The Cliff Knife & Fishing Knives

The Cliff Knife
This is the original - not a copy!

The Cliff Knife, designed by canoe guide/author Cliff Jacobson. The blade is 4 1/4" flat ground, high carbon steel with full tang 4 1/4" handle. Various woods available, please see Special Order Page for list. Also special "rescued wood" (100+ years old) osage orange wood from Mann Family Farm in Illinois (+$35) or Maple from Lake Superior (+$45). Why use rescued wood? More stable, tighter grain, less likely to warp or crack, a beautiful piece of history!

The Cliff Canoe Knife 15N20 sawmill bandsaw steel blade is approximately 3/32"thick-starts at $205. Your choice of handle material @ various prices. Sturdy leather sheath is included.

Cliff Jacobson paddles the Poreno River, Norway
June 2011

The Cliff Hunter Knife has 1/8"+ thick high carbon steel blade for heavier use and start at $240. Your choice of handle material @ various prices. Sturdy leather sheath is included.

Would you believe that four of us had one of your Cliff knives?

Hello, Mike:

I hope all is well on the mountain and you’re becoming fit and sassy again. Just got back from a Piragis Northwoods Co. canoe trip in the BWCA. Would you believe that four of us had one of your Cliff knives? Here are a couple photos of them. Mine is the one on the right.

Hugs to you and Deb.


Comments on the Cliff Knife & Fishing Knives

On Oct 15, 2013


just a short note to say what a great knife you make. I purchased a cliff knife from you 3 years ago. I 'm a farmer and use it everyday to cut twine on rounds bales to slicing open feed bags. It is light to carry, easy to sharpen (love the flat grind blade) and durable!! Also skins a muskrat, coon or coyote in a flash. Like I said, I've had it 3 years and it never has had a day off. I waited this long to pass judgment on it, cause I wanted to make sure it stood up to some use, IT DOES!! Nice sheath too! Doubt I will ever need another one. But if I do, you will be the guy I call!!!

Thanks for making a great product!!


Bill Peterson

"The most practical and beautiful knife in my arsenal, this knife begs to be touched and used!" says Cliff Jacobson March '97 issue Tactical Knives Magazine article "Mountain Man's Masterpiece."

"Perfect knife to handle camp chores...a tool that I wouldn't hesitate to depend on in the wilds." Steven Dick, Editor and Chief, Tactical Knives, July '99.

"Mike's knife preformed as I hoped it would...The Cliff Knife took a beating," says Dan Shechtman Jan/Feb 2000 issue Backwoodsman Magazine article"The True All-Purpose Bush Knife"

Cliff Jacobson discusses IKW Blades click here to see the conversation

On Oct. 5, 2011, at 9:19 PM, Eddie Smith wrote:

Hi Cliff,

I've been reading and heeding a lot of your camping advice for years. Your thoughts make a lot of common sense, and I've found myself passing some of your knowledge on. I write you wondering about your knife. I've been looking for a new knife for quite a while, and was wondering how you feel about the quality, and performance of your Idaho knife works knife. I recently ordered one, only in a five inch model, and talked for several minutes with Mike, and Debbie Mann.....very nice people. I've done a lot of research, and found that the carbon steel blade was more to my liking, because no.1 they're easier to sharpen, and 2. maintain a good edge. I know they are more susceptible to rusting, but regular oiling takes care of that. Thanks for your advice in advance.


Eddie Smith


Re: Idaho Knife works
On 6 Oct 2011 13:22:48 -0500, Cliff Jacobson replied:


The IKW "Cliff" knife is my favorite. I guess it should be because I mostly designed it. The knife comes in two thicknesses. I much prefer the thinner blade which is about the same thickness as my old Gerber Shorty knife (a terrific knife!). I've never felt the need for a thick blade for any camping chores, even splitting four inch thick wood with a mallet. I figure that if the Indians could skin a buffalo with a thin-bladed common butcher knife, there's no need for a thick blade. Sharpness and edge geometry are the key to success, I believe. Anyway, I much prefer carbon steel over stainless. Yes, there are some very high grade, custom stainless blades and these are very nice, but they are very expensive and hard to sharpen. Granted, a carbon blade at roughly RC 56 will dull quicker than a stainless one at RC 60. But so what? I keep my knives razor sharp and touch them up when needed--maybe two minutes on a fine whet stone. I can easily go two weeks on a canoe trip without touching up the blade. At any rate, I think you'll love your Cliff knife. It's a simple but effective design: it will split think kindling, fillet a fish, skin a moose, spread peanut butter, slice bread and cut line. What else might you expect from a bush knife? What drew me to MIke's knives to begin with is that unlike most other knife makers, he spends real time in the woods. And that "time on task" reflects the simple but brilliant knives he designs. I've found that special purpose blades do special purpose jobs well. But they are a handicap for simple jobs. The Cliff knife is an "all-round" woods knife. I think you'll appreciate the design more and more as you use it. I might add that in the 14th-18th centuries when when men depending on their knives for a living, the most popular blades were ones that were similar to the "Cliff" and Mike Mann's other flat-ground designs. Hollow-ground blades are popular today simply because they are cheap to grind--you just put 'em on a spinning wheel and let 'em go. Flat ground blades require much more work, and Mike's blades are double-taper ground which is a still more intensive process. Enough. Trust me; you'll love the knife.



Cliff Jacobson: Writer/Consultant

Member Outdoor Writers Assn. of America

American Canoe Assn. Legends of Paddling Award

Distinguished Eagle Scout

Web-site: Visit Cliff Jacobson

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Light Field Knife

Light Field Knife

The Light Field Knife (L.F.K.) has a 4 3/4" blade - $140. Works well as a boning knife, field dress small game and kitchen camp chores! Made of 15N20 high carbon tool steel (saw mill band saw steel) that is 3/32" thick and tapered to the tip. The blade is stiffer than a fishing knife. The full tang, tear drop handle can be special ordered in wood or antler slabs (price varies by choice) and is extremely comfortable in hand while in use! It comes with brass guard and pins. A sturdy, tight fit leather sheath completes this knife.

Fishing Knives


Fishing knives are shaped just like L.F.K. with longer blades. These blades are also made from 15N20 high carbon steel. This steel holds an edge extremely well & hones quickly for use. The blades are also very flexible. Knife has full tang handle and comes with sheath.

Idaho Knife Works Fishing Knives

Simply Call, Text, eMail or FaceBook pm for Your Special Knife.


Idaho Knife Works L.F.K. is just one in a line of highly practical outdoor knives they are well known for.
Steven Dick, Editor-in-Chief May 07 Tactical Knives Magazine


Steelhead Fish in March

Mike & Michael-Steelhead Fish-March 2009


Fishing in Illinois

Brother Charlie & Mike (Mick) Fishing in Illinois May 2010

Mike and sons fishing


see our cousin's tackle business at

Mike (Magwa) & Mike (Padre) Steelhead Fish-Orofino, ID March 2010

The Cliff knife in use

Report From the Field

Pompano to filet with the Cliff Knife