This is not going to be a review but just my first impressions of the Massdrop, Ferrum Forge, WE-Knives Falcon.
I have been following Elliot en Chis Williamson, Ferrum Forge, their knife making journey on YouTube for a few year now. From Elliot’s start in his garage and the making of his first folders to the established brand that they are now. The knives they make are interesting for sure but outside of my budget. So, when I read about their collaboration with Massdrop and WE-Knives to make an small, flipper, folding knife that would less than $150, I ordered one as soon as the Drop was opened. A little later Nemo decided to do the same.
Nemo received his example a few days before I got mine. He wrote very positively about his example. So I was very interested to see how I would like mine!
For the most part I concur with Nemo’s review. This knife is a lot of value for money and seems very well put together! It fires snappier that the Spyderco Mantra 2 I recently reviewed, due to having a stronger detent. What it shares with the Mantra 2 is that you have to be careful not to put any pressure on the lock bar. If you do it won’t fire. The jimping on the flipper tab is pretty sharp and after flipping the Falcon a few times it became uncomfortable. This can probably by fixed by rounding the edges with a hone or some sandpaper. I could not use the hole in the blade to open the blade one handed but it worked well for opening it with both hands.
The blade came decently sharp though can be improved upon. The handle is nicely rounded and fits well in the hand.
There is just one problem with the Falcon which stops me from carrying it, and that is the pocket clip. It is much too tight for my jean pockets! I have to use two hands and push hard to get it clipped. I have no such issues with Spyderco clips. Interestingly enough I had the same problem with the WE-knives 617 that I got to handle on a pass around a couple of months ago. Apparently WE-Knives clips are just not for me. Perhaps in the future WE-Knives or Massdrop will start offering bent clips for the Falcon (and other WE-Knives). Then I would be able to clip it to my pocket make it part of my EDC. The knife deserves it!
(Fresh from out of the box)
As my friend and co author JD I had ordered the Ferrum Forge Falcon for 124 dollars. Titanium handle à la Sebenza (* the RIL is a South African invention ) with steel insert in the lock to prevent excessive wear, S35V blade with high flat grind, reasonable size for the city. And a two main screws construction ? What not to love ?
(Here with a new convexed edge the day after)
This was a first time for me with those companies. The knife has been made by WE knives in China and designed by San Diego based Ferrum Forge.
124 dollars for a knife this quality, this is almost the third I would normally pay.
This kind of excellent ratio price/quality have been noticed on the Megalodon folder.
And like the Meg, the only flaw on my Falcon is…. the clip.
First thing I have noticed: it was smooth as my ZT0562CF. It fires easily. A lot of work has gone on the blade and the handle to smooth everything. It’s as good as Taichung factory in the attention to details. It runs on ball bearings and the detent is perfect on mine. The blade feels heavier than the handle, it gives a nice momentum.
Zero play in any direction. The handle is smooth with its rounded edges and so nice under the thumb. No hot spot even if the jimping are quite aggressive. The blade is chanfered on the right places making a very precious package.
Second thing I had noticed is the great balance. The knife is perfectly balanced. The blade looks wider than the thick titanium handle.
See how small it is ? I even think it would be a great knife for smaller female hands. For bigger hand it would be a three finger handle unless using the big choil.
This big choil is part of the charm of that design and it could be some kind of Native hommage: thick handle and false edge drom point blade.
It’s about the size of my beloved Wolfspyder but more elegant. Let’s not forget Spyderco places function before the look. But the wide blade on the thinner handle does a lot in easthetics. The hole in the blade is purely for the looks and to remove some weight, you won’t open he knife with it. OK, you can do it but this is not made for that.
Also the large choil can be a problem when you cut ropes or strings and they get stuck into it. But the Native 5 got the same issue, it’s no major when the finger is in the choil.
The insert of steel in visible and the lock is new and the blade is perfectly centered.
As you can notice the titanium notch to bend the integral liner to create the lock is not on the outside but inside. This is pleasure to keep the handle smooth.
