What does it means to own a Sebenza ?
21 years ago, in September 1996, I was joined by phone from Taiwan. His name was Huan Chang Hsu. He was an ophthalmologist, a diver and a knife collector. He had found my contact on my first little blog on Geocities where I was written reviews with Fred Perrin. His call last 4 hours !!!
Eventually, he insisted me to 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 in the bank, like some people keep diamonds in a vault. He proposed me to try the new handle version but I wanted the classic.
Also he had proposed me to 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 another of his knife,) and in a box “Honor”.
For good measure I had sent a box to Taipei with a vintage Jacques Mongin (He was a legend and has made the folding hunting knife for Ernest Hemingway’s special request at Kindal’s).
The Sebenza was a shock. Smooth little butter. Even now it is one of my smoother knife. And it was really built like a tank. It was pure workhorse in pure beauty. It was not a tactical experience it was first a tactile discover ! The massive titanium slabs, the integral lock…
Back in the 90’s I remember a review in an American Magazine where the reviewer has mauled his Sebenza into a log just to test the lock. He was amazed by its reliability.
Two cons I noticed: the thumb stub was a little in the catchy side — meaning it was able to rip the inside of a trouser pocker. And the clip, first attempt of Chris to mount a clip on his design, was scratching everything it could reach.
Old clip on the left.
Aware of that, Huan Chang find a way to send me an original CRK leather pouch. Again I thanks him for his generosity but it seems really important for him to refine my experience with Honor.
So I have carried the Sebenza in its leather pouch, horizontally on my belt for years.
Until I was able to order a better refined clip to Chris in 2000’s.
But Honor will soon become what I have name “My Ambassador Knife”.
Back on these days, the forums were beginning and already people were arguing about “What is the best folder.” Chris Reeve knives were at 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 doubt about Sebenza groupies.
So I got that crazy idea to send “Honor” to anyone who were criticizing the design without having the opportunity to try a CRK. His first trip was to Wales to my friend Wayne and six months later he told me Honor has broken his heart by flying back to France. Since he was able to buy his own Sebbies.
In ten years, my Sebenza will go in dozen of hands, strangers, forumites and even knivemakers for months.
His last trip was in Alabama to Jeff Randall from RATS and now ESEE. He wrote on his forums how he hates it before to offer my knife to one of his friend for his retirement. I contact him immediately and after clearing the misunderstanding he has fetched my knife in Nevada and sent it back to me ASAP.
The poor knife has been used hard. It was dull like a butter knife and its blade scratched like it has been used to dill hole in the soil. I was able to clean it and refurbish it with ease. It is a workhorse after all.
Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri then adviced me not to send it anymore. I have followed her advice 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 the nowaday Sebbie 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 has never chipped despite being used hard by many different reviewers. The last one showing his genuine hate in his abuse.
Back in 1996, Chris was doing his own heat treatment and was already famous for that. The heat treatment is 50% responsable of the quality of a blade. It is exceptional here.
The other 30% of quality came from the geometry. This is a high and thin profile which is rare nowadays of 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.
Scrtaches on titanium can be removed with gum and elbow oil.
But it gives character !
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
Designed for budget-conscious knife users who demand genuine Spyderco quality, the Polestar was offered to all attendants at the last Amsterdam Minimeet (2017). That’s how I got mine.
What could be the definition of a Workhorse ? We got example of knives which has been used hard, lost, bought again, always in our pocket, the one we use for dirty jobs and that we trust.
Classic examples are: Swisschamp from Victorinox and their Spartan, Buck110, Spyderco Delica, Opinel N°8, Mora’s Companion, Benchmade’s Griptilian, Coldsteel’s Voyager, Pradel’s folder, Doukdouks… to name a few…
Those manufactured knives do not have the best new hyper duper high carbide power metallurgy steel but they can get a keen edge and you won’t need a sharpmaker on the field to keep them sharp. And you don’t pay a premium.
So the Polestar leaf-shaped plain edge blade is a full-flat ground from American-made CTS BD1 stainless steel.
