My first impression on opening the box containing the Arksjo folding lock knife from Outdoor Classic was a very good one.
If I didn’t know the price, I would have assumed that it cost several times more than the £10 that it sells for in the BDS shop.
It is perfectly sized to be of use for all UK deer species and the blaze orange rubber handle provides an outstanding grip. The eight and a half centimetre stainless steel blade locks very positively when open which is an essential safety feature in a folding knife. There is no movement in the knife at all when open or closed. The blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for one-handed use but, given that the knife is very solidly constructed with fine tolerances, it is a little stiff to open in this way.
With a folding knife that is used for deer, game or any food preparation it is essential that it is correctly cleaned after use both in the field and back at the larder in order to maintain hygiene standards.
The knife comes with a black cordura belt pouch. Whilst this pouch would appear to be of a good quality, personally, I will most likely carry the knife in my bag rather than on my belt.
As both a lock knife and one with a blade greater than 7.62cm in length it is illegal to carry in public in the UK without good reason. Deer Stalking would certainly meet the criteria for good reason but only whilst actually engaged in the activity. It is important to make people aware of this.
Unfortunately, the test knife arrived with me the day before the Covid-19 virus put a stop to my stalking activities, but I did have a muntjac in the chiller from earlier in the week. I used this knife to skin and butcher the animal, including full boning out and dicing tasks; it performed perfectly and the blue plaster on my hand is testament to how sharp it is! I have also been using the knife for general kitchen duties for the last few days. I have no doubt that it will make a fine gralloching knife.
Whilst I think it would be considered by most to be well outside the expected role of this knife, possibly even abuse, I did use it to baton a seasoned ash log into kindling just in order to give it a thorough trial and it performed the task very well. This is a knife that could clearly be used for light bushcraft purposes as well as deer work.
In summary, I think that this is a great knife and represents fantastic value for money. Anyone looking for a folding knife rather than, or in addition to, a fixed blade then this is well worth having. My only serious concern is that when I pass it around the rest of the BDS team for further trials I may well not get it back!