The knife manufacturer Karesuandokniven has been producing knives now for about 40 years way up in the Swedish North. As an adventurous teenager I got my first blades from Karesuandokniven; it was the Moose Special 3507 followed by this Willow Grouse 3524. The knives has performed really good thought the years and since then I've also had the pleasure of getting acquainted with a number of different knife models from the manufacturer. To see more reviews on Karesuandokniven; click HERE. During last year I executed a field test focusing on bushcraft activities. In the Bushcraft Knife Field Test 2015; 15 different robust knifes are compared to each other. You can see the test by clicking HERE. Two of my Karesuando knives enlisted for this test and both did real good; the Willow Grouse 3524 ended up at first place and the Survival Knife 3587 in second place. Let's take a closer look at the Willow Grouse, also called Ripan in Swedish.
The Willow Grouse
The 3,2 mm thick and 102 mm long stainless steel blade made of Sandvik 12C27 has a "mora knife like" shape making it a joy to work with. Back in 1993 when I bought this knife the out of the box sharpness wasn't the best, but after some care it has been performing well. When I compare the older knives to the newer; Karesuandokniven's quality regarding the edge has gotten much better. The spine of the blade has a comfortable rounded shape for carving. But if you like to use the spine on your Ferro rod you can always flatten an area of the spine with your sharpening tool (as seen on the Survival Knife 3587). The knife has a long tang surrounded by Birch, Rein Deer Stag and Brass and the handle offers a very comfortable cylinder shaped grip including a discreet finger guard. As you can see the shape of the back of the handle is inspired by the shape of the Willow Grouse. The leather sheath is fitted with a plastic inlay and offers a good fit for the knife. The classic design of the sheath enables carrying the knife dangling below the belt. The Ripan is also available in a more exclusive version using a blade delivered from the Swedish forge Damasteel in Söderfors.
A Laid Back Winner
Swedish craftsmanship combining; Swedish steel, wood, stag and leather in a comfortable fixed blade knife featuring a Scandi Grind edge is according to me a unbeatable package when it comes to practicality and beauty. Willow Grouse 3524 almost got the highest score in my bushcraft knife test regarding the four categories; Blade, Handle, Sheath and Carving. I say "almost" as the Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty got one more point to its blade compared to the Willow Grouse 3524. Lately Karesuandokniven has adjusted their price tags; now offering their knives at a higher price. But I think that is fair when looking to the quality you get for the money. I really don't have anything bad to say regarding the Kresuandokniven Willow Grouse 3524, other than I usually choose a bit smaller blade for my EDC use when out in the woods, like for instance the smaller sibling Karesuandokniven Giron 3537. Nice to see that my old knife from the early 90's won the Bushcrat Knife Field Test 2015. But even greater is the fact that top 5 in this test were all Swedish knives. As I mentioned; check out the test and please feel free sending me you feedback. The Karesuandokniven Willow Grouse 3524 is a laid back winner delivering a clean, casual and competent cut to the Woodsman. the Willow Grouse is my pick when in times I need a more sturdier knife for bushcrafting.
Manufacturer: Karesuandokniven AB, with production in Sweden
Model: Willow Grouse 3524 (Ripan 3524)
Blade material: Stainless Sandvik steel 12C27 with HRC 57
Blade length: 102 mm
Blade thickness: 3,2 mm
Blade width: 21 mm
Edge profile: Scandi Grind with a 22° angle
Knife length: 215 mm
Handle material: Birch wood, Rain Deer Stag and Brass
Handle thickness: 23 mm
Sheath: Cow leather
Knife weight: 118 g
Total weight (knife and sheath): 178 g
Price: 1865 SEK (Sweden 2016)