All posts by nemosandman

Journalist Reporter Filmmaker Author Photograph "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

Spyderco Kapara C241CFP, Alistair Phillips Life Saver.

“On a knife edge razor day
If you listen long enough they’ve got nothing to say
It’s a time warp place don’t change
The rhythm of the night, the beating rain…” Midnight Oil.

After so much hesitation I was able to get a Kapara thanks to Tom (and Howard) at the Knifecenter. My “fear” was real since I had held the Kapara prototype at the Amsterdam Minimeet, worse it was a love at first sight when Alistair was showing is original design: the “Red Back” to the forums and Facebook… I was also hooked when Alistair came to Europe for working on the Australian museum bout WWI in the East of France.
(This should not be Forgotten Years, and if you can try to see Peter Jackson, the director of Lord of the Rings, “They Shall Not Grow Old” and see how he has used technology to render the footage from that area in colors and with sound: amazing!).
Also since the early 80’s I’m a big fan of the Oil, the Finn brothers (OK they are from New Zealand too), and even bands like Eden, Little Heroes, Ice House and Iva Davies.

Many description and test of the Kapara has been done last year but this very one here is the Version 2.0 as it has return to the bench for some adjustments as Eric Glesser has announced at the Minimeet 2019. So this is a new version.

So what do we get with that knife ? First you got a very strong flavour from the Big Southern Land: some pragmatism and commun sense for the tools you bring with you in the bush. OK the Kapara was first design as a kitchen knife for making Alistair Sandwich but this perfectionist of a designer as provided something incredible:
– beautiful line,
– smooth action of a “free dropping smooth as glass powerhouse”
– excellent blade ratio
– great ergos…
And a very very sharp factory edge. So sharp, I don’t want to convex it yet. Go figure!

So, from what I was afraid of ? I was afraid of near perfection EDC knife: the one knife which create distance with all the other designs you love.
I was right to be afraid.

No need to ask, he’s a smooth operator…

As you can see the blade ratio is excellent bringing a maximum edge for than handle, the hidden choil helps a lot.

The carbon fibers rounded handed is so nice to watch and use.
A word about Taichung manufacturing again: I was not able to find a single hotspot on the V2. The blade is centered. The blade drops with a release of the lock. The red spacer and the liners are soft and perfectly adjusted. This is really something to experiment to understand: it is like if Des Horn has been on the quality control for this one. Very very impressive !

Alistair has designed a very utilitarian high performance blade. There is not jimping.
The blade of the Kapara has been enhanced with a subtle hidden choil for the more precise cutting tasks. With this choil you will have a lot of control over the knife which is practical when peeling fruit.

The wire clip is set for deep carry and this is simply the best Spyderco configuration. The one which is missing on the Shaman design for example. I cannot imagine you would wear a pocket with that smooth handle and deep wire clip. It carries so easy like the marvelous Ed Schempp Bowie.

People call it “fancy pocket knife” but it is a Miss Australia in a Terminator design. The smooth and precise action, the long sharp edge, the wonderful ergo which can be used to cut on a board like the Spydiechef of the PPT.
It is a practical EDC knife with as a main function in mind: the cutting and peeling of different types of fruit and vegetables: the 9.1 cm blade is measured exactly to be long enough to cut most types of fruit in half. This is a fruit knife with an open back design: very easy to clean. And yes: tomatoes are fruits.
This is a tool with a healthy purpose as quoted on Spyderco site.
“Phillips originally created the Kapara as a personal carry knife to help him prepare healthy, vegetable-based meals.” Fruits and vegetables are good for your health. This knife could be a life saver but for now it is a “Coup de Maitre” !
Bonza Mate !!
On the Knifecenter description:
“According to Phillips, he originally designed the Redback/Kapara as a personal carry knife that he could use for food preparation in an office environment. After gaining a bit of weight, he was committed to eating healthier and trimming down, so he decided to create a cutting tool that would help him achieve that goal. He began by measuring a variety of fruits and vegetables to determine an appropriate blade length. He then tried using several of his existing designs, which happened to be flipper openers, to prepare food on a cutting board. Realizing that the flipper tab got in the way of using the entire length of the edge, he envisioned a knife with a long cutting edge, a Spyderco Round Hole for easy opening and a Compression Lock to keep food from getting into the lock mechanism.”

