Military C36PIN CPM M4 Exclusive Run — Ghost in the Machine

For a funny reason I give name to knives I keep. It gives them more personality. For a strange reason all my C36 Military got name starting with G like Glesser.
My Military Sprintrun CPM Cruewear is “Gandalf” because of its grey handle.
My new Military with Natural G10 (or Jade G-10) and CPM M4 blade will be name Ghost. It’s an exclusive run for Blade HQ.

This is the first time I got the chance to handle the new version: no spacer, bigger lanyard hole, bigger screws… My first Millie “Glesser”, back in 1996 was already a new version with CPM440V (S60V) and the three screws clip. 21 years later here is what I consider the apogee in this design: a blade alloy I really love and a “light” construction.
Gandalf and Ghost weight almost the same: 124g versus 123g on my cooking electronic scale. This is a light package with a lot of cutting power.
I also love the fact that the Jade handle makes it very sheeple friendly and less “military”.

Since I have reviewed the M390 CF version and the Titanium handle version.

Now I have really convexed the grind on Gandalf for wood working.
But I wonder how it will compare to CPM M4 on Ghost.
It will be the subject of another review.

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Chris Reeve Sebenza ATS-34 — Honor is her name.

Nemo Sebenza Ats-34

What does it means to own a Sebenza ?

21 years ago, in September 1996, I received a phone call from Taiwan; the person calling was unknown to me, his name was Huan Chang Hsu and he told me he was an ophthalmologist, a diver and….. a knife collector! He had worked his way and managed to to get in contact with me after reading my first little blog on Geocities where I had written reviews with Fred Perrin. This call lasted 4 hours !!!

Eventually, he insisted I try a Sebenza which was, in his experience, the best of the best in folding knives. He was buying them like an investment and keeping them safe in the bank like others keep diamonds in a vault. He suggested I try out the new handle version but I wanted the classic one.
He also suggested I name it: “Honor”.

Two weeks later I received a parcel with a Microtech Socom (Huan Chang was so generous that he wanted to give me an other one of his knives) and in its box: “Honor”.

To thank Huan Chan, I sent a box back to Taipei containing a vintage Jacques Mongin; Jacques was a cutler legend who designed this folding hunting knife in response to Ernest Hemingway’s special request at Kindal.

The Sebenza was a shock. Smooth little butter. Even now it is one of my smoothest knives, really built like a tank, a absolute workhorse in pure beauty. It was not a tactical experience it was first a tactile discovery: the massive titanium slabs, the integral lock…

Back in the 90’s I remember a review in an American Magazine where the reviewer mauled his Sebenza into a log just to test the lock and was amazed by its reliability.

Two cons I had noticed:

– the thumb stub was a little in the catchy side — meaning it was able to rip the inside of a trouser pocker.
– the clip (Chris’ first attempt to mount one of his design) was scratching everything it could reach.

.

Old clip on the left.

Aware of that, Huan Chang sent me an original CRK leather pouch. Again I thanks to him for his generosity; it seemed really important for him to refine my experience with “Honor”.
So I carried the Sebenza in its leather pouch, horizontally on my belt, for years until I was able to order a better refined clip from Chris in 2000’s.

Honor rapidly became what I named “My Ambassador Knife”.

Back in those days, forums were just kickin-off and already people were arguing about “What is the best folder?”. Chris Reeve knives were the top of the list but also much more expensive than other industrial knives. “Shut up ! You are jealous because you can not afford a Sebenza !!” was a comment used in arguments against people who has doubts about Sebenza groupies.
So I got that crazy idea to send “Honor” to anyone who was criticizing the design without having the opportunity to try a CRK. Honor’s first trip was to Wales to my friend Wayne and six months later he told me Honor has broken his heart when flying back to France. Since he has been able to buy his own Sebbies.
In ten years, my Sebenza went in dozen of hands, strangers, forumites and even knivemakers for months. His last trip was to Alabama to Jeff Randall from RATS and now ESEE because he had written on his forums how he hated it before offering my knife to one of his friends for his retirement. I contact him immediately and after clearing the misunderstanding he got my knife from Nevada and sent it back to me ASAP.

