Spyderco Slysz Bowie ~ C186TI – The Iron Mistress

Marcin Slycz Bowie

This folder was my favorite of all the knives shown on Amsterdam Minimeet 2014. I loved the ergos. The convex curves on the titanium. The reinterpreted bowie blade. The perfect size for an EDC. The attention to details. Really I have been more than impressed by Marcin next collaboration with Spyderco.
The Techno was IMHO AFAIC a bold move to the EDC world. An heart stroke. But now Marcin was striking again with a refined working folder. Thinner but also more “feminine” hence the “Mistress” title. Raising the bar.

Marcin Slysz Bowie and Chris Reeve Sebenza
Ah, who could kill the Sebenza ? Huh ? When you hear about Titanium slabs and Integral Lock it’s the first word which come to my mind.

So this is a first glimpse to this gorgeous folder. Let’s start by the cons:
OK, mine needs some opening and closing to be as glass smooth as it suppose to be. I haven’t reach the torx to ease the axis screw yet.
The wire clip got a way to block the pocket’s draws. It comes from the way the lock has been designed. No big deal. It could even been seen as some kind of security but I’m considering switching the clip to the other smoother side of the handle. But again, for reverse grip opening (using the ring finger) I need a smoother action.

Now the pros and they are a lot:
Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder but ergonomy is in the pawns of the user. This one suits my hand perfectly.
No finger choil. But a longer edge. The convex titanium handle, just pure pleasure to hold.
A very clever G10 spacer which is used to improved the ergonomy by avoiding any risk of a slippery handle.
The convex handle which is gentle in your palm.
A lot of belly for a really thin edge. A point in perfect alignement with the handle.

The edge is so thin than I was able to do my favorite Coke bottle test with ease and control.
Proportion blade / handle is near perfect for a folding knife of that size.

This knife is asking to be used. It feels well in the hands and the geometry is optimum. The size is perfect for an EDC. The clip is deep enough to make the knife disappear in the pocket.
The balance is just behind the axis. The absence of hole hump makes it a looker.
So now will come the tests and as a companion, a K2 should come next week.

How will perform the CTS-XHP compared to CPM10V ?

Update:
The convex handle makes it really nice to use. I have found that my index and thumb, which are leading the cuts, are sort of “nested” near the pivot by those rounded titanium slabs. I was able to cut with a lot of accuracy and the belly was welcome for cutting deep.
It’s a gorgeous knife to deploy and eat with. A excellent conversation starter too.
It has been used on plates with no damage to the edge. CTS XHP is a very forgiving steel in my book.
The shape of the blade makes it look like a “country” knife, and has been very sheeple friendly ! As I use the radius spine it’s a pleasure for push cuts in hard wood. Haven’t done anything really serious, it was just a short walk but that knife is screaming to be use hard. 🙂

Edit: I have found a simple way to avoid the clip to snag… just by making it a little longer.
And switching with the clip of the Manix 2 Lightweight (I had already removed to witch with the Pingo’s deeper one…)
No more snagging in the pocket now.
Slysz Bowie clip issue
And now the clipped knife goes less deep but the draws are smooth.

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Spyderco Native C41CFP5 – CPM110V and Carbon FIber handle Sprint Run

Native 5 SPrint Run CPM110V

Exactly three years ago, on 1st october 2011, I had received my Native 5. You can still read how ecstatic I was toward that great ocket knife: solid, ergonomic, easy to carry in the pocket watch. I was especially amazed by the strong lock back with zero blade play and the new easy to polish on leather S35V steel.
Three years later, the Native 5 is getting a spectacular emotionnaly overloading Sprint Run: CPM110V blade and Carbon fiber handles. In 2012 (or 13) the Spyderco Forum knives was also a CPM110V Native but with a green diamond G10 handle.
This time some grammes are outed as Carbon Fiber is lighter than G10.
Mine is as flawless as my first Native. The blade action is smooth as ever and I can generate any play vertical or horizontal. The grind is a little thicker compared to my S35V version but not a big deal as the knife came as a razor.
Again I have installed a Delica 4 blacked clip for low profile, as I carry the knife tip up in my pocket watch.
CPM110V is a great steel that I was not able to really dull yet on my Dark Blue Manix 2. That steel seems to be fresh up easily with a dozen of pass on a white ceramic.
I’m very happy to continue the testing on one of my favorite plateforme: the Native 5 ! Again Spyderco is a figure of pionneer giving the chance to use the best high tech metallurgy on their best refined design.
More soon…. So stay tuned.


The Pink, the Sprint Run, The S35V and the Dark Blue Manix 2.


The Carbon fiber is on the right.


