Category Archives: Review

Rockstead Higo-J in the spring time

I don’t have cherry trees or I would have pictured the Higo with some cherry tree blossoming… but here we got roses almost a month earlier !
So it was the occasion to picture the blade in the middle of them.
As you can notice, the Rockstead quality is something you can mesure in time. The knives which has been included in my EDC rotation and my hicking in the woods, did not suffered from his chores. The mirror polished blade is still perfectly intact. The lock up is secure and there is no play.
Now ZDP-189 is a very nice steel on the long run. I mean by “nice”…. “gentle” !
Using a Paramilitary 2 Sprint Run with a blade S90V, this last is a bear to get sharp. As Sal Glesser said S90V do not want to give away molecules.
ZDP-189 which I EDC with the Michael Walker and the Rockstead is “gentle” as I can polish it. (I was not able to do that yet with S90V.
The Higo is a very pragmatic knife, it is made to get dirty and to be clean easily. WIth his incredibely hard blade, I did not have any issue to keep it razor sharp in the woods. The choil makes it a very precise knife for wood cutting. You can applied a lot of force in confidence and the handle is very confortable despite it’s open fram structure.

Spring is the time for cleaning. I have used my Higo to cut hard plastic before to have it recycle. I was able to try to compare ZDP with S90V.
I’m very confident, even with a 66,6 HRC ZDP when I’m still very careful with S90V at 60HRC. S90V is like a “alien” steel, it can stay as sharp for “strange” reason I can not quantify even if I can qualify it, knowing how the steel carbid matrix is reinforced by vanadium…
ZDP on the other side both on the Michael Walker and the Rockstead got at first some micro chipping issue, but once resharpen never shown any more unreliability.
Oslo I was not able to get any patina on ZDP and my main way to keep it sharp is some white compound on a leather belt.
It’s razor and don’t want to give up.

My only little complaint is the shape of the clip but this is really not a big issue as I have prevent any scratches it could have done. (That was not the case on my various Sebenza clips wich has been very nasty on car paint…).
All in all after eight months of use, the Higo-J is still like a new knife. I was not able to scratch the handle, despite my rings on my left hands. The blade stay sharp with easy maintenance. The lock up is secure and the feeling of using a fixed blade is very strong.

Spyderco Sage 3 – The Blue Brother

The Sage II is one of the greatest Spyderco knives in my own humble opinion, so I was never really excited by another Sage…
What could have it more ? A better lock than the Reese Integral Lock ? A better Handle than the smooth rich full titanium scales ?
Enter the Sage 3 a.k.a. the C123GBL and the chance for me to change my mind. The Sage 2 and the Sage 3 are not the same animals.

Again the Taichung plant is offering a close to the perfection production knife with a rich blue handle.
You know that beautiful G10 like the one found on the Dodo or on the Manix sprint run…. It’s very sheeple friendly.
Blue is a cool color. The Navii, the Smurfs, the Cops, the Collars, the Sky, our planet… all are blue and my Blue G10 Dodo is really one of my favorite knife ever made.
So I got that feeling as I grap the beautiful handle.
The weith on that knife is not as lightweith that I thought. It’s even 1 gram heavier than the Sage 2 titanium tank ! Looking closely inside the handle they are two stainless steel nested liners ! Those are really the kind of hidden features you only find in a Spyderco Knife. There is even no mention of that in the Spyderco official communication.
So this is a very very solid handle destined to be on a heavy duty knife.
Once open there is no play in any direction. The knife feels solid like a fixed blade. The Bolt Action Lock has been patented by Blackie Collins and is operated like the Manix 2 lock with its caged Ball Bearing lock. It’s even a little easier as I’m able to disengage it using only my thumb.
So this is a very fast knife to open just by disengaging the lock and flicking the wrist and fast to close to.

The real difference with the two other Sages is that this knife doesn’t have an open handle construction. There is a blu G10e backspacer running along all of it. The result, filling the gap between the two scales, is a much more confortable handle for hard cutting. I remember a video of Bluntruth4U where he was complaining about his Sage 1 handle and he was obliged to wear gloves for hard cutting. The Sage 3 is really an improvement in ergonomy thanks to it full blue spacer. I remember how the Tim Wegner Spyderco serie was gentle on my palm. Same here with the blue Sage.

