Sunday, January 31, 2021

Three to Go

I just picked up a little hawkbill folder called the Isonzo from MKM and it’s pretty cool.

MKM stands for Maniago Knife Makers a consortium of knife makers in Italy.  I followed the Google links and ended up at CONSORZIO COLTELLINAI MANIAGO.  They are a group of 46 small cutlery companies all located in Maniago Knife District.  They have been in the market worldwide since 1960. The company is headquartered in Maniago itself, around 70 miles from Venice.

The Isonzo was designed by Jesper Voxnaes, a custom knife maker out of Denmark.  Italian laws are different and businesses can be organized differently.  This 'brand' is a collection of four of the top knife manufacturers in Italy working together to consolidate and strengthen their commercial contributions to foreign markets.  I suspect this allows each company to use excess capacity to their advantage in foreign markets.

The knife sports an aluminum spacer you can use as an oversized lanyard hole.  This is always an excellent idea working over water or deep snow.  The short 2.25 inch blade is made from Bohler N690 stainless steel and has a jimped thumb ramp for precise control.   The blade smoothly rotates open on ball bearings.

Bohler N690 is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel.  The vanadium (V) forms incredibly hard and fine carbides that pin iron grain boundaries in place and resist deformation, increasing the steel’s strength.

C          Si         Mn      Cr        Mo      V         Co

1.08   0.40       0.40   17.30     1.10    0.10     1.50

You can open the Isonzo with either the flipper or the elongated thumb hole.  The blade is locked open with a secure stainless steel liner lock.  It opens with an elongated thumb slot or compact flipper tab and is secured with steel liners in the grip. The non-slip handle is made from synthetic fiberglass reinforced nylon with a textured surface and an ergonomic shape, offering a secure grip even when wet.

The closed knife is carried tip up and the wire clip is reversible for left or right-hand carry.  All in all it is a sweet knife.   The Isonzo comes in a variety of blade shapes serrations and handle color, but I’m excited about the increased cutting power of a hawk nose blade and the blue color.

The suggested retail price is $99 but most manufacturers have a MAP or minimum advertised price.  You can find this knife on “sale” for $85.00.

Ash Viper Stockman 

This is part of Roper’s knife line dedicated to rough stock rodeo events.  Ask any cowboy, these events involving bucking bulls and horses and you need a strong grip to take the ride.  The Ash Viper sports a rough saw cut handle, stainless steel bolsters and a D2 blade.  Drop one in your pocket and you can almost feel the cowboy in you.  (The over sleeve says 1065 carbon steel, but the website says D2.  Go with the website.  The over sleeve is generic.)

Roper Knives is one of several brands owned by the American Buffalo Knife and Tool Company, a family owned company out of Sweetwater, TN.  While hardness isn’t mentioned, I suspect they have an RHc of around 56 to 58. 

The handle is sawcut G10 and houses a 3-inch clip point, 2inch spey blade and 2.25 inch sheepsfoot blade .  The liner is brass. 

D2 steel is a high carbon, high chromium tool steel with extremely high wear resisting properties. The high percentage of chromium gives it mild corrosion-resisting properties so a wipe with food friendly oil is a great idea.

I like the feel and the weight of the knife.  I’ve seen Roper in high end catalogs and in fine stores.  If you like stockman patterns and you like slip joints you’ll like this knife.  You can find it for $24.00


Rough Ryder Knives is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. And they have changed their name from Rider to Ryder.  It may have something to do with the condom brand Roughrider or not, I’ve always wondered.  For their 25th anniversary they have picked up their game and I’m impressed with the quality of the knives.  Will they keep this quality?  I don’t know.  But I’d buy while they are available.

Yes, they are made in China, the home of the coronavirus.  I'm not concerned with the politics of off shore production or the evils of communist China. If these are your reasons not to buy Rough Ryder then nothing I could say will change your mind.  I will say I find the quality and appearance amazing for $22.00

The trapper style knife has a reverse frosted clip point blade and polished spey blade.  Both are 3.12 inches long and are separated by a brass liner.  The bolster, as well as the pins and shield, are nickel.  The closed knife is 4.12 inches long and I really like the ram’s horn scales.

The blade is listed as 440A stainless steel.  That’s a little of a disappointment, but don’t let that stop you.  440A is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel that possesses good strength, moderate corrosion resistance, and excellent hardness and wear resistance.

The typical chemical composition is

C  0.6 – 0.75%

Cr  16-18%

Si  1%

Mn  1%

You can find it at with a great price.

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