This is the first Benchmade’s review for a long time. Why ? Not because of the quality of Les De Asis company’s products but because I was not really excited by their production in the last decade after a huge love with their AFCK back in 90’s, and also with Nimravus and all those blades in M2HS which is a tungsten high speed steel, the granddaddy of CPM M4.
I still got a AFCK in M2HSS and browsing that blog, you will find it here.
So here we go, two words has caught my attention on that new Benchmade: Puukko and CPM3V.
“CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in a high wear-resistance steel. It offers impact resistance greater than A2, D2, Cru-Wear, or CPM M4, approaching the levels provided by S7 and other shock resistant grades. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of a high alloy steel are required.” Source Crucible.
C Mn Si Cr Mo V
0.80 0.30 1.00 7.50 1.30 2.75
To quote my friend Max Wedge:
“3V loses 1/3 of the toughness going from 58hrc to 60 hrc (still 1/3 above A2 at 60 hrc, and A2 is indestructible… almost). Both 4V and Cruware start to shine around 60-62 Hrc… so, 3V for choppers, 4V or Cruware for slicers, Cruware having best corrosion resistance ( trait appreciated by soldiers & foresters)”
So this tough short blade made of chopper steel is at a very good bargain !! Let see what it is all about.
The leather sheath is beautiful even (if there is a loop in the stitching… I will upgrade it into a kydex for pocket carry.) and cleverly designed as a dangler. You can remove the loop to transform it into a classical sheath.
There is a place for sparkling rod in the Bushcraft fashion. I don’t care about carry a knife of that size attached to my belt. I prefer to have it inside my pocket or my bag.
The blade is an eye candy for some reason it reminds me the small SOG Seal Pup knife with no false edge but that’s me… Is this a Puukko ?
That handle is made in some kinf of thermorun… but it is rubberized Santoprene is a soft, non-hygroscopic elastomer which exhibits excellent surface appearance, a durable soft-touch feel, excellent colorability and excellent “processability”… made by Exxon.
It is made from underground forgotten dinosaurs and jurassic biomass aka “petroleum” hence the look of scales on it ? Because that handle looks like some sort of snake or cold blood creature. I love it.
Now is this a scandi ground blade ? Nope. There is a secondary bevel. Is the knife sharp ? Yep, very sharp but could be better. Later/soon on that.
It is a hidden tang construction and you can see the steel in the lanyard hole. This knife is solid as CPM3V is really tough !!
Hidden tang are great when you work in cold weather, protecting your hand from a frozen steel.
That blade is short but handy: it asks to be used hard like… Snake Plissken’s hard actually ! Because 3V is magic in toughness ! 😀
Compared to a Mora or the Urban Hunter (from Pekka Tuominen) the Benchmade 200 stands its ground.
Here are two vision of CPM3V industrial use. Ed Schempp Spyderco Tuff is pure business. So that BM200 should be even tougher as a fixed blade.
Teamed with a Manly Wasp, you got a great combo.
But a puukko (in my book) needs a thinner edge and it is time to scratch that blade to de-shoulder all that. Diamonds do scratches but then scratches will be polished later. Thinner convexed edge is destin to go deep and get twisted; this is a tough steel.
Diamonds, ceramic and leather. Who needs more ? CPM 3V is really like chewing gum you need abrasive medium to form that convex edge.
A some compound with the leather stropping is mandatory to erase those scratches
See ? Now it is convexed and will be smooth on whittling wood. No worry for that edge stability again 3V is perfect for that use.
Standing next my Serrata which is my only naturally serrated knife.
So now, I just need some white ceramic to keep it sharp and some stropping. It is ready for testing. The Puukko shape is more for me a “Coutelas de Rahan” shape actually (French people will understand but here is the link: Rahan in Wikipedia.
making this little tough knife very appealing to bring it everywhere.
Everywhere is a good point to start. 😉
In winter we all need vitamin C, after a long wait I get my shot !!
My Viking friend Dan Sharpe has been the one who has injected me the Manly Virus. First one was the Manly Peak, the Comrade… And with my Welsh pal Wayne, both were keen to have the chance to carry their Manly knives legally in the UK: three inches blade, no lock and a deep carry clip. By luck some people of Manly were reading our conversation on our Facebook Group and voilà: the WASP was born.
But our Bulgarian friends were even more clever than this… Let see why. First picture, please ?
