During the annual Spyderco meets in Amsterdam the Spyderco crew usually holds a few lotteries for knives, T-shirts etc. This year I was lucky to win a knife in one of the lotteries! And extra lucky because I won a Lil’Native with compression lock. I like compact knives! The knives I usually carry have a blade length of between 5cm (2″) and 7,5cm (3″). The Lil’Native fits right in there with its 6,2cm (2,5″) blade length. Also, I had not had a compression lock in years so this was a nice opportunity to play with one again.
The Spyderco Native hans been around since the nineties in different sizes and shapes. There are two things all the Natives have in common: one, they are all hump-less. On a lot of Spyderco knives the opening hole is in a hump on the blade which sticks out above the back of the handle, on the Natives this is not the case. And two, they all have a relatively short edge in relation to the handle which features a forward finger choil. This means you can get a full grip on the handle and put your thump on the back of the blade for control and power while cutting.
The Lil’Native is the latest Native model as well as the smallest. Besides the version with the compression lock that I have there are plans for this same design with a mid-lock and as a slip joint. That last one will be a welcome addition to the Spyderco line-up for people in countries with more restrictive knife laws.
After returning home from the Meet I put s little Nano oil on the pivot and on the detent ball and opened and closed the knife repeatedly to work the oil in and make it (even) smoother. I quickly got used to the compression lock and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to manipulate and that it did not pinch me. This had been something I had experienced with early compression locks knives but clearly Spyderco’s engineers had improved the lock since then. CQI (constant quality improvement) in action!
Spyderco had done an excellent job with the factory sharpening. It easily push cut receipt paper! After a light sanding of the handle to make it smoother and little bending of the clip so it would go in and out of the pocket easier, it was ready for edc.
After a few day I decided to thin the edge a little and sharpen it. Not that the factory edge needed it, but I knew I could get is sharper and improve the cutting ability even more by taking it to the hone. Beside, it feels like putting your edge on a blade makes it more your own.
I thinned out and straightened the edge with my old extra coarse DMT bench hone. I refined and finished it on the diamond side of my Fallkniven DC4 until it could split a free standing head heir. This went of without any drama. The diamond hones cut the steel easily, and removing the burr represented no challenge. This suggest to me that the edge was not damaged during production or factory sharpening and that it was in good condition.. Well done Spyderco! Back in the pocked it went!
After having carried it for another week the Lil’Native had become smoother, I could flick it open with my thump and with my middle finger. I cut a number of cardboard boxes and this caused a little bit of edge roll in front of the ricasso. Two light strokes per side on the Fallkniven DC4 got rid of it and made the blade sharp again.
All in all the Lil’Native has turned out to be a well made, practical, capable, and enjoyable compact folder. Well done Spyderco!
Thanks to JD (Dinkmaker) I was able to read some of the very first knives review written on the Internet in the mid 90’s. More than twenty years ago, no digital camera but my video equipment and so freeze frames in low res.
The Native review has been the first one we had written with Fred. I had asked him which knife he would have liked to review and he had produced a black FRN Native he just have get from a blade show in the US. So we had started the chat and I had typed. We had good time laughing and bitching about so called knives gurus. Back then the Internet was starting to boost a lot of egos from many knifemakers able to steal ideas from other and promote them fast thanks to the web. It was also the time of the first forums and the first internet knives retailers. It was before amazon too.
So here is the very very first review we ever had put on line on the old geocities site (2292). My idea was to depart from general reviews and capture Fred’s ways to express himself. I asked a lot of questions and asked him for stories and jokes. It was already my main editor angle: stories not description.
You can notice we were also talking about going in airports with short folders in our pockets and even we were featuring self defense as a possible use. It was a pre millenium and pre 911 time… Well it was another time long before any social network.
But hey we were using animated GIF for some effects like nowadays kids ! 😉
BLAST FROM THE PAST: SPYDERCO’S NATIVE
By Fred PERRIN
Master At Arm and Knifemaker directed by NEMO
These last 10 years I have used and tested (some would say abused) a lot of their models, for the simple purpose of writing reviews in many french magazines.
