By Bill Bernhardt
Fox Cutlery in Maniago, Italy was founded in 1977 by Oreste Frati and has long been known as a manufacturer of quality cutlery products for civilian, military, law enforcement, rescue and other special forces. However, desiring an American brand for their cutlery, Fox Knives USA was founded in the U.S. to stratify that desire. And as such, they are a new company dedicated to designing, manufacturing and distributing high quality cutlery. To that end, they use only the highest grade stainless blade steels, along with other high quality handle and sheath materials to create knives that Americans will feel that they can depend on.
The Fox Knives Parang XL (which was designed by Alfredo Doricchi) is built using top quality materials. It features an overall length of 17” with a bull nosed blade that measures 10 1/4” and is made of 1/8” 440C stainless steel with a 56 Rockwell. In addition, it features a highly ergonomic ABS Plastic handle slabs and a heavy duty nylon sheath.
Two classes of knives I have not yet covered in my articles on this web site are the Indonesian/Malaysian “Parangs” and the various types of regional Machetes.
The Parang is a very useful knife design when combined with a smaller, general purpose or hunting knife. In this country, we would call such a knife a “camp knife” but the design of the Parang differs so much from what most Americans think of as a “camp knife.” It might be hard for some of you to imagine such a knife in that form to belong in that category.
However, the Parang evolved in the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia where the vegetation is very woody (unlike the much softer vegetation found in the Amazon) as a smaller version of the machete. Thus, the parang is perfect for light, medium and even heavy chopping tasks since the entire design of the knife is focused on delivering the most efficient cut possible with the least amount of effort.
In addition to that, the bull nosed, weight-forward blade with its positive forward angle is specifically designed to increase the speed of impact and to deliver extra leverage when driving through the cut. The negative rearward angle of the tang matches that of the human hand so that the maximum amount of energy is transmitted to the blade when chopping with the knife. The blade also features a deep hollow grind which further increases its cutting ability.
The blade is made from 440C stainless steel which contains 0.95%-1.20% Carbon (makes this a very hard steel,) 16%-18% Chromium (makes this steel highly corrosion resistant,) 1.0% Manganese (increases toughness and hardenability in steel) and 0.75% Molybdenum (to increase hardness in tool steels during forging, Mo and Cr forms hard, double carbide bonds which help improve the abrasion and corrosion resistance of the steel.) From all of these, you get a blade steel that is a highly corrosion resistant and is able to hold an edge very well.
Moving on, the handle features a very ergonomic shape while the use of ABS plastic handle slabs along with a nylon sheath make the entire knife system nearly impervious to wet environments.
Last, while most of you who read my articles are aware by now that I like neither ricassos nor choils, on this particular knife, I have a sneaking suspicion that the choil may actually serve a useful purpose although, for the life of me, I can’t think of what it would be at the moment. However, I always listen to my intuition because it has saved my butt too many times to ignore.
As of the present, I carry a Fox Knives USA Parang XL with me on all of my fly fishing excursions because it is perfect for chopping loose the limbs of the trees I always seem to get hung up in and yet, being made from 440C with a nylon sheath, I don’t have to worry about immersing it in the stream when I am wading. Also, the Mountain Laurel bushes we have here are tough as Ironwood and they always seem to be in the way. Thus, the Fox Parang XL fills the function of a cleaver quite nicely when I need to make a trail through these tenacious bushes.