Category Archives: Review

The Lionspy tonight…

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In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lionspy tonight…

Lionspy

C 157GTIP – Spyderco Lionspy – Pocket Lion King

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“I got a lion in my pocket
And baby he’s ready 2 roar…”

Prince – 1999

The Lionspy is not a big knife. It’s an animal with big paws. Shorter than a Millie, in the same size as a Gayle Bradley this is a compact knife.
Stout would be the term.The extra thickness of the blade is balanced by the almost full wide flat ground convexed edge.
This is not a pointy knife. It’s almost like my beloved small Panama fighter from Sean McWilliams: not pointy but with a strong penetration factor.
So let’s not be fooled by it. The Lionspy got a very sharp tip and it’s perfectly useable for piercing.

The first thing you notice when you handle the Lionspy is how well balanced it is. There is a very good reason to have an half titanium and half G10 handle: balance.
This is a knife which is “alive” in the hand, easy to manipulate and a pleasure to hold. Again, for comparaison it remembers me the DPX HEST fixed blade in the way that thick tool can be very handy for hard works.

Spyderco Lionspy

Shorter than the Millie and in the same size as the Gayle Bradley which is a great hardcore folder with a much thinner blade of of wonderful steel.
The Lionspy is my first Elmax blade. Another exotic powder alloy to test.

Spyderco Lionspy

Eventually the Lionspy is a very compact stout folder as tall as some very familiar object. It doesn’t scare sheeples so far.

Spyderco Lionspy
On a table it’s really a shorty knife for such a relatively wide huge blade. Notice the Rotolock invented and patented by Gianni Pauletta.
This is a very simple way to turn a very strong folder into some mega strong folder. Not a fixed blade. But a mega strong open folding knife.

Spyderco Lionspy

From the thin CPM-M4 to that Millie special edition M390 to the massive Elmax of the Lionspy… The CPM-M4 has proven to be able to amazingly carve into very hard materials.
The convex flat ground Lionspy is absolutely razor sharp right out of the pouch (as there is no box but a great Spyderco pouch with a little stainless steel tool wrench to adjust the pivot and the clip.)

Spyderco Lionspy
Handy and comfy in any grip. See how the grind is even. But the confortable “not square” handle is the first thing I had noticed.
You got a very strong positive grip on hammer or reverse. “Built like a tank” is really the cliché which comes out loud from my mouth.

Spyderco Lionspy

Compared to the Millie’s clip the Lionspy clip is very low profile deep carry alternative. As the knife is short enough to be completly forgotten inside the pocket. Great EDC !
Now it’s not as easy to draw out of the pocket as compared to the Millie “quick draw spyder drop option”. But the Lionspy is a strong tool not a fast cheetah of a knife like the Millie.

Spyderco Lionspy
The cheetah and the lion. Two different kind of animals both very addictive. The Millie is performance oriented, light and fast.
The Lionspy is pure strenght and majesty.

Spyderco Lionspy

Two strong tools. The Gayle Bradley has proven  how useful and reliable it can be. Now it’s up to the Lionspy to prove how it can be too.
So let’s put my beloved GB back in a box and use only the Lionspy for a while…
Let see how the lion can roar on the long run…

Spyderco Lionspy

Spyderco Chaparral. – Gentleman extra flat companion.

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The Chaparral is the new true gentleman folder designed by Sal Glisser. Is it destined to be proposed with various handles. The first batch was supposed to be titanium but due to some delays the carbon fiber handle version get released first.

