deer with just 2 blades. I probably could have used 1 blade, but I wanted to switch blades when going from the boar meat to the deer.

Replaceable blades are not made for prying, twisting, or pounding with the blade. The blades are less durable than a standard knife. If you try and twist and pry the blades will break. There is a cost for the replaceable blades. But the prices of the blades are very reasonable for the benefits you receive from them.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.