Category Archives: Fixed Blade

Benchmade 200 Puukko – Call me Snake.

This is the first Benchmade’s review for a long time. Why ? Not because of the quality of Les De Asis company’s products but because I was not really excited by their production in the last decade after a huge love with their AFCK back in 90’s, and also with Nimravus and all those blades in M2HS which is a tungsten high speed steel, the granddaddy of CPM M4.
I still got a AFCK in M2HSS and browsing that blog, you will find it here.

So here we go, two words has caught my attention on that new Benchmade: Puukko and CPM3V.

“CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in a high wear-resistance steel. It offers impact resistance greater than A2, D2, Cru-Wear, or CPM M4, approaching the levels provided by S7 and other shock resistant grades. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of a high alloy steel are required.” Source Crucible.

COMPOSITION
C Mn Si Cr Mo V
0.80 0.30 1.00 7.50 1.30 2.75

To quote my friend Max Wedge:
“3V loses 1/3 of the toughness going from 58hrc to 60 hrc (still 1/3 above A2 at 60 hrc, and A2 is indestructible… almost). Both 4V and Cruware start to shine around 60-62 Hrc… so, 3V for choppers, 4V or Cruware for slicers, Cruware having best corrosion resistance ( trait appreciated by soldiers & foresters)”

So this tough short blade made of chopper steel is at a very good bargain !! Let see what it is all about.

The leather sheath is beautiful even (if there is a loop in the stitching… I will upgrade it into a kydex for pocket carry.) and cleverly designed as a dangler. You can remove the loop to transform it into a classical sheath.
There is a place for sparkling rod in the Bushcraft fashion. I don’t care about carry a knife of that size attached to my belt. I prefer to have it inside my pocket or my bag.

The blade is an eye candy for some reason it reminds me the small SOG Seal Pup knife with no false edge but that’s me… Is this a Puukko ?

That handle is made in some kinf of thermorun… but it is rubberized Santoprene is a soft, non-hygroscopic elastomer which exhibits excellent surface appearance, a durable soft-touch feel, excellent colorability and excellent “processability”… made by Exxon.

It is made from underground forgotten dinosaurs and jurassic biomass aka “petroleum” hence the look of scales on it ?  Because that handle looks like some sort of snake or cold blood creature. I love it.

Now is this a scandi ground blade ? Nope. There is a secondary bevel. Is the knife sharp ? Yep, very sharp but could be better. Later/soon on that.

It is a hidden tang construction and you can see the steel in the lanyard hole. This knife is solid as CPM3V is really tough !!
Hidden tang are great when you work in cold weather, protecting your hand from a frozen steel.

That blade is short but handy: it asks to be used hard like… Snake Plissken’s hard actually ! Because 3V is magic in toughness ! 😀

Compared to a Mora or the Urban Hunter (from Pekka Tuominen) the Benchmade 200 stands its ground.

Here are two vision of CPM3V industrial use. Ed Schempp Spyderco Tuff is pure business. So that BM200 should be even tougher as a fixed blade.

Teamed with a Manly Wasp, you got a great combo.


But a puukko (in my book) needs a thinner edge and it is time to scratch that blade to de-shoulder all that. Diamonds do scratches but then scratches will be polished later. Thinner convexed edge is destin to go deep and get twisted; this is a tough steel.

Diamonds, ceramic and leather. Who needs more ?  CPM 3V is really like chewing gum you need abrasive medium to form that convex edge.

A some compound with the leather stropping is mandatory to erase those scratches

See ? Now it is convexed and will be smooth on whittling wood. No worry for that edge stability again 3V is perfect for that use.

Standing next my Serrata which is my only naturally serrated knife.

So now, I just need some white ceramic to keep it sharp and some stropping. It is ready for testing. The Puukko shape is more for me a “Coutelas de Rahan” shape actually (French people will understand but here is the link: Rahan in Wikipedia.
making this little tough knife very appealing to bring it everywhere.
Everywhere is a good point to start. 😉

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Fred Perrin LaGriffe, Michael Janich’s review and many more sharp objects.

PROLOGUE:
So where do we begin? It must be twenty years . . .
Long story short, it was the beginning of forums on the Internet.

When someone in the tactical new world order of the 90’s named Ernest Emerson was promoting his Tiger Claw… Saying he got that clever idea for a neck knife…
Wait a minute… Ernest invented that ?