What amazed me on that little jewelry is the flatness of the overall design and the smoothness of the operations.
I read somewhere (I think it was Paul the Deacon who wrote that) the Chaparral was an alternative to the Michael Walker.
It is ambidextrous and even smoother, flatter and its wire clip is much better than the metal one on the C22.
The Chaparral is inobstructive and sleek design. The CF handle give you perfect retention. It’s a joy to operate.
Like all Taichung release this a jewel. No blade play in any direction. A hidden pin mechanism has been added to the pivot to strengthen the lock and can be felt during opening and closing. The knife despite its ultra thin feel very solid.
Compared to my beloved C22 Michael Walker, well it’s almost beats it but on the edge, the steel, the blade to handle ratio.
I would say the Walker is a BMW Series One when the Chaparral is an Audi A3. 😉
Two great knives for sure but with different performance.
The edge on the Chaparral is a little thick for my test when the ZDP of the C22 is thin and hard.
On hard plastic the Walker is even better than my Gayle Bradley and since I have been able to buy a safe queen, my first Walker will be used hard this year.
On hard matters the Chaparral cannot compete with the Walker.
I have deshouldered its edge a bit but it is not as aggressive as that C22.
But for office task and EDC it is perfect. Also I’m certain someone gifted sharpeners like my friend JD or Tom Krein would easily turn their Chaparral into Vorpals.
Overall the Chaparral is pure pleasure to operate. I use mine when I need a discreet companion at the office or in the city. You will forget it is clipped on you and will bring you a big grin when you will use it.
Another great design with and incredible smooth and flat alternative.
This could be James Bond choice. 😉

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This is my Chaparral saluted by my two Walkers. Can you identified the safe queen?
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Gayle Bradley 2 years after – The Workhorse of outstanding performances.

Two years ago in March 2012 I have ordered and received overseas within 5 working days my Spyderco Gayle Bradley.
I knew at first glance this knife was going to be a hit. You feel it in your hand and in the way it’s operate.
Back then, some people were “blocked” by the fact it was made in Taiwan and were nagging about the fact it was not made at 100% in the USA, simply forgetting that Seki was also importing knives into the USA and since Spyderco’s first success Sal Glesser have been able to build a plant in Golden Colorado to start a local production.
Also some forumites, like myself, have been wasted their time, throwing pearls to the swines, explaining Taiwan is NOT North Korea….
But despites those “retards”, everybody able to hold a GB were going “WOW !!!”
This knife is incredibly smooth and well finished. Oh the gorgeous liners… Some friends who are also in business with Taichung told me each parts of their knives are marked and numbered. We are almost in jewelry.

Two years ago, this is my favorite hard used folding knife: why ?
Answer: outstanding performances thanks to:
its hollow grind is thin and gently convexed. The steel is great. The GB is one the best push cutter in my collection (with the C22 ZDP Walker which is a true state of the art!).
Another great asset: the chunky heavy (I got the first batch more on that later) handle.
This square handle give you a great grip for turning/twisting the edge during the cutting to remove matter, the kind of abuse the Gayle Bradley blade can withstand easily thanks to that great CPM-M4 steel!

On hard materials, the GB is the King. You control the cuts. You feel the blade making constant thick chips of removed platic/wood…. The hidden choil give the control and the “feedback”/feel of the hardware during the hard cutting. Many times you think: it won’t do it but… it does, steady and smoothly separating matters. I have noticed how the edge near the choil is usefull and got a lot of applied force for hard matters cutting. This is the same bonus you got with the small Spydie Michael Walker design. Those “hidden” choil give you a lot of leverage near the axis. You can push with all your weight on that portion of the blade, it will separate matter smoothly.

So after two years of constant use: no rust or pitting on the non stainless steel blade. No blade play what so ever. And the lock is still at the same engagement as new.
I was not able to chip /damage the handle. I was taking care of it enough not to have the liners scratched (the blade is scratched though on its sides but it gives caracter to the knife)
My GB is one of the first batch, the liner of the first version are not skeletonized and it helps a lot to rinse and to clean under tap water. It makes it a little butt heavy but I like it that way… Also the clip was so tigh I was obliged to sand the carbon fiber to have it loose. But since that first adjustement, my GB did not change a bit.
I was even able to keep it sharp with only ceramic and stropping. The edge is thin and is easy to realigned. It’s especially forgiving, like a well tempered carbon steel and with the incredible perf of a high tech alloy. I have also used the handle liners to break glass and I was glad they were exposed that way.
This is the knife I put to the test each time I got something “hairy” to cut, something, I’m not certain I can do it with a knife. And each time the Spyderco Gayle Bradly was able to do it with ease and each time I have try another knife just to check if it was able to do it as “easily” but no. The only contender is the C22 and it’s not a workhorse but a gentleman knife.
Really you can be surprise has how the GB get through wooden knots and with a twist of the handle your break the branch with no damage. The edge goes deep and the blade is resilient. What a knife !