But for my personal use, I have carried and used :
Each time I have enjoy them a lot ! For example, I carry the ladybug for years. It’s my travel knife (you know airport controls…). It’s a perfect utilitarian you can have on your key ring. It’s also a good little weapon! Opened, I grasp it between the two first fingers, à la Wolferine’s claws but this is another story. Another example, my wife carries a Cricket since the 1994 Paris Knife show. (This little knife is also a really good folding weapon.)
Back to the Native. I have bought it at the NY Knife show for $40.00 which makes it one of the first price in the Spyderco collection.
But why did I bought the Native ? I am a knifemaker after all… When I need a knife mostly I build it ;-). First his name appeals me. « Native », for an European, this word is synonym of Indian, Sitting Bull and Geronimo… and I consider myself and my Gang as real Indians.
I immediatly begin to like this light knife because of it’s middle size, easy to carry and discreet (4 inches closed and 7 inches opened).
The blade is a spear point with a really wide back edge offering a tredememous thrusting ability. The Hole is made “inside” the blade (at the opposite to the rescue for example), making a beautiful profile. The thumb is resting on the grooves on the back of the blade. No risks slipping at all . Out of the box, the Native is really hair popping sharp. My personnal test ? Remember the NY knife show with the cigarette paper ? I take the cigarette paper fold it for it to stand alone and i cut it in two ! I have used the Native in the kitchen, and for light chores. Resharpning is really easy and it gets really sharp again.
The handle is Zytel. I personnaly really the Web style engraved in the handle. and the access to the blade hole is really easy. I like the improvment made by Spyderco on their clip lately. The metal clip on the back of the handle is removable for lefties and easy to be adapted to be clipped on a coat pocket for winter days.
Now when the blade is deployed: The blade and the handle create to curves for the two first fingers. Dexter Ewing in his review got the right words to describe it. Anyway, it works great for thrusts and pulls ! Also the blade (if the lock would failed) won’t cut your fingers because the blade is blocked by the index finger.
I like to have the butt of the handle fits the inside of the palm. the handle is rounded at the end and fits confortable for pushing the blade. The lock placed in the middle of the handle is on the right place to close it with one hand.
I could really use the Native as my main defense tool. It’s a matter of trust in your tool and it comes from my own personal POV on using blade to defend yourself. Because as you know the only folding knife I consider as real fighting folder is the butterfly knife or balisong., consider this as a personal compliment for the Native. I have use the Native against a compact cardboard pack. (three inches cubic) Where I can thrust and slash to test my knives.
The lock is strong and the feel is great (hammer or Icepick) One of my favorite test… I throw the knife! Yes it was not design for that. But … this is my test. But it’s a less than a meter range throw. What I do is:
Speed draw, gravity opening and throw ! (Please don’t try it at home.) This is hard test especially for the lock of the blade. The Native passes it with full success. Good balance and sturdy construction.
For its relative low price the Native offers the excellence of a true little fighter and a great utility blade. I really like it . I also like his name !
Very good knife.
Twenty years ago they were no digital caméra and I used my video caméra and extract one frame. Hey, this is Fred, in 1998 and this is a review kept in JD archives when it was first displayed on Geocities, a true blast of the past ! More to come soon… 😉
The other pictures are taken from the Sharpfinger PITS comparaison review.
So let’s see that old review and tone we use to employ back then:
SHARPFINGER and WOLFERINE
152OT 152UH by Fred Perrin (and Nemo)
An extension of your finger that was good
for skinning large squirrels and small elephants”
If the definition of a knife is a sharp piece of steel and an handle, these both models are pure knives.
I mean its a simple concept but simple ideas are the “highest” ideas.
Created in 1974 by Mr. Henry Baer, to be a skinner, this knife is now a Classic amongst the Classics. (what will be in 25 years all these tactical models of today ?).