From the spyderco forums:
“We’re working on a 3.0″ Slippie for the UK market. I’ll keep a 3.25 compression lock model in mind as we watch the model in the future.
Sal”

A Kapara Slippie ? WOW !!

Convexing the edge!

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Pekka Tuominen’s Puukko —Terävä Marvel

At the FICX 2019 I have bought one of Pekka Tuominen’s Puukko to replace my Spyderco Puukko.

The husband of Pekka’cousin, who was also exposing as the Paris Knives Show told me: in my country, to “taste” a knife we just hold it in our hand without to loot at it: to feel its balance and if it suits us.
Holding that marvel of a Puukko in your hand is something to experiment. First, the handle is made of birch’s bark, which feels like a hard cork from a seasoned wine bottle. It is soft under the thumb but also grippy in the palm.
Pekka assured me this kind of handle are indestructible! Just some soap and water.
This handmade knife is a display of the highest craftmanship. Everything is perfect.
With that kind of handle, you need a pommel.

As you can see the mirror finish on the nicorros pommel is “melting” with the showing tang’s end. Look closer, there is some microscopic lines ! This is the level of craftmanship you are encountering with Pekka’s knives.

Now the blade being made of RWL34 and mirror finished, it is not easy to picture it without reflections.

RWL34 has been used in the Lil’Nilakka I have reviewed here.
Pekka used his own Spyderco version to cut leather for his sheaths. But I have also seen a video where he use the same puukko as mine in his workshop.
For record, RWL34 is some kind of powder steel version of ATS34: with a very very fine grain and an easy to put a mirror finish on.

A puukko is not a real puukko without its sheath.
I remember 4 years ago, Pekka talking with Sal Glesser about the sheath of the Spyderco Puukko version. There were testing prototypes of the sheath and Pekka was adamant in what retention he was asking from it. It a sheath with wood inlays inside encapsulating the blade, the traditionnal puukko scabbard is very elaborated.

So here are my main Pekka creation, the Nilakka which is my sharpest Spyderco ever.
“Ned” which is a “Urban Hunter II” with carbon fiber and titanium and the new Marvel.

You can notice the pure and clean lines of their edges.

Pictures wise, I will meet Pascal who has bought a Hunter with the same finish as my Puukko. Those marvels encounter will be photographed.

Having harvest a piece of chestnut wood, dried under the summer sun, I have put the new Puukko at the test.

The rounded spine makes it an ideal thumb pushcutting’s friend. The blade goes deep like in butter. In fact it beats the Nilakka and the Hunter in terms of spine confort and for an unknown reason it was just cutting like the proverbial lightsaber. The experience is putting a grin on my face.

To get the blade to the razor sharpness I really wanted , I have used white ceramics for 20 minutes and then leather stropping for another 15 minutes as Pekka has advised.

Yes it is now a razor with the same caress found on the AEB-L Urban.

Now, I’m going to use it also in the kitchen, which is some kind of battlefield where the Puukko will ne

Some pictures from Pekka’s Facebook page:

67270012_2580940811956868_4830865277648371712_nA picture of my Puukko by Pekka. The handle is like a finger print. 🙂

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A tactical version which I loved too.

46782264_2196982117019408_1857255772753231872_nA sistership with brass bolster.

 

48891712_2246541792063440_2784894109402267648_nThat could be Pascal’s hunter.

 

51345914_2293930640657888_6713102130678333440_nA Hunter and a Puukko.

 

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And the last one with a strong French flavour is “Ned” my Hunter.

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The FICX 2019 & FRED PERRIN MINISHOW – PHOTO GALORE.

This year it has been a short but very intense Paris Knives Show visit focused mainly on the FICX 2019 and a flee jump to Fred Perrin minishow in an old Dojo hidden in the East of Paris. The first picture was my new Puukko from Pekka and soon it will be reviewed and pictured with the Hunter Pascal had also ordered from him (All birch bark handle and RWL34 blade). This year we have noticed Finland was very well represented.
Lo let’s start by Pekka. For the others maker I have pictured their business card.