The poor knife had been used hard. It was dull like a butter knife and its blade scratched like it has been used to drill holes in the soil. I was able to clean it, refurbish it with ease and it resumed its “workhorse” title after all. Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri then adviced me not to send it anymore and I have followed her advice ever since.

Honor is part of my rotation and its thin edge still does miracles.

My friend JD told me the grind and the geometry is not comparable to nowaday Sebbies which are thicker than my old one. I believe him, as I have been using a BG42 and S30V little Sebenza and I was not able to get it as sharp as my good old Honor.

Also her ATS-34 blade never chipped despite by having been used hard by many different reviewers; the last one showing genuine hate in her abuse.
Back in 1996, Chris was doing his own heat treatment and was already famous for that. The heat treatment is for half responsable of the blade’s quality; it is exceptional here.
Also 30% of quality comes from the geometry; this is a high and thin profile which is rare nowadays among tactical folding prybars sold as knives.

Despite its scars it performs as well as in 1996 when Huang Chang Hsu sent it to me.
What a legendary knife !
My advice: if you ever find an ATS-34 Sebenza… Go for it !

After all those years this is how the lock goes.

Perfectly centered.

Scrtaches on titanium can be removed with gum and elbow oil.

But it gives character !

edited by pjaffre: jan 5, 2018.

Back to the Future: A first look at a Jan Dox friction folder by JD

Recently I went to the Dutch Knife Exhibition (DKE) in Tiel. This is the only Dutch knife show and has been held for the last few years in the second part of April in Tiel. The DKE has a nice mix of handmade and production knives as well as knife maker supplies. Before I went to the show this time I had in my mind that one of the thing wanted to check out were the friction folders by the Belgium knife maker Jan Dox. I looked around the show, stopped by Jan’s table and looked the friction folders over and talked a bit with Jan. Jan told me he carries one of his own friction folders as an EDC. I like it when a knife maker carries and uses his own knives. It shows they have confidence in their product. After I finished looking around the show I went back to Jan’s table and decided to buy the folder you see pictured here.

Let me tell you some of my first impressions of this knife. The G10 handle looks good and is nicely rounded, feeling comfortable in the hand. The opening and closing action is smooth but secure. I can open and close the knife with one hand but it does not feel loose. Should the amount of friction change over time, the pivot can be tightened with a torx 10 screwdriver to make it right again.

A lot of friction folders have a narrow tang sticking out when closed. Not something I would like to carry in the pocket without a sheath. And I do not like pocket sheaths much. The friction folders Jan Dox makes have a wider but relatively short tang that is rounded on one side and can be carried in the pocket naked. That is how Jan Carries his and that is how I will carry mine.

The edge it had new was not very sharp and had a small burr on the front halve of the blade. I think I had best look on this as: old fashioned style of knife, old fashioned sharpening paradigm! The maker puts on the edge bevels and the user sharpens it the way he wants. If you use it you have to sharpen it anyway. Besides, this was a very affordable handmade knife and I like to sharpen.

Putting a fresh edge on this blade made out of D2 tool steel, was pretty easy. I used a Extra Course DMT to refine the edge bevels and then put the final edge on with diamond side of the Fallkniven DC4. Following this I cut up some card board just to see how it did. No complaints there! The blade went trough the material with little effort. After having cleaned the tape gunk of the blade with lighter fuel I sharpened it up to head hair splitting sharpness. It is a pocket scalpel now! You can tell the maker took good care not to over heat the steel during fabrication. There where no nasty burrs to chase from side to side and a crisp, clean edge was easily obtained.

All-in-all I am pretty happy with my purchase and look forward to getting some use out of my new knife!

Dimensions:
Total length: 15,5cm
Length closed: 10,3cm
Blade length: 6,5cm
Handle length: 9cm

Update after about seven weeks of carry and use:
After having carried and used this knife for a while now I have found that it works well for me. for most of that time it has been my main edc. I have cut paper, cardboard, plastic packaging material, as well as bread buns with ease. During this time the D2 steel has held its edge well and was easy to touch-up or resharpen when it lost some of its sharpness. I found it Very easy to get it head hair splitting sharp with just the diamond side of my Fallkniven DC4.

