American Survival Guide - - ROAMER 315 -

There are two schools of thought when it comes to se­lect­ing a blade for the back­coun­try. Some choose steels that hold their edge for a very long time and that, the­o­ret­i­cally, will re­quire lit­tle field main­te­nance. Oth­ers pre­fer steels that are easy to main­tain while still hav­ing a rea­son­able level of edge-hold­ing abil­ity. The high-end su­per-steels are ex­cel­lent, but their down­side is that they of­ten need very spe­cific tools to main­tain, re­store or re­pair their edges. Ad­di­tion­ally, the time and ef­fort needed to work on these steels are greatly in­creased. Steel Will has cho­sen 9CR18MOV for the Roamer R315. This is a high-car­bon stain­less steel that was de­vel­oped for use in ma­chine bear­ings. The steel has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing tough and for tak­ing, and hold­ing, a good edge while still be­ing easy to sharpen. Steel Will claims that these prop­er­ties are en­hanced by their ad­vanced heat-treat and cryo-quench pro­cesses. My test­ing for the Roamer R315 was meant to stress the steel as much as re­al­is­ti­cally pos­si­ble in a short pe­riod of time. I have per­formed these same tests on other knives and know what kind of dam­age to ex­pect. When I be­gan my test­ing, the Roamer R315 had a fac­tory edge I had touched up very slightly to make it hair-pop­pingly sharp. I ex­am­ined the edge con­tin­u­ously through­out the test and never found any dam­age. Con­sid­er­ing what I did to the knife, I was both sur­prised and im­pressed. I brought two tools with me to make what­ever edge re­pairs might need to be done. The Eze-lap CD4 is a pocket stone that in­cludes a fine di­a­mond plate and a su­per-fine ce­ramic stone. It was my in­ten­tion to use the CD4 to re­pair any nicks or dings the edge might re­ceive and to bring the edge back to a level of “work­ing” sharp­ness. The sec­ond tool was a pocket strop that was made for me by my good friend, Kevin Estela. The strop con­sists of a sim­ple strip of leather that has been im­preg­nated with dif­fer­ent grades of pol­ish­ing com­pound. Be­cause the Roamer R315 suf­fered no edge dam­age and still had a work­ing edge, the only tool I needed was the strop. Strop­ping is my pre­ferred method for main­tain­ing an un­dam­aged edge. It re­moves very lit­tle ma­te­rial from the blade and works by re­align­ing and re­fin­ing the ex­ist­ing edge. The Roamer R315 re­sponded well to the strop and was back to pop­ping hairs off my arm within a few min­utes. While the Roamer R315 might be con­sid­ered a bud­get-friendly knife that is made with a bud­get-friendly steel, it stood up to a lot of abuse, held its edge well and was easy to main­tain. That’s a win-win in my book!

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