Tag Archives: CPM S30V

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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SLIVERAX — ELEGANT DREAMED ENGINEERED KNIFE – ACT III: Using.

20171122_150203-031772969397.jpeg My Sliverax is a dancer. you can open in a lot of different ways. The flipper is the first. The thumb with the hole. The middle finger with the hole. The ring finger while holding it handle first and some kind of gravity opening: just a flick of the wrist and “Schlak!” it is ready. So there is a lot of way to waltz with that folder hence her name: “Dancer”. This is bringing the fun factor to high rate. 20171124_163414-01208185727.jpeg You can see I have mounted my Ed Schempp Bowie clip for now. Now that I feel confident with S30V heat treated by Spyderco, since I have play with the Nilakka (Taichung) and the Wolfspyder (Golden), both radicaly scandi ground knives, I have decided to give the Nilakka a very very thin convex edge. The first step was here. But then I have decided to give sandpaper a try and work on thinning the factory edge not only de-shouldering it.

So it’s very simple: P800 SP on my old leather belt to thin the edge, then white ceramics (a lot) to turn it into mirror. One hour later, I got a incredible performer ! On wood: it goes deep and smoothly. You got a lot of control. Of course it has been used daily in the kitchen and on meat preparation and guess what, the flipper eventually is not a problem for board cutting. On plastic and wood, I have twisted the blade inside and no harm has been noticed to the edge or the mechanism. I have used it hard at full grip and got full confidence in it in hammer or reverse grip. Like on the other compression locks knives it’s so easy to close it and put it back in the pocket, preventing any way to harm yourself or the others. It is especially great when working around animals like horses for example, when you want your edge to be out of play as soon as possible. I have also the chance to compared it to my ZY0562CF which is an excellent flipper with a sure fire every time. But it’s a knife much more heavy and less elegant, more rugged, full of screws… Another philosophy in folder making that I enjoy also, but the Hinderer design is more of a Toyota Landcruiser when the Silverax is a BMW Serie 4. I enjoy both but the Sliverax offers a very light solution for high perf. I also like the fact I can easily check/ have access to the pivot to grease it with a micro drop of nano oil BTW. In the woods , I was able to whittle a lot without any hot spots on the handle. The clip did not bother me in that matter. I have also rounded a little more the spine to feel confortable as my main technic asks for my thumb to push there, giving les stress to the pivot. Also I place my index on the flipper most of the time choking up the blade. Despite the absence of choil, I have not cut myself. Oh and I really enjoy the fact their zero jimping. Most of the time I’m obliged to file them a bit on the corner to have them to my taste. Here no need for jimping and as a tool the Sliverax is perfectly anchord to my hand. The CF/G10 material is working perfectly without chewing my pants. After EDCing the Paramillie in 52100 it’s a pleasure to get the benefits from stainless steel researches and use the knife with zero concern about rust. It’s a luxury I am rediscovering. I can pocket my dirty knife and I don’t mind. I feel like a man making fire for the first time with a gaz lighter instead of some flint… Then back home it’s very easy to rinse under hot water. It can go in my denim front pocket to dry. On of the main characteristic of the Sliverax is the long edge in such a compact design. i cannot remember a knife which has given me that impression, especially in a folder. I love my Native 5 for example but the choil “eats” a lot of blade length. This length available is another luxury. You can of course pushcut but also keep in mind that any saw motion will be very easy thanks to the absence of choil to trap the matter you are cutting. So the Sliverax is great, providing a long edge easily from a light and wasp shaped handle, giving a lot of cutting performance for a SUB 4 inches knife. More to come soon as I always got new things to write once it is published…So this is a first draft but this week end I’ll be in wood … 😉 20171123_151314-01264186372.jpeg

Getting my S30V Nilakka back to Zero Grind.

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As you can notice, my Nilakka was developping a gentle convexing ground since JD had the patience to give a decent edge to it two years ago.
But since, JD has sent me another video showing how tough well heat treated S30V can be and knowing how forgiving my Nilakka and my Wolfspyder were after sharpening beyond factory edge… I have decided to put the blade flat on on diamonds and grind it until the convex bevel disappearance. In fact I was very encouraged with my various experience with that Wolfspyder.  S30V heat treated by Spyderco is now back as a friendly steel in my book.

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So for one hour I have work on that using a new Double Stuff 2 which I have discovered thanks to Howard Korn from the Knifecenter who gently add it in my last parcel.
The new diamond surface is quite abbrasive and soon the blade was a mess.
But continuing in the same way made the scratches all going in one direction and both side of the Nilakka blade soon were acceptable in term of esthetics.

20171109_153932-011005452034.jpeg There is a lot of matter to remove and by hand, it takes some time.
But eventually I was able to get some sharpness back with not pressure on the edge while sharpening but an even pressure on all the side of the blade.

After all the Nilakka was made that way, the angle of the thicked stock blade was designed by Pekka Tuominen to be a zero ground edge, with no bevel.

There is still a micro bevel but I’m almost there.
My idea for future refreshing of the Nilakka edge it to do like with my Wolfspyder: like scandi sharpening shown in Ray Mears video…. only using the flat of the blade as guide.

For now I got a razor able to make hairs jumping and been harvested with only one caress.

But also it can stand whittling in hard wood: no chipping or edge warping.
More to come very soon, as I will erase definitvely that microbevel, but I need more time…
“I need more time to make good on the promises I made to the world
When the world was moving slower…” Justin Sullivan.

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Tuscan Raider #6 — Ed Schempp Bowie at his best, in the plates !