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Edit of 20th of may 2012:
I have found those words of Gayle Bradley on the Bladeforums some times ago and I really think this is something to read:

“First of all, thank you for your interest in my Spyderco collaboration. I thought I would address some questions I have read on the forums.

I chose a hollow grind because it gives you a thinner edge with less resistance to the material being cut. The blade material (CPM M4) is so tough and strong it will allow for a very thin edge and still have ample strength for a rough use knife. (My competition knives have an edge thickness of about .014 before the sharpening bevel is ground.) The blade has belly from tip to ricasso for better cutting ability in most cases. The tip is slightly thicker for additional strength. The handle is large enough to accomodate any hand size and most types of grips. Some dimensions not covered in the spec sheet are: liners are .068; blade is .120; thickness is .517. Because of the size of the knife and thickness of the liner material, I chose carbon fiber to reduce weight and add furher strength. One last thing about CMP M4, it is not stainless, but I have found that applying silicone to the blade will prevent most corrosion and stains.

Thank you for your interest in my work-horse design and your trust in Spyderco knives.

Stay sharp, Gayle Bradley”
Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Le Couteau Des Sorgues III – The Legal Folding Bushcrafter

Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier

Imagine a powerful blade in a legal folding package. This friction folder is the offspring of Xavier Conil who is a really gifted bladesmith knifemaker and designer leaving in the South of France. Like every Conil’s knife, you find a strong personnality in a very well thought package.
No lock. The blade is lock with your grip like with all friction folders. Also this new version (the third actually and for history the first batch has been offred and carried by Sal Glesser four years ago…) provides a choil which is a second security.

The really good point in the Couteau des Sorgues is… Wait a minute. you don’t know what a Sorgue is, do you ?
OK let’s start by this: the sorgues are a net of streams and rivers in the south east of France in the Vaucluse. The Sorgue is a river. So this a knife for the outdoors and for the amphibians…. the frogs !
The beautiful wooden Olive Tree handle is gentle and generous. You cut hard and deep. The belly of the flat grounded convexed edge blade helps a lot. This is a knife thought for great performance. Once open the “natural” lock works perfectly and the new add choil helps you to feel what is happening.
For reminder, the friction folder knives can be found since the antic times. But let’s not forget: what we call the handle was considered in that times has a attached sheath. So the cutting were made by holding the knife by the blade, like a barber with a razor. With this new batch of Couteaux des Sorgues, you can grasp the handles and cut with full power.
The construction is über solid and work is precise and reliable. Easy to carry in a Denim watch pocket and easy to pull and retrieve, you got here a great alternative to “tactical” folders.
This knife is made at Thiers by Claude Dozorme and the steel used is Xr50.
The factory edge is gently stropped and convexed which is an incredible attention for such a bargain.
Le Couteau Des Sorgues III is a great folding bushcrafter and it can be enjoyed in the UK.

Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier
Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier
Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier
Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier
Lames des Sorgues Xavier Conil Laurent Monnier

Mine can be found there:
http://www.couteaux.kingeshop.com/Couteau-des-Sorgues—Olivier–cbbacaaca.asp
(Knife pictured on the link is a previous version as there is no choil!)

Voyager XL Clippoint. This is for real.

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OK let’s do it very short as long as this Über Folder is long.
Incredible value.
Smooth. Really smooth.
Lock like a vault.
Perfectly balanced. Alive in the hands.
Light and fast.
Easy to choke up.
Beautiful big flatground bowie clip blade.
Really sharp out of the box.

