Bushcraft Project by Saladini

Saladini Bushcraft

Italian designer and gifted knifemaker Giacomo Cecchi from Saladini Cutlery in La Scaperia, Tuscany just gave me the opportunity to test his own conception of a Bushcraft Knife.

The steel, who is shining like stainless, is in fact 1070 partially tempered at 58HRC on the edge.
The edge is not scandi but thin on a saber lightly hollow ground blade.
Blade length: 140mm for a 5mm thickness

The balance is perfect at the beginning of the handle. So the knife is really “alive”.
The handle in Bambu got no hotspot and got little ergonomy enhancement for the humb to rest on the side.

It looks beautiful but also feels indestructible.
It reminds a little the grind and feel of a Fallkniven with carbon steel blade and a very sensual handle.

Now the sheath is pure beauty made for vertical carry and I will come back on it later.

I will test it in the woods and check its brutal strenght and versatility and then completed this article.

Saladini Bushcraft
Saladini Bushcraft
Saladini Bushcraft

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Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley: the Beauty + the Beast

The Beauty:
“The “hump” in the blade is there to house the opening hole. If Gayle submerged the hole, you couldn’t access it without a large cut-out and Gayle designed it with no cut-out.” (Sal Glesser)
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I have ordered last week to a Canadian seller on Ebay (great service from The Great Knife Shop BTW, 7 days door to door from Canada to France!) the C134 which I was inamored with since I ever saw it on the Spyderco catalog.
It was love at first sight.

Three Amigos:
AFCK M2 STARMATE GAYLE BRADLEY
Top is a BM800HS the infamous AFCK in M2. The first “tactical knife” with non stainless steel blade to caught my eye 12 years ago… It was like a space age design with grand dad blade knife !
And also my good old Starmate (#776) which has been in Hell and back and is still as solid as ever (thanks to his eccentric pivot adjustment)…

The GB is simply the smoothest out of the box. The other experience of Spydersmoothness was from my C123 Captain followed by my Paramilitary…
The fit and finish are top notch. This is a custom knife experience: elegant and hightech. Really the Taiwanese craftmen behind such a jewel are true gems and they honor Spyderco by their attention to details and their quality of production. They are jewellers !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
Sal stated that this liner lock would be as solid as a Reeve Integral Lock. (quote: “The lock is .072 thick at the interface. I would guess it’s at least as strong as any Reeve Intergral Lock (frame-lock)we’ve tested, and probably stronger. “) I believe him ! The thin blade, the gentle belly, and the deep hollow ground give a unique “pocket lightsaber” experience. You can whittle some hairs !!! And that incredible CPM M4 High Speed Steel at a RC of 65 ! This is going to be fun !!!
Gayle Bradley is to the knifemaking what Ferrari is to Formula One: performance oriented. The very nice and grippy CF handle give a real motorsport feeling. Mr Bradley is really welcom in Sal Escuderia, as we know how much Mr Glesser is in love with high performance cars ! (Eeven the “Spyder” from Spyderco comes from that love of racing and performances!)

The handle is square and heavy but I love heavy butt knives and square handles. My everlasting love for the Sharpfinger pattern always reflected that.
The balance is perfectly centered under the middle finger. The knife feel very alive and agile in the hands. It screams to be used hard !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I also love how the choil is integrated to the handle. It’s almost invisible. The grip is really secure and I don’t have any concern about the blade to close on my finger or to have my hand slip on the edge even with wet hands.

Sukhoi27 comparaison
Mostly Spydies got a an angle at the pivot which creates an arc like in the Millie, the UKPK…or the Benchmade AFCK…
Or are more straight like the Starmate, the Police…
The heart of the Gayle Bradley (where you hold it between the thumb and the index)got a very pronounced changing of direction which breaks the general line of the knife. (The Marlin, the Harpy got that too but it’s an angle necessary to start the sickle blade shape.) The GB is the first Spyderco which got that “crank” line which can be also seen in the beautiful Sukhoi 27 profile.
This could explain the fantastic ergos of that knife.