Here is my Manly family. The Wasp is the shorter. All are in S90V and with a very thin edge.
The stout WASP is showing proudly is wide belly. This is a powerful combinaison: belly and ultra thin edge.
The cleverness of having the Wasp steel liners hidden inside the G10. The Comrade got thicker G10 slabs too keeping is role of hardchore slipjoint.
You got the best tech of the Peak and the Comrade in a compact tool.
Thin edge is evident on simple tasks like peeling a fruit. Thos Manly knives are razor sharp out of the box and their S90V is very well het treated: no chipping and no bending. I have used hard my WASP in plates and the ceramic was not able to mark the blade. This is really amazing.
I’m starting to think that Manly S90V is as tough as 3V !! (Benchmade CPM 3V Pukko pictured)
The WASP is not threatening at all on a table. It can be used in a restaurant or amount non knives friends with no problem. I know, I only got compliment about it.
Yes, that wide thin belly edge is really powerful. It goes deep and steady in any material. Of course the slip joint mechanism is the same as the Comrade with zero play and 4 steps to avoid closing on the finger. Also the guard is an excellent protection. You really will need your two hands to open it.
I’m not crazy about the “look” of the screw but this is consistent in all my Manly Family. It’s really “cosmetic” but I think this knife desserve a more beautiful screw. No big deal. The Orange G10 is perfect and I won’t need to sand it. The G10 on the Comrade was more aggressive… The ergonomy is absolutly great for a short knife with no lock. So far it is a joy to use. There is no “square” feel like on the comrade. It is really close to the Peak in term of flat handle.
Here is a close up on the wonderful deep carry clip, the same which is found on the Peak. It works great.
The Comrade clip is the only “proud” clipped of the family. But again it is logic with the way the Comrade has been design as a slip joint tank for outdoors applications.
The Wasp is more on the stealth side but its belly near the pivot makes it really powerful in pushcuts I do when cutting wood to make a pole. More to come after some use, but this one is ready for travelling is Danemark !
Anyway all those Manly have thin edge, great action, and wonderfully heat treated S90V blade. The Wasp is the proud son of the Comrade and the Peak. Now I hope a 3 inches version of the Peak will be proposed.
In the ease of maintenance department few knives are easy to live with, the Spydiechef is part of that very small club. You can pocket it while it is still wet. For a travelling knife this is a must and the reason I have taken it for that Xmas Journey.
Reuniting with an old friend: the 110V CF Native.
When used in the kitchen or on the dining table, knives get dirty and the food is dried and hard to detached. Avoid the use of the green back of sponges or you could scratch the blade’s finish badly.
Hot cheese from that Napolitan Pizza is part of that dirty equation but the plate is also not the edge best friend as ceramic is harder than knives and will ruin any razor sharp knife. You should cut with an angle of 45° on the plate to avoid any real damage.
The Spydiechef is a actually whittling friendly. LC200N is not losing its edge as fast as H1 and I was able to work on wooden rods with ease.
Of course mine has been enhanced with some gentle convexed edge.
But really that knife is really happy in the wood. It has not the most ergonomic handle for hard wood cutting but the gentle belly helps a lot in push cuts.
LC200N is really easy to keep fresh on ceramic. no need of diamonds like on other Hyper Steels.
My Para3 Maxamet Sprint run needed a unique way to express how hardchore the Maxamet blade was to me.
Disassembling the Cruwear Knifecenter edition has been a child play once I have found how to use some pliers to keep some rounds spacers from turning by gripping them.
Eventually, the Flytanium scales are perfectly adjusted. No surprises at all.
The action is as smooth as before, no worry.
The sweet point of balance is a little back further.
I have ordered deeper clips for Xmas but the OEM works great !
The feel is heftier and softer. It works well with the PM design. It gives some full metal signature to a usually light design. This scales exists also in brass and copper. titanium sounded perfect and it is under the thumb. The stonewashed finish is absolutely beautiful !
The original weight was 111 grammes, so it is now 28 grammes heavier.
For those who want to know how I have made that patina: here the link.
At the end of the 2017 Spyderco meet in Amsterdam we received the Spyderco Polestar. A year later, at the the 2018 edition of this event, we were presented with its smaller brother the Alcyone. Nemo gave his example to Pascal who wrote and excellent review of the name of the knife, and his experiences with the it during his use. Here I will present my experiences with this knife.
