Douk Douk “Tiki” Knife

French knives are not all made by Opinel or in the village Laguiolle. An interesting and simple all metal pocket knife has been made by Cognet in Thiers for some decades.

My sample features a 9 cm long and blued blade of carbon XC 75 steel. The previous owner had it sharpened to the point were it scares me a bit. The DD is always non-locking, but the slipjoint springs are unusually stiff. Much stronger than your average SAK. It also features a 90 degree blade stop to save your fingers if you´re really careless, as well as a lanyard ring.

The sheet metal grip is extremely thin, so really extended working sessions (for hours) with this knife are not recommended. The Douk Douk is very popular on the African continent and also served as inspiration for Cold Steel´s popular Pocket Bushman.

These knives are made almost entirely by hand. Several sizes and blade shapes are offered. There is a “modern” line with nicely colored handles available, these come in a nifty pocket sheath holding a sharpener and have blades of stainless steel.

My third picture above shows a small Opinel No.6 with yellow handle and an old Corsican “Vendetta” knife for size comparison. I still prefer Opinels in general, but if you collect variations of pocket knives (like i seem to do) or if you need an absolutely slimline knife, a Douk Douk should be on your must-have-list. There is a Wikipedia article about them here.

Finally, I would also like to quote a French user on a  popular knife-forum on the DD:

“This slip joint knife has been designed in 1929 by the french cutlery company Cognet (precisely, Gaspard Cognet is the inventor). Basically, it had been designed to suit the need for a reliable, efficient, rustic pocket knife for the french colonies in the Indian Ocean (New-Caledonia, for example), this is the reason for the funny character on the handle (an indonesian divinity). But it was not a success there. At least, not as big compared to the African colonies. Even nowadays, peoples of these ex-colonies still widely use this knife. But during the Algerian Independance War, the algerian nationalists (also terrorists), called “fellagas”, used it a lot against the french army and the settlers. As it was cheap, you could throw it away after a murder. As it was flat, you could hide it easily. With a good hammer smash behind the axe, you could make it a fixed blade knife. It was even so widely used, the production had been stopped during the time of the war, and the selling of the knife totally prohibited in Algeria. But nowadays, this knife have found his pacific use again, and today as 80 years in the past, it still handling it’s job without problem…”


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