Tag Archives: CTS XHP

This is the Swayback – Spyderco C249TIP First glimpse at a Sebenza Grand Child.

Here it is, the new Marcin Slysz designed Spydie some have been dreaming for almost 10 years. Inspired by 19th Century pocket knives design this is another grand child of the Mighty Sebenza with a Reeve Integral Lock and many other details which relie on Reeve’s legacy of making high quality folding workhorses.
(BTW big kuddos to the Coutellerie Tourangelle which has been able to send it during vacation’s period in 3 days.)
You will see, it is more a Sebenza’ heir that I thought.

Let’s read the description:

Inspired by 19th century English Jack knives, the sway back pattern is a stylish and extremely functional cutting tool. In his latest Spyderco collaboration, renowned Polish knifemaker Marcin Slysz supercharges this classic design by rendering it with state-of-the-art materials and craftsmanship. 
The SwayBack’s hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade is crafted from CTS® XHP stainless steel and has a handsome stonewashed finish. It is housed in an open-backed handle constructed with solid titanium scales. Both scales are beautifully crowned for comfort and the reverse-side scale forms the foundation of a sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) with a stainless steel interface. 
A polished stainless steel clip provides convenient carry and is reversible for left or right-side tip-up access.

OK… Polished stainless steel on a Polish expensive knife… tss.. tss…
Now the specs:
Overall Length 204mm
Blade Length 90mm
Steel CTS XHP
Closed Length 115mm
Edge Length 84mm
Weight 111g
Blade Thickness 3.5mm

When I have receive the knife I was chocked. Chocked by a simple fact: I could not open that damn folder with one hand ! It was like glued !!
Two hands I could. One hand -> impossible. Glued.
Again: IMPOSSIBLE. And again. And again. 
The hole is not sharp, he got a light bevel and my thumb cannot catch it. 

In fact, as seen on the 3rd picture, the lock bar is wide, the hole is deep in the handle, so instinctively my other fingers push the bar and augment the detent strength -> you can not open it.
On the second picture you can notice my middle finger pushing the handle’s bar of the the frame lock.
So I was the source of my problem. Not the knife.
It is just a matter of NOT touching the lock bar when opening the damn thing !
Also it is also important to push at 90° from the handle, like Chris Reeve was advising 20 years ago about his Sebenza. You see ? It is really a Sebbie grand child. 🙂
With the Spyderco Ikushi, this is my second tricky Spyderco. Eventually I gave up on the Ikushi. The Swayback is more on a learn curve and finding new muscle motors way.

As you can notice, it ask a little gymnastical way: holding the knife by the pivot and the clip. But it is learnt quick.
I really thought it is the answer of Marcin to all that fidget fashion.
For example the Para3 is so easy to open and close it is almost a game for some people. Click open. Clack closed.
But here, the Swayback tells you “I am a very serious knife ! Not a toy.”
Like Chris Reeve said: “Think twice, cut once”.
You open it with a certain joy and he closes just by gravity.
It is ‘that’ good.

 

Perhaps this is also a way to force you to use two hands to opening it. It is a polite way to open your knife in public. Also it prevents children or other people to open the knife without your permission. In this case it is great ! 🙂
I also found a way to open it in reverse grip with my ring finger.
It is also a very polite way to open a folder as the point is turned toward yourself. Also the reverse grip is really made for that knife.

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Now the other point of disappointment is the stainless steel clip.

It is high and really not in the style of all the previous Spyderco Slycz which were wired like you can see it on my picture of the Swayback next to the Spydiechef.

I got some titanium clips in spare so let see… which one could fit.

They are all as high as the OEM Spyderco but I do not wanted the deep carry titanium clip to stand over the handle edge.  Also I wanted it to match the handle better.

Too long….

Too shiny…

Perfect.

So let’s make some pictures:

So now the edge is very thin on this knife. It is an hollow ground blade like the Sebbie. My 1997 ATS34 is still in a great shape.

