Category Archives: Photos

Spyderco C22 in ZDP189 — Amazing After Six Years Hunting in Tuscany !

Six years ago, my friend Valter Nencetti took my Walker for a one year mission which turned into a six years journey. It was his favorite knife for hunting and he reported that to me in this article:  https://nemoknivesreview.com/2012/12/30/spyderco-c22-in-zdp189-italian-hunter-update-by-valter-nencetti/

This year, he has given it back to me after I had offered him my Native 5 in 110V which is IMHO an upgrade for Hare Hunting. The Backlock of a Native 5 is a perfect lock for that kind of use, but you can notice the Walker lock as not travel very far. The curved concave notch prevents it to go further.
There is absolutly no play !

For the record skinning hares is not an easy task for an edge as the hairs and the skin are ruining the sharpness very fast. There is a lot of dirt which acts as abbrasive. I have made a video and soon will put it on line.

Being used everyday, Valter eventually broke the clip which is a very fragile part of the walker compared to spoon clips used noawadays in spyderco line. You can also see it was not clean everyday and used as an EDC in the countryside of his beloved national Park in the North of Florence in Italy.

You notice the normal wear on the handle but Carbon fibers is incredibly sturdy as an slob material. It can be easily cure with some 1000 sandpaper work.

There were also no pitting on the blade or on the liner lock. ZDP189 is known for pitting strangely with its 3% of carbon and 20% of chromium. But here anyway, no issues.

I have started to clean the marks on the blade with some sandpaper.

Then I have restored the edge to razor.

No chipping.
No pitting.
No blade play.
No marks on the handle.
A broken clip.

Valter used his knife with no afterthoughts. I know it was not used on wood but mainly as a skinning tool. It has processed hares but also been used on boars and deers. Also it was used on plastic and everyday mondane tasks as Walter is breeding hunting dogs.

That’s not bad for a little gentleman knife which is a true workhorse.

Tuscan Raider #6 — Ed Schempp Bowie at his best, in the plates !

It’s not a surprise but Ed Schempp Bowie is not only a knife to keep in a safe for collection.
I have been taking a lot of knives in Tuscany. Fixed blades to test in the wood of the national parks and some folders. But eventually the Bowie has taken an important place in my trip.
Why ?
First it’s a gorgeous knife which create a lot of conversation.
Also it’s so easy to pocket. This is a huge plus for this EDC: it’s stay in your pocket like a much shorter folder. It’s easy to grab it and to take it. It’s always with you.
I have thinned the edge to the level of my Delica and the result on whittling wood are really outstanding.

It was easy to keep clean and classy. Meaning it can be used in the farm and in the city.

But it’s in the plate and in the kitchen that the Bowie was able to shine bright.

On the table, the Bowie takes its place with pride.

And the Kukri’s curve (Ed Schempp Signature) helps a lot when cutting in the plate.
At the opposite of my ZT0562CF with its flipper getting in the way…

The beef meat cookes at the flame is zipped open by the convexed edge.

The Tuscanian crostini are made of liver are gently spread on bread.

The trip back home leaded us through the Alps and the Opinel birth place.

Spritz, beer, hams and cheeses. The bowie was easy to open and close without to be noticed.


The roblochon is a cheese which needs a long blade.

Eventually the Bowie excellence can be expressed in the woods and in the plate. This is not the case of all folding knives. Ed Schempp’s EDC does it with elegance and efficiency.
So no, really it’s not a safe queen this is a knife to be used every day with pride.

 

Tuscan Raiders #4 – Geometries, Gayle Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction and whittling.

