Here comes the Edge of Iron

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“Grinch” is testing his Spyderco Dragonfly in Super Blue Steel

Enjoy the power of that little big knife !

Spyderco C41CFP5 – CPM110V and Carbon FIber handle Sprint Run

Native 5 SPrint Run CPM110V

Exactly three years ago, on 1st october 2011, I had received my Native 5. You can still read how ecstatic I was toward that great ocket knife: solid, ergonomic, easy to carry in the pocket watch. I was especially amazed by the strong lock back with zero blade play and the new easy to polish on leather S35V steel.
Three years later, the Native 5 is getting a spectacular emotionnaly overloading Sprint Run: CPM110V blade and Carbon fiber handles. In 2012 (or 13) the Spyderco Forum knives was also a CPM110V Native but with a green diamond G10 handle.
This time some grammes are outed as Carbon Fiber is lighter than G10.
Mine is as flawless as my first Native. The blade action is smooth as ever and I can generate any play vertical or horizontal. The grind is a little thicker compared to my S35V version but not a big deal as the knife came as a razor.
Again I have installed a Delica 4 blacked clip for low profile, as I carry the knife tip up in my pocket watch.
CPM110V is a great steel that I was not able to really dull yet on my Dark Blue Manix 2. That steel seems to be fresh up easily with a dozen of pass on a white ceramic.
I’m very happy to continue the testing on one of my favorite plateforme: the Native 5 ! Again Spyderco is a figure of pionneer giving the chance to use the best high tech metallurgy on their best refined design.
More soon…. So stay tuned.


The Pink, the Sprint Run, The S35V and the Dark Blue Manix 2.


The Carbon fiber is on the right.


Yin and Yang…

SPYDERCO C06TI TUSK – PASCAL JAFFRE’S REVIEW “INSPIRATIONAL BLADE”

Once in a while I invite some friends to write reviews about knives. Pascal Jaffre is a passionate of classical music, shooting and computing with a lot of cultural background, he’s also a skipper. So, he was the right person to review the

“Inspirational blade”


A Spyderco Tusk Review

« Try Spyderco’s Tusk folding knife and tell me what you think about it! » were captain Nemo’s words one evening at the shooting club in Asnières (town’s name comes from “ane” = donkey). No donkey hunting for Tusk as the quadrupeds long left the patches where they used to graze and rest from barge tugging against the Seine’s current. On the contrary, Tusk’s tasks have been diverse and peaceful; in turn it has proven to me as a great inspirational source!

If I were a castle, which one would I be? Marlinspike Hall of course and Tintin would have been better equipped against the “l’Oiseau brothers” with me in his pocket.


Could I have influenced world famous composers like Mozart and Wagner? Maybe I have… take a close look!


Given that folded, my shape resembles that of a drop of water, had I been a musical note, which one would I have been? “A flat” of course which is Chopin’s “drop of water” in the famous Prelude N°15 – Prelude à la goutte d’eau!


Transposed to music this picture does not sound as harmonious as it looks: A-flat and G (Tusk and la sole – not Schubert’s trout)! The fish was delicious and it was a pleasure to eat “a flat” fish with a G-em.


More seriously let me show how sharp the blade is. Even trickier than the tomato test: the rotten pineapple test! Hard on the outside and soft (much too soft) in the inside. However Tusk did the job perfectly and my trash can got the pinapple – less the first bite.


Let’s finish off the food test with a panel of some other tricky things to cut. The sausage (saucisson): very thin slices. The avocado hard skin and yet ripe inside not crushed and perfect cut. The well cooked French bread – I was really impressed how a blade without dents cut the crust. To finish 2 types of Comté cheese (24 and 32 month aged) from the Jura region. The most difficult cheese to cut out of the 2 is the eldest because less moist and having a tendency of breaking: Tusk cuts the cheese at ease!


Birds of a feather? No, not feather but leather – courageous Tusk about to beat the baby crocodile and the result is below! Well done Tusk!


