Mittwoch, 15. April 2015

Short review of a classic bushcraft combination

On request I am doing a personal evaluation of a very classic bushcraft combination. The famed Roselli hunter and carpenter´s knife. I purchased both on the Jagd und Hund expo years ago and have used them intensively for years.

The big one comes with a 100 mm blade, the short one at 85 mm. Both have slicey 3mm spine thicknesses. The handles are very beautiful birchwood burr and glued on with.... teeth.

Wait... is that teeth? No kidding, even if it made my day when I learned it (I have a very simple kind of humour, you see;-)). Roselli knives are mounted in a special process with the same compound out of which artificial teeth are made.

This, in combination with the hard wood for the handle, makes for a short-tang knife that offers a surprising degree of durability. Even (light) batoning is possible. The blades come with a carbon steel blade each that has a claimed 55 HRC. I suspect a higher degree of hardness, however, for they hold an edge far better and carve a 57 HRC blade. Roselli also offers an alternative with the UHC steel, which has a claimed hardness of 63 HRC and which is made from crucible steel with a carbon content of 1,8%. By heating and special techniques it is achieved that the steel can be forged... and thusly it gets characteristics similar to the famed wootz / pulad... interesting. I´d love to try one, and I´d certainly love to try this technique... we´ll see...;-). No way is not in my vocabulary, and I find it refreshing that in Roselli´s it is neither...;-).

The big knife is a bit awkward at first. The handle makes for a grip that is a bit far back. It is big and chunky and seems to make little sense at first. But as usual, Mr. Roselli had something in mind when designing it. First you have to keep in mind that the butchering technique in the North involves using the handle as a prolongation of reach. The blade is stuck into the flesh of the animal and then pumped to enlarge the wound channel. This extra space is then used to apply further force on the butt of the handle to insert the blade farther in. You might not like this description, and please take note that I am full well aware of the fact that I talk about a living animal. I do not recommend you to try this, too, for when animals are concerned, you need a lot of experience to do this.

Now Mr. Roselli did not want to compromise this technique but also wanted a safety stop for hard working. In order to achieve this he added the taper behind the bolster, which by the way is made from stainless steel, and a finger groove behind it.

It is a light knife and a comfortable carry, but it is suited for hard work such as hard wood whittling, preparing firewood and not-so-delicate tasks. In bigger hands than mine it also might be suited for delicate work, but I am constantly thinking of reshaping the handle. It simply does not suit me that way.

The blades both hold an edge well and out of the box they came hair-poppingly sharp. I never did any reprofiling on the scandi grind, just some stropping from time to time. That tells a story!

The carpenter´s knife is as comfy as it gets. It is well suited for delicate work, preparing food, and, to be honest, all I could wish for.

The sheaths get their job done, ahem;-). They look a bit awkward and are not the best money could buy, but no harm done. They are a bit simple with those belt slits, but one could make or purchase another.

If I had to buy it again I would opt for the carpenter´s knife in UHC steel. It is my personal favourite. The hunter is a specialist knife for special applications. To be a great bushcraft knife (of which the blade and mounting is more than capable) it would need a more versatile and ergonomic handle shape.

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