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Donnerstag, 14. November 2013

Hardcore knife with a traditional pedigree - hardcore test surprise

 On the recent knife expo at the Solingen industrial museum "Gesenkschmiede Hendrichs" I got the opportunity to meet with Mr. Rommel, new head of corporation and chief manager of Otter knives. Otter knives still specializes in making simple, traditional pocket and working / utility knives. Hailing from a background of decades of handicraft, the corporation certainly knows a thing or two about making sensible utility designs. I came across this "Berufsmesser", as it is called in the Otter catalogue. Yap, I know, I already own one, but, hey, you know how it is;-). I played it some, and realized the blade was straight, which my old one was not, the craftsmanshipalmost meticulous, but not so much as to make it too beautiful to use. It came with a beautifully grained Cocobolo wood handle. The blade is a very old German style, the so called "Hamburger" style, dating as far back as the middle ages, often used in bread and kitchen knives, but also in utility folding knives as early as the 15th century. As I have mentioned before, the knife comes in very cheap for the quality, about 18€. The blade is made from high carbon steel, with a finely accomplished "Solinger Dünnschliff" (convex, "Hamagore" bevel), and polished to a blueish sheen. This example of the type came shaving sharp. I am informed it is made from medium high carbon steel with 0,75% carbon content, and yes, there´s also iron, period. This makes for an edge that can be finely ground and made wickedly sharp.
 The knife has a slip-joint mechanism that stops at 90 °. It came with no side or axial play. The smoothness of the action leaved something to be desired, but with a drop of tootpaste and turpentine oil (Balistol) and few minutes of working it, it set in and was nearly as smooth as silk.
 The blade cut into this iron rod with ease and no damage whatsoever to the edge.
 Same thing with this piece of stag antler, where I slammed it in several times.
 I then slammed the tip into this tin can lid, and the stiff slip joint spring inspired my confidence. Of course, the sheepfoot blade design is no stabbing knife at all, but it can be made possible.
 What it does best is cutting, even after the abuse. It made short terms with this piece of paper.
 I cut the paper while it hung free. After the abuse, (cut on the left), there was a little more playing around involved, and the cut in the paper is a bit ragged at the beginning, hinting of a bit of a loss of sharpness on the edge. But the paper was a bit damp, making it not the easiest for cutting while hanging free.
 It was easy, however, to cut the paper after overcoming the initial resistance of thecutting material.
 Stag antler, iron rod, cutting paper...
and then it made this out of a piece of fir wood;-). Sweet.
 The real surprise came when I did the spine whack test normally reserved for liner lock knives. The spring is so stiff it keeps the blade secure even under this extreme stress.

And here´s a lousy clip to show you I did not spare it when whacking on the stag antler;-)
 I found overall that this is a knife with an extremely huge potential. I heard some rumours that Otter wants to do some mods on it. What could be improved is a bigger lanyard hole, for it comes stock with but a 3 mm hole. I drilled it, of course, for I voided it of its warranty nonetheless. I then realized the hard way;-) the iron liners bent, and, looking at it intently saw another feat of high potential. For the spring does not go around the butt of the knife, leaving an empty space. You could with little effort insert a block of G-10 or volcanic fibre, and, by fitting a simple clip in, making this knife an even more versatile carry. Am I enthused? You bet. You will be hard pressed to find a slipjoint folder that is capable of doing this and come out almost unscathed. The knife also comes in different lengths suitable as a legal carry even in the UK or Denmark, and rumour has it there will be still more options available in the future.;-). And NO, I did NOT get payed to write this;-).
Every knife shall have something of simple beauty to it, and so I made this lanyard mojo for it. Silver fittings, leather, of course, an agate pearl, aaaand: A glass bead jewel made by my beloved magic troll. If you want one, she will trade or sell. Contact her on her Blog:

or via her facebook accont. Shameless crossposting, I know, but I guess you appreciate it;-).

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