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Rifle Magazine
February - March 2000
Volume 35, Number 1
ISSN: 0017-7393
Number 203
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Product Tests
Remington’s Rosewood Handle Field Knife

Al Miller

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 Fixed Blade.

Named after the material used to make its handle, obviously, it’s 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. There’s a diagram next to my typewriter identifying them. If I start using correct nomenclature, though, I’ll have to define each or nobody will know what I’m talking about so I’ve 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 it’s 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 you’re chopping, slashing or digging with the point. If you’re 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 hand’s 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 that’s ever come my way.

So much for appearance - what’s the rosewood handle like to work with?

First test, as usual, was to slice up as much heavy-duty cardboard as possible. If there’s anything that can wear the edge off a fine blade quicker than cardboard, I can’t imagine what it might be. All those fibers pressed together make cardboard darned near as tough as sandpaper and almost as wearing. If a knife’s edge can put up with that kind of resistance for very long, it’s 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 represented.

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 blade’s 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 knife’s 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. It’s a first-class knife, a working knife, a good-looking knife. The troops back in North Carolina outdid themselves on this one!

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