Let’s try the edge….

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The factory edge is impressive. Just a few pass on leather and it get to real razor. CTX XHP fine grain is known for that behavior.
I have used it on tomatoes and it passed the test with the famous flying colours.

It is a relatively big folder with great ergos. I appreciate the hidden “choil” or hidden guard and the sway back fits the meat of my palm perfectly. No hot spot there, even with the old or new clip.

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The plastic coke bottle’s butt has been perfectly passed. It is really amazing.

The edge/handle ratio is also great. It is really a tool which screams to be used and looking forward to use it on wood for whittling. There is plenty of space for my thumb to push on the spine.
The Swayback is also an exquisite work of love by Taichung plant.
Many details are hidden like the double pins screw inside the blade around the pivot. They works as stop pin with bevel inside the slabs.
Nick Shabbaz has made a nice video about it.
Taichung rocks really.

So here we got a very elegant folder with a lot of very thin edge. I told you it is very CRK in his blood.
The clip provided is OK but it is a matter of preference to find another one. Once you have learned to put your index high on the handle, near the pivot, the opening is flawless.

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It is very very sharp and the straight edge us generous in length and geometry.
I’m looking forward using it and it will the in another article.

 

And now you can proudly say: “THIS IS THE SWAY !!”    😉

mandalo-season-2

Cold Steel Recon 1 XL — O’ Brother where art thou ?

Everything I could have said about that knife is already in my XL Voyager Review here !

Really, you should start by that post.

This Recon 1 XL version is just proposing some real great upgrades.
Compared to the Recon 1 normal version: this is a full flat ground bowie blade when the other version is hollow ground.

The DLC coating is really really nice and not easily scratched like the goo paint used before.

The CTS XHP made by Carpenter is a wonderful alloy I have had first discovered on the Spyderco Techno. But here you got 5,5 inches of steel !!

G10 is more luxurious than Grivory and it’s easily sanded to your preferences.
My Recon 1 XL could have been used as a wood file as the G10 was too grippy for my taste. G10 is so solid, you can make blades in G10, it doesn’t need any liners. The result is a very light package. (My Voyager XL got aluminium liners).


Sanded the G10 turns white but is cleaned back under tap water.
(Don’t breath that dust !!!)

The clip is not useable. anyway clipping such a knife is not the easiest way to carry it.
It disappear perfectly in a deep pocket or in my case in my travel bag.
I would be able to EDC my K2 but this voyager asked for a vest or a bag.

The detent is smooth. even a little too smooth to my taste. But nothing to worry about. The knife can be open with a gentle flick of the wrist as the heft and momentum is important with such a blade.

Again, like all CS blade I have chosen and which are manufactured in Taiwan: the thin edge is remarquable. That monster blade slits plastic, wood and flesh with an uncanny ease. There is a lot of power in the cuts. And all is served with their Triadlock which is the Mega lock by excellence. There is zero play in any direction.
The knife is fantastic, this is a dream for Crocodile Dundey !
It also perfectly balanced with it sweet point two centimeters behind the axis.
This blade is alive and fast in your hand.

I was able to import that big bad baby for less than 100 euros including shipping. Talking about power/price ratio, huh ?

Spyderco Slysz Bowie ~ C186TI – The Iron Mistress

Marcin Slycz Bowie

This folder was my favorite of all the knives shown on Amsterdam Minimeet 2014. I loved the ergos. The convex curves on the titanium. The reinterpreted bowie blade. The perfect size for an EDC. The attention to details. Really I have been more than impressed by Marcin next collaboration with Spyderco.
The Techno was IMHO AFAIC a bold move to the EDC world. An heart stroke. But now Marcin was striking again with a refined working folder. Thinner but also more “feminine” hence the “Mistress” title. Raising the bar.

Marcin Slysz Bowie and Chris Reeve Sebenza
Ah, who could kill the Sebenza ? Huh ? When you hear about Titanium slabs and Integral Lock it’s the first word which come to my mind.