Good hunt!

Tusk also participated in the assembly of C 4.8 my French catamaran built in the early 80’s.

The result I’d say is contrasted in the sense that in my case the marlinspike was preventing from using the shackle key. This is due to the small volumes in which the tool needs to evolve. Had the shackles been oriented with a 90 degree rotation, that limitation would not have appeared.
Here is a demonstration of how the marlinspike limits the rotation: blocked at one point by the top of the hull. Obviously shackle keys that have an outer curve add further difficulty so it’s important that the tool be as thin as possible.

Another similar situation when installing the shackle key that holds the stays, forestay and shrouds to the mast. Again unfortunately the length of the marlinspike hinders the ability to rotate by a wide angle. However what I found really comfortable is Tusk’s ability to deliver power when working with the shackle key; this is due to its length combined with its overall robustness.

So to summarize a long strong tail does not necessarily get to go everywhere! That said, as during the assembly of C 4.8, wind was blowing up to 33 knots the marlinspike eventually had a good effect after putting it in the wind because in the evening we were down by some… knots!

Tusk ne manque pas d’air!
Tusk has been a great knife to test: discrete in the pocket, a beautiful gem that fuels imagination and a strong working tool. I’ll have to test against larger boat!

(Text and Photo Pascal Jaffre.)

Tusk !

Pascal Jaffre

JD’S SPYDERCO LADYBUG IN SUPER BLUE STEEL LGYP3E

JD LADYBUG
 

Thanks to my friend Nemo I have had a chance to check out the Spyderco C(SB) steel with a full flat grind(ffg). This is my first ffg Ladybug and my first experience of Super Blue steel. Let me tell you what I found!


I have had a Ladybug before. The VG10 model with the saber grind.I did not like how it cut, for my taste it was far to thick at the edge and the back. I ground the bevels flat so now it has a singe bevel grind. It cut much better but I did not use it much.

The day I brought the Ladybug SB in to service I put a fob on it, Spyderco Jur style, to give me a little extra to hold on to. I oiled the joint with a little Nano Oil. The mid-lock was smooth and easy to operate. There was just a little vertical blade play. Which is not uncommon on mid-locks and back-locks. My older Ladybug was the same in that regard.

I then sharpened it, as the edge was only cutting note book paper roughly. At the same time I lowered the edge angle. When I sharpened the back the of blade, the part above the Spyderco hole, was about 1mm above the hone. This gave me a final edge that was just below 10dps(degrees per side) blended into the main bevel.

My idea is that a knife this small should cut with very little resistence. You are not going to put much force on the blade as the handle is to small for that. So, thin and sharp is the way to go! Grinding the whole blade flat on the stone would make it cut even better but is just to much work for me.

I cut a little cardboard just so see how well it would cut, how the edge would respond, and how the handle would feel in the hand. The blade cut well with little resistance but the edge had collapsed. After de-stressing the edge (lightly cutting in to a stone to remove the damaged steel) and resharpening it I cut some more cardboard. The edge seemed to be stable but more cardboard cutting revealed a small section had collapsed again. It took a few times de-stressing and resharpening to stabilize also this part of the edge. It has been my experience that often a knife need to be sharpened a few times before you see its full potential.

These sharpening sessions gave me the opportunity to use different hones to sharpen the blade. And I must say: this is a very nice steel to sharpen! No matter the hone. I sharpened with diamonds, a Norton fine India hone, and different ceramics. After de-stressing it could be apexed quickly with hardly any burrs forming. The burrs that did form could be removed with just a few light, high angle, passes into the stone. It was not just easy to sharpen, but easily took very sharp, hungry, edge! :-)

The handle is large enough for me to get a two and a halve finger grip. During the cutting task I used the knife for, I found the handle to give me a good grip and precise control of the edge. I did find the handle small and fiddly for opening the knife with the thump in the Spyderco hole. So, usually I opened the knife in a different way.