This notch combine to pocket clips often get caught in the pocket lip while drawing. It was the case of the Megalodon or even the Slyscz Bowie where I had changed the clip size !
Right out of the box the knife is not shaving but the edge is thin and the geometry is good. It will be a matter of minutes on ceramics to get to the sharpness I want.
Only the clip is an issue. Like on the Megalodon, this is the only flaw but unlike the Real Steel flagship, I will get rid of the Falcon clip if it bends and carry it in the pocket.
First this clip is too thick and is not going enough deep inside the pocket. It has also a tendancy to bend, So we will see how it will go.
Compared to my Delica, you can notice it is even shorter.
And delica is a tad longer in edge value.
Now its thick handle makes it very confortable in the palm for hard cuts.
You can see the attention to details on the titanium spacer and the pivot.
Two screws construction. The pivot and handle. Add the two clip screws and the two from the steel insert and a pin for the spacer but after all it is a very clean design.
“The Falcon’s 2.9-inch drop-point blade features a sizable choil for index finger placement when choking up. The spine has a concave cutout offering a natural thumb rest for a forward grip. As far as hardware, the Falcon has been crafted with the best materials on the market. Thanks to titanium’s spring properties, it makes for a safe and reliable frame lock that is almost impossible to accidentally disengage. The hardened steel lockbar insert won’t wear out in the long haul, drastically increasing the folder’s longevity. Holding the knife together is a titanium backspacer, bead blasted in gray. Also notable is the titanium clip, which has been adjusted for tension so that it stays put on the go, but it won’t rip your pants apart when taking out the knife.”
From the Massdrop page.
Compared to the ZT0562CF the Falcon can sustain the comparaison. But the clip in the ZT is one of the best ever made making the big folder easy to carry.
Sharpening is OK. CPM S35V is not the easiest steel to deal with but it can hold an edge if well heat treated. After diamonds, ceramics and leather, my edge is now convexed and the high flat grind gives deep cuts.
This is something wich needs to be tested on a long run. So more to come soon… But so far for the price 124 dollars shipping including, this is a great bargain and a beautiful knife especially compared to over marketed knives…
And once convexed the edge was able to cut through the 4mm plastic butt of a 2 liters Coke bottle. Excellent !!
*(Like…. the 300 dollars Urban S35V and Titanium handle from Canadian Robert Young Peyton claiming the Integral lock is an American invention when, Chris got an South African Award for his Pre Sebenza in 1987, move to Boise in 91 and get naturalized in 2001…The Integral lock is a South African invention by Chris Reeve !! )
Cutting the leaves of sucres…
Slicing the dried duck breast.
Removing the fat.
Dicing the cantal cheese.
Splitting fresh figs…
All the ingredients are ready. Add some sauce mixing olive oil, mustard, wine vinager and soja sauce.
The soft texture and fruity taste of the young cantal combine particularly well with figs and duck breast. But you can replace it with other cheeses, for example, tomme de Savoie, salers or laguiole.
You don’t need a reason to carry a knife.
Whatever they ask you, just lie or tell them what they want to hear.
In the woods or in the countryside carrying a knife, whatever your gender, is wise.
But in the city ?
You really think you will defend yourself with a knife ? Let’s forget about it. A chair, a stiletto shoe, an ashtray will be better defense tools if you know how to train your mind first. And be prepared mentally whatever your gender, is wise.
Knife is not the best tool to get away of trouble. It’s like playing with matches in a gaz tank. It’s used by madness and idiots to create horrors. So unless you want to be an idiot.
Since knives, cheap and ugly dull knives, are often used to hurt people. Worst, some people think knives has been used when they were not even in history.
An example ? When Lucheni, a madman, has stabbed the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Geneva he did it with a file. “There was no blood on the file and the tip was broken off, which occurred when Lucheni threw it away. The file was so dull in appearance it was speculated that it had been deliberately selected because it would be less noticeable than a shiny knife, which would have given Lucheni away as he approached.”
