SPYDERCO SCHEMPP TUFF BY ED SCHEMPP ~ C151GTI – When The Going Gets Tough – The Tuff Keep Going

Spyderco Persian and Tuff Ed Schempp

Ed Schempp is a very clever designer. As I have noticed in my previous post, it took him almost a decade to get the Tuff to the End Line Users. The purpose of the design was to create the tougher knife possible, kinda über Strider Sebenza Blackwood mix… A folding pry bar.
But let’s not forget: Ed is a farmer. A knife user. And his previous design included the wonderful Persian. Since I got the chance to receive as a gift one of the first batch Persian made (thanks JD!) I was also able to compare the two designs.

Persian and Tuff Ed Schempp

Ed seems to love heavy knife. The one you know you (still) got in your pocket. But also Ed got a very precise idea about ergonomy. Both knives got that angle once open giving you a great cutting power without to twist your wrist. You can push cut vertically, locking your wrist and your arm, and just using the strenght and weight of your shoulder. The Persian and the Tuff share that particularity.

SPyderco Tuff

But the Tuff is almost like a Folding Kukri. A folding mini chopping knife. The pivot is oversized as is the stop pin. The lock bar is the hardest I have ever tried. Everything is tough.
But now that I have installed the clip for tip down carry, my Tuff can be open very fast (Spyder drop) and close easily.
Despite the fact that I have oiled the pivot, my Tuff is squicking/singing like a fiddle and I now considering that sound as a part of its character.

SPyderco Tuff

The “prairie dogs hole” on the G10 and titanium are not the most sexy way to remove weight but it gives some kind of steampunk look to the knife.
Once close it’s all oval, all rounded and not thick compared to other über folder like the Lionspy. I was really surprised how it disappears once clipped to the front or back pocket and is forgotten.
The clip is a little on the stiff side but no big deal. Anyway now that I carry it like my Millies, I enjoy deploying it just by holding the blade by the fuller. Hiiiii CLACK !!!
The lock got that Reeve Integral Lock with improvements with some hardened steel insert which ensure superior strength and increase wear resistance (as on the Millie Tie, and the Rockstead Higo) and a security to prevent over bending (good luck with that anyway). It’s hard to unlock but not as hard as other lock like some Triadlock folders.

SPyderco Tuff

Ha the Fuller! I love the idea. It’s almost like Conan’s Atlantean sword ! 🙂 I would love to see the fullers adapted on the Spyderco Salt for example.
The blade is gorgeous as the light play with the fuller and the flat grind. I was not able to have a patina yet. CPM 3V is not a stainless steel and will picture my Tuff again as soon as a patina will start to develop.
It’s an heavy blade. Like with M2, CPM M4, I always got the feeling that density of non stainless tool steels is higher than stainless. I remember having noticed something like 20% between M2 and ATS34, but I could be wrong. Anyway the CPM 3V feels heavy and the knife is really well balanced.

SPyderco Tuff

Now I was able to get it to razor by stropping it on leather with ease. This is not as difficult as S90V or ZDP89. CPM 3V seems very leather friendly.
The heavy thick blade of my Tuff is shaving hair with a gentle caress. But it was also able to pass my bottle butt test despite its thickness. A beautiful Opinel with its thin and mirror polished blade was able to do it like through butter, but the Tuff was able to cut through showing its good geometry.
On flesh the Tuff is cutting with ease and this time thanks to the ergonomy and the “Schempp Angle”. I was surprised how it was borrowed to kitchen duty. Those Prairie Holes make it sheeple friendly after all and the heavy blade can cut only with its weight.

SPyderco Tuff

Now the next step will be in the woods. Time to see how tough the tuff is. I have noticed that the stainless steel liner is skeletonized. The ease of cleaning will be test also as the handle is not fully open.
The Tuff feels very solid and screaming to be use hard but for the moment it has shown me its softer side: I can open it and close it easily (changing the clip position helped a lot), it’s easy on the trouser, and it’s precise and really sharp. The big choil is a big plus when you need to choke up the blade for precise works. Oh, I have found some hot spot which won’t resist to my diamond files. the back of the blade is sharp enough for striking an iron rod, but as I love to push my cuts with my thumb, I have round it for a more confortable use.
The tuff is screaming hard use but also is whispering cleverness. There is a reason why Ed Schemp took his time on that design and this one is going to be a knife which will grow on you. Just look at the belly, the point and the way the knife goes into action and you will start to see what Ed wanted to produce.
Again Taichung plant has made a flawless work and the Tuff is a beautiful piece of steel. Let see how it performs in the woods.