It’s not a surprise but Ed Schempp Bowie is not only a knife to keep in a safe for collection.
I have been taking a lot of knives in Tuscany. Fixed blades to test in the wood of the national parks and some folders. But eventually the Bowie has taken an important place in my trip.
Why ?
First it’s a gorgeous knife which create a lot of conversation.
Also it’s so easy to pocket. This is a huge plus for this EDC: it’s stay in your pocket like a much shorter folder. It’s easy to grab it and to take it. It’s always with you.
I have thinned the edge to the level of my Delica and the result on whittling wood are really outstanding.

It was easy to keep clean and classy. Meaning it can be used in the farm and in the city.

But it’s in the plate and in the kitchen that the Bowie was able to shine bright.

On the table, the Bowie takes its place with pride.

And the Kukri’s curve (Ed Schempp Signature) helps a lot when cutting in the plate.
At the opposite of my ZT0562CF with its flipper getting in the way…

The beef meat cookes at the flame is zipped open by the convexed edge.

The Tuscanian crostini are made of liver are gently spread on bread.

The trip back home leaded us through the Alps and the Opinel birth place.

Spritz, beer, hams and cheeses. The bowie was easy to open and close without to be noticed.


The roblochon is a cheese which needs a long blade.

Eventually the Bowie excellence can be expressed in the woods and in the plate. This is not the case of all folding knives. Ed Schempp’s EDC does it with elegance and efficiency.
So no, really it’s not a safe queen this is a knife to be used every day with pride.

 

Tuscan Raiders #4 – Geometries, Gayle Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction and whittling.

It has all started when I wanted to review the Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction. It’s a great design for an EDC fixed blade which can be used for everything. Easy to carry in its pancake constructed bolteron sheath. But the edge was just too thick for my own use. To my knowledge, SPF27 is some kind of CPM D2 steel. A lot of carbon 1.5% and not a lot of chromium around 12%. Not the easiest on the stone as a semi stainless. It was not very soft under the diamonds compared to another blade in N690 HRC59 I got with me. And it was not really easy to remove the shoulder to create a gentle convex edge. Patience… In sharpening is important. And I often lack of it but I was able to improve it. Next some black stone mostly to remove the scratches. And then the white ceramic to get a better finish and a razor steel. You can notice the chamfered signature hole on the Junction. A première. The cuts were deeper. It was better! Much more enjoyable. But the spine was too sharp for my thumb and diamonds came handy to rounded the angles. It would never be a Sebenza spine…. Again the control during whittling was much much better. One should never be scared to round the edges for suiting your own needs. The handle is very flat on that knife. It’s an attention for people who wish to stash their knife in a pocket or a backpack without leaving a print. But a flat knife is not the most comfortable in the palm of your hand… Especially when cutting hard things for a long time. I decided to make a quick comparison with the Spyderco Sprig which is a pleasure to use. You can notice how the Phil Wilson’s Sprig got a thicker handle. And it change everything when cutting hard things. Also Phil Wilson’s is all about performances. Its geometry is stellar. It immediately cuts deep in wood without any real improvement needed…. But diamonds were there to be usef. 🙂 I was able to get thin regular cuts into the wood. So I have decided to try the diamonds on the Gayle Bradley Bowie I have brought with me. This one got a thicker geometry and is made if the same pulverized alloy as the Junction You can always improve an edge. Used as a light chopper it worked just fine. Gayle Bradley has provided a great compact Bowie which can be used as a light camp knife. You can see: it’s not a lot bigger compared to my Ed Chempp Bowie. And the edge once thinned is honorable. Of course it is not as thin as my Pekka Tuominen Urban II for example. And not as aggressive as the Sprig… I got…. too much knives on my table…

It was time to go to lunch. An Francesca knows how to prepare the pasta with pomodori. Crostini a la Toscane. Poultry liver, oignons, red wine, bread and a Bowie. Back in the outside I was thinking of a simple way to see the “impact” of good geometry on whittling. On the right, a single cut if the thin Delica and, on the left, a single cut of the thicker ZT0562CF. The Delica cuts deeper on a more open angle. Better geometry. But the ZT was pleasant to use even if it was not as fast at the job. Also the Delica was able to cut from the ricasso to the point without any hard pressure. In the end, I had noticed that the Junction was less good than the Sprig and the Delica was still the best whittler in the batch. No matter the steel, for wood cutting, geometry is queen. So I have taken my Bowie back to the diamonds and put a keener edge. Tomorrow it will be hunting day.

Tuscan Raider #3 – Spyderco C215GP Euroedge.

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Again this is all made with my smartphone as I’m far from any computer.

A folding dagger as beautifully designed and made is not a bushcraft knife.

But my very first modern folder back in 1993 has been a Gerber Applegate folding dagger.

The first models were made in a stainless steel close to 420Hc.

The Euroedge is made of S30V.

Cutting wood with it is like making chop sticks with a bastard sword: it was not designed for that. The Euroedge is like a weapon a Templar will keep at hand. The blade is massive and the stock is thick.

The handle is so well made G10 feels like carbon fibers.

It is one of the most beautiful Spyderco ever made and a real tour de force in pure hommage to ancient times.

“”I can do anything”, Ed Schempp, will push the envelope, often just to see if he can. I did a “hammer” in at Ed’s house. Just a bunch of knife afi’s with great skill working on a globe. But no hammers. Ed designed and built a series of miniature rolling mills so we can produce mosaic
Damascus pieces, each with an assignment. Ed’s my “go to” guy for Ethnic series knives. Take a design hundreds, or even thousands of year old, capture the purpose and function and re-create that in a modern folder. He studies the design, the history, function and purpose before beginning. Those of you that have studied and used Ed’s designs know what I’m talking about. True original classics, each and every one.”
Sal Glesser.

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.