So you want to carry a knife in the city. It’s your choice, your business. Nobody else business. Your freedom of choice. In those days where metal detectors are common and official journalists are scanned all over their body before filming some president from ten yards away, when policemen can search you with no good reason because of the state of emergency… you better carry something which is small and sheeple friendly.
Better: you should conform with the laws of your country.
Younger I felt some kind of thrills being an outlaw. My first knife even was a folding AF dagger from Gerber. Go figure ! But later, I have found it is more fun to be lawful and cleverly respect the rules, because it gives you the occasion to try new designs and new makers. Of course you can always carry a Swiss Army knife. I almost never do. It’s in my bag not in my pocket. Because since the 90’s I have fallen in love with clips. Clips are such a great way to avoid a pouch or a scabbard or anything used to say to the world: I carry a knife !! So the clip is mandatory for me. My last clipless knife has been slipping under my wallet and at the Airport it has been taken away from me. So no more clipless knife for me.
So, in the city, I need to follow the rules and I need a flat design clipped to a pocket’s lip. Again a thick Victorinox Swiss Champ is a no-no as is an rounded handle Opinel. Opinel are not for the city unless they are under N°8. And I want a slick design something easy in and easy out without telegraphing around I’m going to use it.
I love the Worker design from Sal Glesser , the very first clip it, which could be used without opening it completely the blade thanks to its false edge. Very clever.
In the city I want elegance. the object needs to be warm and tell a story. I’m not a predator, I carry a tool not a weapon. For the records, hammer, screwdrivers are much more lethal than any Perrin Lagriffe destined to wound and not kill. I like to be able to cut my food without using the dull silverware of restaurants. Because there is some places which are not fast food too. And even at the Macdonalds, using a sharp knife can help to share in two portions a single burger. But in restaurants nowadays it’s not common to find good steak knives. I always enjoyed bringing my own knife like my grandfather used to and that manner that my father hated so much. My father was carrying a switchblade for SD and then a La Griffe. He also used a small turtle shell slipjoint folder made in Nogent in his bag. The exact opposite of my way. Strange how generations go counter clockwise just to complete a full circle thinking they are re-inventing the wheel.
A knife, may it be a slipjoint of a locking folder, is a door for adventures. I often walk on the avenue of the Opera remembering Ernest Hemingway.
“He was a customer of the house Kindal, 33 avenue de l’Opéra, he used to go through the shop, after his purchases, to the Ritz, Place Vendôme. His Parisian triangle was the Harris Bar, Kindal then the bar of the Hotel Ritz. His deer stag handle locking folder, with blade, saw, bottle opener and corkscrew, was his daily companion, he even packed his tobacco and curated his pipe with it. The stag’s wood cracked at the end with time and the tobacco was constantly caught in the cracks, obliging him to clean his knife regularly, he had the idea to place an ivory knob, coming from one of his African hunts probably.
Many years after his death, Mrs. May Kindal, found Hemingway’s knife at the bottom of a drawer, left there for maintenance.
She had him reborn by Jacques Mongin, knifemaker and Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
Since then, the Hemingway knife is sold exclusively by the Kindal cutlery.” Translated from Kindal.
I remember the first time I have seen Ray Mears on the TV. He was walking in the beautiful English countryside and he used one of his elegant Woodlore fixed blade to cut some plant and give some stories. Wait a minute, this guy is walking in the UK and carries a fixed blade in his pocket. But as a black belt in Judo he won’t go in trouble with bushcraft knife anyway.
In the city, knives are making conversations. So it will leave your hands for those of a friend who want to see it. And you will be sitting in the sun drinking a cappucino. So the knife needs to be beautiful and smooth and not aggressive in any way because it can be display in public like smartphones and cameras.
I also need the knife to be out of the way, because I carry stuffs in my pockets or I got a messenger back and it happen sometimes: the knife get hooked to something and falls. So the clip and the way to carry it needs to be secure.