This is what Jerry Hossom has to say about CPM3V in 2007:

“In my opinion, CPM-3V is the best knife steel ever.

It has the finest grain structure of any high alloy steel used in knives today, about 1 micron. That translates into extraordinary toughness and arguably as fine an edge as can be had. When you sharpen it, you don’t have to cut through carbides, so it sharpens a lot easier than you might expect, certainly easier than S30V or even D2 IMO. I had a 3V knife at Rc61 destruction tested by bending it to 90 degrees, back and forth, four times before it finally snapped, and that blade was hollow ground which resists bending because of the geometry. 3% vanadium, coupled with extreme toughness to resist microchipping allows it to hold an edge a very long time.

The ONLY downside to 3V is its corrosion resistance which is pretty good but the nature of how it corrodes is annoying as hell if it happens. You do not get a smooth patina or a surface bloom of light rust. What you see IF it corrodes are some small orange spots on the blade, under which will be deep pits. This is likely due to minor oxide contamination in the steel, so I passivate all my 3V blades by etching them in 50% FeCl for about 10 minutes, before the final brushed finish is applied. This has ALMOST eliminated the problem, but I still recommend keeping a light coat of oil on the blade and have never had rust once a blade is etched and oiled. I use Birchwood Casey’s Synthetic Gun Oil, which is a great protectant for any metal. 3V is about the same as D2 in this area, but benefits by taking a much finer finish than D2 so corrosion has fewer toeholds than with D2.

I put a fine finish on all my blades, but with 3V I always go to ~800 grit. All of my 3V blades, except swords, are hardened to Rc61.

Tough? In one test of one of my swords, the tester cut laterally through a shank of beef, including over 9″ of meat and over 3″ of bone without splintering the outcut on the bone and the only evidence of the cut on the blade was a very small (~1/8”) flat spot on the edge, which had been sharpened to shaving sharpness. You couldn’t see the flat spot from the side, only by looking down on the edge where you could see the reflection. That was a single-handed sword and just an amazing cut considering that beef leg bone is a VERY hard bone.

It’s a great steel, and it’s unfortunate that more people aren’t familiar with it. It took a bit of a bad rap when it first came out because it is very sensitive to a well-controlled heat treating schedule, as is S30V for that matter, and some makers who tested it early on before that was well understood just didn’t get what the steel had to offer. That’s why I sold my heat treating oven and send all my steel to Paul Bos for heat treating.

I just read through this and guess this is as close to hype as I get, but the steel is a great steel and this is my experience with it. Just as an interesting side note, when I first started using this steel I told Crucible I was convinced that microchipping was a major component of knives going dull and that this steel would “wear” better than its component numbers might suggest because it was so tough. At the time CPM-10V was Crucible’s super wear resistant steel. About 18 months later at the Eugene knife show, the top metallurgist at Crucible told me that they we finding that 3V was “outwearing” 10V in stamping dies. When they studied the reasons they discovered the 10V was microchipping and the hard, sharp edges were crumbling long before any abrasive wear could develop.

People in the woodworking industry have known about the toughness issue for a long time and many of the best woodworking tools are made with A2, which is a very tough steel. 3V is about 7 times tougher than A2, and I recently consulted with some people in that world who made some chisels and turning tools with 3V and found they cut better and longer than anything they had ever seen. AND BTW, they are also now putting convex edges on their chisels…

Try it, you’ll like it.”

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2 Comments on “SPYDERCO SCHEMPP TUFF BY ED SCHEMPP ~ C151GTI – When The Going Gets Tough – The Tuff Keep Going

  1. Great review Nemo! Good to see you getting on well with your Schempps 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: POCKET LEGENDS OF THE FALL FEAT. SPYDERCO SCHEMPP BOWIE ~ C190CF | Nemo Knives Review

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