I was looking through some popular models from the Blade 2017 show and happened across the Florian Vorax. I took a look at the company information online and was really pleased to see Florian Knives and Tools is a family owned business. It was a surprise to find really rugged looking field cutlery being sold alongside gardening tools on the Florian site. Florian have been manufacturing high end cutting tools for some time and they seem to have a really good reputation among their users.
I managed to get hold of Florians Vorax fixed blade designed by Les George. I usually take a fixed blade for gleaning firewood along with a bow saw and hatchet. The blade is always handy for stripping off bark and chopping back Briar. A sort of Woods EDC if you will..
The Vorax seemed to fit the bill nicely at only 20cm total length. One of the first features which stood out to me was the overall look of the Vorax. It inspires the feeling that this is a knife for hard use. It has a heavily textured G10 handle which feels good with bare or gloved hands. The scales are held onto the sturdy full tang with Allen headed bolts. The scales and tang have three holes cut through them. Two large holes for grip and weight reduction and one small for your lanyard.
One could view the holes as a means to lashing the vorax onto a stick but I have doubts about that technique. If you have a decent knife you could use it to fashion a fishing spear rather than risk the knife itself. The handle has a nice contour to it and the tang is nice and chunky.
The knife is made from 154CM steel. Like all steels it needs to have been heat treated properly and has pros and cons. Florian have certainly gotten the heat treatment right as the Vorax has had a pounding over the winter months with no signs of the edge chipping or rolling.
The blade section features a nice deep choil which allows the user great control for fine tasks. You could easily use the Florian Vorax for Bushcraft if you wanted to break away from the Scandi grind regulars. When you grip the Vorax using the choil then your two middle fingers rest happily over the holes in the handle. Ergonomically it is a great fit for me (glove size L).
The top of the blade has some decent jimping which is deep enough for traction but not at all sharp. The spine of the blade is 4.74mm which lends to the rugged appearance and function.
The 9.5cm blade has been finished in a matt/stonewash. The 154CM steel looks great and so far has proven very durable to tarnishing or rust. I have treated it sensibly, wipe excess moisture off at the end of most days.. the odd wipe with an oily rag…
The hollow grind cuts very nicely and I have had no issues at all with the blade.
In terms of pros the 154CM holds an edge for a good amount of time. Although there are steels that will hold a sharper edge you can certainly bring 154CM to hair shaving sharpness which is enough for a tough use knife. The 154CM is also fairly resistant to rust.
I only have one real con. I believe novice sharpeners may struggle to get a really good edge. It takes me about 30mins with a Lansky Pro system to get 154CM where I want it. But that is life.. you cannot expect a very resilient steel to be easy to sharpen. It is going to be a hard steel hence the longevity before it becomes blunt in use.
The Vorax has been in use several times a week for the past three months. I glean wood which has fallen for burning during the following winter months. Most fallen lumber needs testing for dampness and rot. A few digs with the Vorax on any likely looking damp spots soon gives the answer. Often I will then need to bow saw at ground level. The Vorax gets used for removing any Briar which gets in the way. Although it cannot do the heavy duty hacking and clearing you may expect from a large fixed blade it certainly feels more comfortable to have hanging from your belt.
I have had to sharpen twice in the last 3 months and it has had the odd strop which usually brings it back nicely. As mentioned before sharpening the 154CM blade is not easy. I use the Lansky Pro system and it takes me about 20 minutes to work a good edge.
Price and summary
The Vorax can be found on the Florian website linked below for $195. I have seen these as low as $135 on other sites when on sale. The Vorax is well worth it. I have owned knives which cost a good deal more but they did not have the rugged “can do attitude” which the Vorax exudes. If you work in an environment which requires a tough EDC fixed blade then this is a superb option.