Des Horn also was there. As always he is a true gentleman, flying around the world whatever his health conditions are. His smile is intoxicating and his knives are stunning.

This is a really thin folding knife !!

This was a folder (1400 euros) which can be dismounted by the owner once the scale is removed to let the screws appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, this one was just a WONDERFUL balisong made as folding puukko.
Scandi ground. Magnetic sheath. 700 euros ! Maybe next time !

The Bali was a pure masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise was such a incredible piece of art. You can see the ruby on the engines.
Also the case is a photon torpedo shape. So many details from a true fan of Star Trek.


This one is inspired by Aston Martin’s.

And then we give a little visit to Fred Perrin in a Dojo.

I love this kind of sense of humour. And for 5 euros, you can find happiness !

Fred and Elsa displayed a lot of their wonders but in their minishow, but guess what? People and friendship are displayed before the sharp stuffs.

SPYDERCO C81GPCW2 PARAMILLIE CPM CRUWEAR KNIFECENTER EXCLUSIVE — ONE YEAR LATER

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One year ago I had ordering a Para2 in CPM Cruwear, an exclusive run made for the Knife center.  Since them It has been used as one of my reference knife toward other purchases which sometimes has not reached the blog review as I’m avoiding bad reviews unless there is something to learn from.

20190909_151658-012836386720377641815.jpegAfter some acid work on the blade and titanium scales, eventually I am back to the smooth G10 scales and a deep carry clip. So why ?
First thing, even if the titanium scales were gorgeous, they add some weight and a very slippery feel under the finger, especially during wet works. Also it shifted the balance of the millie in a strange way making it “dead” in the end. I really enjoy the heavy handle of my PPT for example or on my Copper scaled Para but on the Para2 it was not working for me. back on smooth G10, it is more grippy than titanium and the balance point is shifter near the pivot again.

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Despite my love for “Spyderdropping” I have decided to carry it “tip up” with a cheap titanium clip made in Malaysia and sold in Hong Kong. It works great and it is really low profile when I forget to pull it out of the pocket while going urban. (I carry a Lil’Native, a Roady or a Urban when going in the city those days, too much controls and metal detectors to go with a longer blade…)

CPM Cruwear as heat treated by Spyderco is a steel which loves his owner. It is not tricky to get sharp like Maxamet. In fact it asks to get sharp. Of course it is not as easy as 52100 or AEL-B but it is very tough in every task when you twist your blade like a good tool steel. Not easily stained too, my tests and zests are the proof on that and once stained it won’t go off. My edge is polished and smooth as a razor and it got zero major damage in a year of random tasks, no chipping (nothing which can not be cure with ceramic) or anything like on my thinned hard ZDP189 experiences. In fact my home convexed edge is as thin as my 52100 Para2 and it does real wonder on wood or hard plastic. In the kitchen that polish edge needs sometimes more “teeth” (S90V provides that for example) and some passes on a  brown ceramic or on a “butcher’s steel” do the trick for a coarser edge (tomato’s skin are tricky…) !

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The PM2 transfer a lot of power in the cuts. The first inch from the ricasso can go deep in push cuts helps with a thumb’s push. You got as much power as a good old Millie and this is why the Para2 is so loved. The strong tip (strong because of the alloy used in this sprint run) is not convexed (to keep some steel and relative thickness) and I was able to drill hole in hard material with no bending or damage. This is a workhorse like I love them.
It’s a medium knife I can use hard with no immediate discomfort or “palm soar”.
The flat clip I have mounted on it is part of my need for a confortable grip.
I soon going to review a Kapara which is suppose to be better with its rounded handle but at least I had done my best to round the Para2 handle to my taste and eliminate any hot spot including the blade’s spine.

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So, in my book, CPM Cruwear is an excellent choice for a EDC high performance folder.
For your information, the Knifecenter got now a new Sprint Run: a Native 5 with CPM Cruwear. I’m very tempted but the Kapara comes first. Anyway this combinaison of CPM Cruwear and smooth G-10 is just a winning hand. Spyderco (Eric) has also announced at the last Amsterdam Minimeet a Shaman in cruwear and micarta as a sprint run too. So CPM cruwear is here to stay.

