Fixed Blades

Knife Review: KnifeArt Razorback.

KnifeArt is an online retailer of high-end production knives, counting names like Emerson, LionSteel, Hinderer, and more. Being knife guys, founders Larry and Rodney Connelly decided to try their hand at some knife design themselves. They have produced several designs thus far, including the Razorback, a medium-sized (3 1/4″ blade) clip-point fixed blade, which they are marketing as a neck-knife.

I met the Connelly brothers at last year’s BLADE Show, and have been looking forward to testing one of their knives ever since. This one was sent to me with the request that I finish my review before the Christmas shipping window closes. While a bit shorter than my typical review window, I had several weeks to carry and use this knife. It has the most comfortable ergonomics of any 3-finger (3.5 really) knife I have used.

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At 9/16″ thick, the Razorback is the sveltest of the bunch. (do you like the brass measuring blocks?)

In a sense, this is because the Razorback is pushing the upper limit of what I feel can be truthfully called a “neck-knife”. However, at 9/16″ in total handle thickness, it comes in slimmer than both the Helle Mandra, and Mora Eldris. At 3.25″ in blade length, it has a longer cutting surface than either of those.

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I have been on a small fixed-blade kick lately.

I am a devotee of the CRKT Minimalist, and I look at my neck knife as a backup to my primary fixed blade or folder. It doesn’t need to be the “One Knife to Rule Them All”.  I can wear the Minimalist under a relatively form-fitting shirt, and it doesn’t print. When worn around the neck, he Razorback conceals like a .45, or if worn outside the clothing is a heavy pendulum swinging forward. That said, the Razorback is significantly “more knife” than the Minimalist. It is a primary, not a backup knife in the EDC realm.

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While I wasn’t sold on the Razorback as a neck-knife, I loved it IWB

That is not to say that it doesn’t make a good, concealable EDC blade. It absolutely does. I just changed the carry configuration. I removed the inside-waistband belt-loop from another sheath. The Razorback, being a both shorter overall, but most importantly in the handle, it carries even more comfortably than my Kim Breed Model 15 – my EDC fixed blade of choice.


Construction:

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Blade:

The Razorback is full-tang with 3.25″ of edge back to the integrated finger-guard. It is D2 semi-stainless. While I never “put this knife away wet”, I did carry it IWB for weeks, and never had a problem with moisture rusting or even staining the blade. I did find some minor surface rust underneath the scales when I removed the torx screws. It hadn’t pitted, and buffed out with a paper towel and some honing compound. D2 isn’t a true stainless, but is pretty darn close.

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The Razorback is slightly handle-heavy, which makes the tip feel light and responsive.

The blade features a pretty pronounced clip point and high grind, which when combined with an non-skeletonized tang, makes the knife slightly handle-heavy. The balance point is actually behind the finger guard, lining up with the forward screw. I actually like this in a small knife as it makes the knife’s tip feel nimble – both in movement and in use.

The scales are a deceptively-aggressively textured G10. The pattern isn’t particularly deep, but the checkering really grips the hand.

The KnifeArt folks put the “art” back into this knife as well, with smooth lines, flowing curves, and a very tight fit-and-finish between the scales and steel. The blade is ground and buffed to a finer luster than most, with just a hint of grinding-marks visible. Too many knives are left to a rough grind these days, that it is nice to see a knife that looks like it was meant to be both used and visually appreciated.


Sheath:

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The kydex sheath is well molded and rattle-free

A very well-molded kydex sheath holds the knife securely and with virtually no movement or “battle-rattle”. I was unable to shake the knife free no matter how hard I tried.

The Razorback comes with a length of paracord set up for neck carry. As I mentioned, I swapped a belt loop into one of the rivets. You could attach a tek-lok buckle if you prefer belt or molle-carry.


Ergonomics:

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Standard grip, thumb rests naturally on the rise behind the clip-point.

In a word…superlative. I have never used a more comfortable 3-fingered knife. Ok, my pinky does catch some meat of the the handle, but the finger-bone is clearly on the pommel-slope, behind the knife – so 3-finger it is.

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Forward thumb-grip

Anchored by an integrated finger guard,  the overall shape of the knife is perfect for providing multiple grip options. One’s thumb rests naturally on the rise behind the clip, yet can be moved forward for detail/control work.