It needs to be very sharp also. And stays sharp. Because I’m not going to show my honing and sharpening skills in the street and a dull edge is dangerous for your finger. So, a good geometry and a good steel. A knife thought to be used not only to be displayed.
So here are some examples.
The Delica in its Knifecenter Special Edition is my actual companion. This one is so sharp it goes beyond my scale. HAP40 can be thinly honed, it’s a true razor. More can be found on it following that link:
In the very highest performances you also got Pekka Tuominen little Wonder Nilakka. You can click on its link. Again a little big knife with performance and ergos which change the game of current gentlemen folders.
The Michael Walker is a rare Gem and this Sprint run has proven how excellent it was as a skinner for very serious hunters.
In the Slip It territory the Urban is the perfect companion unless one hand operation is forbidden by the law. The steel of this one just does wonder and I’m thinking a lot about testing the new Police Model…
One of my old little city companion has been that little Tim Wegner Mouse II knife.
Spyderco has covered all the ground about small knives to carry by men or women. The Dragonfly is one of their pure example of acceptable locking Clip It.
My friends Xavier Conil and Laurent Monnier propose an elegant not threatening folder: le Pointu.
This knife got no clip and is not one hand opening but I have bought it in South Africa at the Good Hope Cape’s shop. This is my Southern souvenir. It has no vertical play and got a story to tell.
respecting the Danish law, the Pingo is one of the solutions for having a clipped knife with no opening hole. The hole here is only a trademark.
There is a Sprint run with Elmax blade and Titanium handle, I often look with envious eyes…
This one is French, it’s JD’s folder a Sacha Thiel which will be reviewed soon. The blade can be open with a gentle flick helped by the thumb and the deep pocket clip makes it disappears.
So here my knives for the city. My Griptilians are too tactical. My small Sebenza has been lost. I could dig my drawers for more but I think you were able to catch my drift.
Six years ago, my friend Valter Nencetti took my Walker for a one year mission which turned into a six years journey. It was his favorite knife for hunting and he reported that to me in this article: https://nemoknivesreview.com/2012/12/30/spyderco-c22-in-zdp189-italian-hunter-update-by-valter-nencetti/
This year, he has given it back to me after I had offered him my Native 5 in 110V which is IMHO an upgrade for Hare Hunting. The Backlock of a Native 5 is a perfect lock for that kind of use, but you can notice the Walker lock as not travel very far. The curved concave notch prevents it to go further.
There is absolutly no play !
For the record skinning hares is not an easy task for an edge as the hairs and the skin are ruining the sharpness very fast. There is a lot of dirt which acts as abbrasive. I have made a video and soon will put it on line.
Being used everyday, Valter eventually broke the clip which is a very fragile part of the walker compared to spoon clips used noawadays in spyderco line. You can also see it was not clean everyday and used as an EDC in the countryside of his beloved national Park in the North of Florence in Italy.
You notice the normal wear on the handle but Carbon fibers is incredibly sturdy as an slob material. It can be easily cure with some 1000 sandpaper work.
There were also no pitting on the blade or on the liner lock. ZDP189 is known for pitting strangely with its 3% of carbon and 20% of chromium. But here anyway, no issues.
I have started to clean the marks on the blade with some sandpaper.
Then I have restored the edge to razor.
No blade play.
No marks on the handle.
A broken clip.
Valter used his knife with no afterthoughts. I know it was not used on wood but mainly as a skinning tool. It has processed hares but also been used on boars and deers. Also it was used on plastic and everyday mondane tasks as Walter is breeding hunting dogs.
That’s not bad for a little gentleman knife which is a true workhorse.