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Spyderco C127PBN Sprint Run: First Glimpse at a Cappucino Urban Razor !

 

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Spyderco has made a Sprint Run using AEB-L on the Urban Plateforme. Mine was bought 65 dollars with 13 dollars of shipping. An honest price and 7 days of waiting. Kudos to DLC Trading.

AEB-L is a razor’s steel. Stainless. When 52100 is also a razor’s steel non stainless (this link take you to a Jerry Stark 6/8″ Straight Razor at 275 dollars…).
Both are small carbides steels and AEB-L is a low chromium medium carbon alloy.
“AEB-L differs from most simpler stainless steels in that it forms very small carbides when heat treated and has a very fine grain structure. Since the carbides are small, they are easier to sharpen, and since the grain is so fine, edge stability and toughness get a boost. Because of these advantages, AEB-L can compete with more complex “super steels” but at a much lower cost.” says Nordsmith site who considers AEB-L perfect for the outdoors knives they made. AEB-L is also consider as a tough steel.

From Doc Dan on the Spyderco Forum:
“I have a couple of folders in 13C26 (AEB-L). It is no super steel and those who are used to S90V or something might be disappointed. It tends to bend and roll rather than chip. In fact, I have never had a chip in either knife. When we first started talking about the AEB-L Urban I was surprised to discover how tough this steel actually is. I think it is a razor blade steel, and for a pocket knife, It think it is a good choice. It sharpens easily and holds a decent edge, but maybe slightly less than 154CM, VG-10, etc. However, if it is run harder by Spyderco, then all of my experience goes out the window.”

So let’s convex it ! Gaffer tape is used to prevent any scratch on the flat of the blade.

I’m happy to use diamonds as it feels hard to scratch.
I heard it was heat treated at 62 HRC. The idea is to have it hard. It feels hard under diamonds.

I keep the factory edge and just deshoulder it.

Then some diamonds paste (thank you JD) and compound for stropping.
It get to a mirror very very fast like 52100.

It is very easy to strop it for a razor level. I have noticed also the edge is like a caress and hairs are jumping.

The point of the blade is not as recessed as on my other Urban. It due to a QC on the spring. But I cannot bring the meat of my finger to be bitten. No issue.

Now starts the test and it will be done in the UK where the Urban is a lawful folder to carry. The mechanism is quite stiff and I really enjoy that. Actually I also love its Cappucino handle and that’s will be his code name from now on.

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The bottle’s butt test is passed with flying colours.

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The bottle’s neck thick plastic was easy game too.

On wood, it made very clean and precise cuts.
Same feel as 52100 and the exact opposite to ATS-34 for example.
The stronger mechanism makes it much more whittling friendly.
Once the Boot’s dagger quillon held, the knife is powerful and accurate in every cut.

Pleasure of whittling — Which knife ?

A knife and a piece of wood make my day.
I can sit and enjoy a good blade taking nice wooden chips.
Steel chemistry is important, especially how fine its grain is.
Back in the 90’s I have found how a Benchmade in M2HSS was more enjoyable than the same model in ATS-34.
How is the blade is ground is also very important, scandi makes shallower cuts when hollow grind got deeper in my experience.
But more than this: the general ergonomy of the knife and especially the spine of the blade do make a difference for me.

But let’s have a look at the knives: Ed Schemp’s Tuff and Bowie, Police 4, Yojimbo 2, Sebenza, Spydiechef, PPT, Paramillie, Lil’Native, Wolfspyder, A little TOPS scandi, Mantra2, Millie and Nilakka.

A rounded spine like my Sebenza is great. It’s very thin edge is also a plus but ATS34 is not making the moment enjoyable. Of course it will cut but the pleasure of feeling how the edge is making the chips is not there. Its edge is like a mad cow !! Hard to control.

 

One of the great surprise in term of pleasure has been that Lil Blue 2 from Raker (Ray Kirk). Made of 52100 ball bearing steel and brought to razor by JD !
The rounded spine of that small fixed blade makes it super enjoyable. The fine grain 52100 makes thin chips but can also be use hard for deeper cuts. That would the kind of knife you can enjoy all an afternoon without thumb soar.