Again, the equation for a great blade is: steel + Heat Treatment + geometry. Fred Perrin uses 1075 steel but his geometry, heat treatment and great ergonomy makes the trick.
Twenty years ago, with Fred, we were testing a famous “tactical” collection names “Master of Defense” now discontinuited. Eventually we found, despite their high sexiness (black blade, premium material and designs) they were not able to hold an edge for a long time. Compared to our Spyderco Military (CPM440V) and my Sebenza (ATS34) they were almost useless for us. Thick edges on CPM154 did not make the trick for users.
The same year (I think it was 1996) we got the opportunity to test some Pakistani 1 dollars folders (Laguiole knockoff). Their thin blade were really capable. We were really impressed. Those shitty knives were users and keepers.
In June 2012 I was able to test a Spyderco Persistence. I enjoy many things in that knife but I did not like how fast its edge could get dull. I have tried to get beyond the factory (burned) edge but without any improvement. Based on that sample, it was really frustrating for my use. No chipping though, but a real tendency to ask for ceramic touch up twice a day. Since then, I have been staying away from Chinese Spyderco and Byrds.
I still got a Titanium Catbyrd wich has been a running test of 200 pieces to try the equivalent of 440C in China 9CR13MO. And despite a thick edge to my own standard, it has proven to be a much better option for an EDC user.
Back to the Polestar, this time the steel is American, made by Carpenter. You can find it on Spyderco Kitchen knives, a Mule, my UKPK and a lightweight version of the Manix 2. So this is a folding kitchen knife blade after all !!
What make the Polestar loveable is its design. Even if Spyderco recognised it has made some kind of retro engineering on one of their Byrd linerlock, for me the Polestar is the heir of their infamous Tenacious: there is no choil ! 🙂
The open construction makes cleaning easy. The wide lanyard hole is a reminiscence of the Paramillie 2. You got four positions for the clip which is much better than the Rubicon 2 in term of usability and “clipability”.
It can be easily open using the Spyderdrop technique so I have mounted the clip for tipdown carry. It’s fast and the knife is ready to cut. It suits my need.
At 3,3mm (0,13″) of thickness the full flat ground blade is a really beauty. There is a lot of Spyderco DNA in it. And it works great.
Yes, there are also a lot of quality and attention in the manufacturing: my Polestar is perfectly centered and locks with zero play. This knife is serious business.
The G10 texture is something new. Some kind of peeled blue and grey G10 which gives IMHO a premium look to that knife. And under the thumb it is not abrasive at all. No sandpaper needed for my own use. The stainless steel construction give also some weight and no lateral bending.
So what do we got for around 60 dollars ? A solid sharp knife you can use with no second thought.
Like I wrote in the very first article of that blog here quality is not synonym with the geography. Viking used to got to Persia (using the Volga river) to buy the best steel for their swords because back in that time, some of the best alchemists were there. Chinese manufacturers are getting better and better. Just look at the Real Steel collection and especially at their Megalodon flipping folders. Chinese production will soon get pricey as they are investing a lot in robots. If you study the age pyramid in China they will be confronted to a demographic problem. So they need robots and computer controlled production able to deliver constant quality in manufacturing. Never forget all our expensive Apple toys are made in China not in Frankfurt !!
So, the Polestar is the choice for a hard use EDC and also a great guinea pig if you want to master the art of sharpening too. You will enjoy how fast you can get a popping edge back. And you won’t mind using the blade on hard surfaces. This what a workhorse also made for, cutting on a plate or on concrete, with no second thought.
My FranckenStrech is equipped with a Super Blue Steel. That was my idea of a EDC Workhorse: thin angry edge, easy to maintain, easy to carry and sheeple friendly. This tough cookie is hard to beat. Both designed by Sal Glesser.
The edge is not the thinnest (not bad actually !) but the cuts are precise and powerful. It can be thinned easily with sandpaper.
The Parmigiano chips is also a good test. They are transparent !
