Spyderco Techno & Tuff glimpse: “Thick twice, cut once!”

I love thin blades and showing to a friend how an Opinel could push cut in hard material when high tech “tactical” folders won’t succeed, is a fact of common sens… but my still I love THICK HEAVY blades. Those which are so brutal and so manly ! And turning the Chris Reeve quote from “Think…” to “Thick…” is quite natural when both knives got a Reeve’s Integral Lock.

OK, two rapid shares:

Spyderco Techno

The Spyderco Techno.
I was not prepared to that knife as I was taken by surprise.
After weighting and holding a gorgeous prototype imported directly from Marcin Slysz in Poland at the last Spyderco Minimeet in Amsterdam, my heart skept a beat: that little Tank was incredibly beautiful and design as a über-worker. I loved it.
The beatblasted handle and beatblasted blade are an appeal to abuses and hard work. Worst the 4.5mm thick blade looks more as a wedge than a cutting instrument.

SPyderco Techno

But beyond look lays performances. The grind is high and thin. The result is an incredible cutting machine.
I was really surprise how deep and easy the Techno cut.
Better, the new steel is a breeze to get razor sharp and it has stay at that level since I got it.

*”From Mike Stewart of BRK&T:

On Friday I shipped 30 of the XHP Woodlands that we made to see how this steel works with our Heat Treat and Geometry.

I’m pretty sure that you will be able to get one – if you act quickly – from either Dale or Derrick.

Let me tell you about what we learned.

Three of us tested the crap out of mine on Thursday and Friday.

I cut a bunch of wood and leather.

Skittles did the same for about an hour.

jimmy then also did the same and then batoned down two small trees out back for good measure.

Re-read above.

Note that no place did we say we re-touched the edge.

We didn’t – I still have not and it still aggressively shaves hair and cleanly slices paper – just like it did when it was first finished.

I’m not sure what is going on with this stuff but I have never seen a more aggressive cutting stainless steel.

Here is what Carpenter Says:

Carpenter Technology Corporation has developed an alloy known as CTS-XHP, an air hardening, high carbon, high chromium, corrosion resistant alloy which can be described as either a high hardness Type 440C stainless steel or a corrosion resistant D2 tool steel. This steel is made using powder metallurgy and possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to Type 440C stainless but can attain a maximum hardness of 64 HRC which is approaching that of D2 tool steel. This alloy offers superior edge retention and surface finish, an ability to be machined to a fine edge, and consistent heat-treatability from lot to lot making it ideal material for knife blades.

I don’t agree with them.

This Stuff is nothing like 440C and nothing like D-2.

It grinds easily and polished easily.

It appears tougher than D-2.

440C goes dead flat dull in cutting a fraction of the wood and leather we did so this is more like A-2.

If somebody asked me to put a tag on this stuff – it would be Stainless A-2.”

Been using the Techno in a plate, or for carboard processing: the razor sharp blade was not affected.
CTS XHP steel is really an excellent steel and this is my first experience with it. (Almost bought a C36 Military Sprint Run with brown G10 handle and that new CTS XHP steel, considered as a stainless version of D2…)

SPyderco Techno

Compared to D2, the CTS is powder metallurgy steel. I just know that the Techno edge is incredibly sharp and stays that way. Incredibly friendly.
(Unfriendly steel/edges are the one who betrays you when you need it sharp and doesn’t want to get sharp afetr thrity minutes on stone…)
My concern about having a knife not enough pointy were false. My techno got enought penetration power to be use on soft or hard material.
The rounded edges make it a very ergonomic and sweet tool to use. It feels solid ans it cuts like a charm, everything I throw at it: cardboard, meat, plastic, wood…
Spyderco techno

To sum up the Techno is small, sharp, smooth, easy to carry, hefty and toolish… What a great EDC knife Marcin Slysz has designed !

Now Ed Schemp’s TUFF.