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Immediately I was reacting on the threads asking questions about that design I already knew from the articles in La Passion des Couteaux. Ernest was bragging he was the inventor of Lagriffe ! Immediately his groupies and especially Kevin “Mad Dog” McClung   once king of the forums attacked France, French, our flag, our way of life… McClung was so proud of his lack of knowledge… He even asked one of his friend working in the FBI, a guy named “Hilton” on the forum to buy a Fred Perrin original Lagriffe and write an ugly review about it !! Shame on you “Hilton” you were such a groupie with a brown tongue.
Reading the review nothing was good for Hilton and Emerson was a true American God who give a huge chance to a little Frenchie …

Well I did not know Fred Perrin at that time but I had contacted him some weeks after my lonely war against Mad Dog and his groupies… Fred told me that Ernest had contacted him and was ready to pay royalties.

Well, then we became friends and Fred was visiting me every week to show me his last productions and we have started to write review on Geocities about the knives we loved ! It was a great fun. It was long time before digital photography: I was using my SVHS camera and extracted the frames to get images I could publishes. I was also experimenting animated gif…

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So La Griffe was the source of this blog, it was even the wallpaper of our pages.

CHAPTER ONE:
Here the review back in those early Internet times written by Michael Janich:
“Fred Perrin’s “La Griffe,” (02/1999)

Recently, I had the opportunity to become the lucky owner of two knives made by noted
French knife maker Fred Perrin. Although I hadn’t had any previous exposure to Fred’s
work, I had seen a few articles about him and knew that he was an devoted practitioner of
defensive knifecraft and the Filipino martial arts. Since competency in knife fighting is a
unique (and unfortunately rarely seen) quality among knife makers, I had high
expectations for Fred’s work. I was not disappointed.

The knives I received were two variants of Perrin’s “La Griffe” (meaning “claw” in
French) model. Both knives are single edged and hollow ground on only one side of the
blade. The handles are a unique pistol-grip shape with a large hole at the ricasso. The
smaller of the two knives features wooden handle scales, while the larger is of one-piece
steel construction. Both knives came in well-made adjustable kydex sheaths configured for
neck carry. Also included in the package was a training version of the smaller knife made
from a high-strength fiber-reinforced plastic. Like I said, knife makers who are true knife
fighters look at things a little differently. The inclusion of the trainer immediately
convinced me that Perrin was serious about his work.

Although the Griffe is an unconventional design, its purpose, as well as Perrin’s brilliance,
become apparent as soon as you grip it in your hand. What you notice is that with your
index finger placed through the hole in the ricasso, the knife becomes a natural extension
of your hand. By placing your thumb on the back of the blade, the natural motor skills of
the hand are transferred directly to the blade, allowing you to use it almost instinctively as
a cutting and slashing weapon.

With a subtle shift of the handle, the butt of the knife can be placed directly against the
meaty part of the palm. This suppors the handle firmly and indexes the point with the
knuckles of the fist. A natural punching motion now produces a powerful and accurate
thrust with the point of the blade. With the handle braced in this way, you can generate
tremendous power, and the hole in the blade provides a secure grip for withdrawing the
blade from the target. The hole also allows you to open your hand without dropping the
knife (try that with any other knife!) and provides a great index for a quick draw from the
sheath.

Speaking of drawing, the curved handle of the Griffe design helps keep the knife flat when
suspended from the neck and provides a great tactile index for the blade edge. Many neck
knives have symmetrical handles that are impossible to orient by tactile sense alone. If the
cord on these knives becomes twisted, you can easily draw the knife with the edge facing
the wrong way. Thanks to its unique design, you can draw and orient the Griffe by feel
alone.

Basically, the Griffe design combines the best features of a single-edged boot knife and
push dagger and improves upon them with the unique ricasso hole. In case you’re worried
that the hole will weaken the blade, a close examination of both knives revealed that they
are differentially heat treated. A clear temper line (like the hamon on Japanese swords)
was apparent on both knives, showing that the working part of the knife was substantially
harder than the ricasso and handle. When was the last time you saw this kind of attention
to detail on a neck knife?

In summary, Fred Perrin’s La Griffe is a unique, practical, and totally functional defensive
knife design. These days whenever I choose to wear a neck knife, it’s a La Griffe.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO: “ME MYSELF AND EYE” 16th of February 1999.

A self portrait of Fred Perrin’s La Griffe !
assisted by Sundey the Cat, specialist in claws since her prime age.

