All posts by nemosandman

Journalist Reporter Filmmaker Author Photograph Sharpener... "Turn and the world turns on, we're riding out with the dawn All fired up again like a thousand times before Beneath the blessed sun and the coming day And the years don't change a thing - the rush remains the same And I feel like a knife, these days are calling I feel like a knife, sharpened like steel Touched by the hand of the gods on these golden mornings I feel like a knife for you." "KNIFE" Justin Sullivan 1991

Ed Schempp’s Khukuri – Spyderco C125

Ed Schempp is one of my favorite designer. As I have always written, the spirit of a maker oozes from his knives. Ed is a true gentleman, a cever inventor and a gifted bladesmith and all his designs got something pure and radical. His Khukuri is a perfect example.

Look at it closed. It looks so classical. Nothing particular but beware of dormant waters.

Once open you got a tool which makes love with your hand. This knife is made for your palm and finger and to be held and use and…
Well the knife is screaming to be used. It is stunning. The handle is thin and does not feel boxy. The generous choil welcomes you index.
Then you notice the angle the blade is doing with handle. This natural angle is the signature of Kukri knives used in Nepal by the famous Gurkhas. It is also a signature of Ed Schempp’s knives. Especially short knives and folders. I have seen Ed’s custom Khukuri with beautiful damascus steel using Spyderco logo as pattern…

To quote Sal Glesser: “I can do anything”, Ed Schempp, will push the envelope, often just to see if he can. I did a “hammer” in at Ed’s house. Just a bunch of knife afi’s with great skill working on a globe. But no hammers. Ed designed and built a series of miniature rolling mills so we can produce mosaic damascus pieces, each with an assignment. Ed’s my “go to” guy for Ethnic series knives. Take a design hundreds, or even thousands of year old, capture the purpose and function and re-create that in a modern folder. He studies the design, the history, function and purpose before beginning. Those of you that have studied and used Ed’s designs know what I’m talking about. True original classics, each and every one.”

What can I say more ?

Even in Icepick grip the little folder is pure ergonomy. The full flat ground blade is generous in belly and recurve bringing very powerful cuts. No need for any jimping on the spine or the handle, the knife is simply glued to your grasp.

Can you see the family’s blood, the Schempp’s touch ? The Tuff, the Khukuri, the Bowie and their long choil and angle ? Elegance and “beautility”. Oh, I dream of a Kukhuri Sprint Run because that design needs to be used again. An AEB-L version please ?
And a huge thank you to Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr who is the proud owner of my four last reviewed knives.

Kevin Wilkins Leafstorm- SPYDERCO C128G

Thanks to Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr , I have the opportunity to test various knives of his collection. The Leaf Storm is one of them.
And it was a thick bird and have bought second hand…

They are a rattle when closed and the culprit was easy to find. The previous owner has pushed to much on the lock slab…
First step: I remove the screws on the G10 side. They are long and goes into the titanium liner on the other side.

It is a very simple construction made in Golden Colorado.

The lock bar has been forced outward and has not enough tension anymore. The detent ball is even not working anymore.

By gently pressing inward I was able to give more tension to the lock. Much better !

Some nano oil drops for good measure.

And voilà. I have not put any blue lock tite, leaving Geoffrey free to do it, as it can stain the jade G10 too…

What a beautiful little critter ! It has been design by American Kevin Wilkins started as a graphic designer and art student then an art director. He moved to Berlin in the early 90s where the knife bug really sank in. By 1995 he worked out how to make his hobby a livelihood and one of his favorite designs he called the Leaf Storm, dixit Spyderco card.

It is small lady and gentleman knife that fits and carries in the watch-pocket of a pair of denim jeans. Let’s compare it with one of the best little big knife Spyderco is producing.

My Lil’Native (featuring JD’s edge) got the same size and I carry it in my watch pocket. Main difference could be the hollow grind versus the full flat grind but not for me. What I miss the most is the choil…

Because as both knives got the same blade length, the Native give the opportunity to chock up the knife and have plenty of space for 4 fingers.

The Leaf Storm got no protection with its large ricasso and could be an issue if it is sharp. And it is sharp. My pinkie could be cut easily.

With the hammer grip, this is my index knife which is now the next candidate for a flesh wound…
In my own opinion, the Leafstorm is an eye candy and a collector knife, as it is rare now, been discontinuited but the action is not smooth and gritty and the ergos not to my taste, I rather go with my little Walker C22CFPE or my Lil’Native. There is even some lock sticking as there is no steel interface… It is a little on the crude side compare to smooth Lil’Native. Golden factory has made a lot of progress since the release of the LeafStorm. Designing little folders is not an easy task and esthetics are not mandatory. The LeafStorm is a beauty but not palm friendly.

The Spyderco Drunken – A True Rimbaud’s Knife.

Did you know that John Rambo was inpired by a Season In Hell by Arthur Rimbaud. Also David Morrell, First Blood’s author, was looking for a name for his heroe and his wife brought him some apple: Rambo’s Apples. Anyway, Rimbaud was not born in Bowie, Arizona like John Rambo but in Charleville, a city dear to my heart, in the Ardennes and for fans of Nine Princes in Amber from Zelazny. So let’s see why that knife could be a Rimbaud’s knife.