I had ordered a titanium deep carry clip for my Yojimbo2 but eventually I did not like how it was slowing the draws on that SD folder. But there is one knife which desserved another attempt: the beloved Wolfspyder. So here it goes ! I’m always amazed at how thick the blade is and how solid this little folder is after one year without real maintenance. I have found the scandi S30V quite easy to maintain razor sharp and to my surprise it is easy to keep that way without any convexing and losing the “zero ground” scandi edge. But the best thing about the Wolfspyder is how hard you can use it with now after thoughts. You can drill with its point and cut hard in wood or plastic. There is no risk of failure from the point to the lock and the thick G10 slabs are confortable during long cuts sessions. Mine has developped zero play in any direction after one year of use. It’s one of the knife which is sheeple friendly and gives a lot of joy in use. Controlling the whittling cut is really something which gives you a grin of satisfaction. The Wolfspyder ? Still highly recommanded in my book. 😉 Easy to carry and easy to reach in the pocket. This one will be in my pocket for a trip in Norway very soon ! The Scandi ground little big knife in Scandinavian territory !
It can take big chips of wood from hazelnut trees.
And after a week end of whittling it is still razor sharp.
As I had pointed earlier, going back to the Endura or the Delica (no choil, lockback, steel spacer) is like going vintage in a beautiful way. Those are the roots of modern “tactical” folders: “one hand opening and closing” and “Clip-it”. The Endura I have bought from the Knifecenter is just flawless: zero blade play. It’s a great perfectionist work from Seki knifemakers but lockwise it was not the case with my Delica: it has a noticed vertical play while cutting hard things.
The results on wood cutting were top-of-the-notch despite that annoying recoil of the lock on each hard cut.
I have been looking on the internet and the forums and someone mention to tight the screws. Why not ?
I have found those torx screws were not tied and I could easily adjust them in an half of a turn clockwise.
The lock screw was also easy to turn and now I don’t have that annoying vertical play anymore. Hurrah !!
Here is my solution: the handle screws need half a turn. I have done it on my Stretch and it is also now perfect.
Before when only bolts were used in knife construction it was not possible… But with the Delica 4 all screws construction it’s easy to adjust them.
The action is a little more stiff but no more recoil while cutting hard things like wood or plastic.
It’s not a surprise but Ed Schempp Bowie is not only a knife to keep in a safe for collection.
I have been taking a lot of knives in Tuscany. Fixed blades to test in the wood of the national parks and some folders. But eventually the Bowie has taken an important place in my trip.
First it’s a gorgeous knife which create a lot of conversation.
Also it’s so easy to pocket. This is a huge plus for this EDC: it’s stay in your pocket like a much shorter folder. It’s easy to grab it and to take it. It’s always with you.
I have thinned the edge to the level of my Delica and the result on whittling wood are really outstanding.
It was easy to keep clean and classy. Meaning it can be used in the farm and in the city.
But it’s in the plate and in the kitchen that the Bowie was able to shine bright.
On the table, the Bowie takes its place with pride.
And the Kukri’s curve (Ed Schempp Signature) helps a lot when cutting in the plate.
At the opposite of my ZT0562CF with its flipper getting in the way…
The beef meat cookes at the flame is zipped open by the convexed edge.
The Tuscanian crostini are made of liver are gently spread on bread.
The trip back home leaded us through the Alps and the Opinel birth place.
Spritz, beer, hams and cheeses. The bowie was easy to open and close without to be noticed.
The roblochon is a cheese which needs a long blade.
Eventually the Bowie excellence can be expressed in the woods and in the plate. This is not the case of all folding knives. Ed Schempp’s EDC does it with elegance and efficiency.
So no, really it’s not a safe queen this is a knife to be used every day with pride.
When I was visiting Nemo in Paris he offered me the opportunity to try out his Spyderco Mantra 2. I have handled this knife before and of course have read Nemo’s review of this folder. I was interested in finding out how it would work for me, but not interested enough to buy one for my self. So Nemo’s offer was very welcome!
I have carried a few flipper knives in the past, a Buck Vantage and a Spyderco Domino. The Buck was a great cutter but not a great flipper and the handle didn’t really work for me. The Domino is high quality knife that cuts well and I liked the handle. Nemo and I wrote reviews of it a few years ago. (You can find it here.) After a few weeks I found it to heave and big in the pocket and I stopped carrying it.
