Tag Archives: Chris Reeve

About Locks — How to choose ?

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Nowadays rendering of three iconic 90’s lock: Liner Lock, Back Lock and Integral Lock.

They are plethora of locks since the 90’s when the Tactical Folders trend started.
“Tactical” , a term which has been mainly used in a marketing way, means you can get access to your knife easily — A clip or a well thought pouch — and more important: to be able to open it and close it with one hand.
The blade needs to be locked in open position and also to stay closed while in the pocket.
Let’s have a look on the locks I prefer and use.

20180410_134558-01.jpegMaxamet Para3 Compression Lock.

The Compression Lock.
Described as:
“A lock mechanism that uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).”
What I like about that Spyderco in-house engineered system is how smooth the action is.
Spyderco is now developing and proposing flippers with the CL because the breaking action on the pivot is minimal. On my different CL folders I can open the blade in different ways: using the index, pushing the paddle to unlock the blade…
It’s fun. It depends on a detent ball to keep the blade closed.
It’s a lock easy to clean and check as the handle are all open framed. It also asked for some nested liners which, when they are skeletonized, need more attention for cleaning, especially when you use you knife in the kitchen like I do. I rinse them under hot tap water , wipe the blade and make them dry inside the pocket with body heat.
Also the compression lock can be hurting the palm of your hand when cutting hard matters.

20171208_120329-011500186881.jpegNative 5 Back Lock.

The Back Lock.
Described on the Spyderco” Edge-U-Cation pages as: “A locking system positioned on the back of the handle that uses a rocker arm that pivots in the center. A lug on one end of the arm engages a notch in the blade’s tang to lock the blade open.”

The Manly Peak and the Native 5.
This lock has been infamous since the Buck110 and all its copycats. Spyderco has developed mainly mid-locking system which can be unlock without changing your grip lick on a Buck110. It was demonstrated with the first Native how safe it was it unlock their knife and let the choil of the blade get in touch with your finger before to close it.
This is still the way I do it, even on my Delica and Endura which got no proper choil: unlocking the blade by pushing the lock free and let the blade falling half way on your finger. The Back Lock got a spring which is strong enough to avoid a detent ball. Old timers used to pu a match inside their closed Buck110 to pass the stronger spring tension and get it open faster. On Spyderco’s, it’s also easy to avoid any locking noise just by pression the paddle before it get completely opened. Unless the blade is very heavy like on XL Cold Steel Voyager, it’s not a lock for gravity opening. But it’s one of the most solid lock. In fact because of the way it’s engaged, it can be much more solid than all the other locks. Spyderco were testing their strong back found on the Chinooks and Manix with amazing results.

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It’s not the easiest lock to clean as there is no open framed handle. It’s hard to see if debris can be jammed in. Also it’s not the funniest lock to use as the spring tension is felt during all the opening and closing motion. The Spydies with relatively heavy handles can be spyderdropped for quick opening. I do that on my Knifecenter stainless steel spacered Delica for example. It’s also easy on your palm during hard cuts because of their closed handle spine. Some Compression Lock haters are Back Lock lovers because of that confortable handles.
Also I have noticed on many of my Back Locks knives some vertical play when cutting on board which brings us to…


The TriAd Lock
Featured on Cold Steel’s folders it is essentially a Back Lock with a stop pin. There is no more vertical play when cutting. It doesn’t change anything toward the negative force used to close the lock blade.
You can also find inside the Chaparral an hidden stop pin invisible as it’s hidden near the pivot.

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The Liner Lock.
“A locking system developed by custom knifemaker Michael Walker that uses a leaf-like spring split from the liner to wedge laterally against a ramped surface on the tang of the blade.”
This lock was the king of Tactical frenzyness back in the 90’s. The Benchmade CQC7 and AFCK promoted them in titanium and Spyderco developped their Military with a stainless steel liner lock. If I remember well Sal Glesser and Les de Asis were together private students of Bob Terzuola which is a master in liner locks making before to start their own production. Depending on a detent ball, the liner lock was bringing that smoothness the Back Lock could not provide but it was not the strongest lock available.

wp-image-1554915927Ed Schempp Euroedge strong liner lock.