The last few weeks I cut medium size apples, cardboard, I opened mail, cut open and removed the seed from and avocado, trimmed a nail here and there, and cut plastic food packaging. The knife handled all these task without much of a fuss, though the apple was at the limit of its abilities due to the length of the edge and the size of apple. Some of these task would have been easier or faster done with a larger knife, but you do not alway have that option. In those cases it is nice to know that this, slightly modified, ffg Ladybug will get the job done. As the saying goes: „I does not have to be big, just sharp!” As for the steel…It takes a great edge! :-)

Text and Photos by JD.

The 100 Bucks WONDER : SPYDERCO MANIX2 DARK BLUE LIGHTWEIGHT 110V ~ C101DBL2

Ok stop the press: here is a 100 dollars folder destined to be a workhorse: everything in this knife means business and the blade is made from CPM S110V !!!
This is Science Fiction. And this is real !

The Manix 2 Dark Blue is NOT a sprint run. This is the lightweight version of the Manix 2 C101G2 as instead of skeleton stainless steel handle with G10 the handle is made a solid tough fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) and features Spyderco’s distinctive Bi-Directional Texturing™ pattern to ensure a secure grip in all environmental conditions…
Meaning: very light, welle balanced, solid, impervious to the elements and easy to clean.
Yes, this very light blue handle gives a very nice balance to the Manix. It’s alive in your hands as I had noticed on the previous lightweight blue transparent handle version: this version is fast and well balanced.
Once clipped inside your pocket you forget it. This is a feather. You can clip it to you shorts with no afterthoughts.

The ball lock is as strong as ever. I’m ever able to open it as fast as an axis lock. Go figure. It opens in one fluid snap and closes in a flash with a gentle pull of the thumb on the encapsuled ball lock.

Four rivets are giving you some great reliability and the blade’s axis got screws on both side.One my friend, who was working in the African rain forest was sensitive to rivet: he knew his knife won’t betrayed him. Screws are getting loose and lost in the big wild Green. For him, rivets were security and reliability. The only noticed screws are on the axis as its tension is adjustable.

So that Manix is a workhorse not a cheap brother of the hardchore folder C101 but an “expedition ready” tool. Knowing that onc you go in the wilderness every ounce you are carrying is important. BTW the C101DBL2 weights only 82 grammes !

Now about the blade: it’s an ultra wear resistant flat-ground CPM-110V blade !!!!
S110V !!!!

This is the best of the best in modern powder technological cutting performances alloys. It’s really stainless, strong and resilient.
Better than S90V. So they say. And it’s available on a 100 dollars knife. (The previous CPM110V SPyderco was the Native 5 Sprint Run with Carbon Fiber handle C41CFP5…). The cutting experience is unique as the End Lin User got access to the most modern alloy at a bargain price. The Ball Lock has also proven to be totally reliable evn on a FRN handle.

Now this kind of cutting edge proposition can be tricky. Not everybody knows how to maintain such speciality steel. For example, IMHO S90V is like chewing gum. It hates to give away its molecules. S110V should be even trickier on stone and ceramic. So diamonds will be its best friends…Oh and compared to S90V which is hardened at 59HRC by Spyderco, CPM110V should be around 62HRC !!
Unless you got to much time on you hands, diamonds should be used b
ut now “real knives” users will get the best steel on a full flat grind drop point blade with a strong lock ?

For example: this folding knife is the dream for any Rain Forest explorer ! It has just killed my folding Izula dreams !! This is the kind of folder that will cut and cut and cut with no need to tough up during the trip far from civilization. S110V is like that. It won’t let you down ! You even won’t plan to resharp it once away from the base. I remember a Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin review in Tactical Knives where they were testing a Military in S60V… The knife was not touch up of all their trip. This is the kind of exprience you will have with CPM110V: its working edge is destined to run for very very long. It should be some kind of Duracell Rabbit experience ! Th edg wil keep cutting cutting and cutting…
1095 will need a touch up for example but not CPM110V.


