Flexcut has introduced their new Tri-Jack Pro and it is a “Home Run”. It is a 3 blade folding whittling knife that meets most requirements for a good whittling knife. It has a large blade for “hogging” that Flexcut calls a “roughing knife”, a mid sized blade that is titled a “detail blade.” The third blade is a extra small blade that Flexcut has referred to as a “mini cutting knife.”
Let us take a closer look…
The Tri-Jack Pro, like its sibling the Whittlin’ Jack, is ultra sharp right out of the package. In fact, I would argue that you will not be able to find a sharper knife with a factory edge. And, like all Flexcut knives, it holds an edge exceptionally well. In fact these knives are the only knives I have experienced that hold an edge as well as a fine hand forged knife.
The handle shape is as good as it gets for a folding knife. While it is not as comfortable as a fixed handle knife, it is large enough to fit the hand of a male adult, unlike most other folding knives, yet it also will fit a smaller hand. Because it is virtually all metal, it is a bit heavy but I don’t see that as a “deal breaker.”
It does not look like a traditional pocket (whittling) knife but it is an attractive knife and has a rich look to it with dark anodized metal framing surrounding an attractive hardwood veneer in-set. The blades mesh with the handle very well. Unlike its predecessor, the Whittlin’ Jack, ones fingers are not drawn to the heal of the blades for nicking. And, another nice feature is the fact that these blades lock. There will be no accidental closing of the blades.
What would I Change?
There really is not much I would change but there are two small “tweaks.” Since Flexcut’s knife blades are stamped out and they are relatively thin, the back of their blades have abrupt, uncomfortable edges. I find them hard on the opposing thumb as I push on the back of the blade when carving. The longer I whittle, the less comfortable they are. Hard wood makes it even worse. Of course, the problem is solved with a thumb guard but I also found that, for myself, very lightly grinding off the back corners was a tremendous help… just a tiny bit is all that is needed. If you do it, do not use a grinding wheel; use a stone or a slow moving abrasive belt.
IMPORTANT NOTE OF CAUTION: Any tampering with the knife will likely void any warranty on the thing. So think twice about doing any modifications to the knife.
The second change I would make is putting a detail point on the mini blade. Doing so would result in a perfect combination of three blades, in my opinion.
The Bottom Line
If I could have only one whittling knife, this would be it. In fact, If I lived on a sailboat or in a motor home and had to keep my whittling tools to an absolute minimum, I think the Tri-Jack Pro and both the right and left handed versions of the Carvin’ Jack would set me up well for whittling or whittle carving.*
Comparing the Tri-Jack Pro to the pocket knife with the “X’s” on it that grandpa supposedly used is like comparing a Porche 918 to a Ford Pinto. At this point, one wonders if Flexcut can come up with yet another better folding whittling knife… maybe a titanium body perhaps.
Like all Flexcut tools, the Tri-Jack Pro is available from many Internet suppliers and carving stores. I bought my knife from Greg Dorrance Company and paid $78.88. I found the Dorrance price to be well less than anyone else and he has a $7.50 flat rate shipping charge. My knife was shipped from Massachusetts on a Friday and I had it on the following Monday in my little town in North Central Washington State via USPS Priority mail. I have bought several knives from Greg Dorrance and his service is un-matched (friendliness, efficiency, shipping costs, etc.).
When Flexcut came out with the Whittlin’ Jack a year ago, I was impressed. You might take a look at my blog posting of December 2011 to see my comments on the Whittlin’ Jack,. ( http://whiteeaglestudios.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=943&action=edit&message=1 ) .
Another posting covering whittling knives can be found at:
Go Forth and Whittle!
Thanks for reading. Please see my web site at: www.MichaelKellerWoodCarving.com .
Stay sharp and Happy Carving!
*”Whittle Carving” is a term learned from Don Mertz where a whittler also incorporates select palm gouges in his or her hand held carving project.