To test it many people tried the infamous and stupid spine whack and many time with shock the liner was unlocked and damaged by that treatment.
It’s a very easy to lock to get open and close fast just be careful to put your finger out of the way when closing.
Titanium liner locks are wearing more than stainless steel liners.
It should not be difficult to clean depending of the handle conception. On that matter the last version of the C36 Military got rid of they spacer and got now a full open handle for easy check.

The RIL
Then Chris Reeve came with his Sebenza and used a lock bar that is integral to one of the handle scales. It was giving you the sentiment, you hand’s grasp was also enhancing the locking mechanism. It’s also a very easy mechanism to clean and check hence the Spydiechef, or the K2 which are easy to use in the kitchen even after being defiled by grease and meat…
20171130_113248312135934.jpgRIL of the Advocate and the ZT550.

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The PPT is a mix of both RIL and liner designs with the possibility to grasp it and hold it in opening position.


BALL BEARING LOCK
“A patented compressive lock that wedges a ball bearing between a fixed anvil and the blade tang. The mechanism also serves as a detent to hold the blade in the closed position.” I was developed by Eric Glesser for his Dodo and can be found on the Manix 2 folders with a caged ball version. Some people found a lot of similitude with the Axis Lock from Benchmade but here, instead of two omega springs, it is a coil spring pushing a ball bearing made of ceramic of stainless steel. It’s smooth but not as easy to clean as other locks. Actually I prefer it on the Lightweight version of the Manix which is my main travelling knife with its CPM110V blade. It’s engineering makes it one of the strongest as you can not squeeze a ball bearing easily and it is also self adjusting.

The cage ball can be exchange with a custom titanium cage in case of breaking after years of using. It happen to my cousin who has modeled his own resin ball.

The Balisong Lock.
This could be the most fun system to use and also the strongest. Easy maintenance, no spring… It’s a very old design. The first trace was found in 1780 in France with a knife called “Le Pied Du Roy” (The King’s Foot) and circa 1800, butterfly knives were uncommon. They were made in Paris and Thier. There is a beautiful collection of the old Butterfly Knives in the Thiers Museum.  French Army troops were provided with Butterfly Knives, but after WW2 there is no more trace of Butterflies made by this brand.
(More to come in the re-edition of the Fred Perrin’s balisong review soon.)

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Locking a folding blade has been a puzzle for engineers for centuries. The roman folders were not locking and 2000 years ago a folding knife’s handle was considered as an attached sheath which means it was hold like a razor: by the blade.

So how to choose a lock ? Recently I have been surprised on how well the Bulgarian Manly Peak was operating: no vertical or lateral play on its very strong Back Lock. I have been playing with the Sliverax Compression Lock flipping options. My old Sebenza RIL lock is still in great shape and my Ed Schempp Bowie flies in opening position…

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Lock is just a matter of taste and use, selling a design just by its lock won’t work. Some designs are made for compression lock like the Sliverax wasp shape flipper design could not go easily with another lock.

But always remember a folder cannot be as strong as a fixed blade. Marketing can be your enemy but the main enemy of locks are shocks because its weakest element will give in, bend or broke. Now when you choose a knife made by reknown makers and manufacturers you can trust their locks but it’s not the case with all the copycats and cheap knives which often got very bad quality elements ready to break or bend at the first use. I’m not saying the best locks are the most expensive but looking for quality in the making should be mandatory in your choice.

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

Nemo Sebenza Ats-34

What does it means to own a Sebenza ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two cons I had noticed:

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

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Old clip on the left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After all those years this is how the lock goes.

Perfectly centered.

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

But it gives character !

edited by pjaffre: jan 5, 2018.

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

RS9611 Real Steel Megalodon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the blade is a smidgen longer than the G10 versions

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

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

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

The blade is centered.




Comparaison with other classics.



Comparaison with my 1996 Sebenza.


With the Spyderco Slysz Bowie.


With my CPM Cruwear Military.


With the mighty K2 !


a very Steampunk clip.



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


Spyderco Mantra 2 – Pure Flipper Workhorse !

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The Mantra 2 is Eric Glesser’s design and is one of a kind Spyderco as its blade’s hole is only here as a trademark. Your only way to flick the knife open is the flipper invented by Kit Carson at the end of the 90’s. There is no hump. It’s a very slick knife.

