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Daniel Rohde neck knife

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Dangerously, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Dangerously

    Dangerously Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Daniel Rohde (Rō´dē) is a knife maker here on BF. I picked up one of his neck knives to try out, as I’m trying out small fixed blades for everyday use. It’s attractive, reasonably priced, and carries easily due to its small size and light weight. This knife design is an interesting study in trade-offs, so I’d like to share them for anyone considering a Carter-style neck knife like this.

    Forgive the pictures. I'm not a photographer, and the knife has already started to patina from my use.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the specs from Daniel:

    BLADE:
    Steel: 1095
    Overall Length: 7 ½”
    Cutting Edge Length: 3 ¼”
    Width at ricasso: ⅞”
    Spine Thickness: .075”
    ¼ Back from the Edge: .035”
    Edge Thickness: .010”
    Finish: Etched
    Grind: Full Flat Grind
    Spine is smooth and rounded


    HANDLE:
    Finish: 1000 Grit Mirror Polished and Buffed
    Material: Blue Jigged Bone, with micarta liners
    Pins: Micarta


    SHEATH:
    .060" Black Kydex with black eyelets and a charcoal para cord lanyard
    The sheath has a nice click in fit and is easy to draw
    -The Eyelets in this sheath are spaced to fit the large Tek-lok belt loop(1 1/2" between center)
    -Edges are buffed

    [​IMG]

    It's a small, light knife with a seriously thin grind. It fits really well in the hand. The deep choil and handle swells feel organic. Most knife handles feel like rectangular slabs that have a few curves and swells to add comfort, whereas this handle feels much more like it was made for a human hand from the start.

    The handle scales stop before the blade, meaning it's also comfortable in a pinch grip, much like a kitchen knife. This is actually practical, since the grind is thin enough to be used for some detailed kitchen duties.

    There was a part of the finger choil that wasn't as nicely rounded as the rest of the knife, so I chamfered it slightly with a ceramic pocket stone to make it smooth.

    [​IMG]

    Look at that thin blade. It is a laser. Being so thin in the belly makes it incredible for slicing. It slides through cardboard, as the blade is so thin it doesn't bind like thicker knives. It is as thin or thinner than many kitchen knives, so it can cut apples and the like without cracking off pieces.

    The 1095 is easy to sharpen. After I took the pictures, I used a DMT coarse to set the bevel, and then refined and polished on spyderco ceramics up to Ultrafine, and it took a great polish. I don't know how hard the blade is, but it's got 1095's usual combination of competent edge holding with very easy sharpening.

    One thing that's not obvious is that there is no notable distal taper like on a leek. So the tip is relatively strong, but at the cost of sharpness: the tip is actually ground thicker at the edge than the main flat portion of the blade.

    If you sharpen the tip to the same angle as the belly, you get an increasingly wide bevel all the way to the tip. So you need to decide: do you want even bevels with an increasing edge angle at the tip, or uneven bevels to retain the same edge angle? It's an unusual tradeoff I haven't had to consider, since other knives generally taper the grind at the tip so you can have even bevels along with the same angle.

    It came with wider bevels at the tip, and that's the way I have kept it. I prefer the look of even bevels, but I'm not sure I would want to gain that feature by having the tip ground even thinner on an already thin blade.

    [​IMG]

    The sheath is great. Light, no rattle, and the perfect amount of retention. It feels very secure, but comes out with one thumb. The lanyard knots are an ingenous solution to make the length of the lanyard adjustable.

    [​IMG]

    I mentioned that the blade is great at food prep — at least food prep that a 3.25" blade can handle. It is thinner even than my trusty apple knife: the Opinel 8 (pictured without Leatherman micra). It is comfortable and extremely competent for apples, avocadoes, and other small jobs.

    I have a pet peeve about using thick knives in the kitchen, since they're just so much poorer for that job. This is the only specifically non-kitchen knife that I've enjoyed using for food.

    [​IMG]

    It is even thinner than the opinel!

    [​IMG]

    I haven't yet picked up a real Murray Carter neck knife, but I have another Carter-style knife to compare against. This is a Bark River Adventurer 2 in CPM 20CV, green linen micarta.

    The Bark River is more expensive, and much more stout, but it is not better. The Rohde knife fits better in the hand, and has more comfortable dimensions. The blade profile of the Rohde knife has a more pronounced sharp tip, which has different uses from the Bark River's rather blunt tip, but more rounded belly.

    The stoutness of the Bark River makes it better at woodworking, but worse at food. They may look alike, but these knives make different design tradeoffs and have different uses.

    [​IMG]

    The fit and finish of the Rohde knife was good but not perfect. It's not what you'd expect on a $500 custom. But it was originally sold for less than a third of that, and I picked it up on the secondary market for even less. For what Daniel chanrges for these knives, they're excellent value.

    That is, if you have a need for this set of tradeoffs. It's not going to be any good a batoning, or cutting through car doors, or whatever else people are doing these days. There are so many overbuilt knives on the market, it's easy to forget just how much better a thin knife actually cuts. I'll say it again, this knife is a laser. If you want to cut things and not get any callouses, this may be the knife for you.

    I'll definitely be watching Daniel's sale threads in the knife maker's market more closely.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    GABaus likes this.
  2. oprichnik

    oprichnik Gold Member Gold Member

    383
    Jul 9, 2015
    Excellent and very detailed review!
     
  3. Dangerously

    Dangerously Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks, man. ;)
     
  4. JasonJ

    JasonJ

    101
    Oct 28, 2014
    Now that is a blade that I could EDC and use the hell out of! I love that size and general shape, it's very practical and comfortable.

    I have a custom "bushcraft" knife on it's way now, but this may just need to be the next purchase. I don't feel nearly as bad about spending $100-$200 on knives that actually get used, loved, appreciated and are not just display pieces.

    EDIT* I just checked out Daniel's website... shocked to learn how young he is, or at least as of the last time he updated his About Me page on the website. Impressive quality and craftsmanship at such a young age.

    EDIT #2* Looking at his Facebook page, it seems his About Me info may be dated.. but regardless, nice knives.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  5. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Great review, thanks!
     
  6. Dangerously

    Dangerously Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Yeah, I think he was 18 when he made my knife. I think he’s since gone to engineering school. Quite an achiever.

    I believe Daniel got some tips from Joe Calton. If you’re still looking for a Murray Carter style neck knife, I think Joe has a bunch up on his website. As well as, well, Murray Carter too. :)
     
    JasonJ likes this.

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