As you can notice, they are dust… No, I mean you can notice the “Drunken” texture designed for a high performance grip: a wave pattern. There is a poem from Arthur Rimbaud named “Le Bateau Îvre” -“The Drunken Boat”. This poem is famous because, at least in French, its verses are built like waves and you can feel in your guts, the fear of a sailor on a boat going out of control in the middle of a tempest. (“The poem describes the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea in a fragmented first-person narrative saturated with vivid imagery and symbolism.” dixit Wikipedia. ” Rimbaud, then aged 16, wrote the poem in the summer of 1871 at his childhood home in Charleville in Northern France. Rimbaud included the poem in a letter he sent to Paul Verlaine in September 1871 to introduce himself to Verlaine. Shortly afterwards, he joined Verlaine in Paris and became his lover. Rimbaud was inspired to write the poem after reading Jules Verne‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which had recently been published in book form, and which is known to have been the source of many of the poem’s allusions and images. Another Verne novel, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, was likely an additional source of inspiration.” More there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bateau_ivre).
Rambo was a very young poet genius but the second half of his life he was a “blade runner”, also a weapon’s and spices’ retailer in the Red Sea and Abyssinie Africa, a true adventurer. Again you can read is incredible life here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud

But there is more link with John Rambo’s character freedom and survival:
“After studying several languages (german, italian, spanish), he went on to travel extensively in Europe, mostly on foot. In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army to get free passage to Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Four months later he deserted and fled into the jungle. He managed to return incognito to France by ship; as a deserter he would have faced a Dutch firing squad had he been caught.”

So back to the Dmitry Sinkevich’s Drunken, and its poetic pattern, name and … price. As you can notice, this is not huge folder but it deliver a tremendous blade length for its size. The blade is shape is beautifully flat ground and is gently bevelled on the spine. Another oozing qualities knife and of course it is justifying its high price. This is not a flash batch like the Bombshell but a regular Spyderco release.
Again I need to thank Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr who has sent me his own Drunken for me to have a taste. Actually I was very surprised in a good way.
It is a light (the titanium scale is “webbed” to reduce weight) and solid knife with a tanked RIL mechanism equiped with a steel interface, absolutely well balanced, alive in your hand. It’s a looker, you can gaze for hours: a true gem made in Taichung.

The big issue with that near to perfect knife is the clip. I have noticed it when I found myself not able to insert the clip in my trouser.

As you can see, the lip of the pocket is getting caught between the hole in “step” in the titanium scale and the clip.

Unless I’m helping it with my index finger by lifting the clip… which is also pointy… I can’t clip it.
Another issue pointed by our friend Alexandre Constantinoff in the Spyderco Fan Club France on Facebook is…

The one-screw-clip got some serious lateral play. And that’s for a knife that price is a shame especially coming from Spyderco which are the first to promote clips for more than 30 years.

As you can see Geoffrey’s Drunken got its clip already already marked and he told me he will find a solution to suit his need.

Here is the Drunken with two very similar Spyderco releases: the PPT on the left and the Spydiechef. The PPT Sprint Run share a S90V Blade and a Carbon Fiber/Titanium handle and unusual clip and the Spydiechef is really a brother in design.

They are a lot in common with those two, don’t you think ? From the side of the hole to the shape of the blade and the handle…

Actually you can notice the Spydiecheff clip is perfect, it goes far from the cut slab and the deep carry wire clip is perhaps the best clip in the Spyderco line.

So the Drunken in use is also very pleasant. The action is not especially smooth but you feel the solid lock with a loud KLAK once engaged.
Then the handle is even more confortable than the one of the Spydiechef, less blocky with its facets and bevels. The large pivot screw is great for shocking up the knife and the angle of the blade is providing a lot of power and control in the cuts. If the clip’s issue was forgotten, we could have here one of the best Spyderco ever release with zero compromise in terms of pleasure to use. Just that pointy shaggy ugly clip which ruins the experience and that’s a real problem for a knife at that price.
But, oh, what a beautiful geometrically handle…

And a really beautiful knife.

The Danger Pickle is a Bombshell — C250GTI

The Bombshell is a Spyderco’s flash batch at 400 dollars MRSP.
Painful for the wallet, huh ? A flash batch means “it will be produced only once in this exact form. To make them even more collectible, Flash Batches are individually serialized with a laser-engraved number. The Bombshell’s number can be found on the inside of the reverse-side liner.” (When the English is perfect, I have copied and past someone else…)
My friend Geoffrey Vernier has given me the opportunity to try and test his own Spyderco Bombshell. We have met some years ago at the Amsterdam Minimeet, the last one where Sal Glesser was there. Since Geoffrey has developped his own business NORMANDEEP, a diver’s shop near Omaha Beach (one of the D- Day !) in Normandie. https://www.normandeep.fr/
A diver shop where is also sale Spyderco Salts. He is my official sponsor for that review on some other to come. Thank you Geoffrey !