 

I don’t want to present to you a self evaluation of my own design.
Because it’s almost impossible to talk objectively about something so personal as my GRIFFE.  (The Claw in french…)

But a lot of people come to me and ask me: “Why ? Where it comes from ? Where is your hairbrush ?”

But seriously, about the design, I needed that tool for myself and there were no equivalent for real self defense and everyday chores.

During the 80’s, I have used a lot of knives. Some were good some could but I was always looking for a short blade, with an excellent grip, with a total security (like opening my hand without losing my knife, and without using Superglue!).
As a “martial improviser”, I wanted also to use all the grips I knew with no more than 2 inches of rigid blade.

I was looking around the Kerambit and equivalent but I was disappointed
because the ring was at the other side of the handle and it was too big.

With some of my “Hyena Brothers” (close friends) we began to try, to use and to abuse, different designs.  The main idea was to put the ring between the blade and the handle.
(And it was long time before the new Gerber Cameleon…)

Then we have tried many blade shapes and handles.
Finally the classic Griffe was born at the end of the year 1990.

The concept:
1/ A fixed blade is always ready.
2/ Small and easy to conceal
3/ Small edge means great control on razor edge.
4/ Short blade because with long blade I could kill to much easily (sorry but that’s true !)
5/ The ring hole is the security belt. I can climb a tree with my knife in my hand, ready to be used.
Almost impossible to disarmed. (I talk here about real combat situation as during sparing tests…)

The handle ,à la “Derringer Gun” : one finger in the ring, two on the handle and the little finger at the butt.
This is what I always wanted for Christmas !

See:
I can grasp my opponent, i can hit with hand open and then I close my fist and the Griffe gets in action !!!
It is so easy to check and then strikes back.
This is the power of that design. You can check, grasp, use all the power of your hand and the blade sticks in your hand, following your movement.
The moment your opponent will see the Griffe, if he sees it, it will be to late.

Now, my first customers were policemen, soldiers, alpinists, sailors, firemen and dockers…
But soon the concept “Take it, pull it, use it …” has become famous toward women and especially my wife and my wife’s friends.

She: “Ooooh c’est joli !”
Myself : “Grrrrrrroal!”
The neck carry was also a must for me. Whatever you wear, Tuxedo or Santa Claws ‘s “suit” !
Neck knives are really useful when they are light !
Some people around me feel naked without it even consider it as lucky charm.

My Griffe ?
It’s my ” #@&$¤%” signature !

Period.

Fred

griffefred5

 

 

CHAPTER 3
Today while attempting the 29th SICAC, the oldest Parisian knife show, I came across Pierre Supper’s table to check the last Mid Tech Fred Perrin Concept releases. Pierre is responsable of all the industrial production of Fred.

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Of course, as a fan as I was immediately attracted by a Perrin/Janich fixeblade name the Fusion: an heavy short knife with a thick spine !!

 

 

A very solid massive fixed blade with an aim at self defense.
Michael Janich, like Fred Perrin are both instructors in the way to defend yourself against knives but also to use this sharp tools as equalizers. They bot have a very pragmatic approach. Fred always says that the best defense equipment are runner shoes for running fast and away of danger for example.

Looking on the table they were so many wonders.
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A Bowie La griffe. This is a Chisel 440C tool.

 

Damascus Mini and Normal !

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The famous Shark !

 

Le Shark folding version which is actually a friction folder.

 

Le Héron, another very unique concept short blade !

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The Big Hole Concept in action !

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The Mini Pic !

And suddenly the Love at First Sight:

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A beautiful double ground La Griffe !!

Eventually I have come back home

This new industrial La Griffe got only one sharp edge, all the others are rounded and D2 steel is stone washed to an exquisite finish.

Fred Perrin is a veteran of the French Army and expert in survival under extreme conditions. He has designed a knife that is the epitome of simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It is used by military and police operators throughout the world and is widely used in the open ocean fishing fleets of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. With the addition of the new variation, the WWR model, it is now the perfect emergency companion for climbers, kayakers, and white water rafters.

Fred is one of the world’s premiere “real world” fighting instructors. This fact is directly reflected in his bare bones no-holds barred style of knife making. His attitude and philosophy have propelled him to design some of the best and most affordable combat knives in the business. Fred comes from a diverse background of French Military Special Forces service and a life long study of martial arts and weapons systems.

