Cool Customs: Kurt Swearingen’s Buffalo Hunter Set

Cool Customs: Kurt Swearingen’s Buffalo Hunter Set
Kurt opted for the gut hook on the blade edge rather than the spine because some grip the spine for detail work and accidentally nick their finger on the hook in the process. He makes the point of the hook nice and sharp for piercing the animal’s hide to ease the job of skinning. He employed hollow grinds, bolsters instead of guards, and distal tapering to lower overall weight. (SharpByCoop knife images)

From One-Day Course To One-Of-A-Kind Knives, Kurt Swearingen’s Buffalo Hunter Set Shows How Quickly The Knifemaker Has Honed His Craft

ABS Journeyman Smith/Knifemakers’ Guild member Kurt Swearingen went with tradition and what works in his three-piece buffalo hunter set.

Made for North American big game, the set includes a Green River-type skinner, caper, and gut hook in CPM 154 stainless steel blades and black ash burl grips. Kurt based the design on a similar set he’d seen from the 1800s. He chose CPM 154 because that’s what he uses on his fixed-blade hunting knives and the ash because it’s a wood native to the Great Plains, home of the American bison. 

He made the sheath from three layers of stacked 9-ounce leather with two layers of welts. The sheathed set weighs 2-3 pounds so he hollow ground the blades and outfitted them with bolsters instead of guards to save on weight and size. The set wears on a belt, though Kurt modified it so you can string it on a pack or a saddle.

Who Is Kurt Swearingen?

Kurt Swearingen

Swearingen’s knifemaking journey began back in 2007 after taking a one-day class. From there he learned from one of the all-time greats, Lin Rhea, who helped him to perfect forging and heat treating techniques that have helped make his knives stand out from the pack.

Just seven years after that course that started it all, Swearingen earned the rank of journeyman smith. Today he specializes in hunting and camp knives of all types.

Buffalo Hunter Set Specs

Model: Buffalo Hunter Set
Maker: Kurt Swearingen
Patterns: Green River skinner, caper and gut hook
Blade lengths: 4.75 inches, 3 inches, and 2.75 inches
Blade steel: CPM 154 stainless
Handle material: Black ash burl
Sheath: Three layers of 9-ounce stacked leather
Maker’s price for a similar set: $1,850

Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here