A decent all around set
By: Allen D. (Dec, 2022)
Some time ago my hock spokeshave kit redefined my definition of sharp and I've been eying this set of knives ever since. I was hesitant because I haven't really found many reviews for Ron's carving knives and couldn't find them in person. Like many carvers I find myself drawn to purchasing new knives I don't necessarily need; ultimately, I purchased myself the full set and am sharing my first impressions here.
From a factory sharpness perspective: once I cleaned off the knives and gave them a quick strop 4 of the 5 knives were taking perfect endgrain slices out of some soft pine. This puts the out of the box sharpness on par with my knives from Beavercraft, Flexcut, OCC, Wayne Barton and Deepwoods Ventures. One of the knives will require some honing before use to ensure a clean result.
The bubinga handles were executed with exceptional workmanship. They are very attractive looking and the dimensions almost exactly match the Wayne Barton chip carving knives (The Hock and Barton stab knives look nearly identical minus the choice of handle material). Unfortunately, that design is a little questionable for the general and detail carving knives, I prefer the handles of the other makers in my collection. I have very average sized hands and find these to be a little on the small side, and I might prefer a Whaletail or Dave Stetson style handle. I will need to carve with these a bit to see if they grow on me, I suspect they might lead to more hand fatigue. If I realized how strong my preferences are becoming, I might have thought it better to have ordered the blade blanks from hock rather than the completed knife.
The tang design and substantial pins seem like they would make these handles more resilient than the other makers. This might lead to a longer life but if you're putting that kind of stress on the knife you're abusing it. If respected, any good carving knife should outlive you; these knives even more so. The blade profile selection is well thought out and the 5 cover most the wittleing and chip carving territory; the only thing missing would be a larger rough out or sloyd knife. I wouldn't dare question hock's steel but frankly the difference between good and amazing steel hasn't been something I've worried about because I don't have any scientific ways to test this; In practice I maintain almost all my edges with stropping during use; so the noticeable difference between reputable knife makers here is minor.
Overall this is a high-quality knife in the price range of other high-quality knives. It met but did not exceed expectations. Time will tell if any of them displace one of my most reached for.
I own this product.