 

Fred Perrin is a highly sought after instructor in Europe and a highly recognized and respected knife maker to those who use and carry knives in high risk environments. 

You can notice the temper line on this picture.

On this one: 3 temper lines !

From top to bottom:
a custom forged bushcrafter Lagriffe with a 1075 convex  flat ground chisel blade.
a bowie Lagriffe chisel in 1075.
the new La Griffe Dark double flat ground in D2 Tool Steel.
a double hollow ground delux custom in 1075
a three time tempered classic version in 1075.

“…I couldn’t believe it either until I held one, I had similar reservations up till that point too.
This is a very utilitarian knife, it’s made to be used. The ring helps you hold onto it even if you’ve heavily jarred the blade…

…It looks like a ring knife, but it’s not. The ring (index in, forward grip; pinkie in, reverse grip) is a retention feature. I have one and let me tell you it’s not going to leave your hand unless you want it to. The handle sits within your fist and gives you a very solid feel.”
JERRY O.

NOT ONLY A NECK KNIFE:
“Fred Perrin often carries it in the belt (his kydex sheath is set up with a strap to go over the top of your pants and the strap grabs under your belt so when you draw the sheath doesn’t move) for a reverse grip. This means the blade is down and when you draw you have the edge up, facing your knuckles. His moves were very fast, I don’t know what martial art he studies so I can’t tell you for sure. But what he told me was that he made these knives to compliment that art. A lot of stabbing moves or it seemed to this untrained eye…”
James Keating.

“La Griffe is Fred Perrin trademark and is a concept of its own.
It comes in a variety of styles and lengths and his 100% handmade. Every has a temper line and comes with a kydex sheath. A true utility fighter, maybe the last knife you’ll ever want to own. 100% hand crafted in France. Copied by many, never equaled. Employed by members of the French Secret Services…” LACI SZABO

 

EPILOGUE:

The only companies which got Fred Perrin‘s authorization to make a Lagriffe version are mentioning him in the description of their knife. To my knowledge here they are:
Emerson Knives for the Tiger Claw.
Spyderco for the SPOT and SWICK
Cold Steel for the Cross Guard and
Bastinelli knives for the coming Raptor.
If they are any other manufacturers who mention “Fred Perrin’s design”, he has given his autorisation to reproduce his pattern.
The main defender of inventors is an inventor himself: Sal Glesser. He will never use any design or inventions without mentionning and paying royalties to the source inventor. Sal does that for Emerson’s Wave for exemple but also for the way Fred Perrin used a hole in a neck knife before neck knives were in fashion…
Sal also give credits to locks inventors and pay royalties to them.

This is respect as Fred also shows respect to inventors and forgotten knifemakers.
And here is the Bastinelli Raptor a prototype destined to be produced in 2019.

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Blast From The Past: Spyderco Moran versus Fred Perrin

 

Here is another archive from the stainless steel Delorean which can warp twenty years ago and back !
The Spyderco Moran was the first fixed blade and the first VG10 knife ever.

So here it is without filters or editing:

 

 

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THE MORAN FEATHERWEIGHT
by SPYDERCO
a little review by Fred Perrin
always misdirected by Nemo

It’s important to promote the work of young unknown blade makers.
Meet, William Moran !

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This young newcomer has to be watched…

The Spyderco “Moran” is a classic of little fixed blade and one of the rare made by Spyderco. You all know about it since Spyderco has decided to discontinue it and its price has drop to a very nice bargain.

Why a Moran’s review ? (Thanks to James Mattis we know it’s not discontinuited !)
Because…
a young prodigy named Moran

This is a rigid blade. This is not as common as all these taktikeul fooldears !
Its grip is mega excellent. The composition of that handle is a must even with wet hands.
You can pull or push without anyrisk to slip. Manyplaces for thumnbresting…etc etc…
This handle is unique and a true innovation.
No lanyard hole. WHYYYYYY ?
For fighting grips the handle is also a must. The butt of the handle has “a point” where the tang butt stop inside the plastic handle. This pointed handed is ready to crush any skull around.
The Moran is also an excellent throwing knife ! Do you think we are crasy ?
No, no, we are just insane…

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The blade is a mirror finished à la Moran blade with the famous Moran Grind (flat ground and concave).
The steel is VG-10.
The VG-10 is the steel used by Fallkniven (since they have tried the Moran…)
Excellent steel with a really fine grain.
The blade is vorpal and really solid because it its not so thick it is wide.
The power of cut is great. It’s a slashing tool. Semi circular hits are quick and deep.
The thrust is powerfull thanks to the handle shape resting in the palm.