Yin and Yang…

SPYDERCO C06TI TUSK – PASCAL JAFFRE’S REVIEW “INSPIRATIONAL BLADE”

Once in a while I invite some friends to write reviews about knives. Pascal Jaffre is a passionate of classical music, shooting and computing with a lot of cultural background, he’s also a skipper. So, he was the right person to review the

“Inspirational blade”


A Spyderco Tusk Review

« Try Spyderco’s Tusk folding knife and tell me what you think about it! » were captain Nemo’s words one evening at the shooting club in Asnières (town’s name comes from “ane” = donkey). No donkey hunting for Tusk as the quadrupeds long left the patches where they used to graze and rest from barge tugging against the Seine’s current. On the contrary, Tusk’s tasks have been diverse and peaceful; in turn it has proven to me as a great inspirational source!

If I were a castle, which one would I be? Marlinspike Hall of course and Tintin would have been better equipped against the “l’Oiseau brothers” with me in his pocket.


Could I have influenced world famous composers like Mozart and Wagner? Maybe I have… take a close look!


Given that folded, my shape resembles that of a drop of water, had I been a musical note, which one would I have been? “A flat” of course which is Chopin’s “drop of water” in the famous Prelude N°15 – Prelude à la goutte d’eau!


Transposed to music this picture does not sound as harmonious as it looks: A-flat and G (Tusk and la sole – not Schubert’s trout)! The fish was delicious and it was a pleasure to eat “a flat” fish with a G-em.


More seriously let me show how sharp the blade is. Even trickier than the tomato test: the rotten pineapple test! Hard on the outside and soft (much too soft) in the inside. However Tusk did the job perfectly and my trash can got the pinapple – less the first bite.


Let’s finish off the food test with a panel of some other tricky things to cut. The sausage (saucisson): very thin slices. The avocado hard skin and yet ripe inside not crushed and perfect cut. The well cooked French bread – I was really impressed how a blade without dents cut the crust. To finish 2 types of Comté cheese (24 and 32 month aged) from the Jura region. The most difficult cheese to cut out of the 2 is the eldest because less moist and having a tendency of breaking: Tusk cuts the cheese at ease!


Birds of a feather? No, not feather but leather – courageous Tusk about to beat the baby crocodile and the result is below! Well done Tusk!


Good hunt!

Tusk also participated in the assembly of C 4.8 my French catamaran built in the early 80’s.

The result I’d say is contrasted in the sense that in my case the marlinspike was preventing from using the shackle key. This is due to the small volumes in which the tool needs to evolve. Had the shackles been oriented with a 90 degree rotation, that limitation would not have appeared.
Here is a demonstration of how the marlinspike limits the rotation: blocked at one point by the top of the hull. Obviously shackle keys that have an outer curve add further difficulty so it’s important that the tool be as thin as possible.

Another similar situation when installing the shackle key that holds the stays, forestay and shrouds to the mast. Again unfortunately the length of the marlinspike hinders the ability to rotate by a wide angle. However what I found really comfortable is Tusk’s ability to deliver power when working with the shackle key; this is due to its length combined with its overall robustness.

So to summarize a long strong tail does not necessarily get to go everywhere! That said, as during the assembly of C 4.8, wind was blowing up to 33 knots the marlinspike eventually had a good effect after putting it in the wind because in the evening we were down by some… knots!

Tusk ne manque pas d’air!
Tusk has been a great knife to test: discrete in the pocket, a beautiful gem that fuels imagination and a strong working tool. I’ll have to test against larger boat!

(Text and Photo Pascal Jaffre.)

Tusk !

Pascal Jaffre

The 100 Bucks WONDER : SPYDERCO MANIX2 DARK BLUE LIGHTWEIGHT 110V ~ C101DBL2

Ok stop the press: here is a 100 dollars folder destined to be a workhorse: everything in this knife means business and the blade is made from CPM S110V !!!
This is Science Fiction. And this is real !

The Manix 2 Dark Blue is NOT a sprint run. This is the lightweight version of the Manix 2 C101G2 as instead of skeleton stainless steel handle with G10 the handle is made a solid tough fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) and features Spyderco’s distinctive Bi-Directional Texturing™ pattern to ensure a secure grip in all environmental conditions…
Meaning: very light, well balanced, solid, impervious to the elements and easy to clean.
Yes, this very light blue handle gives a very nice balance to the Manix. It’s alive in your hands as I had noticed on the previous lightweight blue transparent handle version: this version is fast and well balanced.
Once clipped inside your pocket you forget it. This is a feather. You can clip it to you shorts with no afterthoughts.

The ball lock is as strong as ever. I’m ever able to open it as fast as an axis lock. Go figure. It opens in one fluid snap and closes in a flash with a gentle pull of the thumb on the encapsuled ball lock.

Four rivets are giving you some great reliability and the blade’s axis got screws on both side.One my friend, who was working in the African rain forest was sensitive to rivet: he knew his knife won’t betrayed him. Screws are getting loose and lost in the big wild Green. For him, rivets were security and reliability. The only noticed screws are on the axis as its tension is adjustable.

