Tag Archives: CPM REX45

NATIVE CHIEF™ REX 45 SPRINT RUN™ – C244GBORE – The Joker !

“It’s been a long road
Getting from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally near…”

Yes, it has been 22 years (since 1999) that we have been waiting for the Native Chief to be produced.

Sal Glesser said:

In 2008: “We only made one prototype. The model never went into production.”

In 2017: “The Native “Chief” has been on hold for some 15 – 20 years. I imagine we can get it to queue if there is demand. I’ll watch the thread. The Shaman is designed to be 3.5″ blade length which is legal in more places that the Chief’s 4.0″ blade.”

In 2018 “Working on the refinements for the 3rd prototype. We work on roughly 20-30 designs at any given time…. We’ll use a Golden back lock.”
Then…
I’ve been carrying a “Chief prototype. A 20 year old “sal” design with modern “Eric” mods.” had written Sal Glesser in March 2019.

As shown on Eric Glesser video “Native Chief Breakdown”, the prototype looks a lot like the finale version.

Here is also a video from Wouter (Spydercollector) presenting the production sample:

Also, knowing the Vanilla version released in 2019, all made in their new facility in Golden Colorado Earth, was in S30V, waiting for a Sprint Run was mandatory in my case.
I got my eye on the Rex45 Chief before even to be able to get the Tree Rex Shaman. Rex45 seems to me a great steel for such a “toothpick”. Last year I had the chance to get a Tree Rex and my experience with that alloy made the wait of the Chief even longer.
You can read my thoughts about CPM REX45 here:

https://nemoknivesreview.com/2020/02/07/the-tree-rex-also-known-as-the-shaman-in-cpm-rex-45-and-dymondwood/

To quote Spyderco’s site:
Crucible® CPM® REX® 45 is a super-high-speed particle metallurgy tool steel enriched with large volumes of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium. Its high cobalt content increases the steel’s attainable hardness and enhances the positive properties of the steel’s other alloys. The addition of vanadium promotes the formation of vanadium carbides, which provide high wear resistance, fine grain size and increased toughness.

CPM Rex45 is just great: no chipping, pleasant to keep ultra sharp with only some leather + compound stropping: a great super steel. Just be careful with its dust with 10% of toxic cobalt, better be safe than sorry.

OK, my Chief was expected for the first of April, hence the name “Joker”. The slim shade and the burnt orange color scales also inspired me… (Certainly not the Joachim’s or Jared’s crappy interpretations, much more Ledger and Bolland.)

Back to the knife: stretching in length the Native is a beautiful result. Since the Native model people were asking for a longer version and a shorter version, they have been heard.

Right out of the box, the Chief felt very angular: sharp edges on the scales, gritty G10, and a lot of hot spot on the choil/ricasso and the blade spine.
My Mandy City felt the exact opposite and it cost me a third of the Chief Price. So I was a little disappointed. It was not love at the first sight. Luckily , I know my Spyderco for a looooong loooong time and get my sandpaper ready.

I have send it under the tap to avoid any G10 dust which are really toxic for the lungs. Now the handle is suiting my taste.

The last experience I got with thick all-G10 construction knife in the Spyderco Family was the great Manix 2 Lockback (sold for 99 euros !) which was a great hard working folder.


The G10 slabs are much more thick than with the steel liners construction.
Quoting Sal:
“Actually Eric and Tom went over this model with the engineers for quite a while before making the decision to make it liner-less. We’ve done a lot of experimenting lately and you can see a lot in the many different designs and options. It surprises me that some would think to make decisions on values without any experience. if we screwed it up, we’ll fix it, but we don’t screw up often considering the many envelopes we’re willing to push.”

Compared to the Police:

You can compared thick G10 and thinG10+Liners.

As with the steel liner’s knives, there is zero flex and zero play, horizontal or vertical. It is like a vault. (My old Benchmade AFCK BM800HSS got titanium liners and flexes a lot.)
G10 is a really solid material. They even makes stealthy fixed knives with G10 blades… A steel liner could also bend and warp, not a thick G10 slab IMHO. Also the Cold Steel Recon folders are steel linerless and Cold Steel’s Recons are known for their sturdiness. I got an XL Recon and the lack of liner is really not an issue.
The blade, helped by two bronze phosphorous washers, chutes free when unlock which is very reliable and easy to learn to put back the knife in the pocket. It is done smoothly and fast.
It is a very secure way to close your knife.

Let’s not forget: a one hand opening knife needs to be a one hand closing knife. The best example is using a knife at the top of a ladder: you want to be able to get the knife back in the pocket easily and safely.