There is enough friction between the handle and the blade to hold the knife open and closed but not so much that it is hard to operate. This means it can be opened (and closed) with one hand, which can be pretty convenient! This is the first friction folder that I have carried and used and it has proven to be a very useful design that has been well executed. It does just what I like a pocket knife to do, and does it well!

 

Real Steel “Megalodon 2017” RS9611 – Enter The Dragon !

RS9611 Real Steel Megalodon

Again I got a really great bargain and service from my favorite Ebay retailer: Caledon2 Whole Sale Knives and Swords. Kuddos to them to beat record in shipping each time, mine arrived 4 days before its ETA.

I have found this Real Steel Megalodon 2017 model while browsing for a sturdy flipper three months ago.
Eventually I have found the Zero Tolerance ZT0770 as the Megalodon was not available. But I was caught by the beautiful lines and the materials used in this model. Chinese knives production are getting better and better and Real Steel is the new kid on the block in high end cutting tools.

According to https://chinaknives.blogspot.fr (Thanks Wayne for the head up!)

The brand was created in 2013 by the same people who brought you Sanrenmu knives.
Those folks saw the factory, that produced good quality OEM knives for American companies and cheap, but well made budget “original” design knives and thoughty it could be something bigger.
At first, they based on the same designers, that produced Sanrenmu original knives, the most known of them is Liang Gang, that designed some of SRM’s best known models. That is the reason that some of RealSteel’s designs look a lot like the Sanrenmu models (probably are the same, but with different branding).
Their breakthrough (in my opinion) came when they started working with Huang Liang Zhi, better known by the name Carson (Tech Labs). His designs were well known to the people who are interested in Chinese knives, but the quality of his knives is incredible, and second to none (maybe except some of Kevin John work).
Together they made an aluminium version of the Carson Griffin and also released his boiling flipper design under the name Megalodon (probably just put RealSteel logo on the Carson made knife).
There has been some conspiracy on YouTube lately, claiming that Carson has sold his knifemaking factory to RealSteel, but that information was proven to be wrong and was just speculation of one specific Youtuber with big imagination. Carson himself took a photo with his knives to prove this wrong.”

According to Real Steel:
“At the request of many of our fans, we have re-dedicated ourselves to the Megalodon. However Realsteel would not be Realsteel if we were satisfied with a simple relaunch of the old model. We have taken the strengths of the original megalodon on the basis of your feedback and renewed every single component. The result is a megalodon, which at first glance looks like its predecessor, but in reality it is surpassing its predecessor in its blade steel, in its finish and in many other details. This makes it interesting not only for users with the highest demands, but also for collectors.”

The Meg is destined to be a flagship. Mine is numbered  “474 “and come in a very nice box with its certificate and the name of the knifemakers: Carson Huang and Mr Li in the city of Huangao on the Yellow Sea, facing Korea. Funny to see how many people are thinking the late Kit Carson who invented the flipper is behind this one.

I knew M390 mainly from that incredibly great Spyderco Military Sprint Run.
For Jim Ankerson: “M390 even after 550 cuts it was still not getting noticeably harder to cut the rope, after 600 cuts it was still pretty easy and it would still slice paper clean…” he said in a test versus ZDP189 7 years ago.
So M390 is something of a super steel which, if well heat treated, can beat records. Again Jim Ankerson tests makes M390 ahead of many competitors for rope cutting.

The clip is not has good as my Mantra 2 or ZT0770 but it does the trick despite a very unorthodox design made to get caught in the lips of the pocket. There is a warp in the clip look which combined with the gap in the handle can make the pocket insertion tricky. The G10 version doesn’t have this issue.

Anyway, the Megalodon handle is some kind of work of art. It shows how the industry has progressed in machining titanium. Though it is not as impressive as the Slycz Bowie handle … But beautiful curves and clever design which made the illusion of a longer blade compared to its handle. It’s a very sleek piece of cutlery.
You got all the last gizmo in the knife industry. The Integral Lock is renforced again wear and has a security to avoid bending the spring too far for example.


There is milling on the inside of the scales making the full titanium handle very light and the knife is very well balanced once the blade is deployed.

The action is incredibly smooth thanks to its “Pin Bearing”. Kevin Cleary in his great video on 7th minutes explain it. No balls but pins. Simple as that.
The action is as smooth as the Rubicon 2 which means a really really smooth experience. Better than my Mantra 2 and quieter than the ZT0770 spring assist authoritarian opening.