So we got a very strong knife, which feels even beefier than the Sage 2. The full flat ground S30V leave blade is equally strong and accurate in all the cuts.
With its backspacer and skeletonized nested liners, the Sage 3 will be a little harder to clean than the Sage 2 but the confort of its handle is really appreciable on hard chores. So if you use your knives very hard, the Blue Bro strong lock and confortable ergos is really something to try. Another little big knife from Spyderco and real workhorse with a royal blue robe.

Oh, something also to remember. The Sage serie is about memory. Memory and hommage to the inventors of the locking folding knives. And 5% of the sales is donated to the National Alzheimer鈥檚 Association Denver, Colorado Chapter. Another great initiative.

Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman
Spyderco Sage 3 The Blue Brother by Nemo Sandman

Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011 – The Forbidden Pictures !

Only here, you will be able to see the forbidden pictures of the Am’dam Minimeet.
Here we go:

I’m everywhere ! 馃檪
The Lucane and Eric and Sal Glesser
Sal, Eric and Jur looking at the Lucane prototype.
The Lucane and Eric and Sal Glesser
Sal taking a closer look.
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
The gathering of the spydernuts is starting !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Father and son…
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
JD and Sal !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Gail and Sal Glesser
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
The proto, the concepts all in one pic !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Jur (with his new Spyderbeat Sheath made by Emmanuel Amoreau) giving his last instructions to Sal. 馃槈

Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
And all the feedbacks are welcome !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Gail, Sal and Eric.
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Gail and Sal’s old van where Spyderco started last century…
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
The Massad Ayoob is inspected.
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Eric explaining the raffinements of the new back lock !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
The graph of the Spyderco Knives Breaking Machin !
Amsterdam Spyderco Minimeet 2011
Joyce Laituri chatting with Ted and friends…

Gail and the boys ! 馃檪

All the knives came back on the table eventually.

JD and the Lucane.

A closer look at Jur sheath ! 馃槈

– End of line –

Edit 01/05/2017 There is a video made for BladeHQ “Meet Your Maker” using some part of this post and crediting the blog.
Here the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLcTWwh1Cpc

The Lucane by J茅r么me “Torpen” Hovaere

We met J茅r么me at last Paris Knive Show. This young gifted full time knifemaker just had received his Spyderhole licence from Golden. He’s a huge fan of Spyderco.
I immediatly fell in love with the radical lines of his Lucane Folder. An efficient powerfull blade and an ergonomic handle, this is a workhrose designed by a worker who needed a strong a practical knife as an EDC. It’s a knife to use for mondane task and even to eat with it. The back of the blade was especially though after pushing aliments on a plate without to dull the edge.
My prototype is made of 02 for the blade and G10 with SS liners for the handle. It was made to be shown around at Amsterdam Minimeet 2011.
This will be also the occasion to achieve one of J茅r么me’s dream: to have his baby pictured in the hand of Sal Glesser.
More on it later.



All the pictures down under are (c) J茅r么me Hovaere (so, you will notice the hand of the maker!)


The G10 Proto with another clip.






The ergonomy is amazing thanks to its wasp shape handle.

A previous aluminium handle prototype. Notice how the lock release is not placed as on the G10 version.




The Lucane next to a Spyderco Tenacious

I have forgotten the specs:

Length: 203mm (with clip)
Blade length: 90mm
Once closed: 110mm
Blade thickness: 3,4 mm
Handle thickness: 16mm

Weight: 140 grammes

The steel on this proto is 90MCV8 which another name for O2.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2: the second son of Millie

