Cheap vs Quality Grafting Knives

I recently purchased a good grafting knife, and I also have the “privilege” of inspecting and getting up to speed a box of cheap grafting knives that were ordered for a grafting workshop. I thought this was a good opportunity to compare the two. The knives in question are the Due Buoi 202L in N690 stainless, and the Pueldu two-bladed grafting knife from Amazon.* I paid $40 shipped for the Due Buoi, the Pueldu was going for $16 as of this morning.

Here are some specs as measured by me.

Due Buoi Pueldu
Weight(g) 71 106
Spine Thickness (mm) 1.6 1.71**
Blade Width (cm) 1.3-1.6 1.3
Length Closed (cm) 10.5 10
Length Open (cm) 16.8 16.3
Handle thickness (mm) 18.44 13.6-21.6
Bevel Single Double
Bark Lifter Yes Decorative
Blades 1 2

Here are some photos to compare. Due Buoi on the left, Pueldu on the right.

Bark lifter and nail nick closeup. Due Buoi on the left, Pueldo on the right

My overall impressions: The Due Buoi is an excellent knife. The blade geometry is just right, the weight and handle design are good, and the fit and finish are quite good. Everything feels solid, and it came shaving sharp out of the box. Feels comfortable in the hand and easy to use. Basically, everything I look for in a good grafting knife. Opening the blade requires a pretty firm pull. It’s doable, but it’s much more than say a Swiss Army Knife. The flip side to this is that it feels very solid once open. The opening/closing action is smooth throughout the travel, once you get it going.

The Pueldu immediately looks poor quality out of the box (ironically, the box looks pretty nice). It’s sharp, but not shaving sharp, and the fitment of the scales, pins, and springs is quite bad. The level of finish on the blade isn’t great; the machine marks left on the blade are deep enough to feel with your fingers. Not every blade was properly stamped with Stainless Steel, and they don’t tell you which stainless they are using. Fortunately, that’s mostly cosmetic, but it’s clear they cut almost every corner they could. Getting back to function, the blades are sharpened as double bevel, which is not optimal for grafting. Additionally, the blade thickness behind the edge is a tad thick, which will add resistance when trying to make good cuts. Since I’m a masochist, I took it upon myself to convert a few over to single bevel. This was a lot of work. I think the steel will retain an edge reasonably well once you get it there, but I’ll have to see. The “bark lifter” is really more the suggestion of one, and I would consider it decorative only. The second blade looks cool, but it’s hard to sharpen without specialized stones, and it gets in the way when using the other blade. Opening the knife takes slightly less effort than a Swiss Army knife and it incorporates a half stop. The movement is a bit rough. Once open, it doesn’t feel super solid, but not unsafe either. There is some wiggle in the blade. It does come with two rolls of poly tape, which is nice if you like that style.

Gappy wood.

These should all be flush

Exposed brass pins? I’ve never seen that, so not sure what it means other than they used less metal on the springs.

For decorative purposes only.

All in all, I’m not a fan of the Pueldu knives. They are poorly made with wildly inconsistent QC, and require 1+ hours of work to get into shape for grafting. You need to remove the edge, set a new edge, flatten the back, and thin the blade. Even if you only value your time at minimum wage, it’s worth spending a little extra to get a knife that’s beveled and designed properly. Especially considering that the work you have to do would have only taken about 10 minutes more at the factory. I also think it’s not a good idea to get the two blades in one. That second blade is so different that it just gets in the way. If you like that style, you’d be better off getting a second knife with that blade.

The Due Buoi is not without its flaws. There are some very minor errors with the fit and finish (one of the rivets stands slightly proud of the scales, but you’d probably only notice if you’re really looking for it). The strong pull to open may be too much for some, and I probably won’t appreciate it as much when I get older. That being said, it’s very clear the higher purchase price is well worth it.

The offending rivet.

*Note: there are several identical knives under different brands, but I suspect they’re all made at the same factory.

**Some of the individual knives had significantly thicker blades. I measured as thick as 2.28 mm.


Great comparison! I use the classic Felco/Victorinox budding/grafting knife, which I believe was about $24 when I bought it 3 years ago, so basically halfway between those two in price, though looks like it’s closer to $30 now. I’m happy with it, especially how smoothly the blade opens and that it holds open well and has no wiggle. But I’m no knife expert!


I haven’t tried those personally, but I think of them as the good, solid, basic option. I’ve never been a huge fan of the steel Victorinox uses, but it’s a decent steel and they definitely have excellent build quality. Would be WAY better than the generic “grafting knives” from Amazon.

At some point, I’ll have to get my hands on some other makes and models to further compare. There are a lot of grafting knife reviews out there that basically say “here’s the knife I was told to use when I started and it’s the only one I use, so everything else must be garbage.” Having comprehensive side-by-side comparisons would be a big asset.