SPyderco Tuff

This knife is tuff. Tuff to open. Tuff to close. Thick (but thinner by 0,5mm compared to the techno). Heavy (compared to my Millie)
As first glance it’s not friendly.
But once open in the hands: great balance, nice folding Kukri feeling, great choil. I love the fuller since I handle the prototype in 2005.
It’s a great improvement to grabbing the blade and “spyderdrop” the Tuff. I love the “craters” in the titanium and the G10.

Ok immediatly I have changer the clip to tip down carry. Like that, I can grab it by the blade and I can open it “spyderdrop” style. Not as fast as my Millie but it is now reliable to put in use. (
Once closed the knife got a rounded shape and is not “that” thick. I was surprised how it can be forgotten once clipped to my denim pocket.
A very good point.

I ask Ed Schemp as the Paris Blade Show (SICAC) if it was possible to smooth it a little, but as the locking bar is short and strong, I need to get use to that tuff opening and closing. No big deal. This is a tuff knife ! 🙂
The blade in CMP 3V is really easy to go beyond factory sharp. CPM 3V loves leather stropping. Despite it’s saber flat grind, mine can get hair popping sharp.
Now I need to use it in the woods to see what the design is all about.
I want this knife to be a folding kukri. Tuff enough for light chopping. The gun handle ask for a beating.
Like with my Lionspy, I want to be able to cut a walking staff with ease and no after thinking.
The tuff ask for going in the wild like a good old Land Rover is asking to take the long way home.

SPyderco Tuff

So more to come soon about this two thick brothers.

(FYI there is also got two slimmer sisters in the review pipe: the Gayle Bradley Air and the extraordinary South Fork… Different strokes !)


Le Pointu Minimal Luxe part II – Friendly, fun and reliable.

Last year I have posted a glimpse about le Pointu and since it has been used almost daily.
This knife is completly invisible to sheeples. The gently rounded blade and non threatning look are perfect for that. Also the “open” design makes it more a curiosity than a weapon. Good.
Now how does it perform ?

I simply love the knife.
I was not a real fan of D2 Tool Steel (not my favorite steel to polish to a razor sharp as it prefers a coarse edge…) but here I recognized the heat treatment bring a very stone ceramic and leather stropping friendly knife. Not being stainless, the blade has develop a gentle patina with the vinegar of salad. This is something i always enjoy. You never know what pattern will be developped on the blade.
My Pointu has been used as my main plate/steak knife during the year. Something to notice is that you NEED to clean the blade before to pocket it after lunch:
with the “open construction”the blade is in contact with fabric of your pocket once clipped. 🙂

The chisel geometry, once you have integrate it, is a joy to use. Like a single engine propellor plane, you need to use the rudder to cut straight in line. This adjustement is made instinctively. I was really surprised how depp it cut in wood. It is a joy to use for whittling especially as a draw knife. The chisel hollow grind is not “that” hollow. It’s almost saber flat ground.

On the ceramic the D2 develop a nice burr, easy to eliminate on the chisel side by putting the blade almost flat on the stone.
It’s very easy to get it back to razor. D2 as expected stay sharp a real long time and my Pointu keeps a working edge forever.
The rounded blade is enough pointy for my task and I have found the 2,5 mm thick back of the blade very useful for scrapping and removing fat from meat for example. I have found a lot of use for that “non tactical” design. My Pointu has never let me down and was able to go threw every whore I put it in. Despite being flat it’s really confortable to handle and also really easy to clean. This is a great outdoor’s companion.

I also enjoy the “spyder drop” possible on this knife. It’s easy to catch the blade between two finger and flick it open.
I have use also Le Pointu hard. No blade play in any direction. The lock did not move forward after a year of use. Very very very reliable.
I would not had expected that “open”/single liner construction to be “that” solid.

So really I’m surprised and pleased on how great that flat gentleman folder is, especially in the woods and in the kitchen. Great steel, great ergos, clever design… Le Pointu is still growing and me.
Kuddos Xavier Conil and Laurent Monnier your knife is fantastic.

Spyderco Lionspy – Updating the beast

Spyderco Lionspy

Since I got that wonderful Spyderco Lionspy I did not baby it at all ans test as EDC and hard working knife as I wanted to see if a massive a stout folder would be useful and handy as a fixed blade even if it should not be as strong.

