Knife test: Viper Slim

These are real world working tools as well as things of beauty

These are real world working tools as well as things of beauty - Credit: Archant

The editor looks at some stunning knives made as only the Italians can

It seems to me that all country people value a good knife, but most often it will be a simple design that’s built to work hard and get the job done. The crude, but very effective, Opinel ones are the first that come to mind. There’s nothing fancy about them and they take a keen edge and cost as much as a round of drinks, but what about something that offers some style and flare? Something you could treasure for its own sake?

When I first saw the Viper Slim range of folding knives I assumed they were of the kind that you’d put in a display case, or on a shelf in your study. However, I then learned that the blade steel is the superb Sandvik 12C27 that is used in some of my hardest working knives, and that the frame is AISI 420 tempered stainless steel. They also feature a liner locking frame, which is far and away my favourite. The blade has a cut-out near the spine to offer one-handed opening, which allied to the liner lock, makes this a true one-handed knife.

The beautiful decorative features are cast metal, bolted to the frame, so there are no worries about them becoming detached. On the back is a pocket clip, which gives a clue to the designer’s thinking, which I believe was to make a proper ‘gentleman’s pocket knife’.

To me, these knives are something special. They exist above being a simple tool, yet can be pressed into serious cutting duties if necessary. A very clever piece of design swaps one side plate for the decorative casting, and this keeps the knife slim, eliminating unnecessary bulk in your pocket. Of course, it must remembered that this blade locks so you must be mindful of carrying it in a public place, but on the farm and on private land it could quickly become your ‘daily carry’ when you want something special.

Each knife comes in a presentation case, which is the icing on the cake if you buy it as a gift. Despite its obvious cutting performance, I can’t see anybody using one to gut rabbits, but it is an object of beauty, a fine example of Italian craftsmanship, and good value when you look at all the work that goes into making it. How long is it until Christmas?

RRP: £99.95

The Viper Slim knives are available at the Sporting Cutlery website or call 01492 640664 to order.

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