Custom Ed Schempp Bowie on Spydercollector — A gem made by a giant.

A pure wonder made for a friend by a friend. Great review as always !

SpyderCollector

I finally did what plenty of knife collectors have done before me; I ordered a custom knife. Mind you, not a ready-made custom knife from a webshop. No, I’m talking about a custom folding knife tailored to my personal preferences. After deciding on what I wanted, I approached the knifemaker to see if he was interested and able to make it. He was, and right away I tried putting the entire project out of my mind to ease the waiting period. The result is in, and it has surpassed all my expectations. I present you, a left-handed 100% custom made Schempp Bowie folding knife, made by Ed Schempp!

Background
The Spyderco Amsterdam Meets are not just great gatherings with fellow knifeknuts that offer an exclusive first look on new and upcoming Spyderco designs. They are also very enjoyable lectures on knife design. Ed Schempp has joined a few meets in…

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Starmate C55 — Blast from the Past.

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“Spyderco’s original C55 Starmate was a landmark accomplishment in knife manufacturing. ”
Back in the 90’s, the Starmate was an alternative to the Millie. Same engineering, nested liners, same steel CPM440V (S60V) same blade thickness same materials… They were false twins. What I liked with the Terzuola was it “workhorse” design when the Millie was more a “fast respond” folder. The C36 was jumping in my hand with the best penetration and cutting power when the Starmate was slower and ready to put its thick blade to test.

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I was happy to have a thick blade made of that alloy as I was afraid to snap it. I used it as my main edc in rotation with M2 AFCK, ATS34 Sebenza. 
And soon “CPM” like we used to call that steel shows us how different it was: it was keeping it working edge for a very long time. The razor edge was lost fast but then it kept cuttin cutting and cutting. This was new at the time. CPM420V (S90V) was not easily found and it was only in 1999 that I got the chance to test a Darrel Ralph design of S90V.
The only way to get back to sharp was Fred Perrin’s backstand…

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S60V gie us the feeling it was a really new animal. The way it wears was different from all the ATS34, 1095, XC75, D2 or M2HSS we used back then. And it was great. You coud go to a trip and forget your sharpener. Your Starmate will be able to cut for the next two weeks.

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Twenty years later you can see on the left the Starmate and the AFCK on the right: titanium liners do wear much more. Because “Bob Terzuola design is his improved Walker LinerLock mechanism, which features a concave ramp on the blade’s lock face. This lock geometry, pioneered by Terzuola in his custom knives, provides greater strength and security than conventional flat lock ramps and is proudly featured in the Starmate.”

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Twenty years between those two great knives.

The Starmate is a reflection of Spyderco rich collaborative history with one of knifemaking’s most talented and innovative craftsmen.
I should see Bob T. in two weeks for the some Paris knives show. The occasion to make some pictures.

 

 

 

MILITARY C36PIN PART IV: Deep Carry Clip in Titanium

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After the part III where I built a patina by worshipping various acids, here comes the part IV of improving my old classic Spyderco: installing a better clip.
My first attempt in custom deep carry titanium clip has not be good. It was for the Yojimbo2 and I’ve been mounting the original clip back.
Then I have ordered a titanium clip for Ghost my Millie.

Actually I was disappointed again, once mounted the action was not smooth anymore.
For some reason the clip was exercising some forces on the pivot and the opening and closing were stiff. Also the mate finish was not helping the insertion of the knife is the pocket.

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So I have bent the clip for it to be less strong and also I have sand it to smooth it.
It made a difference.

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Talking about differences, the titanium clip is very well designed and comes with two flat torx screws. It’s a little higher/thicker than the original one but it’s not a problem and does not change the ergonomy.

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Also by sanding the clip, I have obtained a worn look which goes well with the patina.

I have also rounded all the edge on the G10 with P1000 sandpaper to have it smooth in the pocket.

But I felt some resistance when I put the knife in my pocket and I also found that now the lip of my pocket was obliged to go through a new threshhold: the base of the clip.

You see ? There is step formed by the attached base of the clip which can be hard on my pocket, tearing a hole of my worn denim.

So I was back to sanding on P500 this time to smooth the steep and avoid wear.
And it worked !

Eventually I was able to ease the clip spring pressure and get my C36 back to smooth operation.

So it was not an issue with screws length but a slight deformation at the pivot due to too much spring tension.

So I’m happy, the C36 Military now disappears in the pocket but it also easy to “spyder-drop” it in the blink of an eye. The action is a little stiffer but some nano-oil helps it. I’m not able to have the blade closing by gravity anymore. Anyway the Millie as never as smooth as the Ed Schempp Bowie and not as easy to carry.
But now I can carry that C36 in the city with no afterthought. It’s almost invisible and the Jade Natural G-10 helps a lot in its invisibility and sheeple friendly carried tool.
Hence the name “Ghost”.

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Here how the clip looks before sanding the edge and the finish. You can see the sharp edge around the screw and also the jaws mark of my leatherman.

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From M2HSS to CPM-M4 — Hightech Peasant Knives and why I love them.

I always wanted a Old Timer feeling on a Nasa tool. Grandpa’s knife update, a workhorse with the latest tech but asking for the same care as the previous 20th century generation used to provide to their pocket knives.

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Back in the 90’s I was running after the Benchmade BM800HS AFCK and Mini AFCK BM812HS. (Yes, Sal Glesser was also involved in its design…) They were modern knives with titanium linerlocks but providing a High Speed Tool Steel a tungsten low chromium allow: M2 Speedstar.