So that Manix is a workhorse not a cheap brother of the hard chore folder C101 but an “expedition ready” tool. Knowing that once you go in the wilderness every ounce you are carrying is important. BTW the C101DBL2 weights only 82 grammes !

Now about the blade: it’s an ultra wear resistant flat-ground CPM-110V blade !!!!
S110V !!!!

This is the best of the best in modern powder technological cutting performances alloys. It’s really stainless, strong and resilient.
Better than S90V. So they say. And it’s available on a 100 dollars knife. (The previous CPM110V Spyderco was the Native 5 Sprint Run with Carbon Fiber handle C41CFP5…). The cutting experience is unique as the End Lin User got access to the most modern alloy at a bargain price. The Ball Lock has also proven to be totally reliable evn on a FRN handle.

Now this kind of cutting edge proposition can be tricky. Not everybody knows how to maintain such speciality steel. For example, IMHO S90V is like chewing gum. It hates to give away its molecules.  S110V should be even trickier on stone and ceramic. So diamonds will be its best friends…Oh and compared to S90V which is hardened at 59HRC by Spyderco, CPM110V should be around 62HRC !!
Unless you got to much time on you hands, diamonds should be used but now “real knives” users will get the best steel on a full flat grind drop point blade with a strong lock?

For example: this folding knife would be a great tool for any Rain Forest explorer ! It has even killed my folding Izula dreams !! This is the kind of folder that will cut and cut and cut with no need to touch up during the trip far from civilization. S110V is like that. It won’t let you down ! You even won’t plan to re-sharp it once away from the base. I remember a Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin review in Tactical Knives where they were testing a Military in S60V… The knife was not touch up of all their trip. This is the kind of experience you will have with CPM110V: its working edge is destined to run for very very long. It should be some kind of Duracell Rabbit experience ! The edge will keep cutting cutting and cutting…
1095 will need a touch up for example but not CPM110V.


This is a great news as we end line users we got this HUGE opportunity to drive a Formula One for the price of a FIAT. And I had loved my FIAT… Of course my huge Manix S90V feels now like some kind of Aston Martin of a knife… Because it feels much heavy and here we are talking featherweight. But performance wise it’s not better and for its price I can buy 2 ou 3 CPM110V Manix 2 !!
And after the Serrata (which is also a bargain!) this lightweight Manix2 is bringing the best in the modern cutlery world for a Laguiole price.
Respect to Eric, Sal and the Spydercrew for this very democratic gesture. 😉

Spyderco Serrata – Cast Steel Bush Knife


A beautiful knife with dangerous curves !

The Serrata is a beautiful massive short fixed blade designed by Stuart Ackerman and released by Spyderco and manufactured in Taichung Taiwan.

Holding that knife in your hand is the only way to feel how sexy this tool is.
Sexy is the term. It almost feels like it has been grind in a broken Iron Mistress. So go figure !

This knife got almost a 1 centimeter thick blade. The slabs on the handle look out of proportion. This is massive. But then it is perfectly balanced. The handle sits in your palm with authority and confort. Despite the lack of guard I have never felt like I was going to cut myself.
The leaf-shaped blade is nicely tapered to the point where the Serrata is almost a delicate knife.
Yep almost for such a brutal cast steel beast !

This is not a bushcraft impact edge tool like the Spyderco Bushcrafter or the BRKT Canadian Special, actually the Serrata is a knife for meat and fibrous material processing. Stuart Ackerman even does not advise to use it for batoning as the steel is not “made” for that.
The edges on the blade back are smooth and there is no lanyard hole. So if you want a knife to use hard you should invest in something more shock proof. but I will use it for like chopping as the weight will help it a great deal. The nice belly should bite deep on gentle impact. I will compare it to my Fallkniven A2 which I was able to keep unchipped after a decade of use.

But the Serrata really shines when you need to cut into fibrous materials.

OK let’s put everything in perspective, the Serrata is a solid knife though but it is performance oriented. It would be a perfect companion for a hunter and a cook.
Let’s understand the process to create that knife: it has been “made by casting 440C stainless steel-a process that creates dendritic (“tree-like”) crystalline structures”.
And God this is dangerously sharp! The meat of my thumb can feel that hungry microscopic toothy edge waiting to draw blood.
My Dutch friend JD has provided me some old catalogs from the initiator of Cast 440C: David Boye. He’s famous for posing next to huge pil of 3000 pieces of 1″ hemp rope cut (without resharpening) with his 8 inches knife.