So let’s review some points which I was concerned with:

The very small short butt clip:
yes it is short. But it is very discreet. And it’s a pleasure to pocket that knife: it disappears.
I found it is easy to retrieve once you have adjust your technic: gently pulling the clip first to free the knife from the pocket.

The stopping pin:
while in the woods, I used it as a light chopping tool.And it was great.
I was concerned about the stopping pin as one side is plug in titanium but the other one in G10. Zero problem so far and I have used that knife very hard. So eventually no issues. So far so good.

The rotoblock:
this is a breeze to use. A pinch of the thumb and the safety is on or off. The knife feels very solid and lock failure is not a real concern.
I love this system.

The heavy stout thick blade:
I was able to trim and cut branches for making walking canes very very easily. It was a fast and easy processed job. A dozen of light impacts and a two to three inches diameter wood rod is chopped of the tree. I don’t know if that knife was design for that purpose but it works great. Like a micro pocket axe.

No pointy blade:
if kept very sharp the Lion Spy got a good penetration power. But I’m happy to keep another knife with a more pointy blade on me.

Elmax ?
surpringly easy to keep sharp. My Lionspy this last month has been mainly kept sharp with strops of leather and half a dozen white ceramic strokes.
Very nice steel. Been used on bones, plastic, wood, meat. No chipping edge, no rolling edge… so far. My first experience with Elmax is absolutely positive.

The hot spots:
the blade’s spine is ‘squarish’. And when ‘thumb-push cutting’ without gloves it is quickly not pleasant. I was able to round the corners on the spine with diamond rods, sand paper, caution and patience. Elmax is hard. I do not have any plans to start a fire with it anyway so no more square spine. Now it is much more confortable to use for push cuts. Especially with such a nice convex grind. The wood fibers are sectionned nicely, gently with control.

Handle… now there is one hot spot in the ergo I cannot improved without rethinking the whole knife. It is about the open construction handle’s liners/slabs…. They are profiled like airplane wings, like propelor blades !!! Beautiful but not confortable when used perpendiculary with the palm of the hand. After sometime, you can find another way to hold the handle but compared to a lockback (or the plain handle of fixed blade) this is an ergonomic issue. But there is a reason.
The Spyderco Gayle Bradley got a square handle and is much more confortable as the space between the liners is almost filled. But the gap between the slabs in the Lionspy construction is proportionnal to the thickness of its blade (4.5mm). There is a real gap in this open construction.
Once you find you own way to hold and use the Lionspy, things are going much easier. But gloves can be mandatory for long use of the Lionspy.

Eventually I was surprised by the ease to put that stout knife in service and how fast the cutting job was done when I was in walking rod processing mode. Reliable and clever, it is my favorite light chopping folding knife.

Spyderco LionSpy

Cold Steel Lone Star Hunter – I’m a rough boy…

Cold Steel Lone Star Hunter

We European got some kind of American dreams: Cowboys and Indians….
From Die Hard (Cow boy) to First Blood (Indian), the dream doesn’t want to die.
Spyderco is a very international company, building knives like Ferrari is building cars.
Cold Steel is also very international, looking and also giving tributes for designs from Africa, Spain…
But both those companies are pulling my sensitive string when they give tribute to the American Spirit.

Spyderco gave us the Chinook when Cold Steel bring us the Trailmasters.
Testa rossa vs Gran Torino ?
OK, Cold Steel also is bringing very cleverly engineered short blades and especially the greatest improvement on lock back: Andrew Demko‘s Triadlock.
Oh how this lock is sweet: fully ambidextrious and solid as a rock and … easy on manufacturing tolerances. Pure genius. A milestone in knifemaking.
In one inspired move Mr Demko transformed the solid Cold Steel Voyagers into Über Hulk Solid Cold Steel Voyagers.