It has all started when I wanted to review the Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction. It’s a great design for an EDC fixed blade which can be used for everything. Easy to carry in its pancake constructed bolteron sheath. But the edge was just too thick for my own use. To my knowledge, SPF27 is some kind of CPM D2 steel. A lot of carbon 1.5% and not a lot of chromium around 12%. Not the easiest on the stone as a semi stainless. It was not very soft under the diamonds compared to another blade in N690 HRC59 I got with me. And it was not really easy to remove the shoulder to create a gentle convex edge. Patience… In sharpening is important. And I often lack of it but I was able to improve it. Next some black stone mostly to remove the scratches. And then the white ceramic to get a better finish and a razor steel. You can notice the chamfered signature hole on the Junction. A première. The cuts were deeper. It was better! Much more enjoyable. But the spine was too sharp for my thumb and diamonds came handy to rounded the angles. It would never be a Sebenza spine…. Again the control during whittling was much much better. One should never be scared to round the edges for suiting your own needs. The handle is very flat on that knife. It’s an attention for people who wish to stash their knife in a pocket or a backpack without leaving a print. But a flat knife is not the most comfortable in the palm of your hand… Especially when cutting hard things for a long time. I decided to make a quick comparison with the Spyderco Sprig which is a pleasure to use. You can notice how the Phil Wilson’s Sprig got a thicker handle. And it change everything when cutting hard things. Also Phil Wilson’s is all about performances. Its geometry is stellar. It immediately cuts deep in wood without any real improvement needed…. But diamonds were there to be usef. 🙂 I was able to get thin regular cuts into the wood. So I have decided to try the diamonds on the Gayle Bradley Bowie I have brought with me. This one got a thicker geometry and is made if the same pulverized alloy as the Junction You can always improve an edge. Used as a light chopper it worked just fine. Gayle Bradley has provided a great compact Bowie which can be used as a light camp knife. You can see: it’s not a lot bigger compared to my Ed Chempp Bowie. And the edge once thinned is honorable. Of course it is not as thin as my Pekka Tuominen Urban II for example. And not as aggressive as the Sprig… I got…. too much knives on my table…

It was time to go to lunch. An Francesca knows how to prepare the pasta with pomodori. Crostini a la Toscane. Poultry liver, oignons, red wine, bread and a Bowie. Back in the outside I was thinking of a simple way to see the “impact” of good geometry on whittling. On the right, a single cut if the thin Delica and, on the left, a single cut of the thicker ZT0562CF. The Delica cuts deeper on a more open angle. Better geometry. But the ZT was pleasant to use even if it was not as fast at the job. Also the Delica was able to cut from the ricasso to the point without any hard pressure. In the end, I had noticed that the Junction was less good than the Sprig and the Delica was still the best whittler in the batch. No matter the steel, for wood cutting, geometry is queen. So I have taken my Bowie back to the diamonds and put a keener edge. Tomorrow it will be hunting day.

Tuscan Raider #3 – Spyderco C215GP Euroedge.

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Again this is all made with my smartphone as I’m far from any computer.

A folding dagger as beautifully designed and made is not a bushcraft knife.

But my very first modern folder back in 1993 has been a Gerber Applegate folding dagger.

The first models were made in a stainless steel close to 420Hc.

The Euroedge is made of S30V.

Cutting wood with it is like making chop sticks with a bastard sword: it was not designed for that. The Euroedge is like a weapon a Templar will keep at hand. The blade is massive and the stock is thick.

The handle is so well made G10 feels like carbon fibers.

It is one of the most beautiful Spyderco ever made and a real tour de force in pure hommage to ancient times.

“”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.”
Sal Glesser.

Spyderco C11WDP Delica HAP40/SUS410 Pakkawood Handles, KnifeCenter Exclusive — Delicate Lady/Gentleman Folder.

20170912_120344-011509878026.jpeg If the Endura with Pekkawood handles is too big for you, there is the Delica alternative ! Again it is IMHO the best version ever made of that legendary folder. I have bought it from the Knifecenter and Howard Korn which is really proud of his exclusive version have buffed the handle to a beautiful result. The Delica is not only a shorten version of the Endura, it got a thinner blade which gives great slicing and whittling power. Again this exclusive version got the clad HAP40/SUS410 blade and it gives you a powder metalurgy high speed alloy in a very thin stock. The blade got also now more lateral strenght than pure stainless steel. On the Delica with its thinner stock, again this pure slicing wonder ! With a little time you can hone it in a true razor. wp-image-136639233 The Delica got that status of pure EDC as it is small enough to be accepted easily by sheeples. The handle adds a touch of class to this little workhorse and the special alloy blade gives more power to the “matter separator”. wp-image-325305067 This is little gem is just asking to be clipped and use. As you can notice there is no laynard hole on the version. That can be an issue for some people who use lanyard to retrieve the knife form their pocket and enhance the handle in length. It’s a matter of taste. I love lanyards on knives pictures but I don’t like them on my EDC and the Delica’handle is perfect for my hand. wp-image-149091807 I have kept the clip mounted for tip up carry, on the opposite of the Endura which I open with a Spyderdrop. But the Delica is so smooth that it can be “spyderdropped” too. wp-image-1199844387 Fit and finish are stellar and you can noticed the 0.5mm of difference in the blade’s stock. Also the full steel backspacegives a feeling of reliable and solid construction pushing the envelop in that great design. wp-image-258000545 You can notice the hole in the clip which is not in use when mounted on the knife butt compared to the Endura’s mounted on the axis clip. Again, you choose your ways they are four positions. All in all the Delica KnifeCenter’s special edition is an incredible EDC and a must for collector. It’s the kind of knife which can not leave your pocket as it’s flat, soft and precious and with the Endura it forms a true daishō (大小) !! wp-image-77962487 wp-image-1669896613 wp-image-175933760 Eventually after some carrying, I have found that tip down carry was fun. The Delica is one of the shortest Spyderco I can spyderdrop as easy and faster than my Millie. Adding a lot of fun! Also the edge once thinned can use the fact HAP40 is ready for a mini apex. I was cutting bottle my Zero Tolerance could not goo through.