Paramilitary

Being the son of a legend is not easy and it’s not because you are shorter that you need to develop some complex. Designed by Sal and Eric Glasser, the Paramillie 2 is simply gorgeous.
Since its first incarnation, it did not walk in dad’s footsteps: the smaller version was using another lock than the good old linerlock (I love liner locks !) but the Compression Lock developped for Martial BladeCraft. This was the kind of lock you could find on the Yojimbo and the Lil’ Temperance and on the Gunting (but mounted on the opposite liner). The Compression Lock is strong reliable, easy to clean and was a great addition. Also the knife is so well made, the blade can be flicked in close position just by releasing the lock. This is a gravity knife for closing purposes.
The second version of the Paramillie got a longer blade, some ergonic improvements and a bigger lanyard hole. This is a very well balanced and homogenic package who offers the same “cockpit” of the C36 Millitary in a more civilian way. The cuts are equally strong as with the C36: the Paramillie keeps the same geometry (with a lil’ even more belly) than its dad.(*)

Paramilitary

Anyway, The first thing I have made when I have received my Paramillie 2 was to turn it thick G10 handle into a more “trouser friendly” version: sanding the grippy G10! (Also I get so much used to Carbon Fiber that I wanted to have the same feel…)
I prefer my handles softer than the factory’s one. G10 can be used to file the linen of your pocket and I don’t want holes.
After sanding it (beware the micro dust of G10 which is highly toxic!) I have polished it. I’m happy with the result. Grippy handle can be handy but once sanded my handles keep a positive grip without the side effects of filing fiberglass.

I also found the shiny clip a little to shiny for my taste. So I have switched it with my Gayle Bradley bronze clip. The result is more stealth for the city.


The GB clip screws are a little longer (and the diameter is perharps a little thinner) but it worked perfectly. Also the Gayle Bradley’s clip is known to keep its appearance for a long time. (mine is one year old and looks like new!)
There is another plus with second version: you can positionned the clip in four ways. So As I want to use my Paramillie in the wood and hard material, I have decided to reposition the clip Tip Up / Left Handed way.
(I’m right handed)
Why ? Because there is no more metal clip against my palm: no more sore or hotspot.
And thanks to it very large blade hole I can even open it in reverse grip easily.

The balance on the Paramillie 2 is perfect. The knife is very “alive” in the hands. No bladeplay what so ever, great ergos…
I have already test it on my Bottle Butt test and it has passed it with flying colors !

On this picture you can notice how the G10 looks once sanded. And also both signatures of Eric and his father Sal ! This is the very 1rst Spyderco knife which got both !
I will update this post later, but for now, I think I have found the perfect folding match for my G10 Bushcrafter.

Also I have gently convexed the edge like I have done on my Sage II.

**** edit****
(*) eventually a picture worse a thousand words:

Update of the 10th of March 2011.

Here are some pictures of the S90V/CF sprint run of the Paramillie 2. This is a dream come true folder: since the release of the C36 Military: a compact package and upgrade materials. I recognized to have been traumatized by Phil Wilson’s articles about S90V (CPM420V) in 1998

Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
I have gently sanded the Carbon Fiber handle just to remove the biting. I don’t want to get a polished handle like on the G10 version.
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber
Sprint run Paramilitary 2 CPM S-90V Carbon Fiber

On this last picture you can compare the edge of my polished CPMS30V Paramillie 2 blade and the CPMS90V (HRC60) which has been stropped for four days without any polishing improvement but the edge is incredibly sharp.


The blade is cutting meat like hot butter…


This a folder which is meant to be used and get dirty !

I have sanded the handle to smooth it and also the “hump” which can file your trouser at each extraction of the knife frome the pocket:


Now I can carry it “Tip Down” and open it with the SPyderdrop which is IMHO the most elegant way to open a folder.

Rockstead Higo-J: Part III – Masamune in Winter

The Rockstead Higo-J # 102 continues to be worn and used daily as part of my testing of this high quality knife through the seasons in France.

The road so far:
“Rockstead Higo-J part I – A Folding Masamune in Paris”
“Rockstead Higo-J ZDP-189: Fears and Cures”
“Rockstead Higo-J In the woods”

Rockstead Higo-J ZDP

The mechanism did not show any sign of wear since I got the knife used daily. The feeling/sensation of holding a light fixed blade is real once open. The opening and closing is getting smoother (the retention ball was the main brake to the butter like opening provided by huge phosphoric bronze washers) the clip (despite its lip) was a great surprise in confort of carrying and did not caught anything.

