Neck knives have a place in the world of sharp. They might be small but they sure are handy. Ever try and get to your pocketknife while driving your car? You twist and turn so you can clear your pocket and seat belt at the same time. This is one of the times where neck knives rule. Water sports are another activity that they come in at No. 1.
Most have a blade small enough that they are legal in most states (though be sure to check your state and local laws). I always had one while commercial net fishing, though not as nice as what is available today.
The Silent Soldier by Jason Brous is a small, stout necker that can be used in a variety of different hand holds for specific cutting or for more comfort. First, some “specifics.”
I put my index finger in the handle’s front hole, wrapped my hand around the grip and sliced a foam pool noodle. The knife was very controllable in a variety of holds. All the steel my hand contacted is nicely smoothed, so, other than the edge, I did not encounter any sharp spots. The D2 blade zipped through the noodle quickly and I had to be careful not to nick the hand holding the foam float.
Melissa reminded me to tidy up my cardboard-box-covered workbench. No problem for the Silent Soldier; a few zips and I had a pile of cardboard strips. I did a few finer cuts to see if the blade would curl the cardboard. Nope—all cuts were clean from start to end.
Also in the pile was some plastic board. The necker cut it cleanly but, the deeper the cut, I could feel the knife twist in my hand. The quarter-inch thickness pushed the board wider and caused drag on the side of the blade. However, it is not a big deal with the plastic board and happens on all knives with similar edge geometry.
I grabbed some dense foam and started slicing. The steel really excelled cutting it. As fast as I could pull the knife through the dense foam, clean cuts appeared. I felt like a chef on one of those kitchen knife commercials slicing fresh bacon—zip, zip, zip! I could hardly feel any resistance as the blade parted the foam. The Silent Soldier is a sharp little boogar.
Because of the knife’s small size, I was leery of using it to cut rope. That usually means a hot spot or I cannot get enough grip on the knife to cleanly cut the 3/8-inch sisal rope. I had to move the cutting board closer to the edge of the bench because of the wharncliffe blade style. No grinding my hand on the workbench this time! The Silent Soldier gave me 60 clean cuts. Only my thumb was a little sore from using it to exert pressure on the slot running vertically through the middle of the thumb notches. The rest of the knife worked better and was more comfortable than I figured it would be.
Even though I knew the thickness of the quarter-inch blade stock would provide a challenge cutting wood, I had to try it. The deeper I whittled, the harder it was to push the blade into the wood. The thickness of the blade combined with the toughness of the wood made it slow going. It worked great as long as I took small shavings. Not to be put off, I followed the great advice, “When in doubt, get a bigger hammer.” The necker split the 15 inches of pine easily with a few light taps from a plastic dead-blow hammer. I split the piece into half-inch chew chunks for my cockatoo, Max.
As painful as I thought it was going to be, I had to do a penetration test on the Yellow Pages. Using a reverse ice-pick grip, I stabbed into the phone directory four times. The necker was actually very comfortable. No shock transferred to my hand and I experienced no sore spots. All four stabs penetrated an average of 260 pages each—not bad at all.
I Would …
… keep the thumb notches straight across—in other words, eliminate the slot running vertically through them—so the notches can be more easily “softened” with an abrasive if the user so desires.
The Silent Soldier is an excellent necker. The thicker steel results in softer curves so the handle does not gouge into your hand during use.—By MSG Kim Breed
For more information contact Brous Knives, Dept. www.blademag.com, 5940 Matthews St., Goleta, CA 93117 805-717-7192 brousblades.com
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Knife: Silent Soldier
Pattern: Neck knife
Maker: Jason Brous
Blade Material: D2 tool steel
Blade Stock: .25”
Blade Length: 2.25”
Rockwell Hardness: 59/60 HRC
Overall Length: 4.25”
Maker’s List Price: $99