One of the things I learned from the Domino and other frame lock flippers is that with manny of them you have to be careful where you place your fingers. A little pressure on the lock bar can stop the flipper from working well. Even just a little pressure can be enough to force the detent to block or slow down the opening of the knife. From having handled the Mantra 2 previously I knew it was very sensitive to this as well. What I was looking to find out was how I would get along with this knife on a day to day basis. Would I adapt to the flipping and the handle with the flipper guard or would it just not work for me.
After having sharpened it, very easy with an extra coarse DMT and the diamond side of the Fallkniven DC4, in to the pocket it went.
First a few words about the flipping action of the Mantra 2. I would describe this as being light. After having made sure that your fingers are not resting on the lock bar or on the front of the clip, little force is needed to shoot out the blade and have it lock with a reassuring click. Both the light-switch and push-button method of flipping are equally effective. Putting a drop of oil on the detent makes the opening and closing the knife noticeably smoother.
After having carried and used the Mantra2 for two weeks I got used to opening a folder with a flipper. When taking it out of my pocket I would feel if my fingers were in the right place, not pressing on the lock bar! and most of the time the blade would open fully the first time. Good fun! But not as intuitive and reliable as a hole opener.
The handle worked well for me. Some hard cuts in cardboard revealed no pressure points. The flipper did not get in the way. And as there is no space wasted in front of behind the flipper guard I felt I had a lot of control over the blade.
I can’t say much about the blade other than that it worked well for my use, mostly cutting cardboard and plastic packaging material. The edge was thin enough to cut well and the point pointy enough to pierce well.
It was fun getting to get to know the Mantra 2! An excellent very day carry flipper from Spyderco!
This is a quick glimpse at yesterday’s hare hunt. Which will be the support of future reviews. Morning ride in the Italian Mountains. Hunting dogs equipped with GPS collars.
It has all started when I wanted to review the Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction. It’s a great design for an EDC fixed blade which can be used for everything. Easy to carry in its pancake constructed bolteron sheath. But the edge was just too thick for my own use. To my knowledge, SPF27 is some kind of CPM D2 steel. A lot of carbon 1.5% and not a lot of chromium around 12%. Not the easiest on the stone as a semi stainless. It was not very soft under the diamonds compared to another blade in N690 HRC59 I got with me. And it was not really easy to remove the shoulder to create a gentle convex edge. Patience… In sharpening is important. And I often lack of it but I was able to improve it. Next some black stone mostly to remove the scratches. And then the white ceramic to get a better finish and a razor steel. You can notice the chamfered signature hole on the Junction. A première. The cuts were deeper. It was better! Much more enjoyable. But the spine was too sharp for my thumb and diamonds came handy to rounded the angles. It would never be a Sebenza spine…. Again the control during whittling was much much better. One should never be scared to round the edges for suiting your own needs. The handle is very flat on that knife. It’s an attention for people who wish to stash their knife in a pocket or a backpack without leaving a print. But a flat knife is not the most comfortable in the palm of your hand… Especially when cutting hard things for a long time. I decided to make a quick comparison with the Spyderco Sprig which is a pleasure to use. You can notice how the Phil Wilson’s Sprig got a thicker handle. And it change everything when cutting hard things. Also Phil Wilson’s is all about performances. Its geometry is stellar. It immediately cuts deep in wood without any real improvement needed…. But diamonds were there to be usef. 🙂 I was able to get thin regular cuts into the wood. So I have decided to try the diamonds on the Gayle Bradley Bowie I have brought with me. This one got a thicker geometry and is made if the same pulverized alloy as the Junction You can always improve an edge. Used as a light chopper it worked just fine. Gayle Bradley has provided a great compact Bowie which can be used as a light camp knife. You can see: it’s not a lot bigger compared to my Ed Chempp Bowie. And the edge once thinned is honorable. Of course it is not as thin as my Pekka Tuominen Urban II for example. And not as aggressive as the Sprig… I got…. too much knives on my table…