Now what would be the use of such a big folder?
Let study it from the “tool” point of view as the “weapon” point of view is so obvious it could make Gustave Doré’s famous Navaja come to live in the 21st century.
OK Cold Steel is already making a bigger folder: the Espada XL. I have been lurking the G10 version XL version for some time but, really this one is to big for me.
The 5,5 inches pointy and belly blade of the XL Voyager is IMHO perfect for a big folder.
Very powerful and precise.
This is the kind of silent companion which oozes respect from its pores. A big folder like the XL Voyager is really a great sojourn companioon: easy to carry and rock solid.
Handy and reliable.
I would had prefered a G10 handle but the patterned checkered plastic is confortableto hold even with wet hands.
This is a tool which needs to be anchored in your wet palm. And the ergos are fantastic.
I haven’t tried it yet for chopping but I know some of my friends are not tender with their knoves and praise the XL Voyager.
The previous version I had offered to my dad has been stolen by my mother who still used her XL Voyager in the kitchen. This is the sharpest knife in her drawer.
She uses it to process meat and bread and I was not able to snitch it from her since 2000…
This new version got the famous Triad Lock which is so simple and so clever… it works perfectly.
Compared to my Tanto Recon 1, the XL Voyager is much smoother, much feline and quick in the hands.
Once closed it is quite light for its size and wide but you can tuck in your pants or in the front pocket and forget it.
Now there is a choil and this is something I really love. Compared to my Recon the Voyager is much more tool oriented.
You can eat an apple with it and quickly forget about its size.
This knife is really easy to master and to get confident with it.
It would be a perfect soldier companion, light enough to be forgotten and strong enough to take a beating.
The previous incarnation of XL Voyager was one of the stronger lock back I have ever tried but was developping some vertical play.
This new one doesn’t have any play vertical or horizontal and is much smoother to open and close.
The belly makes it a great hunting knife: again its so light and strong it will be not forgotten in the truck.
The Voyager is a knife for the modern Hobos. The Supertramps need a superknife.
You can cook with it, use it as a light camp knife, cut into pineapple or watermelon in one control cut.
This big knife is really user friendly.
Taiwan is the Place where great knives are made those days. From Spyderco to Le Pointu I was never disappointed once by their craftmanship.
My XL Voyager Clipoint is going to be carried a lot and I feel inside my bag will be the perfect place to clip it.
When you need a long, solid folding cutting tool, the XL Voyager Clipoint is unique in the market. Especially for that price. There is some kind of Texan Spirit in it. Like John Wayne could have used it in a John Ford movie. Bigger than life and big leggy !
Notice also the Vaquero blade which exists in the same size. Again a very usefull workhorse is proposed. But the Clipoint got more heft IMHO.

I will update this quick post later. But right now I can affirm this knife is a keeper. It’s not political correct. I hope morons will not flash it on youtube to show about badasses they think they are and give some stupid ideas to politicians to ban huge folders.On the contrary they can be a great wilderness tools. Bushcrafters should look at it much closer. It’s unique in its category. A big knife made for the voyagers. A tool for the highway men. And if you want to show off with it do not forget, an old lady somewhere in France got the same in her kitchen drawer. It’s her folding Chef Knife.

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Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition in H1 – Green Power !

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition
In my quest for a travelling knife, I’ve been considering a lightweight big folder. I already know and appreciate the Cold Steel Voyager Serie and also I’m a big fan of the Spyderco C36 Military. Then I got the chance to purchase a sprint run (600 ex.) of the Spyderco Catcherman for USN forums. First it was the chance to handle and own one of the most extreme concept ever made by the Golden crew. The C17 Catcherman was designed as “a filleting tool for the serious fisherman” and offered a long and thin AUS 8A Steel blade.
According to the wonderful book “The Spyderco Story” by K.T. Delavigne (“from the vineyard” in French BTW): “… its name was derived from an optimistic reply to the qquestion: “Are you going fishing ?” : “No I’m going catching.” Also this model was designed by one of Spyderco’s Japanese suppliers, the 4,75 inches long blade offers plenty of belly for skinning and filleting fish. With a .07-inch thickness allows it to flex slightly and pass though more easily…”

