Boker Arbolito Stag Horn Fixed Blade Knife Review

Boker traces its origins to the 17th century as a tool maker in Germany, graduating to swords and blades by the 1800s. The company claims it was producing 2000 sabers a week by 1839 for use in various wars. By the 1860s the company had fracture with a branch of the family emigrating to North American and setting up plants in Canada, New York, and Mexico. The German and North American factories produced similar knives and used the “Tree Brand” trademark. This continued until World War II when the Solingen factory was destroyed and “Boker USA” took control of the trademark until the German factory was rebuilt in the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s the company changed hands several times, with the New York facility (Hermann Boker & Co) shutting down in 1983. In 1986, Boker reacquired the rights to the American brand and Boker USA was started in Denver, Colorado for US production.

Boker owes its high importance to the South American markets in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico and the able men of the Boker family who worked for them there in the 19th and 20th centuries. The current trademark includes the labels Treebrand and Arbolito. Due to the extreme economic and political fluctuations in Argentina, the good name of Arbolito was on the verge of falling into oblivion. In 1983 Boker Arbolito S.A. was established in cooperation with the Salzmann family, specializing chiefly on household and working knives.

In the Boker Arbolito Manufactory in Buenos Aires, they are producing handmade high quality knives with the best materials, specially focused on hunting an outdoor knife with handle scales out of wood and stag. Either for professional use, sport, and every day carry, or ambitious collectors, the traditional knives from Argentina are up to every task.

A fun fact about Boker is that they were one of the first companies to offer ceramic knives as a featured product line.

Today we will be going over the Boker Arbolito Stag Horn Fixed Blade Knife with the satin blade.

 

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 440A Stainless steel. This steel is a member of the 440 steel family. Also included in this family are the 440B, 440C, and the rarer 440F. This entire family are considered to be fully stainless, but out of them, 440A does have the highest corrosion resistance. This high level of corrosion resistance is due to the fact that out of the family, it contains the least amount of carbon. This steel is made by heating the steel to 850-900 degrees Celsius and then slowly cooling it to around 600 degrees Celsius in the furnace. Once it has reached that point, the steel is air cooled and then hardened at a temperature of around 1010-1065 degrees Celsius. This steel is quenched in air and sometimes warmed oil. As soon as this steel is finished hardening, it is tempered at a temperature range of 150-370 degrees. The lower the temperature is during this process, the harder the end steel will be. However, with 440A steel, if the tempering is done at a temperature about 370 degrees Celsius, the impact resistance of the blade will be compromised. When being compared to other kinds of stainless steels, 440A is a very commonly used steel. This is a relatively cheap steel, especially when being compared to the higher end steels. This steel is often seen on outdoors knives and even diving knives, because the saltier environments do not negatively affect it. In fact, this steel stands up to being submerged in the ocean with very little corrosive effect. Unfortunately, this steel does not have super high wear resistance—which is why this steel is often used on replica weapons. You shouldn’t have to worry about the wear resistance in this hunting knife because you aren’t going to be using this knife every single day.

The blade on this Arbolito Stag knife has a satin finish. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of fine abrasive. The abrasive that is most commonly used is a sandpaper. The finish is designed to show off the fine lines and bevels of the blade. It does boost your wear resistance slightly, although not much. This is one of the most popular blade finishes that is in use today, because it does provide you with such a classic look that will never go out of style. The stain finish gives you a subtle look that won’t take away from the star of the show on this knife: the handle.

The blade has been carved into an upswept trialing point style blade. A trailing point knife is a very lightweight knife that gets its name because the point trails higher than the general axis of the spine. This blade shape is produced by have the back edge curve upwards. This blade shape does provide a very large belly that is perfectly designed to excel at slicing or skinning. This blade shape provides you with a very sharp point for fine, delicate, and small work, which is what you need if you are skinning and caping game and fish. In fact, it is believed that this blade shape gives you one of the sharpest tips out of all blade shapes. To use this knife, you draw the blade toward the user in a sweeping motion, which will cleanly separate the skin form the game or fish. This makes a perfect hunting knife, because it is so optimized for skinning. Of course, there are some disadvantages to this blade shape. The first one being its weak point. Like I mentioned, this knife is designed to perform fine and delicate work, which means that the blade will easily bend or break if you choose to use it on tougher materials. Plus, because of the upswept shape, this knife is going to be a little bit tricky when you are trying to put it back in your sheath.  Because this is a hunting or skinning knife, it does sport a plain edge, which will give you the cleanest, smoothest cuts.