I’m not a huge fan of the hour glass clips founded on the Native 5 and the Delica/Endura/Paramillie/Para3. It has been immediately replaced mine with a Blade4sell small titanium clip.
Let’s do a family photo:

On the Shaman (“made to be a fairly heavy duty folder. Simple, but stout.” according to Sal), the Chief, the Native and the Lil’ Native my favorite clip is that last one.

The Native family is the no “hump” clan of the Spyderco Catalog.
The Chief is co signed by Eric and Sal.

Back to the Orange Chief, I was not really pleased also by its edge geometry. I felt it thick behind the edge. Even if the knife was razor sharp out of the box, it could not pass my plastic bottle test which consist in cutting the butt of a soda bottle by the center which is thicker.
The thin Manly City was able to do it right out of the box, as were able my Swayback, my PPT or even my Delica too for example… The champions being the Michael Walker and the Nilakka.
It is a matter of “deshouldering”, convexing the edge as always.

Diamonds are super steel best friends.

And now it is able to pass the test. 🙂
But let’s do it again for good measure.

Once thinned with diamonds, I usually strop it for a nice shining results. So far I need more elbow grease but it slowly get better and better.

Also the choil was very sharp to my taste. A little diamond filing and it was much more finger friendly.

So far, the Chief is a slim knife but destined to be very polyvalent. When the Shaman is very outdoors oriented, the Chief finds its place also in the kitchen.
It takes time to built a natural patina on Rex45 but it will come later after some fruits and hot meats.

The orange scales make it very table’s friendly too, despite its very pointy shape which could make sheeples nervous.

In a plate nothing force you to keep the edge perpendicular to the surface. I have found REX45 being hard to dull on plates anyway. It is a very easy going steel.

Another easy going steel is K390 found in the Police Model. You can see it is a tad longer than the Chief with also a thinner stock blade.

The Chief is elegant and certainly one of the most beautiful design in the Spyderco scuderia. Their backlock is so solid, the handle will break before it. Sal Glesser knows that making a longer version of the Native was not as simple as a sketch on a drawing board. You can watch the video at the end of this article about that.

The double signature, Eric and Sal.

THE TREE REX Part 2 – Beveling THE SPINE.

The Tree Rex is certainly my favorite hard work folder from Spyderco. Sal Glesser has made a real beauty able to deliver a lot of power.
The handle is especially thicker and rounder than any other folders proposed by the Golden Company. The pseudo wooden slabs which can be rinsed in water with zero issues. (I have erased the smell with some alcohol solution) and the mighty blade made of a very lovely steel: REX45 got that “touch” of Speed Star aka M2HSS I have loved on Benchmade AFCKs and Nimravi. The steel is easy on leather and bites steady when whittling with control. The best wood chisels are made from M2HSS.

But they are some hot spots on the spine and on the choil. I use my thumb to pushcut in wood and a square spine is painful after a while.
Knowing the Rex45 is a 8% Cobalt steel, I have decided to send it in the wind and with some water to prevent dust. The very hard steel (66,5 HRC) was eventually rounded to my taste.

Rounding the spine to a be less aggressive was done using 600 grint sand paper. Eventually I have used the sand paper to do some convexing.
Soon a Jade stone will be tested for mirror finish on the edge.

The TREE REX also known as the Shaman in CPM-REX 45 and Dymondwood.

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This is the C229RWDP Spyderco Shaman in CPM-REX 45 Satin Plain Blade, Rosewood Dymondwood Handles and it is a KnifeCenter Exclusive.
Like the previous Crucarta, Micarta Cruwear Shaman, this is a very rare animal and a king in his family. Of course they are discontinued too. You can notice my Crucarta has now convexed edge where the Tree-Rex is still wearing her factory edge.
There is also another difference you can notice: the pivot screw !

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The handle of the Shaman is appealing for beautiful textured handle. Micarta is such a pleasure but faux wood like this Dymondwood is also a pure pleasure under the thumb.
I have been able to see a broken pakkawood endura handle so what is Dymondwood ?
“”Dymondwood” is the tradename for a product that was produced by Rutland Plywood. Essentially, it is a lamination of very thin veneers, usually birch, impregnated with a resin. The designation Walnut, Cocobolo, etc refers to the color of stain used, not the species of wood. It is a very stable product. Unfortunately, the Rutland factory was destroyed by fire about a year ago. As a result, the future supply of Dymondwood is in doubt.” dixit Bertl on the Bladeforums. This one is rosewood Dymonwood and it looks like real wood to me in rich brown colors and not as orange as the pictures. So it is an excellent surprised. This is the pleasant feel you can get from a rifle, it is warm and pleasant to the eye. “Generally the terms Rosewood, Cocobola, Heritage Walnut, Cherrywood etc are dye colors, not wood species.” said another forumite on the same page.

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The factory edge is even and really really sharp. Just some pass on leather and I got a clean razor which cut the hairs without scrubbing the skin. It is amazing.
So I have decided to round the edge of the spine but keep the edge as it is for a change.