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There is a lot of edge on this blade/handle ratio as there is no choil too !  Not your typical Spydie huh ? (Apart from the autos destined for Militaries and LEO, you won’t find that in Spyderco Catalog.)
All of these makes the Mantra 2 a compact design with a deep wire pocket carry. A solid R.I.L. lock , an ergonomic handle and a full flat ground CPM M4 blade. This powder metalurgy super tool steel once introduced on Gayle Bradley’s designs has proven to be one of the best in strenght and edge retention.
So the Mantra 2 is a very powerful package which can withstand punishing and be easily washed under tap water thanks to its all open handle design (no back spacer).
Its strange nose seems here to strenghten the tip of the blade. Again with Spyderco, aesthetics come  second in their knives.

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The lock is wearproof and reinforced  with steel. All engineering details has been thought to get to the ELU a reliable heirloom tool.

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Dwarfed next to my K2, I use my M2 for mondaine chores including eating in a plate. M4 has no stain yet BTW.
It’s not the kind of knives which raise any eyebrows in the sheeple crowd which is good nowadays. It’s low profile apart from its flipping opening. There it could almost look like an auto. There is no way to open it in a softer way but to use both hands. It works also.

The deep carry clip doesn’t make it very fast to draw compared to the Wolfspyder for example. But it disappears in your pocket and is very stealthy, perfect for an EDC.

Edgewise I have found mine a little on the thick side. I will thin it even if CPM M4 can a bear on a stone.  Nothing serious there.

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All in all the Mantra 2 is a very unique design. A compact tool with a lot of applications.
Again this is a gentleman knife with the power of a much bigger knife.
Eric Glesser has provided another very clever design with the best material available and a great attention to details. This is not a safe queen but a compact and slick workhorse.

And FYI a portion of sales of the Mantra is donated to The National Parkinson Foundation.

 

Spyderco Sage II – The Wise Choice

Sage II and Tie Millie

And if the alternative of the a Tie Millie was not a Tie Paramilitary (which is not yet born) but the SC123TIP: the Spyderco Sage II ?

The Sage line is a collection made in Taiwan (now a high quality of execution guarantee). and “represents Spyderco’s 30-year pledge to knife crafting and learning to make better knives at every available opportunity. The plan is to offer an ongoing series of Sage Folders with many of the different and ingenious locking devices and mechanisms the knife industry has to offer.” (sic)

The Sage I was a carbon fiber handle linerlock, an hommage to Michael Walker. The Sage II is a titanium handle integral lock, an hommage to Chris Reeve.

Let’s give a quick look at the design of that folder: not to big, flat, beautiful lines, taking in consideration a lot of Spyderco unique improvements — the wire clip, the choil, the full falt ground leaf blade… The C123 is standing on the shoulders of many great spyderknives, taking the best.

Tie Millie and Sage II closed

Comparing the Sage II (up) and the Tie Military there is an obvious family ressemblance. Full flat ground blade, integral lock and choil. The “cockpits” on both knives are very similar. The construction is rock solid, the titanium handles are offering enough grip for a smooth surface which is very “gentle” with your trouser pockets (where you gonna clip those knives eventually). The Sage could be a civilian version of the Tie Millie as the fact to go in the city with a long gorgeous knife like a C36 is not the best way to be “reasonnable” in regard of the laws, the sage while offering many of the great features of his big cousin but it will be more pratical to go with it “under the radar”.

Clipped Sage II
The silver wire clip on a black trouser. This is the max visibility you will have from the Sage II once clipped.

The wire clip, for example, with its deep carrying positing is almost invisible and got no flashing names on it telling to every one: this is a knife !!!
Similar to pen clips and with almost no handle to tell tale, your Sage is following you and he’s easy forgettable.
The Millie is a very compact package and car easily find a place on your person, but the Sage looks like a wise choice to go light.