I have reviewed the Polestar before. As the Alcyone and the Polestar are made of the same material and share many features, here I will focus on the things that I noticed to be different.
To start with the biggest and most obvious difference: the size! The Alcyone comes with a 7,4cm (2,9inch) blade where the Polestar’s is 8,4cm (3,3inc). This makes it more edc friendly for me. I have carried it in the waistband comfortably for a month at the moment of writing.
The design is quintessential Spyderco. Put is next to other knives that have been designed by Spyderco’s founder Sal Glesser, and the family resemblance is unmistakeable. Sal puts a lot of attention into designing knives that work great in the hand, and he definitely succeeded with the design of the Alcyone. It feels pleasant in the hand and offers a lot of control while cutting. Both in normal edge-out as well as edge-in grips, like when you are pealing something. Good stuff!
New the edge on my example was not very good. It could not push cut receipt paper and only slice it with difficulty. So it needed to be resharpened before I could carry and use it. The edge was also thicker that I liked. Edges on new production knives often are. (Though overall the edges on new Spyderco’s have become a lot better at this in recent years.) So I took out the well used extra course DMT Diamond hone and set to work. After the thinning I refined it on the diamond side on the Fallkniven DC4. I was not hard to put a head hair splitting edge on the knife this way. Now it cuts very well! In use the BD1 steel blade has proven to hold and edge well and be easy to keep sharp.
The Alcyone had a noticeably stiffer action out on the box than the Polestar. The Polestar could be middle-finger-flicked from the get-go, not so the Alcyone. Opening the blade with the thump though was easy to do. Putting a little nano oil on the pivot and the detent ball made it a little smoother. The biggest difference though was made when I unscrewed and re-tightened the pivot and handle screws. After I did that the knife became noticeably smoother and it became possible to middle-finger-flick the knife. Which is a lot of fun!
I also took the knife apart. Not something I often do but I was curious to see what for a effect it would have on the smoothness, and how difficult it would be to do. It proved to be an easy operation but did not have more effect on the smoothness than releasing and re-tightening the screws had had.
The Alcyone has proven to be and excellent edc in the month that I carried and used it. A great design that just needed a little t.l.c. to shine at its full brightness!
This is just a little post showing how well the Yo2 in CPM M4 goes in the kitchen !
This version of the Manix is equipped with one of the strongest lock ever produce by Spyderco in a light package. We are touching here a “Knife of Excellence” and one of the best Eric Glesser’s design. Sadly it is discontinuited in 2019 but this is also the last chance for you to get an absolute fabulous workhorse at a great price. Mine came for 99 dollars…
Can you imagine better bargain for an all made American knife of high performance ?
The operation of the lock goes deep in the notch while unlocking.
And the G10 is factory smoothed (I have used 800 grid to get it even smoother later) and the action is perfect. Lockback lovers can only fall deeply in love with this one.
The pivot screws are huge even compare hardchore folders like the Yojimbo2 and it is only a part of the enhanced strength of this version as also the blade is a little thicker than normal Manix 2 version.
Here the blade thickness is 0.145″ (3.7 millimeters)
against the usual Manix thickness of 0.125″ (3.2 mm) !!
Half a millimeter in black thickness is a simple way to have a stronger blade.
G10 is extraordinarily strong and with such thick scales this version of the Manix do not need any steel liners which can rust or get dirty too easily, especially if they are skeletonized !! So this thick G10 use is a great plus in my book: the Manix 2 Lockback is easy to clean and easy to check for grim … It’s a plus for hunters which use their knives in the fiels were hair and blood can get inside the handle. I should also mention than this one, like all my Native 5 got ZERO vertical play and his so smooth it is fun to flick open.
Also don’t forget you can make stealth fixed blade (even Fred Perrin made Balisong’s blade and handles) only with G10: this is a real solid material.
Here the blade is made of S30V. Spyderco knows how to heat treat than steel so this is a no brainer.
The plain stell back space and thick G10 slabs of the handle are just wonderful to avoid blisters. This is where you recognized a tool you can use hard without hand sore.
The balance of the knife is also improved with this full G10 construction, the sweet point is just under the second horn of the handle not the one of the choil, the other further back.
Well it is a lightweight linerless handle construction, fine-textured G10 scales and a stainless steel backspacer ! There is no lateral movement. You know my favorite expression “built like a tank“… so here we go !
