Jesper Voxnaes’ designs immediately hit a note with me after reviewing his Böker kitchen knife collaboration from the company’s Saga Series. My interest was furthered once being able to handle his customs at the Blade Show. Jesper’s designs have a stylish aesthetic that attentively balances form and function with distinctive results. As such, the demand for his custom designs, far outweighs supply. For this reason, it was great to see Viper partnering with the designer to release a folder. Having checked out many Viper knives in the past, I knew to expect a quality and high value product.
Odino, is the Italian translation for Odin, the Norse God. A fitting name for a Scandinavian designed, Italian produced knife. Viper is also manufacturing a Vox fixed blade design, the Borr named after Odin’s father.
This knife is a medium sized folder with an overall length of 7.25”. Weights vary from the lightweight 4.41 oz carbon fiber and 4.58 oz G10 editions, to the 5.47oz full Ti model. Although fairly short, it has a broad footprint giving the knife a substantial, durable feel in use.
The 3” blade on the Odino could be considered a modified drop or clip point pattern. I personally find it has more of a drop point feel to it, largely because of the lack of a concave clip-shape coupled with the blade’s broadness. Regardless, it should probably be classified as a clip, due to the change in angle toward the tip mid spine.
The grind is a high flat. Because of the substantial 1.25” (maximum) blade width, the material is ground quite thin across the primary bevel. This is finished with a keen secondary edge. Overall the geometry makes for an excellent slicer with a good amount of straight cutting surface, belly and an acute enough tip for all around functionality.
The steel used is Austrian company Böhler Uddeholm’s N690Co. Böhler classifies the product as a cutlery grade steel. Its designation is reflected in its widespread adoption from European knife manufacturers such as Extrema Ratio, Fox Cutlery and this company to name a few.
The chemical composition of N690Co is :
Notable to cutlery applications are N690Co’s high Carbon content with the addition of Vanadium and Cobalt for hardness and edge retention. Another great feature is that the Chromium content is 3.3% higher than the 14% necessary to sit the steel in the stainless category. This is further amplified by the 1.10% addition of Molybdenum, making for above average corrosion resistance. While not a powder metal “Super Steel”, N690 is still a solid blade material that offers a practical blend of affordability and performance. The steel also machines well, as illustrated in the cleanly executed stone wash and satin finishes that are available in this model.
For deployment the Odino uses an oval thumb slot. It is easy to access from both sides due to a cut away in the handle scales. The pivot has thrust bearings that sit in a recessed slot milled into the tang and against raced washers on the scale side. The action is effortless allowing the knife to be easily opened with reliability. While adding smoothness, bearings do a great job negating lateral slack along the pivot’s travel.
When open the blade is held firmly in place by a titanium frame lock that seats with authority. Although the lock arm isn’t finished with a steel insert, there’s no stickiness. Quite often the difference in hardness between the softer titanium lock face and the hardened blade’s, can cause binding. The effect can be worsened by rough surfaces and/or bad lock geometry. Fortunately the Odino avoids these pitfalls and functions perfectly. Aside from the steel insert, there isn’t an over-travel stop feature. I don’t really feel either way about this because I’ve never damaged a frame lock by hyper-extending it. I can say that I’d prefer a lower price point than added features in the case of this knife, since the lock works great as-is.
The handle is 4.25” and will allow for a full four finger grip for most people. The cut-away that provides access to the opening thumb hole also serves to lock your index finger in place. Holding the knife in this position has the blade a fair distance away from your hand. For more control you can leverage the flat area after the finger groove, placing your middle finger in the cut-away. During use I tend to hold the knife this way unless I’m speeding through cuts, where being close to the heel of the grind could be a bad idea. The back of the handle has an overall, convex sloping shape that nests comfortable against your palm. While the back spacer slightly protrudes from the bulk of the grip, it doesn’t have any significant presence when in use. Although the component has some jimping on it, I feel like it’s slightly more aesthetic than functional. On the carbon fiber and G10 models, the back spacer is anodized blue.
For carry there’s a tip up pocket clip that’s reversible for left or right hand carry. It’s made from 420 sheet stock and has been creatively bend-formed. I really like the attachment point. Its mortise and tenon like construction seats part of the clip into a slot in the handle, preventing rotation. Due to this, only one fastener is required to attach it. The spring has a split shape and therefore, somewhat light tension. While having enough to hold the knife in place, some people might prefer tighter retention. Personally I don’t mind the tension but would like it if the clip sat a little less proud. I did notice it quite a bit when cutting and ended up removing it since I usually don’t clip my knives in my pockets anyway. On the note of carry, I really appreciate the large lanyard slot included in the back-spacer which is what I’ll be using to get the Odino out of my pocket.
All in, I really appreciate this design. The over all shape is well resolved when the knife is both open and closed. I particularly enjoy Jesper’s use of distinct, well placed hard angles, creating confident shapes that don’t interfere with use. The detailed chamfering, especially seen around the handle fasteners is great. At first glance the design is easy to identify and comprehend. On closer inspection there are enough details to reflect on and admire. From a manufacturing perspective Viper has done an excellent job tying up all of the components. Their partnership with Jesper Voxnaes has delivered an exceptional, usable knife at a fair asking price.
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For more information on Vox Knives please visit www.voxknives.com