J.Mattson - review on BladeForums.com
This is my review of the two RosArms pass around knives. Let me know what you think, its my first review. Sorry about the pictures, my camera broke so I had to get several different people to take the pictures for me over a couple days.
This was my first encounter with RosArms knives and I must say that I found myself very, very impressed with the quality and fit and finish of the blades, particularly at their respective price points.
The Large one is called the Federal Super, and the smaller one is called the Messer 2. First impressions were good, they felt nice in the hand and the knives are very easy on the eyes. Over the course of my week with the knives I had the opportunity to use both knives extensively. Unfortunately when I was actually using the knives I was alone and without a camera I don’t have any “action” pictures. But since you all presumably know what a knife in use looks like you’ll all be able to follow along.
I’ll discuss the Messer 2 first.
I’ll start by getting the Messer’s (and indeed the same goes for the larger knife as well) largest flaw out of the way.
The sheath, it was disappointing. Though I think that in some way’s my criticisms of the sheath show just how nice the knife is. I’ve seen many sheaths that were inferior (and cost more money) but I didn’t think that the quality of the sheath matched the quality of the knife it held. It was adequate, and that’s about the best I can say. When you treat yourself to a drink of 18 year old single malt you don’t poor it into a disposable plastic cup, that while adequate doesn’t match the quality of the whiskey. I had the same feelings about the sheaths. If you can get beyond this issue (not that hard). Its really all god for the Messer 2 beyond that.
However despite my complaints about the sheath it rides nicely on the belt.
The blade is 4 inches long made from Forged 110x18M, which I understand to be an analogue of BG-42. As you can see its beautifully shaped, has a wonderful deep hollow ground and a finish that my pictures don’t even begin to do justice to.
The Knife’s handle is made from Birch nodule with Micarta. The natural wood has a nice feel to the hand, its smooth with out being slick and offers good grip without feeling abrasive.
My hands are quite average. As you can see the knife is well sized for a smallish fixed blade.
In a standard hammer grip the knife feels great in hand. The handle is contoured perfectly and the handle is just long enough to be comfortable, with out feeing to long.
If you want to choke up on the knife the Messer 2 offers a small but nicely shaped thumb ramp. This grip position offers quite a lot of control over the tip.
In an edge up grip your thumb rests against the choil and your index is free to control the spine of the blade. The more you use this knife the more apparent it becomes that this design is very well thought out.
If your looking to choke way up the knife can accommodate this grip nicely as well. It was in this grip position that I gave the knife the most use. Apples…a but load of apples. When you’ve getting 5 or 6 bags a day your only choice is to get out a knife, peel them, slice them and freeze them. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that during the week I had the knives I probably spent a good 15 hours peeling and slicing apples. It seems that peeling apples is considered a laughable task for a fixed blade knife but you try processing a couple hundred apples a day for 7 days in a row and lets see if your laughing then. Trust me after the fist 20 bags you come to a clear understanding and appreciation of ergonomics and control. The Messer 2 preformed as well and better then most any other knife I own. Thankfully I invested in an apple peeler, thank you home shopping network (don’t laugh).
I also used the knife to shave wood into the fluff needed for fire starting material. The blade worked nicely and all that was needed to maintain the edge was a some stropping now and again.
Over all I liked the Messer 2. The sheath could be better but its hard to find a sheath I like outside of customs. I think that the blade would also make a very nice hunting knife. Its stainless, has a good progressive sweep and is about the ideal length for a skinning knife. At its price point there is very little reason not to pick one up, if only to get a feel for the brand.
The larger of the two is the Federal Super it has a 7 inch blade (also 110x18M) and an over all length of a bit over 12 inches.
My comments about the smaller sheath hold true for this sheath as well. It simply doesn’t match the quality, fit and finish if the knife. Adequate but not exceptional.
Despite its flaws, the sheath certainly looks good. And feels nice on the belt.
The knife on its own doesn’t look so bad either. The blade shape its wonderfully functional. Good length, useful shape, robust grind.
Not sure about the saw back, it looks cool, but I don’t know when I would actually use it. However it doesn’t take anything away from the knife.
The handle is made from stacked leather with micarta on wither end. Very good looking, feels nice in hand, good grip. Though every potential draw back to natural handle materials still apply.
Just look at that fit and finish. Everything lines up perfectly with no gaps. Very impressive.
The Federal Super feels good in just about every potential grip. The handle offers plenty of room with out wasting any space. The ramp at the tip of the blade offers a perfect place to put your thumb the guard at the bottom makes an edge up grip safe and comfortable and the bolster at the back gives a nice counter weight if you intend to chop with it.
I had the chance to use this knife to process a fair about of wood. It worked adequately. Though a FFG would have been better I had no complaints.
I found that I liked this knife a lot. It looked good, felt great and was sized perfectly for most outdoor tasks. The fit and finish of the blade was far beyond anything I had seen in its price point. Its possible that in an out door knife carbon steel is preferable to stainless. However from what I’ve read these blades have an excellent reputation for toughness.
If I had to choose between the two I would take the Federal super every time, its simply a unique and enjoyable knife.
They don’t seem to get a lot of attention but if these two knives are representative of the brand as a whole then I can say with confidence that they make some great knives possessing quality well above the price points at which they are offered.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think.