I have written fairly extensively on my garden this year, or more particularly the role it has been playing in providing me produce for knife testing. I have been making tons of pickles and salsa, as well as a successful failure at making jam. My homegrown strawberry jam didn’t fully gel but tastes wonderful anyway. Awesome on ice cream.
Last night, I spent some time with a handful of knives and a pile of leftover stalks from our sunflowers. I cut off the heads for drying, and the stalks seemed like an excellent choice for knife-testing substrate. It is like a celery stalk on steroids. Similar in look and crunch, but considerably more woody.
I tested 5 knives in all. The first 3 are knives that I am actively testing at the moment – the Caleb White Knives Penance, as well as the Gerber Strong Arm and Propel Auto. I also grabbed my Mora Bushcraft which was hanging nearby as a sort of control (it is my go to guide knife) as well as the previously tested Wilmont Wharny.
Of all the knives I tested, the Penance performed the best. Despite its smaller size, the sharp and narrow blade sliced effectively through the stalks, though I had to put some weight behind it for maximum effectiveness. The Strong Arm arm was a close second – what it lacked in tip shape, it made up for in overall heft. The added weight helps with chopping vegetable matter.
I was surprised to find that the Propel hold its own to a large degree. Obviously, a serrated tanto is not the ideal blade shape for processing produce, but I found if I pierced the stalk with the secondary point of the tanto, and pushed forward through the serrations the Propel did an adequate job.
The two control knives didn’t fair as well. First, and rather surprisingly, the Wharny failed to excel at cutting the sunflower stalks. I am not sure why, but while it was better than the Propel, it fell behind the Strong Arm at effectiveness at this task. It might be the friction from the coating, or the weight distribution, but it was the first slicing/chopping task that I have found the knife to struggle on.
The Bushcraft’s struggle was a bit easier to pinpoint. The scandi grind has a hard time with thick vegetables, as it tries to wedge as much as slice them out of the way. It performed poorly overall, despite having the sharpest blade of any of the knives tested.
On a brief housekeeping note, I finally made it to the post office to send the Sharpmaker, the Tenacious, and the Clipitool to our essay contest winners. I still need to line Dan up with Pop’s to choose a custom clip for his knife. The rest of you who submitted entries need to email me you addresses. Some of you have, but I need more before I divvy up the swag. Please drop me a line at email@example.com.