So here is the Bombshell aka the Danger Pickle. Two kind of people will be interested: collectors and adventurous users. First thing you notice when you hold the Pickle is quality oozing for her pores. There is feel like it is a custom knife not industrially made in Taichung. Michael Burch, her designer, is also known for his previous Spyderco’s design, the Chubby. The Bombshell is also a fat little fellow. Same breed as the Slisz’s Techno 1. As described in Spyderco’s site, this is a heavy-duty folding knife with a thick CPM® 20CV® stainless steel blade, which features a drop-point profile, a hollow grind. “Its stout handle is crafted with full, skeletonized titanium liners, radiused olive drab G-10 scales and a matching G-10 backspacer. The liners form the backbone of the Bombshell’s high-strength LinerLock mechanism and a pocket clip configured for right-side, tip-up carry ensures quick access.”

There is no steel interface between the blade and the thick liner. I don’t know if the liner’s end has been heat treated harder but titanium liner locks can wear faster than harder stainless steel’s. It was the case with my 20 years old Benchmade. It is also a designer choice to make a hard use workhorse with a liner lock when the previous design, the Chubby got a Reeve Integral Lock which is in my book, easier to clean.


For the record a steel liner lock like my 1998 Starmate is a work horse with the possibility to adjust the wear just by changing the pivot settings.
Its nested liners and  improved Walker LinerLock mechanism, which features a concave ramp on the blade’s lock face can be also found on the Bombshell.

 

As you can notice, the 22 year old Starmate stainless steel liner show less wear than the new Bombshell but the Pickle got thicker liners.

Also the Pickle’s stop pin is closer to the axis and thinner. So, the old Starmate shows a sturdier construction and it has been used very very hard through the years with zero issue.
These two folders got a lot in common: hollow grinds, same way to put a hole in the blade (frowning hump)… same destination: a workhorse.

The first thing I have noticed with Bombshell is how it was pleasant to touch. The rounded G10 handle. The heft. The Bombshell is no bigger than a Para3 which means you can carry it in the city easily. The belly of its blade makes it a nice wood cutter as its geometry is also thin. Compared to a factory edge Para 3, it is better at pushcutting into wallnut wood. Also the thick spine makes it very confortable for pushcutting as the thumb finds a nice place to rest. There is also a choil where the index goes immediately for precision cuts. So it is pleasant to hold and use. It is well balanced. A very nice tool. The only issue for me would be the clip but it is a designer’s choice and at least it is not creating any hotspot on the handle. Holding the pickle makes you smile and forget the price it has cost you.
So far I really enjoy that Danger Pickle. It is pleasant to hold and use and the material are top notch. It is not only a looker but a true user. But as mentioned, it is really expensive and rare and I would have prefered it to be a regular release instead of a flash batch because it will appeal the collectors more than the users and this knife was destined to be used.
Anyway if not a safe queen, it will be a pleasant EDC with a real “Big Little Knife” character.

This is the Swayback – Spyderco C249TIP First glimpse at a Sebenza Grand Child.

Here it is, the new Marcin Slysz designed Spydie some have been dreaming for almost 10 years. Inspired by 19th Century pocket knives design this is another grand child of the Mighty Sebenza with a Reeve Integral Lock and many other details which relie on Reeve’s legacy of making high quality folding workhorses.
(BTW big kuddos to the Coutellerie Tourangelle which has been able to send it during vacation’s period in 3 days.)
You will see, it is more a Sebenza’ heir that I thought.

Let’s read the description:

Inspired by 19th century English Jack knives, the sway back pattern is a stylish and extremely functional cutting tool. In his latest Spyderco collaboration, renowned Polish knifemaker Marcin Slysz supercharges this classic design by rendering it with state-of-the-art materials and craftsmanship. 
The SwayBack’s hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade is crafted from CTS® XHP stainless steel and has a handsome stonewashed finish. It is housed in an open-backed handle constructed with solid titanium scales. Both scales are beautifully crowned for comfort and the reverse-side scale forms the foundation of a sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) with a stainless steel interface. 
A polished stainless steel clip provides convenient carry and is reversible for left or right-side tip-up access.

OK… Polished stainless steel on a Polish expensive knife… tss.. tss…
Now the specs:
Overall Length 204mm
Blade Length 90mm
Steel CTS XHP
Closed Length 115mm
Edge Length 84mm
Weight 111g
Blade Thickness 3.5mm

When I have receive the knife I was chocked. Chocked by a simple fact: I could not open that damn folder with one hand ! It was like glued !!
Two hands I could. One hand -> impossible. Glued.
Again: IMPOSSIBLE. And again. And again. 
The hole is not sharp, he got a light bevel and my thumb cannot catch it. 

In fact, as seen on the 3rd picture, the lock bar is wide, the hole is deep in the handle, so instinctively my other fingers push the bar and augment the detent strength -> you can not open it.
On the second picture you can notice my middle finger pushing the handle’s bar of the the frame lock.
So I was the source of my problem. Not the knife.
It is just a matter of NOT touching the lock bar when opening the damn thing !
Also it is also important to push at 90° from the handle, like Chris Reeve was advising 20 years ago about his Sebenza. You see ? It is really a Sebbie grand child. 🙂
With the Spyderco Ikushi, this is my second tricky Spyderco. Eventually I gave up on the Ikushi. The Swayback is more on a learn curve and finding new muscle motors way.