But who cares about a $30.00 knife ($19.95 at Walmart…)?
The main difference between both models is:
The Sharpfinger is 1095 Carbon Steel and the Wolferine is Schrade Plus (440A stainless steel).
The 3.5″ is curved like a bear claw with sharpened back (the back of the claw not of the bear !)
This is unique design has been used by many other brand factory.
The handle is bowed and the ricasso forms a finger stop and prevents the hand to slip on the blade.
On the back of the blade there is a place for the thumb.
The handle is thin on the side of the blade and thick at the butt: the grip is secured and confortable.
The great control of the blade makes the 152’s an real extension of your hand. Like a sharp finger in fact.
The handle is made of plastic. It’s very confortable for hard uses.
There is a lanyard hole. And that’s an important detail !
The shape of the blade is really polyvalent and not striclky confine in capping and skinning purposes.
You can eat with it, cook with it, work on wood, clean fish etc etc…
The blade is flat grounded on both sides for a better resistance and incredible polyvalence.
To resharp the blade is really a piece of cake with both steels. Dulling the blade is not so easy as the blade got an excellent edge holding.
As far as we are concern, we really appreciate that knife because it’s a utilitary knife and the all around fixed blade archetype.
In his book ” Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles”, Marc “Animal” Macyoung shows his Sharpfinger as his utility knife and main self defense blade.
You can be shocked by this concept but it’s true.
It’s a small knife with gutts but let’s be clear, Marc and my friends strongest cuts are made in Pizzas or Quiche ! We don’t remove sentries everyday and we try to avoid gang war.
But anyway for a low price you got a low profile self defense and utility blade.
Light sharp with good balance, this is all about.
Back In 1974, they was no tactical fashion. The prime design of the Sharpfinger was surely not self defense but as a very well made tool, you can turn it as a very well made weapon.
For example the Machette is made as an agricultural tool but in a lot of countries it is the poorman sword.
There is no shame as turning a good utility knife into a good self defense knife.
Compared to all the “tactical” knives hype around, it’s strange why the152 and many classical designs are ignored by TK afficionados. Cheap doesn’t mean crap.
(Imagine a 152 with g-10 handle and kydex sheath, and with its blade bead blasted…enough tactical for you ?)
Don’t forget the “tactical knife” is the knife you got in your hand and the right moment…
Marc said to us:
“Be warned, the purist get real unnerved when you use a “fighting knife” as a tool. I beat the hell out of my knives. They look at them and say (in horrified tones) “What have you been doing with this knife ?”
That’s why bladesmiths consider me such a savage.
I got over that the day that I climbed a cliff and halfway up I discovered it turned to shale. I ended up hacking new hands holds with my knife and moving up a foot at a time. I don’t care how much that knife cost, it was either ruin it or fall.
The Schrade 152 is one of the few knives I haven’t been able to break despite seriously abusing it.”
Judicious Marc Macyoung. His books are a kind of “checkpoint” for anyone interested in self defense.
A “must know” .
The sheath of 152 is made of genuine leather. It’s old fashioned but nice “a la” scout.
Great for the price.
By the way, if you lose yourself in the jungle of your supermarket, take a look at that Schrade knives.
You will perharps notice one of that original 152 and perharps, again, you will adopt it. Definitively.
The 152 ?
A Real utility knife.
Fred Perrin & Nemo
This is my first Para 3 and also my first black coated Spyderco blade.
According to Spyderco:
“For tactical end users who are concerned about light discipline or those who just prefer the look of a black blade, the Para 3 is now available with a tough Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. This low-profile coating is permanently bonded to the premium CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade…”
Cool I do really love DLC as it’s really scratch resistant. The primary reason for blade coatings is to reduce the reflective properties of the steel. Shiny things draw the wrong kind of attention and in a military environment, can tend to get people shot. However, like anything else intended to be used in a military environment, coated blades are not immune to wearing off but DLC is really strong.