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

Now imagine this very serious and gentle tool Evil Twin: the USN Special Edition. With its black blade (titanium carbonitride coating!) and partially serrated blade and toxic green handle (the official color of the USN…) the folder filleting tool could be now…a great toy for Dexter Morgan !!!
OK, but now looking at it, this is still a very serious folder and a wonderful travelling companion.
First of all, that toxic green handle is perfect to find your knife in the bottom of your bag, boat, drawer. It gives a green Stabilo look to it once its clipped to your pocket (the clip tip up right carry is integrate to the handle and is as green as the rest for a .) They are serious improvements as it’s now a Salt knife.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

It’s very easy these days to find a lot of review on the new Salt series by Spyderco with their H1 blades. Started with the Salt 1, a modified Delica 3 with a bigger hole in the blade and a stronger tip, it features a steel impervious to corrosion. ‘H1’ is a self hardened steel with 1% amount of nitrogen. Don’t ask me why this alloy matrix does not want to have an affair with our atmosphere’s oxygen. I don’t know ! But it works great and it does no rust or stain in salty environnement.
From South African hunters to Bali’s divers, the folder are following their owners without piting. So fellow outdoors men (not only fishermen or sailors) you can expect from a Salt knife the relief to be able to use a sharp tool without to mind about cleaning it after.
Your Catcherman from the blade to the clip is purely rustproof.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

And H1 Steel performs quite well. I head once that the very edge on the plain edge version is 65 HC Rockwell and 68 on the serration (due to the grounding of the serrations).
Better, the more your use your knife the more it will have a tendancy to get even harder…

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

Now opening the C17 USN version and you got a thin and long blade beautiful. This is the thinnest blade of all the H1 knives I own and know.
To quote Sal Glesser in the Spyderco Story Book: ” The blade was thinned out more than normal and if you look at the top of the spine near the pivot area you’ll see that the lock is actually thicker than the blade.” It was true for the original C17 it’s also true for the C17 in H1 and like many qpeople thought: this is not a flaw, this is part of the design.
Also there is now a little improvement: the pivot is a screw giving you the option to tune the tension. Mine came with no vertical neither horizontal bladeplay.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

Why a half serrated version when the original C17 only came primary in full serration or plein edge ? Again the answer is in the Spyderbook: “The combination edge gives you enough serration so that you can cut a bone with the small section of serrations near the handle.” Cleverly the C17PSGRBK kept just enough serration to be very useful. It’s for example so easy to cut a line caught in the H1 teeth and there is still plenty of plain edge for other chores on the shore. For what I know about H1, even with a thin edge, it has been impossible to chip the edge. It can roll though.

 

Another good point for the H1 is for cooks. Who has ever cut and prepare a lettuce with good old carbon steel knows that simple fact: the green leaves will turn black in 9 minutes! With VG 10 and stainless steel for example you need to wait for 4 hours before ruining your dish. H1 should be more delicate with food contact. This is something I have been testing with excellent results. Delicate food is delicatly treated.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

This is also where the Catcherman shines: in the kitchen. Melons, for example ask for a longer blade than your usual EDC, but also pinnaples where the thin blade of the C17 is vorpal. Again, the acidic juices are not a concern: H1 protected by the coating is impervious to blood, sweat and tears usually able to dull a carbon steel edge in 10 minutes. Also carving any cucurbitaceae for halloween is now a childplay. My C17 came razor sharp and as I not destined it for cardboard or whittling wood, it’s still (almost) razor sharp after 4 monthes of constant and regular use. Of course chicken and turkeys are no match for the thin black blade and after rinsing it under the tap you can pocket it without to worry about it.
So yes, really this a knife which becomes quickly addictive especially in moist environnement from the kitchen to the sea shores.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

As I really prefer to scuba dive with my Salt Pacific or eat with my serrated H1 Dragonfly (both reviews will come next year), the Catcherman is one of my “carried in the bag” knife and it’s the knife wich goes with me when I’m sailing or daycruising. In the galley of a ship, it’s great to be able to fold your cutting tool after use. This is a great safety inside a boat where everything rock’n roll in every direction.

