Tag Archives: Compression Lock

Para 3 Lightweight DLT Trading Exclusive – C223PRD – My Little Red Riding Hood !

It is light, it is red and it is cute and can skin a wolf or granny’s apple ?
DLT Exclusive M390 steel blade on the Para 3 Light plateforme has hit the old continent after NOT taking any shortcut… It was stuck in Paris airport for a week !Action is perfect. The blade is centered. Drop chute works perfectly. This DLT Trading Exclusive is clicking all the right buttons as I was not really excited to test this knife without some spicy exclusive steel.
Bringing the compression lock to the FRN is a Tour de Force Eric and Sal can be proud of.
At 69 grammes it bring a very strong little big knife into the “pocket and forget” realm.
This is going to be a very Sheeple friendly knife thanks to its red scale and deep carry clip.
I love high performance blade on FRN. My Manix Lightweight is a CPM 110V version and my favorite holiday knife as it is easy to put in a luggage and keep its sharpness for weeks.
This is Little Red Riding Hood is destined to de-throne it. Less moving parts, easier to clean. Very impressive quality !
And M390 heat treated by Spyderco is a sure value since 2012 ! :-)More to come soon as right in the pocket it goes ! Riding !“But Grandmother! What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood her voice quivering slightly.My own copper Maxamet Version is just a really heavy weight.SO LIGHT…
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” roared the wolf and he leapt out of the bed…Deep carry clip and excellent lanyard hole placement.

Spyderco Ikuchi C242CFP — First glimpse at Slim Shady.

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The Ikushi is a very strange Taichung made spyderco and his father, Paul Alexander is a perfectionniste-engineer who got radical new ideas on portable cutlery. Remember the Sliverax ?
My first impression after opening the Knifecenter’s parcel (thank you Howard and Tom for the fast shipment!): wow so slim ! So easy to pocket ! What a great handle to blade ratio !
My friend JD and Pascal introduced me to front flipper with both owning Des Horn and I even was a proud owner of one of them.

The Ikushi is an eye candy. The knife is unique in many ways. It is a tour de force. So let’s quote Spyderco:

“The ultra-slim Spyderco Ikuchi is a radically different approach to pocketknife form and function. Designed by Paul Alexander, a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a lifelong knife enthusiast, the Ikuchi (pronounced ee-koo-chee and named after a mythical Japanese sea monster) has an elegantly curved handle crafted with full, skeletonized stainless steel liners and stunning carbon fiber/G-10 laminate scales.

In the closed position, the handle’s narrow, open-backed profile completely contains the knife’s blade—except for a small textured section of the tang that serves as a flipper opener. Stroking this section of the blade with an index finger or thumb provides leverage to swiftly pivot it into the open position, where locks securely via Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock™ mechanism. The satin-finished CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade is full-flat ground for exceptional edge geometry and cutting performance and has an acute, scalpel-like point for detailed work.

To ensure discreet carry while keeping the Ikuchi instantly accessible, its handle includes a low-profile, deep-pocket wire clip that is reversible for left or right-side tip-up carry.”

Some user has argued about the point of the blade being able to catch their finger. If clipped to the right pocket, the seam will be against the handle and it is impossible to catch that tip. I can feel that sharp tip with the meat of my finger and I can understand how I could cut myself too. We will see that in future reports.

But first I have asked to Paul Alexander what was is thoughts behind that design.
“I’ve had a version of the Ikuchi in the works for 4-5 years, but only got around to submitting it to Spyderco at the end of 2016. Part of the reason was the non-functional Spydie-hole, which I thought would stop Spyderco from producing it. The release of the Positron and Mantra 2 made me rethink that, and I started to seriously prep it for submission.

The whole design started around the blade shape. My dad has always preferred a narrow blade because it’s easier to turn the blade in the middle of a cut if you are paring, whittling, etc. Most of my designs have had a fairly wide blade, and I wanted to do something that would fit his preferences a bit more. He’s also been partial to the narrow clip blade found on the American traditional muskrat knives, and the Ikuchi blade shape is my version of that. Sticking with the traditional inspiration, I used the toothpick handle pattern as the inspiration, which also kept the entire knife nice and slim. In the end, I suppose the whole thing came out looking like a modernized Laguiole… which is likely the design which originally inspired the American toothpick pattern.

The wheel flipper was a slower evolutionary process that was a collaborative effort with the Spyderco team. Eric had sort of mentioned that he was curious about adapting the compression lock to a flipper opening mechanism when I first started working with Spyderco, and I tried coming up with a handful of options, with this being one of them. I originally had more of a tab-like interface on the flipper surface on the Ikuchi design, and that morphed into the final wheel configuration through iterations and refinement with input and prototypes from Spyderco.

The early phases of that development process got me so excited for the Ikuchi, I adapted the locking and flipper geometry to three other traditional knife patterns and blade shapes I liked, and created a series of knives. I called the series by the working title of the ‘Four Horsemen’, and tried to tap into that theme for the look and style of all four pieces in the series. The Ikuchi was initially code named ‘Famine’, which fit the inspirational traditional pattern’s name and the overall aesthetic of the design. The other horsemen designs are ‘Pestilence’, ‘War’, and ‘Death’, but that seemed too dark of a theme to use for the marketing of the designs, so I officially named them all after different mythological beasts… and that’s how the Ikuchi became the Ikuchi.”

Mine is not as easy to open/fire as I thought.
The detent is quite strong and it can be a hit and miss. I have hurt my index finger and failed attempt to fire open the knife. Not fun.
I wonder if it will get better but not being able to trust the fact to simply open it…
I have asked Paul.

Some beautiful Tour de Force but not flawless. I would be need to be certain the tip of the blade once closed won’t catch anything in my pocket and to be certain I can open the knife easily and not only half of the time. Unless I need to strenghten the tip of my index ?As you can notice this is the first design which can be easily locked to prevent children to play with it.
Also the flipper once open acts as a guard for your finger but not on a design like the Ikushi. I have never trusted a locking system even on balisongs so it is a knife which is intended to be used as a gentle tool: beautiful to admire as an engineer’s dream.
How will it perform in day to day basis ? We will see.

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet — The Grey Mouser.

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It has been half a year of patience before my pre order turns into a mail call. Howard Korn from the Knifecenter.com was kind enough to send it to me as soon as he has received it. It was a quick 6 days of travelling from Fredericksburgh, Virginia to Paris.
The name of this Para3 should be”Desire” but it will be “Mouser” in honor of its color: grey. Also in honor of its almost magical alloy used: Maxamet.
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What is Maxamet ?
According to Spyderco its full name is “Carpenter® steel’s Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy”. “Maxamet is an extremely hard high-speed powdered tool steel possessing properties that transcend conventional high-speed tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides – the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels. When Carpenter developed this amazing alloy for the rollers in their steel mills, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade material. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods necessary to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to yield reliable, high-performance knife blades.”
It so difficult to work with that it has given some headaches to Eric and Sal hence the 6 months late in the production of that Para 3.
Maxamet should have better performance than CPM110V.  Now that I got both steel, I will try to see if I feel and see a difference.
What its composition reveals ?
Carbon 2,15% ; sulfure : 0.070% – 0,23%; chromium : 4,75% ; vanadium 6,00% ; manganese 0,30% ; silicium 0,25% ; cobalt : 10,00% ; tungsten 13,00%.

It’s not a stainless steel it’s an high tech tungsten alloy !!

Here its data sheet in Carpenter’s.

The wear resistance of Micro-Melt Maxamet alloy is better than that of conventional powder metal high speed steel grades and is equivalent to AISI A11 cold work powder metal tool steel. A11 is CPM 10V. Better? How much better ?
According to Cliff Stamps: “Maxamet is an extreme alloy, for comparison, it is to 10V what S90V is to 420J2. Maxamet is used when HSS like M4 fail because they are too soft or wear too fast – just consider that for a matter of perspective.”
(For the record he’s not talking about CPM M4 which comes from powder metallurgy process but good old M4HSS.)

So far Mouser is shaving my arm’s hairs which are flying of its blade. Its factory edge is really thin. With that amount of tungsten it should not be sensitive to its final tooling in the Golden plant. I’m not planning to work on it yet and keep it that way for its first run.

Its complex heat treatment and the HRC should be on the very high..

Spyderco is offering that steel on many knives: not counting a Mule but a LW grey Manix 2 , a G10 grey Paramillie 2 and a lightweight grey Native…
The Maxemet version is not a Sprint run.

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I have also noticed the chamfered work they have made on the spine and the spyderhole and the jimping behind the hump. I don’t have to use my diamond rat tail file anymore !!
Thank you Golden ! 🙂

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Also the blade has been gently beadblasted which gives it a very industrial look. The grind is perfectly symetrical as always on my Colorado’s made.

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The thick grey G10 slab also concours to give that toolish look, again the attention to detail are stellar. There is nothing to change when you open your black and red box.

So far what I have changed is the clip, as I don’t plan to spyderdrop this little guy.
The smooth compression lock permits a lot of other way to open it elegantly.
Also I have sanded the G10 to smooth it to my taste and keep my pocket lips healthy.
I keep the pivot area rough for the ergos.
Now the game is on, let see all this fuzz about that Maxamet steel !
Spyderco catalog’s sheet is here.

EDIT: Eventually I have gone back to the OEM hourglass clip in a Tip Down carry option.
Because it’s so fast to draw like a I do on my Millie and Paramillie 2.
The spyderdrop is so elegant and bound to the spyderhole: it works like a breeze.
Also I have starting to test the sharpness which is uncanny right our of the box.
I did not have that kind of result with its S30V bro. The Maxamet thin edge goes through the plastic bottle butt to make tagliatelle !! The edge is really hungry.

 

Also my previous review on the Para3 is here.

 

 

Between both knives there is a little difference. It is the sound of the mechanism.
The opening and locking on the S30V version will be a TAK.
When the opening of the Maxamet version will be a TIK.
The pitch of Mouser is much higher. Different alloys, different hardness produce different sounds.

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The Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand named “Scalpel” and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other named “Cat’s claw”), and a former wizard’s apprentice who retains some skill at magic.
The cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. He’s a rogue, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. It was created by Fritz Leiber.
Part II is here:
https://nemoknivesreview.com/2018/06/12/spyderco-c223gpdgy-para-3-maxamet-part-ii/

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Amsterdam Minimeet 2018

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Again this year, eighty guests were lucky enough to gather at Hotel Mercure near Amsterdam Airport for a day of presentation and exchange with Spyderco. Eric Glesser and Joyce Laituri came from Golden and made a stop over before going to IWA next week.

Again it was the opportunity to get direct access to Eric and his prototypes and “next in production” (before June !) galore but also the chance to meet friends from all over the world (a new designer Aleister Phillips came from Australia ! He was actually in France since February taking care of a WWI memorial for the Australian soldiers.)

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Aleister Phillips Instagram picture.

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And his “Redback” custom folder with licensed spyderhole.

Again pictures were forbidden but soon 18 knives (from the 100 shown) will be displayed on Spydercollector website exclusively. Wouter was one of the “Old Timers” who has been attending the last 14 meets like my friend JD who also wrote in this columns.

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The master of ceremony was Jur who always give good vibes and jokes.
Spyderco changed the rules this year: no more passing of the prototypes in all hands.
Instead Eric presented all the knives, from concepts to almost in production. Many designers were featured; Paul Alexander and Ed Schempp come of course to my mind as they are my favorites. Some designers were present like Tom Zoomer who was not very confortable with some questions I had, hum, asked about batonning and sharpening his bushcraft knife…

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That was also the chance for new designers to defend their concept and explain to Eric what they can bring to the knife world.

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Also we were gently asked to fill some cards showing our remarks about every prototype numbered and displayed. It was a chance for Spyderco to have written feedback about what we loved or hated. I think our favorites knives were the Wolf Mouse by Gareth Bull of SA and the Unnamed Redback from our Australian mate.

Capture d'écran 2018-03-05 15.34.59Picture of the Custom original Wolf Mouse. Found on the Bull pictures.
Imagine the same with a hole in the blade. 😉

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Oh! we were given pens to write on the cards. Also the day was rythmed by a loto game with knives and goodies to win – even more surprises involving plastic spiders and other gifts. JD won a wonderful Lil’Native and soon we will have his review !

I have noticed in the past years how the new Golden factory is bringing some of the best quality in knife manufacturing to date. For example my new Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that raise in quality of execution on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control if not better. So kuddos Colorado ! Also Eric told us that they have just hired two new engineers there who will “make a real difference”. He told us that Spyderco is also training their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry. So there is a Spyderco Engineering School there.

In conclusion, one last thing to outline: this Minimeet was a Compression Lock festival. It looks like Spyderco will be using more and more one of their  successful “in-house” locks for many models to come. It’s true, Compression Locks are extremely solid and smooth but they also are challenging in terms of placing the flipper on a blade for example but like the Spyderhole, they are a Spyderco trademark.

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A lonely Eric and an empty table.

Oh and BTW Joyce showed us how to wear a Cricket the fashionable way.

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Spyderco C228CFP Paul Alexander’s Sliverax — Elegant Dreamed Engineered Knife – Act I.

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This is a first glimpse review with Paul Alexander explanation at the end.

So I got the knife for less than an hour in my hand and this is just what passed through my mind just playing with it during photographies.
So it will be followed by more in situ testing. I remember Paul Alexander’s proto at the Minimeet and the fact that he is an engineer in automotive and not a knifemaker. I liked that. Sal Glesser is an inventor and he loves engineering, so it was logical for him to welcome some bold new designs coming out of the bladeshows sphere.

Oh, the Sliverax !!  She’s a looker. Pure beauty and this is not only in the eye of the beholder. Perfection of the grind, the bolt starship design. I’m whittling while I’m holding her. She got a wasp shape, something of a spaceship, created for performance…

But the first thing I have noticed is how light (94 grammes) she felt and how well balanced she was. The sweet point is just behind the pivot making the Sliverax alive. Also the blade got that angle with the handle which reminded me Ed Schempp’s design: once open all the back of the knife forms a bow. It’s ready to cut and really ergonomic.

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The Sliverax got that kind of wasp shape very biological, organical and natural in her lines.

This is pure a full flat grind with a perfect finish. Taishung at their best again. No jimping, no tactical frills: clean and pure lines.

And once closed she’s very much like a Yin and Yang symbol.

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This very thin handle is possible thanks to the Compression Lock which as the center of the design. It seems like an improved version with two pins which makes it feel very solid. Also two bronze phosphorous cages for the ball bearing is a very nice improvement compared to the Advocate or Mantra 2 pivots.

Quoting Paul Alexander on the Spyderco Forums:
“So, the compression lock is by far my favorite locking mechanism, and once I felt I had a good handle on how to implement the lock in a sound manner, I pretty quickly started to consider incorporating a flipper mechanism. As an aside, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with flippers. On the love side, I do really enjoy the almost instantaneous deployment you get with a good flipping mechanism; and somehow, incessant flipping never gets old… at least not for me, the wife and kids get understandably annoyed after a while. On the hate side, I’m not a fan of the protrusion flipper tabs usually entail. They can be cumbersome in pocket (I really do spend a lot of time considering the closed form of my designs, and while actual use is paramount, my personal knives probably spend a fair bit more time in my pocket than in my hand… sigh, office life). Plus, the tab can almost ruin the knife aesthetic if you’re going for really clean, svelte lines for a particular design. 

The Sliverax mechanism was the first workable version of a compression lock flipper I came up with, and it’s pretty straight forward. The flipper tab is just an extension on the tang, wrapping around the stop pin to get the tab into a location that gives it the right amount of leverage and generates a big enough moment to open reliably. This ends up creating a detail that looks a lot like a portion of an internal stop pin track just inboard of the flipper tab, but the cut out is further away from the pivot than a full internal stop configuration, to keep the blade as robust as possible. And that’s about it. I’ve got 2 or 3 other flipper incarnations I’m trying to work into newer designs, but really at their heart they are all fairly similar, you have to have certain features and components to make it functional, and then you come up with design inversions that better integrate into your target package.

I also believe in simplicity and elegance in a design whenever possible, so I try and not get overly intricate or complex, and start forcing extra elements or components into a knife. We’re already putting bearings in these things, and that’s probably on the upper end of what I consider reasonable for what is supposed to be a ‘basic’ hand tool. In the end, bearings are still a far sight better than most opening assist mechanisms out there, and they do provide consistent, smooth flipping action in a pretty cost efficient manner.”
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The CompLock makes it also a breeze to fire. It flips open with fast. My detent is OK.
The handle shape makes it also perfect for classical hole opening. This is a real pleasure to be able and to have access to the Spyderhole even with the left hand.
I can open it like my Paramillies: with a middle finger opening.

The texture of the carbonfiber/g10 handle is perfect in my book. It won’t tear my pocket. And the wire clip install is one of my favorite. Again It look a lot like the clip mounted on the Ed Schempp bowie. Both knives are cousin:

 

So as much as I love my Bowie, the Sliverax is a love at first sight. But she’s much lighter in my hand and in my pocket and the blade is actually thicker 3,6mm vs 2,5mm for the Bowie.

So the Sliverax feels like a dancer in my hands but the blade shape is oriented toward reliability in cutting and using as a tool. Sure, there is no play vertical or lateral what so ever.
But the funniest and amazing particularity of Paul Alexander’s design is the way the edge is actually longer than the blade. The edge goes under the pivot and stops at 2mm from the flipper.

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This design gives a lot of edge for a light EDC. On a portable solution we are always looking for the maximum of performance and here, for once, the cutting edge has been generously thought! This is a first for me.

The Sliverax seems also easy to clean thanks to its open construction. Really a serious tool for going in the wild or to be rinse in the kitchen sink. This is not a safe queen but a folder to be used.

Spyderco links is here.

So far here are the pictures:

 

And some comparaison with other knives…

 

 

And yes she cut right through the plastic bottle but with her factory edge.
And you can notice how the spine is chanfered too.

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I have asked Paul Alexander the story behind his design.
Here is his answer:
“As far as design intent, I was definitely going for a comfortable, average use EDC knife.  I’m a huge fan of negative blade angles and the less fatiguing loads it puts on the users wrist and forearm.  I personally think of this design in two different ways, it’s either a modified wharncliffe with a slightly negative blade angle or a thin leaf blade with a much more pronounced negative blade angle, it really comes down to how you approach the material to be cut with the edge/tip and what task you’d like to perform.
It was definitely not a design focusing on use on a cutting board or other flat backing surface (the negative blade angle limits that quite a bit, as does the flipper), but more for free cutting tasks such as breaking down cardboard, opening plastic clam-shell containers, opening packages, shaving/stripping the surface of various wood stock, etc.; and I think it performs tasks like this quite capably.
It’s been years since the design was submitted to Spyderco, but at the time making a compression lock flipper was a novel feature which I was trying to accomplish.  I also prefer a generous swell to the butt of the handle to fill the palm.  I like to secure the grip of almost all of my designs by primarily pinching it between the thumb and index finger in a saber grip, with the bulbous handle allowing the rest of your fingers to rather loosely wrap around it and be used to subtly direct the blade pitch and rotation when needed, but also be readily gripped much more tightly when necessary. “

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Time to start gently to convex that beautiful blade…. And here is the link to that.

 

Yojimbo2 vs Paramilitary2 — Face 2 Face !

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I got two requests for writing that little comparaison hence a lot of users are hesittating between those two radical designs.

My Yojimbo2 is a special edition as is my Paramillie 2. Both got carbon fiber handles. Both are made in Golden, Colorado, USA, Earth. Both are second generation.

The Yo2 has been designed by Michael Janich and The P2 by Eric and Sal Glesser. Both got compression locks and inhouse system invented by the Glesser. The Yo2 got an S90V blade and the Para got a 52100 ball bearing blade.

The steel in those exclusive runs are totally opposite. S90V is a powder metalurgy alien steel named CPM420V in the previous Century. It is like some kind chewing gum alloy which refuses to let got any particules even during sharpening when 52100 is more of traditionnal old timer bladesmith steel of choice with carbon and a pinch of chromium. S90V got carbid of vanadium and chromium and more than 2% of carbon. 52100 got 1.2% of carbon. They are on the two opposite sides of the famouse best steels spectrum. S90V will stay sharp more than 3 times longer than 52100 if used on abbrasive material like cardboard. But 52100 will be easy to reach razor sharpness. S90V loses its razor edge very fast before to keep a plateau of working edge for a very very long time.

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Both knives got a convexed edge, it was a bear to obtain it on S90V.
Both got very pointy tips fir a equivalent lenght.
But the Yo2 blade is saber hollow ground when the P2 is full flat ground.

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On wood I have already noticed how great the Yo2 was for making sticks.
It has a very confortable handle for hard use and the keen edge got full power from the choil to the tip. Also the thick back helps a lot for pushing with the thumb.
Try the Yo2 on sticks: it will amazed you. But if you need some belly, the P2 will be obviously better. You won’t take the Yo2 for an hunting knife at all.

The Paramillie got this wonderful performance and control the full flat ground can provide. It is in his element: reliable and steady.
But the Self Defense knife is not the last in performing camp task. Do not underestimate it in that mattet as Michael Janich always advocated to use his knives to get used to their ergos and the way you carry them on your person.  the more you do it, the more you train to to draw them in stress situations.

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But in pure quick drawing, the Paramillie got a serious avantage: you can easily spyderdrop it. It is opened in a breeze just by drawing it by holding the hole. This is fast and actually faster than the Yo2 which required first to be clear from the pocket.
Both knives are equally smooth. The YO2 got a little more momentum because the blade is heavier. But, in my book, the Self Defense knife is beaten by the utility knife.
The Yojimbo got also more presence than the Paramillie2,  it is like one of wolverine claws and not really sheeple friendy.

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So really it just a matter of look and taste if you need to choose between them.
Both a high performance folders, with great locks, great ergos and an attention to detail breed in a second generation design. Both will find a way to be very useful in everyday  chores. They are false brothers but you know…
Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some……

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