Welcome to the final chapter of TTAK’s “Semaine Laguiole” or Laguiole Week as it were. We introduced many of you to the classic pattern with Monday’s “Know Your Knives” post. We had a Nightly Knife Porn post featuring many makers’ examples of the style. We rand a “5 from the Grinder” with Christophe Durand, brother and partner in the second generation cutlery company. And finally we are wrapping things up with a review of the Laguiole Honoré Durand, which was sent to me by the folks at Sport Hansa.
The Laguiole Honoré Durand I received is the 12cm-handle model, with two-tone olive-wood scales, chiseled backspring, and a forged bee (more budget-oriented models have a welded bee).
Stats: (as measured by author)
- Handle: 12cm
- Blade Length: 9.96cm
- OAL Open: 21.75cm
- Blade Steel: 14C28 Sandvik
- Blade Thickness: .3cm
- Handle width: 2.3cm
- MSRP: 117.25€/~$137.00
Slipjoint backspring, stainless liners/chassis, olivewood scales, polished bolsters. You can see the 5 layers to the knife in the photo below (Bolster-Chassis-Spine/Spring-Chassis-Bolster)
The backspring is heavily decorated with filework. The double-plate models have filework on the chassis plates as well.
The “Bee” on this model is forged in one piece with the spring. More budget-oriented models have a welded bee.
The blade centering is not perfect when closed, but not excessively so. Just enough that it bears mention in a review capacity.
A thin, fully-ground clip-point, not too dissimilar from a Buck 110. The blade performed every bit as well as one would expect, given the general utility of the shape.
The 14C28 Sandvik steel is great at stain-resistance – the knife is free from patina despite a wide range of use. It takes a great edge and holds it acceptably.
There is a nail-nick to open the blade, or the stamped logo is practically deep enough to use as well – something that more than one person I showed the knife to remarked upon.
Wonderful. The serpentine sweep is comfortable in the hand, and the thick scales fill the palm nicely. The filework on the spine provides grip without discomfort. The pommel hooks gently around the bottom of the pinkie.
Since there is no clip, comfort really depends on what pants you are wearing, or more specifically the shape of the pockets. Certainly larger than Primble Stockman, I found that the knife wasn’t great in baggy pockets, but was pretty comfortable in the pocket in dressier khakis with flatter pockets, or when wearing jeans. I didn’t love it in the baggy pockets of canvas shorts.
The knife comes with a leather pocket sleeve, which allows for more comfortable carry, but I dislike the added step of removal/inserting the knife.
TTAK Testing Protocol:
Shaving hair and slicing newsprint were no problem at all. The blade takes a wicked edge. Edge retention was good if not extraordinary. The knife zipped through the first 50 linear feet, and the next 25 feet fairly well. By 75 feet, crosscutting was becomming a bit of an effort.
The thin blade cuts produce as well as any paring knife. It peels and slices apples with no wedging, and can make translucent slices in garlic and cherry tomatoes.
The Laguiole makes a heck of a steak knife. In fact, many companies, Durand included, make one-piece table-knives in the style as well.
I used the Durand Laguiole during my groundhog skinning-palooza. I didn’t do a ton with it, but it was nimble and effective enough that I can comfortably say it would make a solid bird and trout knife – effectively as a stand in for a Buck 110. I would have liked a lock for skinning though. I almost felt the blade begin to close when I changed directions. That said, plenty of people skin animals with slipjoints, so it is user-error as much as anything.
RATINGS (out of 5 stars):
Everything about this knife is beautiful, from the flowing lines to the two-tone scales, to the polish of the blade and hardware. The filework is wonderful, and functions as texture improving grip.
A great performer through medium-use. It slices as effectively as one would imagine given the blade dimensions, and it holds the edge reasonably well. All it took were a couple of passes over the Sharpmaker’s ceramic rods to restore the edge after the cardboard test.
While it is a bit strange for a handle to be wider than it is tall, the arrangement works on the Laguiole.
I keep referring to a Buck 110, which is misleading in the sense that it is more robust than a Laguiole. The latter falls somewhere under a Buck, and above a SAK or Case.
The knife is certainly rugged enough for anything that one would put a slipjoint through, with a bit to spare.
A the Laguiole Honoré Durand is a wonderful blend of tradition, execution, beauty, and function. While it hasn’t converted me to a Slipjoint EDC aficionado, it is a knife that is a pleasure to use, and will become a staple in our family’s picnic kit.
While it can perform any task I could expect of it, the Laguiole is most at home in the midst of a cheese and sausage plate. It performs this particular application with unrivaled style.