The tolerance and the QC are really high. The action is smooth and the blade locks with a firm “KLAK!!”
As you can see, as much as I love the Shaman design, this Manix 2 is the true daddy of the linerless G10 version of the Native. Again a very solid and light EDC.
In both the ergonomy is at its zenith: large choil, no jimping madness the handle spouses your palm.
Both are made in Golden, Colorado, a plant with now very high tolerance and excellent quality control: the blade is perfectly centered.
So what do you got here ? A incredibly solid and versatile outdoors knife ! Easy to clean and maintain, rock strong locking system and of course the full flat ground leaf shape blade which is a must in cutting control. Strong lock, stronger blade, great ergos… This is really a shame this knife is discontinuited …
“We were sanding in the rain – like we invented sanding
There’s a light in the sky from a million street lights
And we danced all the steps from all those old time movies
Rolling down the hill with laughing hearts…”
In my latest review, Pear of Cydonia, I got surprised by the chemical reaction when cutting quinces with the Morakniv ; immediately the quince’s juice and its high concentration in tannins combined with carbon steel blade lead to dark traces on the fruit and accelerated the blade’s patina. Many thanks to Max Wedges for his explantations:
“Now quince is high on Tanins, & the “1095” steel in the Carbon is high on Manganese… thus black staining. (Natural “bluing”… like on O1 that has even more Manganese) I never use Carbon with Quince, or Pumpkin (funny “sardine” taste”).”
So I had stopped testing the knife in those conditions. That was frustrating and is why I have extensively used it this morning in the tamed outdoor wilderness of my garden!
The Morakniv Pro C is classified among the Construction Knives by the manufacturer. By construction they refer to building worker professionals like electricians, carpenters, roofers… The knife is comfortable in the hand even when applying force. The blade grind is a Scandi type (or Zero ground Saber) and the steel in this case is the Carbon steel that needs to be kept dry and is subject to patina. For more information, best is to go to their website and view their page Pro C .
Step 1: easy stuff. Pose with the metallic mosquito, partly laying in sage and on the dried stems it just cut. It was very easy and fast to cut the stems taken as a handful. Pro C was really sharp and gently pushing through was sufficient.
Step 2: getting a bit tougher. The Mexican orange bush. Pro C cuts these thicker stems very easily. More than just a decent cut, you get a cut with de scent!
Step 3: larger diameters and the stems are getting tougher. Pro C does great bevel cuts in Kerria given it’s a bit tricky as the exterior is hard whereas the center is soft and foamy. By the way bevel cuts is the secret to keep flowers longer in a vase because it does not crush the canals in which the water circulates (unlike when using a shear).
Step 4: Small branches from a birch and from a Blue Ceanothus. I use the Latin name because I cannot find the English translation. In French: “Céanothe Bleu”. Here it was necessary to use both hands and the toughest was the Blue Ceanothus because the branches were dead and hence very dry and hard. So the right hand holding the grip and the left pushing the blade’s spine. The spine being not grinded, but polished makes it soft when pushing the blade with the thumb; no sharp edges. The scandi shaped blade reveals its power here; it sinks into the wood while always being in control.
Step 5: The wood gets harder. In one case I have cut dead and dry rose bush branches and equally dry bamboo. In fact, Pro C is really a workhorse both in a controlled push configuration (rose bush) and in a fast yank against the bamboo. In both cases the result is very neat and we are not in the hands of… defeat!
Step 6: we now know that in Pro C, “C” does not only stand for Carbone… and no I did not cut my neighbor’s cat!
In summary I have been really favorably surprised by this knife’s capabilities. Once all these tests done, the edge needed to resume its initial state and the Carbone steel is one that makes that a friendly task.
My first (black) Pingo was almost 6 years ago. Since, Pascal has reviewed his (orange) Pingo… in his entertaining review Pingo Star !
I got the opportunity to get a very rare beast: a blue Pingo with K390 steel blade and studs to mask the tiny trademark hole and protect it from lint.
First I have noticed is the very firm and strong spring in this one, much stronger than my previous version. It is not the easiest opener with stud which is good as it keeps up its legal character: this is a two hands opening knife which can be open with a painful thumb. 😀
Now about the steel K390 is known to me as a friendly steel. I call it an hyper steel !
C Si Mn Cr Mo V W Co
2.47 0.55 0.40 4.20 3.80 9.00 1.00 2.00
The numbers are talking for themselves !!