Also as in the Starmate concept, the straight design of Gayle Bradley’s knife offers you a very confortable reverse grip or “edge up” grip. I’m also a big fan of drop point blade on a folder. This one would a great hunter knife.
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
The Ti Millie may be my Spydergrail but the Gayle Bradley is my Dream EDC !
The C134 is a beast of a workhorse dress like a gentleman slipjoint. Another little big knife by Spyderco with elegance and reliability.
Oh, and I can open and close that knife with my right and my left hand with ease: there is areason why you can change the clip position after all !

cheers
Nemo

Now a quote for the designer:

First of all, thank you for your interest in my Spyderco collaboration. I thought I would address some questions I have read on the forums.

I chose a hollow grind because it gives you a thinner edge with less resistance to the material being cut.
The blade material (CPM M4) is so tough and strong it will allow for a very thin edge and still have ample strength for a rough use knife. (My competition knives have an edge thickness of about .014 before the sharpening bevel is ground.)
The blade has belly from tip to ricasso for better cutting ability in most cases.
The tip is slightly thicker for additional strength.
The handle is large enough to accomodate any hand size and most types of grips.
Some dimensions not covered in the spec sheet are: liners are .068; blade is .120; thickness is .517.
Because of the size of the knife and thickness of the liner material, I chose carbon fiber to reduce weight and add furher strength.
One last thing about CMP M4, it is not stainless, but I have found that applying silicone to the blade will prevent most corrosion and stains.

Thank you for your interest in my work-horse design and your trust in Spyderco knives.

Stay sharp,
Gayle Bradley

Here are all the information about C134 on the Spyderco catalog
Gayle designed it to be a monster cutter but it has some subtle refinement that appeals to everyone. (Joyce Laituri – Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spyderco Inc.)
For Gayle Bradley’s Bladesports site it’s here
Quote:
Speaking of Gayle Bradley, Congratulations on his new collaboration with Spyderco. We’ve been using CPM M4 for our cutting competition knifes, and here is a chance to have a taste of that steel for everyday use. We’d like to Thank Spyderco for their generous support of our organization.

UPDATE 18 months later:
the GB is one of those knives which never left my EDC rotation.
After one year I can state that:

– this is one of the easiest knife to close and to open fast. the access to the lock has never been an issue to me and really I close it fast with confidence.

– I was not able to have rust or a real patina despite using it in the kitchen on near the see. I got some sort of grey patina but nor more no less.

-The not so pronounced choil has never been and issue and never my hand was not at least “anchored” to the handle even when wet. The hump of the spyderhole prevented any slippery.

-CPM M4 is a wonderful steel, I was even able to eliminated a nasty edge burr on a bidet !!! 🙂 (an italian bathroom is plenty of ceramic !!!!)

– My first batch GB is heavier than the new but this heft was usefull when I was probing a wall.

– I was not able to scratch anything on the handle, but the blade while cleaning it with some dry scotchbrit. No big deal.

– CPM M4 is really strobing friendly. Some compound can make magic. Mine is kept razor…

The GB goes in my pocket when I need a hardchore workhorse I can trust for any chores. The thin hollow ground blade has proven to be really usefull even for some bushcraft duty where FFG are queen.
Really this one of the fastest folder to open (spyderdrop in my case, smooth and controled) and close even with gloves. (I really still do not understand the rent and rave about the recess liner accessibility…).

Those were my two eurocents. Your mileage may vary but this is mine.

Cheers
Nemo

Pictures taken in june 2011:
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Cpm M4 blade and sausage

Robert Young Pelton DPX H.E.S.T. Xmas Glimpse

I have just received my HEST and I’m going to write a review in 2010…
Sometime in 2010 ! Not in january.
It’s obvious. How could I write any “opening the parcel” review on a tool which is made to live with ? I need to use it but also I need to edc it.
To EDC a knife means to get in osmosis with the design and start to wear and tear my pockets with only one knife. And osmosis got a long incubation for such a polyvalent tool. Especially when you know you gonna like it !

DPX HEST ROBERT YOUNG PELTON

First impressions out of the box ?
Wow this knife is/feels/looks solid.
This is a thick and sharp knife. Very sharp thanks to its geometry. It cuts bread better than many of my thinner blades. The HEST is deadly serious in its purpose: to be reliable even if you missuse it. There is no “gadget” feel in it. A good friend, reliable if you take care of it.