Handles
A close look at the handle of the Sage II (left) and  Tie Millie (right)

How the Sage II will handle “hard use” in the country side ? There is a lot of way to qualify what “hard use” means. Folders knives are not prybars or even fixed blade knives. The folder which are designed to be used as prybar often offers bad performance in the cutting departement. The grind here is flat and the blade relatively thin and I have noticed the Taiwanese edge grind is not flat but already gently convexed. This is amazing as your Sage II only needs some pass of gently stropping on a leather belt to get absolutely vorpal ! The cutting power has been already demonstrated in some video. They are some French videos torturing a “La Redoute catalog” with Bast2a, and American one with BLUNTRUTH4U reviewing a Sage 1 (same blade diffrent handles and locks) and they are very impressive. Cutting wood the Sage 2, the blade goes deep.
Now I like to do pushcuts with my thumb on the back of the blade and the Sage got almost sharp edge there: great for obtaining sparks from a fire rod but eventually painful without gloves. I have used some diamonds rods to blunt mine and really you can notice the difference in confort when you start to work by hand on that CPM S30V blade how much that steel is damn hard ! I would love to have a ruonded back and perharps will try to round it more a little bit. But here, without a backstand, you can notice how hard the steel is…
Anyway, you got a 3mm thin high flat ground blade with a convexed edge: all the condition for a great slicer and ideal folding friendly tool for bushcrafters. The belly of the blade improves the cuts in hard matter, working like a guillotine. (My best wood cutter is still the incredible Spyderco Dodo with its S edge which cant be compare to none as a “wood eater” !)

Sage II Nemo cutting test
My favorite cutting test: going through the butt of a cola plastic bottle. you will be surprised how many great designs cant do it… The Sage passed it with flying colors !
Many so called “hard used” folders with really thick blade cannot pass that test at all.

Esee 3 and Sage II
The  ESEE 3 and the Sage II make a great high performance compact combo for going in the woods BTW.
Also the open construction on the Sage II and the simple reliable mechanism improved by Chris Reeve on his Sebenza Line is a breeze to get clean.

As the handle is not straight but gently curved to spouse the palm of your hand, there is no need for an abbrasive matter (like G10) to get and conserve a positive grip even with wet and slippy hands. There is a lot of intuitive security in that design. The choil and the jimping for example are so great to communicat direct force to the blade without to stress the pivot. This is a great feature which was first developped on the C36 Military and which is now used in the Slipjoint line of Spyderco: even with no lock your hand and fingers are safe.

For a reason unknown, when I have received my Sage II it was not smooth and the lock was sticky. No blade play in any direction though. This problem was easily worked around by adjusting the pivot and gently bend the lock beyond the handle to rub some pencil on the locking surface. Now the knife is as smooth as my Gayle Bradley and the “galling” (sticky lock) absolutly disappeared. The cute Sage II got something of a jewell and I have noticed many owner who first decided to baby it and use it only on weekend then eventually happilly use them very hard everyday.

There is a lot of wisdom behind the design of  the Sage collection. The choice to get a worker knives collection all performance oriented in the legal non threatning package is the wisest.  And the first designs so far are really workhorse. The carbon fibers on the Sage I for example can take a beating without to get marked or scratched and the frame lock on the second give a you a lot of confidence in your tool just by squizing the handle you know the blade won’t fold.  Eventually the Sage II got everything I love in a knife: reliability, beauty, efficiency and sheeple friendship. And my trousers love them too. The Sage II is simply a great knife to EDC.

Balanced Sage II

Tha handle gives to four fingers a very confortable grip. The open ended construction while easy to clean would get painful for long hard cut. Gloves can help.

One sage said: “Think twice and cut once…”

Later, I was tempted to slightly convex the blade of my Sage II. The improvement in pure performance worse the time passed with sandpaper.
The discussion is located here on the Bladeforums
Sage COnvexed
Sage Convexed

Spyderco C36 Military: from G10 to Titanium, 15 years of excellence.

Military Titanium

At the occasion of the release of the Military Ti C36 which is some kind of superb hybrid: 80% Sal Glesser and 20% Chris Reeve, I have digged in my archives to find and reedit the loooooong review we made with Fred Perrin back in the 20th century (2nd march 1999).  Anyway here it is with some quotes:

“Yes, the Military is big. Yes, it has a large heavy blade (though the knife as a total is lightweight for its size). But if you are looking for a knife that has the absolute best blade size/weight ratio that fits into the slimmest, lightest handle, this is the knife for you. Not to mention that because of it’s weight forward massive blade, it is probably the quickest and easiest manual knife to open there is. Also with its great flat ground thin edged blade, it is one of the handiest do-it-all knives you’ll ever use. It is not the knife for everyone, but what knife is? Almost 99% of the complaints you’ll ever hear about the Military (and 100% about sticking open), can be blamed on the first generation batch. These new improved versions are FAR superior. Do not buy a Military if you are looking for a collectible. Do not buy it just because a whole lot of us forumites like it a lot. Buy it because you’ll USE IT! And therein lies its beauty.”
-GENE, MEMBER OF THE BLADE FORUMS-