After whittling hairs, to cut against hard material like glass is not a concern.
You can notce where the edge has rolled. In two ceramic passes it was straight again.
I won’t have the same ease of realignment with K390 I think. 🙂
Some of my Spyderco workhorses: the Millie, the Manix, the Polestar, the Stretch and the Slysz Bowie.
Different budgets for different tastes. All those knives are easy to clip, got enough edge for a lot of application and are easy to clean. The three knives I have not reprofiled are the Slysz and the Polestar.
Why the change ?
I wanted a smoother experience. And give a more precious apparence.
Carbon fiber is a really sturdy material and twenty years ago you could only find it in Formula One and jetfighters.
The feel under the thimb is wonderful and the knife get clipped with ease.
Great work from Team Cuscadi and great service.
I’m not a fan of thick hollow blades for quite long time now. The Gil Hibben Rambo III knife is not in my dreamlist anymore and the last hollow ground knife I have reviewed has been the Recon 1. But one of my favorite knife, which has not been reviewed is my 1994 Sebenza. Anyway, the Sebbie and the Cold Steel or even the Gayle Bradley are holow ground but not thick blades.
The Peter Carey Rubicon 2 is 3,5mm thick and for a 3 inches blade it is substantial.
(The Slycz Techno was 5 mm though…)
The Rubicon 2 is not a big knife, is it destined to be an EDC. He’s not heavy, its liners are made of titanium and the scales of peel carbon fiber.
The first you enjoy is the ease of deployment. This knife flips like no other in my collection. No need for assisted opening on this baby: the heavy blade, the ball bearing pivot and the well designed flipper make the trick. The opening is positive everytime.
Eric Glesser told how difficult is it to have a flipper which also provides an alternative opening system. Meaning: sometimes you just want to open your blade gently with the Spyderhole and not with the flipper. You want to trade a “shlack!” for a “click!”.
The Rubicon can be open with the thumb and even the index. It’s fun how easy it is! The operation is so smooth and could be catagorized into the gravity knives family. This ease of operation has been a big charm upon me: the more I’ve played with the knife, the more I have enjoyed it.
The blade got a beautiful satin finish perfectly executed, perfectly executed, symetrical and and centered.
The second big charm on the Rubicon 2 is the handle. The way the flipper create a guard and a subguard, depending how you hold it. This short handle is married litteraly to my hand. For once, there is no lanyard hole and the butt of the knife is pointer than its blade.
A beautiful orange spacer gives a very hightech look to the knife as everyparts are perfectly adjusted: spacer, scales and liners. This high quality of manfacture is again provided by Taichung in Taiwan.
The bronze washers and the ball bearing gives the smoothness and the exterior stop pin assure that the washer are wide enough for stability: no lateral play.
The only break to the action could be the ball detent of the titanium liner lock but it is minor compared to the momentum of the blade.
The design is well thought also once the knfe is closed. The Rubicon 2 gently rests in you palm confortably. The peels carbon fiber is very nice against the skin giving a very positive grip. The jimping on the blade are purely decorative and this is the way I like them two.
I won’t need to file them.
The blade is wide and thinly ground and very effective thanks to its nice belly. I was able to push cut through hard material easily. It has surprised me how it zipped though.
The balance of the Rubicon 2 is perfect IMHO. The choice of the material again provides that. The handle is very light.
I haven’t been able yet to find an easy to clip carry the knife. The texture of the scale and the very strong clip give a lot of friction. I was even able to carry it in the pocket watch.
Compared to the Ed Schempp Bowie for example: the Rubicon 2 is not pocket friendly at all.
It is not carried deep and the orange spacer screams loud : “Hey look !!!”
I’m so unhappy with the way the knife rides in the pocket that I’m thinking to use a pouch and get rid of the clip !
For the moment my cutting test with the Rubicon 2 has been really positive. It’s a short knife with a big potential. Also your thumb can easily rest on the spine giving you more leverage.