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wp-image-1626599986The Nimravus in M2, and pictured : the mini Nimravus BM45HS.
It has been used a lot, isn’t it ?
The “M” M2 stands for molybdenum with 5% of it in the alloy and with 0.95% of carbon, 2% vanadium and 6% of Tungsten it should have been named T2.
“M2 is the “standard” and most widely used industrial HSS. It has small and evenly distributed carbides giving high wear resistance, though its decarburization sensitivity is a little bit high. After heat treatment, its hardness is the same as T1, but its bending strength can reach 4700 MPa, and its toughness and thermo-plasticity are higher than T1 by 50%. It is usually used to manufacture a variety of tools, such as drill bits, taps and reamers.”
For more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_steel

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Cuts in the wood were very special and left some kind of patina with M2 blades: it’s soft. Could it be the fine grain of the alloy, the tungsten carbids ? You can find set of chisels and woodturning tools in M2, some of high quality made in Sheffield, UK, but their main marketing quotes is that they last 6 times more than carbon steel which means nothing IMHO unless they use very soft low carbon steel for comparaison.
As M2HSS is not used anymore my present favorite knives are often made of CPM M4.

When the AFCK M2HSS was provided, its blade was coated. But where was the fun ? Patina is a much better coating in my book. The idea was to give to a very thin pointy knife more strenght as the current production was using mainly ATS-34. IMHO they had killed two birds with one stone by upgrading the steel to a non-stainless-steel.

wp-image-258869882Bud Nealy Pesh Kabz or Travel Knife in M2 the coating has been removed and the Mantra 2.

I was very happy with the Caly 3 in Super Blue Steel (until I lost her) but it was not as good as HS steel. Very angry edge for sure but not lasting like M2 or of course the hyper CPM M4. So for good measure I have invested in a Endura with HAP40: “Spyderco C10WDP Endura 4 Folding Knife 3.8″ HAP40/SUS410 Satin Plain Blade, Mahogany Pakkawood Handles, KnifeCenter Exclusive”.  I’m not in business with Howard of the Knifecenter but back in the 90’s I had designed their Logo !
HAP40 is an Hitachi steel which looks a lot like CPM M4 but with added 8% Cobalt and it is technically exactly what a High Tech Peasant Knife should be.
More to come when I will review it next week !

 

 

SPYDERCO NATIVE C41CFP5 – CPM110V Three years update.

wp-image-1801371413Last year, Jim Ankerson made a Military CPM110V test and was able to “cut 6,000 linear ft of cardboard checking every 500 ft for phone book paper sharpness, would still slice phone book paper after this stage, zero edge damage.” He had stopped but ” it could have cut a lot more. I try and keep the cardboard to a reasonable amount.”
For Euros, this is 1829 meters ! CPM110V is so special to him that it’s his Bladeforum’s profile picture. This is special stuff as seen in my Manix 2 review here.

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It’s been three years since I got my Native 5 in CPM110V and 6 years since I use a Native 5 as one of my EDC: friendly size, great ergos… Time to look at it.
First of all,  I have never touched up the blade. Some stropping but not a single ceramic touch. With its factory edge, the blade looks like new: no scratches at all and the Carbon Fiber handle is pristine.  Those materials are hard and made to last no question this folder is a knife made to be some kind of time capsule. Its backlock is one of the strongest  in the knife industry behind the triadlock and has developed zero play which is great because I got many backlocks with vertical play even out of the box. Spyderco backlocks have undergone many refinements and through better manufacturing tolerances are among the safest and easiest locking systems to operate. To quote a forumite: “the engineering wizards at Spyderco have (IMO) outdone themselves”.

The Native is a must-have for any knifenut and got a near cult following aura. First thing, it’s an all American made knife which is IMHO better than the Seki’s and also it has been designed to be a great EDC. A totally polyvalent knife. It has even been chosen to be the symbolic knife of Spyderco’s 40th Anniversary with a Thor Damasteel blade special CF edition. Now it also exists with flutted titanium handle, full carbon fiber handle and S90V blades and lightweight with Maxamet and 110V…
It’s easy why people are collecting them and clipping them with pride.

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Eventually, during this 3 years I have never used “hard” my Native 5. Simply because the false edge is not thumb friendly. I do push the blade with my left hand thumb when whittling. It has been used in the kitchen, but not that much as its blade is short. It has been used for sausages processing and mondaine tasks. I would have use it as much as my Chaparral… And as the Native is overbuilt, it handles on those task with ease.
Also the handle is a little on the squarish side. I have sand it but even though it is not as ergonomic as a Yojimbo2, the Manixes or the guardless Nilakka. So it is not appealing me to use it hard even if I know the construction can handle it.

My Native is some kind of overbuilt Gentleman folder. I carry it mainly in the city or in office environment. I know it will 200% reliable and with his thin edge the cutting tasks will be done in a blink. Unless It has failed on a cutting the plastic bottle butt but it was not its fault. The plastic was 4mm thick !

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If you want to learn more about Natives:
A 2012 video from MrBlonde (Spydercollector) shows the history of the Native.
Also Paul Beretta (The Deacon) has a great post on his site about it.
The Native was also used for Bladeforums exclusive knives many years.

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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From The Edge To The Point Since 1995

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