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.
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.
The Manly Peak is a workhorse. So, it has been put to good use in various tasks.
The main features of that folder are a very thin geometry and a zero play mid backlock.
It has not developed any play and the edge has ever been thinned for outstanding results.
Tomatoes are great for testing. As you can notice, it was a very easy task to cut through the skin.
The same for any fruits it was confronted to. The thin and long blade gives a lot of hand control when peeling and cutting or on the cutting board. No pitting on the S90V alloy after intense and daily kitchen duty.
I was even able to do multiple cuts on the same bottle butt. This is really impressive. Let’s not forget that should should have the same results on a 45 euros Peak with D2 steel.
The mechanism feels a little smoother now on opening and closing but it is also due to a drop of nano oil. The clip is really perfect, it is deep, secure and smooth. It has been well thought and I really wish the future generation of Manly folders will be likewise equipped.
So the Manly Peak is really a high quality workhorse in terms of reliability, power cuts and ease to wear. This is a serious tool for any users, from the LEO to the ELU. It’s a thrill to see it compete against folders which can reach 4 times its price and see how easily it can beat them. Now this is a stiff mechanism “à la Cold Steel” and you will need some open and close mileage so that it folds and unfolds with ease. Once in action though you have a pocket lightsaber able to work hard and keep going. Highly recommended!
last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 18 jan 2018
Here we go…
Parsley stem cut very neatly tree times thanks to the N690Co stainless steel full-flat ground blade. Next time i’ll have to test in supplement of parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme! More seriously recent outdoor chores have been cut a branch of mexican orange blossom and wisteria vine; really simple!
Lillian is jealous as Pingo gets along very will with Stitch.
Perfect baguette push cut.
Another tribute to 1966 (after Simon and Garfunkel) and to the first round debate of the last french presididential election: Pingo and pudeurs de gazelles!
Pingo and the pumpkins: the blade’s belly shape concentrates cutting power and Pingo sinks in with ease. Sorry Linus!
The wire clip enables Pingo to be snug real deep in the pocket.
Now we know whom Prokofiev’s three oranges really love!
Just before the soup, where is Pingo?
Pingo Star and the groupies!
Thanks to my friend Dan Sharpe I had ordered a Manly Peak directly from the manufacturer in Sofia in Bulgaria.
Having the choice of steel I had clicked on S90V but a D2 Tool Steel and CPM156 versions are also available. For a D2 version it will cost you around 50 euros with shipping.
This is a beautiful folder. Two keys are provided for pivot adjustement and pocket clip placement.
It’s a very solid backlock with zero vertical play. The full flat ground blade’s edge is really thin. The G10 is not harsh and feels like I sanded it myself. The clip is deep…
It’s a wonderful industrial knife with a lot of attention to details.
About the action:
There is a gentle resistance when opening at the end of the course then it clicks like a vault. So it’s not a fast intervention tool. No spyderdrop possible. There is no fun like on a Paramillie with compression lock but you feel it is VERY solid. For the record Backlocks are perhaps the strongest system of all according to some destruction test you can find on the internet. One of BladeHQ comes to mind…
Something I immediately love: the blade’s spine is all smooth. No guards but some jimping under the pivot.
The hole seems oval which means this is not a Spyderco licence. Let’s have a look.
The blade is perfectly centered. Don’t forget we are talking here about a 40 euros folder.
The deep clip is trademarked and beatblasted.
The oval opening hole… and the sharpening choil (indentation). This is S90V which is the king of powder metallurgy.
Thin and alive in the hand. You can notice the jimping under the pivot.
Deep carrying with a long and easy to pocket clip.
Attention to details here with the name of the model on the lock.
The clip pad on the other side of the handle is screwed inside the steel spacer. The liners are skeletonized and nested inside the G10. The knife is light and well balanced. The sweet point is between the lock and the lock screw.
The adjustment is top notch with the G10 slab chamfered on both sides. The liners are invisible as they are nested into the G10 slabs.
Size comparaison with my mighty Millie.
So far I’m really impressed by this Bulgarian wonder. Mine (in S90V) is around 80 euros shipped. I have also ordered a slip joint Comrade which should be arriving soon.
More to come as now the Bulgarian game is on. Here is Part II.
edited by pjaffre 3 jan 2018
Those are the knives I choose when going out. I prefer a 3 inches locking blade.
From left to right we have got: the Falcon, the Wolfspyder, the Native 5, the Delica, the Techno and the Chaparral. They are just examples of knives I have got around and which fit the purpose to carry a non threatening but useful locking knife. You could easily add the Lil’Nilakka which are the favorite EDC of JD and Pjaffre.
As far as I love my Para2 or my Sliverax, I tend to go shorter on the blade and keep the 4 inches for in-house uses unless I’m going in the woods. Also, most of the chores can be done with a 3 in blade without rising any eyebrow.
If you think to go thin in stock, the Delica and the Chaparral are the way to go. You can notice on the picture how thin the Delica goes and with the KnifeCenter special edition, your edge is made of HAP40, a steel which refuses to chip.
