RVW: Jens Anso Personal Sheepsfoot Pt.1

Feb 4, 1999
I am breaking this review of <a href = "http://home6.inet.tele.dk/ansoe/ansoknives/">Jens Anso's</a> Personal Sheepsfoot knife into two parts. The reason is that I ordered the kit knife version of this blade, so Pt.1 that appears below will be on the kit itself while Pt.2 will discuss the finished knife's performance.
I have been interested in Jens work since he posted here around a year or so ago asking for people to buy his knives at reduced prices if they would agree to write reviews of them. I didn't have the money then or now, for that matter, to spend on the finished product, so when Jens announced that he was interested in offering some of his more popular patterns as kits, I jumped at the chance to get one!
The specs as found on <a href = "http://home6.inet.tele.dk/ansoe/ansoknives/"> Jen's homepage</a> describe the Personal Sheepfoot knife as having a 5cm long blade with 4.5mm thick ATS-34 stock. Its OAL is 13.5cm and it comes with a Kydex sheath and Micarta handle scales for a price of $140 plus shipping. The kit blade, in contrast, comes blade-only for $45 with an additional $10 for shipping (Jens is based in Denmark).
I ordered my knife and received it about a week later, as Jens had one set aside for me already. Shipping was fast and there were no hassles with international freight. I also wheeled and dealed a little and got Jens to throw in some handle material, pin stock, and thong hole liner with the regular price, but don't expect this as part of future kits.
The knife came with hand-written instructions that are pretty good, although far from complete. If you've never done a kit before, you would need more info than this, but Jens makes it clear he is available for questions, so I don't see that as a big deal. He recommends what works best for attaching the scales and what finish lokks best for the knife, as well.
The other kit knives I have from custom makers typically are pulled out of the heat treat and sent on their way, or maybe they run a 320 belt to clean them up a bit first. This knife looks like one of Jens regular production items, and the finish is already pretty nice. He also put an edge on it, which is a real pain to do by hand on the other kits I've done. Nice touches and they reduce the amount of work involved by a lot. I would recommend to Jens, though, that he do what the other makers do, and let the buyer do most of the finish work on the knife steel to get a feel for the amount of work involved.
Jens also stamped the knife with his maker's mark, which I prefer, but as a rule most knifemakers do not do this as they have no control over how the product will turn out, and with their name on the knife it still represents their work, whether it is 100% theirs or not. Food for thought. I would recommend he come up with another maker's mark to differentiate blades he has finished from blades that are sent as kits, especially if he plans to fill this highly-demanded market.
The knife was Rockwell tested in four spots, which please me greatly. It shows he cares about the kit blades as much as any production ones, and it is a good thing. He says the Rc on this blade is 60, which is pretty standard for ATS-34, although may be a little on the high side. The knife is pretty stout, though, so I would be surprised if it suffers from chipping. It also says in the note he sent that the blade was cryo treated.
The sheepfoot style is similar to a Wharncliffe, but generally features an absolutely straight edge with no up or down curve. This version is flat ground as far as I can tell, and the grind is very even with a nice transition to the choil. There is an inch of jimping fileworked into the bottom of the handle, extending from the blade, through the choil, and slightly into the handle proper. This serves to aid grip where the index finger would wrap around the knife handle. Probably will make for convenient indexing, too. The knife tang has several lightening holes, as well as a large hole at the front which I would guess is decorative as well as serving to allow positive grip for fine detail work with the kife pinched between thumb and index finger.
The entire knife is very well ground, finished almost to completion, and seems to be pretty ergonomic. I like it a lot so far!
In addition to the ATS-34 blade, Jens sent my kit with 304 stainless steel pin stock and thong hole liner, as well as brown canvas Micarta for the scales. I have worked with a lot of Micarta, but never brown canvas, so I am looking for ward to that. He completed the kit with a section of thin black fiber spacer to be placed bweteen the scales and tang, which should look really sharp (pun intended!). In short, for the $55 total I paid for this kit, I think I will definitely get my money's worth. The blade alone is certainly worth this much, and this knife will finish up to a fine-looking piece if I do my part of the job right! Part 2 will have pics of the final kit as well as my impressions of how the finished product feels. I plan to finish it similar to what Jens does, so the review should be a fairly accurate representation of his finished work as well. I will also make a multicarry sheath either from Kydex or Concealex to finish the thing off.

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