So this is a first glimpse to this gorgeous folder. Let’s start by the cons:
OK, mine needs some opening and closing to be as glass smooth as it suppose to be. I haven’t reach the torx to ease the axis screw yet.
The wire clip got a way to block the pocket’s draws. It comes from the way the lock has been designed. No big deal. It could even been seen as some kind of security but I’m considering switching the clip to the other smoother side of the handle. But again, for reverse grip opening (using the ring finger) I need a smoother action.

Now the pros and they are a lot:
Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder but ergonomy is in the pawns of the user. This one suits my hand perfectly.
No finger choil. But a longer edge. The convex titanium handle, just pure pleasure to hold.
A very clever G10 spacer which is used to improved the ergonomy by avoiding any risk of a slippery handle.
The convex handle which is gentle in your palm.
A lot of belly for a really thin edge. A point in perfect alignement with the handle.

The edge is so thin than I was able to do my favorite Coke bottle test with ease and control.
Proportion blade / handle is near perfect for a folding knife of that size.

This knife is asking to be used. It feels well in the hands and the geometry is optimum. The size is perfect for an EDC. The clip is deep enough to make the knife disappear in the pocket.
The balance is just behind the axis. The absence of hole hump makes it a looker.
So now will come the tests and as a companion, a K2 should come next week.

How will perform the CTS-XHP compared to CPM10V ?

Update:
The convex handle makes it really nice to use. I have found that my index and thumb, which are leading the cuts, are sort of “nested” near the pivot by those rounded titanium slabs. I was able to cut with a lot of accuracy and the belly was welcome for cutting deep.
It’s a gorgeous knife to deploy and eat with. A excellent conversation starter too.
It has been used on plates with no damage to the edge. CTS XHP is a very forgiving steel in my book.
The shape of the blade makes it look like a “country” knife, and has been very sheeple friendly ! As I use the radius spine it’s a pleasure for push cuts in hard wood. Haven’t done anything really serious, it was just a short walk but that knife is screaming to be use hard. 🙂

Edit: I have found a simple way to avoid the clip to snag… just by making it a little longer.
And switching with the clip of the Manix 2 Lightweight (I had already removed to witch with the Pingo’s deeper one…)
No more snagging in the pocket now.
Slysz Bowie clip issue
And now the clipped knife goes less deep but the draws are smooth.

Spyderco Techno & Tuff glimpse: “Thick twice, cut once!”

I love thin blades and showing to a friend how an Opinel could push cut in hard material when high tech “tactical” folders won’t succeed, is a fact of common sens… but my still I love THICK HEAVY blades. Those which are so brutal and so manly ! And turning the Chris Reeve quote from “Think…” to “Thick…” is quite natural when both knives got a Reeve’s Integral Lock.

OK, two rapid shares:

Spyderco Techno

The Spyderco Techno.
I was not prepared to that knife as I was taken by surprise.
After weighting and holding a gorgeous prototype imported directly from Marcin Slysz in Poland at the last Spyderco Minimeet in Amsterdam, my heart skept a beat: that little Tank was incredibly beautiful and design as a über-worker. I loved it.
The beatblasted handle and beatblasted blade are an appeal to abuses and hard work. Worst the 4.5mm thick blade looks more as a wedge than a cutting instrument.

SPyderco Techno

But beyond look lays performances. The grind is high and thin. The result is an incredible cutting machine.
I was really surprise how deep and easy the Techno cut.
Better, the new steel is a breeze to get razor sharp and it has stay at that level since I got it.

*”From Mike Stewart of BRK&T:

On Friday I shipped 30 of the XHP Woodlands that we made to see how this steel works with our Heat Treat and Geometry.

I’m pretty sure that you will be able to get one – if you act quickly – from either Dale or Derrick.

Let me tell you about what we learned.

Three of us tested the crap out of mine on Thursday and Friday.

I cut a bunch of wood and leather.

