Pros: Blade Material, Sheath/Scabbard, Handle Material, Weight, Materials, Overall Quality, Finish
Good Materials, Substandard Workmanship
I bought the Boker Arbolito Hunter Fixed 4-3/4" N695 Blade, with Stag Handles knife as an all-purpose camp knife and hunting knife. It arrived with a durable, well made, well finished, leather sheath that fits the knife very snuggly. The fit and finish on the knife is very good (not excellent). The stag scales chosen were good quality, appropriate width and dimension for the handle. There were no locations where the metal was proud of the handle material. The handle feels nice and solid and comfortable in the hand. The weight of the knife is balanced and appropriate for it's size and intended use. The blade dimensions can be found in literature elsewhere but it is almost a survival knife weight. The good: The appearance of the knife is very nice. Almost, but not quite, too nice to carry in the woods and use as a tool. The finish on the metal is excellent, no blemishes or concerns there. To look at it, you think - "This is a really, really nice knife." Especially for the price they are asking. It comes mediocre sharp. You could take it right out of the box and do almost any job you wanted to do right then and there, including use as a camping knife or hunting/skinning knife or survival knife. No sharpening needed. The steel they use, N695, is a strong, rust resistant steel and very durable, holds and edge, similar/equivalent to the 440C steel you might have used on the old Buck knives, maybe even a little harder (I use Buck as an example because many people have used or had their knives. I feel Buck is a good quality knife manufacturer). Simply put, the Germans (Bohler) make good steel. It has been properly manufactured and tempered. You can't really buy better, only knife steel with different properties. The Bad: Whatever yahoo put the final grind, finish and factory edge on the knife either didn't have the skills or didn't take the time to do the job right. Though uniform along the spine, there is some very minor variation in blade width as it approaches the blade edge. This likely came in the finishing and polishing step of manufacture and is knit-picking because it is so minor that it has no bearing on the useability of the knife. However, what does bother me is that the angle used to factory sharpen the knife was really too wide of an angle and on top of that it was unevenly sharpened. In other words, someone had taken off more steel from one side than the other. I repeat, it was sharp enough to be used right out of the box. But to re-sharpen the knife, to even it up and put an appropriate angle on the blade, I had to take off some serious, very hard steel. So unless you have a quality mechanical sharpener, get ready to spend some time with your sharpening stone. It took me three sessions at 2 1/2 hours each to wear the steel down to an appropriate edge. I use an old Lansky sharpening system, the knife was very sharp when I was done. And I believe it will perform excellently. Overall: The quality of materials used in the knife is outstanding. It is a very good looking knife. The sheath is very nice as well. When you hold it, you know you are holding a high quality knife. You are getting a lot of knife for the price. If you buy one, beware, to re-sharpen it you may want a worksharp tool, or other mechanical sharpener, or just lots of time like me!