“Gene – Thank you. The Military Model was designed to be the ‘state of the art’ production folder of the time. We believe the 2nd generation version is that. Every one of the many parts in this model was examined and refined. We listen to all of the comments (good and some negative), but our own constant testing enforces our beliefs. We believe that nested liners are more evolved and stronger than separate liners. And more expensive to produce. (Ask for favorite custom maker how much more they will charge you to nest their ‘full liner’ just inside the scale like Spyderco’s Military). ‘Form’ in addition to the ‘pins’ create rigidity. It may be possible to ‘white knuckle’ a lock release, but this hasn’t happened to our knowledge. Being able to easily close the knife after hard user with gloves on was a major consideration. Any of you that have had a folder lock open and not be able to close it? It’s like a chain saw that won’t stop . . . what do you do with it? The new ‘SecurLok’ that Frank Centofante invented is scheduled to be added to the Military Model sometime in ’99. This would eliminate the fear of accidental lock release.

The Military Model was not designed as a fighting knife, nor was it designed for suit and tie carry. It was designed to be the most dependable cutting tool accessory a soldier might need while in the ‘bush.’ The handle is a little larger to afford the dual grip potential. Design is always a great discussion, because there are so many points of view, e.g., blades are for cutting, handles are for holding. A 2″ blade specifically designed for controlled cutting loses its ability to control if the handle is only just long enough to cover the blade. Nothing to purchase on. A scalpel is a good example of this. What is the knife designed to do? To look at? By all means, balance the sizes to appearance. To use? Tougher problem here. Just one designer’s point of view. I have avoided responding to this thread, as it was my design in question and this was a comparison type question. It would be expected that I would be biased.”
-SAL GLESSER, CEO OF SPYDERCO INC. MODERATOR OF THE  SPYDERCO FORUM AND INVENTOR-
Millie Balance
“The designer is Sal. He has a teen-age son. He designed the Military Model with the idea that if his son had to go to war and could carry only one knife, the Military Model is what he would want him to carry. Sal’s came up with this model because he wanted a ‘survival,’ ‘camp,’ ‘all-around’ knife that could perform any task in the field, from cutting branches and small trees, field dressing animals, to personal survival.”
-JOYCE LAITURI, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATION AT GOLDEN COLORADO-

“I remember years ago when Jeff Randall of Adventure Training fame used to take various knives and survival equipment deep into the Jungles of Peru for extensive testing. This period was before Jeff had developed his RAT series of knives. He and his mates beat the snot out stuff, and then posted their evaluations on the Adventure web site. Sal gave him a CMP-440V Military to test; that folder was absolutely abused. There were photos of the knife being used to process vegetation for shelter……skin, slice and dice cayman for the stew pot….and even split firewood. The Military received a Triple A+ endorsement from all who used it; the lock never failed ! Unfortunately , once Randall developed his own line of knives, the test results were eventually removed. Too bad…it made for some good reading. Just as an aside, after having read Randall’s review of the Spyderco Military I promptly went out and bought a Military and then signed myself up for a seven day canoe expedition down the lower canyons of the Rio Grande, south of Big Bend National Park….intending to put my Military through it’s paces……and perhaps skin a hippo or two, was I. After all was said and done I think the most challenging task the knife performed was to snag the remaining pickle from the bottom of the jar during a lunch stop. Despite the fact that the canoe trip fell slightly short of a National Geographic expedition to the remote wilds of my youthful imagination……I had a fine time, and am very pleased to own one, tough, folding knife !
Given what’s available in current production the G-10 Military is a hell of a bargain and more than adequate for daily duty……and SV30 takes a great edge, and will hold it, even with lots of use, for at least a week. What’s it take to put a good edge back on a SV30 Millie with a Sharpmaker ??….a few minutes ? Heck, put a convex edge on that knife and you can strop it on the back of a piece of cardboard and bring the edge “back” even faster.

How important is it that your knife blade go a month until you sharpen it ?