Now Cold Steel is releasing a lot of new designs with the Triadlock and many black tactical beauty. (This Recon Drop Point !!!)
But my eyes caught two releases those last monthes: the Mackinac Hunter and the Lone Star Hunter.
They both look like Old Timers with those kind of Delrin faux stag horn scales. And as I love Schrade Old Timers and Uncle Henry’s…
Also they could go well with Samcro’s riders, those modern cowboys…

OK to how this Lone Star Hunter looks ?:
BIG !!! I was very surprised on how long and sleek and sexy this blade would be.
SMOOTH !!! Open with a flick of the wrist and close in a breeze…..
OUCH !!! Yes it closes so smoothly and without any choil to protect my finger… I get a nasty cut. I need to learn how to rest my index nearer to the axis when I close that baby.

The blade is 3,5mm thick, it looks like 4mm. The bowie clip and flat ground blade is gorgeous like a modern interpretation of the Navaja.
Solid feel. No play.
A little on the heavy side. But I love heavy metal on traditional hommages.
Well balanced, perfectly executed: Taiwan plants are the best in the outsourcing knives manufacturing.
My Lone Star Hunter is an eyecandy and über solid workhorse.

AUS 8A Stainless may be not as sexy as M390, CPM M4 or ELMAX but as far as I am concern my XL Voyager keep a decent edge and is easy to keep razor. The grind is thin and for a full flat ground, you got a great sliding machine. The blade is also very pointy. Not like my Pointu or my Lionspy. You never jow when you will ned to pop a balloon.
Again, heat treatment is as important (and even more) than the steel composition. This AUS 8A is perfect for a workhorse at a budget price.
Yes, that knife is really easy on your wallet. This is something to consider. I love “blue collar” tools. My grandfather was a farmer and was using is Canif (“K-nife” come from that word BTW!) from cattle surgery to whittling. It was his everyday workhorse, solid, reliable and easy to maintain in good condition.

The shortcomings of my Lone Star Hunter so far:
the clip was short and to tight to be really useable. Once clipped to a pocket the knife was nearly impossible to retrieve. So I bend that clip and now it’s OK. Easy peazzy lemon squizzy…
The spine (back) of the blade was square enough to spark a fire on a rusty nail but I like my spines rounded for thumb pushing cuts. So I have grinned it with a diamond rod in 15 minutes.
The fact it is all steel framed and not skeletonized can be a shortcoming for those who loves their folder light in the pocket. This is heavy metal, no aluminium or titanium scales. The handle can get hot and chilling as almost a full metal. No bolster the delrin slabs are screwed on the metal. Easy to clean.
Oh, the lock can be hard to unlock. Perharps it needs a little wear but for safety reason now it requires two hands to close it. My Spyderco Native 5 backlock or the XL Voyager are closed by gravity and your index finger is protected by a choil or a ricasso of some sort. Here you need to move your finger forward the axis (less strenght in the unlock procedure) for unlocked the ultra sharp blade to start to fall. And the slippery handle do not help.
The Lone Star Hunter is a knife wich needs to be manipulated with extra respect. I open and close my Spyderco Military, or Persistence without thinking about it. The LSH is asking you to be careful during the closing procedure.

So the Lone Star Hunter is going to be a great pocket knife for EDC for those who ask a ultra solid folder, even if it is a little on the non political correctness side: the lenght of the blade is impressive as the Blade handle ratio is close to 1… But as is Cold Steel CEO Lynn Thomson: unique and impressive. Also Texas does not have the same knives regulation as many other places on Earth so this folder is a real hommage.
Compared to those “Tactical, Black G10, Black Blades/ Pry Bars” , this is a knife which got a lot of personnality and especially gives you a lot for the money spent. This one is my second “Texas” inspiration folder with the extraordinary Gayle Bradley. There is something genuinely “19th Century” Texan about this design but served with an ultra song lock. A knife which asks for respect and hard work.

Thin flat ground clip blade
Confortable handle (no hot spot)
Great GC.
Beautiful lines.

Can be to heavy for some users
to slippy for some
The clip is to tight.
To long blade for some juridictions…
The lock can be hard to unlock.
No choil to protect your finger when the blade is closing. (better two hands closing)

Official pages is here: http://www.coldsteel.com/lonestarhunter.html

Notice the fresh scar on the finger. You need to be more careful than I when closing it.