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Index-finger grip.

You can also put your index finger onto the clip for extremely fine control. Or use a full-wrapped grip for the really rough-work.

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Full-wrap grip.

 


Testing:

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The Razorback arrived super-sharp.

TTAK Testing Protocol:

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The Razorback is a cardboard slicing machine. I stopped after 125′, but as you can see below it was still making great cuts. My hand gave out before the D2 edge.

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The 125th linear foot. My hand got tired.

While I was not surprised at the lack of depth to my swipe at the rope, I was impressed that it barely took a third pass to part the rope on a deliberate draw-cut.

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After just 2 passes , the rope was hanging by a thread. You can see the slash didn’t quite make it through a single strand of rope.

Culinary:

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The Razorback dices a mean onion.

The Razorback is by no means a Chef’s knife, but it has pretty good culinary manners. Its high grind will peel an apple well, and does a fair job slicing as opposed to splitting it. It does a great job in cutting onions, tracking well without much blade wander.

I also used the Razorback as part of my turkey-carving rotation this year. Being a knife more geared towards game processing than kitchen carving, it performed predictably well in disarticulating the wings and drumsticks. The clip point slipped into the joints easily and parted the connective tissue.

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The clip point slipped into joints easily.

I used it to completely remove one breast, just as I would on a dove, and it performed nimbly at the end of the night when I was cleaning the random bits from around the carcass. It sliced-up the breast passably given its size and shape, but the Big Chris Steelhead was much better suited to the task of slicing the breast into servable pieces. I would feel confident in using the Razorback as a game-knife.

Wood Processing:

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I didn’t have the chance to spend much time in the woods with this one, but it carved a tent stake quite well.

I received the Razorback after my guide season was winding down, and I just didn’t get a chance to spend much time in the woods with this knife. So I thought I would do something a little different to demonstrate the Razorback’s versatility.

For this test I thought I would highlight how the different grip positions can apply to the process of carving a tent stake. I know I have put many knives through a lot more in terms of wood processing, but heavy-duty bushcraft is not what this knife is for. It is more than capable of prepping enough wood to start a fire if needed on a day hike. If you all looking for “chopping chops”, you need to be looking elsewhere.

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The Razorback batoned around a small knot just fine.

 

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Grip it and Rip it.

 

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Using my index finger for fine work on the notch.

After going to town on the pine board, the Razorback’s D2 blade could still slice newsprint, though it required focus on my form. A couple of swipes on the Sharpmaker ceramic rods and a quick stropping on the back of a belt, it was ready to return to front-line service.

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Feathering wood with thumb-push to the spine.

All in all, the Razorback is comfortable around wood-tasks.


Specs:

  • BLADE SIZE: 3 1/4″
  • TOTAL SIZE: 7 1/4″
  • BLADE MATERIAL: Semi-Stainless D2 Steel, Rockwell Hardness of RC 59-60. Blade thickness is 1/8″ stock.
  • HANDLE: Textured  G-10
  • GUARD: Integral
  • SHEATH: Heavy Duty Kydex Sheath – with Para Cord Neck Carry Cord
  • WEIGHT: 4.4 oz.

Ratings: (out of 5 stars)

Aesthetics/Styling: ****.5 

If you are going to call yourself KnifeArt, you have set the bar fairly high. The Razorback is worthy of the company’s name. I am especially impressed by how the knife is finished to a high luster.

Blade: ****

The D2 blade holds a great edge and the shape and grind are versatile and effective. David complains about sharpening D2, but I found the Sharpmaker did just fine.

Ergonomics: *****

Superlative ergonomics. The Razorback allows myriad grip-options. From the integral finger choil to the comfortably rounded spine, this knife was designed with the user in mind.

Ruggedness/Durability: ****

I can’t imagine any appropriate task which would hurt this knife, except maybe if you were overzealous with the tip. The D2 Steel is as stain-resistant as I needed it to be.

Overall: ****.5

Well designed and executed. A knife that is both a delight to look at and a pleasure to use. At $200, it is a good value in an American designed and American made blade for those looking for something outside of the mass-production realm.

The Razorback was sent to me as a loaner, though I plan on seeing if I can purchase it rather than sending it back. Probably the highest endorsement I can offer a blade.

Discussion

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