JOKER Knives Are No Joke: CC55 and CA16
We are talking about the handcrafted JOKER knives (www.jokerknives.com) that have been made in Spain and distributed throughout Europe for several years, not the cheap Chinese imports. JOKER knives are now distributed in the U.S. by GAMO USA.
In this day and age of machine made knives, many of which are excellent, it was a pleasure to be able to use and review handmade blades. We selected two hunter/skinner models at the 2015 SHOT Show that we wanted to review.
The first one was the CC55 Hunter sheath knife. This is a heavy knife that reminded us of the handmade sheath knives that came out of Solingen, Germany after World War II. It has a full tang and comes with stag horn scales; the real deal, not plastic simulated stag.
We are aware that some folks do not like knives with a gut hook. However, they are not only useful, for us they have a special meaning. The gut hook was designed by our late friend, Sid Bell, widely known as "The Alaskan Silversmith." Sid carved the first model of a blade with a gut hook out of wood and gave it to Merle Seguine. Merle then made the knife for Sid and became the first custom knife maker in the country to fabricate knives with gut hooks.
Sid Bell was also a master at carving silver and pewter wildlife miniatures and we were always pleased when he stopped by our place on his hunting trips out west. We believe that Sid would approve and be pleased with the addition of his gut hook to this knife. Sid loved handmade items and, if he were still alive, we would be giving him this blade for his hunts; that is how good it is.
Out of the box, this knife is incredibly sharp. In fact, the folks at Joker include a slip of paper in each box warning customers about the sharpness, so be careful, as one slip and it will cut you right to the bone. This is no joke!
The CC55 is a heavy knife, but it was ideal for dressing and skinning out large animals, such as elk, and it works wonders on wild hogs. The 440C stainless steel, hollow ground blade is great for skinning. It holds its edge very well and is easily touched-up with a sharpening steel as needed.
With an 2015 MSRP of $187.95, this hunting knife is not for everyone. However, if you want a quality handcrafted knife at a fair price, it is an excellent buy.
Our second JOKER knife was the CA16, a lightweight sheath knife that was also as sharp as a razor out of the box, which is typical of every JOKER knife that we tested. Again, make sure that you are careful when you remove this knife from the sheath, because JOKERS cut deep.
If you are a collector, this knife is a must have for your collection, based on its smooth lines and bull horn handle. The JOKER craftsmen are among the very few who are able to polish and properly fit bull horn to a full tang handle. There are absolutely no gaps between the metal and horn. The CA16 combines functional beauty and perfection.
The molybdenum-vanadium steel blade is designated as 1.4116, roughly equivalent to US 420HC, which (with special heat treating) is used extensively by Buck Knives. It has a Rockwell hardness of 57, one notch below Buck's HRC 58, but higher than most other 1.4116 steels, which makes it very tough. This steel is also used by Krupp and Grohmann in their knives.
The blade sharpens easily to an almost razor quality and while it does not retain its edge as well as 440C steel, it is very easy to resharpen. Due to its keen edge, it is an ideal skinning knife. There are a lot of other skinners that retain a good edge, but most are not quite as sharp as the CA16. You will notice the difference in the field. If you are a hunter, this may just be the knife you have been looking for to skin that bull elk.
A knife of superior design and quality construction with a blade tough enough for any hunter in the field. That pretty well sums it up. We are keeping this one! JOKER knives can be ordered over the internet from the following websites: Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, Optics Planet and Blue Ridge Knives, which offer some pretty good discounts.
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