As you can notice, it ask a little gymnastical way: holding the knife by the pivot and the clip. But it is learnt quick.
I really thought it is the answer of Marcin to all that fidget fashion.
For example the Para3 is so easy to open and close it is almost a game for some people. Click open. Clack closed.
But here, the Swayback tells you “I am a very serious knife ! Not a toy.”
Like Chris Reeve said: “Think twice, cut once”.
You open it with a certain joy and he closes just by gravity.
It is ‘that’ good.

 

Perhaps this is also a way to force you to use two hands to opening it. It is a polite way to open your knife in public. Also it prevents children or other people to open the knife without your permission. In this case it is great ! 🙂
I also found a way to open it in reverse grip with my ring finger.
It is also a very polite way to open a folder as the point is turned toward yourself. Also the reverse grip is really made for that knife.

20200814_152011.jpg

Now the other point of disappointment is the stainless steel clip.

It is high and really not in the style of all the previous Spyderco Slycz which were wired like you can see it on my picture of the Swayback next to the Spydiechef.

I got some titanium clips in spare so let see… which one could fit.

They are all as high as the OEM Spyderco but I do not wanted the deep carry titanium clip to stand over the handle edge.  Also I wanted it to match the handle better.

Too long….

Too shiny…

Perfect.

So let’s make some pictures:

So now the edge is very thin on this knife. It is an hollow ground blade like the Sebbie. My 1997 ATS34 is still in a great shape.

Let’s try the edge….

20200814_201727-01.jpeg

20200814_124226.jpg

20200814_145759.jpg

The factory edge is impressive. Just a few pass on leather and it get to real razor. CTX XHP fine grain is known for that behavior.
I have used it on tomatoes and it passed the test with the famous flying colours.

It is a relatively big folder with great ergos. I appreciate the hidden “choil” or hidden guard and the sway back fits the meat of my palm perfectly. No hot spot there, even with the old or new clip.

20200814_160443.jpg

The plastic coke bottle’s butt has been perfectly passed. It is really amazing.

The edge/handle ratio is also great. It is really a tool which screams to be used and looking forward to use it on wood for whittling. There is plenty of space for my thumb to push on the spine.
The Swayback is also an exquisite work of love by Taichung plant.
Many details are hidden like the double pins screw inside the blade around the pivot. They works as stop pin with bevel inside the slabs.
Nick Shabbaz has made a nice video about it.
Taichung rocks really.

So here we got a very elegant folder with a lot of very thin edge. I told you it is very CRK in his blood.
The clip provided is OK but it is a matter of preference to find another one. Once you have learned to put your index high on the handle, near the pivot, the opening is flawless.

20200814_125907-01.jpeg


It is very very sharp and the straight edge us generous in length and geometry.
I’m looking forward using it and it will the in another article.

 

And now you can proudly say: “THIS IS THE SWAY !!”    😉

mandalo-season-2

The Working Seahorse! SPyderco Siren C247G

Here it is, the famous Lance “Surfingringo” Clinton’s folder: the Siren. Une sirène in French is a mermaid. This knife is maid to be an rustproof EDC.
This is more a glimpse review, first impressions but you will have a follow up in the coming weeks.
So far I’m very impressed by the quality of the knife.
Here is a little video of presentation:

I love that video because it is rich in different scenes showing the everyday application of that tool . Also this is a knife designed as an EDC tool not a mall ninja nightmare. As Lance Clinton has repeated: this is not a specialized fisherman knife but an EDC knife designed by a fisherman.

Immediately you notice how grippy the G10 handle is. Even with oily hands you got a grip. Also the guard is substantial. This shape makes the choke up of the knife easy with the ring finger anchored in the guard, as seen in the video.
The handle looks like one of Spyderco’s earliest collaborations: their folding knife designed by Master Bladesmith Wayne Goddard. Over the years, this design has been produced in various forms and sizes and remains a favorite among dedicated Spyderco fans.
It also the exact shape of the other Lance Clinton’s design: the Waterway.
Also I have noticed how smooth the mechanism is and the blade was able to dropchut out of the box !

OUCH !!
Be careful. There is no choil on this knife and the blade is sharp !

Here we go: first blood ! Good omens.

See? There is only two places for your index finger when you close the knife: against the guard or out of the way.
You will notice how Lance closes his knife on the video: he unlock it with his index, not his thumb !



This is the reason why the handle is a little bit longer: it gives you the possibility to unlock with index and to hold the knife with your fingers out of the way.

So this is a aquatic tool. A knife Lance Clinton tosses and forgets in the bottom of his sea kayak. For his living, he is a professional fisherman.

Three knives with no humps. Lance Clinton has also been a reviewer of the Spydiechef (which he had reground the blade now looking s a lot like his Siren, on the picture this is my own knife so no regrind) and also he as reviewed the fantastic Native 5 Salt.
All those knives share the same steel for their blade:
the now famous ultra-corrosion-resistant LC200N steel !
(read the Spydiechef review for a presentation).
The Chef offers the same edge length in a shorter handle but the Siren got a thinner profile.

The choil of the Native 5 is much more safe but the Siren also offers a maximum of edge.

The edge is sharp but a little thick in my book. It is destined to be thinned. Also the LC200N works great with a little rough toothy edge.

The smoothness of the action is uncanny. I’m also able to flip it open (like in the video) with a push from the index in the Spyderhole.