A good old Opinel N°8 is able to cut deep and with power, for sure. Do I enjoy it ? Not really. It does the job but there is no pleasure when the thin spine bites my thumb during push cuts.

A great surprise and even a better surprise that my previous whittling with a Yojimbo 2 in S90V is my Yo2 Jade with a CPM M4 blade.
It is not a knife designed for whittling but it does the job perfectly. Better even is a tougher blade in CPM M4 which is very aggressive. The spine also is thick and my thumb can push with with confort and control. The Yo2 and especially that version is a great wood companion I can use with serenity.

Another knife I highly recommend for going in the woods and whittling with pleasure. And another knife with some martial pedigree has proven to be a great whittler: the PPT.
The S90V thin blade of that edition with a very confortable handle has been eating wood like a chef.

Speaking of chef: lets’ continue with the surprises. One important side of the Spydiechef is how easily it can go out of the kitchen. Sailors and sea kayakists are using it without any risk of failure but within the woods? OK mine has been convexed but this is another great tool to bring with you everywhere. I was able to create beautiful chips and the spince have not bite my thumb. Really a nice experience with this one.

My CPM Cruewear Paramillie has been convexed and its edge was really hungry for wood.
It was in all the bunch the one which went the easiest in the rod of wood. But then the square spire was so sharp and thin: it was not enjoyable. More about it later.

The Lil’ Native with JD sharpening skill is nice and powerful for its size. Really a nice you should not judge by the size. But then again, JD reground it to almost a scandi level. The belly and the thin edge does marvel for whittling. Just a tad longer blade will improved the experience but then you got a Native not a Papoose no more.

Another knife improved by JD sharpening skill is the Mantra 2. I had rounded the spine on this one and it turned to be a very powerful wood cutter. The kind of knife which disappears in your pocket and once deployed is a game changer. The very solid construction and great ergos of that Eric Glesser design is blooming in the woods.

The Police 4, as powerful as its K390 thin convexed blade was a real disappointment. The thin spine is really hurting my thumb when push cutting. The Police is and stays a very urban design. I was not really able to enjoy fine whittling with it. It does the job but the thin spine ruined it for me. This one is much better in cutting cardboards or ropes…

Of course the Nilakka is a five stars experience. nothing new: thick spine, zero ground blade. It is powerful and accurate. Pekka Tuominen knows. Just the thin point could be an issue when digging in the wood to make a hole for example. This is were the Wolfspyder shines: a very solid point !

Another great surprise in term of pleasure has been the Gent knife from Massdrop. I had convexed the edge and its S35VN rounded spined blade is just great. Its natural belly helps a lot in term of push cuts. It is a great folder and 100% shot flipper, easy to keep clean, and look at the shape of that blade: it is stunning and for less than 100 dollars shipping included. It will be reviewed.

Sorry, but the Mora has been the worst. It was not able to bring me nice chips.
I’m certain it would be a great hard used tool in the wood but here for fine gentle whittling: zero pleasure.
The synthetic handle is becoming sticky, the scandi edge is rusting and it was not able to bite in the wood. Cheap fixed blade.

So eventually, using 400 grits sandpaper, I have decided to rounded the spine of my Paramillie 2 and of course it makes a huge difference. Actually I have been really surprise in how deep It was cutting in the wood, kind of remembering its brother in 52100.
Soon I will try AEB-L steel which is considered as a stainless 52100 on a Sprint Run Urban already in transit. So more will come.

In conclusion my more enjoyable whittler is still the Wolfspyder.
The surprise joy came for the Gent, The Yojimbo 2, the Mantra 2 and the Raker.
The Paramillie with a more rounded spine will be certainly part of the club.
The biggest down was the Police 4 and the Mora.

But in term of sitting under the porche and whittling a rod the Ray Mears designed Wolfspyder is winning. It was designed for that task.

 

STEEL K390 BÖHLER’S MICROCLEAN – UNCANNY BLADE MATERIAL.