Skittles did the same for about an hour.

jimmy then also did the same and then batoned down two small trees out back for good measure.

Re-read above.

Note that no place did we say we re-touched the edge.

We didn’t – I still have not and it still aggressively shaves hair and cleanly slices paper – just like it did when it was first finished.

I’m not sure what is going on with this stuff but I have never seen a more aggressive cutting stainless steel.

Here is what Carpenter Says:

Carpenter Technology Corporation has developed an alloy known as CTS-XHP, an air hardening, high carbon, high chromium, corrosion resistant alloy which can be described as either a high hardness Type 440C stainless steel or a corrosion resistant D2 tool steel. This steel is made using powder metallurgy and possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to Type 440C stainless but can attain a maximum hardness of 64 HRC which is approaching that of D2 tool steel. This alloy offers superior edge retention and surface finish, an ability to be machined to a fine edge, and consistent heat-treatability from lot to lot making it ideal material for knife blades.

I don’t agree with them.

This Stuff is nothing like 440C and nothing like D-2.

It grinds easily and polished easily.

It appears tougher than D-2.

440C goes dead flat dull in cutting a fraction of the wood and leather we did so this is more like A-2.

If somebody asked me to put a tag on this stuff – it would be Stainless A-2.”

Been using the Techno in a plate, or for carboard processing: the razor sharp blade was not affected.
CTS XHP steel is really an excellent steel and this is my first experience with it. (Almost bought a C36 Military Sprint Run with brown G10 handle and that new CTS XHP steel, considered as a stainless version of D2…)

SPyderco Techno

Compared to D2, the CTS is powder metallurgy steel. I just know that the Techno edge is incredibly sharp and stays that way. Incredibly friendly.
(Unfriendly steel/edges are the one who betrays you when you need it sharp and doesn’t want to get sharp afetr thrity minutes on stone…)
My concern about having a knife not enough pointy were false. My techno got enought penetration power to be use on soft or hard material.
The rounded edges make it a very ergonomic and sweet tool to use. It feels solid ans it cuts like a charm, everything I throw at it: cardboard, meat, plastic, wood…
Spyderco techno

To sum up the Techno is small, sharp, smooth, easy to carry, hefty and toolish… What a great EDC knife Marcin Slysz has designed !

Now Ed Schemp’s TUFF.

SPyderco Tuff

This knife is tuff. Tuff to open. Tuff to close. Thick (but thinner by 0,5mm compared to the techno). Heavy (compared to my Millie)
As first glance it’s not friendly.
But once open in the hands: great balance, nice folding Kukri feeling, great choil. I love the fuller since I handle the prototype in 2005.
It’s a great improvement to grabbing the blade and “spyderdrop” the Tuff. I love the “craters” in the titanium and the G10.

Ok immediatly I have changer the clip to tip down carry. Like that, I can grab it by the blade and I can open it “spyderdrop” style. Not as fast as my Millie but it is now reliable to put in use. (
Once closed the knife got a rounded shape and is not “that” thick. I was surprised how it can be forgotten once clipped to my denim pocket.
A very good point.

I ask Ed Schemp as the Paris Blade Show (SICAC) if it was possible to smooth it a little, but as the locking bar is short and strong, I need to get use to that tuff opening and closing. No big deal. This is a tuff knife ! 🙂
The blade in CMP 3V is really easy to go beyond factory sharp. CPM 3V loves leather stropping. Despite it’s saber flat grind, mine can get hair popping sharp.
Now I need to use it in the woods to see what the design is all about.
I want this knife to be a folding kukri. Tuff enough for light chopping. The gun handle ask for a beating.
Like with my Lionspy, I want to be able to cut a walking staff with ease and no after thinking.
The tuff ask for going in the wild like a good old Land Rover is asking to take the long way home.

SPyderco Tuff

So more to come soon about this two thick brothers.

(FYI there is also got two slimmer sisters in the review pipe: the Gayle Bradley Air and the extraordinary South Fork… Different strokes !)