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Freitag, 14. November 2014

Short introduction of a very traditional knife - The Otter Hippekniep

 At my recent visit to Solingen I also dropped by the Otter knives booth. Now they were very persuasive;-) and I got this beautiful traditional knife with a history.

Now it is very interesting that these knives are called "Hippekniep" in Solingen, and there are many theories concerning the origin of this name. I take it to be cognate with the "Hepchen" or "Hippe" knife, a knife wiedly used in farming. It might go back to gothic *havi = hay, *Haviknapi would mean "Hay-biter". In either case, the "Hippe" was a scythelike tool but with no offset, similar to the "Falcata Illyrica" or "Falx", a billhook weapon used by the Illyrians in their fight against Rome. Another theory is that the handle looks like a goat´s leg (in  Niederdeutsch, a Saxon stem of German quite similar to Anglo - Saxon "Hippe" is a female goat) or that it was used to shorten goat´s hoof horn. In Solingen it was sold as a "Taschenschlachtmesser" (emergency butcher pocket knife). In France it is famed as a "mineur", because it was common amongst coalminers there where it was a do-it-all utility tool and more often than not a last defence against the ever-prominent tunnel rats. As a "sodbuster knife" it is known in the USA. Germany, however, is the first place I came across where it found production.  First examples date back to the early 19th century.

This one is an excellent piece of craftsmanship. It comes with a razor - sharp C - 75 blade, 95 mm long and tapering from 2,5 - 1,2 mm in the tip. Blimey, this is a razor! The handle is beautifully finished Grenadill wood that is polished to a high lustre. A great addition in my book is the pivot, that is a simple rivet peened over a brass disc on either side. Apart from it being quite a feat of craftsmanship to do this properly, by that way play can be adjusted by gentle taps with a ball peen should it ever occur. The blade has a stiff slipjoint spring with enough stay to withstand moderate spinewhack testing. The opening was a bit rough, but nothing to be ashamed of. Also included is a lanyard for faster access. The brass bead aids in drawing and counteracts the cool design with a warm golden colour... beautifully made.
Tolerances are virtually non - existent. It is an excellent knife for everyday work, for snacking and whittling the odd stick, and it is simply a sight to behold. It does everything a knife is supposed to do, it has a friendly appearance and it is beautiful. Plus, it is one of the very few folding knives where I do not miss  a locking mechanism.

Go to their website here:


  1. I've never been an admirer of this style knife, but this one does have a nicer shape than I've seen, and some nice craftsman's touches.

    1. It´s no design knife at all, and I don´t like the typical sodbusters myself, but there are some of them I like. This one is a good "see, Mr. Policeman it´s a snack knife" EDC. It´s fiercely sharp and has enough stay so that you do not hurt yourself that easy when whittling, and it has a decent length so that you can cut, not mutilate;-), a decent loaf of bread when snacking.


Now go on, discuss and rant and push my ego;-). As long as it´s a respectful message, every comment is welcome!

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