Murphy Hand Crafting Knife Review: Not the Sharpest Tool…

When looking around and seeing what people were suggesting for beginner whittling knives, the name R. Murphy kept popping up over and over again.

Allow me to save you some time and money, don’t bother with this knife unless you have decent experience in reshaping knives and have the tools to do so.

If you don’t want to read through this post and see what other whittling knives you should buy for about the same price, click this link to go to my top 5 whittling knives. You can also use the Table of Contents below to jump to the suggested knives a the bottom of the page.

Quick Stats

SteelHigh Carbon Steel
Rockwell Hardness (RC)58
Comes SharpNo
Sharp Edge After 30 MinYes
Average Price$18 – $21
Recommended for BeginnersNo
Blade Length1.5″

What I Liked

Now I didn’t completely dislike this knife all together, there were a few things that makes this knife decent after you put some work into it.

Just to get it out of the way, the price is within the affordable range. However, I can get a heck of a lot better quality knife for the same price or pay just $5 more and get a substantially better quality knife instead.

That being said, lets get on with what I liked about this knife.

Blade Length

My ideal blade length for my whittling knives fall between the 1.25″ and 2″ range as this gives me enough knife to cut away large sections of wood and yet still have enough control to add small details in the wood.

The Murphy Hand Crafting Knife fits in this range perfectly at 1.5″ in length and with a nice, strong blade design. You can easily get into small corners and add tiny details in your wood carving with this knife all day long.

Plus, the blade is nice and thin which allows you to easily slice off slivers of wood at a rapid pace once the knife is properly sharpened.

Quality Steel

R. Murphy uses quality high carbon steel in all of their knives that have great edge retention. After whittling with the knife for a few hours, I only had to strop the knife a handful of times to maintain the razor sharp cutting edge.

This does make for a great knife once the cutting edge is properly defined, but lets move on to the next section.

What I Didn’t Like

Where to begin… From the moment I took this knife out of the packaging, I could tell that this was a sub-standard knife. The steel may have been decent and the blade length just right, but the final product looked and felt bad.

I have purchased other whittling knives for the same price with much a much higher quality finish to the knife from how sharp the blade is to how well the final assembled product looked and felt in the hands.

Now don’t get me wrong, this knife will indeed cut wood once sharpened up. But what I am getting at is you can buy other whittling knives that provide more value for the same price than this knife can.

Terrible Cutting Edge From Manufacture

I don’t exactly know what they did with this knife, but the edge looks like it was ground down too much, even some of the original logo that was etched on the side wasn’t visible anymore.

The cutting edge was rough and seemed like they only sharpened it up to a 400 grit sharpening stone, definitely not whittling sharp by any means.

This took a little while to grind down on my own sharpening stone and finished off on my leather strop. Nothing too bad but not something I want to do on a new knife.

Uncomfortable Handle

Lets start off from initial handling of the knife. The design of the handle was “OK” at best and left a lot to be desired. It was just a basic handle that I have seen on other knives, but nothing that I could hold on to for long periods of time.

If you have a smaller hand than I do, then maybe it will be better for you, but I have used other knives in the same price range that work much better and with a better handle.

Uneven Cutting Edge

This is what really bothered me as even the super cheap $13 whittling knives don’t have this problem. The knife edge near the handle of the handle of the knife wasn’t even ground flush to the handle and stuck out at a hard to sharpen angle.

Just look at the picture above, that isn’t in any way acceptable to me when I can buy a $13 whittling knife from Beavercraft that both comes in sharp and has a flat knife edge right to the handle. It just makes me feel like I spent too much on this knife right out of the gate.

Sub-Par Product Finish

Another thing was how the back of the knife was finished. The picture shown above and shows the metal not fully extending the length of the cut out and sticks up past the wood handle a bit. Maybe it won’t matter to some of you, but I can pick up other knives with better finish quality for the same exact price.

What to Buy Instead

FlexCut Wood Carving Knives

If you are looking for a full range of wood carving tools, look no further than FlexCut. These are truly out of the box sharp and ready to use, unlike Pfeil.

Flexcut offers a ton of different knife styles, gouges, scoops, and even some folding variants for whittling while you are traveling or camping. Their tools are in the same price range as Pfeil and provide a much better user experience overall.

Check out my full review on FlexCut Knives by clicking the link below:

Butz Carving Knife

For $ a $20 knife, the Butz Carving Knife is hard to beat. It comes with a comfortable handle, high quality steel, perfect blade length and it just slices right through wood like it’s nothing.

There is one thing you need to know, this knife does need to be sharpened before use and they tell you this in the item description. Sharpening mine took very little time (especially compared to what I had to do for the Pheil knife) and you end up with an amazing blade for whittling.

Check out my full review by clicking the link below:

More Knife Reviews

If you want to see more knives I reviewed, click the link below and find what whittling knife is best for you!

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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