Saturday, 9 October 2010

Rock Creek Saguaro Knife

The beautiful Saguaro lock-back folder from Rock Creek

While I'm no knife aficionado, my eye was recently taken by one of the new range of nine folding lock-back knives from Rock Creek which I spotted on the Bear Arm stand at the recent Midland Game Fair. The range is well priced - from £38.78 to £189.19 - but the model that really stood out for me was the rosewood-gripped Saguaro. At £52.88, it's easily affordable - but, having used it for almost a month, it's now also become the number one knife in my kitbag!

Pronounced Sa-wah-ro - as in the North Arizonian desert cactus - you can see here that it's got a very stylish look about it thanks to the innovative input of talented custom knifemaker, Paul Chen. While Rock Creek dub it a spear-head blade, strictly speaking it's not. In fact, its unique style originated many generation ago in China's Quandong Province - and the origins of its design bear strong links to the surrounding nature. The handle's shape, for instance, is actually based on the Chinese eggplant, while that beautifully-styled, three-inch blade shares its shape with the bamboo leaf.

Of course, while the look of a knife is important - to me at least - what's paramount is the quality of its edge. It's here that the Saguaro really is something special, and what makes it (in my opinion) a real steal at the price, pun intended.

The Saguaro's blade is forged from HWS-2, a high-alloy steel that's proprietary to Hanwei, the world-famous sword-making factory - and it's been formulated with toughness in mind, as well as its edge-holding properties and resistance to corrosion.

The literature accompanying the knife advises the edge hardness is 58-60 HRc which, I confess, means nothing to me - but I can vouch that I've yet to resharpen the blade in spite of giving it some really tough treatment in the field over the past few weeks. It's hacked away bracken and wood, breasted a couple of woodies (which I thought might be a problem with the wide blade, but which actually wasn't) and skinned a couple of bunnies. I found the blade particularly well suited to slicing the meat from the sinew, which is worth doing if you don't want your rabbit meat to leave that after-taste in your mouth.

Its HWS-2 high-alloy steel blade holds an edge well

The blade's also been hollow-ground from 1/8-inch stock, so it's a solid affair with a strong spine - and it opens and closes really solidly, with no play in the joint. Indeed, the 'snap' of it opening and closing is quite beautiful to listen to (and feel). It's built around a stainless frame, and there's a bail for belt-clip attachment. 

Besides looking great, the rosewood grips complement the knife's shape both aesthetically and ergonomically; this knife sits in my palm to perfection... where it balances beautifully, too. In all honesty, I've never handled a folder quite as nice as this - which was a massive bonus given I initially chose the Saguaro on its looks!

I hope you enjoy the short video I've put together. If you want to see the rest of the Rock Creek range - where you can also order them direct - take a butchers here.