Bottle bottom push cuts and Nilakka.

All plastic bottles are not equal in thickness. And this batch made me thought my knives were dull until I have used the champion in that category : the Nilakka.

I have found the thickness was on a steady 4mm. Almost twice the usual!

The Nilakka was able to cut through but the Native 5 I was testing could not.

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Spyderco C36 CPM M4 – Building a Patina

“After building a Patina, coat it with cheese.”

This is an old trick Fred Perrin used to do just un case someone asked him about his knife:
– Is it a weapon?
– Nope I eat a lot of cheese.
But the cheese grease also protected the blade from pitting. Olive oil, butter are also useful to coat you carbon blade. And they are not toxic.

Eating with your knife is solving a lot of issues: you use your knife a lot, you take care of your edge a lot, you display it and people get used to your taste in cutlery. It’s not a Silent Companion anymore: it’s your coming out as a knifenut.

Ok, first picture was only an industrial cheese, it was mandatory to show a real Camembert from Normandie:

(First made in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandie, she had given refuge to a priest who gave her the recipe in gratitude. She first made the cheese for her family, but word spread and the rest is legend. This version of French Camembert is produced in the heart of Normandie.
The velvety white rind encases a pale yellow interior which softens towards the outer edges. The rind has mild mushroom aromas that are well balanced with the saltiness and supple creamy texture of the interior. The flavour profile displays cauliflower and yeast notes, an indication of a real Camembert…)

You don’t need to force a patina when you eat with your knife. Here, tomatoes with vinagar provide an acid environment able to built it. CPM M4 is much slower than Super Blue Steel in getting darker. A catalyst is heat. Hot meat, hot acid dish (tomatoes) will build the patina quicker. Often, meat loaves will add some rainbow stains which once polished are beautiful.

(My father in law used to clean his knife by thrusting its blade in the earth. Old timer did not respect their blade like us. But one thing is sure, they used them for everything. Their edges were often ruined in the dirt or just by scrapping son paints on a tool, but at least they used them hard.)

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Cutting an apple pie in a plate will be hard on your blade’s point and edges. But again this is the game of letting your precious EDC goes in other hands. Iy your knife is really the quality knife you claimed, you should be able to clean it and refresh it in a blink of the eye.
Again, I also got bad experience by cutting vegetable in the garden and having dirt and earth ruining my edge.

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The point of your knife will get darker sooner than the entiere blade. But this is the signature of a used knife and they are tools to be used.

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In the end, DLC coated blades will never show as much as character as naked carbon steel.

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Spyderco Yojimbo2 – Mission: Italian Salad.

This is my first post sent directly from my smartphone. As I’m looking for easier way to publish on the blog.
It was made at the occasion of preparing a quick lunch with mozzarella, salade and tomatoes with my Yojimbo2. Nothing fancy really but a very sharp and easy to clean knife is mandatory.

In the kitchen, its first use is to open bags. Many times you won’t find a pointy knife in a kitchen drawer so the sharp EDC like the Yojimbo 2 is handy to pierce plastics.

Another great test for the edge is the tomatoe skin. Tomatoes are fragile fruits and their skin can be tricky. If the knife is dull it will squash the tomatoe. You need a sharp toothy edge for best results. Chef goes very fast for that matter. Fast means sharp fresh edge.
The S90V has been refreshed yesterday after whittling with Ghost.

The last part was the mozzarella balls to cut in loaf. It’s sticky on the blade and very flabby.  You need a broad knife to work on it. A Chef knife could have been handy but the Yo2 was able to deliver its task.
Again SD knives can be used for EDC tasks especially kitchen unless they are a Kerambit. 😉

SPYDERCO MILITARY C36PIN PART III: WHITTLING WITH GHOST.

We all know that the steel is only 30 percent of the equation for a great blade. And I’m not talking about the whole knife — ergonomy, lock quality, sheath, clip —  just the blade: the main “Matter Separator” to quote Sal Glesser.
Apart from the Steel they are the Heat Treating, the Grind and the BET “Behind the Edge Thickness”.
And also the quality of the edge coarsed or polished change the way the blade will cut in materials.

Wood is a fibrous material which depend of its grain and freshness when whittled.
Again, a rabbit to skin or a cardboard box to dispatch will behave differently under a sharp edge.
And a Self Defense designed knife will not need to be a Scandinavian Grind for example…

So I have decided to gather the Yojimbo 2 (Black), the Wolf Spyder and Ghost to practising my scales and mastering the rudiments of whittling on a hazel rod which has been drying for a month (since the Lil Nilakka Review actually).  My whole idea was to see and experience how the very different blades grind and shape would behave and eventually adjust Ghost for better whittling.
I have not used my Nilakka as it is a game changer. It’s too hard to reach its performance. (The pictures has disappeared because Photobucket has changed their policies, I will need time to create new links, sorry for the convenience…)
Also I’m a lost cause in whittling compared to what my father was able to do as a kid when he was whittling his own toys but I do have affinities with wood as my grandfather was cabinetmaker and my other grand father was clogmaker.

