A couple of weeks ago I finished up a session using one of Queens Copperheads and while I enjoyed using it, the pattern isn’t/wasn’t my first choice. Nice knife but it just didn’t quite fit the bill. On all of the Copperheads I’ve handled, the angle of the blade just doesn’t feel in synch with the handle.
Well, did’ja ever have one of those moments of dejavu? Something just feels so familiar you’re sure you’ve been there and done that before? Well, I’ve been having one of those ‘moments’ for the last week or two. After using the Copperhead I picked up one of Queens #48 Whittlers with Curly Zebra Wood handles and have been putting it through the paces for a week or two. And do I like love it!!!
I’ll admit before I put the Whittler to work, it went to the sharpening stone. That first moment of dejavu came when I was reminded how tough D2 steel is. If you’re used to only maintaining 1095 or even 440C, all I can tell you is that D2 is a different material when it comes to tough. The most difficult part of sharpening most any D2 (personally) is bringing that initial edge up until you have that fine wire you can hone off. It seems like it takes forever to get that wire developed. Once you’re there, not a problem. A few of you might cringe at the thought, but I start with a coarse diamond stone for the quickest result. Get that initial edge worked up, switch to a medium and then a fine stone, then finish it on a leather strop. Take your time, use a little pressure, get a second cup of coffee and you will end up with one fine razor edge.
During the sharpening process, I handled it enough to notice it felt a lot like an old Schrade small stockman ‘I used to have’. Great blade combination, perfect size to comfortably fit in a pocket but still big enough to let you get a good grip on the handle.
While most of the ‘work’ consisted of the usual cardboard and fiber tape work, I had a miserable rewiring project on the pontoon over the weekend.
Now I’ll start by admitting I did use a pair of side cutters to remove the old rats nest of wiring. But once I got into replacing things, the Whittler cut everything from carpeting, old electrical connectors, wood decking, plastic wire ties to insulation off the new wire. Not sure how you cut through that insulation, but I’ll typically roll the wire back and forth across the knife blade until it cuts through to the copper. Then, I’ll use the sharp edge to push the insulation off the end of the wire. In other words, it’s not a real ‘sharp blade’ friendly operation. Oh yeah, forgot about scraping off the battery terminal.
So how’d the knife hold up??? Better than my fingers.
After a week and a half of what I’d consider hard use for a knife this size, I could not believe how well the edge held up on the blades. The coping blade took the bulk of the abuse and it was easily capable of shredding a cardboard box with smooth cuts. About 3 passes on a fine stone and a final hone on the strop and it was back to hair shaving sharp.
I’ve always been a great fan of the A2 from Bark River which I think is a bit easier to work. The D2 is more stain resistant and I feel it will hold an edge longer than the A2. I’ve heard comments that D2 can be brittle, I’ve never found it any more prone to chipping than any other quality steel. Is D2 more stain resistant than 1095? I sure think so. Is D2 initially harder to sharpen than 1095? Yup. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Is an edge harder to maintain on the D2? No way, but like any knife, stay on top of things and it’ll pay off in the end.
The fit and finish on the knife is excellent. The price? $69.95 in Birdseye Maple.