Story and photos by Noah Alkinburgh
End of summer camping trips are amazing but having a brand-new knife, to take along on the camping trip, makes them even better. That’s exactly what happened to me at the end of July, this year.
While planning my final weeklong summer trip, I received a package from a good friend of mine. When I opened it, I found the gorgeous walnut handled WOOX Rock 62 knife. A relatively new player in the knife game, North Carolina based WOOX put together a classic knife with some modern touches.
I could not wait to get this knife out in the woods and give it a try.
These knives are made in Italy, but the development, assembly and finish happen in Hickory, NC. The fit and finish out of the box was impressive, and the edge – while not hair popping sharp – easily sliced thin slivers of paper.
It comes with a black Italian leather sheath but, much to my delight, my buddy had upgraded me to the high end, full grain genuine Italian leather sheath. Both sheaths are well made and work well. The included sheath rides right on the belt and is not as nice as the high-end version, but if I’m completely honest, it holds the knife a little better around the handle than the high end one.
I found the branding on the included sheath a bit overwhelming, but that’s really nitpicky and did not at all effect the use of the knife. A little solvent and I was able to take most of the bright silver off – with a little elbow grease. I wish they had put the logo on the back, but it’s free, so it is what it is.
The premium sheath’s construction shows amazing attention to detail. I wore the knife all week long and outside of getting used to the leather thong being around my leg, and it occasionally coming untied, I barely noticed it was there.
The dangler snapped on and off, extremely easily, but held firm while wearing it. I really appreciated the convenience of being able to take it on and off, without undoing my belt. I even wore it while running a skid steer, to do some work on the camp road, and it never jabbed into me. The knife fit very tight at first, but the beautiful leather broke in with use and held the knife snuggly.
Too my surprise, however, I discovered that the handle strap would allow the knife to just slide through. I thought it might be a defect, but upon contacting the company, it seems it was designed that way. Again, not a deal breaker, and I couldn’t make the knife just fall out of the sheath, but it seemed odd to me.
The American walnut handle scales show pride and craftsmanship and are interchangeable between two walnut styles and micarta. The real wood felt great in the hand, and while almost too pretty to ding up, they should take on a patina and show great character with use and time. They felt a bit slick at first but never gave me any trouble. At some point I might pick up a set of the engraved walnut grips, as well as the micarta ones, as they seem to provide a slightly more secure grip.
The Rock 62 name alludes to the Sleipner Steel blade’s Rockwell hardness of HRC 60-62. An unknown to me, Sleipner steel is similar in characteristics with D2 tool steel and claims to have the strength of the tool steel, as well as better corrosion resistance. The blade was finished with what the company calls “Mil-Spec” – a black finish that increases the corrosion resistance.
Sleipner’s composition allegedly makes sharpening a bit easier than D2 tool steel as well. I did not sharpen the blade at all (I didn’t need to), and much of my knowledge on this comes from anecdotal evidence, provided by Internet forums, so your mileage may vary.
At .156-inch thick, you probably don’t want to baton a bunch of big hardwoods – it certainly will split the wood though.
Almost the first thing I did was cut up some dead birch and maple, about 3 inches thick, and baton it into small pieces. It bogged down a bit in some bigger stuff, but I wasn’t really surprised, as the blade is only 4.25 inches long.
The blade features a long, deep swedge, allowing you to easily grip down at the tip, for more fine cuts and work. It might be a bit too large for a good skinning knife, but my boys and I did hunt some frogs one night and I was able to get under the frog skin and get the legs, with relative ease. Considering this was our first time skinning out frog legs, I was pleased with how well it worked.
The spine has a sharp square edge near the handle and some light jimping, just forward of the handle. The squared portion of the spine makes a perfect striking area for a ferro rod and threw consistent sparks, lighting up the birch bark easily. You can strike near the tip, but the edge does not catch the rod as nicely and I had mixed results trying to light up tinder using the tip.
The knife cut the cordage I needed for hanging hammocks and tarps, without any issue. Not surprising, considering the other uses I had put it through. But sometimes it’s the little things. I also used it to cut and make some limb cordage, out of some small saplings. Using this “cordage,” and a stake, I bound together a Swedish fire log, so I could speed up my coffee making one morning.
After using the knife, to do some limbing on a downed tree, I figured making some feather sticks would be a good test of the edge geometry and retention. Feather sticks are not my strong suit, but the Rock 62 started curling slivers of maple like a champ.
When I got home, I decided to give it one more test. Pulling out one of the ubiquitous Uline catalogs I have laying around, I neatly trimmed off the corners by simply pressing down with the edge. It impressed me, and as a bonus, identified a great use for the Uline catalogs.
All in all, I pretty much fell in love with this knife. While probably not a true bushcraft knife, it performed well for all the tasks I threw at it. It looks great, feels great in my hands, and has earned a place in my kit for sure.
The version I have starts at around $149 and goes up to $179, if you go with the micarta handles. The upgraded sheath comes in at $49 or $59, with an Arkansas stone. If you are looking for a great working blade you should definitely take a look at the Rock 62 from WOOX. K&G
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Blade Material: Sleipner SteelBlade Length: 4.25 inchesOverall Length: 9.5 inchesBlade Thickness: 0.156 inchesBlade Finish: Mil-SpecWeight: 8.8 ouncesHandle Material: Walnut or MicartaSheath Material: LeatherMSRP: $149.00 (Walnut), $179.00 (Micarta)
Outdoor lover, photographer, small business owner and father of 4, Noah enjoys getting outside and traveling, as much as his schedule allows him. Working in the firearms industry for over a decade now, he has written, done photography and shot video for several firearms publications. He enjoys hiking and has recently taken up hammock camping and kayaking. He co-owns Wise Men Company, with a good friend, that makes and sells a robust line of EDC products. He loves to read, learn, try new bourbon and share his adventures with friends.
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