If titanium is to your liking, the Ti Millie is a work of art !

DIAMONDBACK
Spyderco Forum Registered Member

“The millie’s only a big knife for the first week, then all your other knives are suddenly too small.
ElThomsono
Rogue Simulant on BritishBlades Forum
Fred Millie
And now the 1999 Fred Perrin/Nemo review:

Millie and old timer

This picture show the C36 Military and Nemo’s grand grandfather personnal knife used during Wold War I. This knife has been in real close combat (and you can notice how many time it was used by counting the marks on the handle). The Military is somewhere the grand grandson of that old folding knife, used and abused long time before all that “tactical” hype starts to exist. (Also notice, the full flat ground blade has been so many times resharpen, it is almost now half of his lenght!)
Old Timer
Old timer
WWI was the first war with enough media coverage for people to discover how much a knife can be a useful tool for the soldiers.

“Thank to Joyce, we have received from Golden three Militaries for us to test and abuse: one full serrated and two plain edge in CPM440V. (Now known as CPMS60V. And the current version is CPM S30V…)
In our own humble opinion, we prefer a plain edge, because we know how to get a really sharp edge on it and we believe a serrated edge is the best option for people who need to cut ropes, plastic, fibrous materials or even rubber everyday…. The Plain Edge is the real Polyvalent Edge. The serrated edge, even though it is really impressive for its nasty cuts and slashes, is not the best cutter in a tactical situation for us. (In fact, we always had a better result with a plain edge!) In a word, a serrated edge is perfect for people who don’t like to sharpen their blade. So we can also advise you to carry always two Militaries in your pocket: one serrated in the left and one plain in the right one!” (Some may consider it a joke, but Fred used to be carrying a plain edge Military as well as a serrated Ladybug II!)

Millie grip

“The Military Model is really feather weight and thank to that, for the first time since a really long time – since 5 inch Cold Steel Voyager was released – we are carrying a big folder.) It’s the first time we could really trust a linerlock. This is one of the rare linerlocks that survived our really hard tests. It’s easy to see the hollow ground side where the liner comes to lock against the blade. Michael Walker, the father of the “Liner Lock,” is involved directly in the improvements noticed in Military.

So, like we said, Military is one of the rare big folder that gives enough confidence for us to carry on a daily basis. Now that we handle our C36, we really enjoy them. Understand this simple facts: it’s light, big, and reliable.
Why do we love this knife now? Because it’s a beautiful knife ? We have seen so many so called “tactical” craps. How serious the design of the Military Model appears immediately at first sight. No useless cosmetics: this is the M16 of knives !
But first let’s have a look at the handle: it’s a “real” handle! This is enough rare to be noticed: its handle is the handle of a tool destined to be used.  That extra inch gives a real grip and you cannot lose control of your knife, unless you are clumsy “like a seal” ! Have you ever seen many knives with this kind of long ergonomic handle? The Rescue (from Spyderco) and the Voyager (from Cold Steel) also have one.

On the other side of the handle where is the blade: there is some kind of false guard integrated to the blade where you can apply direct pressures on it without putting excessive force on the handle and the lock.  Even the large clip mounted on the handle is not messing with your grip.  The G10 handle is really strong. You can trust us about that point. We have used G-10 since 1993. We have even made blades of G-10, even G-10 balisongs and stealth folders. It is really a strong and light material. We have hammered it without any problem. This combination of Fiber Glass and Epoxy is almost made to be bullet proof !
The liner lock, as we said, is excellent (despite our efforts to break it and make it fail). It’s easy to think that most folders are only made for light chores and are not designed for combat, chopping, or other hard chores. Folders are often considered as “city knives,” but the Millie has such a reliable lock that you can use it for hard chores without any pity for it.

