Sean and I carry pocket knives every day. Well, every day we’re not going to the airport, in which case we ship one in our checked luggage so we can have it on the other end. Think of them as the ultimate man’s security blanket. There’s just something comforting about having your good ‘ole pocket knife with you. We use ’em, too. From slicing open the mail to cutting wire and digging stuff out of the shop vacuum filter, we use ’em hard.
So when Case suggested that we put aside our beloved daily-carrys and try out some of their new stock for a few weeks, we jumped at the chance. Then it sank in. Remember when Charlie Brown hid Linus’ blanket? Yeah, that’s us.
Then the package arrived, and we opened it up to find two shiny-new W.R. Case Red CVs. How do you get the attention of a couple of tool writers? Send ’em two knives with chrome vanadium blades and red bone covers. Half our shop is red and/or CV. Nice. Instantly it was out with the old and in with the new.
Now after two weeks of daily use and abuse, we’ve got lots to say. Read on to see how they fared.
Case knives ship in a box slightly larger than the knife with a paper wrapper to protect the knife in transit. (Hey, you’re going to carry it in your pocket for the next ten or twenty years, it doesn’t need much protection.)
Note: Click on smaller images to see their larger counterparts.
As you might guess, the Red CV line draws its name from its two most distinctive features: The red bone covers and the use of chrome vanadium (CV) steel in the series’ blades. Toolmongers will immediately recognize chrome vanadium steel as the material used to make the vast majority of quality hand tools in America. Think of CV as “stainless-light” offering some of the advantageous characteristics of stainless — from the chromium included in the alloy — yet retaining some of the strength of carbon steel. This combination is perfect for tools, and works quite well for pocket knife blades as you’ll see below.
As you can see, Case shipped us two different knives to give us the opportunity to sample both the Red CV and a couple of different configurations. Specifically, we tested the Medium Stockman (#6981) and the Copperhead with Wharncliff (#6985).
I carried the Stockman and Sean carried the Copperhead, so I’ll interject Sean’s opinions here as we discuss the Copperhead.
The Medium Stockman
I’ve always been a fan of Case’s stockman variations, which generally offer three blades. In the case of the Red CV medium, we get clip, sheepfoot, and pen blades. The pen blade (the blade that’s all alone on one side of the knife) is handy for situations where you want to slide the blade into or under something. This can be handy for food, or — as we tried this week — slicing a long eraser in half in order to use it as a shim. The curve at the point makes it slide right in.
The sheepsfoot blade is the small one on the other side — the one with the curved back and straight blade. This is a powerful blade that’s great for cutting open boxes or packaging — like the dreaded clamshell. It’s also nice for when you’re looking to make a super-straight cut since you don’t need to sweat the angle of the blade quite as much as you do with a curved cutting point.
The large blade (the clip blade) has all kinds of practica uses, but my favorite: cutting foot-long hot dogs in half at the ballpark so I don’t look like an idiot trying to eat them. I tend to reserve this blade for softer items.
The Copperhead w/Wharncliff
Sean: “This model features two blades: a small pen blade, which i used for most general purpose stuff like opening mail and digging a tick off the neighbor’s dog. The large Wharncliff found its home cutting open boxes, though I did cut some food as well. Though this is a bit larger than the knife I normally carry day-to-day (3-7/8″ closed), the rounded edges make it comfortable to carry.”
Read on to page 2 for our first-hand experiences using these knives.