Lockbacks are in fashion since… the Buck110. On the three pictures, only one has got vertical play: the Delica. This tiny play is only felt when cutting on a board and won’t bother you.
The Chaparral has a hidden pin which acts as a second locking system ala Triadlock. The Native 5 has got very high tolerance and none of them I have handled has shown any play in any direction. Let say, in that matter, that the Delica although an old fashion folder with her own character, has the best thinner slicer of the bunch and her blade shape gives a lot of polyvalence. The Delica is also the only short folder I can Spyderdrop. It is made possible by the full steel spacer’s weight. Spyderdrops is the fastest way I know to have your knife ready to cut. It’s also the safest as you are holding it by the blade.
You can notice, there are a lot of materials for the handle. Titanium handle are great as they can be easily cleaned but can be scratched easily too. G10, I do love, especially thick G10 with no liners like found on that Native 5 version and the Cold Steel Recon 1 collection. Pakkawood is a new thing for me. It’s got a warm feeling and I can rinse the handle under the tap with no after-thought. Carbon Fibers (CF) are actually very resistant to abrasion. Your knife can fall and be kicked, the CF handle will not show any scars.
Now I do cut hard material by pushing with my thumb on the back of the blade. This is also why I tend to favor a thicker spine. The Techno is king in that matter, but lately I have discovered how much the Falcon and the Wolfspyder are great. What makes the Wolfspyder very special is the ease you can twist the blade in the cut thank to her lack of blade’s height.
You can notice the amount of pocket lint in the handle, giving you an hint on which knife I carry the most. You can get a lot of great locks: RIL’s, Compression Lock… The new Lil’Native offers a very small package (I think it’s the shortest of Spyderco’s with that lock nowadays) and the choil makes the blade even shorter on that design.
To have or not to have a choil ? On a very short folder, a choil can take a lot of edge off. The good old Delica shines again but the Wolfspyder and the Techno are beating her choil-wise; they both provide one of the best solid locks with the maximum edge possible. IMHO for the 3 inches folders, choils would be really important if the knives were slip joints. They are still important in my books on longer folders which are used harder, like on Millie,
Strangely short folders are often used out of their scope like a Pradel would be. Mondane chores and abuses can occured very easily. This is also a reason why I tend to choose strong locks and tips on my 3 inches folders. When it’s possible I also choose tool steels which can provide better lateral strength.
Delica: No real choil, vertical play, very thin blade, very thin spine. Bonus: spyderdrop.
Falcon: Choil, thick spine, nice belly but not deep carry clip. Bonus: great flipper.
Lil’Nilakka: No choil, deep carry clip, thin blade. Bonus: very thin geometry.
Native 5: Choil, thin spine, thin blade but not deep carry clip. Bonus: great ergonomy.
Techno: No choil, deep carry clip, thick blade and thick geometry. Bonus: built like a tank.
Chaparral: choil, deep carry and thin spine and thin blade. Bonus: idem pin lock.
Wolfspyder: no choil, thick blade, deep carry (now). Bonus: thin scandi edge.
The most eye candies would be the Native 5 and Falcon and the most surprisingly effective in cutting power would be the Lil’Nilakka and the Delica…
The easiest to carry would be the Chaparral which is the thinnest of the bunch.
That said my best pick for hard workers would be a deep carried, solid lock, no choil, strong, thick spine and thin geometry folder: the Techno and especially the Wolfspyder.
They are just a few example of brainstorming for choosing a 3 inches folder to carry.
Oh well, there is also the Kopa… Guess I need to start this over !
The Kopa has got a choil, no vertical play, can be spyderdropped…
last edited: pjaffre 03 jan 2018
When I consider a new knife, I like to choose it in such a way that it conveys values that appeal to me; in synch with my mood with what I recognize as exemplifying a tradition, a nation; when craft turns into art.
I also opt for features complimentary to the ones I already have so that each knife stands out as champion in its category. Ie this one does not rust, this one will not be taken away from me in UK or Denmark, this one is really good for heavy duty stuff, this one has something so obscene about it I can’t resist!
Setting the mood: read Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt; listen to Symphony n.5 by Jean Sibelius (pictured): dears belling in a barren wilderness where primitive elements collide – wind, sheer stones and icebergs…
…envision cold tundra landscape depicted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s paintings – the hard conditions forging men and women. Suomi.
A gentleman folder with no pair equal.
Which Spyderco better conveys rigour and austerity of the North other than the Pekka Tuominen designed Lil Nilakka Puukko? It stands out immediately recognizable with its character unlike any other and its craftman, alike the aforementioned finnish artists, is a true representative of the Nordic tradition and nation.
So to summarize: as Sibelius was once said to be the “Chopin of the north”; Pekka the Sibelius of blacksmith and cutlery.
So what is so fantastic about Lil Nilakka?
Mine is #589; with me to stay as my gentleman Puukko!