Not the sharpest tool in the box...
Schrade, the original company, along with the original Camillus, has gone the way of the Dodo. Yes, the names still exist, under Taylor LLC's spawning umbrella, but these two venerable giants of the once-vast American cutlery industry are merely forlorn echoes of the quality they once heralded. An ironic turn of events, because Schrade and Camillus made brands for many other companies. Times change. But the need for traditional pocket knives has not disappeared; there has arguably never been more choice.
This is a popular EDC knife. It offers value for money. The typical Sodbuster Jr proportions are correct, if you use Case's as a comparison. The full size Sodbuster made by WR Case is much bigger; its blade is an impressive chunk of steel. But Schrade's version of the Jr is the one most people would buy, taking advantage of the sociably UK friendly dimensions. It is also about a third of the price of the least expensive Case equivalent.
From a collector's view, this yellow handled Schrade comes with an interesting difference. The scales are shaped in the way that Case used to do for their Sodbuster Jr. several years ago. Currently Case makes theirs more slab sided. The Case I have from some years ago has very pleasing curves and contours, whilst the navy blue handled one I recently bought from HH (and which I like very much) has wide flat scales. Likely to save the extra steps and time it took on older models to shape and hand finish the more organic profile. So, personally, the yellow Schrade Imperial Small Sodbuster is a bit more ergonomic than the current Delrin handled Case Sodbuster Jr. The bone handled Cases are in a different category, in my opinion.
Now then. I know that this is a very popular choice and other reviewers have praised this one, but... The blade on mine will not, not, not hold an edge. Normally when dealing with the shortcomings that occasionally crop up with slipjoints, I'm extremely forgiving. With this one I'm forgiving, all right. I'm for giving it a good thrashing! After much coaxing and cajoling the edge would still rather roll over than butter a roll. Well, alright, that's a whimsical exaggeration.
So I hate to buck the trend, but three stars is all mine gets. Maybe this one is just an exception, and the heat treatment wasn't done evenly, or perhaps not completed. It will cut twine, open letters and packages, hold its own against apples, carrots, leeks and potatoes, butter toast and carve a roast. But anything more makes the cutting edge go all shy and introverted.
On the plus side, loosing a Case Sodbuster Jr would be a sad day indeed, prompting frenetic angst and melancholy sulks in equal measure. Parting ways with this Schrade would only provoke a shrugging "oh well," and indifference would soon turn the page in my book of regrets for that day.
If the edge sharpness and durability was in the same category as a Rough Rider, now that would be something! But, unfortunately, my Schrade is a beater, and no better.
So, cosmetically, it looks the part. Cheap and friendly, but the disappointing performance looses it two stars. Sorry.
The silver lining to this particular cloud? HH is always a delight to deal with!