The great confort of handle lake the knife usable in all condition and a great companion for any trip around the world.

But that grip will chew your pocket’s lips fast. To prevent that I have sanded the G10 under the clip. Now It is perfect a I have especially kept the grippy G10 around the pivot.

It would be also a great folding diving knife like all Spyderco Salt.
For the record the Salt Pacific was used by Navy Seals.
LC200N got an amazing edge retention which made it perfect for an EDC solution.

Talking about EDC solution here is a 4 times less expensive EDC, the Luna Real Steel Heinie Edition, It is a slipjoint with an hidden choil.
Another EDC solution with a razor edge soon to be reviewed…

Anyway the Siren is a well balanced all terrain workhorse. Spyderco’s backlocks are some of the strongest made and there is no blade play in any direction. It is also a light folder which disappears in the pocket. The black deep carry clip makes it invisible. So far I’m very impressed and I’m looking forward to playing with it.

Here is Lance Clinton’s own video review:

A Jade stone and a rex45 blade are in a boat…

I have the chance to receive a beautiful gift from my friend Gene who lives in Grand Rapids.
It is a jade stone made to hone sharp steel handmade by Gabriel J. Warren.
Gene has been able to put a mirror edge on his Kapara and he wanted me to try this wonderful portable tool.

I have tested it on the bevel of my Rex45 and immediately a beautiful mirror line is visible.

True jade is transparent. It is a beautiful object. It is also cold on the skin. Very unique feeling.
It’s made to be a pendant. The shape is inspired by Viking stones even if Viking did not used jadeite stones.
Some steels are easily mirroring on it like on this Spydiechef.
Or the razor steel of this Urban sprint run.
Natural G-10 is also transparent.
CPM-M4 loves jade stone.
It is also the perfect companion to the Wolfspyder.
M390 is one of the mirror edge friendly steel.
But REX45 is the one I will work on.
I have tested my Shaman edge on dry chestnut wood compared to Pekka Tuominen Puukko and Wolfspyder.
It is a razor but the whittling ask for a lot of force. The edge is too thick.
The little Wolfspyder is able to go deeper and easier.
So diamonds ere used to thin the edge and remove the “shoulder”.
The jade was then put to use. I have found that holding the stone that way prevent my finger to be cut.
If the blade goes a little to far, I won’t cut my finger pulp.

Jade Stone by Gabriel J Warren:

“Small whetstones often were worn as pendants by many northern peoples, including Vikings. This Jade whetstone is a replicant of softer slate whetstone pendants found in archaeological digs in York, England, but similar pendants have been found in Gotland, Norway, Kalåstad, and Birka.

Jadeite was not available to our ancestors, I find it is a superior honing stone to the slate or jasper used historically. Jade is extremely strong and has a very fine grain. Thus it is excellent for final honing and also stronger than those aforementioned stones. However there is a technique to use this stone for rough grit sharpening, see below.

This Viking Pendant comes highly polished on all surfaces. If you would like to increase the cutting grit for more rapid steel removal when sharpening, you can take the polish down on the back of the pendant or the sides with 200 or 400 grit sand paper, just rub it on a flat surface for about 30 seconds to a minute. This lets your stone cut at the grit that your surface is prepared at. For example these come polished to 30,000 grit and will easily give steel a mirror polish.

This ability to change up the surface lets you decide if you don’t mind the stone being fully polished, or not. The back surface can be used to sharpen coarsely if you like. A less polished surface on jade is fantastic as a rough dressing stone for initial sharpening or refreshing a dulled blade.

Jade is way harder than steel, so you never have to worry about gouging your necklace and it will never wear out in multiple lifetimes. Your great grand children will inherit this.

These stones are roughly 2.75” long, just under an inch wide at the bottom, and 0.30” thick. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from blue to green with hints of yellow and white. They should be used to sharpen dry, no water or oil needed, but you can sharpen either way.

This stone comes with an adjustable 550 paracord necklace. If you’d like guidance on sharpening please check out the group on Facebook Wild Whetstones or visit my website NaturalWhetstoneSharpening.com

The Jade stone give a very nice finish.

So far it is very nice to be able to carry a little jade stone in your pocket. In Asia, it brings luck, wealth and protection.
Blessing is always good to take.

Also honing a blade is easy.
On short blades you move the blade on the stone (be careful with your finger)
On bigger blades you move the stone on the blade like a stone on a sickle.
With such a ultra fine grit you won’t be able to ruin your edge but soon find the best way to adapt your free hands technique to your tools. It is a learning curve which is fun.

As Gene told me:
“On short blades (i.e., shorter than the stone), with a hand-held stone I move the blade on the stone without alternating hands (because I can flip my hand over and still have my wrist follow the curve of the blade). With a bench stone, I alternate hands on the opposite side of the blade so my wrist rotation can match the curve of the blade. On longer blades (using a hand-held stone), I move the stone along the edge of the blade, changing hands for the opposite sides (which makes it easier for wrist rotation to match the curve of the blade). Generally alternating 5-10 strokes per side (moving away from the edge with each stroke) to polish away from the edge, until I reach the desired polish), then alternating 3-5 strokes per side focused on the edge (until I am happy with it…or bored), finally alternating 1 stroke per side for the final edge finish.”

