Anyone who has stalked or shot with me over the past five years will know that I have been muddling along with a very cheap (and very blunt) Buffalo River knife, the handle of which has been largely eaten away by mice. It gets the job done (kind of), and I have always grudged the idea of buying anything better because I have a habit of not looking after my things and worry that I would just lose a more valuable knife. Ironically, the knackered old Buffalo River has never been mislaid or damaged even once (aside from by the mice), but this fear has held me back from investing in all kinds of nice things, from fishing rods to lamping torches.
Perhaps (and it’s a big perhaps) I should aspire to be more careful. It is relatively bleak prospect to accept my forgetfulness as inevitable and thereby doom myself to work with broken tools for the rest of my life. Helping me along my way, my wife generously broke the Christmas budget and bought me a stunning Scandinavian knife made by Casstrom. This was an excessively kind move, but the blade feels beautiful in the hand and I love the weight and balance of it. The edge is wickedly sharp, but this is standard for a new blade – it’s impossible to give any reasonable review of a knife until you’ve had it long enough to blunt and resharpen it a few times, so suffice it to say for now that I am extremely pleased with it.
I christened the Casstrom on a roe doe when we returned from Cornwall and found the gralloching experience a real pleasure – far easier and more casual than my usual feast of hacking and cursing. The ribs fell apart down the sternum with a silky pop, and the pelvis cracked open with two firm strokes, even though it was an ancient yeld doe with thick bones.
Still glowing from my trip to Sweden at the start of last month, I am doubly pleased that this is a Swedish knife, and I have followed the instructions for maintenance with measured enthusiasm. The shiny blade will soon tarnish without care, but I am coming to terms with the idea that life doesn’t have to be as difficult or makeshift as it has been to date.