The lenght (less than 4 inches) is polyvalent for medium and small job. Made first as a skinner, he is the King of the Kitchen !
At first glance you think it’s fragile. But after used you feel the handle, the lightness, the serious of the blade shape.

CLIK HERE TO MEET Mr Mo’ big fans at Little River !
And after removing a sentry, it’s a pleasure to have a mirror finish blade to check your tribal make up.

Now the sheath. WHAT IS THAT SHEATH !!! It’s look like a brown fish ! It’s could be a toy for my dog !
(My dog loves leather sheaths ! I mean, that little bastard eats my favorite leather sheaths and her next target could be my sofa…)

Looking closer you see its quality leather and it’s well made.
then you put the knife inside and you see how well it’s fit.

When you put the sheath “inside” your belt behind the right hip… here it’s paradise.
Your almost forget it ! You can reach your knife for instant Ice Pick grip.
You can even reach your knife while sitting in your car.
Really this sheath is a also a must for a leather sheath ready to be carry with a very low profile. But some thought the Moran desserve a much better sheath

Meet the two Kydex sheaths made by Edge Works Manufacturing

Light, Vorpal, compact and mega grip.
Little industrial fixed blade of that quality are so rare.
This is a “premiere” let’s hope not a “dernière”.
Joli !

But who will ever remember William Moran, huh ?

(Our next young newcomer to watch will be someone with perharps a little future in cutlery: Blackie Collins. )

Fred Perrin
“Where is my hair brush !”

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THESE PAGES ARE DIRECTED BY NEMO

 

 

Click Here!

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Schrade 152 Serie Sharpfinger — Fred Perrin & Nemo’s old review.

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Twenty years ago they were no digital caméra and I used my video caméra and extract one frame. Hey, this is Fred, in 1998 and this is a review kept in JD archives when it was first displayed on Geocities, a true blast of the past ! More to come soon… 😉
The other pictures are taken from the Sharpfinger PITS comparaison review.

So let’s see that old review and tone we use to employ back then:

“SCHRADE
SHARPFINGER and WOLFERINE
152OT 152UH by Fred Perrin (and Nemo)

An extension of your finger that was good 
for skinning large squirrels and small elephants”

If the definition of a knife is a sharp piece of steel and an handle, these both models are pure knives. 
I mean its a simple concept but simple ideas are the “highest” ideas. 
Created in 1974 by Mr. Henry Baer, to be a skinner, this knife is now a Classic amongst the Classics. (what will be in 25 years all these tactical models of today ?). 
But who cares about a $30.00 knife ($19.95 at Walmart…)?

Us.

The main difference between both models is: 
The Sharpfinger is 1095 Carbon Steel and the Wolferine is Schrade Plus (440A stainless steel). 
Period.

The 3.5″ is curved like a bear claw with sharpened back (the back of the claw not of the bear !)  
This is unique design has been used by many other brand factory.

The handle is bowed and the ricasso forms a finger stop and prevents the hand to slip on the blade. 
On the back of the blade there is a place for the thumb. 
The handle is thin on the side of the blade and thick at the butt: the grip is secured and confortable.

The great control of the blade makes the 152’s an real extension of your hand. Like a sharp finger in fact.

The handle is made of plastic. It’s very confortable for hard uses.

There is a lanyard hole. And that’s an important detail !

The shape of the blade is really polyvalent and not striclky confine in capping and skinning purposes. 
You can eat with it, cook with it, work on wood, clean fish etc etc… 

The blade is flat grounded on both sides for a better resistance and incredible polyvalence.

To resharp the blade is really a piece of cake with both steels. Dulling the blade is not so easy as the blade got an excellent edge holding.

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As far as we are concern, we really appreciate that knife because it’s a utilitary knife and the all around fixed blade archetype. 

In his book ” Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles”, Marc “Animal” Macyoung shows his Sharpfinger as his utility knife and main self defense blade.  
You can be shocked by this concept but it’s true. 
It’s a small knife with gutts but let’s be clear, Marc and my friends strongest cuts are made in Pizzas or Quiche !  We don’t remove sentries everyday and we try to avoid gang war. 
But anyway for a low price you got a low profile self defense and utility blade. 
Light sharp with good balance, this is all about.