The triadlock pin.

Oh yes you can abuse tha knife.

Oh and it was able to cut through the bottle’s butt like a breeze. So the grind is thind enough… 🙂


Spyderco C136 Persistence Blue Exclusive : My China Blue !

SPyderco Persistence Blue SPrint

I love the Spyderco Persistence. Perfect size to be an EDC. 70 mm is city friendy.
Great ergos. Solid feels. Hidden choil. Smooth, sharp and ready to be used hard.
8cr13Mov is not the snobbish steel but it takes a great razor edge and is quite strong and forgiving.
No blade play. Full flad ground. Skeletonized liners. Light in the pocket.
The Persistence got only great reviews.
When I have learned a Spyderco’s C136 Persistence Blue Exclusive Run will be available, it was the occasion to buy another one. This one to be kept and used.
The clip is a little on the tight side and I have sanded the G10 under it but for the rest the Persistence is delivered with high QC and no flaw.
The Blade is centered. The action is fast and smooth and the edge even and razor sharp. The Royal Blue G10 is the little plus for been accepted by sheeples.

For a workhorse on a measured budget this knife is really a gem. I love the “cowboy knife” equation: cheap but reliable. So you can use it hard with no after thought. This one if ready for dirty jobs and easy to clean with its all open construction. Mine will be used as an eating knife, which means an hard confrontation with the ceramic of plates…
Again like in my previous review, those snobbish bushcrafters should give a chance to that little knife. Perfect for camping, whittling and food processing chores. Hunters of course like fishers should be aware of the polyvalence of that tool. Oh, I really love my China Blue and it can be proudly used next to my S90V Paramillie ! This is like jumping from an Aston Martin to a Beemer but both are reliable and fun to drive.

And yes there is one hair on my blade pictured. My Persistence is really razor popping hairs sharp…:-)

Victorinox Swiss Champ – Paul Watson Sea Shepherd Special Edition – My other EDC.

I had found this reliable companion on a garage sale. Forgotten in the middle of Gerber pliers and various multitools. It was four years ago and since it has not left my EDC bag.
It was complete, even if second handed. The little needle/pin is there with also all the whittles and bells.
Now I was not able to find any information about it yet. For example when it was sold on Paul Watson’s shops. (See the 2017 update at the end of the article)

Oh and if you don’t know Captain Paul Watson, it is time to discover the Works of this incredibly courageous ocean protector like Jules Verne could had written about….
Everything is on his site and I proudly carry the knife of the nowadays Captain Nemo.

Victorinox Paul Watson Sea Shepherd
Time to put your screen upside down as Photobucket did not want to edit it….

Victorinox Paul Watson Sea Shepherd

Victorinox Paul Watson Sea Shepherd

Victorinox Paul Watson Sea Shepherd

Victorinox Paul Watson Sea Shepherd

Eventually I have been able to meet Paul Watson twice and we have been talking about his knife. He told me it was unique as it was a gift from Switzerland Sea Sheperd inauguration and that he had it confiscated at Geneva Airport…
So from Geneva Airport to Paris there is a strange net of selling confiscated knives.

David Chaparral vs Goliath Voyager

My Chaparral and my Voyager are great friends.

A convexed edge for a better sharpness.

Sprint Run Spyderco Military C36 with M390 Steel

Imagine a C36 Military with Carbon Fiber handle instead of G10, dual liners when my old Millie in CPM440V got only one and a black aluminium back spacer… now Imagine the chance to test the best steel in the Sprint Runs manufactured in Golden…
Ah, the C36 is available for little time in a limited edition with M390 steel and peel ply carbon fiber… the Cheetah of military folding knives is back with a vengeance.

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

Lightweight. Incredibly light so you forget it once it’s clipped to your pants.
Lightweight is a luxury. The choice of the materials and the refinements of the design since 1995 has kept the feather weight of this big knife.
Soldiers needs to control how much they carry. The millie is a good friend for them.
And a good friend for the hunter, the bushcrafter and the voyager.