But REX45 is a very hard steel and ask for more time on it.


Eventually moving the stone on the edge is the best way I have found as my edge are convexed and rounded. SO the natural movement of the hand is bringing a mirror finish on the edge very easily.
It is fun for sure ! 🙂

THE TREE REX Part 2 – Beveling THE SPINE.

The Tree Rex is certainly my favorite hard work folder from Spyderco. Sal Glesser has made a real beauty able to deliver a lot of power.
The handle is especially thicker and rounder than any other folders proposed by the Golden Company. The pseudo wooden slabs which can be rinsed in water with zero issues. (I have erased the smell with some alcohol solution) and the mighty blade made of a very lovely steel: REX45 got that “touch” of Speed Star aka M2HSS I have loved on Benchmade AFCKs and Nimravi. The steel is easy on leather and bites steady when whittling with control. The best wood chisels are made from M2HSS.

But they are some hot spots on the spine and on the choil. I use my thumb to pushcut in wood and a square spine is painful after a while.
Knowing the Rex45 is a 8% Cobalt steel, I have decided to send it in the wind and with some water to prevent dust. The very hard steel (66,5 HRC) was eventually rounded to my taste.

Rounding the spine to a be less aggressive was done using 600 grint sand paper. Eventually I have used the sand paper to do some convexing.
Soon a Jade stone will be tested for mirror finish on the edge.

Cutter at the ready: Outdoor Edge Slidewinder and Powerfix Profi-Cutter.

 

wp-15828026072289095639652995433157.jpg

wp-15828026082768505996724700794265.jpg

Cutter blades are always been a must for their thin razor sharp blades destined to be use hard without any sharpening skills involved. They use in many crafts and often misused when a good knife could do the job.

When I was a pupil, I remember using cutters for anything: from artistic projects (with the full blade extended) to sharpen pencils. It was a cheap switchblade acceptable in the classroom. Professionals need stronger tools with pre-carved adjustable sliding blade.

Those solutions are often around 5 to 10 dollars/euros and while cheap are very handy and found in any places where cutting things is mandatory.
They are Workhorses of interchangeable blades !

The Outdoor Edge Slidewinder was a gift to friend after a purchase in Blade HQ.
This is actually the cheapest solution for a Front Opening Knife.
40 years ago, back at school, they used to sell spring retractable little cutter called “La Griffe De Chat”. It was a key holder with the same principle: getting a little cutter blade on a small front opening tool. Back then it cam in many colors and the spring tension was preventing the blade to slide out of the handle.

“Snikt !”

wp-15828026103938055444351469047824.jpg

The Slidewinder offers the same idea but you also got the possibility to block the blade while extended.

wp-15828026115021919474478662406301.jpg

It also propose a bottle opener and screwdrivers. The body of the tool is stainless steel and plastic.

It is very handy and easy to carry.
It does the job actually !
To change blade you should remove the fout torx screws. But really this is not something I would mind about. This is not a professional tool. Just some blade you can have on you for quick jobs.

wp-15828026093225900483212864013419.jpg

wp-15828035983145834866879372419325.jpg

If you want a “professional” folding cutter, the Powerfix Profi-Cutter is another stronger example. Bought in LIDL (hence a German tool) for less than 6 euros, this is a longuest ricasso tool I own.

wp-15828035988515490118272847871810.jpg

The opening stud is also a unlocking system for the blade to be changed.
The lock spring is so hard to unlock, you need two hands !

Also the clip is so high, it won’t get un-noticed.
For the price, you got a hefty and solid tool. The kind of workhorse you will use to cut material against hard things: like carpets on the concret floor.
This is inexpensive and easy to get in play.

They are many way to bring a good blade in the working site.
Some may be more pricey than others ! 

The TREE REX also known as the Shaman in CPM-REX 45 and Dymondwood.

wp-1581090385600135072497497129784.jpg

This is the C229RWDP Spyderco Shaman in CPM-REX 45 Satin Plain Blade, Rosewood Dymondwood Handles and it is a KnifeCenter Exclusive.
Like the previous Crucarta, Micarta Cruwear Shaman, this is a very rare animal and a king in his family. Of course they are discontinued too. You can notice my Crucarta has now convexed edge where the Tree-Rex is still wearing her factory edge.
There is also another difference you can notice: the pivot screw !

wp-15810903863451251928844041600457.jpg

The handle of the Shaman is appealing for beautiful textured handle. Micarta is such a pleasure but faux wood like this Dymondwood is also a pure pleasure under the thumb.
I have been able to see a broken pakkawood endura handle so what is Dymondwood ?
“”Dymondwood” is the tradename for a product that was produced by Rutland Plywood. Essentially, it is a lamination of very thin veneers, usually birch, impregnated with a resin. The designation Walnut, Cocobolo, etc refers to the color of stain used, not the species of wood. It is a very stable product. Unfortunately, the Rutland factory was destroyed by fire about a year ago. As a result, the future supply of Dymondwood is in doubt.” dixit Bertl on the Bladeforums. This one is rosewood Dymonwood and it looks like real wood to me in rich brown colors and not as orange as the pictures. So it is an excellent surprised. This is the pleasant feel you can get from a rifle, it is warm and pleasant to the eye. “Generally the terms Rosewood, Cocobola, Heritage Walnut, Cherrywood etc are dye colors, not wood species.” said another forumite on the same page.

wp-15810903867038838718685091583355.jpg

The factory edge is even and really really sharp. Just some pass on leather and I got a clean razor which cut the hairs without scrubbing the skin. It is amazing.
So I have decided to round the edge of the spine but keep the edge as it is for a change.