This is the part that I know nothing about! I’ve never seen any pitting or rust, but it does require regular sharpening. I have a diamond coated rod that I mostly use, which I’m sure knife aficionados will groan at, but it keeps it sharp enough for me! I do also have a whetstone with two grits that I used to do as a second stage, but I’ve not noticed any functional difference in how easily it cuts the wood since I switched to just using the rod.


I immediately call it “not grafting knife”.
That and other similar “grafting” knives seem to have been made by someone who has only seen the outside of what grafting knives look like, but does not understand their use - they are too thick and have a bevel on both sides. I am not even mentioning the quality of the steel.


That about sums it up. The steel they use has excellent corrosion resistance and easy sharpening. It’s also tough (resistant to chipping and breaking). But the tradeoff is it doesn’t hold that edge particularly well. For the longest time, this was the “best” stainless and wasn’t great compared to 1095 or C70 carbon steel for edge retention and toughness. Which is why you still hear folks say that carbon steel is better than stainless. There are much better stainless steels on the market now, though, that are equal to if not better than 1095. Some (but not all) are very expensive. Often, if the manufacturer is bothering to tell you which one they use, it’s probably a decent knife steel justifying a higher price point. At the very least, it gives you something you can look up and see whether it meets your needs.


That was my thought exactly. It’s a pocket knife that “looks” like a grafting knife. And not a terribly good pocket knife at that. I swear, they put more thought and care into the package design and build than they did the knife.


My grafting Knife and bark lifter. I use a razer blade to cut the bud from its scion. I use a kitchen knife to make the T cut.

I use a plastic knife to lift the bark. I just look no farther than my kitchen to get my grafting tool. For wrapping I cut strips from a plastic bread bag.


Yep, you can make just about anything work. But if you’re doing more than a handful, you’d be pennywise and pound foolish not getting a purpose built tool. With a proper grafting knife, I can do all three operations with one tool, and faster. For one or two grafts, that won’t make such a huge difference. But over 10, 20, 100 grafts the time and frustration savings really add up. In your case, I’m not sure why you don’t just use the razor blade to make the bark slit. It would be faster, cleaner, and safer than the bread knife. You could also use the back corner of the razor as a pretty effective bark lifter (I’m assuming you’re using the kind with the rounded back for use in scrapers).


IMO holding the edge the longest is the most important thing. Sharpening sucks and cheap knives have you doing that a lot. I thought about buying one myself, but my trusty box cutter has been getting me by.

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I’ve been very happy with Tina grafting knives. I bought mine (left handed) from Cliff England for under $45 years ago and it has served me very well.

Buy cheap buy twice.


I bought the grafting tool and fell in love with the included Chinese knife. Usually I dislike SS knives: but it had a great double bevel edge straight out of the box.

Before buying that I saw a deal on a pair of handed carbon steel single bevel knives. Thought they would be better. But they seem to be bevelled at 55 degrees and are not as sharp. Gave them a quick shave; bet will still go back and set a better, more aggressive bevel and sharpening.

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I started making bark slits with a razor blade but I could not see where the cuts were when I tried to lift the bark. I do about 4 grafts per year.


I use the Home Depot special (Dewalt knife) for $12, works great. I graft about 40 scion wood a week.


Sounds like you’ve got it dialed in for what you need, then!

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I also use the Victorinox knives. I lose them periodically so they are a good value compromise. I have a spot in my holster for my knife but I am juggling so many things in my hands when grafting that I sometimes lose track of the knife. Usually I find it again, but sometimes not.

PS I am down to one knife only and I always like a backup so I just got a new one:

This is the brand of my pruners which has been good, it is a Japanese steel blade. Will see if it’s any good.


I use an Opinel based on what someone here said about it. Works pretty good. I could use more hand-eye coordination though.


I will be T-Bud grafting. 2 flinging dragon rootstocks with New Zealand lemonade and 2 aproach grafts of Poncirus trifoliata to Meiwa kumquats.


Let us know how that works out in the long run. 440A can be pretty decent if forged and heat treated properly, similar to what Victorinox uses. Unfortunately, it’s pretty often stamped instead of forged (it’s suitable for this process, hence the use in less expensive items) and not hardened properly. This gives the unfortunate combination of hard to sharpen and poor edge retention. Poorly heat treated 440A is is one of the steels that gives stainless a bad name.

My approach to not losing things is to buy nicer quality. That way, I tend to be paranoid about losing them. For example, I used to lose sunglasses all the time until I finally bought a high quality pair. Haven’t lost a pair since, just run them to failure instead.

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The knife actually came this morning already … I had just finished my first round of grafting and it showed up. I like the shape of it, along with the single bevel it thins toward the edge unlike my Victorinox. Here is a picture that shows it (it’s the end of the knife, I stuck it into something to help the focus). This makes the wedge thinner which I am hoping will make cuts a bit smoother.