I also specifically love DLC for adding corrosion resistance. The area which normally rusts on an EDC is in the pivot area. No worries about that with a DLC coated blade!
The new Golden Co. factory is bringing some of the best quality in manufacturing to date. My Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that rise in quality on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control – if not better. So kuddos Colorado! Also Eric told us during the last Minimeet that they have just hired two new engineers who will make a real difference. Spyderco has developed a speed training of their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry.
Like the Paramillie 2 was a son of the Millie, the Para 3 is really Millie’s grandson. Same “cockpit”, stout hardchore 3 inches blade, smooth Compression Lock.
My all black version is very discreet and the the short blade makes it even less threatening. A black “commando” feel on such a short folder is almost like an tribute to military blades. On a short knife like this baby millie the “cute” factor is very strong.
My hand fits perfectly on that handle. That infact was a big question mark prior to holding the Para 3. You feel this short version of the Millie is ready for any task.
The DLC coating is absolutely stunning. I have sanded the G10 and put a great deal of care so to not scratch the steel hardware.
Here after some plastic cutting which scratched some of my other blades, there were no marks on the diamond hard coating. Let see how it will age.
At first I had mounted the clip for tip down carry (left pic) and experienced great spyderdrops. The Para3 is so smooth in its action, a middle finger is sufficient for opening.
As I got the opportunity to get a titanium clip from Massdrop (right pic), after transformation it’s now a tip up solution and a middle finger opening work best for me. After all, a black knife, even of that size, needs to be as discreet as possible.
Some thinning of the edge, from DC4 diamonds to white ceramic until leather stropping.
It worked great as I was not able to scratch the DLC coating.
I got much better performances on pushcuts into the thick plastic of this coke bottle butt.
Of course, I had soon christianized the knife with a fumble… Drawing blood means luck.
edited by Pascal – 14 march 2018.
Again this year, eighty guests were lucky enough to gather at Hotel Mercure near Amsterdam Airport for a day of presentation and exchange with Spyderco. Eric Glesser and Joyce Laituri came from Golden and made a stop over before going to IWA next week.
Again it was the opportunity to get direct access to Eric and his prototypes and “next in production” (before June !) galore but also the chance to meet friends from all over the world (a new designer Aleister Phillips came from Australia ! He was actually in France since February taking care of a WWI memorial for the Australian soldiers.)
Aleister Phillips Instagram picture.
And his “Redback” custom folder with licensed spyderhole.
Again pictures were forbidden but soon 18 knives (from the 100 shown) will be displayed on Spydercollector website exclusively. Wouter was one of the “Old Timers” who has been attending the last 14 meets like my friend JD who also wrote in this columns.
The master of ceremony was Jur who always give good vibes and jokes.
Spyderco changed the rules this year: no more passing of the prototypes in all hands.
Instead Eric presented all the knives, from concepts to almost in production. Many designers were featured; Paul Alexander and Ed Schempp come of course to my mind as they are my favorites. Some designers were present like Tom Zoomer who was not very confortable with some questions I had, hum, asked about batonning and sharpening his bushcraft knife…
That was also the chance for new designers to defend their concept and explain to Eric what they can bring to the knife world.
So eventually, we left our chairs early to gather around tables where Ted had displayed all the knives. It was time for intense exchange and card writing.
Also we were gently asked to fill some cards showing our remarks about every prototype numbered and displayed. It was a chance for Spyderco to have written feedback about what we loved or hated. I think our favorites knives were the Wolf Mouse by Gareth Bull of SA and the Unnamed Redback from our Australian mate.
Picture of the Custom original Wolf Mouse. Found on the Bull pictures.
Imagine the same with a hole in the blade. 😉
Oh! we were given pens to write on the cards. Also the day was rythmed by a loto game with knives and goodies to win – even more surprises involving plastic spiders and other gifts. JD won a wonderful Lil’Native and soon we will have his review !
