Tag Archives: Ed Schempp

Crucarta’s Family — The Spyderco Shaman reveals its power.

Since its arrival my Crucarta has been used hard, fallen twice on rocks and pavement and been immerged in dirty water.
Well this Shaman is made for that.
In fact I have notice how well it could inserted between my CPM M4 Millie and my CPM 3V Tuff.  Theyu both could be his parents.
Knowing the Tuff is Ed Schempp design for a “Built As A Tank” folder and the Millie “Built As A Tool” Sal’s Glesser design, the Shaman got the best of both world:
A tank knife built as a tool: a solid folder which is really sharp.


This is not the easiest design to achieve. The result is a very powerful folder: solid in term of lateral strength and razor sharp for deep push cutting.
So yes, the Shaman is outstanding bring the slicing power of a Millie with the toughness of a Tuff.
CPM Cruwear is the right choice as it is really standing between CPM M4 and CPM 3V.
It is tougher than CPM M4 and less tough than CPM 3V and in term of pur edge retention it is also in between both.

Being clumsy and getting clumsier, my Shaman has fallen on tiles and rocks twice.
No damage after a very close inspection. Nothing on Micarta or on the blade. The recess steel spacer is immaculate too. The blade is not Stonewashed on the Crucarta sprint run, it it gets some scratches from use but nothing really bad so far.
It has been used on wood, dirty roots, plastic and kitchen duty.

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For those who know how tricky a coke bottle butt push cutting can be… The Shaman  is “that” powerful.

I had notice some hot spots to my delicate hands.
The were easy to erase on the micarta handle.

A gentle filing is eliminating them and the rounded handle does marvel in terms of confort.


I have used the same diamond file, and it was a longer task, to file the teeth of the blade’s spine as I use my thumb for my push cuts. Also you can notice there is a flat place for the hand before the lock as I mentioned it in my previous review about the Para3 Lightweight which lack of that “flat bed”. It changes every thing in terms of confort when cutting in repetition hard thing without gloves.

Eventually IMHO the real son of the Shaman is designed by Sal’s own son: Eric.
TheLil’Native is really playing in the same league in term of strong workhorse folder but at a lesser scale. Like its father it conserves a thick spine for a very strong tip.
The Native and the Chief on one side with their thinner blade and lockbacks and the Shaman and the Lil’Native and the other.

Like father, like son. Les chiens ne font pas des chats as we say in French.

Benchmade 200 Puukko – Call me Snake.

This is the first Benchmade’s review for a long time. Why ? Not because of the quality of Les De Asis company’s products but because I was not really excited by their production in the last decade after a huge love with their AFCK back in 90’s, and also with Nimravus and all those blades in M2HS which is a tungsten high speed steel, the granddaddy of CPM M4.
I still got a AFCK in M2HSS and browsing that blog, you will find it here.

So here we go, two words has caught my attention on that new Benchmade: Puukko and CPM3V.

“CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in a high wear-resistance steel. It offers impact resistance greater than A2, D2, Cru-Wear, or CPM M4, approaching the levels provided by S7 and other shock resistant grades. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of a high alloy steel are required.” Source Crucible.

COMPOSITION
C Mn Si Cr Mo V
0.80 0.30 1.00 7.50 1.30 2.75

To quote my friend Max Wedge:
“3V loses 1/3 of the toughness going from 58hrc to 60 hrc (still 1/3 above A2 at 60 hrc, and A2 is indestructible… almost). Both 4V and Cruware start to shine around 60-62 Hrc… so, 3V for choppers, 4V or Cruware for slicers, Cruware having best corrosion resistance ( trait appreciated by soldiers & foresters)”

So this tough short blade made of chopper steel is at a very good bargain !! Let see what it is all about.

The leather sheath is beautiful even (if there is a loop in the stitching… I will upgrade it into a kydex for pocket carry.) and cleverly designed as a dangler. You can remove the loop to transform it into a classical sheath.
There is a place for sparkling rod in the Bushcraft fashion. I don’t care about carry a knife of that size attached to my belt. I prefer to have it inside my pocket or my bag.

The blade is an eye candy for some reason it reminds me the small SOG Seal Pup knife with no false edge but that’s me… Is this a Puukko ?

That handle is made in some kinf of thermorun… but it is rubberized Santoprene is a soft, non-hygroscopic elastomer which exhibits excellent surface appearance, a durable soft-touch feel, excellent colorability and excellent “processability”… made by Exxon.

It is made from underground forgotten dinosaurs and jurassic biomass aka “petroleum” hence the look of scales on it ?  Because that handle looks like some sort of snake or cold blood creature. I love it.

Now is this a scandi ground blade ? Nope. There is a secondary bevel. Is the knife sharp ? Yep, very sharp but could be better. Later/soon on that.

It is a hidden tang construction and you can see the steel in the lanyard hole. This knife is solid as CPM3V is really tough !!
Hidden tang are great when you work in cold weather, protecting your hand from a frozen steel.

