Review: Giant Mouse Fixed-1 (GMF-1)
Low weight, small size and multiple carry options make this one PERFECT backpacker’s and hiker’s knife. Just strap it to the backpack and forget about it – until it’s needed of course!
If you’re into knives, and you follow European knifemakers, you must have heard two names: Jens Anso (Anso Knives) and Jesper Voxnaes (Vox Knives), both from Denmark. They teamed up recently and created their first models (fixed and folder) under the company name Giant Mouse. Of course the co-operation between the two Vikings started much earlier and last year they released 12 folders known as #12BladesBrooklyn (if you don’t know this project then just google it, it’s worth looking at). Awesome design, isn’t it? Yeah, you see the similarities? The GMF-1 is a small fixed blade inspired by that design! That’s why I like it so much, even just from an aesthetic point of view – it’s just beautiful. And functional too, I’ll show you.
With an overall length of 5.5 inches it’s a little handy knife, light enough to be carried as an EDC blade everywhere. Its curved blade of just under 2.5” has a considerably long cutting edge thanks to the leaf-shape with a seriously pronounced belly – it’s not intimidating and looks socially acceptable to me. The skeleton handle is also nicely curved, with a rounded spine, palm-filling hump and anti-slip jimpings in strategic areas. Made entirely of N690 Cobalt steel (0.156” thick) it’s surely stronger than any folder of this size, and actually you’ll see that in some aspects it’s also a significantly better tool. All in all the look of this knife is very organic, non-threating and almost a bit elvish (if I can say that).
It sits firm enough in hand, even when wearing heavy outdoor gloves like the Skullman model from Hestra. A deep index finger cut-out, skeleton holes and the curved shape work great together and provide a surprisingly sure grip for this tiny fixed blade. It’s a classic 3-finger handle, which means you grab it with just 3 fingers – not enough space for a pinky, sorry. Of course there is a quick solution – just take a foot-long piece of paracord and quickly wrap a 1-1.5 inch lanyard with a classic barrel knot. Easy and effective – it seems to be a small thing but it really makes the knife even more secure in the hand. Bonus: you can draw the knife even easier from its sheath too. And I did just that… in fact I always do on my 3-finger knives.
The sheath is a work of art and I’m not joking! It’s perfectly stitched & finished, riveted for additional strength. Hand-made quality, thick leather, tanned and finished on the edges. The craftsmanship on that sheath is more than good… it’s a custom sheath quality! The knife sits in with enough resistance – there is simply NO CHANCE of losing it by accident. It fits on belts up to 2” wide so even if you’re rocking heavy duty 2-inch military belt – it has no problem with that. It fits most backpack waistbelt straps as well. Of course a knife of this size could be also used as a neck-knife, IWB knife, or just attached to a backpack strap in a reversed position… and I’m happy to tell you that thanks to the curved shape and rounded edges it’s one of the easiest knives to Kydex I’ve ever had. It took me just couple of hours to make 3 Kydex sheaths for my new toy, that way I can wear it just as I want – mainly on my belt in that SUPERB leather sheath, but if needed also in Kydex.
Low weight, small size and multiple carry options make this one PERFECT backpacker’s and hiker’s knife. Just strap it to the backpack, in Kydex or leather, and forget about it – until it’s needed of course!
Does it cut? Sure! The high grind and a thin cutting edge do a tremendous job on cutting stuff. With the smooth finish, which combines stonewashing and polishing, it glides through rope, cardboard, leather etc. with minimal, almost non-existing resistance. Overall the finish of the knife is great. Crisp grinds, shaving sharp, even cutting edge, all other edges nicely contoured… it might be small but it oozes quality. Even the marking lines are thin and crisp, easy to read but not distracting. A nice complete package, just take a look:
Rope cutting? Yeah! I was able to cut repeatedly through a 3/4 inch hemp rope with it! It’s a small slick slicer.
In my opinion a hiker’s knife should be helpful in various scenarios, not just cutting stuff. So I challenged it (and myself too) to use it to start a fire. The key with starting fire is to split wood, exposing the inside part of a branch, which is dry even on a rainy day. When a fire is started all you need to do is to to break some branches and make the bonfire bigger (if needed). But to start DRY wood is essential. So I took a branch, gathered some birch bark, and started my work.
First I broke the branch and used a bigger piece to baton the GMF-1 through the smaller one. I did it couple of times, so that I got handful of small pieces as a result. As you can see I really used some force to baton this tiny (but strong) blade, check out the jimping marks on my improvised baton. Try that with a fancy 2.5” folder. It could be done, but the mechanics of the knife would most probably be wrecked.
Next I used the shaving sharp edge of the GMF-1 to make feather-sticks (not perfect, but absolutely usable) and also to scrape birch bark to “catch” the sparks from my ferrocerium rod fire-starter.
Two strikes with the sharp edge (kind of ‘shaving’ the rod) and fire had started. Job well done, in less than 10 minutes including finding all materials. Did you notice some marks on the blade from the fire starter? No worries, it will come off with just soap and water. In fact the blade is untouched and a couple of strikes on a fire-starter won’t ruin the cutting edge either.
Oh, by the way, the factory edge on the GMF1 perfectly matches the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker setting so restoring its edge is really easy. Below is the edge after sharpening – notice a thin profile and really even line. It happens only when the factory edge is made with proper skill & attention. Really well done!
It’s a handy little blade, I believe this one will be quite popular. And it is priced fair at MSRP of $95… honestly, just that leather sheath, of such a high quality, would cost more than half of that from any good leather crafter. It’s a great package! Try it, use it. Enjoy!
Piotr Ma Contributor & Edge Specialist
Adventurer, outdoorsman, mountaineer, sailor and gear enthusiast from Poland. It all started for Piotr when he was 10 and went to the high mountains with his father. Now he’s transferring his experiences and knowledge to the younger generation, together with his wife. His perfect vacation is not an all-inclusive hotel but a nothing-inclusive mountain shelter. More…