CPM REX 45 is a new steel to me. According to crucible: “CPM REX 45 is an 8% cobalt super high speed steel which has excellent hot hardness along with good wear resistance and toughness, making it suitable for difficult machining applications.A data sheet.
It has red hardness comparable to that of M42 but offers abrasion resistance even better than that of M3. With its excellent red hardness, good wear resistance and good toughness, CPM Rex 45 is suitable for high cutting speed applications.

Carbon 1.30%
Chromium 4.05%
Vanadium 3.05%
Tungsten 6.25%
Molybdenum 5.00%
Cobalt 8.00%
Sulfur 0.06 (0.22%)

As far as I understand a sprint run with orange G-10 and the same blade will be available soon and lot of REX45 knives are coming.

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On the Spyderco Forums you can find a great test of that steel by Deadboxhero comparing REX45 and CPM M4.
Eventually he found M4 works great with coarse edge and REX45 with polish edge. That what I was looking for as polishing edges is my guilty pleasure.
So far, I’d say people will enjoy the properties of Rex 45, while M4 prefers a more toothy finish Rex 45 will prefer the opposite which is unique amongst Crucible steels let alone US steels. It’s interesting to a US steel closer to the properties of a japanese steel which have more of a bias toward Polished edges.” wrote  Deadboxhero.

REX45 seems to be the same as HAP40 found in the Endura review, but HAP40 was 63HRC when REX45 heat treated by Spyderco is pushing the envelop to an incredible 66-67 HRC as hard as this Japanese ZDP189 Rockstead Higo… For the record the Maxamet blades are at 70HRC and brittle as ceramic in my record.
Also the 4% chrome makes it a staining steel and I expect to find a patina after to use.

My friend Max Wedges has given me that advice about cobalt:
Careful with the knives you use with food (specially acid food). The problem is that COBALT is a Cancer agent. For any steels that are sharpened often & go close to food, I avoid ALL Cobalt steels (Tungsten Carbides are less of an issue). If you sharpen you always get some “swarf” residue on the blade… better clean it properly before use: use a cotton swipe with alcohol & a drop of tea tree oil, after carefully washing & drying the blade (& avoid the grinding dust like the Pest it is). M4, M2 Steels have no Cobalt. CPM S110V, N-690, VG-10 do, so I use the older S90V, S35VN, RWL-34/CPM154, 440-C or AEB-L for food knives. Were I a knife maker, I would totally refuse the use of any steels containing Co. Moly is related to Tungsten: these are much less harmful, and are bound into Carbides… but Cobalt forms no carbides & gets airborne easier. Be wise?

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That’s very interesting ! It is something to discuss.
How a steel could harm your health is a subject which I have not seen yet on forums.
Steel is not neutral. If you cut a green salad with carbon steel, the leaf will get brownish. The same cuts with a stainless steel and the salad will stay green for hours. Steels are not neutral with the medium they cut. Is a Powder Tech steel using 8% of Cobalt be poisonous ?

However, if you sharpen a knife, you are grinding the steel with an abrasive. Even a slightly abrasive chef’s “steel” (a rod used to sharpen and condition chef’s knives before using) will leave a residue of the blade steel and the abrasive (silicon carbide, ceramic, aluminum oxide, other steels, etc.) behind. This residue is called swarf. How many chefs have you seen whip a knife blade on a rod, then go right to cutting your brisket? How many wipe the swarf onto a grimy rag that hangs over their shoulder or around their belt before cutting your salmon? How many actually go to a sink and wash the knife with soap and water before returning to the block or cutting board?
From The Special Case of Cobalt by Jay Fisher provided by Max Wedges.

Guys who purport to be experts—posting particularly on knife forums—claim that concern about cobalt is all amped-up hype. It’s easy to find endless discussions, particularly about VG-10, and the concern about exposure to cobalt. The uneducated flock to these forums; they are not experts, they do not read scientific studies, they do not believe the CDC, the American Cancer Society, or any of the numerous organizations that warn against cobalt exposure. “Show me the reports,” they say, yet they are unable to find the very references that the rest of us can easily locate. The reports are numerous; the professionals don’t just make this stuff up, but you have to read.

They claim that you would have to grind up and eat knife after knife in order to be exposed to enough cobalt to cause cancer. They know this because they are toxicologists (ahem), and know that metal exposure recommendations are a conspiracy by nut jobs (uh-huh). I guess all the nut jobs work for the CDC and the American Cancer Society… right?

They sometimes go on to compare cobalt to chromium, vanadium, and other alloy elements, saying that they are just as dangerous. This is typical ignorance on forums. All of these elements have been extensively studied, and cobalt has been found to cause cancers, while the others have not. This is the reason I state over and over, “Don’t get your information on a forum of any kind!”