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I have seen a video where someone is stabbing concrete with its Spyderco Police 4 to show how K390 is strong ! The blade of that famous knife is thin and this thinness is here for a purpose: Sal Glesser has decided to use the Police 4 plateforme according to his own desire but toughness and impact resistance may have weighed in on the decision. For once the Police is not especially aimed at the LEO but those ELU who use their thin knives hard !

“We make quite a few designs for the Law Enforcement market at this time, so the design for Police use is necessarily the case anymore, like it was in 1984. I designed the Police 4 to include what I would like in a knife, more than what a LEO might like. It’s still a kissing cousin, and large for most people. I widened the blade, enlarged the hole and selected a steel that I like to use. The design’s success in the marketplace is unknown at this time. But I get to have one. ” Sal Glesser.

K390 is not stainless. It’s a cold work tool steel which uses Bohler proprietary Microclean technology.  K390 has close to the same edge holding as A11 but is much tougher. Bohler’s third generation particle metallurgy contributes to the toughness of the steel.This steel will be hard to grind, finish and sharpen. Once it is sharp it will stay sharp for a long long long time. It’s CPM M4 on steroids which means K390 has more strength, durability, stability and wear resistance than M4 ! And I do love CPM M4.

Here is a video which confronts CPM M4 and K390:
https://youtu.be/TI53ziibeiQ

From Bohler’s commercial:

“K390 is quite simply the powder metallurgical cold work tool steel with the best properties for cold work applications available from BÖHLER at the moment. K390 MICROCLEAN was developed to meet the demanding wear resistance and compressive strength requirements of cutting, blanking and punching applications, for cold forming applications and for parts which are subjected to abrasive wear in plastics processing. Tool life can be increased by several hundred percent due to the outstanding wear resistance, high compressive strength and good toughness of BÖHLER K390 MICROCLEAN. These material properties enable our customers to make their production processes more efficient and consequently to reduce the price per part produced. Too hard to be machinable? Quite the opposite. The task of the tool steel manufacturer is to produce a steel which is, on the one hand, easy and economic to machine (with a hardness of around 280HB) and simple and unproblematic to heat treat, but which, on the other hand, has a very high hardness (up to 64HRc) and optimum performance in use. The secret lies in the powder metallurgy process. A very fine, homogeneous microstructure guarantees optimal machinability.

K390 owes its superior properties above all to the powder-metallurgical production process. The main advantages of BÖHLER MICROCLEAN steels over conventional steels are: • uniform carbide distribution • small carbide size • uniform chemical composition over the entire cross-section and length • virtually isotropic behaviour due to improved homogeneity and the absence of segregations.”

From Phil Wilson on the Spyderco Forums.:
“I have been using K390 from the start ever since it was introduced by Bohler and I got some small samples to try. A bit of history is that it is the European version of CPM 10V but not the exact chemistry (about 1% less V plus small addition of a few others). That is because the CPM 10V chemistry was protected by patent at the time. If you check the K390 data sheet it claims that the bit less V gives K 390 a little boost in impact toughness. It also can be heat treated at a lower temp. than 10v. So it is pretty much the same as the A11 grade but different in a few small details. It is hard to tell the difference between CPM 10v and BU K390 in the real world in my experience. I like both grades and they are the base line (along with Vanadius 10 and K294) from which I measure wear resistance. The 5 chrome is there to make them all air hardening among other things and does not contribute much to corrosion resistance. It is going to make a killer knife in the new offering and be another classic. Phil”

On my Urban, K390 has proven to be very tough. It is my main travelling folder. And it is a real wolf under sheep’skin. One of the little home test I got is by removing the metal around a bottle of wine’s cork. Most of the time, the knife edge is bent and shows some shining due to miss alignement but not with K390. The steel feels like plastic. On my three knives, the Pingo got the most stout blade and less pointy. This little knife is simply used very hard with zero damage to the edge: digging in wood, cut into staples, scrapping various paints and plastic. So far, even if the steel is not stainless, a mild patina has protected it from real rust.

So what do we got ? A tough blade which keeps its sharpness for a very long time. A forgiving edge which can be used by clumsy hands with no after thoughts.
The side effects are: the need of diamonds and ceramics to keep it razor.
Once convexed to me taste, I use white ceramic and some stropping just to get it mirror.

We definitively needs more knives in K390 !

 

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