Ergos ?
Wow. The handle fits like a glove. The hand is encapsuled between the choil and the prybar. What’s more could I say ? This knife is screaming to be used. Not only used hard but also it’s screaming to be used cleverly. By giving you holes in the handle, skeleton option, pry bar, the conceptors of that knife are also opening a door for opportunities. As one of the rare multitools with no mobile parts the HEST looks like a great addition to your SAK… Hey you can open a beer with it and even the pry bar can be used as a flat screwdriver.

The beauty is in the eye of the beholder… but the HEST is very sexy. It’s a knife with a very strong character, and it’s a confidence builder. You need to desserve it, as, the clever you are, the better the Hest will perform.

DPX HEST ROBERT YOUNG PELTON

It’s very rare to find a short FB which is designed as a good EDC companion for adventures. It’s could be adventures in your backyard, in the woods, or in exotic far away places.
You feel like it’s made to carried with you all the time and to develop a “special” bond with you. So I guess it’s going to be my main FB for 2010.
The RC3 and the IZULA will be used by friends in Italy and France but the Riddle of The Hest need to be answered in a very personnal matter.
DPX HEST ROBERT YOUNG PELTON
The only thing I could say now is: I love it. I love the way it feels in the hand !
It’s thick, sharp,looks great and it’s a Rat Cutlery Knife made by Rowen ! Wow !

Nemo's HEST
This is mine stripped from its black coating. My Lemon HEST !

Rat Cutlery RC-3

I got the chance to own a Rat Cutlery RC-3 plain edge. I love that little rascal and since I got it, I use it hard and a lot !
Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin (owners of Rat Adventure Training and Ratcutlery) have created an outstanding and affordable tool, one of the best of their Ratcutlery line of knives which contains a lot of great tools ! (Also I think I will review their excellent book “Adventure In The Third World” very soon!)
Jeff RandallMike Perrin

Jeff Randall & Mike Perrin (Photo (c) J. Randall)

These two gentlemen have been designing knives for more than a decade. Their designs is inspired by their own needs. Their land of testing is the peruvian rain forest, near Iquitos, the biggest city on the amazon where they teach how to survive in the jungle. When they are not teaching to Special Forces or help a film crew to cross the forest,  these two modern “Tintins”, half journalists, hall witnesses of the world, enjoy the uncharted zone, pushing always the envelop of their curiosity as they’re answering the call of adventure. As a knife is an important part of your gear (with a machette), they’ve been using a lot of steel and even review them in Tactical Knives and now in SWAT Magazine.

Adventures in The Third World
(Also I think I will review their excellent book “Adventure In The Third World” very soon!)

Seems like the RC-3 is their favorite design to date. And this is true this little knife
If you favor lil’ fixed blade over folder you should really enjoyed the RC3 in everyday situations. First, the ergonomy should fit your need perfectly. The choil (just under where RC-3 is written on the blade) is very handy for precises works and micarta just feels great even with wet hands. There is no hotspot. there is even some kind of sensual feeling whil holding this blade. The square section makes it easy to index the blade in the dark or without to look at it.
I love where the balance is (right on the logo enprinted on the micarta handle), which give a lot of life to the blade but this is really a personnal preference.

The full flat grind blade is thin (which is an exploit for US Designs these days who tends to favor thick knives…) and it gives a great power to the cutting. The slicing is easy and deep. I also like the belly: turning the knife into a great slicer with a drop point which caracterize it as a classic hunting skinner knife immediatly.
RC-3 and friends

1095 is a great steel. A good old steel to be precise. I always been able to get it super sharp. (My nightmare is S90V, D2 or BG42 which are “a bear to sharp” without diamonds.) 1095 is a classic of carbon steels which is a great steel when it’s well heattreated BUT it can rust faster than an angry chimp will throw feces on you.
With the coating used on the blade, there is no concern. That coating is very very scratch resistant and it gives a positive grip when you work holding your knife by the naked blade. Very often I sand the coating of my knives but here, I don’ plan to do it as I enjoy it as it is !
What is the outstanding is the great heat treatment by Rowen, Idaho, on all RAT Cutlery knives, at 57HRC the strenght of the blade gives you a lot of confidence in that little knife.

