Frosts of Sweden Clipper Mini-Review

Apr 24, 1999
This is actually a small review of this knife AND a little sidebar about our very own James Mattis' customer service skills.

We'll start w/ Mr. Mattis of Chai Cutlery. Last week, I asked James if I could get a knife by Friday b/c I was going camping and needed a hiking/camp knife. I previously had written a thread about finding a good, cheap knife that would still be happy to be used. After several other replies, James suggested I look at the Frosts of Sweden/Mora/Erikkson, section and from there, I picked out the Clipper in 12C27, but then was thrown off by two other knives in the same section.

After receiving an e-mail confirming that I could get the knife that weekend, I left the decision up to him as to which knife I'd get. He picked the Clipper and gave very logical reasons for doing so. All this in a matter of 2 days of e-mail and 2 days of transit. No, I didn't get the knife on Friday afternoon, but I place the blame on the Post Office's inability to take a Priority Mail package seriously. I did get it Saturday morning, however, right before I packed up the car. During this whole transaction stage, Mr. Mattis was courteous, obviously knowledgable, didn't try to upsell me when I asked his opinion, and so above all, kept my interests/needs in mind.

As far as the knife goes, his choice couldn't have been better. For $14.80 (shippin included), I expected something that looked like it cost less. And while it's not a fancy looking knife, I knew it'd do what I asked, which wasn't much...this weekend. The reason why I expected a cheap looking knife is mainly b/c of the lower-end knives I had looked at at the sports stores out here. Pac NW's are big campers/hikers/outdoorsy types out here, and so finding equipment in any price range is easy. I started looking a few weeks b/f contacting James.

To name some brands, I looked at Buck, Gerber and Schrade folding and fixed blades in the $20 to $35 range and settled on one knife --the Buck Mini Mentor. But taking a close inspection, the handle material had been done sloppily, as had the grind bevels--they didn't look even! Additionally, the bevels had a striated appearance, much like a very rough belt/wheel was used to grind it and wasn't followed up by a finer one. It just didn't look suitable and for $20+tax I just felt I should keep looking.

Enter the Clipper. Like I said, $14.80 and I got to know what steel it was in (thanks you guys for your input on 12C27). I was, however, taking a risk by not being able to examine it b/f buying, but I put that to rest when I considered that Mr. Mattis probably wouldn't sell me a piece of junk. That aside, I was extremely pleased when I got the knife. James' caption next to the knife downplays the knife a lot, I think.

The Clipper has what I estimate to be about a 4-4 1/2" blade in what appears to be a tradtional Mora shape. The blade surfaces are mirror polished and there is only a primary grind--no secondary bevels. It starts about halfway down and culminates in a nice, sharp cutting surface. As for the handle, it has a thick plastic "guard" and an equally thick plastic buttcap. In between is a palm swelled rubber grip fits my hand comfortably in all grips and produces no hot spots. Who would have thought such cheap materials could come together so well?

The sheath's a simple affair, an "ugly molded plastic sheath" as James puts it. It does, however, do what it's supposed to, and that is keep the knife in place. It utilizes an internal notch to retain the knife, and if you were so inclined, you could carry the thing upside down a la Kydex. You'd need sticky velcro, though, as the sheath is molded such that it only has a belt clip as it's only attachment point.

Now for it's performance. No I didn't bang it on anything--I feel you should use the appropriate tool for the job--sorry. Besides, I didn't intend to limb trees or cut bricks or anything like that. I needed a knife that would aid in food prepping, cut paracord/twine/rope, cut open bags/packages, and do anything else that came to mind. In these categories, the knife performed w/ aplomb. It sliced thick french bread clear through w/ minimal pressure (probably due to the knife's medium width and flat grind), cut cord just as easily, cut meat really well, and even helped me cut oysters from their shells (helped me pry the shells open when they wouldn't do it on their own on the grill, too!). I even threw it into the sand, but not very hard. I also stabbed it (again, not REALLY hard) into some driftwood and carved stuff into it. Finally, I also had the gumption see how well it'd clip those tiny branches off of would-be walking staves! All this w/ no dulling whatsoever. That may not seem like much work to lots of you, but as I've never had experience w/ 12C27, and since my STIFF KISS last year dulled before half of that stuff was done ($20 for that knife!), I was expecting the Clipper to need retouching. No dice on that, I'm happy to say. I even got sea water on it and left it out in the dewy morning and it didn't rust or show any signs of wanting to do so.

All in all, I'm not only pleased w/ this knife, I'm impressed and I think it'd make a great knife for fishing, what I used it for, and would susect that it'd make a great boning knife in a pinch (my girlfriend has the kind of boning knife that the USDA uses) For that amount of money, I think I'll get another. A comment about the steel, too: Someone else noted this, and I'd just like to confirm it. The steel is SMOOTH. If you've ever handled it and then handled another steel, even ATS-34, there's something about it's texture and near lack-of, that really makes this knife kinda stick out. The Mini Mentor looked rough outright, as do many other knives in the lower end range, but the Clipper is smooth all around. By this I mean when I sliced things w/ it, it actually sliced; no retouching or regrinding, it simply slid thorugh the material and parted it. Even w/ some of my sharpest knives I feel a little resistance, but no w/ the 12C27. I believe this has something to do w/ the carbide size, as another person said, and maybe this also has something to do w/ the knife not dulling much, but I'm not sure.