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.

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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.