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: Gil Hibben Alaskan Pro Guide Hunter: 420 J2 steel  ( 11396 )
Bigfoot
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« : June 04, 2007, 12:35:54 AM »

I was just wondering why this type of steel is used on this knife.  From what I have read, 420 J2 is a relatively soft stainless that has a low carbon content and low HRC.  I have also read that it does not hold an edge well and is typically used in very low-end knives primarily because it is inexpensive and relatively easy to use in knife manufacturing.  Seems like a 440C would be a produce a much higher quality knife.  Maybe I am missing something?
randy6679
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« #1 : June 04, 2007, 07:27:06 AM »

I suspect you are looking at the ones on eBay??? If so, they are not made by Gil; they are reproductions made in Taiwan. I am not positive what metal Gil uses in the originals but I doubt it is 420. Just like his Rambo III knife is made from 440 but the UC repro's are made of 420. Hope this helps.

       Randy Bush
Linda
The Lady Behind The Curtain
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« #2 : June 04, 2007, 07:34:26 AM »

The handmaded Alaskan Pro Hunter is made of 440C and prices start at $450.00 and go up from there depending on handle materials.
Linda Hibben
Bigfoot
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« #3 : June 04, 2007, 08:51:46 AM »

Very interesting.  My neighbor just bought one of these from a place called Sportsmans Guide and it has "Gil Hibben" and "Hibben knives" written all over the box and the knife itself.  I cannot remember for sure, but I do think that it also had something like United Cutlery in smaller letters on the box.  I would assume that they use the Hibben design, but poorer materials.  Actually, I just got back from my neighbor's  (I left in the middle of this message).  I does say United Cutlery, but Gil Hibben is MUCH more prominent and is the ONLY name on the sheath and the knife itself (other than the "approval" by the Alaskan Professional Hunter's Association.  This seems very, very misleading to the consumer.  I would assume that all the materials (certainly the steel) used are of poor quality and that these knives should be avoided.  It also makes me wonder if the APHA has really endorsed this knife.
MCarter
Not as sharp as my knife
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« #4 : June 04, 2007, 10:15:51 AM »

You are kidding, right? Your "neighbor" actually thought he was buying a handmade Hibben knife from Sportsman Guide for $20?

I have bad news for him. George Foreman didn't build his grill, Levi Strauss didn't sew his jeans and Henry Ford did not build his car.


Hibben Knives - Anything else just doesn't cut it.
Bigfoot
Guest


« #5 : June 04, 2007, 01:03:38 PM »

Actually, I don't remember what he paid for it.  I doubt that he knows Gil Hibben from Mel Gibson.  I think he saw that it was endorsed by the APHA (which I kinda doubt) and assumed it was a good knife.  I'm fairly sure he did not think it was "handmade."  In any event, now we both know.  On the other hand, when you sell your name, you sell at least part of your reputation with it. Not a probelm for me.  I'll just stick with my old Ka-bar.
MCarter
Not as sharp as my knife
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« #6 : June 04, 2007, 02:00:16 PM »

You are new here and maybe we just got off on the wrong foot so I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. This is a friendly forum dedicated primarily to Hibben Knives and Gil Hibben. I am a friend of the Hibbens and serve as webmaster for their website and forums. I do not speak on behalf of the Hibbens or Hibben Knives.

I interpreted you posts not so much as questions but that you obviously intended to make a point. May I ask on what do you base your doubts about APHA endorsement? I know that Gil is or was a member of the organization and that he lived in Alaska for several years and served as a professional guide. It's rather insulting to say that you doubt that the APHA would endorse Gil's design and imply that someone is defrauding you. If you are going to post a message in an open forum that you doubt that the APHA endorsed the design, I suggest that you offer something to back up your statement.

Regarding the United Cutlery knife: Virtually every product of any type has "entry level" products and more expensive, higher level products. Do you need to buy a Ferrari to go 55 mph on the Interstate?