I have noticed in the past years how the new Golden factory is bringing some of the best quality in knife manufacturing to date. For example my new Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that raise in quality of execution on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control if not better. So kuddos Colorado ! Also Eric told us that they have just hired two new engineers there who will “make a real difference”. He told us that Spyderco is also training their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry. So there is a Spyderco Engineering School there.
In conclusion, one last thing to outline: this Minimeet was a Compression Lock festival. It looks like Spyderco will be using more and more one of their successful “in-house” locks for many models to come. It’s true, Compression Locks are extremely solid and smooth but they also are challenging in terms of placing the flipper on a blade for example but like the Spyderhole, they are a Spyderco trademark.
A lonely Eric and an empty table.
Oh and BTW Joyce showed us how to wear a Cricket the fashionable way.
My Spyderco PITS is like a folding Schrade Sharpfinger to me.
I always loved the Sharpfinger. I got the hint of it thanks to Marc McYoung. Marc got a very nice writing style and I always enjoyed his Paladin Press (RIP) books. There instead of trusting a folder, he was using a Sharpfinger with a very nice leather pouch I could find on the model. I even guess the guys who sold it to him did not bring him the right scabbard as I have since found some drop point Schrade with that simple deep leather scabbard.
Anyway back in th e90’s I loved the idea to carry a fixed blade as EDC. It was before 9/11, before terrorisms knives attacks… Bushcrafting gave me the opportunity to carry a fixed blade in my pocket but the Sharpfinger dream was over.
Back in the 90’s, Fred Perrin had reground mine to a thinner edge and I had offered it to a American friend visiting us. I had got the Uncle Henry Wolverine version in 440A when the Old Timer version in 1095 high carbon steel. This design is almost a Klingon steak knife, it’s great in use.
As the original Sharpfinger was always on my mind, soon I had decided to find again a genuine one (not made in China) and this is the one pictured.
“A lot of people I ride with carry that knife. I actually prefer fixed blades — like the Sharpfinger — to a folded blade. Although I carry a folded blade too, with a fixed blade you don’t have to reach inside your pocket. It’s always handy, on your belt when you need it. I use my Sharpfinger as a tool. I do everything with it. I like knives with sharp points. You never know when you might want to pop a balloon or peel a banana.” to quote Sonny Barger.
I really like how the PITS look and feel like a Sharpfinger ! Also I do love how the N690Co steel heat treated by Maniago get a hungry and biting edge on the long run. Like on the Schrade the pitch of the steel is high, giving the feeling of a hard high performance alloy. The way the integral guard work is similar on both design.
If you like motorcycle gangs, this book is for you. “Five stars for Five heartbeats. Excellent read, fast as well, couldn’t put it down. I’m a bit partial due to the fact that my band Glass Heroes had several songs on the soundtrack of the movie and were one of the performers that played our songs for Sonny and HA at bikeweek a few years ago. The ending was brutal and justice was served street style. Totally enjoyed it and was a refreshing read. I dug the Chapters names even. Well done.”
From Good Read.
Here is the link to our first review of the Sharpfinger with Fred Perrin.
Following the arrival of the PITS, the daily testing has come quite quickly as it hasn’t left my pocket still so there have been a bunch of opportunities to put it in play.
The first thing I noticed was the action required to open the folder which is much harder than for any compression locks. This is something to keep in mind as you won’t be opening it quicky; the Urban for example is faster to open.
This resistance is also a proof of how sturdy the spring and the design are.
The second thing I had noticed was how quickly the blue handle was subjet to getting scratched.
So, I was obliged to put my mind at rest by simply sanding the handle…
I just used a 600 grind sandpaper and the result kept the blue inside the holes and inside the mechanism, like a well worn denim jacket… The scratches are easy to keep at bay and the blue aura and reflections are beautiful.
Another thing which I had noticed: there is one very hot spot…. The horn on the talon of the blade can bite you ! It happen once when I was sanding; a sharp and neat cut!
