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The Friendly, Unassuming Beaver Tail Blade: RoseCraft Castorea Pocket Knife Review

This flipper-tab take on a traditional pocket knife pattern is at once prickly and sweet.

castorea(Photo/Josh Wussow)
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Traditional pocket knives can be something of a minefield. Don’t believe me? Try getting your hands on the latest releases from Great Eastern Cutlery or many of the high-end makers that produce some of the most coveted and collectible blades in the industry. 

But while Chinese-based manufacturing has been a boon to modern EDC designs, little has been done to advance the more classical folders. At least that’s what I thought until I recently stumbled across RoseCraft Blades. This company makes a wide variety of traditional pocket knife patterns, in addition to its stable of contemporary folders. 

Halfway between the new and the old lies the RoseCraft Castorea ($46). Designed by Andy Armstrong, this everyday offering features G10 handle slabs, a reversible pocket clip, and nearly 4 inches of sculpted D2 steel.

Its name, according to the company website, “is Latin for Beaver — a throwback to the legendary fur traders of the new world.”

Old-school linguistic references combined with a historically based pattern and budget-friendly manufacturing? Damn, RoseCraft, I can only take so much. So when the company agreed to pluck a Castorea and send it over for testing, I waited by the mailbox like an eager beaver. 

In short: The RoseCraft Castorea is an affordably priced, intriguingly shaped pocket knife with a solid material build sheet. The slicing performance of its bulbous, spear-point blade is as classic as the knife’s silhouette and in-hand comfort. Unimpressive action and underwhelming button lock hurt the overall score, but the Castorea’s cutting ability and modern/classic ambitions show a good deal of promise. 

RoseCraft Castorea


  • Blade Length 3.9”
  • Blade Thickness 0.126”
  • Blade Steel D2
  • Overall Length 8.5”
  • Handle Material G10
  • Overall Weight 3.7 oz.
  • Locking Mechanism Button lock w/ flipper tab
  • Country of Origin China


  • Interesting blade shape
  • Solid slicing performance
  • Affordable
  • Classic-meets-modern style


  • Middling button lock
  • Slightly subpar action
  • High pocket ride

RoseCraft Castorea Pocket Knife Review

Let’s begin with what attracted me to the Castorea in the first place — that long blade with the graceful belly and swedge. Its bulbous/tapered shape reminds me less of a beaver and more of an aircraft, or perhaps a particularly pointy whale. 

castorea in kitchen
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

However you slice it, the Castorea’s D2 edge is a good one. This knife was a pleasure to use in the kitchen, making short work of onions, celery, and even steak. Heck, its long reach even served to test the doneness of boiling potatoes, and its steel showed no signs of staining after multiple culinary uses. 

Details and Appearance Matter

There are a few subtle things that RoseCraft gets right, as well. For instance, the Castorea’s blade centering is solid and the pocket clip offers good retention and ambidextrous capabilities, even if the ride is a bit high.

The knife is comfortable in hand, with plenty of real estate (4.6 inches) for grip. I like the split black and red of its G10 handle slabs and the simplicity of its unadorned shield. 

As a nonthreatening picnic or cookout companion, the Castorea brings a lot to the table. This is a strength of many traditional pocket knife patterns, which are clearly designed as tools for everyday use, not as objects of survivalist or tactical fantasy.

Whether you’re opening packages or carving a stick for marshmallows around the campfire, you’re not going to find a knife with this kind of blade length (nearly 4 inches) that presents a less-threatening appearance.

Every RoseCraft Castorea Has Its Thorn

RoseCraft Castorea
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Yes, that’s a Poison pun, and no, I’m not sorry. In fact, I’m rather cranky, because I very much wanted this to be a mostly positive review. But there are a few flaws with the Castorea that I need to address.

First, there’s the issue of deployment. Thanks to its prominent flipper tab, I expected this knife to be an easy opener. Not so.

You really need to load up on the index finger press or add a bit of wrist action to get the Castorea’s blade to swing into place. It’s not terrible, just tricky and a bit of a letdown. 

This would be easier to forgive if the knife’s locking mechanism was stellar. After all, traditionally styled pocket knives aren’t generally known for their action. But while the Castorea’s blade is free of lateral wobble, a slight vertical play made me reluctant to tackle anything harder than foodstuffs and cardboard.

This all ties back to the button lock which, frankly, feels a little half-baked. I’ve been spoiled lately with knives like the free-swinging Civivi Chevalier and CRJB Ekko, and the Castorea struggles by comparison.

In addition to sticking upon deployment, once you press the unlocking button, the blade remains in place until you close it with some combination of finger and thumb, second hand, or pants leg. Now, you could argue that this is a safety feature. But given the slight rattle and rough edges of the mechanism, it feels more like this button lock is maybe a little beyond RoseCraft’s current manufacturing capabilities.

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Conclusion: RoseCraft Castorea Pocket Knife Review

RoseCraft Castorea Pocket Knife
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

As much as I’m down on the lockup and action, the RoseCraft Castorea remains an intriguing knife. I’m a fan of its design, materials, and the outstanding shape and performance of its blade. I’m especially intrigued to take a look at a few of the company’s more traditional patterns, which present an affordable option in a field that can sometimes be overwhelmed by speculators or collectors. 

While the reach of Andy Armstrong’s design may have fallen a bit short of RoseCraft’s manufacturing grasp, the company has piqued my attention. I’m all for new and accessible pocket knives, and the RoseCraft seems as though they’re on the right track. Forward-thinking and backward-looking ambition beats the safeness of titanium frame-lock flippers any day, and I’d like to see a slightly more gilded version of this particular lily. Or rose. You know what I mean.

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