This is not a stainless steel with carbides forms from Vanadium, Tungsten and Chrome (which is not used for stainless purpose here)…
It will get a patina very quick on daily use (especially eating and cutting meat) and this patina will protect the steel even better. It will show some character in its legality.
What a beautiful tool ! It will be a beater as he name will be Bluebeat !
“Gazing into the heavens on a night as clear as ice
We held our breath
As a new jewel glistens in the Belt of Orion
Out to the west
And parked up on the ridge between all the different lands
I feel I’ve always been here
Do we go back to the city, back to the lights
To the unforgiven world or on into the night
Where there’s always something new to fall in love with
Searching after something new to fall in love with
There’s always got to be something new to fall in love with…”
So again Spyderco has provided a non locking sub 3 inches spyder with one of the best super “engine” available hence the fun of using it hard!
It can disappear in the watch pocket. There is no reason to leave it behind !
Of course I needed to convex the edge a great deal as I know how stable this alloy is on thin edge. So no fears in making a real blue razor from it.
“The original concept of the Tusk was conceived by Sal Glesser in the early 1980’s. More than 25 years later, his son Eric picked up the project and made it a reality, creating a truly extraordinary multi-function mariner’s tool. The Tusk’s handle is precision machined from two slabs of solid titanium. One end houses a Plain Edged blade ground from LC 200 N steel—a nitrogen-alloyed tool steel that offers extreme toughness and superior corrosion resistance—and locks open via a sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) mechanism.
At the other end of the Tusk’s handle is a 300-series stainless steel marlinspike, which features a unique round-to-square cross section for increased leverage when loosening knots. A milled slot in the marlinspike’s body and the gap between it and the handle also serve as shackle keys for unscrewing and tightening threaded shackles. To allow the marlinspike and its shackle key to withstand extreme leverage during use, it locks securely in place with Spyderco’s patented Ball Bearing Lock™ mechanism containing a special ceramic ball. Constructed entirely of highly rust-resistant, state-of-the-art materials, the Tusk literally began as a tool that was ahead of its time, but whose time has now come.”
This is something of a “heritage” knife for Spyderco (i.e., the father’s idea, and the son’s design)…
The blade’s saber grind is not on the thin side but it can get a little better with diamonds. The Tusk is like a Ferrari hence its high price. I do believe it was also some tests for the Taichung factory. Some kind of high prized yachtman tool.
On the Amazon.com dumb side of their site: because of the ceramic ball lock they have add a message:
“WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD — Toy contains a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.”
The shackle key is a little on the small size and did not work with all the shackles Pascal had on his boat. Also we were able to force close the marlinspike with our bare hands. The ceramic ball lock-up for the marlin spike is free floating and, therefore will not form any wear spot while in use and, is very smooth in operation. It also seems I cannot reproduced that lock failure now…Perhaps it was dirty or something ? Anyway…
It does not make the Tusk spike dangerous for hard use (the spike got a choil) and it can get a lot of utility from board to starboard… And yes, it’s almost addictive to untie an dry salty knot with it hence the handy clip to keep the Tusk close.
The tusk is a handy tool to loosen knots without having to cut the rope or cordage and forget about any corrosion in salty environment.
It’s also a crew knife that would deploy its blade with ease, and remain locked open under any aggressive uses while under way.
My project when I had ordered the Jade Yojimbo2 was to swap the blades with my Carbon Fiber / S90V Yojimbo2, to make a vinegar patina and enjoy a unique CPM M4/ Carbon fiber Yojimbo2.
I have done it but the patina.
Here is the result. But you know what… As great as the CF handle is… this Jade version got something really special. I love the smoothness I have obtained by sanding the natural G10 and the action is smoother than butter.
So I have swapped it again. It was very easy.
What I can notice about this “sterile” experience is how well adjusted those Golden spawns can be. In both configurations the action was smooth as glass and the blade perfectly centered. It’s a joy to dismount and put back together.
So it’s just me, in the end, seeing the deep carry clip going esthetically much better on Jade natural scales and the heft of the BladeHQ special edition being more appealing to me. Also these transparent slaps help a lot for a non threatening aspect of a very pointy knife. I have already used twice in public place without being noticed…
So back to the start after some nano oiling and putting some fresh blue loctite on strategic screws: pivot and clip. Great knives easy to maintain clean even in the inside.