After some convexing of the blade’s bevel, I was able to improve the geometry and cut really easily through plastic bottles which are everyday processed before recycling.
This is also a knife I wanted to compare with my faithful Urban.
My Urban has got a hightech tool steel blade and a customized Cuscadi carbon fiber handle. I can carry it in my watch pocket. The PITS cannot go there but it provides a much stronger mechanism and a longer blade which makes it a real all terrain folder when the Urban is really limited to the city sleakers.
So far, and that’s not surprising, the N190co steel blade has been kept as a razor using some white ceramic and leather stropping. The PITS unique mechanism makes it great to strop on leather as the blade cannot easily fold on your fingers when the Urban softer mechanism asks for a lot more attention.
The PITS is really easy to live with. The steel keeps an excellent edge with no chipping or rolling and is easy to touch up. The bad weather these days makes it outside wet and cold but the titanium handle conveys a warm touch and the grip is secure. Currently I make it team up with the big bad Real Steel D2 bushcraft folder and both seems to go very well together.
Those are the two extreme among the folding cutlery bow.
Oh and just for the pleasure, you can also play the comparaison game with the Spydiechef !
lasted edited by Pascal Jaffré on 25 jan 2018
“I am the Pie in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind…”
This knife used to have the MSRP of a small Sebenza but as it’s been discontinuited I got the chance to buy one at a fraction of its original price. And really, I’m glad to be a later adopter of that wonderful and unique attempt to make a hardchore non locking knife.
The PITS is the acronym of Pie In The Sky. It’s a folder based on Mike Read’s knives. He is a knifemaker in the UK. So, this knife has been specifically designed for EDC in the United Kingdom. In brief, her Majesty’s laws say you can carry any knife if you have a “good reason”, but just in cases there isn’t a good reason you can still carry a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches without a lock. The UK designed small Wolfspyder with it compression lock is not UK law friendly but the Urban is ! Also the slipjoint Manly Comrade won’t because of its longer blade… but the PITS will !
This knife is an eye candy. It has a powerful full-flat ground N690Co steel clip point blade and a stunning precision-machined skeletonized blue anodized titanium handle that aids in providing a very positive texture for grip.
The handle features integral split spring arms to form the knife’s unique slip-joint mechanism. Titanium has got that elasticity that Chris Reeve was one of the first to explore for his Integral Locks. Here you have another variation of the use of that incredible metal here used as a strong spring.
The very good thing I will repeat again and again is that Mike Read has designed this knife to be a tough, hard-use folder and, yes, this is not easy and also this is a good thing.
Not many non-locking knives are destined to be used hard. The Manly Comrade is an exception for example… but here, the PITS is really shining in another department: in the one hand opening and closing realm (making it illegal in Danemark too BTW) . There are no mid steps like on the Comrade as the action is smooth until the blade is fully opened or closed – making even Spyderdrops possible !
Then you got the choice to apply your thumb on the bar and it’s cleverly secure. Zero play in any direction. Also there a quillon after the choil where your index can rest; meaning, held in the proper manner, the blade cannot close on your precious finger.
Something you ask to a hard working tool is the ease of cleaning. The handle is fully open by construction and thanks to the holes in the titanium slap, it’s very easy to clean and rinse your blade – also there is a lanyard hole !
N690Co, heat treated (certainly with cryo) in Maniago, is a just a great steel for an EDC. I always considered it as some kind of European VG10. It can get back to razor sharpness very easily and it stays sharp long enough between touches up. It’s not brittle and I got the same sense of all-terrain steel (like VG10 on Fallkniven knives) as when I had done hard testing of other fixed blades made in Maniago. N690co is very stainless. It’s the kind of steel to use around the kitchen and even close to the sea with no after thought; just rinse it!
Also the geometry on the PITS being very thin and with its belly, the first cuts in wood were really deep. The blade did not move/unlock even when stuck in the wood fibers. So this is a very secure non-locking knife. Immediately, you bond with it and want to use it.