CPM REX 45 is a new steel to me. According to crucible: “CPM REX 45 is an 8% cobalt super high speed steel which has excellent hot hardness along with good wear resistance and toughness, making it suitable for difficult machining applications.A data sheet.
It has red hardness comparable to that of M42 but offers abrasion resistance even better than that of M3. With its excellent red hardness, good wear resistance and good toughness, CPM Rex 45 is suitable for high cutting speed applications.

Carbon 1.30%
Chromium 4.05%
Vanadium 3.05%
Tungsten 6.25%
Molybdenum 5.00%
Cobalt 8.00%
Sulfur 0.06 (0.22%)

As far as I understand a sprint run with orange G-10 and the same blade will be available soon and lot of REX45 knives are coming.

83182472_10157306694490958_3887214783228805120_o

On the Spyderco Forums you can find a great test of that steel by Deadboxhero comparing REX45 and CPM M4.
Eventually he found M4 works great with coarse edge and REX45 with polish edge. That what I was looking for as polishing edges is my guilty pleasure.
So far, I’d say people will enjoy the properties of Rex 45, while M4 prefers a more toothy finish Rex 45 will prefer the opposite which is unique amongst Crucible steels let alone US steels. It’s interesting to a US steel closer to the properties of a japanese steel which have more of a bias toward Polished edges.” wrote  Deadboxhero.

REX45 seems to be the same as HAP40 found in the Endura review, but HAP40 was 63HRC when REX45 heat treated by Spyderco is pushing the envelop to an incredible 66-67 HRC as hard as this Japanese ZDP189 Rockstead Higo… For the record the Maxamet blades are at 70HRC and brittle as ceramic in my record.
Also the 4% chrome makes it a staining steel and I expect to find a patina after to use.

My friend Max Wedges has given me that advice about cobalt:
Careful with the knives you use with food (specially acid food). The problem is that COBALT is a Cancer agent. For any steels that are sharpened often & go close to food, I avoid ALL Cobalt steels (Tungsten Carbides are less of an issue). If you sharpen you always get some “swarf” residue on the blade… better clean it properly before use: use a cotton swipe with alcohol & a drop of tea tree oil, after carefully washing & drying the blade (& avoid the grinding dust like the Pest it is). M4, M2 Steels have no Cobalt. CPM S110V, N-690, VG-10 do, so I use the older S90V, S35VN, RWL-34/CPM154, 440-C or AEB-L for food knives. Were I a knife maker, I would totally refuse the use of any steels containing Co. Moly is related to Tungsten: these are much less harmful, and are bound into Carbides… but Cobalt forms no carbides & gets airborne easier. Be wise?

85142638_10157390919865958_2678762714444070912_o

That’s very interesting ! It is something to discuss.
How a steel could harm your health is a subject which I have not seen yet on forums.
Steel is not neutral. If you cut a green salad with carbon steel, the leaf will get brownish. The same cuts with a stainless steel and the salad will stay green for hours. Steels are not neutral with the medium they cut. Is a Powder Tech steel using 8% of Cobalt be poisonous ?

However, if you sharpen a knife, you are grinding the steel with an abrasive. Even a slightly abrasive chef’s “steel” (a rod used to sharpen and condition chef’s knives before using) will leave a residue of the blade steel and the abrasive (silicon carbide, ceramic, aluminum oxide, other steels, etc.) behind. This residue is called swarf. How many chefs have you seen whip a knife blade on a rod, then go right to cutting your brisket? How many wipe the swarf onto a grimy rag that hangs over their shoulder or around their belt before cutting your salmon? How many actually go to a sink and wash the knife with soap and water before returning to the block or cutting board?
From The Special Case of Cobalt by Jay Fisher provided by Max Wedges.

Guys who purport to be experts—posting particularly on knife forums—claim that concern about cobalt is all amped-up hype. It’s easy to find endless discussions, particularly about VG-10, and the concern about exposure to cobalt. The uneducated flock to these forums; they are not experts, they do not read scientific studies, they do not believe the CDC, the American Cancer Society, or any of the numerous organizations that warn against cobalt exposure. “Show me the reports,” they say, yet they are unable to find the very references that the rest of us can easily locate. The reports are numerous; the professionals don’t just make this stuff up, but you have to read.

They claim that you would have to grind up and eat knife after knife in order to be exposed to enough cobalt to cause cancer. They know this because they are toxicologists (ahem), and know that metal exposure recommendations are a conspiracy by nut jobs (uh-huh). I guess all the nut jobs work for the CDC and the American Cancer Society… right?

They sometimes go on to compare cobalt to chromium, vanadium, and other alloy elements, saying that they are just as dangerous. This is typical ignorance on forums. All of these elements have been extensively studied, and cobalt has been found to cause cancers, while the others have not. This is the reason I state over and over, “Don’t get your information on a forum of any kind!”