It is true that 420 J2 steel is "softer" than 440C and many other steels. It is less expensive both in raw material and in the knife manufacturing process. It will dull more quickly than 440C but it is also easier to sharpen. It is also MORE stain and rust resistent than 440C and that is why it is often used in diving knives. 420 is very commonly used in surgical instruments where I would assume precision cutting would be a requirement.

420 is a suitable steel for light duty knives where cost is a factor. I have some 420 knives that I have indeed used for years and they have done the jobs that I demanded of them without problem. If I need a knife for skinning deer or that I might have to depend on in a survival situation, I will choose a higher quality knife just as most hunters and outdoorsmen do. It is simply a matter of what you need a knife to do, how much you are willing to pay, and educating yourself about the product.

Just because any person endorses a product or licenses a design to a manufacturer, it does not necessarily mean that person has control over the manufacturing process or the marketing. In fact, the United Cutlery Alaskan Pro Hunter that I purchased several years ago IS made from 440 stainless steel. It is probably not 400C and might be 440A or 440B, but it is 440. At some point United Cutlery apparently changed to 420 steel. The point is that manufactures will control cost in order to meet certain wholesale and retail price points and make products available to people who are not willing to pay higher prices for more expensive products.

If you are really interested in learning about knives and steel, there is a wealth of information available here and through numerous other sources. Gil Hibben has been making knives and working steel for 50 years. There are few people that can offer that much experience.

If you are here just to make unsupported accusations and instigate trouble, I suspect your participation here will be unwelcome and short-lived.

Mike

« : June 04, 2007, 02:07:55 PM MCarter »

Hibben Knives - Anything else just doesn't cut it.
Linda
The Lady Behind The Curtain
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« #7 : June 04, 2007, 03:20:03 PM »

Bigfoot,

I can assure you the Alaskan Professional Hunters Association, DID, indeed, endorse the Alaskan Pro Hunter.  In fact, in 1971 they endorsed Gils' handmade hunting knives as he was living in Alaska at the time and was also an avid hunter and had an Assistant Guide
License.  The APHA endorsed the United Cutlery reproductions of some of Gils' hunting knife designs, there are more than the one you are referring to, for several reasons.  First, and foremost, it gave them the opportunity to advertise their organization on a product that would be marketed to people of all around the world.  Actually, we have had many responses from hunters that have used the knives and are very happy.  Of course, you are entitled to your opinion.

L<inda Hibben

Linda
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« #8 : June 04, 2007, 05:36:19 PM »

Now, this is the weirdest thing in the whole world.....it is 6pm here, and, Jim Ables, Alaska, guy that put the APHA together with Gil just called making sure Gil would be able to join him in Alaska for the silvers run in August.  He is on the other phone in the shop as I write this.  Anyway, Mr. Bigfoot, if you would like to speak to Mr. Jim Ables and address your doubt  about the APHA endorsing Gils' designs, he will be more than happy to talk to you.  Just send me a private e-mail and I will give you his phone number.  After you speak to him, this should erase all of your doubt that the endorsment is not valid.   I guess, in one sense, you have been insulting..by your saying you doubted Gils' association with the Alaska Professional Guide Association, you basically called him a liar. 
I, for one, think you should contact the president of the APHA and get your facts straight.   Better yet, you are here in our area, come take a shop tour and see what it is all about.  Jim Ables is waiting for your phone call, as I said, I will PM his phone number to you when you request it.

Linda Hibben









p
Bigfoot
Guest


« #9 : June 04, 2007, 07:28:15 PM »