Conclusion: new and limited edition in the Salt series, the C17 was always IMHO destined to be mounted with H1 steel. I even hope Spyderco would make a regular Salt Version for the serious fishermen around the world. This is a fruit/meat processing knife and if used properly (no scaling, battoning, shopping, throwing…) you will be very surprise in how usefull it will be. There are not a lot of 4,75 inches thin pointy blade folders around and this makes it a high performance reliable companion.

C17 Spyderco Catcherman USN Edition

Frankly the Catcherman was really *not* the knife I would have bought until I hold it in my hands. And… Once open it’s light but also perfectly balanced. Very ‘handy’. Very serious.
I immediatly figure how useful it could be and eventually it has proven to be really a great knife for food and meat preparation.
Usually I’m so in love with natural (wood) or dull colors (G10, Titanium, CF) for my knives and this one is screaming GREEN like a smurf screams BLUE !:D
But again, the Catcherman is so great once put in use… the black blade, the grinning goat logo and half serrated blade… True, it’s almost like a ‘caricature” of a ‘tactical’ folding knife which makes it immediatly sympathic to my eye and strangely… very sheeple friendly. (‘Oh, it’s green!!!’. Yes it is.).

Makes me think about a clown in a circus. You know clowns got a lot of flashy colors and strange “over the top” gear, like very long shoes for example.
In a movie, the USN Catcherman could be the knife flashed by the Joker in the face of a scared Gotham policeman but…
Like the clown there is a long story of labour and courage behind the make up.
To be a clown is not the easiest job in the circus: you need to be a good acrobat (means your fitness needs to be at the top always), you need to be a musician (good enough to improvised on every tune and to be an multi-instrumentalist too.) and you need to be a good comedian.
The USN C17 is my clown knife: “once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.”
😉
Really, this knife make me smile everytime I open it. In a very good way.

Spyderco Native 5 – The Revenge of the Lockback

Spyderco Native 5
Some years ago the Spyderco Manix was hitting the ground with a mighty THUD!: a leaf blade and a back lock strong beyond any standards.
Then came a mini Manix with a sub 4 inches blade and a stout feeling.
Now imagine a refined version of this Manix: this is what the Native 5 is all about: a little big knife in a gentleman knife size.
At the Amsterdam Minimeet 2011 the Native 5 G10 and Flutted titanium were revealed.
Spyderco Native 5
IMHO they were the clever answer from Spyderco to the Triadlock of Coldsteel: better engineering and tighter tolerance for a stronger and solid felt lock.
This is all about Spyderco philosophy: improving and being good when no one is watching. This is also what refinement in invention is all about.
The “Native” project is an American project, providing a Made In The USA knife and starting the production in the Golden Colorado plant.

Now this is a very compact hard working folder with a stout lock and high perf edge. It has the perfect size to be carried in a Denim’s watch pocket !
The blade is smooth like butter and only gravity helps you to close it once the lock is release. This is pure jewellery.

Again the construction is made to such high tolerances you can even tight the pivot, the blade movement will remain as smooth as before.
This is a again one of Spyderco “Little Big Knife” with no hot spots on the handle and an ergonomy beyond expectation.
Of course mine has been sanded and I have used some diamond file on the choil to smooth it a little more.

But the edge was so sharp out of the box, only some leather stropping and I was able to cut hairs without even touching the skin.
S35VN seems to be a very stropping friendly steel and I’m heading forward using it as my new EDC.

The Native 5 is a real EDC: short and easy on sheeples. But it’s also a very capable and polyvalent tool. My favorite lockback so far.
This was Eric Glesser project to improve the Native to this fifth incarnation: this is an instant classic !
More to come soon.
Spyderco Native 5

Something about the engineering: Spyderco uses an induction wire cutting system for high precision tooling of the lock. This is so special and precise. Sal and Eric are very proud of the production quality and the High Tech standard and you can easily understand why. And when you unlock the blade you got the safe feeling the sharp guillotine won’t touch your precious knuckles: the fall of the edge (in fact it’s the choil) is blocked gently before it touches your finger. This is a very secure knife to operate ! 🙂
Here is the link to the CPM100V Sprint Run version of the Native 5.

Thanks to our friend JD here is a VIDEO link about this cutting system:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBueWfzb7P0

Spyderco Native 5

Cold Steel Recon 1 – Second Batch – Back In Black.