Now about the C36 blade. We would like to advise Spyderco to stop drilling these big holes in their blades! Their hole is too small for our fingers to get in and too big to be soap bubble proof. But we noticed that we can use the hole to open the blade really fast. 🙂 It’s a pure joy! When your knife rests in your pocket, you just have to pick it up by the hole in the blade and with a flick of the wrist, the knife is open and ready. The C36 is really easy to open just with a flick of the wrist!!!
No need for any “torsion spring.” Why do we need the automatic? Sal would say.
Spyderdrop
The CPM440V (i.e., the C36 blade material in 1999) is top notch in cutting ability and edge holding with the good heat treatment applied in Golden. The Full Flat Ground of the blade has high performance in blade geometry. It gives a really good penetration power and is the most polyvalent grind available! No more no less! This was the main difference between the Military Model and the old Police Model. The excellent Calypso also has this kind of grind. Just watch the old knives from the 19th century Thiers (France) or Sheffield (England). This V flat grind is nothing new; our ancestors have shown us what grinds are all about! Let’s stop believing that we have invented anything new in cutlery. The new “news” in cutlery are often only rediscoveries and “complemental combinations” of old systems. (The clip is 4 centuries old; the serrated edge is also very old; and the Hole also; but Spyderco’s genius move was to combine all these features together.)

That C36 was designed as a utility knife and this is a proof of real wisdom from Sal. But let’s not forget that a good tool is often an excellent weapon also. Dirty fighting is only another chore after all. The Military is also a good self-defense knife, because it opens really quickly, thanks to the hole and the smooth action. And, as we said, the lock is a rock! The long handle improves your reach, and the slashing ability of this tool is outstanding! You can thrust it, because you trust it. A thrust with a folder is not our favorite move. In this case, we prefer the hammer grip with the edge UP, because the lock is far from our fingers. Just try to hold Military with the edge up, and you will feel a formidable thrusting weapon in your hand.
Millie up
If you don’t have possibility to carry a fixed blade or a balisong, the C36 puts its reliability in the balance. It’s so easy to forget where you clipped your Military, when you cannot forget where you try to hide a fixed blade with the same reach as the Military.

Cutting power? We are not aficionados of so called “super steel.” The type of steel is not the most important part of the blade. The geometry and the heat treatment are two much more important points. But we think CPM440V is a really good steel, because we have always been satisfied with this steel in our own made knives and other makers knives. Piercing bullet proof vests and performing  multiple rope cutting tests were part of our tests and CPM440V is excellent! The only thing is not to have it harden to high rockwell number. RC56 for CPM440 is even not necessary. In mechanics, soft can often erode hard. Also when a knife is too hard, the edge will be hard to re-sharpen, too much of a hassle for not such results. When it is around HC61, it becomes painfull to re-sharpen and is really prone to break. With CPM440V, we have a really good alternative! It cuts a very very very long time and is easy to re-sharpen, because we don’t always have a back stand to re-sharpen our knives (after one entire week of using Military, one minute with a ceramic rod was enough to give it its razor edge back!).  There is no way we don’t love CPM440V, and it is no surprise that excellent knives like the Panama Fighters by Sean MacWilliams made of this steel are so good. The only problem with CPM440V is the high difficulty and cost of heat treatment (at least in Europe).  Sometimes, we would really like to borrow Sal Glesser’s heat treatment machinary for a moment. 🙂  CPM440V, like VG-10, is a very important stainless steel, but we don’t believe in mystic super steels! We already tested some crappy CPM440V knives, even some designed by famous designers! Spyderco knows how to heat treat their blades, and their designs are good in the first place.

Something really important: Military is not a NEW knife. It’s a knife in perpetual metamorphosis since 1996.

1. Stainless steel torx head assembly screws
2. Double steel posts in back spacer
3. Concave tang ramp
4. Redesigned choil
5. Improved dyeing procedure for the G-10
6. Nested stop pin threaded and screwed from both sides
7. Eccentric pivot pin
8. Redefined serration angle
9. Stronger clip
10. Polished linerlock
11. Harder linerlock material

You see now it’s harder, stronger, improved, redesigned and eccentric ! It shows us that, despite the fame of Spyderco products gained through the years, Sal Glesser and his Spyderwomen/Spydermen are always listening to critics and are searching to improve their products. This is so rare !

The 1999 Military is now a second generation knife. It acquired this kind of mega-reliability by standing on the giant shoulders of its 1996 fathers. You can trust people who want to improve things and believe in Quality before Quantity. A good idea is like a good wine: it gets better and better with age. Some people would like a smaller Military. Why not? But we feel it is not necessary. Spyderco offers so many great smaller designs (check C61, C62, and C57!!!).
We think for a tour of duty, the C36 Military Model has a perfect size.

Millie on the Spyderco Story