Excuse me, but I would like to make it clear that I NEVER expressed any doubt about the APHA endorsing the handmade Hibben knife OR the design of the Alaskan Pro Guide Hunter.  I said that the comparitively poorer materials on the one made by United Cutlery made me "wonder" if that SPECIFIC KNIFE (NOT the design OR the handmade version) had, indeed been endorsed by this organization.  I NEVER called anyone a liar.  I also did not Accuse anybody of anything.  Heck, I don't even own one of these knives.  The only reason that I even bothered to invistigate this thing is that I thought it looked pretty cool and contemplated getting one myself.  I was kind of disappointed that it was not made with a better grade of steel, but that's life.  By the way, I have no problem with production knives.  Actually, it makes a lot of sense to me.  Also, I thought the PRODUCTION quality of this knife was really pretty good.  It's the steel that I have a probem with.   I did look on the Sportsmans Guide website and found the price was, indeed, around $20.  Other sites sell it for as much as $80.  Clearly, I have offended you guys--but I did not really intend to.  Actually, I would find it kind of interesting to talk to this Jim Ables fellow, although not necessarily about the knife.  I will send you an Email tomorrow when I have more time to get his number. 
Linda
The Lady Behind The Curtain
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« #10 : June 04, 2007, 08:09:04 PM »

That would be great....Gil told Jim Ables about you doubting his knife designs being associated with the APHA, since he is the person who coordinated the whole deal, he said he would be more than happy to talk to you.  This guy is great!  You will really enjoy talking to him..he has used one of Gils' handmade knives for the past 30 years and skinned hundreds of Alaskan brown bears with it.  Jiim Ables has also won the title of Mr. Alaska for body building.  He will be coming to Kentucky to visit us, riding his motorcycle from Anchorage, AK, if all goes well, befor this fall.  You are cordially invited to come meet him and Gil (you will be stuck with me, and Mike our webmaster, too) when he gets here.  It's an open invitation....you will have an opportunity to learn both sides of the knife industry...handmade versus factory....you are local, traveling should not be a problem, what do you say??

Linda
Bigfoot
Guest


« #11 : June 04, 2007, 08:40:43 PM »

Please READ MY POST!  Did I not make it crystal clear that I was not questioning whether the Hibben DESIGN or the HIBBEN HAND MADE KNIFE was endorsed by this organization?????????  I stated that I only had a question about whether or not that SPECIFIC KNIFE made by United Cutlery was endorsed!  This "discussion" is absolutely pointless.   Good luck with your knives---whoever makes them.
MCarter
Not as sharp as my knife
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« #12 : June 04, 2007, 08:58:07 PM »

I think he saw that it was endorsed by the APHA (which I kinda doubt) and assumed it was a good knife.

Whoa, lighten up a little.

You did say that you doubted that one knife was endorsed by the APHA. I found it a little insulting that you would imply that the knife intentionally misrepresented. Linda clearly stated that the United Cutlery knives and the handmade knives were in fact endorsed by the APHA.

I tried to point out that while 420 steel is lesser quality and less expensive than 440C, that does not necessarily make it a bad knife. Millions of 420 knives have been sold and used regularly.

You then said that you would find it interesting to talk to Jim Ables. Linda extended a gracious invitation to you to come out and meet Gil and Jim Ables and tour Gil's shop.

What is pointless here? You obviously had questions about a knife and we tried to answer your questions.



Hibben Knives - Anything else just doesn't cut it.
Jason
Guest


« #13 : June 08, 2007, 03:20:32 AM »

You are cordially invited to come meet him and Gil (you will be stuck with me, and Mike our webmaster, too) when he gets here.  It's an open invitation....you will have an opportunity to learn both sides of the knife industry...handmade versus factory....you are local, traveling should not be a problem, what do you say??

Can I come one day?  :-[
jcjax200
Guest


« #14 : June 25, 2007, 04:17:26 PM »

Hi! I hope I'm doing this right! I read about the 420J by United Cutlery. I just bought, from an older man who is a registered knifemaker, a knife with sheath that has an Alaska Professional Hunters Association badge on it and is stamped on the reverse ,UC 1203 440 Stainless Taiwan. It has the same APHA stamp in the front of the sheath& Designed by Gil Hibben Hibben Knives, on the front blade of the knife. It is in the skinner design with a laminate look handle. I was wondering what the difference in the talked about knife & mine were. Also, is this a more valuable knife, or did I get what I thought I was getting with Taiwan on it. The knife is beautiful, no matter what. Thanks, JC
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