Back In 1974, they was no tactical fashion. The prime design of the Sharpfinger was surely not self defense but as a very well made tool, you can turn it as a very well made weapon. 
For example the Machette is made as an agricultural tool but in a lot of countries it is the poorman sword. 
There is no shame as turning a good utility knife into a good self defense knife. 
Compared to all the “tactical” knives hype around, it’s strange why the152 and many classical designs are ignored by TK afficionados. Cheap doesn’t mean crap. 
(Imagine a 152 with g-10 handle and kydex sheath,  and with its blade bead blasted…enough tactical for you ?) 
Don’t forget the “tactical knife” is the knife you got in your hand and the right moment…

Marc said to us: 
“Be warned, the purist get real unnerved when you use a “fighting knife” as a tool. I beat the hell out of my knives. They look at them and say (in horrified tones) “What have you been doing with this knife ?” 
That’s why bladesmiths consider me such a savage. 
I got over that the day that I climbed a cliff and halfway up I discovered it turned to shale. I ended up hacking new hands holds with my knife and moving up a foot at a time. I don’t care how much that knife cost, it was either ruin it or fall. 
The Schrade 152 is one of the few knives I haven’t been able to break despite seriously abusing it.”

Judicious Marc Macyoung. His books are a kind of “checkpoint” for anyone interested in self defense. 
A “must know” . 
 

The sheath of 152 is made of genuine leather. It’s old fashioned but nice “a la” scout.  
Great for the price.

By the way, if you lose yourself in the jungle of your supermarket, take a look at that Schrade knives. 
You will perharps notice one of that original 152 and perharps, again, you will adopt it. Definitively. 
 

The 152 ? 
A Real utility knife. 
Period.

Fred Perrin & Nemo

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Spyderco Lil’Nilakka – My Romantic Gentleman Puukko.

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When I consider a new knife, I like to choose it in such a way that it conveys values that appeal to me; in synch with my mood with what I recognize as exemplifying a tradition, a nation; when craft turns into art.

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I also opt for features complimentary to the ones I already have so that each knife stands out as champion in its category. Ie this one does not rust, this one will not be taken away from me in UK or Denmark, this one is really good for heavy duty stuff, this one has something so obscene about it I can’t resist!

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Setting the mood: read Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt; listen to Symphony n.5 by Jean Sibelius (pictured): dears belling in a barren wilderness where primitive elements collide – wind, sheer stones and icebergs…

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…envision cold tundra landscape depicted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s paintings – the hard conditions forging men and women. Suomi.

 

A gentleman folder with no pair equal.

Which Spyderco better conveys rigour and austerity of the North other than the Pekka Tuominen designed Lil Nilakka Puukko? It stands out immediately recognizable with its character unlike any other and its craftman, alike the aforementioned finnish artists, is a true representative of the Nordic tradition and nation.

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So to summarize: as Sibelius was once said to be the “Chopin of the north”; Pekka the Sibelius of blacksmith and cutlery.

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So what is so fantastic about Lil Nilakka?

Still life:

  • Matter of taste: traditional finnish Puukko – I love it!
  • White G-10 so elegant – like ivory but walrus friendly.
  • RWL 34 the Robert W Loveless “in memoriam” steel with excellent combination of corrosion resistance, edge sharpness and hardenability. Also its said to be easy to maintain; good for me!
  • Solid clip that nests Lil Nilakka deep in the pocket

In motion:

  • The Lil Nilakka is snug close-fitting in hand; the forefinger in the G-10 handle opening and the thumb comfortable on the spine thanks to the chanfer.
  • So perfect control when cutting – should that be the x-mas tree branches in excess or the ultimate test: pealing a ripe pear and skinning it angstrom style. The point of the blade and the blade’s width also contribute to making this tool one of extreme precision.
  • Easy to action linerlock and the blade fits perfectly; great engineering work!

 

Mine is #589; with me to stay as my gentleman Puukko!

 

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Casstrom No.10 Swedish Forest knife — My Woodlore Alternative.

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The title could have been the “Poor Man Woodlore” but it would have not reflect the quality of this N°10 SFK Bushcraft knife. For twenty years now I have follow with interest the long walk of Ray Mears in the wood. Producing an elegant fixed blade to make some magic of barks, sticks and leaves. First time I have seen him using his knife, I thought to myslef: “Who is this guy who walks in the countryside with a fixed blade in his pocket…” This is where my interest for the man and the tool has started.
I was already using a Hello Scandi grind knife back on those days with cladded carbon steel.

