It all started when I asked Smokepole if he could make a knife like the traditional Finnish Puukko. He said he'd look into it and the rest as they say is history.
I took delivery of this knife about 2 weeks ago and have put it through it's paces since then.
Size & Weight: As I unpacked it I was initially worried about it's small size. I know Smokepole did give measurements, but I never bothered to really check them. Apart from that the blade seemed a good size and the weight was very nice. It's also very good if you use it for everyday carry because - it's easily concealed.
Finish: The handle is very special, and I don't think the pictures do it justice. A real work of art and well finished. The black wood against the warthog tusk is really nice and feels sturdy in the hand. The blade is left a bit rough. We discussed not going for a polished blade because the knife would be used and not only for display. So a waste of time polishing something that would only end up scuffed within a week.
Time to test the knife. I mean really test it apart from the slicing of every piece of paper that came to hand.
I received the knife on a Thursday and went to do an overnight fishing session on Friday. Here I really put it through it's paces. It's jobs included the following:
Cutting braided fishing line.
Cutting grass in an area where it was needed.
Making a fuzz stick for the fire.
How did it perform? Well it handled everything really easily. The blade is razor sharp and has no trouble slicing. The handle surprised me. Despite it's size it felt good and is very easy to keep a good grip on. Because I do a lot of fishing one of my requirements was that the handle be made of a material that won't slip easily when wet. Smokepole made good choices in this regard and it works well for my needs.
Not all has been smooth sailing though. After the fishing trip I was cleaning the knife and noticed 3 tiny chips on the edge. Very small, but this concerned me and I wrote a message to Smokepole to let him know how the knife performed and about the small chips.
At this point I was reluctant to use the knife out of fear of damaging the edge further. Smokepole however urged me to continue to make use of it, and use it hard. He explained that it could of been the initial burr that was giving trouble and with some honing the chips could disappear. The other possibility was that the steel used could of been be too hard.
One way to find out. Use it and use it hard. So I did.
The week that followed.
So taking Smokepoles advice I used the knife into the ground. I opened boxes with it, prepared food with it (meat and veggies). Cut everything with it I could find. Sticks in the yard, old broken belts, coke bottles, pieces of carpet. Eveything.
But no need to hone the knife at this point and the blade looked the same - So the one night I picked up a block of wood. Not sure what wood, but the stuff is hard and tough to cut. Even with a saw. Smokepole wanted to know if the blade was tough enough for my needs and I did too. I went to town on this wood and cut pieces out of it until the blade got dull and my arm got tired.
After that I put it in the stone and the little chips were gone and the knife was back to it's glory. If it can stand up to that it can stand up to anything I'll do with it.
The Scandinavian grind has a lot going for it. It gets very sharp and slices through anything with ease. Yes it loses an edge faster than normal, but it doesn't matter. Why you ask? Well because it's the easiest thing in the world to sharpen. Just lay it flat on the stone give it a few passes and it's cutting like a craft knife in seconds.
Good strong blade and handle, capable of more punishment than I'm willing to ever give a knife I own.
When I close my hand I cover the handle completely. So under a lot of pressure it's difficult to keep a strong grip. I'm talking about extreme use here though. Something I don't do. Under normal use it's perfectly fine.
It works. I don't really care too much about sheaths as long as they work. Smokepole did put some good thought into this one though as it allows for sideways carry, which I've come to prefer.
This knife performs beyond my expectations. It cuts through anything. Sharpens easily and is tough enough to handle whatever I throw at it. What more could you want? The blade shape is also ideal for all uses.
All in all this this is a brilliant knife. The best I've ever owned and being a custom makes it that little more special.
Smokepole is a true gentleman and a true artist. He's been helpful every step of the way with this knife and has supplied me a knife I'll use for the rest of my life. If anyone is looking at buying a custom I suggest speaking to Smokepole. From experience you can't go wrong. And it's more special to me than any mass produced knife I could buy at a similar, or even more expensive price.
I hope you don't mind Smokepole but I'd like to close off this review with a quote from a PM you sent me that sums up this knife and the pride you have in your work.
"I see my knives as a legacy - and having a good legacy is more important than money." – Smokepole