Boker Arbolito Stag Horn Fixed Blade Knife
Boker Arbolito Stag Horn Fixed Blade Knife

The Handle:

The handle of this blade is this knife’s defining characteristic; it is made out of stag horn. This is a type of bone handle and is one of the few natural handle materials that is still commonly found. Bone handles have been used really since the beginning of knives themselves. Bone handles are still very popular among the knife collector community; it is actually the most common material today for classic pocket knives. In this case, the bone has been derived from a naturally deceased stag. Many people like having a stag horn handle just because of tradition—if you have been around knives for much of your life, it is almost guaranteed that you have been around a classic knife with a bone handle. Normally, bone is a slippery material, especially if you are planning on using your knife in wet situations. So, the bone is usually textured to help give you a better grip. Another drawback to this handle is that the bone is porous which does affect its stability and does make it susceptible to deformation and cracking. Temperature, light, and moisture can all impact the characteristics of a bone handle. But, bone is an inexpensive material to use for your knife handle.

This knife is a full tang blade, which means that the piece of metal that the blade is made out of extends down the entire length of the handle. The Stag Horn has been inlayed on this tang, adding character, a more traditional look, and a more comfortable hold on it. There is really no drawback to a full tang blade except that it might be a little heavier. But, because there are no spots where the handle and blade have been meddled together there are no weak spots. And no weak spots mean that this knife is going to stand up to almost anything. If you are working on a tougher task, there is no way that the handle and the blade will become separated.

On the butt of the handle, there has been a lanyard hole carved out. This hole will allow you to always have this knife with you when you are out hunting or fishing. This lanyard will also protect against accidental loss, and with a knife this classy, you aren’t going to want to lose it.

The handle has a slight curve to give you a more comfortable grip. To protect your fingers, there is finger guard extending right before the blade begins.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a fixed blade knife. There are a variety of benefits that come from having your hunting and outdoors knife being a fixed blade. One of the first ones is that because there are no moving parts, they are strong and reliable. One of the major benefits to using a fixed blade for your hunting knife is that fixed blades are very easy to maintain. You don’t have to worry about cleaning all of the inner mechanisms or worry about the inner mechanisms rusting if you don’t clean them. With a fixed blade, you can easily just wipe down the blade and handle and then oil the blade every so often. This is huge with a hunting knife because you are going to be working with your blade in very messy situations.

There are a couple of downsides though, because you have to carry the knife in a sheath, it becomes a lot bulkier. And, you have to find a place to wear it instead of concealing it inside of your pocket.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is a leather one. Leather is one of the traditional materials that is commonly used to make a knife sheath. Leather is very rugged, tough, and strong. It won’t break like plastic does and it can easily be resewn or prepared if the stitches should come loose. A leather knife sheath feels and looks good. Plus, this is what the mountain men and cowboys used as knife sheaths in the Wild, Wild, West, making it the perfect sheath for this traditional hunting knife. An added bonus is that the attractiveness of a leather sheath only gets better as it ages (when you properly care for it). A leather sheath is quite versatile and will provide a custom fit to your knife once it is broken in. And, the best part about a leather sheath for a hunting knife is that they are totally silent. You can easily pull the knife out or put it back in without it making a sound.  Unfortunately, leather is not waterproof, so getting it wet a lot or exposing it to extreme heat can dry out the oils in the leather which could lead the leather sheath to crack. To combat and prevent that, you can oil your leather sheath from time to time.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 4.5 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.125 inches. The handle measures in at 4 inches long, with the overall length of this fixed blade measuring in at 8.5 inches long. The knife itself weighs in at a hefty 7.5 ounces. The included leather sheath weighs in at 2.1 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

The Boker Arbolito Stag Horn fixed blade knife is a modern take on a classic hunting style knife. This full tang model features an ergonomically designed handle that boasts a finger guard for extra security, textured handle scales, thumb jimping as well as a lanyard hole at the base. The blade style is common on many fillet and skinning knives thanks to its larger cutting “belly”–perfect for slicing. Manufactured in Argentina, this model features a unique genuine stag horn handle scales, an upswept trailing point style blade in a satin finish and a dark brown leather belt sheath complete with the Boker Arbolito tree logo. Pick up your new favorite hunting knife today at BladeOps.