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Bushcraft is a childhoold adventure dream. It mixes Tarzan, Rambo and all those scouts and indian stories. You can go playing in the woods with your favorite new sharp toys, creating things like bows, arrows, huts, shelters… I was doing bushcraft with my uncle Guy back in the 70’s. He was using a sturdy slipjoint german knife we called a “Canif” (k-nife) and soon I was allowed to bring my own fixed blade knife. Later, when I was 11, I was really into it after investing all my money in a Glock Feldmesser 78 which was a game changer for me: I was able to chop wood !! Any way, a fixed blade was always my best friend in the wood and I have often asked for a sheath I could pocket easily. Don’t laugh but I still got my Rambo II knife… perhaps the subject of another article. Anyway here a picture:
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Ok back to the topic:  Casström No.10 Swedish Forest Knife.
Casström is a manufacturer and distributor of top quality knives and outdoor equipment. They got all a collection of knives and some beauties for bushcrafter. They are famous for having a survival knife developed with survival expert Lars Fält an old friend of Ray Mears. But I was not interested in that collaboration. Why ? because I was looking for a smaller knife. My attention turned to the N°10 with its 10cm long blade compared to the Lars Fält with it 11,5 cm blade.

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I add noticed they were selling Second Knives in their site. It sounds great to me since I got a great experience with Second knives in the UKBushcrafter sale some years ago.
So I have contacted them explain to them that an handle or cosmetic was not an issue as far as the blade was perfect for the review. Gently they have decided to send me a perfect knife instead of a second and that for the initial price. Very nice gesture.

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From their site we can learn that it was designed a multipurpose knife for hunting, bushcraft and general use in the great outdoors. The blade is 10cm long and made using 3.8mm thick Austrian made O2 high carbon tool steel (Böhler K720) and heat treated to achieve a hardness of 58-60 HRC. The knife is ground with a shaving sharp flat Scandinavian grind and have a satin finish… and it’s true, it was shaving sharp right out of the box.

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What I had noticed on the pictures of N°10 knife was the handle: it’s not straight.
Immediately after holding it for the first time, it was love at first palm ! The handle is so well thought after, it literally makes love with your hand. It’s like Ed Schempp or Paul Alexander knives designs, straight lines are not our friends, curves are our friends.

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You see where you pinky can wrapped itself ? It is so confortable !
You can also see the black liners between the handle scales and steel to enhance durability over time. The site explains also that the wood has been treated with a traditional Scandinavian linseed oil based varnish.

The knife comes with a sturdy welted sheath made from cognac brown 3mm vegetable tanned full-grain leather. The sheath features an extra wide belt loop, a fluid draining hole and a lanyard hole. All based have been covered. The sheath looks sturdy but I was happy to apply some bee wax and jojoba in it to smooth it a little.
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About the steel: Böhler Tool Steel K720 is a very tough and strong oil hardened high carbon tool steel also known as O2 : C. 0.9%, Si. 0.25%, Mn. 2.0%, Cr. 0.35% V. 0.1% (HRC 58-60)
Compared to
O1 Tool Steel. C 0,85%  Si 0.50%Mn 1.00% Cr 0.60% Ni 0.30% W 0.40% V 0.30% Cu 0.25% P 0.03% S 0.03%
They are brothers in the tool steel department as “Bushcrafters generally don’t seek the characteristics of stainless over the performance of high-carbon edge retention, and is why traditional Bushcraft knives are produced using tool steel for their blades.Spyderco Catalog.

Compared to the UKbushcrafter in G10 they also brother in the same department.

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The main difference between them is the weight; 68 grams lighter for the N°10. G10 is heavier and more dense than oak. I do prefer also the wood handle which feels less slippery than G10 when my hands are wet.

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The sheath also is less bulky that on the UK Buscrafter which feels like a bigger knife all in all.
But compared to the original Woodlore we are in the same game: same length , same weight, same kind of steel, same grind… Which makes a great alternative with a very clever handle at a fraction of the price.
Really, Casström people are entering the bushcraft game with great products at a very nice price. The N°10 made in Sweden (*) can be found around 120 euros with international shipping and you can compare to the 460 euros of the last Ray Mears design made in the UK. Alternatives are good.
Time to test the knife  now. More to come soon.