I had noticed back in the 90’s when I owned a Benchmade AFCK in ATS-34 and on in M2HSS that wood would be almost “patined” differently depending of the grain of the steel. M2’s cuts were leaving a very soft surface compared to ATS-34 which was a more aggressive cutter. I have then found that one of the most expensive wood chisels were made in M2 High Speed Steel.

The Wolfspyder is in her element here. Since I have sharpened her back to razor, the scandi grind cut deep and with ease in the wood. This little knife is purely amazing when it comes to carve  deep or caress the rod. The sturdy design is asking to be used hard and the big chunks of wood were flying. It is a pocket beaver ! (OK no more kinky innuendo, pardon my French…). In pushcutting perpendicularly , the Wolfspyder was the more aggressive.
Again, S30V as heat-treated by Spyderco has proven to be a great “all terrain” steel as its edge was not dulled a bit. I’m surprised about the way it kept a perfect edge after all the cuts in a dirty bark and hard wood. Hairs were still flying of my arm. (I heard so much about it losing that very sharp fine edge beause of its relatively big carbids…). It will not be the was with…

Yojimbo 2 Sprint Run was another surprise. First I need to clarify that I had the edge “unshouldered” to be thinner. S90V is a bear to sharpen it feels like “plastic” and without diamonds it is time consuming.
But here it’s the ergos and geometry which made a difference. I was able to cut big chunks of wood with ease. The blade was going deep and my thumb got plenty of space to push behind the edge.
Michael Janich proved it: its Yo2 straight edge keep the pressure on the material. His design was primary made for cutting clothing and flesh in a attempt to keep an aggressor away but it has always proven to be a great EDC for mondaine task. Now I know that bringing the Yojimbo 2 in the woods won’t be a fashion faux-pas. This incredibly solid folder in the right hands can be a great wood processor.

Now I was surprised to notice how my razor S90V edge dulled. I mean, it was still in great shape and has reached the level of a “working edge” but it was not a reliable razor anymore. Twenty seconds on white ceramics and leather and it was back to Vorpal. S30V did not have that issue and of course not CPM M4 of…

Ghost new convexed edge proved to be able to cut deep with a lot of control and also to remove bark with ease and no pressure as pictured. It was fun to use. CPM M4 got also that tendency to leave the wood’s fresh surface very smooth to touch. I could go on for hours but it needed some twist and home edjustment to ease my thumb sore.

The Wolfspyder’spoint is made to drill. It is thick solid, sharp and you can use all your force with no after thought. It’s not the case of…

…The Yo2 ! Back in the 90’s I had broken my Ronin point drilling in wood. It was a much thinner point and I was really stupid. So I was very careful with the Yo2. It’s clearly not its strong point (pun intended…) but I did not snap it.

C36’s pointy blades, first made of S60V (known as CPM440V) and then of S30V, are known to be relatively fragile but CPM M4 brings much more toughness to the whole design. Perhaps the CPM Cru-wear Sprint Run was even stronger but, anyway, I got zero concern with Ghost which was able to drill the hazel rod easily.

Eventually, the most important home improvement has been to rounded the blade’s spine. Of course the Sebenza is king in that matter, also the Slycz Bowie.

Sandpaper was used for that matter and if the edges has been removed I have not tried to round it completly but at least to make it much softer under the thumb and I don’t strike rods for sparks.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to adjust and improve your expensive EDC knives to your own uses and tastes. My first attempt has been on my Paramilitary 2 handle. But a knife is a personal tool and it needs to fit you perfectly. Just take your time. Don’t use powertools and risk to heat the blade and ruin the heat treatment (done that in the 80’s…), just go slowly. Also don’t breath G10 and Carbon Fiber dust. Use a mask or do it under the tap. It would attack your lungs badly. Anyway my EDC have really been enhanced by all those little changes and Ghost is no exception to that thumb rule (pun…).
Enjoying your personal tools is always a joy when they are based on great designs in the first place.

Cold Steel Recon 1 XL — O’ Brother where art thou ?

Everything I could have said about that knife is already in my XL Voyager Review here !

Really, you should start by that post.

This Recon 1 XL version is just proposing some real great upgrades.
Compared to the Recon 1 normal version: this is a full flat ground bowie blade when the other version is hollow ground.

