Remingtons Rosewood Handle
As usual, Remington added a few new
designs to its knife line for 1999; dropped a few too. Among the new items is one of the
best general-purpose field knives to come down the pike in years: the Rosewood Handle
Named after the material used to
make its handle, obviously, its medium-sized, measuring 8.8 inches from the tip of
its point to the back end of its handle. (Yes, I know every portion of a knife has a name.
Theres a diagram next to my typewriter identifying them. If I start using correct
nomenclature, though, Ill have to define each or nobody will know what Im
talking about so Ive decided to forget that approach.)
The drop-point blade is 4 1/4 inches
long, formed from tough, stainless steel. It measures .165 inch thick along the top edge,
and the tang extends completely through the handle. That last, as noted, is formed from
highly polished rosewood. The result is a surprisingly handsome marriage of wood and metal
- but its the shape of the handle, not the wood itself, that makes this such an
outstanding and useful sheath knife.
Look at the contours of that handle.
Ever see another like it? Neither have I. Whoever dreamed that up should be given several
waves of the old flag and at least one rousing Attaboy! - or Attagirl!
as the case may be.
When that handle is grasped, the
forefinger just naturally slides around the short, concaved portion just behind the tang.
Effortlessly, the other three fill the long concave undercut. That leaves the thumb free
to wrap itself around the tang if youre chopping, slashing or digging with the
point. If youre sawing with the blade or skinning, the thumb can be placed over the
serrated section on top of the blade just ahead of the tang. There, its pressure can be
added, at will, to deepen a cut or change the blade angle. So positioned, it also frees
the hands web from any strain. All in all, the fit of handle and hand, plus the
availability of that short (3/4 inch) serrated section on top of the blade, make this the
most easily controllable field knife thats ever come my way.
So much for appearance - whats
the rosewood handle like to work with?
First test, as usual, was to slice
up as much heavy-duty cardboard as possible. If theres anything that can wear the
edge off a fine blade quicker than cardboard, I cant imagine what it might be. All
those fibers pressed together make cardboard darned near as tough as sandpaper and almost
as wearing. If a knifes edge can put up with that kind of resistance for very long,
its made of pretty stout steel.
There was a pile of flattened
cardboard cartons down in the basement saved just for this purpose. Thick, thin,
hard-finished, glossy - just about every common type and thickness of cardboard was
First, an edge sharp enough to shave
the hair on my forearm was put on the Remington blade. After that, it took the better part
of an hour to reduce that pile of cardboard to shavings. Admittedly, the last slab of
cardboard demanded a bit more effort to slash through than the first had - but not a whole
lot. Just enough to be noticeable.
After that test was completed, the
blades edge was no longer sharp enough to shave the hair on my arm. Nonetheless, it
turned that final piece of cardboard into rubble with a minimum amount of effort.
Next, the edge was restored with 30
passes of a sharpening steel. Then, several firesticks were made from one- and two-inch
ponderosa branches - you know, cutting the wood so the small, curved shavings remain
attached to the branch but curl outward so they can catch the flame from a match quickly
and easily. You used to make them when you were a Boy Scout, remember?
Finally, without touching up the
edge again, a dozen plastic bottles were slashed and cut until they were just a pile of
synthetic rubbish. At that point, I tried shaving the hair on the other forearm - and
succeeded, although it took several extra passes, time and patience. Nevertheless, that
edge was in unexpectedly good condition, considering what it had accomplished.
A plain but sturdy leather sheath
accompanies each Rosewood Handle. Formed to fit the knifes contours, it depends on
friction rather than straps or other devices to hold the knife in place.
If you are in the market for a good field
knife or are scouting around, seeking a gift for friend or relative, head for your nearest
Remington dealer and take a long, hard look at the Rosewood Handle Fixed Blade. Its
a first-class knife, a working knife, a good-looking knife. The troops back in North
Carolina outdid themselves on this one!