Excellent pocket carved set.
Ok, so you whittled when you were a kid and now you've hit your mid life crisis you have a bad case of compulsive toy buying syndrome and spend too much on kit from the likes of HH.
So, why, with your Spydercos, Douk Douks and Svords already taking over your bedside drawers and elucidating eye rolling from SWMBO do you need to sink £100 on one if these babies?
Well, if you have the whittling bug you'll eventually realise two things... firstly that what you thought was a sharp field knife is simply not sharp enough for carving to a decent standard and secondly, you'll be finding that even a 3 inch blade is a bit too long for purpose, especially if you've started kicking your knife hand thumb and forefinger. Another point is that you realise that a couple of gouges and a v tool are pretty much essential for levitating your work from impressing the kids to displaying in a standard acceptable to SWMBO.
So firstly, sharpness. Like most of you serious knifeheads out there I keep my EDC and my field knives very sharp indeed but also durable. However, when you start carving you quickly realise that the sharpness required for serious work is in a different league to your daily cutters. You also realise that the bevel must be as highly polished as possible to ensure the blade passes through the wood with ease and to maintain a smooth cutting edge. This means carbon steel and it means stropping. You also learn that your carving blades should never be used for anything else if they are to maintain top performance in wood carving.
So, the big challenge facing anyone heading off on a journey, is how to take your tools with you?
Well, this is trickier than it looks, yes you can get tool tools but with blades this sharp even the best roll might not protect your hand when rummaging around blindly in your pack. Tins or boxes are better but each tool needs to be carefully wrapped to ensure it doesn't rattle around and damage other tools or itself. This is where these offerings from Flexcut come in.
Now, Flexcut is well known in the world of quality carving tools, yes, costly but don't confuse quality carvers with the CRA p you get from some...(full set if pro carving tools for under £20..type) save your money and invest in quality tools as you can afford them.
Don't confuse these Flexcut jacks with other folding knives.. they are not, they are simply ways to transport very sharp specialist tools easily without damaging yourself or your tools. These are first and foremost carving implements, the folding nature is secondary .
Price... yes looks costly when compared to some other folders especially given the utilitarian feel. However, four tools of this type bought individually will cost more than the jack so it's a good deal in that comparison.
So, you get a Flexcut cutting knife, great for general roughing and fine work, razor sharp from box, a U gouge for texturing and surfacing, a U scorp which is, imho a better spoon carving set up than a spoon knife, also great for forming gouged and deep definition and lastly a V scorp which is good for scoring and defining. By no means a complete kit but a good combo for whittling a tree spirit or a spoon or walking stick with adornment. However, for these blades to maintain their condition you also need to invest in the Flexcut Strop, Gold compound and with workshop grade softwood you regime every 20 mins, in the field with, green wood, hardwood and bark, rehone every 5-10 mins. Just a few passes on the Strop is quicker than major edge surgery once a day and will preserve your work and your hands from slips. Using gouge tools in the hand, I would recommend wearing a cut proof glove in your work holding hand. Why? Well if you are in the field you don't want a cut, especially one that needs stitching which could end up in a ruined day travelling to the nearest treatment centre. Yes, I know some say don't wear one and at home I tend not to but a field cut can ruin your day/week and can get easily infected.
When you add the £20 for the sharpening kit, the larger 6 blade carving hack looks like better value because it's typically sold as a kit with the Strop, compound and a quality leather belt sheath as well, that and two additional tools adds the additional £70.
So for field whittling, this is a good option but budget for the Strop as well, yes you can use others but the Flexcut one has profiles covering all Flexcut blade and gouge profiles. It's also small and easy to use.
When field whittlinh I add another couple of tools to my kit, a micro veiner palm gouge and a Mora 120 carving knife, mostly because of its point , which the jack lacks but also for tackling the rougher stuff which would trash the Flexcut tools.
So, plus points:
Good value , razor sharp as high quality as Flexcuts other tools. Good locking mechanism, easy to maintain.
Be very very careful when opening a blade, typically blades will emerge together when pulled out and need to be carefully separated.
You might want to wear a leather glove as the jack handle isn't as comfortable as the full sized tools and you will get blisters especially using the push gouge.
Honing the inside of the V scorp is impossible on the Flexcut Strop because of the angle of the tool vs the handle. I use an old ice lolly stick with compound rubbed on it.
Delivery from HH was superb as always.