The DLC coating is really really nice and not easily scratched like the goo paint used before.

The CTS XHP made by Carpenter is a wonderful alloy I have had first discovered on the Spyderco Techno. But here you got 5,5 inches of steel !!

G10 is more luxurious than Grivory and it’s easily sanded to your preferences.
My Recon 1 XL could have been used as a wood file as the G10 was too grippy for my taste. G10 is so solid, you can make blades in G10, it doesn’t need any liners. The result is a very light package. (My Voyager XL got aluminium liners).


Sanded the G10 turns white but is cleaned back under tap water.
(Don’t breath that dust !!!)

The clip is not useable. anyway clipping such a knife is not the easiest way to carry it.
It disappear perfectly in a deep pocket or in my case in my travel bag.
I would be able to EDC my K2 but this voyager asked for a vest or a bag.

The detent is smooth. even a little too smooth to my taste. But nothing to worry about. The knife can be open with a gentle flick of the wrist as the heft and momentum is important with such a blade.

Again, like all CS blade I have chosen and which are manufactured in Taiwan: the thin edge is remarquable. That monster blade slits plastic, wood and flesh with an uncanny ease. There is a lot of power in the cuts. And all is served with their Triadlock which is the Mega lock by excellence. There is zero play in any direction.
The knife is fantastic, this is a dream for Crocodile Dundey !
It also perfectly balanced with it sweet point two centimeters behind the axis.
This blade is alive and fast in your hand.

I was able to import that big bad baby for less than 100 euros including shipping. Talking about power/price ratio, huh ?

Military C36PIN Part II: Ghost’s edge.


It has been 3 months since my Millie in CPM-M4 has landed in my pocket.
I believe it’s time for an update about it since it has been used a lot.

It is my first “new handle” C36 as mentioned here in my previous post.

Is there any change in my end line user experience ? Not really apart loving the new stop pin and the larger lanyard hole. It was easy to clean in the previous version, now it is easier and I clean it a lot as it’s used in the kitchen.

Smoothness ? As usual. The main break is the strong detent and the strong liner lock. It is open in a breeze with the major finger or by spyderdrop. The factory edge has been kept for almost three months. I have decided to refresh it at mid July and now the next step has been passed as I have convexed the edge to suit my need in cutting hard plastic (mainly bottles) before recycling.
There is no vertical or horizontal play and the liner has not moved since I got.
It’s a very very solid lock up !

Again CPM-M4 is my friend. In edge holding but also in refreshing by stropping on leather. The thin point of the blade has been used for delicate cutting on hard materials and it has been very reliable in that role. Choking up the blade gives a very nice whittling tool too.

In the kitchen the knife has been confronted to meat processing: chicken, turkey, rossbeef but also sausages hot or cold, fish…

The pointy point has been used to open a lot of hazelnuts: meaning twisting the blade to open them.
The favorite test in sharpness is how it cut tomatoes. This is a tricky fruit as it skin doesn’t have a lot of support from its flesh.

The Millie has also been used almost daily as silverware confronting its edge to hot and acidic materials. The patina did not come easily and no pit has been noticed. I use some nano oil or some olive oil to keep it in good shape, depending of my needs. Olive oil being less toxic of course.

I have invested in a titanium clip for deep carry. I have mounted it but for an unknown reason the pivot was much less smoother after. I think it is due to tolerances a the screw seems to be in some kind of tension but once removed the Millie was smooth again. Eventually I have found I love the original steel clip which is smoother to draw than any beadblasted titanium. But after sanding the titanium clip and bending it for less spring force on the pivot it was perfect for deep carry.

Today it was the opportunity to get rid of the factory edge and start a new chapter with a gently convexed edge. I have used sand paper on my old leather belt. Starting with 500 and finishing with 1000. I like a “rough” feel on my working blade. It comes from scratches and patina and it gives a lot of character but my pleasure is in a mirror finish edge.


On this model, the Jade or Natural G10 gives a very sheeple friendly look to that relatively big EDC knife. Of course it has been sand also to preserve my pocket lips. I have just kept the original feel/aggressivity of the G10 around the pivot as it is where I put my thumb.

Spyderco Lil Nilakka Edge rolling out fixed and used.

On my Lil Nilakka You can see the damage on the edge. Dry bambu cutting…

It looks spectacular but it’s just a matter to realign the edge.

It hurst on a new knife !!… Ouch !


In fact I also use diamond to remove some material.


15 minutes later, it is back for more.

Simple tools…

30 minutes later on leather;
Convexing gives a little more material behind the edge. No more stability issues.
And it’s not giving up on performances.





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From The Edge To The Point Since 1995

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