The 3,5mm thick beautiful full flat blade is a razor right out of the box and the edge is thin. With 10 cm long this is not a short tool but it carries quiet well.
I have start to thin the edge further and you can see pictures of the process on our Facebook Group here.

The full open design of the handle makes it easy to rinse after use and I really think this Chinese flipper is made for being used in the wood with no afterthought. China is making now great “separators of matters” for the money, from the Spyderco Polestar, the Byrd series and now to the Real Steel high ends top of the notch folders, I think, after “Made In Taiwan”, “Made In China” is soon going to be a quality label.
But yet they are really shy about that.
“Real Steel” are word in English not Chinese.
And nowhere on the knife you will found “Made In China”  or  “Huangao” written…
Shyness versus China ?

To quote Gary W. Graley on his review on Bladeforums. on the difference with G10 version:

“I did end up getting one of the Ti versions, also a very nice knife, VERY smooth flipper and solid lockup,
Some differences between the G10 and this Ti version

Price, yep, you knew that was going to be there, it’s quite a bit above but with that you do get needle bearings for the pivot mech, Ti frame lock and M390 steel, all add up to be worth the extra price tag

the blade is a smidgen longer than the G10 versions

the blade grind is slightly thicker and as you can see ground a bit different, I am getting about .023″ at the edge bevel where the G10 I’m getting about .017″ so that’s a good bit thicker, but, it is still pretty thinly ground compared to a lot of folders out there, it does cut well.

Handle, the thickness of the handle is thinner than the G10, and of course being Ti it is a little smoother, but the contours provide adequate grip, I do like the thicker G10 handles myself though.

Overall, these are BOTH excellent value knives, highly recommend either one.”

The blade is centered.




Comparaison with other classics.



Comparaison with my 1996 Sebenza.


With the Spyderco Slysz Bowie.


With my CPM Cruwear Military.


With the mighty K2 !


a very Steampunk clip.



It cuts the Coke bottle butt with zero issues but it could and should do better.
Reprofiling is on its way here.


On the edge of the Polestar by JD

Like Nemo I have received my Polestar as a gift from Spyderco. It was in the goodie bag at the 2017 Amsterdam Meet. When I took the knife out of the box and looked it over my first impressions were positive. The blade opened smoothly and locked solidly with the lock bar fully engaging the tang. I liked how the gray G10 looked and felt, a nice combination of grippy and smooth. Clip tension was also excellent. I could slide the knife in and out of the pocket and waistband without any problem. The edge it came with from was less impressive, it could push cut receipt paper but had no slicing aggression at all.

When I came home I put a drop of Nano oil on the pivot which made it even smoother. I could flip the knife open with my middle finger, which is a lot of fun! Other than flipping it a few times I didn’t know what to do with Polestar. For me it is quite a big knife, having a blade length of 8,5cm. In my urban environment and with my use I have found that a blade length between 5-7 is ample. Small knives are often just more convenient for me.

After a few weeks of from time to time picking it up and flipping it I decided to give it a try and see how I would like to carry and use it. Like Nemo I moved the clip to the tip down position. I was going to carry it in the waistband and tip down carry reduces the chances of the blade accidentally opening. Thanks to the Spyder hole hump it could still be easily and quickly opened with the Spydie drop.

Before I was going to use it the edge would need to have more slicing bite then it did new. So, I thought a few passes on a coarse DMT hone would be enough for a quick touch up. I was wrong! I found out that, especially close to the recasso, the edge was pretty uneven. In some places it was even a high angle convex. The edge would need to be formed anew!

I cut of the old edge with a few light cuts into a stone and then created a new edge with my extra coarse DMT hone. I was interested in how the knife would function as it was intended by Spyderco. So I did not change the angle of the edge much but just evened out the edge bevel and formed a new apex. The steel was not hard to grind but, due to the unevenness, some parts needed lots more work than other parts. After I had was sure of having formed an apex by creating a burr on either side of the edge, I removed as much of the burr as I could by using alternate and high angle strokes. The burr flip flopped from site to side a lot and was not easy to cut of. Once I had removed most of the burr on the extra coarse hone I repeated the procedure on the fine DMT with the same difficulty in removing the burr. At that time the edge would slice receipt paper well but I have had better edges.