Spyderco Persian C83BM — Ed Schempp’s Prince of Persia.

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There is one special knife which is my EDC rotation. It’s not the last steel, not the last lock but this is one of the most beautiful Spyderco ever made. I had pictured it with my Tuff
It was designed by Ed Schempp and quoting Spyderco product presentation:

“Custom knifemakers are way more than just steel junkies. Many are great artists and deep thinking intellectuals with their own specialties and talents. They continue to bring spice, variety and new ideas to the knife world. Custom maker Ed Schempp is a wheat farmer who while driving his tractor through his fields has time to think. He thinks about knives and everything surrounding them: steel, designs, heat treat, metallurgy properties, and he also thinks wheat, but only because he has to. His signature symbol, wheat sheaves are found on all his knives. He recently collaborated with Spyderco in a design called the Persian Folder — a well thought out mixture of classic Western meets the exotic East.

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The shapely Persian blade is traditionally found in fixed blade form but Ed incorporates this Eastern influence into a folding knife. Made of VG-10, the hollow-ground blade is deep-bellied, ending in an upswept tip with a curvy spot on the spine where your thumb rests. The blade’s curves flow through into the handle, which is black Micarta topped with polished steel bolsters. Not only do the curves add visual appeal, they create a finger choil and a crook in front of the index finger then end in a tail, for a myriad of grip positions. A custom designed steel pocket clip positions the knife so it carries right-handed, tip-up. Balance combined with top-notch fit and finish mark this model an Ed Schempp design and a true Spyderco.

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This knife was a gift from JD when he came to visit at the occasion of the SICAC in 2012, five years ago.  It has been sharpen and honed by him and it came really really sharp. Once thing I have noticed is how VG10 can take a very keen edge easily. This one is no exception. His deep belly and thin edge makes it a great slicer really easy to touch up on white ceramic of on leather.

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Made in Seki Japan, the Persian is pure elegance and ergonomy. It spouses my hand gently and brings the blade right where it needs to be: in the extension of my arm. Ed Schempp’s ergos are legendary.

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Shown here with one of the last Spyderco made by Schemp: the Legend of The Fall.

Cutting is easy and even on a board you got control on your pressure. There are no hot spots on that handle and the index can rest before our after the quillon on the choil. This is a bolt constructio: there no screws but on the very exotic mounted clip. Tip up carry for this relatively heavy folder as heavy as my Zero Tolerance.

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This is a true Legend of Spyderco manufacturing, bolt in design and highly praised by users and collectors. Mince is of one of the first batch and it keeps going strong.

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The action is as smooth as the all realisation.

 

Knife conversation part 1 — Sharpening !!

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Nemo: when you buy a knife you will be sooner or later, depending of many factors, confronted to a dull edge. Getting away from the factory edge is like leaving your parent’s home: it’s uncharted territory for most of us. So should you waith for the knife to be dull or immediatly hit the stones to make it yours and why ?

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JD: When I get a new knife I check the edge to see what condition it is in. I pinch it between my fingers to see how thick it how thick the blade is just behind the edge. And just look at the edge see if the edge bevel is even. Some times you can see unevenness close to the ricasso. That will take some extra attention and work on the hone to get right. I use light to see if it reflects of the edge, if it does there is a dull spot. Then I check for a burr with my thump nail.
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If there is a burr I take a hone, usually the diamond side of the Fallkniven DC4, and remove it. Now I take a receipt of shopping, they are usually thin and consistent, and try push cutting and slicing it. If it cuts the paper cleanly and easily it is good enough to start using. If not, then I will sharpen it first. Depending on edge thickness, edge angle, and steel and what I feel like (knives are a hobby for me!) I will pic a hone and start sharpening.

