Monday 9 July 2018
When I first received these knives to try out, I thought that they were very similar to the starter knife set made by another American manufacturer – Flexcut – which I normally use. I also use Pfeil knives so this was an ideal opportunity to do a bit of a comparison between the three.
What's in the box
I'm testing three Mastercarver knives featuring three of Mastercarver's most popular, time-proven blades. The knives have naturally-shaped hardwood handles, which are lightly finished with natural tung oil. Unlike ordinary varnish, tung oil prevents skin blistering and discomfort.
Initially I was impressed with the shaping of the handles for the fingers and thumbs and I found during use that they were practical and comfortable and worked equally well whichever way the cutting edge of the blade faced. After using the knives for a couple of hours I discovered that the edge of the handle profiles were a bit sharp and slightly uncomfortable, but this was easily remedied by a bit of 180 grit Abranet.
All three knives in the set worked well on a simple cutting exercise on a minaret-type tower – similar to the exercise George Karon used to teach his woodturning classes. It's a sort of mosque tower with multiple balconies which lets you cut in many depths and directions.
I then went on to carve a chain with a handle – an imitation of a martial arts weapon – and I was happy to find that the knives were all capable of this sort of detail work and were enjoyable to use.
The third item I carved with this set was a small animal head and I then realised the set could benefit from the addition of a small detail knife. Fate seemed to take a hand when I broke the tip off of one whilst carving out an ear. I may have been a bit heavy handed because I must admit that I have broken the tip off of blades before, so I reshaped it to so that I could achieve more detail. This meant I was able to continue carving the animal head.
All three tools were kept sharp with a simple strop, so all in all this was an enjoyable little session with these knives, which I compared favourably with the ones I currently use. I would consider buying a set to add to my existing collection.