This is a great news as we end line users we got this HUGE opportunity to drive a Formula One for the price of a FIAT. And I had loved my FIAT… Of course my huge Manix S90V feels now like some kind of Aston Martin of a knife… Because it feels much heavy and here we are talking featherweight. But performance wise it’s not better and for its price I can buy 2 ou 3 CPM110V Manix 2 !!
And after the Serrata (which is also a bargain!) this lightweight Manix2 is bringing the best in the modern cutlery world for a Laguiole price.
Respect to Eric, Sal and th Spydercrew for this very democratic gesture. ;-)

 

Spyderco Serrata – Cast Steel Bush Knife


A beautiful knife with dangerous curves !

The Serrata is a beautiful massive short fixed blade designed by Stuart Ackerman and released by Spyderco and manufactured in Taichung Taiwan.

Holding that knife in your hand is the only way to feel how sexy this tool is.
Sexy is the term. It almost feels like it has been grind in a broken Iron Mistress. So go figure !

This knife got almost a 1 centimeter thick blade. The slabs on the handle look out of proportion. This is massive. But then it is perfectly balanced. The handle sits in your palm with authority and confort. Despite the lack of guard I have never felt like I was going to cut myself.
The leaf-shaped blade is nicely tapered to the point where the Serrata is almost a delicate knife.
Yep almost for such a brutal cast steel beast !

This is not a bushcraft impact edge tool like the Spyderco Bushcrafter or the BRKT Canadian Special, actually the Serrata is a knife for meat and fibrous material processing. Stuart Ackerman even does not advise to use it for batoning as the steel is not “made” for that.
The edges on the blade back are smooth and there is no lanyard hole. So if you want a knife to use hard you should invest in something more shock proof. but I will use it for like chopping as the weight will help it a great deal. The nice belly should bite deep on gentle impact. I will compare it to my Fallkniven A2 which I was able to keep unchipped after a decade of use.

But the Serrata really shines when you need to cut into fibrous materials.

OK let’s put everything in perspective, the Serrata is a solid knife though but it is performance oriented. It would be a perfect companion for a hunter and a cook.
Let’s understand the process to create that knife: it has been “made by casting 440C stainless steel-a process that creates dendritic (“tree-like”) crystalline structures”.
And God this is dangerously sharp! The meat of my thumb can feel that hungry microscopic toothy edge waiting to draw blood.
My Dutch friend JD has provided me some old catalogs from the initiator of Cast 440C: David Boye. He’s famous for posing next to huge pil of 3000 pieces of 1″ hemp rope cut (without resharpening) with his 8 inches knife.

Reading “Dendritic Blades” an excellent article from Michael O’Hollaren published in Knives Illustrated Magazine in Summer 1994 (Page 8,9,40-43, another piece of great information provided by JD!) I have learned that it was a machinist friend of Boye (Don Longuevan) who has suggested him that casting blade might reduce grinding and fabricating time which would be a majo help when it comes on stock removal. The idea became a challenge for Boye. And by 1982 he started to cast his blade with Larry Veenker of Intermoutain Precision Casting on Lindon, Utah. then Boye built a drop hammer to reduce and refine even further the pattern of his 440C cast blades.
According to Boye, at first he “did not realize the carbid crystal structure of cast steel contributed to better edge-holding.” But soon he found that “when edges were prepared identically, the dentritic steel consistently outperformed forged steels used in the testing.”
He found that forging was breaking up and reducing the size of the microscopic carbides in the original ingot. Paradoxically with forged steel the smaller the grain size the sharper the blade can theoretically get but the less “bite” it will have.
The carbyde crytals of the dendritic steel are rooted in the steel matrix hence the long last aggressive edge. They form a fern like network throughout that 56-58 HRC steel matrix.