Cold Steel Recon 1 2011 Version
I always loved the way Lynn Thomson goes boldly when no other CEO as gone before. The Cold Steel production gave us carbon steel modern folders (Pocket Bushmane and ven the Archangel balisong series) and great choppers. Even the chance to own, try and understand weapons from many continent and many era.
I always enjoy the Proof videos and this company walks the walk and cuts the meat.

Triadlocks folders are IMHO a great improvement in lockback mechanism. The positive force of impact are no more entierly taken by the lock bar but mainly by a pin, like on frame lock or liner lock. And also, there is no more vertical play when cutting like on previous incarnation of that lock. Spyderco has also refined their new backlock mechanism, making it stronger and preventing that vertical play.

Last year, I wanted to try one of those new Cold Steel Recon 1. As I’m not a huge fan of Tantos blade, it was also the occasion to own again a Cold Steel Tanto as they were the first company back in the 80’s to advert this kind of shape.
First thing first. The knife price is not going to ruin you. So you buy a solid tool destined to be used.
The word Taiwan on it made me smile as all the productions knives I know (from the Spyderco Sage, Gayle Bradley, Bushcrafters to Le Pointu) manufacturated in that country are top notch in quality control. (Also the man who introduced me to Chris Reeve Sebenza is a Taiwanese collector, my friend Huan Shang “Hunter” Hsu !)

Second thing I made is sand the G10 handle. Oh you got plenty of thick G10 with a very ergonomic result. This G10 could ruin a trouser in 10 minutes. Once sanded it was perfect but the very short clip was also very tight. So again this was an adjustement easily done. ( Short high clip means: once it’s clipped it disappears completly !)
The heavy AUS8 blade can be open with flick of the wrist and you need some strenght in your hand to disengage the lock. You need to push the trigger release almost one centimeter to unlock the blade and the spring is very strong too.

Looking at the black blade, you can notice the knife got a little smooth belly on its primary edge. Without any ceramic from my Sharpmaker I was able to keep it razor sharp only using it on wood. AUS8 is easy on leather and bothe edge have been kept razor sharp.
Also when you cut in a plate only the corner between the primary and secondary edge (tanto point) is in contact with the ceramic: you cannot dull the knife just by eating with it.
My Tanto Recon has been used in the wood as a light chopping tool. It works great as you can hold its long handle by the back to have more momentum. It was a plesure to use and a very precise tool for any kind of wood cuts. The handle is very confortable and instinctively you choke it up to add more strenght. I also was able to baton with it (with its lock disengaged). But it was light batonning. I did not want to ruin it cause the more I used it, the more I enjoyed it !

This knife is really made to be a hard used folder. Perfect for a LEO, a soldier or someone who need a strong big knife. This is not a sheeple friendly knife. But its performance goes beyond my expectation, so it always find a place with me as a travelling knife of back up tool in my bag or in my car. Whe you hold the Tanto recon 1, it screams to be used hard. I’m so impressed with it that I will try to review soon one of Cold Steel Über Folding knifes (new Voyagers or Espada).
Huge folders got bad reputation but they are great travelling companions and the big tanto blade of the Recon 1 can be used for a lot of application and easily kept sharp.
Oh and the black Teflon coating is holding well. I got some scratches on the back of the blade after one year of use. Perharps I was not enough hard with that knife.

One last thing, it’s totally ambidextrious and a second clip is provided in its box. Nice touch !