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

Again the C36 offers you a very pointy blade for a strong blade. This is polyvalence. The point of needle with the power of a big bad full flat ground blade in the best steels available.
No surprise this knife is a classic and even if a Military II will be produced one day, Eric Glesser at the last Minimeet in Amsterdam told me the Original Millie will be kept.
In all my Military I only saw one broken tip. It was the very first one in CPM440V (S60V) we reviewed with Fred Perrin and he was able to reground it.

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

The big hole is perfect for Spyderdropping. The knife is open with an elegant movement and close in a breeze with or without gloves.

The quillons, created by the choil and the hump behind the hole, give all power to the blade without to go through an handle “interface”. This gives a lot of control. You are able to cut hard and quick. But also by choking up the blade you can whittle and do some precise works. This is where a Millie shines compared to for example my Lionspy which got heft and strong cutting power and certainly a stronger lock.
This is a question of choice. The nested liners in the carbon fiber handle is such a clever invention to keep an extra flat a incredibly solid tool. The balance point is just

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

All in all, that Sprint Run is a second chance for those who could not pull the trigger on the S90V / Carbon fiber limited edition of the C36 some years ago.
Now S90V is a really strange steel. My Paramillie in S90 V is kept sharp as I don’t want to fight with diamonds to get its razor edge back. S90V do not want to lose any atoms.
One of my C36 Military came with a very keen edge. I think it’s around 20°. I was able to goes to vorpal dangerous sharpness only by stropping it on leather. I would not be able to get the same results with my equipements unless I got a lot of time on my hands.
So IMHO M390 is not S90V but so far it looks like a excellent alloy. Better than S30V in the way it keeps its high sharpness once polished (And I love to polish my edges). More to come later on a longer run. But this steel is going to be a very strong contender in the race to super powder metallurgy steels.

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

What a pleasure to pocket a C36 again.This is an EDC which knows how to be forgotten until you need it and the range of use of this Classic is wider than many knives even many spydies. A long blade. A long handle. A research in excellence for 17 years by Sal Glesser.

Many Spydies are little big knives: short knives with great power. This one is a long knife which knows how to be light like a shorter folder. And looking at it you can be delighted by its exquisite lines in all its unique engineering details. A must.

Spyderco Military with M390 Steel

Dirty jobs for a strong folder…


The Lionspy expresses its design in the woods. The heavy blade and strong lock even make it a light chopping tool for small branches.
But the handle open construction next the pivot is not the most confortable spot for push cutting into hard material like 90% of modern folders the use of working gloves is mandatory for hard cutting. On that, the Gayle Bradley is more ergonomic.

Lionsteel belly cutting

The thick high flat ground blade’s belly gives you a lot of power especially when you need to cut with the first third of the blade (near the point as shown on the picture) when the knife is not perpendicular to the cutting material and the belly acts as a guillotine. Here it works great.
Lionspy in the Wild
With its heavy blade the “need” to chop comes naturally. It helps a lot to clean small branches when making a staff for example. Also I was able to give some lateral pushs and pulls to that wedge blade and everytime the wood gaps with a satisfactory crack. I did not baton it yet, it’s a short blade, but in this case I would certainly not engage the lock.
The open construction makes it very easy to clean but even very dirty all the elements of that big folding knife works perfectly. Sand and dirt do not prevent the blade to lock and unlock perfectly with both systems (RIL and Roto). So far I was not able to noticeably scratch the handle or the blade.
Lionspy in the wild
The Lionspy is really destin for hard user it really remembers me the HEST fixed blade. No surprise the HEST Folder is also made by Lionsteel and got since its second batch so well appreciated.
Both the Lionspy and my good old HEST folder have been used for cutting roots. The Hest is my favorite dirty jobs small knife as I know how solid is it and how easy it’s to restore the convex edge I put on it.
Lionspy and HEST
The Lionspy came with a gently convexed grind and Elmax is surprisingly easy to keep razor sharp with ceramic and leather stropping.
Lionspy in the wild

The Lionspy tonight…


In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lionspy tonight…


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