From past experiences I know that often a new knife needs to be sharpened a few times before the edge reaches its full sharpness and edge holding potential. So, this did not disturb me much. It was to early for conclusions.

I proceeded to cut up some cardboard before repeating most of the afore mentioned sharpening procedure. Only this time I finished on the diamond side of the Fallknives DC4, one of my favorite hones, to an edge that would just split head hair. Removing the burr and finishing the edge had become a bit easier this time around. Over the following days I carried this knife and used it for my normal cutting tasks. Mostly cutting paper cardboard and plastic packaging material and perhaps a bread bun for lunch. A funny thing I noticed: the edge its cutting ability seemed to first increase, then settle down, before slowly starting to dull!

After about a week of use the edge would still work for most of my cutting tasks but had lost some of its sharpness. I decided to resharpen the edge with just the diamond side of the Fallkniven hone again. Getting it sharp enough to shave arm hair was easy but getting it to split head hair still proved to be a bit fiddly, although I did managed it in the end. By comparison: my Elmax Squeak went from not biting in to the hair to cutting the hair with much less effort. A few passes on the hone did the trick there.

Normally I would have put the knife in pocket pocket as it was sharp enough for me use, but out of curiosity and to check my findings I resharpened it once more. I had become a bit easier to remove the burr and to make the edge arm hair shaving sharp. But to get the edge to split head hair was still a challenge. With other knives like my Maniago Spyderco’s in N690 and Elmax and, for instance, my Victorinox Bantam this had never been this difficult.

Overall the Spyderco Polestar is an enjoyable and capable knife: flipping the blade open with the middle finger is still fun and the handle works well, it handled my cutting tasks fine ones I got it sharp, but I am not impressed with the condition of the steel at the edge on my example. Still, it was interesting playing around with a knife that is so different from my usual fare!

JD

Squeak of same feather, fly together – The Titanium Squeak meets the FRN Squeak by JD

Spyderco Squeak

Not long after the original Squeak SC154PBK came out I got one. I carried and used it for a few months and enjoyed its performance. The blade was thin enough at the edge to cut well, the steel (Böehler N690Co) held its edge and was easy to resharpen. The handle was comfortable and I am a fan of the wire clip. The back spring was strong enough to keep the knife open and closed as needed, but not to stiff to impede easy one hand manipulation. The overall fit and finish was excellent. Well done Spyderco Maniago!

For me and my urban life style I have found that five centimeters of sharp is enough for my usual cutting tasks. The Squeak fit the role of urban cutter to a tee!

During the last Spyderco Meet in Amsterdam I enjoyed handling Nemo’s titanium and Elmax sprint run version of the Squeak. When Nemo suggested I try it out for a few months, I was delighted! Having carried this one for a while now, on its own as well as alternating with my FRN version, and I must say: I am impressed!

SPyderco Squeak

It seem even thinner at the edge and making it cut with little effort than my FRN version. I was unable to find any difference between the steels. I have found that it is difficult to tell steels apart in use. It is much easier to tell them apart by much effort they are to sharpen. Besides, I have a Spyderco Urban in Elmax from the same factory that I have carried and used for months that held its edge well.

The titanium handle was nicely rounded and, after having been in a pants pocket for a while, pleasantly warm to the touch. The smoothness of the titanium helped it slip in and out of the pocket just a little easier than the FRN model, without fear of it falling out by its self.

On Nemo’s Squeak the back spring is a little stronger due to titanium being stiffer than FRN, making the walk and talk more pronounced and the blade slightly harder to open with one hand. By-the-way, both the FRN and the titanium version can be opened with the Spydie drop! A sharp flick of the wrist does the trick!

Fit and finish is of a very high level. This knife exudes quality. All in all an excellent upgrade of the standard Squeak. Well done Spyderco!

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The author: JD is a good friend and a regular contributor to the NKR. He also known for his precise skills in sharpening and is a real encyclopedia about knives. His carrying preferences goes for small folders.
All Pictures and text copyrighted by JD.

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From The Edge To The Point Since 1995

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