I am a big fan of multi-tools and having all of the tools that you need in your pocket is super convenient for any hands on type of person. I always carry a multi-tool with me wherever I go (legally at least) and use them just about every day.
The Old Timer Splinter Carvin’ Knife is a compact wood carving tool that comes with 6 tools ranging from a standard detail knife to a hook knife for spoons. They are very affordable and can usually be purchased for about $20.
When I saw the Splinter I was pretty excited! It comes with a bunch of different tools for less than $20 and was small enough that I could add it to my belt next to my other EDC tools quite easily.
I immediately picked one up and now that I have it…. well all I can say is you get what you pay for. It has some cool features, but in the end it feels kinda gimmicky.
In the end you should see if it is right for you and below, I will go over my thoughts on this knife in it’s entirety.
|Steel||65 Mn Carbon Spring Steel|
|Rockwell Hardness (RC)||53 – 55|
|Sharp edge after 30 min||No|
|Average Price||$18 – $21|
|Recommended for Beginners||No|
|Number of Tools||6|
What I Liked
Let’s be fair, this isn’t a complete waste of money. It is very useful for someone wanting a bunch of wood cutting tools in their pocket. Lots of people like theirs and it is a cheap alternative compared to Flexcut’s Carvin’ Jack. Click here to check out the price of the Carvin’ Jack on Amazon.
You can find a use for the Splinter when carving a lot of things but I would recommend that you have a primary folding whittling tool to first shape the wood and then switch over to the Splinter to touch it up.
Lots of Tools
The coolest part of this knife is the 6 tools it comes with. This allows you to make a variety of cuts into wood by just changing to a different tool.
The Old Timer Splinter Carvin’ Knife comes with a 1.5″ knife, chisel, hook knife, v-scorp, gouge scorp, and a straight gouge that all easily fold into the handle.
If you are a lefty, keep in mind that some of the tools are designed for a right handed person and may be harder for you to use.
Easy to Open Tools
The tools easily open and close from the beginning. There is no need to worry about breaking your nail trying to open the tool. This prevents chances of your finger slipping while trying to deploy the tool that you want to use.
Unless you have some very big pockets, you probably won’t be able to store all of these tools individually on your persons while out and about.
The best part about the Splinter is how portable it is. You can literally slip it into your pocket and have a variety of tools at your fingertips.
You can’t deny that this is a very affordable tool. It’s price rivals the price of just one of the tools on their own! But this makes you wonder why it is so cheap to begin with, so let’s move on to the next section.
What I Didn’t Like
I am going to start this section off by calling the Splinter what it is, a novelty tool. Even the Flexcut version is somewhat of a novelty tool, but it will cut literal circles around the cheap Old Timer variant.
As cool as this tool is in theory, I cannot recommend it to anyone who is serious about whittling and wood carving. Beginners should not buy this knife as it will hold them back and experienced wood carvers would be getting a serious downgrade in what they normally use.
Lets break down each part that I didn’t like
No Edge Retention
Of all the reasons, the lack of edge retention is my primary reason why I don’t like this tool.
If you want an effective whittling tool you want a Rockwell Hardness (RC) between 58 and 62, any softer than that the steel just won’t be durable enough to hold up to extended use.
The Splinter Carvin’ Knife uses 65Mn High Carbon Steel but has a RC around 54, making it a bit too soft to keep a razor sharp edge for very long.
I just can’t keep a sharp edge on any of the tools for very long and find that it needs constant resharpening.
Knife Needed Modification
The cutting knife is a joke. I don’t know what they were thinking but you can hardly take any wood off with the cutting angle they put on that knife. It almost looked like a 45 degree cutting edge, usually we want between 12 and 17 degrees to easily slice through wood.
I had to reshape the knife or I wouldn’t even be able to do anything with it. After shaping the knife to a better angle, it started to cut better but still had issues with dulling quickly.
A sign of a quality folding knife is one where there is no play in the blade side to side or front to back. All of the tools in this knife have some sort of play to them and isn’t ideal for applying any sort of force behind the tool.
Chisel and Gouge Tools Have Too Much Flex
I find the longer tools have a bunch of flex to them and it makes me nervous to push them through the wood. Plus, this added flex makes it harder to control the tool and I can suddenly dip into the wood and cut deeper than intended.
Needed to Be Sharpened
Out of the box, the tools could cut skin but struggled with cutting through wood.
I had to take each tool to a 1000 grit stone to form a proper edge and hone it on the strop. Thankfully, the steel is pretty soft so this took no time at all.
Save Your Money and Buy Better Tools
Like I said before, I can not in good conscious recommend this tool. You would be better served buying each tool individually or even buying Flexcut’s Carvin’ Jack as it is superior in every way. It may be more expensive to do this but you are getting quality tools and not a mediocre replica.
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!