The Knife Of The Trade

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The Knife of the Trade

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Okapi knife

A knife which is tremendously popular and perhaps even the tool of the trade amongst trackers and skinners in Southern Africa is the folding OKAPI knife which is made in South Africa. It is not only very affordable and widely available at stores but it is a durable and very versatile knife as it is used not only for personal use but also as a day to day working tool for farm workers and hunting teams alike... Nothing fancy but it will get the job done and well, a good size blade in length and thickness, this folding knife with a locking blade is light and non-cumbersome and will fit easily in a pants' pocket to carry around with you all day... I have seen trackers and skinners use this knife intensively in the bush for decades from slaughtering, skinning, butchering game with ease and dexterity to cutting branches to create a small opening in a makeshift hide. This knife will sharpen to a razor sharp edge quite easily and I have seen it being sharpened on just about any hard surfaces from concrete, stones, steel to horns and hoofs on game.

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The Okapi knife was originally produced in 1902 for export to Germany's colonies in Africa. The knife takes its' name from the Okapi, an animal which at the time had recently been discovered in the Belgian Congo. The Okapi knives are no longer produced in Germany and in 1988, Okapi South Africa (then trading as All Round Tooling) bought the trademark and tooling and began producing the Okapi line of knives in South Africa.

Okapi sells a variety of pocket folding knives varying in sizes and blade shapes. Here below is one commonly used Okapi knife by skinners and trackers, a 5 1/2 inch folding OKAPI knife with a 4” locking blade, it has a rachet front top lock on the top with ring attached. Their pocket knives are manufactured from superior quality hardened and tempered carbon steel and the handles are made of seasoned hardwood. The South African Okapi lockback knives are made in South Africa.

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CAustin

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Like the look of the cold steel version!
 

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whats the price and can you get it here?
 

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Here is one that was taken from a poacher. If anyone is looking for an authentic African knife that has been there and done that.... - give me a shout, I'll happily post it to you.



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Has anyone pick up this popular knife while in Africa? Or another?

Picked up my first Okapi over 50 years ago. Butchered many birds and animals with them. Great for making catapults (slingshots), and traps. Using them to whittle on the church pew when the preacher is boring is not recommended if your Mom is around.:oops: Then they cut a wicked switch. :eek:


This one is in the trophy room now. Okapi...the knife of Africa.

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Picked up my first Okapi over 50 years ago. Butchered many birds and animals with them. Great for making catapults (slingshots), and traps. Using them to whittle on the church pew when the preacher is boring is not recommended if your Mom is around.:oops: Then they cut a wicked switch. :eek:


This one is in the trophy room now. Okapi...the knife of Africa.

View attachment 215505

Thanks for sharing wheels.
 

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I like those photos. Neat! Do you have photos of you using them or of ones you made as a kid.

Our slingshots looked a little different. We would take an old inner tube
and cut off two, six-eight foot long pieces with a razor blade. Then we would measure the length we needed then wrap the unused portion at the bottom of the slingshot. When a rubber broke you just unwrapped it and moved it up to replace the part that was broken. The red truck rubber was best, but hard to find. If you had to use Landrover rubber Dunlop had better elasticity than Michelin. The leather usually came from old worn out veldschoens, like I'm wearing in the bottom photo. Tongue leather worked best.

We had tons of song birds and got pretty good. We could usually hunt and kill a bird within an hour or two. We would then build a fire and cook it on the spot. We thought we were pretty tough stuff. Snakes had no chance unless they found a hole pretty fast.

Your traps are more sophisticated than ours. I couldn't find a photo. We would always cut a 1 inch limb (for birds up to dove size) up to two inches if you were trying to get franklin or guinea, to use as the spring and then use string or twine for the noose.

Green pigeon and small iguana in the photos.

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I like those photos. Neat! Do you have photos of you using them or of ones you made as a kid.

Our slingshots looked a little different. We would take an old inner tube
and cut off two, six-eight foot long pieces with a razor blade. Then we would measure the length we needed then wrap the unused portion at the bottom of the slingshot. When a rubber broke you just unwrapped it and moved it up to replace the part that was broken. The red truck rubber was best, but hard to find. If you had to use Landrover rubber Dunlop had better elasticity than Michelin. The leather usually came from old worn out veldschoens, like I'm wearing in the bottom photo. Tongue leather worked best.

We had tons of song birds and got pretty good. We could usually hunt and kill a bird within an hour or two. We would then build a fire and cook it on the spot. We thought we were pretty tough stuff. Snakes had no chance unless they found a hole pretty fast.

Your traps are more sophisticated than ours. I couldn't find a photo. We would always cut a 1 inch limb (for birds up to dove size) up to two inches if you were trying to get franklin or guinea, to use as the spring and then use string or twine for the noose.

Green pigeon and small iguana in the photos.

