Vosteed Raccoon Crossbar Lock knife review – The prettiest little trash panda I’ve ever seen

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REVIEW – Please don’t take the moniker trash panda too seriously. No one is calling the Vosteed Raccoon trash. For those who don’t know, trash panda is an alternative name for the living, breathing raccoon. With that out of the way, I recently got to get my hands on the ever popular Vosteed Raccoon. This one, however, is a little different from the previous offerings. How so? I’m not telling you here, crazy! You’re going to have to read the article to find that out. Vosteed is constantly releasing wonderful knives, all the while bringing new life to the current lines too. I recently did a review on a smaller version of the Vosteed Thunderbird knife and yes, I loved it too.

What is it?

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This version of the Vosteed Raccoon uses the Crossbar knife lock and has a 3.25″ Nitro-V blade, and aluminum handle scales.

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What’s in the box?

  • Vosteed Raccoon
  • Zippered case
  • A sticker
  • Support and warranty information cards
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Extra springs for crossbar lock

Hardware specs

  • Blade Length: 3.25″ | 82.55 mm
  • Overall Length: 7.60″ | 193.12 mm
  • Blade Width: 1.07″ | 27.27 mm
  • Blade Thickness: 0.118″ | 3.00 mm
  • Blade Material: Nitro-V
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Satin
  • Hardness: HRC 60±2
  • Handle Length: 4.36″ | 110.75 mm
  • Handle Width: 1.10″ | 27.95 mm
  • Handle Thickness: 0.49″ | 12.40 mm
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Color: Blue
  • Weight: 3.66 oz | 103.80 g
  • Opener: Thumb Stud
  • Lock Type: Crossbar Lock
  • Pivot Assembly: Caged Ceramic Ball Bearing
  • Pocket Clip: Reversible | Stainless Steel
  • Carry Position: Tip-up
  • Knife Type: Manual Folding
  • Thumbstud Material: Stainless Steel
  • Thumbstud Color: Silver
  • Button Material: Stainless Steel
  • Button Color: Silver
  • Designer: Yue

Design and features

I want to start with the handle scales. I’ve never had a knife with aluminum scales before. In fact, I steered away from them. I didn’t really have a rational reason for it, especially since I haven’t had any past experience to base it on. I guess I equated them to the ever present gas station knives you see everywhere and wanted to steer clear of them. But, since Vosteed used them on the Raccoon, I really wanted to get my hands on one in this line, I figured what was there to lose? I’m glad I did. The aluminum handles have a matte, anodized, and textured finish which all lend to a good grip on the knife. I really thought aluminum scales would slip and slide around but I was pleased to find out I was wrong. The handle length is 4.36″ which is almost perfect for my big hands. About half the width of my pinky hangs off the end, so it’s not a full four-finger grip, but close.

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The milled texture feels and looks great, and here’s a goofy little thing I really appreciate. Look at the blank that fills the recess for the pocket clip when it’s on the opposite side. It’s flush with the scale. It’s not proud of the recess anywhere, so it’s not noticeable in your hand and doesn’t provide any kind of hotspot.

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Take note lefties, the thumb studs and removable pocket clip make this a true ambidextrous knife for all to enjoy.

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The Vosteed Raccoon knife also has stainless steel liners and back spacers to provide rigidity and strength. In fact, all the fastening hardware, thumb studs, and pocket clip are stainless steel, making this one solid knife.

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The Nitro-V blade locks up nice and tight with no lock rock that I could find. You’ve got a couple of deployment options with this Raccoon. There are the thumb studs which are plenty tall and big enough to get a good purchase on them to flip the blade open. You can fail to deploy it if you hit them at a bad angle or don’t provide enough force, which I’m going to attribute to the springs in the crossbar lock. It’s not a big deal though, as it doesn’t take a lot of force to open it. Trust me, it’s easier to deploy than to make it fail. I just wanted to add you can do it. The other deployment method would be the crossbar lock. You can simply pull back, and with a flick of the wrist, sling it open. I don’t prefer to do that since you’ve got to time it right to lock it into place but to each his own. The caged ceramic ball bearing pivot is silky smooth, so whichever way you choose to open the blade feels great.

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The blade is a simple drop point shape with a flat grind and satin finish. I might be in the minority here, but those are the perfect blade qualities. Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of blade shapes, grinds, and finishes, but this is my favorite. It’s a good shape for damn near everything, got enough of a belly to get up close to your work, and is easier for me to freehand sharpen on my stones. I would, however, like a little more jimping on the spine of the blade, big thumbs and all. As for the Nitro-V steel, all I really knew about it was what I’d seen in online knife reviews, which is it has excellent corrosion resistance, extremely tough, and easy to sharpen. Doing a quick Google search to offer you a little more info I found this:

“Nitro-V is a high carbon stainless with the addition of nitrogen and vanadium. Vanadium has long been regarded as a principal alloying element for hard-working steels, from simple tool steels to aerospace parts. By increasing grain refinement and assisting in carbide formation, edges are easier to retain and maintain, whether as a razor, luxury kitchen knife, or tactical folder. Nitrogen has only been an industry staple for the past decade, nitrides increase stain resistance by bonding with chromium oxide layers naturally formed during grinding and polishing operations. The chromium and nitrogen oxide combination then allows exposure to more severe environments, specifically and especially wet working conditions such as professional kitchens or off-shore. Together, nitrogen and vanadium bring Nitro-V into a whole new category apart from either predecessor, enabling it to be used in applications and methods previously ill-suited to 14C28N and AEB-L.” –Canadian Knifemaker Supply Ltd. 

The Vosteed Raccoon does come razor sharp and I’ve found it easy to keep that way with a few strokes on a stone and steel. I hope this helps if any are on the fence.

The last thing I’ll mention is the inclusion of the extra springs. Is this typical of other knifemakers? I watch a lot of knife review and unboxing videos online and I don’t recall ever seeing another manufacturer including them in the box. Are they the same as the ones installed or do they offer more or less resistance? I don’t know. I haven’t used them yet, but I think it’s a nice touch by Vosteed to include them in the box.

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Vosteed offers the new Raccoon in four flavors.

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But I think we can all agree the blue one is superior. No? Ok, I guess there’s just no accounting for taste. I kid, I kid.

What I like

  • Vosteed’s continued quality builds
  • Truly ambidextrous
  • The look and feel of the aluminum handles
  • Nitro-V steel

What I’d change

  • I’d like a little snappier deployment with the thumb studs, but I’m being nit-picky
  • A little more jimping

Final thoughts

Vosteed continues to offer quality knives with excellent materials. No, they’re not an American company, so if you make your choice to avoid their knives on that, then you’re missing out. I have several of their blades at this point and recommend them to family and friends constantly. It’s hard to part with the ones I have, but when one of my daughters expressed a desire to have a “really good pocket knife”, a Vosteed blade is what I gave her with no hesitation. If anyone else asks me, what’s a good EDC knife with great all-around performance, you better believe the Vosteed Raccoon knife will be among the top of the list, along with a few other Vosteed knives.

Price: $72.00
Where to buy: Vosteed and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Vosteed.

2 thoughts on “Vosteed Raccoon Crossbar Lock knife review – The prettiest little trash panda I’ve ever seen”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. The Crossbar Lock is the Benchmade Axis Lock. The design intent is to flick your wrist while pulling the lock back with your thumb and forefinger to snap the blade in and out. Its as fast as a switchblade once you learn the technique.

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