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Nemo: knowing sharpening is your hobby is a knife easy to get dull a dream for you ? Or do you prefer your sharp edge to remain sharp for a long time ?
Would you enjoy D2 more than Elmax ?

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JD: a knife is for cutting and it cut better when sharp. I prefer a sharp knife! 🙂 It needs to cut what I need to cut with ease otherwise it is back to the hone it goes! I also like a knife that when it looses sharpness is easy to get sharp again. So I have no need for high wear resistant steels. But if they are thin at the edge and I like the rest of the knife it would not hold me back either.
If they are both well heat treated and kept cool in production and sharpening there after, both D2 and Elmax would work fine form me. I do not think I could tell them apart in use or sharpening. I am not much of a steel junky, though I like reading about the science of how steel works in knives. (I highly recommend the following books: (in German) Roman Landes: Messerklingen und Stahl and (in English): John D. Verhoeven: Metallurgy of Steel for Bladesmiths!) For me blade geometry and sharpness make a relevant difference. I can tell a thick knife from a thin knife and a dull one from a sharp one far better than the edge retention one steel from another.

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The biggest differences in steel that I notice are, first, how they sharpen, how easy or hard it is to remove steel, and second, how stainless they are. The last bit mostly when cutting fruit.

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Nemo: Sharpening wise: what would be the main difference between hollow ground knives and flat grind ?

JD: If they are the same thickness behind the edge the hollow ground blade wil take less effort to make the blade even thinner behind the edge, and take less effort to keep the blade thin behind the edge. Hollow ground knives can be laid flat on a hone to make and keep them thin. I have done this with a few knives. One of them a Spyderco Salt1. Now it is almost a single bevel grind (‘scandi’) and much thinner behind the edge. This has made it cut a lot better.  

The same can be done with a knife with flat bevels, it just takes more work. When you use and sharpen a knife for a while the edge gets closer to the back of the blade and gets thicker. When it gets thicker it cut worse. To make it cut well again the area behind the edge needs to be thinned out. As a hollow ground knife has less steel behind the edge it takes less work to keep it thin behind the edge.

On flat ground you often need to remove the scratches after …

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Zero Tolerance 0562CF — Bright and Beautiful.

wp-image-1933490811 My first Zero Tolerance was the 0770CF and I was really amazed by the quality of manufacturing provided by that Peter Kershaw’s brand. But I wanted something hardchore, heavier at the opposite of my C36 Military which is light and fast like the Hussein Bolt of knives. I have given a chance to the Megalodon, Real Steel flagship. But a poorly designed clip ruined my experience. So I have asked some advice on the Zero Tolerance Facebook group and I have invested in a ZT0562CF ! RIL lock, deep carry dark clip, no hot spot on the handle. The attention to detail is amazing and the ooze of quality. Designed by Rick Hinderer it has won Best American Made Knife at the Blade Show some years ago.