Rockstead Higo-J

What is appreciated in the ergonomy of the Higo-J conceived as “a very pragmatic knife” is the natural way the fingers find their places on that very straight design.
The choil offers a very nice position for the index for any precise work. And the balance of that light knife makes it a natural extension of your hand. There is no issue or hot spot while using the knife even on hard wood.
Some bushcrafters friend of mine really appreciated its grind which is almost scandy. It seems to remove the bark of wood stick like a zipper: with a lot of control.
The Higo was also used in hunting dejointing and skinning and the ZDP grind and heattreated by Rockstead did not failed us.

Rockstead Higo-J

Now how the ZDP-189, hard as Rockstead like to treat it (HRC66,6) was a concern for me. The initial grind was a little to fragile and my regrind did not permit to recover the initial performance of the knife. This was an issue that many users of thin grind knives may have encountered: rolling edge on stainless can be messy.
Now with patience and elbow grease, the edge of the Higo-J has been restored and maintain to an excellent level of working sharpness.
As a very polish edge (I don’t see myself putting a toothy edge on it, sorry…) the knife shows a constance in performance: it cuts cuts and cuts with accuracy and reliability. Now I only strop it once a week with compound and leather and it enough to keep it sharp.
So I don’t use saw motions and mainly pushcuts. It’s easy to reproduce the demo of Hanada-San. even the “Schtock” sound of the repeating cutting is reproductible.
Also the encounter with some hard surface and even some stapples were not able to mark the edge: no nicks, nothing which could not be fixed with a light ceramic and a lot of stropping.

Rockstead Higo-J ZDP-189

The more I use it, the more it grows on me. It’s easy to use and very easy to clean. So you don’t mind getting dirty and use that beautiful blade on messy jobs.
I have even seen Hanada-San being able to put it apart in a matter of seconds: there is only two main screws on that incredible design.

I was not able also to scratch the mirror finish and only some little scars are visible witnessing the use of the Higo on hard material.
So far I’m still very impress by the overall quality of that expensive tool.
The handle don’t show any scratches or anything which could alter their beautiful lines. I’m conscient that, if the knife would fall on concrete it would be marked (when G10 or carbon Fiber are very shock/scratches friendly) but it did not occur to me. So far the Higo-J only fell on soils and was rinse after.
BTW the ZDP blade did not stain (that steel is known for being sometime easy to stain).
This is the end of my update. The Higo-J will be used on X-mas turkey and I will come back to it in 2011…
Rockstead Higo-J

Ladybug Hawkbill Sprintrun – The Real Cat Claw !

“Everybody wants to be a cat,
because a cat’s the only cat
who knows where it’s at…”

My friend Jur told me: “the older you’ll get the shorter the blades you will love.”
The first injection came from a baby Wayne Goddard, then the C22 Walker… now that little claw which is an amazing little tool !

Wolverine, Sabertooth are not the only one to produce some sharp claws in a blink of an eye ! You can do it too and with a very sheeple friendly (and invisible) Spyderco knife. There is a little Ladybug which got all the attribute of a feline “blade”: the “LBKS3HB”. Of course it’s a limited edition but soon it will be (re)release in a H1 and yellow handle version !

What I love about that little knife is its smoothness and the quality of construction. This is the shortest knife I can “Spyderdrop” and close by releasing the lock with a smooth flick of the wrist. So, it’s short, serrated, powerfull, handy, secured in the hand (thanks to the little fob provided by Jurphaas.)
This is the kind of knife I love to use in the city: removing labels on clothes, opening parcels, cutting plastic, strings, paper and even bread !
With a baguette this is a great knife to make the long incision for some ham !

Also, this little knife can be a real contender as a last ditch self defense tool aiming at the hands or the face !
The serrated edge can make painful and bleeding wounds with a swift caress of the blade.

Invisible, fast to put in service, performant… a real Cat Claw indeed !

Thea

Thea checking the knife.

Mini mini mini !

Confortable in various grip !

Closed, it’s almost got a grin !

This is VG10, baby !

Thea approves it !

 

 

And this is the H1 version of a Ladybug !