KNIVES: Green River Knife

The Green River Knife Neck Sheath made from Rawhide I Took From a dead horse found in the Utah Desert

NOTE: This is an excerpt from Tom’s “Tomahawk Scout School”, more information here >>>

The Green River Knife has been my “to do all” knife for 20 years now. I bought my first green river back in 1982 for $3.00 at a hardware store in my Illinois Hometown. That particular knife was traded or lost to time now and I can’t remember what happened to it. The Knife I’m presently carrying I have had since 1989.

I bought it at a “Mountain man” shop in Moab, Utah for $6.00. I called my knife “Old Butch” a name I borrowed from a colorful character in Texas history known as a “Big Foot Wallace” He was a famous Mountain man and scout in that neck of the woods. Mr. Wallace had some colorful names for his equipment.

I used my New Green River Knife for everything from carving spoons to skinning game, to making fire. I got the Idea to burn a socket into the handle of my Green River Knife so I could use it as a bearing block when I make Bow and Drill friction fires; this helps me to reduce the weight of my equipment.

The Neck sheath I made for “Old Butch” is constructed from Raw hide I took off of a dead horse I found in the Utah Desert, the strap is made from a piece of scrap webbing I picked up some place.

“Old Butch” has been with me all over the world from the USA to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and back again. I have been packing it for 20 years and I hope to carry it 20 more.

This knife has been a handy tool, a weapon and a comforting friend over the years, “Old Butch” still takes and holds a fine edge, if I had to live on a remote Island like Robinson Crusoe and could only take 1 item it would be this knife.

The Firesocket I cut Out of the Handel

Anyhoo, I’m a big fan of the green river knife and cannot understand why folks spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive knife when a cheaper one will do.

I hope you found this article interesting perhaps you will be inspired to go out and get one of these famous knives from American history for yourself.

Green River Knife
About 12 bucks

~Thomas D. Moore
Correspondent – Wilderness Survival


Tom is a former US Army Scout and Airborne Pathfinder with 16 years of military service. Tom has worked with the US and Canadian Military as a civilian contractor in the Balkans, Middle East, Afghanistan and Darfur.

He is currently the co-star of the hit TV show “Dude, Your Screwed!” – A wilderness survival and adventure reality TV show on the Discovery Channel. Tom is also a Senior Instructor at the Death Valley Training Center where he teaches  his famous “Tomahawk Scout School” both online and in person. Tom spends his off time telling drunken “I Was There” story’s to impressed tourists in Nom Phen, Cambodia

For more information on Tom’s Wilderness Courses please Click Here >>>

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12 thoughts on “KNIVES: Green River Knife”

  1. I bought a Green River knife at a rondevous in Wyoming abnout 20 years ago. While I haven’t used mine as extensively and you have yours, it is a fine knife a good choice for an overall utility knife.

    Here’s my take on the eternal “best survival knife” question:

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  2. Thanks for the link, it was an interesting read. My entire knife collection consists of 4 knives. I have been carrying and using the same 4 blades for several years.

    Besides my green river knife I have a Case “hobo” knife, an old timer whittling knife and a swiss army (camper?) with a saw.

    when in south east asia or Nepal I do pick up a local blade to use in the woods.


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  3. For me a wilderness survival knife would be a smaller knife like the Green River and a machete style jungle knife

    ~James G

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  4. James G: For me a wilderness survival knife would be a smaller knife like the Green River and a machete style jungle knife~James G  (Quote This Comment)

    I have seen the Aeta negritos use a bolo knife to whittle spoons, cups, make trap triggers and do other fine work. I think it is all what you are use to using in the woods.

    yup, like you, id use a smaller blade which i can manipulate esier then some type of locally made knife also (parang,enep,kukuri,bolo,machete, etc.)


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  5. I assume that the horse had no name,,,

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  6. Until I read this article I had nearly forgot about my home-made field knife inherited from my father in-law.

    It is amazing how a home-made, inexpensive, yet solid piece of steel can be crafted into an amazing do-all. And, they seem to last forever!

    They can be, however, a bit intimidating to ordinary folk so I don’t “sport” it unless I’m out back working or camping — neither of which I’ve done recently.

    As for the machete, I use mine for general yard work. I occasionally get some weird looks from passersby.

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  7. This just goes to show you that people don’t need a 400 dollar survival knife

    ~James G

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  8. I’m looking at a green river knife right now. Dad made it from a CVA kit something like 30 years ago. The blade has been blued and though it shows its age from heavy use, it’s still in great shape. In fact, I’m hoping to be able to get it from him when he gets back from Af-Paki.

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  9. Even I broke down an got one of these knives. Got lucky in finding some Scrap leather and a spare length of paracord, for a neck sheath.
    I\’ll let you know how it turns out!

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  10. Kool Read , Dig The fire socket Hole !!!

      Louie(Quote This Comment)

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  11. These are by far the best knives I have used, from the kitchen to the field. I have been blessed with 3 that are 1880-1889 and one 1891 Ft. Bridger made (authenticated when I lived there) by the “Post Blacksmith” along with a “few more I have picked up here and there or made myself. Nice to see the appreciation of a great design by people that know a true multi-purpose essential such as this. Thought I was alone with my conviction of this.

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