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Choil Questions

Discussion in 'Design' started by ToddR, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    My first knives didn't have choils at all. I didn't know what those funny little notches were for then. Once I started to sharpen my first knife, i realized what purpose they served immediately. So, i started putting them on my other knives (where it made sense). But, as always, once you start to get into something a little bit, you start to have more questions. I know i do. Here they are:

    1. How big should a choil be? Is this just a preference thing? I started with a little notch, the size of my smalled chainsaw sharpener and it worked great on that, a smaller, knife. But if you have a bigger blade or if the angle of the edge goes really high, the choil should be biggger, shouldn't it? Are there general rules of thumb or common sense to consider?
    2. I see some knives have a groove cut higher up than the handle for choking up on the knife. Is this consider a choil too? Can it be used as a choil for sharpening or should it be seperate so the fingers are further from the sharp edge. I just made my first big knife. It's a camp knife that has a big choil on the edge of the blade and also a seperate spot for the index finger when choking up on the knife. But it occured to me after that I could've combined the two things. Or could/should I ?
    3. where, in relation to the plunge line, should the choil go. Is this also just preference or is there some logic to it? I see some knives where the plunge line is completely behind (toward the handle) the choil and the choil is completely within the blade's edge. Other knives the plunge line comes right to edge of the choil (on both sides) but that didn't seem right somehow. The one i've been doing, purely as a compromise in my head, is to file in the choil sort of in the middle of the choil (leaning more toward the tip side of the choil a bit - it seems better to my eye).

    I guess i'm just trying to figure out what makes sense in terms of functionality, aesthetics, history and common sense. I appreciate your advice but I'm also curious about all your opinions regarding what you think looks better.

    As always, thanks for the help. I appreciate it immensely.
     
  2. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    By definition, the choil is at the back of the sharpened edge. It's there to allow sharpening of the entire blade edge. Some people also separate the sharpening choil from a "finger choil", designed to improve the grip and give better control. They can be combined or separate.

    Where the choil goes, is largely a matter of aesthetics, providing you remember its purpose. The same goes for the size and shape of the choil. I tend to favour a round choil and I've had them with the back of the blade even with the back of the arc, the front of the arc, and even the centre. It just depends on what seems to make sense for the knife.
     
  3. Kevin Cox

    Kevin Cox KC knives

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    I use a 1/8 round file at first but as changed my style alttle since then . I find with short blade and a 1/8 round it hooks a lot when field dressing moose . I put them on a little angle to spot them from hook .That works better for me. And now I've changed it again to put my plunge line behind the heel of the knife.
     
  4. Kevin Cox

    Kevin Cox KC knives

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    [​IMG]
    This is not my blade it's just to show what I'm talking about . I just like this one better.
     
    dancom likes this.
  5. BigUglyMan

    BigUglyMan Active Member

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    I'm prejudiced against them. I don't like the look and I don't like that some use them to hide poor work on the plunge. But I might just be crankier than my years belie!
     
  6. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Several old-timer hunters I have spoken with hate sharpening choils. Word is they tend to snag on the draw back.

    Finger choils are 50/50 on the same unofficial survey. One camp says YES, lots of control and comfortable to press downwards. The other camp says, NO, I can't properly use the knife upside down. Really depends on application and user.

    Dan
     
  7. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Seems to be one of those topics that really doesn't have a right/wrong answer. (don't you just hate those : ) I think i'm in the "love em" camp. I must admit that, although not intentionally, i have used a choil to help hide a non-symmetrical plunge. But I was still a noob back then, you gotta cut me some slack. I'm not the well seasoned, veteran knife maker that i am today (... even i think that smells like BS ). I don't rely on those tricks and shinanigan's any longer. Also, I can't speak for anybody else using my knives but I know that I'll never have an issue field dressing anything. I am definitely pro-meat and I'm all for responsible harvesting of game. I'm just a gigantic wuss bag and honestly couldn't hurt a mouse. (literally, I once broke hard on a back road so i wouldn't run over a field mouse running across). I do see how that could be a problem though... I still owe my oldest brother a gut hook skinner (even the name of it gives me the willys) so i will take it under advisement for that (you know when i actually get around to it... - he can wait another 16 months i figure)
     
  8. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I use the gut hook more often for trimming nails than on an animal also handy for making round toothpicks
     

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