Joker Arrui 10: First Impressions
“There’s something I love about a simple, no frills, straight-to-the-point bushcraft knife. Something that does its job quietly and effectively, without making a big show of it.”
My Joker Arrui 10 arrived in a sturdy and good-looking printed cardboard box, with the knife inside its sheath wrapped in a light plastic bag. The knife is a little smaller than I expected (in part because of some confusion over its length, which I’ll get into in the next section).
It’s small, but not too small, and light, but not too light. The handle is very smooth and fits my hand perfectly, and the stainless steel blade is beautifully shaped and finished, with clean lines and great attention to detail. Overall, the Arrui is a simple but impressive knife right out of the box.
Measurements & Specs
There seem to be a lot of misconceptions going around about the size of this knife, specifically stemming from the “10” in its name, which might lead you to believe it’s 10 inches long. Even the Amazon listing, at present, has this listed as a 10” knife. In fact, the knife has a 3.95 inch blade, with an overall length of about 9.13 inches.
This all makes a lot more sense when you remember that Joker knives are from Spain, and folks over there use the decimal system. The Joker Arrui has a 10 centimeter blade, and an overall length just a hair over 20.5 cm.
The blade weighs 4.76 ounces (6.87 ounces total, including the sheath) with an olive wood handle and a blade made of 420 stainless steel. It has a full tang, and the blade measures 3.7 mm thick, which is actually quite thick for a knife this size.
Blade Shape & Grind
The blade of the Joker Arrui 10 has a beautiful satin finish to the steel. There’s a finger choil incorporated into the lower part of the blade just ahead of where one’s index finger would grip the handle, as well as some thumb jimping along the spine. The spine itself is perfectly squared off, and throws a great spark with a ferro rod.
I would have to call this a drop-point blade, though it’s a somewhat unique shape being that the “drop” is fairly straight, and goes all the way back to the jimping on the spine. At a glance, it could almost be mistaken for a leaf- or spear-point blade.
The blade has a sabre hollow grind with a large, clean main bevel and small micro-bevel at the cutting edge. This knife is exquisitely sharp, able to effortlessly slice clean through a sheet of paper and shave the hairs off my arm. It’s a formidable slicer, with a rounded “belly” to the blade that makes it excellent for backcountry food prep, and for skinning and processing game.
Steel & Sharpening
420 stainless steel is a fairly common steel used in bushcraft knives as well as kitchen cutlery. It’s a good quality affordable steel, which has a lot going for it even if it isn’t “high end” by any means. It has a hardness of 52 to 54 on the Rockwell scale, which is pretty good, and has around 13% chromium content, making it reasonably corrosion-resistant.
The carbon content of 420 stainless steel can vary quite a bit (0.15 to 0.38%), and consequently so can its hardness and edge retention. Based on my own experience, the steel of the Joker Arrui 10 will need to be sharpened more frequently than a typical carbon steel blade, but sharpens more easily than most stainless steels.
Knife Handle & Grip
The scales of the Joker Arrui 10 are made of natural olive wood, a very handsome wood that is also quite durable and has a nice grain to it. It’s shaped to be remarkably flush with the knife’s tang, and has no discernible seams or hot spots. I find it to be very comfortable, but I’ve heard of some users choosing to sand off the edges to smooth it out just a bit.
It’s decently grippy as well. The natural grain of the wood does a great job locking the handle in one’s palm without any additional texture. The wood doesn’t have any finish or coating on it, and an occasional application of linseed oil is always a good idea to keep wooden knife handles from drying out and cracking.
Made of thick, sturdy leather, the sheath that comes with the Arrui 10 is well made and has good quality stitching, though I do worry that, due to the location of some of the stitches, the knife might gradually wear through them as it’s pulled in and out of the sheath over time.
I find my knife to be just the slightest bit loose inside the sheath. I’ve read other reviews that say just the opposite, so there might simply be some slight variation in the fit of the sheath. In any case, one can always replace the sheath if they prefer a different style, and I’m happy enough with this one that I think I’ll stick with it.
Final Thoughts on the Joker Arrui 10
This knife has been one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using and testing out, which isn’t something I can say about every knife I review. Okay, I can say that about most of them.
But I’ve truly become a fan of the Joker Arrui 10, largely because it’s simply a great knife. It’s a steal at the $35-and-change it usually goes for, and I would honestly pay a bit more than that and still feel like I was getting a good deal, especially considering the quality of the steel, the wood scales, and the overall attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into the design.
Another thing I really like about the Arrui 10 is its size. I know a lot of bushcrafters like a bigger knife, but this is a good reminder that you don’t need a massive, Rambo-esque knife to be effective in the backcountry.
The Joker Arrui 10 is a fantastic slicer, and having tested it on everything from twine and rubber hose to wood and PVC pipe, I can confidently say it holds its own against bigger and more expensive bushcraft knives. It’s great for making feather sticks and breaking down tinder, and is even good for batoning modest-sized pieces of wood.
At the end of the day, there are decent knives in almost any price range, and I’m not going to tell you that the Arrui is as good as a $150 bushcraft knife. It’s not. But if you’re on a budget and want the best knife $35 can buy, the Joker Arrui 10 is way, way up there on that list.
Alan Dale is an experienced backpacker and adventure sports athlete who pays the bills by writing. Married with a small brood, Alan often has his kids in tow on many of his adventures.