The handle is generous even in reverse grip and it fits in the hand very well for such a small knife. This is in hammer grip a four fingers knife, which is welcome for hard cuts.
I have found it very confortable with zero hotspots when held tight.
Also the full titanium handle gives a near to perfect balance. The PITS is light and fast in the hand, it is alive. To close the blade it’s better to push the spine with the thumb as the notch is not easy to pass.
The PITS Folder includes Spyderco’s best clip: the deep carry wire clip for reversible tip-up carry. It almost disappears in my pocket.
SO here we have got a non threatening tool, with a beautiful blue handle. It cannot make non knives people unconfortable at all. Also titanium being not easily detected by metal detectors, the PITS should not make them beep easily…. No, I mean you can cut live wire with as titanium does not conduct electricity… oh well, I only have bad recommandations tonight.
So here we have got the Pie In The Sky, a knife which is going to kick my Urban out of my pocket when I go for a walk in the city. It’s very pleasant to have a tool engineered to be a user. Next step is to remove the sharp edges on the blade spine and give a little convexed edge to this baby…
More to come soon.
“…I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that I can read your mind, I can read your mind …”
The Alan Parson’s Project lyrics is an idea from our editor: Pascal. 🙂
last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 24 jan 2018.
What strikes first when you hold the Comrade is its thickness and weight.
This 9 cm blade non-locking slipjoint folder is massive; once open, see how its beautiful classical lines are gentle to the eye.
I have chosen the CPM S90V version with a camo G10 theme. As this non locking knife, it deserves some virility. It’s a a slipjoint with a very strong attitude. The kind of knife our grandfather would have loved. The notch in the blade is like a reminiscence of my childhood…
Also it is such a pleasure to have a non-locking traditional knife with a CPM420V AKA CPM S90V blade.
As you can notice the blade is perfectly centered !
And it comes with a clip which is unfortunately not a need carry clip.
Surprisingly it is much more beefy and thick handled than its grand brother the Peak.
The Peak has got hidden recessed liners whereas the Comrade has got a more simple layered construction. It gives a real confort as the square handle fits the palm of your hand.
There are three steps before to open it completly. The last one is the harder to pass giving a very secure feel in the non locking open position. This is really a knife to open with two hands. Once open the choil forms almost a quillon where the index goes to secure it.
Like on a locking Spydie Millie, this is a system found first in boot knives. The force applied during the cut goes directly to the blade.
I have sanded mine to my taste and for that I removed the clip.
No doubt we got here a hardchore workhorse non-locking folder with enough blade for many tasks and a steel which is hard to beat in term of edge holding.
Its clip makes it easy to carry. The edge is thin like on the Peak and it’s going to be a great knife to go around places where locking knives are forbidden.
Also after watching the video of BlackforestGhost here, I think batonning with a slipjoint non locking knife is less stressful for the tool as there is nob lock to take the impact. The slipjoint is a spring ! So no lock failure possible. 😉 “I bend and do not break…” from the Oak and the Reed from Jean de la fontaine.
I really love that Bulgarian Comrade which is the only industrial S90V slipjoint I know so far. Manly, please do a 3 inches version and a one hand open version !! 🙂
More to come soon.
edited by Pascal Jaffré on 17 jan 2018
I have been dreaming about that kind of folder for quite a long time. Something heavy, strong with a rounded handle to take in the forest and built some shelter.
RealSteel Knives, a Chinese company, may have heard my prayer as they are producing a Bushcraft Folder in two versions: with and without the one hand opening option provided with two studs.
180 grams of a very well balanced 90mm blade length beefy companion.