Boker Knives and Two Boker Plus Knives

Böker Knives began in Germany during the 17th century. The company originally focused on swords and didn’t move on to design blades until the 1800’s. If you go back and look at the company’s books, they will tell you that by 1839 Böker was producing around 2000 Sabres a week for various wars. In the 1960’s, the company had migrated into North America; however, they were just sub brands at the time. During World War II, the main Germany factory was destroyed, so Boker USA took control. Since then, the company has traded hands several times, but in 1986 Boker USA was started for good for US production. The symbol of this company is a giant chestnut tree, which is the perfect symbol because over the 150 years that it has existed, the company has reached out, or “branched out”, and become planted across the world.

Boker USA is the in charge of the production of Boker knives, but they carry five brand names underneath them which are Boker, Boker Arbolito, Boker Plus, Magnum by Boker, and Cinch by Boker.

 

Boker is sometimes known as the Tree Brand, so any knives that are labeled with this are usually purely Boker.

 

Boker Arbolito means little tree in Spanish. If you see a knife labeled with this name, it means that it was manufactured in Argentina and typically are only household or work knives.

 

Boker Plus knives are manufactured in Taiwan and China. These knives are typically not as high quality as Boker, but they are more quality than Magnum by Boker. In this line, you will find tactical and outdoor knives.

 

Magnum by Boker knives are also manufactured in Taiwan and China. This line of knives focus on value, so out of the five sub brands, these are going to be the least expensive of them. Don’t worry about sacrificing quality though, because these knives are still made from quality materials.

 

Cinch by Boker are knives designed to fit the Western lifestyle. They are targeted towards ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts. This is actually a collaboration between Boker and Cinch Jeans. This is a classy line that have an authentic feel to them.

Boker produces great knives and because of the five different sub brands, you will find a large variety of different styles, values, and designs of knives. Today I am going over two great and popular Boker Knives.

 

 

The Boker Plus Subcom:

 

Just like the name implies, this is part of the Boker Plus brand. The drop point blade on this knife is 1.875 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 4.625 inches long and has been known as the “money clip knife”. This knife has been used for a defensive tool and a backup knife. The blade has a big belly that makes it perfect for utility purposes and the tip is chubby so it isn’t meant for stabbing. Even though it is so small, because of the blade shape and the tip shape it can cut just as well as a larger knife.

The knife weighs 2.5 ounces, which seems small at first, but when you realize that the blade is smaller than 2 inches long, it starts to seem like a hefty knife. It weighs what it does because the knife has a stainless steel frame lock and a full steel liner.

The ergonomics on this knife is as good as you are going to get on such a small knife, because really, there is no way that you can fit your whole hand on this. A bonus about the handle on this knife is all the jimping, which provides grip and traction just where you need it. Unfortunately, because of all this jimping, it can be an uncomfortable knife to use for long periods of time.

This knife was such a hit that Boker made a few different versions to satisfy everyone, these versions are:

 

The Subcom F: This version has AUS-8 steel with a black or silver blade. It is partially serrated and has an FRN handle that comes in either black or gray. The locking system is a frame lock. This was the original Subcom knife and the other versions are just copycats. Along with the silver, black, and gray versions, there is a special camo version.

 

The Subcom Titan: When Boker designed this version, they designed it to be an elite version of the F. This version sports a satin 440-C stainless steel, which is a higher quality steel than the other versions. The edge is plain. The handle is made out of titanium and because of that it only weighs 1.9 ounces. Because of the titanium handle and silver blade, it looks more elegant than the other versions. It has either a frame lock or a slip joint locking mechanism.

 

The Subcom 42: This blade is made out of AUS-8 steel that is finished with a bead blast. The blade has a plain edge. The handle is made out of pink FRN material and it sports a frame lock mechanism.

 

The Subcom Dusk: This version also has AUS-8 steel, but this one has a black finish. It is partially serrated. The Zytel handle is orange and this version boasts a framelock mechanism.

 

The Subcom Dawn: This also has a satin AUS-8 blade that has a plain edge. The Orange Zytel handle has either a frame lock or a slip joint locking mechanism.

 

The Subcom Z: Just like most of the versions, the Z has AUS-8 steel, but with a black finish. It is partially serrated. The green Zytel handle sports a frame lock system.

 

The Subclaw: This version is very similar to the Subcom F but the main difference is the blade shape. This version has a Hawkbill blade. This blade shape is great for slicing, but not for a lot of other things. Many people only see this as a defensive or collectors blade.

 

The WharCom: This is also similar to the Subcom F, but again, it has a different blade shape. This style of blade has a Wharncliffe blade that is perfectly straight from the handle to the tip. The shape is very similar to a razor blade. This is a great blade shape for slicing, but it is a perfect blade shape for scraping.