Experts, professionals, and scientists don’t post there; open forums are mainly occupied by the uneducated and unknowledgeable anonymous masses, hobbyists, and part-time knifemakers and enthusiasts who know very little about knives overall. If you believe them, then you’ll believe that the best steels are hammered together in an open fire, just like it was done in 1875. You’ll believe that the entire modern metals and machining industry does not know anything, that some oaf with a hammer can make an improved axle, planer blade, or turbine part. After all, you saw it on the History channel…

Sorry to be so blunt, but if you are reading this, you deserve to know the truth. Or maybe the thousands of professionals at the CDC, IARC, NCS, NIOSH, and in the research community are all wearing tin foil hats… sigh. Welcome to the internet, where the idiots get the same voice as the intelligent, damn the truth!

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So guess what ? In my great wisdom (ahem) I have asked the question on the Spyderco forum 😀
Knowing Japanese Chef knives are often HAP40 and VG10. Even my Ikea Chef Knife is VG10… Let see what they think about Cobalt in steels:
https://forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=85929

Even Pekka helped there:

Me: Do you think Cobalt dust could be dangerous ?
Pekka: Every dust is ! I do not believe that anybody get cancer if they sharp knife sometimes of month… if they do not collect all dust for they sandwich :) There is lot of f.ex. nickel in steels and chromium etc. all are very bad for health.

Me: How do you protect yourself?
Pekka: I do not breathe ;) serious I use mask with motor. But no gloves, I do not like gloves, I lost my feeling, as you know I do everything with freehand method, no jig etc.

So eventually we can eat with our knives but not eat our knives… ;)
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And also Sal Glesser which was one of the rarest bringing zero assumption or opinion but facts.
Most of the other comments were just mostly about bragging on other way to die like:
“Compared to driving in city traffic, I would say the danger from cobalt or anything in your knife is truly negligible.”
“I would assume it’s perfectly safe when bound together with iron.”
“The oxygen your breathing right now is also causing oxidative stress and damaging your cells and DNA with free radicals. Yet, we keep breathing.”
“Life has a 100% chance of death, get over it.”
“There is cobalt in your food and organs. It’s essential to live. Got B12?”

 

Yes, being deficient in vitamin B-12 causes physical and psychological symptoms, including nerve problems, fatigue, and difficulty thinking…
And yes we got so many chemicals in our bodies but it’s a matter to have them in the right proportion in the right place.
Oh well…
Fortunately Sal Glesser saved the day:

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“Fun subject. Figures it would be Nemo to bring this up from the depths. :p

I remember Nemo and I discussing Eric Taberly’s death in the sea, because he spent so much time at sea. So in the end, what gets you is what you do the most? That concept brings up some interesting thoughts? :eek:

We have to put warning labels on our products because they might be sold in California and there is sever punishment for not warning the people about the danger of the chemicals in our products.

In Manufacturing, most grinders and mills are used wet. Masks re a good idea if dry grinding. I breathed in a tiny amount of G-10 dust once and it did make me sick.

sal”

I guess we were the only few there to see that thread as a “fun” subject as there is the new cartesian way to answer questions of the Internet:

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Someone even has written:
“As Sal said, what gets you is what you do the most. Now that is actually worth thinking about.”
Hummm, I guess many forums specialists will eventually die from masturbation as their armchairs are mostly harmless to their health… No reason to be afraid from any poisons, then.
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And Sal final word on that subject:
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OK, so back to this wonder of a knife: I have changed the position of the clip to a tip down carry because I have found that the Spyderdrop openings are really easy and fun on the shaman. The steel backspacer give momentum and the compression lock is a breeze to operate.

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This knife got zero lateral play too. It can really be open as fast as the good old Millie. For the record 25 years ago Sal’s was beating in speed every owner of automatic knives while opening his own Military. Spyderdrops are really an advantage in putting your tool in action very fast. Also the fact the clip is not a deep carry clip makes the spyderdrop a breeze to execute. Actually it is fun with the Shaman !

 

As illustrated: the clip is not deep carry but, oh well it is a big knife which rides small in the pocket.

 

Trying the edge on some hard chestnut wood and the cuts are deep and steady. It will be a pleasure to use ! It also bring the same smoothness I have had enjoyed on M2 High Speed Steel found on Benchmade knives back in 90’s. Once cut the wood chip feels smooth under the thumb.

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A funny thing has happen to my parcel when flying from the Knifecenter to Paris: it has gone West instead of East and has landed in Hawaï, Honolulu ! Thank to Kristin at the Knifecenter it has been rescued and after one week of storage in Hawaï has been able to fly from the other side of the planet and land to mailbox in 48 hours.
For the record, Hawai as the place where Jurassic Park has been filmed. It was logical for my Tree Rex to go there first. 😉

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