So here we go with a first glimpse to a very well designed knife. I would have been more excited to get some exotic steel on such a radical design but S30V heat Treated by Spyderco does the trick.
The Rubicon 2 is destined to be a reliable workhorse and not only a looker and a very addictive flipping toy. There is a strong will behind its design to provide strong cutting power in a small package in its design and all is served by an ergonomy which is for me magnificent. The knife is simply anchored to your hand.
Mostly knives company gives the best steel to there flagship models but again Spyderco create the surprise in bringing a 1200 pieces sprintrun of their lightweight Urban slipjoint folder with the best of the best of the cold tool steel: the Austrian Swedish-made Bohler K390.
The steel is a third generation powder steel and to quote them:
“Just as mountaineers need the best equipment to conquer the highest peaks, it‘s essential to use the best materials for your tooling to ensure trouble-free production and achieve outstanding tool life. Three reasons why BÖHLER K390 MICROCLEAN is highly cost effective: Extremely high wear resistance, excellent toughness and very high compressive strength. The high-performance powder-metallurgy steel BÖHLER K390 MICROCLEAN is a reliable solution for your difficult cutting, die-cutting and cold forming operations, and it has a very good track record for applications in the plastics industry.”
Phil Wilson has been using it and he’s known for getting the best of super steels.
“I have been using K390 from the start ever since it was introduced by Bohler and I got some small samples to try. A bit of history is that it is the European version of CPM 10V but not the exact chemistry (about 1% less V plus small addition of a few others). That is because the CPM 10V chemistry was protected by patent at the time. If you check the K390 data sheet it claims that the bit less V gives K 390 a little boost in impact toughness. It also can be heat treated at a lower temp. than 10v. So it is pretty much the same as the A11 grade but different in a few small details. It is hard to tell the difference between CPM 10v and BU K390 in the real world in my experience. I like both grades and they are the base line (along with Vanadius 10 and K294) from which I measure wear resistance. The 5 chrome is there to make them all air hardening among other things and does not contribute much to corrosion resistance. It is going to make a killer knife in the new offering and be another classic. Phil” On the Spyderco forums.
So one of the best steel is available on a slipjoint the C127.
It’s almost the same cockpit as the Squeak, the blade is a tad under three inches with a full flat ground blade. The backspace is in stainless steel and is used as main spring and the handle are FRN: fiber reinforced nylon. A generous choil gives you security as the blade cannot close on your finger. It’s the same idea as on the C36 Military you hold the open folder by the blade so there is less stress on the pivot. The hump and the choil work as the quillons of a boot dagger. It means also you can give a lot of power into your cuts.
The C127 is modest. This is not the K2. The Urban is a gentleman knife legal in many places. If it was a car, it would not be a Landrover but a Mini.
But here the Mini is turned into a mini Cooper with a very powerful prepared engine as the steel is the chore of the knife.
Again steel is nothing without a good heat treating and without a great geometry adapted to the steel.
And my C127 arrived with a very thin edge. The Maniago naufacturer seems to be very good lately in the way it provide good edges to its blade. Like the Elmax Squeak I was able to cut through the bottle butts with ease and control. The knife cut precisely with not a great amount of force, this is always a pleasure to fill the thick center crossed without the rest of the bottle to collapse due to too much strenght.
Now K390 is not stainless and it suppose to develop a patina. This is good news as it will gives to the knife a lot of character by turning it full grey !
It’s not the first time that Spyderco equipped his FRN knives with the best exotic super duper steel. It was the case with CPM110V on the Blue Manix 2 FRN and the Blue Native FRN . K390 is going also on another flagship: it will equiped the 4th edition of the Police Model. I had the chance to handle it yesterday at the Minimeet and this is going to be a great big folder with a lot of cutting power (Full flat ground large blade) on a sturdy construction (I just regret the did not bring the Power Lock on the Police model, but this is just me…).
For my European fellow have found easily the knife for 77 euros shipping included.
You can use the search functions and do your math and have the chance to try K390 on a very low profile plateform.