 

The ResCom: This is the most unique out of all the Subcom versions that were previously mentioned. This one is designed for safety and rescue situations. It is also similar to the Subcom F. The ResCom has an almost hook shaped blade, but the outside of the hook is not sharp in any places. There is another portion of the blade that is a saw. This is so that you can cut materials that are too large to get through the hook. This is not going to be an everyday knife, but it is a great candidate for your emergency, safety, or rescue knife. It does dull relatively quickly, so using it for everyday tasks would not be ideal. You can get the ResCom in two different versions: all black—black blade, black handle, and black thumb studs, or a red version—silver blade, red frame and red thumb studs.

 

Pros of the Plus Subcom:

  • This is a very small knife, so it won’t weigh you down and is easy to have with you at all times.
  • The knife sports a large belly, so it is easy to cut with and can actually cut as well as larger knives.
  • The knife comes in a large variety of handle colors and materials.
  • The knife also comes in a large variety of steel and steel colors.
  • The extra jimping allows for great grip.

 

Cons of the Plus Subcom:

  • This is a tiny knife, so it can’t stand up to large, heavy duty tasks.
  • The extra jimping can get uncomfortable quickly.
  • There is no way that you are going to be able to use your hold hand to hold this knife.

 

 

The Boker Plus Kwaiken Flipper:

 

This knife is also manufactured from Boker in their Boker Plus line. This knife was originally called the Boker Kwaiken, and it was a flop. People were disappointed in how hard the knife was to open and they were disappointed because the tip of the blade peeked out of the handle when it was supposed to be closed. But Boker redesigned this knife in a flipper version. When the flipper version was first released, many collectors were after it to see if Boker had actually fixed the problems.

The blade on this knife is 3.5 inches long and made out of either AUS-8 steel or VG-10. The shape of the knife is a modified drop point silhouette that looks sleek and tucks into the handle perfectly. The tip on this knife is very fine, which makes it perfect for stabbing things. The AUS-8 steel is easy to sharpen. However, there were still many complaints about the steel because it isn’t the highest quality steel. That was when Boker released the upgraded version with the VG-10 steel. However, VG-10 steel is a little bit weaker than the AUS-8. Neither of the options hold their edge super well, but they both are durable enough.

The handle on this knife is unique. It sports full steel liners and has 3D machined pieces of titanium. Both of these materials are supports by a solid titanium back spacer. The handle was designed to have a minimalist look to it and is monochromatic. Some pros about the simple design is that it will work for almost any hand size. Some of the cons to the simple design is that there is really no texture to it, meaning the grip is lacking a little bit. The titanium keeps the knife sturdy and durable. However, because of all the titanium, this is a heavy knife. The handle features a pocket clip; it is a right side tip-up pocket clip. The flipper knife works because of the IKBS bearing pivot system, which helps flip well and open with a snap.

The overall length of the knife is 8 3/8 inches long and weighs 5.4 ounces. The blade thickness is 0.1 inches.

 

Pros of the Kwaiken Flipper:

 

  • The fine tip is ideal for piercing cuts
  • You can get the blade in either AUS-8 or VG-10 steel.
  • The steel is easy to sharpen.
  • The simple design helps to fit in any size hand.
  • Very sturdy knife.
  • Opens and flips well.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Boker has a rich history that slowly got them to where they needed to be. Today, there are five different Sub Brands that Boker USA owns, each of which specialize in their own categories. Boker Plus produces good quality knives, that aren’t quite as high quality as Boker, but they still are made with high quality materials so you know that you are getting a reliable knife. Boker Plus focuses on making tactical and outdoors knives. Today I chose two different Boker Plus knives to really focus on: The Plus Subcom and the Kwaiken Flipper.

The Subcom is a small knife that isn’t meant to do big tasks, but is great for having with you as a backup knife, a defensive knife, or for doing the smaller everyday tasks. The Subcom is great because there are so many different variations of it, so you really will get exactly what you are looking for. It’s a small knife, but it’s a good knife. The Subcom will be an old friend, not something you see every day, but will stand up for you when you need it to.

The Kwaiken Flipper has a history. The original Kwaiken was not an instant hit, in fact it was a disappointment. But Boker heard the complaints and re-designed it. It’s a sturdy, reliable knife, but it is a heavy knife. It will be able to stand up to the tasks that you throw at it.

These two knives are popular knives for a reason and it’s not a bad idea to try them out.