View attachment 215514

View attachment 215515
Fantastic pictures! What's the loops of rubber or weapon in your hand in the lizard photo? It's almost like a bolo? Or is that the base of the slingshot you were describing? Love this, thanks

PS. I see now the loops are the extra inner tube on the sling shot. Got it! Awesome.
 

AZDAVE

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The picture of the catapult (Slingshot is what we called them) just brought back some great memories from my childhood:A Camping:

Thank you for sharing.

Like the look of the knives too
 

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I like those photos. Neat! Do you have photos of you using them or of ones you made as a kid.

Our slingshots looked a little different. We would take an old inner tube
and cut off two, six-eight foot long pieces with a razor blade. Then we would measure the length we needed then wrap the unused portion at the bottom of the slingshot. When a rubber broke you just unwrapped it and moved it up to replace the part that was broken. The red truck rubber was best, but hard to find. If you had to use Landrover rubber Dunlop had better elasticity than Michelin. The leather usually came from old worn out veldschoens, like I'm wearing in the bottom photo. Tongue leather worked best.

We had tons of song birds and got pretty good. We could usually hunt and kill a bird within an hour or two. We would then build a fire and cook it on the spot. We thought we were pretty tough stuff. Snakes had no chance unless they found a hole pretty fast.

Your traps are more sophisticated than ours. I couldn't find a photo. We would always cut a 1 inch limb (for birds up to dove size) up to two inches if you were trying to get franklin or guinea, to use as the spring and then use string or twine for the noose.

Green pigeon and small iguana in the photos.

View attachment 215514

View attachment 215515

Great pictures and enjoyed the stories tremendously, it certainly brings back good memories and feelings.

As a boy I spent countless hours playing with some of the village kids, from riding horses, going swimming in the cattle reservoirs, playing with their wire cars, going hunting, shooting stuff and sometimes trapping birds... I never made any slingshot from scratch as you would find one under the seat of every farm vehicle or I would just ask the guys for one. Repairing them would be an ongoing responsibility. The village boys were just incredible with their slingshots. The wire trap that you see is one that I found in the bush around the house, it was partially buried, left behind by its owner. The spring on this trap is incredibly strong and it works amazingly well. I don't have any picture but the basket fall trap with the stick and string along with some bait was far more efficient if you had the time to sit and be patient. These photos I took a few years back. Unfortunately I do not have access to old photographs at the moment.
 

Wheels

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As a boy I spent countless hours playing with some of the village kids, from riding horses, going swimming in the cattle reservoirs,

Love your stories J. I too had a great time playing with the village kids. Learned a lot of bushcraft at a young age. We didn't have horses since tsetse fly and sleeping sickness was a few miles away and we would occasionally get stray flies at the house. Salted horses cost way to much, if they were available at all. I'm jealous about the swimming holes. We had no swim-able water close enough to walk to. The water close enough to swim in had bilharzi and crocs. There was a great pool underneath this waterfall but it took an hour by landrover. You couldn't swim during the rainy season as it was a torrent. We didn't have wire cars but made cars out of corn stalks, then used acacia thorns to hold them together.


DSCN1862_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg



The wire trap that you see is one that I found in the bush around the house, it was partially buried, left behind by its owner. The spring on this trap is incredibly strong and it works amazingly well. I don't have any picture but the basket fall trap with the stick and string along with some bait was far more efficient if you had the time to sit and be patient. .

We never even thought of making wire traps. You were way more sophisticated than we were. We didn't use basket fall traps either. Looking back I was probably to A.D.D. to use them. Some white kids used the basket fall traps to catch birds for their aviary. Our traps would usually catch a bird around the leg, so most of the birds I had in an aviary were caught that way. Others would be hit in the breast with a slingshot and just stunned, then put in the aviary. The village kids couldn't understand why I had an aviary. If you catch nyama it is supposed to be eaten.



Unfortunately I do not have access to old photographs at the moment.

I would love to see photos from your youth. I am sure most of the AH members would as well. Next time you go home, please dig some out for us!(y)
 

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Wheels

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. The wire trap that you see is one that I found in the bush around the house, it was partially buried, left behind by its owner. The spring on this trap is incredibly strong and it works amazingly well. I don't have any picture but the basket fall trap with the stick and string along with some bait was far more efficient if you had the time to sit and be patient. These photos I took a few years back. Unfortunately I do not have access to old photographs at the moment.


Your traps are more sophisticated than ours. I couldn't find a photo. We would always cut a 1 inch limb (for birds up to dove size) up to two inches if you were trying to get franklin or guinea, to use as the spring and then use string or twine for the noose.

Well, I found a photo of a trap after all. It's in a collage I walk past ever day. :oops: Hopefully it will show up. Evidently this photo is from back in my poaching days.:eek:

At the bottom of the photo is a dove. The stick in the background has been stuck in the ground and acts as the spring. You can see part of the string in the photo. The sticks near the dove are part of the trigger mechanism. Bait was probably maze. Doves are a little more docile than guinea:)

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