To cast steel you need to turn it into a liquid state and pour it into a mold. This is a century old technic known in jewelry. So first you create a mold by pouncing a hard knife between two blocks of aluminium with a drop hammer, forming a cavity in the shape of the blade. Then hot wax is shot into that mold and when it cools it is removed as a wax model of the knife. The wax blades are “ganged” together to form a tree which is dipped into porcelain slurries. Between each slurry dip, sand is applied to the wet slurry, each sand dip a little coarser than the previous one. This make the mold stronger, thicker, and able to support the heavy molten steel.
The mold is left to dry three weeks to guaranty there is no moisture left in the porcelain.
Then it’s placed in oven to burn the wax out.
With the wax burned out the hot mold is ready for the molden steel which must be poured when the mold is still red hot !!
As the poured steel cools the carbide crystal network forms through the blade.
The porcelain is broken away and the individual blades are cut from the “tree”, trimmed, annealed and straighten.
Boye stated that this method is more expensive pound-for-pound but it is well worth it in the long run.
Thank you Michael O’Hollaren of Knives Illustrated, my English seems much better when I copy your article. :-)

Anyway, do you remember the film “Conan” and its beginning credits ?

So back to Stuart Eckerman. The man looks like a character from Wilbur Smith’s South African saga: a veteran from the Rhodesian wars and there is some “aura” of high adventure in the design of his knife. Like a call for the hunt…
The Serrata is a knife you should bring in a Safari if you want to process the meat in the field.
now I do not advocate murdering animals just to please the Safari Club, a long shot lens camera is a much better companion than a rifle IMHO but there is something about Hemingway in the Serrata. Something wild.

On hard matters, like dry wood, the Serrata is good, but not as good as a CPM3V thin convexed BRKT Canadian Special or a zero ground Nilakka. But I still got the factory edge on my FB32 and I’m planning to thin it later for a full convex edge.
On the two last pictures of this post you will notice how the wooden chip forms on the Serrata and the BRKT. If had noticed that the grain of the steel changes the texture of wooden chips. The smoother the chip, the finer the grain. Best results were obtain by comparing ATS 34 AFCK with M2HSS AFCK, the second was almost polishing cut wood. (There is a reason why the best wood chisels are made from M2HSS Speedstar).

In the kitchen the Serrata is incredibly good on tomatoes ! This is another great test as tomatoes got a elastic skin over a tender flesh. Cutting tomatoes gives you a lot of information on your edge. The Serrata has a very thin micro serrated edge which cut in vegetable like a dream. And it cuts just with the weight of that massive knife.

I will update that article soon as I need to prepare some rabbit next week.
So stay tune for more experimenting with the Spyderco Serrata.

(Oh and with a steel like that, there is no need to strop it on leather as you want to keep some kind of natural coarse edge.)

Cheese duty for serrata

Spyderco Stretch Super Blue Steel – Hungry Edge Frankenderco

Nemo Spyderco Stretch

- Igor ! And if I could swap the blade from my C90FPGYE with my C90CF ?
– Why, master?
– To obtain a Carbon Fiber handle with a Super Blue Steel blade ? Igor !
– Why ?
– Because I love super blue steel ? igor !
– And not ZDP189 ?
– Yes ZDP189 is a great steel. I have already written a review about it.

– I don’t remember, master…
– Follow that link: http://nemoknivesreview.com/2013/05/26/spyderco-stretch-c90cf-part-iii-edc-of-high-performance/

Anyway, now the handle fits the Super Blue Steel laminated blade of the grey FRN Sprint run without any play.
We got now a new knife to test. So far the edge is hungry like a wolf and some stropping is enough to get it scary sharp. I have no plane (yet) to convex it as the factory edge seems thin enough for my taste.
I was even able to use some black spare screws on the clip.
A gentle patina was obtain by cutting strawberries in a matr of minute and off we go for adevntures…

More to come in coming weeks.

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