The sheath system give you dozen of alternative ways to carry your blade. My favorite is in the front pocket or in my bag.

It’s easy to forget it and very handy to use. Notice how I use the cord stopper as a plug to retain the sheath in uppper position in my pocket.
A push of your thumb on the thermoformed plastic and the blade is free.

So if you are looking for a little fixed blade which can take a punishment and carry on cutting.
I have used it for batoning, kitchen duty, at the sea (the edge get som pitting but I was able to strop it on my leather belt…). On very hard plastic (the coating can be noisy when you need to saw in plastic…) on wood (the cut gives some kind of soft patina to the wood, like M2 does…) so whittling is easy (even if a sak is helpful for delicate carving). Chopping is limited to making some notches with a flick of your wrist. It’s very easy to convex the grind and get better performances but sa far as I am concern, the edge on mine (40°) is enough for clean cuts even on hard wood.
The RC3 is a great alternative to a folder. Its lock will never fail you!
And it’s a real workhorse covered by a great warranty, lifetime, no question, unconditionnal guarranty.

Old RC-3
(This RC-3 is used everyday by a friend of Jeff Randall who live in Peru.
Jeff wanted to exchange it for a new but his friend always refused.) (Photo (c) J. Randall)

I notice also this knife could be a great “self defense tool” with its glass breaking pommel and its positive grip and not all knives designed as tools are good also for that other darker territory. No surprise this knife is a huge success in the USA and is favor by Police Officers and Special Forces. It even got the outstanding rate of 4,77/5,00 at NTOA review ! Bushcrafters of the world seems also to love that short knife for its polyvalence, design and quality.

Mike and RC3
Mike Perrin and his RC-3 (Photo (c) J. Randall)

You can even use it as a light chopper for notching branches. This is a knife you can take with you while camping, with his friendly antisheeple size, it won’t raise any eyebrow when you will start to use it to whittle some sticks or clean your game unless you do that in the middle of the city !
So if you are looking for a solid, sharp, reliable knife which can be used as EDC or packed for any trip. The RC-3 has proven all those qualities in those last three years worldwide from ranchers to bushcrafters to US Marshalls to adventurers.

Cheers
Nemo

RC3

Knives Made In…

All knives “made in china” are crap !

I used to be like that too. (And I still favoring “Made In Usa”, as I love american cutlery in spirit, design and quality.)
Since the day I have received a box full of Laguiole knockoff made in Pakistan. (Ten years ago, those knives manufacturers in Pakistan wanted us to test their 1 dollar knives and they have sent us a bunch in all sizes !!! 50 knives ! All smelling petrol and with very strange colours on the handles…)
But as we found out with Fred Perrin, their steel was much better than the official “440A” 100 euros french made laguiole (we kept that in silent…), their constructions was very solid and the knives were great tools (and eventually made excellent gifts!)… Since that time I don’t mind of what is written on a blade.

Also we know heat treating and geometry are perharps even more important than the steel anyway. I’ve been surprised by the quality of some 440A blades in a long and hard use cycle and been disappointed by S90V and BG42 blades which were impossible to get sharp… Gosh even som 01 and 52100 blades handmades can be a bear to get really sharp. Or is it me ?

Good craftmanship is international, also is good manufacturing.
No stamp on the blade will change anything or ever be a label of quality.

Time can change things also. Taiwan (and soon China) is the new Japan.
After WWII my grand parents would not buy anything “Made In Japan”.
Nowadays, it’s almost a quality label. (and Japan can thank a guy named Jack Welch (General Electrics C.E.O. !!! ) who has implemented “SIX SIGMA” policy (99,9% perfection goal in quality) in the 80’s for their quality control in car manufacturing…. eventually it was like shooting in his own foot… as we know Hell is paved with good intentions! )

So that 8Cr1MoV steel Byrd blades were supposed to be “440C” stamped.
But Sal Glesser wanted to check the quality and the composition of his Byrd blades, only to discover it was NOT “440C” and he could not honestly stamp it.
Quality control is everything, don’t you think ?

cheers
Nemo

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