Really the Cold Steel recon 1 in its second incarnation with the Triadlock is really a great big tool, very well thought and enginereed.I love mine. Since the blade is coated I would love to see 1095 blade used instead of AUS8. But so far that classic stainless steel is well heat treated

Spyderco Shabaria – Dangerous Curves

Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman
“Israeli knife designer, Eduard Bradichansky, co-mingled the Shabaria’s traditional utilitarian profile into a modern folding knife. Mr. Bradichansky was a gunsmith and gifted jeweler by trade, new to the knifemaking community, but already attracting collectors and enthusiasts to his fresh design work and crafting skills. His career cut short, he fell victim to a terrorist attack on the West Bank.”
Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman
Eduard Bradichansky was also behind the design of the clever Spydercard we had reviewed with Fred Perrin back in the 90’s, so when the first Shabaria was released with an ATS 34 blade and a G-10 handle, back in the previous century, we were very excited to test this unique design. For us, it was an evidence: the Shabaria was a weapon and a great one — lean and mean.
The wasp handle or hourglass handle is not a new thing and thousand of people rely on this for eons ! Once you grasp the knife you understand how it works and how clever the design of the Shabaria is. Our was partly serrated and really it was really made to be an Assassin tool.
Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman
Now the Shabaria is back in a sprint run with a beautiful carbon fiber handle and a plain edge recurved VG10 blade.
This is a very sexy knife. The blade is saber hollow ground, giving a substantial thickness which give you the identity of the knife: a piercing weapon.
The penetration of the strong and thin blade is remarquable. Also the hour glass handle provides you with an additionnal inch of reach. Yes “mean and lean” are the words which are still coming in mind !

Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman

But now, Spyderco is not a company which is making weapons but tools and Eduard Bradichansky was aware of that. The design was inpired by people of the Jordan River Valley nomads. In the Middle East and North Africa, those wasp handle curved knives are sacred tools which can be used in religious rituals as for everyday tools.
My first thought when I was handling a Shabaria was about Franck Herbert’s Dune books and the Crysknife of the Fremen. The Shabaria could be a folding version of the sacred knife of the fremen ! “Long live the fighters!!!” 😉 or better: “Who sees that knife must be cleansed or slain!” !!!

Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman

A curved edge means a great deal of cutting power. My Spyderco Dodo is my best hard wood cutter for example. My two Shabarias came razor sharp and my arm’s hairs were flying with just a caress of the edge. Some pass on my razor leather and both knives were upgrade to vorpal status. VG10 is a great steel of EDC. The kind of steel which is forgiving and easy to bring back to peak performances. What the Shabaria’s design brings is a nice belly at the tip of the blade. This is really useful in everyday task. The recurve helps to catch the matter you cut and the positive and negative bellies works like a guillotine.
Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman
This is a sprint run and limited edition I was really glad to see. As I thought the Shabaria was long gone and I missed it. The previous version got a lot of screws (six ?) on the handle and this one is refined with only three screw including the pivot. Also that new version got a very nice improvment: now a lanyard hole is available ! I really love those constant research in making the design better and better. The wasp handle is easy to clean with no skeletonized liners and an open construction. Also the beautiful CF handle is anchored in your hand but not with the help of a false guard but just by holding it. This is a very very secure grip ! You need experience it. This handle design is as old as the Old Testament ! Generations have been using them and people who counted on their knives everyday. Hammer grip, reverse grip, pikal grip… everything works because the handle is pure symetry. Again this is the kind of knife which makes me smile once open. This is serious business.
Closed, the Shabaria is also really beautiful. the kind of Syd Mead design for Tron’s lightcycles. It doesn’t scream “knife!” and is a great impact tool ! Because even with the blade closed, the grip on the hourglass handle is still very positive and is anchored in the palm of your hand.

Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman
So eventually you got a very unique folding knife with a very strong lock: a variation of the Michael Walker liner lock wich use the height of the handle instead of its length, another clever design from Eduard. The Spyderhole may be more recessed than other designs preventing a quick spyderdrop but as the hole’s edges are sharp it catch your thumb and is smoooooothly open. There is even an hidden choil à la Michael Walker, so once open the blade is really secured twice. Oh and just by holding it open you feel like that very pointy blade is a permanent invitation to pop some balloons ! 🙂
Playing and using the Shabaria is pure pleasure as this is a very reliable design once you understand how centuries in refining can be used and trusted.

Spyderco Shabaria  photo by Nemo Sandman

The Spyderco Shabaria is a knife with a lot of attitude but also a tool which offers a lot of control during the cuts. I was surprised how its blade was handy for whittling.
This is not only a collector piece but a very serious “silent companion” with design’s roots digging in history of mankind.