* “The knives are manufactured predominantly in Spain, but with design, material selection, final finish and quality control here in Sweden. The finish is very high in relation to the price and materials used as you can see. The wooden handles we make are close to custom grade.” David Cassini Bäckström — Casström AB

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Spyderco FB33GP Gayle Bradley Pocket Bowie !

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This is Gayle Bradley first Fixed Blade collaboration with Spyderco. A “unique blend of expert design and state-of-the-art metallurgy”… But is it a real Bowie ?

A true Bowie is “the most effective fighting and survival knife ever made.”
Just to quote Bill Bagwell as he was attending the Paris Knife Show, where one of his Bowies won the award for the best fixed-bladed Damascus knife in 1995…
A stiletto can pierce, but not more effectively; a cleaver or kukri can chop with similar result; and a razor can slice, but only in one direction and without the power of a combat Bowie. A 10 inches perfectly balanced beast with a false edge ready for a back cut… This is Bill definition of a big bad Bowie.
Actually I got a Cold Steel Trailmaster but much prefer the Fallkniven A2 for camp knife purpose. The A2 is not a proper bowie but the 8 inches blade gives you the scale of the Bradley Bowie which is not much longer than a Phil Wilson South Fork.
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Also I have noticed the edge is quite thick on the Bowie. It’s not a great whittler. I was immediately tempted to get a thinner edge. I felt also the edge to be very far from the handle because of its large choil.


In that matter its little brother the Junction was much more capable. Being much more thinner behind the edge.
But a 5 inches blade is not the best chopper. The size emphases the portability but not the chopping performance. This Bowie must be designed with a special purpose: hunting knife, pocket camp knife ? It’s a bastard dog but Gayle Bradley don’t design by guessing, he must have a reason. I have asked him in an email and will update this review as soon as he will be kind enough to answer me.

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To quote Bill Bagwell: ” There is a difference between the ideal fighting Bowie and an ideal survival Bowie, even though the basic design is relatively similar. The ideal fighting Bowie and survival Bowie would have roughly the same blade length of about nine to ten inches, because this is the length that offers the perfect amount of balance and leverage in both scenarios. But the ideal survival Bowie might be a fair amount heavier overall and have a greater concentration of the weight further up the blade. This concentration of weight further up the blade gives the Bowie a balance more like a hatchet, so that it has greater chopping power, separating it from the more nimble fighting Bowie class.”

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The Bradley Bowie is a Jack Of All Trade focused on a Sub 6 inches fixed blade market.
In that domain I already got some favorites Spyderco: the Serrata !
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The Serrata offers a cleaver power in the field. But the Bowie is tougher in the choice of its steel. “An incredibly tough spray-formed tool steel. Like the particle metallurgy process, spray forming rapidly solidifies molten steel into small particles so its component alloys cannot “segregate” or settle. This creates an ultra-fine, extremely homogenous grain structure that is ideal for knife blades. PSF27’s alloy composition includes molybdenum, vanadium and a generous 1.55% carbon, but because its chromium content is 12%—just below the official threshold for stainless steel—care should be taken to maintain it properly.”

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The Bradley Bowie is also an eye candy, even if I don’t like where the trademark hole has been placed, at least it is very very small and even smaller than on the Junction.

The contoured polished G10 handle is very confortable in the hands. much better than the Junction which is very very flat. I’m not a fan of the tubular holes on both models but it offers some potential in creativity: who want to make a spear from they knife ? Boar hunting anyone ? And it respects the prime designs of Gayle Bradley.
I also love the balance of the Bowie making it “alive” in the hands.

IMHO the Bradley Bowie would be great as a soldier’s knife. Some kind of modern KABAR…
It’s thick enough to withstand some serious abuse. The tip and the blade shape would make it easy for opening crates if needed.  It can be used for batoning of even light chopping.

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So it’s a Bowie easy to pocket in its boltaron sheath or rigged upside down thanks to its great retention. The pancake sheath works great and is very secure. There is no play or rattle when shaken. It’s a sheath of great quality.

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Conclusion, the Pocket Bowie made in Taichung is ready to follow you in any kind of expedition you got in mind. Its full tang construction and general design make it fit for any tasks where a solid and reliable knife is needed. The Bradley Bowie is a tough cookie.

More to come soon.