Experts, professionals, and scientists don’t post there; open forums are mainly occupied by the uneducated and unknowledgeable anonymous masses, hobbyists, and part-time knifemakers and enthusiasts who know very little about knives overall. If you believe them, then you’ll believe that the best steels are hammered together in an open fire, just like it was done in 1875. You’ll believe that the entire modern metals and machining industry does not know anything, that some oaf with a hammer can make an improved axle, planer blade, or turbine part. After all, you saw it on the History channel…

Sorry to be so blunt, but if you are reading this, you deserve to know the truth. Or maybe the thousands of professionals at the CDC, IARC, NCS, NIOSH, and in the research community are all wearing tin foil hats… sigh. Welcome to the internet, where the idiots get the same voice as the intelligent, damn the truth!

wp-15815254322715637709249113791462.jpg

So guess what ? In my great wisdom (ahem) I have asked the question on the Spyderco forum 😀
Knowing Japanese Chef knives are often HAP40 and VG10. Even my Ikea Chef Knife is VG10… Let see what they think about Cobalt in steels:
https://forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=85929

Even Pekka helped there:

Me: Do you think Cobalt dust could be dangerous ?
Pekka: Every dust is ! I do not believe that anybody get cancer if they sharp knife sometimes of month… if they do not collect all dust for they sandwich :) There is lot of f.ex. nickel in steels and chromium etc. all are very bad for health.

Me: How do you protect yourself?
Pekka: I do not breathe ;) serious I use mask with motor. But no gloves, I do not like gloves, I lost my feeling, as you know I do everything with freehand method, no jig etc.

So eventually we can eat with our knives but not eat our knives… ;)
Capture d'écran 2020-02-11 18.44.26

And also Sal Glesser which was one of the rarest bringing zero assumption or opinion but facts.
Most of the other comments were just mostly about bragging on other way to die like:
“Compared to driving in city traffic, I would say the danger from cobalt or anything in your knife is truly negligible.”
“I would assume it’s perfectly safe when bound together with iron.”
“The oxygen your breathing right now is also causing oxidative stress and damaging your cells and DNA with free radicals. Yet, we keep breathing.”
“Life has a 100% chance of death, get over it.”
“There is cobalt in your food and organs. It’s essential to live. Got B12?”

 

Yes, being deficient in vitamin B-12 causes physical and psychological symptoms, including nerve problems, fatigue, and difficulty thinking…
And yes we got so many chemicals in our bodies but it’s a matter to have them in the right proportion in the right place.
Oh well…
Fortunately Sal Glesser saved the day:

Capture d'écran 2020-02-12 16.12.19

“Fun subject. Figures it would be Nemo to bring this up from the depths. :p

I remember Nemo and I discussing Eric Taberly’s death in the sea, because he spent so much time at sea. So in the end, what gets you is what you do the most? That concept brings up some interesting thoughts? :eek:

We have to put warning labels on our products because they might be sold in California and there is sever punishment for not warning the people about the danger of the chemicals in our products.

In Manufacturing, most grinders and mills are used wet. Masks re a good idea if dry grinding. I breathed in a tiny amount of G-10 dust once and it did make me sick.

sal”

I guess we were the only few there to see that thread as a “fun” subject as there is the new cartesian way to answer questions of the Internet:

83989279_2643897135665662_8050352610743418880_n
Someone even has written:
“As Sal said, what gets you is what you do the most. Now that is actually worth thinking about.”
Hummm, I guess many forums specialists will eventually die from masturbation as their armchairs are mostly harmless to their health… No reason to be afraid from any poisons, then.
office-work-stress-reduction-occupational-disease-prevention-business-woman-exercising-chair-46505212

And Sal final word on that subject:
Capture d'écran 2020-02-12 17.28.20

OK, so back to this wonder of a knife: I have changed the position of the clip to a tip down carry because I have found that the Spyderdrop openings are really easy and fun on the shaman. The steel backspacer give momentum and the compression lock is a breeze to operate.

wp-15810903871584459490439035427203.jpg

This knife got zero lateral play too. It can really be open as fast as the good old Millie. For the record 25 years ago Sal’s was beating in speed every owner of automatic knives while opening his own Military. Spyderdrops are really an advantage in putting your tool in action very fast. Also the fact the clip is not a deep carry clip makes the spyderdrop a breeze to execute. Actually it is fun with the Shaman !

 

As illustrated: the clip is not deep carry but, oh well it is a big knife which rides small in the pocket.

 

Trying the edge on some hard chestnut wood and the cuts are deep and steady. It will be a pleasure to use ! It also bring the same smoothness I have had enjoyed on M2 High Speed Steel found on Benchmade knives back in 90’s. Once cut the wood chip feels smooth under the thumb.

wp-15810903901037149771659338127343.jpg

A funny thing has happen to my parcel when flying from the Knifecenter to Paris: it has gone West instead of East and has landed in Hawaï, Honolulu ! Thank to Kristin at the Knifecenter it has been rescued and after one week of storage in Hawaï has been able to fly from the other side of the planet and land to mailbox in 48 hours.
For the record, Hawai as the place where Jurassic Park has been filmed. It was logical for my Tree Rex to go there first. 😉

wp-15810903860007352196618738373583.jpg