I give the knife itself 5 out of 5. It is sturdy and came paper shaving sharp out of the box. The G-10 scales are precision fitted to a beefy full tang, and the D2 steel will hold an edge for many a skinned deer, grouse or rabbit or whittled feather stick without needing a sharpening or even a touch up. I have used the knife two years now and its edge is still paper-shaving sharp–though bear in mind, I don’t baton wood with knives.
I wish the handle had been a little stouter as I have big hands and prefer beefier, even squarish grips, but I can’t fault the knife design for that. Most people have smaller hands and like slenderer grips. Still, I get good purchase on the knife and this is enhanced by simply wrapping a bit of paracord around it, using the large lanyard holes as an anchor.
It has G10 scales which have been smoothed and feel like ivory. I know the designer intended to avoid hot spots, but I would have preferred a more solid purchase, so I may take a rotary tool and carve a couple etches into either side to try to reinforce the grip.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the specs of this knife, so I’ll just answer them. I measured. Some have stated the knife weighs in at about 13 plus ounces, others at about 10. I weighed it–it weighs 10.1 oz exactly, and I know my scale is accurate.
The blade, measured from front of the scales to the point along the spine is 6 5/16 inches. Minus the choil, the cutting edge is 5 5/16 inches. The knife is 11 3/16 inches long overall and 3/16″ thick at the scales. The hilt is a roomy 4.875 inches–adequate for even large hands–which it manages by skipping useless but popular tacticool features like skull-crusher pommels. It also skips a rear lanyard hole–which is useful, especially if you take your knife on the water–and replaces it with two holes in the pommel that lock the scales into place with titanium bolts. Those holes are large enough to secure a lanyard into.
The choil is nicely cut and fits me perfectly. The back of the edge is angled forward so it doesn’t bite as you use the choil.
I noted earlier that the grip is made of smoothed G10 and has a feel something like ivory or polished bone. However, the grip is not slippery. In fact, it gets grippier when it becomes wet (even with blood). My wife and daughters find the grip nice. For me, I have large hands and find it a bit wanting. I work hard and calluses on my hands probably make it seem a bit slipperier, thus I tend to like scales that are checkered, bead blasted, carved or in some other way altered to improve purchase.
The knife is a drop point but the drop is slight and the spine is not clipped. It is a very tough, beefy blade. It manages the moderate 10.1 oz weight by virtue of the well executed full flat grind. All machining and engineering is excellent, perfectly fitted, seamless. Everything about this knife is elegant but by design manages to be very strong. Given the quality of the craftsmanship, I think this knife would have cost between $300 and $500 had it been made in the USA or Europe. It was actually made in Taiwen under the supervision of German engineers, thus manages fine engineering at a low price. This is what I look for in knives–quality that doesn’t cost so much you are afraid to use the tool.
I bought this knife for a general purpose hunting and woods knife. The design looked very useful. The slight drop point and full belly will make it a somewhat large but good skinner for anything from grouse to trout to deer. The durable sharpness and rust resistance of D2 steel will make it good for foraging wild plants and mushrooms. Unlike bushcrafters, I don’t make the mistake of trying to use knives as steel wood splitters. Which is to say: I don’t baton wood. Why would I use a $100 to $200 knife as a wedge I can buy for $3 at any hardware store. Knife steel must be much harder than hatchet steel to hold keen edges for long, but that means all knives will be brittle compared to an axe or hatchet. Thus, using a knife to baton–except in utmost emergency–is needless abuse of the blade. So, like most Canadian woodsmen, I prefer to bring a hatchet or small axe on my woodland forays. Ergo, I cannot comment on how this knife might baton wood, but I can tell I have carved many mighty fine shavings with it for starting fires with flint and steel.
People say the D2 steel is hard to sharpen. Nonsense! It will take a bit more effort than softer 1095 or 5160 or AUS8, but if you know what you’re doing and have the right tools, it can be sharped just fine. Japanese water stones at about 800, 1200 and 4000 grit will do the job. You can use diamond stones if you want to go faster, but at the expense of a sloppier edge. For those that prefer to go fast (and at great risk to the blade), you can use a belt sharpener like the Worksharp. The Worksharp is a popular tool but slip up and you can wreck a blade in an instant. I tried it, hated it and sent it back. (However, I must say Worksharp has great customer service and not only took it back without issue but sent me a consolatory gift, a field sharpener I may review one of these days.) For sharpening, give me water stones and a leather strop any day! It takes longer but you get much greater quality–as is usually the case when you compare machine done to done by hand.
Now for the major negative. The sheath–not to put too fine a point on it–is fubar, and I mean FUBAR. The knife rattles in the sheath terribly. The so-called belt clip that comes with it doesn’t even fit the sheath. It’s like Boker said, “Let’s make a good knife, and let’s just throw this old scrap plastic in there for a sheath.” The knife is pretty good, but it needs a useful sheath and the one that comes with the Vox Rold is not even serviceable. If you buy this knife, you get quality equal to a RAT 7, Esee 6, BK2, SRK, et cetera, but you will have to buy a custom sheath for it or make one yourself, and that’s going to add at least $20 to its cost. (Hint: the BK22 sheath, designed for the Kabar Becker BK2, and available from Kabar for $25, fits nearly perfectly. The Spec Ops 6″-8″ sheath is also a fair option, and a little tougher, but more than twice as expensive, and not worth the cost, in my opinion.)
I give this knife full marks for quality. The sheath, really, should just be tossed out, and so the Vox Rold loses a star for overall value. However, many great knife makers can’t seem to figure out how to make a good sheath, or just plain cut corners on sheaths. You see this a lot with Tops, Ontario and otherotherwise good knifemakers.
I have come to the conclusion the knife is good enough to warrant the expense of an aftermarket sheath and just ordered a BK-2 nylon sheath. I also heated the Kydex sheath that came with this Vox Rold in boiling water and pressed it between wood til it cooled, which narrowed it enough to reduce the rattle. I found a way to force the belt hook to work serviceably though it unavoidably carries the knife quite high on the belt. However, I am happy with the knife itself and the BK-2 nylon sheath works perfectly with it, though you might want to heat the polymer insert with boiling water (I think it’s Kydex) and slightly shrink it with a heat gun to give it a better fit to the Vox Rold.
ADDENDUM: Even better, a friend who is a leatherworker sent me a gift recently, this gorgeous and unbelievably tough sheath that he custom made to fit any 6″ to 8″ knife.
I still find use for the BK-22 sheath, though. It is molle compatible and has been fitted to my backpack for whenever it’s handy.
A Couple Years Later: I still think it’s a solid knife, and the steel is incredible. I’ve butchered a deer and a pile of poultry with it and used it to help build several blinds and it still hasn’t needed a sharpening. However, I did get frustrated with the small handle and gave it to my daughter. It fits her hands much better. The handle is long enough for large hands but too slender in both width and depth.