Reading “Dendritic Blades” an excellent article from Michael O’Hollaren published in Knives Illustrated Magazine in Summer 1994 (Page 8,9,40-43, another piece of great information provided by JD!) I have learned that it was a machinist friend of Boye (Don Longuevan) who has suggested him that casting blade might reduce grinding and fabricating time which would be a majo help when it comes on stock removal. The idea became a challenge for Boye. And by 1982 he started to cast his blade with Larry Veenker of Intermoutain Precision Casting on Lindon, Utah. then Boye built a drop hammer to reduce and refine even further the pattern of his 440C cast blades.
According to Boye, at first he “did not realize the carbid crystal structure of cast steel contributed to better edge-holding.” But soon he found that “when edges were prepared identically, the dentritic steel consistently outperformed forged steels used in the testing.”
He found that forging was breaking up and reducing the size of the microscopic carbides in the original ingot. Paradoxically with forged steel the smaller the grain size the sharper the blade can theoretically get but the less “bite” it will have.
The carbyde crytals of the dendritic steel are rooted in the steel matrix hence the long last aggressive edge. They form a fern like network throughout that 56-58 HRC steel matrix.

To cast steel you need to turn it into a liquid state and pour it into a mold. This is a century old technic known in jewelry. So first you create a mold by pouncing a hard knife between two blocks of aluminium with a drop hammer, forming a cavity in the shape of the blade. Then hot wax is shot into that mold and when it cools it is removed as a wax model of the knife. The wax blades are “ganged” together to form a tree which is dipped into porcelain slurries. Between each slurry dip, sand is applied to the wet slurry, each sand dip a little coarser than the previous one. This make the mold stronger, thicker, and able to support the heavy molten steel.
The mold is left to dry three weeks to guaranty there is no moisture left in the porcelain.
Then it’s placed in oven to burn the wax out.
With the wax burned out the hot mold is ready for the molden steel which must be poured when the mold is still red hot !!
As the poured steel cools the carbide crystal network forms through the blade.
The porcelain is broken away and the individual blades are cut from the “tree”, trimmed, annealed and straighten.
Boye stated that this method is more expensive pound-for-pound but it is well worth it in the long run.
Thank you Michael O’Hollaren of Knives Illustrated, my English seems much better when I copy your article. 🙂

Anyway, do you remember the film “Conan” and its beginning credits ?

So back to Stuart Eckerman. The man looks like a character from Wilbur Smith’s South African saga: a veteran from the Rhodesian wars and there is some “aura” of high adventure in the design of his knife. Like a call for the hunt…
The Serrata is a knife you should bring in a Safari if you want to process the meat in the field.
now I do not advocate murdering animals just to please the Safari Club, a long shot lens camera is a much better companion than a rifle IMHO but there is something about Hemingway in the Serrata. Something wild.

On hard matters, like dry wood, the Serrata is good, but not as good as a CPM3V thin convexed BRKT Canadian Special or a zero ground Nilakka. But I still got the factory edge on my FB32 and I’m planning to thin it later for a full convex edge.
On the two last pictures of this post you will notice how the wooden chip forms on the Serrata and the BRKT. If had noticed that the grain of the steel changes the texture of wooden chips. The smoother the chip, the finer the grain. Best results were obtain by comparing ATS 34 AFCK with M2HSS AFCK, the second was almost polishing cut wood. (There is a reason why the best wood chisels are made from M2HSS Speedstar).

In the kitchen the Serrata is incredibly good on tomatoes ! This is another great test as tomatoes got a elastic skin over a tender flesh. Cutting tomatoes gives you a lot of information on your edge. The Serrata has a very thin micro serrated edge which cut in vegetable like a dream. And it cuts just with the weight of that massive knife.

I will update that article soon as I need to prepare some rabbit next week.
So stay tune for more experimenting with the Spyderco Serrata.

(Oh and with a steel like that, there is no need to strop it on leather as you want to keep some kind of natural coarse edge.)

Cheese duty for serrata

Spyderco Stretch Super Blue Steel – Hungry Edge Frankenderco

Nemo Spyderco Stretch

– Igor ! And if I could swap the blade from my C90FPGYE with my C90CF ?
– Why, master?
– To obtain a Carbon Fiber handle with a Super Blue Steel blade ? Igor !
– Why ?
– Because I love super blue steel ? igor !
– And not ZDP189 ?
– Yes ZDP189 is a great steel. I have already written a review about it.

– I don’t remember, master…
– Follow that link: https://nemoknivesreview.com/2013/05/26/spyderco-stretch-c90cf-part-iii-edc-of-high-performance/

Anyway, now the handle fits the Super Blue Steel laminated blade of the grey FRN Sprint run without any play.
We got now a new knife to test. So far the edge is hungry like a wolf and some stropping is enough to get it scary sharp. I have no plane (yet) to convex it as the factory edge seems thin enough for my taste.
I was even able to use some black spare screws on the clip.
A gentle patina was obtain by cutting strawberries in a matr of minute and off we go for adevntures…

More to come in coming weeks.