Friday, November 02, 2007

Case Moose Pocketknife

As I alluded to in my post last week about my Remington Woodsman Bullet Knife, I picked up a Case Moose with chrome vanadium blades and red jigged bone handle scales (#6979). I ordered it Monday morning from Sawyer's Cutler on eBay and it arrived in the mail today.

Although the same general pattern as the Remington, the Case is slimmer overall and a bit lighter. My first impression is that the quality is much better, and it came with both blades razor sharp. (The Remington's spey blade was especially bad out of the box.) They may be the sharpest blades I've ever seen on a factory knife, as a matter of fact. I am going to use the knife without touching up the blades first, to see how long the edges last.

The reason I got chrome vanadium steel blades rather than stainless is that with the exception of my Victorinox knives, every knife I've had with a stainless blade has been a real bitch and a half to sharpen. Knife makers tend to make stainless blades very hard. This means that they retain an edge well but when it comes time to sharpen them doing so takes a lot of work. I'd rather have to sharpen a knife a bit more often if doing so is relatively easy. I can put a razor edge on a thin carbon steel blade like on my Opinel Number 8 in only a few minutes. A stainless blade of similar thickness but much harder will take about two or three times as long, using a bench stone. I'd rather not think about having to resharpen such a blade in the field using a short pocket hone.

The Case feels nice in the hand and sits well in my front pocket. It's longer but slimmer than the Victorinox Farmer I've been carrying everyday for the past month or so.

I plan to employ the Case's clip blade for general use, keeping the spey in reserve as an always handy razor sharp edge. The spey would also be good for skinning game without poking through the hide in unwanted places, or opening packages with a reduced risk of damaging the contents.

In his seminal book, Woodcraft, George Washington Sears, AKA "Nessmuk" carried a trio of cutting implements:

  1. A large folding knife quite similar to a Case Moose,
  2. A fixed knife with about a 4" blade which was thin so it was good for slicing, and
  3. A pocket axe with two edges, one fine and the other a bit coarser.

One could make a modern day Nessmuk trio for a modest sum with a Case Moose, a Swedish Mora fixed blade, and a small hatchet or even a folding saw. It would handle pretty much any cutting need one would encounter in a North American forest.

A Moose or another similar high quality traditional pocketknife would also serve well in an urban or suburban emergency kit. However, it does fall behind Swiss Army Knives and multitools in overall usefulness, since it lacks impelements like screwdrivers and can openers. A traditional slipjoint knife would make a fine complement for a multitool, though, since the knife blades on most such tools aren't as convenient as those on a dedicated knife.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you're looking for in your knife...but I carry an amazing folder designed by the legendary James Williams. It's called the Hisastu Folder and I strongly recommend it.
Unrelatedly... I just found the following video and thought it was pretty cool. What do you think: