Tag Archives: CPM M4 High Speed Steel

Yojimbo2: swapping the blades back and forth.

My project when I had ordered the Jade Yojimbo2 was to swap the blades with my Carbon Fiber / S90V Yojimbo2, to make a vinegar patina and enjoy a unique CPM M4/ Carbon fiber Yojimbo2.
Yeah well…
I have done it but the patina.

Here is the result. But you know what… As great as the CF handle is… this Jade version got something really special. I love the smoothness I have obtained by sanding the natural G10 and the action is smoother than butter.

So I have swapped it again. It was very easy.
What I can notice about this “sterile” experience is how well adjusted those Golden spawns can be. In both configurations the action was smooth as glass and the blade perfectly centered. It’s a joy to dismount and put back together.
So it’s just me, in the end, seeing the deep carry clip going esthetically much better on Jade natural scales and the heft of the BladeHQ special edition being more appealing to me. Also these transparent slaps help a lot for a non threatening aspect of a very pointy knife. I have already used twice in public place without being noticed…
So back to the start after some nano oiling and putting some fresh blue loctite on strategic screws: pivot and clip. Great knives easy to maintain clean even in the inside.

Spyderco Yojimbo2 C85GM4P2 CPM-M4 The Jade Warrior.

This is a bud of an article about the BladeHQ exclusive Yojimbo2.

At least there is picture.

Story will come later in multiple update.

I have reviewed the Michael Janich’s Yojimbo2 many time here.
And I have been waiting for a tougher alloy for a long time: CPM-M4 is one of my favorite steel.

Why ? Because it’s take a razor sharp edge and keeps it, it’s a tougher than stainless steel super steel and its edge stability is better: no chipping or warping in my uses. Of course it will get stained but that is the part of his multiple charms. This is a steel used in blade competitions and Gayle Bradley is a fan of it.

The Yojimbo2 design asked for a very thin point and a stronger, tougher steel. M4 is a must if you want to use it (like myself) in everyday chores… hard !!
Because such great ergos ask for hard working.

Compared to my previous YO2, the closing sound “TICK” got a much higher pitch than my S90V version. I had noticed that kind of higher pitch on another super tool steel: Maxamet.

Does it mean the steel is harder ? Will see.

So stay tuned!

I have changed the OEM clip for this one.


It’s a shortest deep carry clip.

The Para 3 in Maxamet got the same high pitch TICK.

Dirty blade ready for some chores.
Both knives are excellent EDC. The Yo2 offers really powerful cuts on wood.
A word which comes back a lot with my Yo2 review is “power”. The heft of the saber ground hollow blade and the confortable thick spine is a call for pushcuts and “very light” chopping. You will see what I mean in a few photographies…

Deshouldering and starting to get a thinner edge. The factory edge is excellent though.

“Ghost” and “Jade” together: same materials.

The handle lengths are different just because one is standing on its clip.

Push cuts are easy.

This is the kind of “very light” chopping cuts which are made in blink of an eye.
The Yo2 is a great trimmer. The edge bites deep and the straight edge won’t let go.

It’s very efficient !

M4 steel erases any fear of breaking the thin tip easily but I do respect too much my knife to try any lateral forcing. At least I’m no afraid to use that blade tip hard !

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Rinsing and cleaning the blade in a spring stream. No real patina so far but soon it will come. M4 get darker in a slow way on my experience: no hurry !
But that Jade handle goes so well with natural environments…

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There is a lot of charm in the Yo2: the heavy blade smooth action, the straight edge power and the great ergos ! Nobody seems to notice it while used in a restaurant, the Jade helps a lot to make it less a weapon and more a tool.

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Spyderco C214TIP: The Devil’s Advocate by Gayle Bradley.

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“You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire…”

I feel like in the “Honest Trailers”: “Please review the Advocate…” OK here we go:

Oh yes, the Advocate is a looker and really catches the light.  Knowing Gayle Bradley since his first hard chores folder, I really wanted to see his new design.

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At the moment I write those lines, we are all under the official statement from Spyderco about the Advocate. To sum it up: “A careful review of the Advocate’s design revealed that the steel washers used in its pivot are measurably thinner than those used in our other flipper models and are therefore vulnerable to the effects of overtightening….We have suspended production of the current version and are working diligently to redesign the pivot to completely eliminate this concern. We have also decided to suspend shipment of our current inventory of Advocate knives until a satisfactory redesign is complete.” Michael Janich 10th of April 2017.
I don’t have any issues with my Advocate pivot, so I’m not concerned.

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Unless major purpose, I don’t feel the urge to disassemble my knives and I always find that rinsing them under hot tap water and oiling them back once dry, is more than enough to keep them going. I do however have got a gripping pivot issue with my Southard but this was before discovering and using nano oil. Here on the advocate, it seems like even nano oil did not help. but again It do not have any issue on mine. I got other issues and they are from the design, not the manufacturing.

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So I was able to snatch a model before the factory line stopped and I really wanted to try and love another great Gayle Bradley design. The Advocate is his first flipper and he’s using my favorite steel: CPM-M4 (drawing from Gayle Bradley’s extensive experience as a competitive cutting champion, CPM® M4 is a high-performance tool steel renowned for its extreme edge-holding ability).

“The Advocate’s handle consists of two 3-D-machined solid titanium scales that are radiused across their width and feature a unique “orange peel” finish that is both visually striking and provides an enhanced grip texture. The precision machining of these features ensures maximum comfort in the hand and contributes to the knife’s stunning, custom-quality appearance.”

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See how the knife looks great? This is a very thin design. It slips into your pocket very confortably but, in my own experience, its thin handle create a lot of hotspots. I would have preferred a thicker handle even if the finish and lines are wonderful, it is really more a looker than a user so far.
OK mine fires perfectly and once unlocked, the blade falls free. So the action is OK but there is a strong break to it: the ball detent on the lock making the action less smooth than on my other flipper: ZT0562 or Falcon. It’s even noisy, you hear it. What is the point of having ball bearings when you put a brake on it ? Spyderco knows what smooth means ie Ed Schempp’s Bowie the Paramillie. Why not the Advocate ?


Also you can notice how the Zero Tolerance’s (ZT) handle is thicker and hence much better ergonomic-wise. I would not mind that for a Chaparral or for a shorter folder but the Advocate is a medium folder with a 9 centimeters blade and weighs 111 grammes; so it’s not a small folder! Even on the last picture you can see that it’s thinner than the Sliverax….

Also flippers have got a fun factor shared with spinners and balisongs. We love to play with them and because of that, we have tendancies to “test” them more in their opening and closing.
Again, the Advocate’s thin profile doesn’t make it easy to close. The tension on the lock bar is very important and the edge to unlock it is sharp. So it’s not easy on your thumb, almost painful sometimes compared to my ZT and its fat lock… Even the flipper’s tab feels too thin for such a strong detent. It’s biting into the index finger’s pulp….

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You can see the sharp edge of the lock bar; actually it comes from the steel insert.

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You can notice the marks on my thumb.

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Look at the way the lock bar is chamfered on the ZT. Rick Hinderer is not at his first flipper design obviously…

After playing for some time, there is no real fun. The detent is so strong it makes thumb-opening impossible on mine; only reverse grip works for me.

So the strong lock acts like a break; you understand why Compression Lock flippers like the Sliverax are a path to explore.  That said, after playing with both knives, I also feel the Sliverax could have benefited from a stronger detent.

So far the Advocate is not my favorite Gayle Bradley design.

My opinion is not based on any pivot issues as mine doesn’t have it but in my book,
it’s too thin, too slippery, not easy to close nor is it easy to open with the thumb hole.  It’s not smooth… It’s the total opposite to its famous GB1.
Perhaps it will grow on me but even the clip is not a deep carry option… Oh well.
I need to play with my Ed Schempp bowie for good measure… as it’s the perfect opposite in the way Taichung can deliver a great folder with great ergos.

So in summary, if you want a really fun and light Spyderco to play with, try the Sliverax.

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edited by pjaffre: jan 5, 2018.

MILITARY C36PIN PART IV: Deep Carry Clip in Titanium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Spyderco C36 CPM M4 – Building a Patina

“After building a Patina, coat it with cheese.”

This is an old trick Fred Perrin used to do just un case someone asked him about his knife:
– Is it a weapon?
– Nope I eat a lot of cheese.
But the cheese grease also protected the blade from pitting. Olive oil, butter are also useful to coat you carbon blade. And they are not toxic.

Eating with your knife is solving a lot of issues: you use your knife a lot, you take care of your edge a lot, you display it and people get used to your taste in cutlery. It’s not a Silent Companion anymore: it’s your coming out as a knifenut.

Ok, first picture was only an industrial cheese, it was mandatory to show a real Camembert from Normandie:

(First made in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandie, she had given refuge to a priest who gave her the recipe in gratitude. She first made the cheese for her family, but word spread and the rest is legend. This version of French Camembert is produced in the heart of Normandie.
The velvety white rind encases a pale yellow interior which softens towards the outer edges. The rind has mild mushroom aromas that are well balanced with the saltiness and supple creamy texture of the interior. The flavour profile displays cauliflower and yeast notes, an indication of a real Camembert…)

You don’t need to force a patina when you eat with your knife. Here, tomatoes with vinagar provide an acid environment able to built it. CPM M4 is much slower than Super Blue Steel in getting darker. A catalyst is heat. Hot meat, hot acid dish (tomatoes) will build the patina quicker. Often, meat loaves will add some rainbow stains which once polished are beautiful.

(My father in law used to clean his knife by thrusting its blade in the earth. Old timer did not respect their blade like us. But one thing is sure, they used them for everything. Their edges were often ruined in the dirt or just by scrapping son paints on a tool, but at least they used them hard.)

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Cutting an apple pie in a plate will be hard on your blade’s point and edges. But again this is the game of letting your precious EDC goes in other hands. Iy your knife is really the quality knife you claimed, you should be able to clean it and refresh it in a blink of the eye.
Again, I also got bad experience by cutting vegetable in the garden and having dirt and earth ruining my edge.

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The point of your knife will get darker sooner than the entiere blade. But this is the signature of a used knife and they are tools to be used.

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In the end, DLC coated blades will never show as much as character as naked carbon steel.

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SPYDERCO MILITARY C36PIN PART III: WHITTLING WITH GHOST.

We all know that the steel is only 30 percent of the equation for a great blade. And I’m not talking about the whole knife — ergonomy, lock quality, sheath, clip —  just the blade: the main “Matter Separator” to quote Sal Glesser.
Apart from the Steel they are the Heat Treating, the Grind and the BET “Behind the Edge Thickness”.
And also the quality of the edge coarsed or polished change the way the blade will cut in materials.

Wood is a fibrous material which depend of its grain and freshness when whittled.
Again, a rabbit to skin or a cardboard box to dispatch will behave differently under a sharp edge.
And a Self Defense designed knife will not need to be a Scandinavian Grind for example…

So I have decided to gather the Yojimbo 2 (Black), the Wolf Spyder and Ghost to practising my scales and mastering the rudiments of whittling on a hazel rod which has been drying for a month (since the Lil Nilakka Review actually).  My whole idea was to see and experience how the very different blades grind and shape would behave and eventually adjust Ghost for better whittling.
I have not used my Nilakka as it is a game changer. It’s too hard to reach its performance. (The pictures has disappeared because Photobucket has changed their policies, I will need time to create new links, sorry for the convenience…)
Also I’m a lost cause in whittling compared to what my father was able to do as a kid when he was whittling his own toys but I do have affinities with wood as my grandfather was cabinetmaker and my other grand father was clogmaker.

I had noticed back in the 90’s when I owned a Benchmade AFCK in ATS-34 and on in M2HSS that wood would be almost “patined” differently depending of the grain of the steel. M2’s cuts were leaving a very soft surface compared to ATS-34 which was a more aggressive cutter. I have then found that one of the most expensive wood chisels were made in M2 High Speed Steel.

The Wolfspyder is in her element here. Since I have sharpened her back to razor, the scandi grind cut deep and with ease in the wood. This little knife is purely amazing when it comes to carve  deep or caress the rod. The sturdy design is asking to be used hard and the big chunks of wood were flying. It is a pocket beaver ! (OK no more kinky innuendo, pardon my French…). In pushcutting perpendicularly , the Wolfspyder was the more aggressive.
Again, S30V as heat-treated by Spyderco has proven to be a great “all terrain” steel as its edge was not dulled a bit. I’m surprised about the way it kept a perfect edge after all the cuts in a dirty bark and hard wood. Hairs were still flying of my arm. (I heard so much about it losing that very sharp fine edge beause of its relatively big carbids…). It will not be the was with…

Yojimbo 2 Sprint Run was another surprise. First I need to clarify that I had the edge “unshouldered” to be thinner. S90V is a bear to sharpen it feels like “plastic” and without diamonds it is time consuming.
But here it’s the ergos and geometry which made a difference. I was able to cut big chunks of wood with ease. The blade was going deep and my thumb got plenty of space to push behind the edge.
Michael Janich proved it: its Yo2 straight edge keep the pressure on the material. His design was primary made for cutting clothing and flesh in a attempt to keep an aggressor away but it has always proven to be a great EDC for mondaine task. Now I know that bringing the Yojimbo 2 in the woods won’t be a fashion faux-pas. This incredibly solid folder in the right hands can be a great wood processor.

Now I was surprised to notice how my razor S90V edge dulled. I mean, it was still in great shape and has reached the level of a “working edge” but it was not a reliable razor anymore. Twenty seconds on white ceramics and leather and it was back to Vorpal. S30V did not have that issue and of course not CPM M4 of…

Ghost new convexed edge proved to be able to cut deep with a lot of control and also to remove bark with ease and no pressure as pictured. It was fun to use. CPM M4 got also that tendency to leave the wood’s fresh surface very smooth to touch. I could go on for hours but it needed some twist and home edjustment to ease my thumb sore.

The Wolfspyder’spoint is made to drill. It is thick solid, sharp and you can use all your force with no after thought. It’s not the case of…

…The Yo2 ! Back in the 90’s I had broken my Ronin point drilling in wood. It was a much thinner point and I was really stupid. So I was very careful with the Yo2. It’s clearly not its strong point (pun intended…) but I did not snap it.

C36’s pointy blades, first made of S60V (known as CPM440V) and then of S30V, are known to be relatively fragile but CPM M4 brings much more toughness to the whole design. Perhaps the CPM Cru-wear Sprint Run was even stronger but, anyway, I got zero concern with Ghost which was able to drill the hazel rod easily.

Eventually, the most important home improvement has been to rounded the blade’s spine. Of course the Sebenza is king in that matter, also the Slycz Bowie.

Sandpaper was used for that matter and if the edges has been removed I have not tried to round it completly but at least to make it much softer under the thumb and I don’t strike rods for sparks.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to adjust and improve your expensive EDC knives to your own uses and tastes. My first attempt has been on my Paramilitary 2 handle. But a knife is a personal tool and it needs to fit you perfectly. Just take your time. Don’t use powertools and risk to heat the blade and ruin the heat treatment (done that in the 80’s…), just go slowly. Also don’t breath G10 and Carbon Fiber dust. Use a mask or do it under the tap. It would attack your lungs badly. Anyway my EDC have really been enhanced by all those little changes and Ghost is no exception to that thumb rule (pun…).
Enjoying your personal tools is always a joy when they are based on great designs in the first place.

Military C36PIN Part II: Ghost’s edge.


It has been 3 months since my Millie in CPM-M4 has landed in my pocket.
I believe it’s time for an update about it since it has been used a lot.

It is my first “new handle” C36 as mentioned here in my previous post.

Is there any change in my end line user experience ? Not really apart loving the new stop pin and the larger lanyard hole. It was easy to clean in the previous version, now it is easier and I clean it a lot as it’s used in the kitchen.

Smoothness ? As usual. The main break is the strong detent and the strong liner lock. It is open in a breeze with the major finger or by spyderdrop. The factory edge has been kept for almost three months. I have decided to refresh it at mid July and now the next step has been passed as I have convexed the edge to suit my need in cutting hard plastic (mainly bottles) before recycling.
There is no vertical or horizontal play and the liner has not moved since I got.
It’s a very very solid lock up !

Again CPM-M4 is my friend. In edge holding but also in refreshing by stropping on leather. The thin point of the blade has been used for delicate cutting on hard materials and it has been very reliable in that role. Choking up the blade gives a very nice whittling tool too.

In the kitchen the knife has been confronted to meat processing: chicken, turkey, rossbeef but also sausages hot or cold, fish…

The pointy point has been used to open a lot of hazelnuts: meaning twisting the blade to open them.
The favorite test in sharpness is how it cut tomatoes. This is a tricky fruit as it skin doesn’t have a lot of support from its flesh.

The Millie has also been used almost daily as silverware confronting its edge to hot and acidic materials. The patina did not come easily and no pit has been noticed. I use some nano oil or some olive oil to keep it in good shape, depending of my needs. Olive oil being less toxic of course.

I have invested in a titanium clip for deep carry. I have mounted it but for an unknown reason the pivot was much less smoother after. I think it is due to tolerances a the screw seems to be in some kind of tension but once removed the Millie was smooth again. Eventually I have found I love the original steel clip which is smoother to draw than any beadblasted titanium. But after sanding the titanium clip and bending it for less spring force on the pivot it was perfect for deep carry.

Today it was the opportunity to get rid of the factory edge and start a new chapter with a gently convexed edge. I have used sand paper on my old leather belt. Starting with 500 and finishing with 1000. I like a “rough” feel on my working blade. It comes from scratches and patina and it gives a lot of character but my pleasure is in a mirror finish edge.


On this model, the Jade or Natural G10 gives a very sheeple friendly look to that relatively big EDC knife. Of course it has been sand also to preserve my pocket lips. I have just kept the original feel/aggressivity of the G10 around the pivot as it is where I put my thumb.

Military C36PIN CPM M4 Exclusive Run — Ghost in the Machine

For a funny reason I give name to knives I keep. It gives them more personality. For a strange reason all my C36 Military got name starting with G like Glesser.
My Military Sprintrun CPM Cruewear is “Gandalf” because of its grey handle.
My new Military with Natural G10 (or Jade G-10) and CPM M4 blade will be name Ghost. It’s an exclusive run for Blade HQ.

This is the first time I got the chance to handle the new version: no spacer, bigger lanyard hole, bigger screws… My first Millie “Glesser”, back in 1996 was already a new version with CPM440V (S60V) and the three screws clip. 21 years later here is what I consider the apogee in this design: a blade alloy I really love and a “light” construction.
Gandalf and Ghost weight almost the same: 124g versus 123g on my cooking electronic scale. This is a light package with a lot of cutting power.
I also love the fact that the Jade handle makes it very sheeple friendly and less “military”.

Since I have reviewed the M390 CF version and the Titanium handle version.

Now I have really convexed the grind on Gandalf for wood working.
But I wonder how it will compare to CPM M4 on Ghost.
It will be the subject of another review.

Zero Tolerance ZT0770CF – Fast and Furious.

I love my Spyderco mantra 2.
Great engineering, ergos and materials. An attention to details and a signature: Eric Glesser. He is a perfectionist and a clever one. But I do hate one thing: the trademark “little” hole. A place to catch grim and hard to clean on the field.

Why don’t you just print a circle instead to drill into the blade ? The trademark hole is even on my Spyderco fixed blades…
Anyway, the Des Horn was a first step. A second step is the ST0770CF.

I was in need of a “blind” folder. I mean a folder without any hole or thumbstub or disk.
The Real Steal Megalodon was on my list: with its beautiful lines like a Sukhoi 27, M390 steel….
But then the Zero Tolerance caught my eye through all its great reviews.

ZT knives were always synonym of heavy fat ground knives à la Strider. Not something I would enjoy as EDC.
Unless I start to follow a special project around the ZT0770in M390 and especially a version in CPM M4 (ended with 69 dollars of international shipping fees).

So I went to “La Coutelerie Tourangelle” famous for their good prices, great shipping fees (5.9 euros with tracking in France) and total absence of communication…. 😉 Just kidding, even if they are mute like a brick wall, they delivered a great service world wide.



The ZT0770CF got no name. Its blade is beadblasted. This is a user not a safe queen.
The assisted opening is strong and seems reliable. I have found some people were able to remove the spring easily and even order another bronze washer. But my idea was to have a spring making my flipping secure and complete.
Many times my flipping was not 100% on my Southard on my Domino…. and it was frustrating.
So no ball bearing on the ZT but a strong spring. Again if you don’t like it, you can remove it.
I love it.
It is positive and definitive. SCHLAKK !! It’s open.

Now if you don’t want to be noticed you can open it against your leg, halfway and with a gentle flick it is open.
All is silent.

Balance wise, the ZT is perfect: the Carbon Fibers handle is so light. There is a black spacer, beautiful and very scifi. But the point of balance is just behind the pivot ! Perfect.
The knife is “alive” in your hands.
The texture of the carbonfiber is smooth but matte. Just like my sanded G10 handles. There is enough blade to open the knife like a gentleman folder. It won’t jump from your hands, the spring is not “that” strong.
There is a detent you can also feel at the end of the blade course.
The action is smooth, enough smooth to have the gravity works fine when unlocked.
This is a beautiful knife with a great attention to details.

The liner lock is thick and nested. Easy to operate. The detent ball is visible. Everything is in place.
The jimping on the blade is not to aggressive. The jimping on the flipper is more aggressive but do not come in contact with finger once open.

The guard is very cleverly thought. The position of the pin and the jimping on the flipper. It’s a clockwork !
Closed or open, there is no hot spot on the ZT0770CF, all lines flush together: very impressive.

The pivot screw is beautiful and despite its exotic look just need a torx to be unscrew. You can rest your thumb on it, it works like my Calypso’s screw guard.
The CF handle is renforced by nested liners and despite being light the construction is very solid.

Ergos are great. I mean they suit my four fingers. I already loved on my Mantra how the flipper served as guard once the blade open. Here on the ZT the guard in integrated with flipper like on the Domino but more pronounced. I really love that configuration.

The ZT got a particular blade: high flat thinly ground with a kind of sheepfoot shape. It works.
You got some belly near the pivot and a straight edge near the point, something between a Spyderco Positron a stretch Cricket.

It cuts aggressively and pass my plastic bottle bottom with force and ease. Eventually I find the ZT’s blade is simply gorgeous, all in curves… The belly near the pivot will give a lot of power for pushcuts into wood.

I love Elmax since my Lionspy. I remember beating the crap out of it and it was really forgiving: no chipping and great sharpness.
Also I’m in love with a Squeak in Elmax with titanium handles for a year now and this pure little Italian wonder will be review soon.

Elmax is such a great knife steel. No chipping, edge stability, ease of maintaining. What not to love ?



The black clip is short but made for deep carry. This is a very low profil configuration which leave almost zero print. The knife can find a nest into the watch pocket too. We got here a very compact package and very light: a true EDC.

Great engineering all in all. Now more pictures:






Some more test once the edge is “de-shouldered”.