It’s a true flipper, the “thumb” studs cannot be used to open the blade as the detent is too strong. They are just here to be part of the lock. Their also a stop pin but it’s only used to stop the blade once closed not opened.
The first edition of the Real Steel Megalodon used to have the same system and the handle kept that “S” on the front which form two horns which can used as deterrent in case of self defense situation.wp-image-1687282944 As you can notice, it’s easy to pinch your finger between the stud and the handle when opening the blade. So really, it’s a true flipper made to be open in that way. And here the experience is wonderful. The smooth KVT ball-bearing opening system. A washer with caged ball bearings surrounds the pivot and makes opening the knife nearly frictionless. Only the detent ball brings some minor friction actually. But it’s really minimal. The knife opens every time. The balance is perfect, just behind the pivot. So the blade is alive in my hand. wp-image-133474584 What you noticed first when handling the ZT0562CF is her smooth Carbon Fibers scale and butter like action. It’s 156 grams heavy compared to my Military 120 grams (titanium clip)… You fee the heft. And that’s exactly what I wanted. The corners are chanfered and there is no hot spots even the clip is not felt in hammer grip. I love the details on the blade: the stonewashed flat side and the satine grind. wp-image-748540201 It offers alsmot the same working edge. It carries tip up and it’s not as fast to draw as the Millie even with its titanium deep carry clip. The blade is made of CPM 20CV but it was first offered in M390 and CTS204P like on the Spyderco Southard. “CPM-20CV has a high volume of vanadium carbides and a high amount of chromium. You get exceptional edge retention and outstanding corrosion resistance.” said Zero Tolerance site. In fact CPM-20CV is the twin brother of M390 and CTS204P. Different manufacturer and same super steel with at 1.9% carbon, 20.0% chromium, 1.0% molybdenum, 4.0% vanadium, 0.3% silicon, 0.6% tungsten, and 0.3% manganese. The heat treating and the grind will make the difference. But as a Powder Metallurgy (PM) tool steel, you should get a combination of impressive wear resistance and edge retention plus the added benefit of being highly corrosion resistant due to its high level of chromium. wp-image-36373330 You can notice the different surface works on that picture. But as far as the blade was beautiful I felt the edge was thick compared to what I’m used too.

And unfortunatly the ZT did not pass my Plastic Bottle Butt’s test ! It was blocked and even a saw motion did not change anything. The blade was stuck before to reach the thicker part. So I had to summon: the diamonds, the sandpaper and the ceramics and put on thinner edge on that beast of a knife.

wp-image-170153826 I have started with the diamonds of the Fallkniven DC4. It was not easy as I felt the thumb studs was going in the way. eventually I was able to de-shoulder the edge and even to scratch the blade. That “Hinderer flat-ground “slicer” grind” that should provide both slicing efficiency and a tough point was not easy to get at first. wp-image-908967677 Against the scratches I has used a P1000 Sandpaper and they were erased. No big deal. They have disappeared just but doing an 90° motion. I have treated all the blade for good measure. wp-image-737758906 Then came the work on the brown stone, the brown ceramic and the white ceramic. My edge was slowly going convexed. My favorite one for stropping. Soon CPM-20CV was back to razor. I was amazed by the way the steel react under the ceramic. It was much easier than I thought. I had the same excellent experience with my Southard.

Then came the leather work with some polish white paste and I was able to achieve a nice mirror finish. At all it took me one hour for thinning and polishing the edge to my own taste. wp-image-1937876634 wp-image-1775073832 True convex razor as the hairs were jumping on the blade.

It was time to test it on the Coke bottle butt again:

And this time it was a success ! The blade pushcuts steadily through the thick transparent plastic. And then on tomatoes skin which can be tricky with a polish edge.

Some mozarella slices… with its open construction it was a breeze to clean under the tap.

And eventually all the ingredients wre turned into a salad for lunch. Conclusion: the ZT0562CF is now in my pocket to be tested on a longer run but it already got such great qualities to make it a keeper: unearthy smooth operation, great ergos, best high tech materials and top notch steel. The thumb stud does not get in the way while cutting and the point is strong enough to feel confident about its resilience. The innovative deep carry clip makes it easy to disappear in the pocket. It’s the perfect adequation between hard working and gentleman folder. Now you can also check the Falcon here which is a true jewel in that flipping matter.

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Endura HAP40 blade and Pakkawood handle, sanded to my taste.

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The tools of the trade. Leather belts, sandpaper sheaths and coffee.
As usual I cannot let ma knife as provided by the factory and Pakkawood being a synthetic ersatz of wood, I wanted to see how it reacted under the sandpaper.

P500 Metal sandpaper is used just to round the facets into rounds. The Pakkawood is soft and it’s done without any kind of discoloration. It reacts a lot like Micarata. No smell.
Anyway I was holding my breath. Those dusts are unhealthy.

“If you have a buffing wheel, try polishing the wood handle – it buffs up beautifully with a XAM or green rouge compound.” said to me Howard Korn.

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Then I take the chance to sand the edge of the liners. It always great to feel an handle with not sharp edge. I have done also the same with the hole. I don’t want to chanfered it like on the AFCK but less edge makes my thumb safer. Remember, I was bite by the Tatanka hole once.

I have sand the spine to smooth it and then used some polish on leather to remove the sharpening scratches.
Eventually I have turn the Endura into a great razor which has be baptised with my blood for good measure. (I happen during the stropping…)

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