My first experience with Real Steel was the beautiful Megalodon which has had review here. Its main flaw was the awful clip and you know what ? The Bushcraft Folder has no clip but a beautiful textured G10 handle. Also the red liners are a very nice touch bringing a real touch of class. The blade is perfectly centered; the action is smooth; the action Southpaw friendly…
So let’s have a look:
The blade is made of D2. This air hardening classical steel is not my favorite but some of my friends and co-writers like JD do have an excellent opinion about it. As a reminder let’s not forget D2 has 13% chrome steel which can stain and can be a bear to get sharp. RealSteel seems to have bought tons of D2 as their production of fixed blades is mainly using that alloy. The HRC is 58-60 which is not the hardest heat treatment for that steel but it seems appropriate for a knife destined to resharpen in the field. Oh and this is a true scandi: no secondary bevel on that baby ! You can put it flat on some stone and you should be able to keep it like a razor !
The lock is a thick Michael Walker’s liner lock and it reminds me of the one on Spyderco Gayle Bradley; thick liners locks are easy and confortable to use. Here the steel liners are heavily skeletonized to reduce weight and keep a great balance.
Don’t forget: batoning with a folder is not a good idea with the lock engaged. Let’s say it’s not a good idea, period. Some chores are better kept for the uses of thick fixed blades. But the RealSteel BF can easy drill in wood and be twisted while cutting: there is no movement, no play; everything is very well adjusted. So this is a very serious outdoor knife. The spine of the blade is sharp, certainly for striking a rod and lighting fire. I will soon round mine, as I prefer to have a confortable ramp to push with my thumb during woodworking. The handle does not have a fully open construction; there is a G10 spacer in the butt along with a lanyard hole. It looks really easy to rinse and keep clean.
The G10 has got a very nice texture: not harsh. You can notice it on the picture. Also there is no hot spot on that handle so you can hold it really tight; it’s almost like a fixed blade. The linerlock is recessed and you can not disengage it by holding tight the handle. Just be careful and always remember: regardless how strong a folder is, it will never be as strong as fixed blade. Use it with respect and care; should the lock fail, there is no choil to protect your precious fingers!
This the heaviest folding blade in a 4 inches folder I have ever owned!
You certainly can put that 3,5mm thick blade in good use. Especially as the scandi is very keen and easy to keep ultra sharp – as much as you don’t create a bevel.
Even though the studs do not get in the way when sharpening, it should be easy to remove them with a flat screwdriver if you want a pure two hands opener.
A first test on dry wood shows I have got a very serious contender; the blade cuts deep and makes as good chips as my Casstrom (Scandi type blades give you a lot of control when cutting wood). This is always such a pleasure to use them. Also the solid tip is great to drill and open crates without fear of breaking it.
The pouch which is provided with that big heavy workhorse is well made, but I will certainly carry it vertically in my front pocket against my leather wallet. I have tried that before going for a one hour walk and the knife did not move.
The knife snuggles perfectly inside the pouch you can pass in a belt.
In my opinion a nice cocoon to transport the knife in a coat pocket or in a bag, featuring its toolish function in opposition to all those fast draw tactical response tools always regarded as weapon and also marketed as “tactical” knives, conveys a comforting message.
My wonderful Wolfspyder is dwarfed by the heavy RealSteel folder which’s size is very close to any classical bushcraft fixed blade. You feel you can easily use it for light chopping, for finishing off a cut. Again, impacts are not folding knives’ best friends, but the momentum of that heavy blade could be used for light chopping in wood, like trimming branches in one whip of the wrist.
This is a mean blade perfectly centered beware parallax illusion in this photography.
And the handle is even thicker than the fixed blade.
Of course the main limitation of a folder is the blade length which cannot exceed the handle length (except for some hunting daggers).
So what have we got in the end ? An heavy, solid, easy to keep sharp bushcraft tool.
OK. But for what price ? Mine was bought for less than 60 euros ! This is great for a knife destined to be used a lot and not kept in a safe.
In my opinion, this is a very solid bargain for a very serious wood companion.
“Made in China” tools are getting better and better in terms of quality, prices are competitive and don’t forget…. your Iphone X are also made in China. Here you have got a Chinese Viking Folding Knife, which is great !!
More to come soon !
last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 17 jan 2018.