That blade is short but handy: it asks to be used hard like… Snake Plissken’s hard actually ! Because 3V is magic in toughness ! 😀

Compared to a Mora or the Urban Hunter (from Pekka Tuominen) the Benchmade 200 stands its ground.

Here are two vision of CPM3V industrial use. Ed Schempp Spyderco Tuff is pure business. So that BM200 should be even tougher as a fixed blade.

Teamed with a Manly Wasp, you got a great combo.


But a puukko (in my book) needs a thinner edge and it is time to scratch that blade to de-shoulder all that. Diamonds do scratches but then scratches will be polished later. Thinner convexed edge is destin to go deep and get twisted; this is a tough steel.

Diamonds, ceramic and leather. Who needs more ?  CPM 3V is really like chewing gum you need abrasive medium to form that convex edge.

A some compound with the leather stropping is mandatory to erase those scratches

See ? Now it is convexed and will be smooth on whittling wood. No worry for that edge stability again 3V is perfect for that use.

Standing next my Serrata which is my only naturally serrated knife.

So now, I just need some white ceramic to keep it sharp and some stropping. It is ready for testing. The Puukko shape is more for me a “Coutelas de Rahan” shape actually (French people will understand but here is the link: Rahan in Wikipedia.
making this little tough knife very appealing to bring it everywhere.
Everywhere is a good point to start. 😉

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52100 A guilty pleasure !

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As you know my experience with 52100 has been enhanced with the owning of a great Paramillie 2 Sprint Run. This steel is staining and pitting just by gazing at it hence the forced patina I have done to protect the pivot’s hidden part.

But then ? After almost a year of rotation how 52100 has behaved ?

“52100 will take a very keen edge. What is often called “sticky sharp” or “a hungry edge.” said Sal in March 2018.  He also said he wanted a Millie in 52100 to be used as Mountain knife.
And this is true. Like SuperBlue steel ! Those folding razor steel are flirting with lightsabers and are strong. Of course you don’t use your folders like a fixed blade as the pivot and lock can be weaker than a tang. “Batoning” (if any) with a folder should be made with the blade unlocked to avoid any stress on the locking mechanism. But lateral blade jolting inside the cutting medium is commun. I do that in plastics when It got resistance but it can happen inside a wooden knot too. So lateral strength especially on a thin pointy blade like the Millie/paramillie and Para3 is not a luxury as is also edge stability.

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But the greatest joy and satisfaction in owning a 52100 blade is in its honing. This steel is made for leather stropping. In two passes it already get back to razor. Of course, I had convexed the blade to a very thin edge. In a simple 2 minutes round, after a full day of using, your knife is back to uncanny sharpness. This is so satisfying !!

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The thick bottom of any plastic plastic soda bottle is my favorite test for geometry and bite as it can collapse under the force if not thin enough. The Nilakka is the queen in that game. But my full flat ground blade are all convexed to achieve powerful and controlled cuts. The thinnest of the bunch are my 72100 et CPM M4.

Ghost my CPM M4 millie has been used on various cutting duty involving food and grease as has been my 52100 Paramillie. I don’t do cutting ropes tests or anything which can be numbered, I go with the feeling. Even if I enjoy reading those tests it’s “quantity” over “quality” as a blade is 33% steel 33% heat treatment and 33% blade geometry. Cutting hard wood, looking and touching the wood’s grain and the cut fibers and how the edge behave when twisted inside is my way ad as 52100 is also used in razors: shaving sticks of hard wood is done with ease and control.

For Ed Fowler (grand manitou of forging 52100) when carefully forged and heat treated, this is the most versatile and dependable steel available to the knife industry. He feels that a man who depends on his knife deserves and needs the most reliable knife possible that will not bend easily or break when he needs it the most. A knife that can be sharpened easily and is friendly to his hand.

Ed got a very oldtimer advice for keeping his 52100 blade rust free:
“Any oil will keep rust from the blade, many times I simply apply the oil from the side of my nose or from behind my ear…”
One thing is certain: the more you use your 52100 blade, the more you check it and oil it with your hands.

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Ed is not stranger to folding knives as he has teamed up with Ron Appleton and forged the blade out of 52100 for his “Chub” in 2001. Ron wanted to create a folding knife that would be capable of withstanding the rigorous demands of a straight blade user.

Our friend Ed Schempp is another fan of 52100 here what he was saying about it in 2005
“52100 is a very good steel. Ed Fowler has spent a life time tweaking this steel to improve performance. With multiple thermal cycles, normalizing and interrupted quenches, and low temp forging has accomplished and extremely fine grained steel.
Most of the time a good smith can further refine the grain on production steel. Some of the grain can be smaller then but not of the homogenous size that Crucible attains in their CPM products.
This translates to a finer cutting edge that can be sharper than S30V. This edge will not necessarily last as long as a high Vanadium steel like S30V, but can a higher initial sharpness.
The thermal treatment to bring the best of what 52100 has to offer will be expensive, although a simple heat treatment will still bring forward a good amount of what the steel has to offer. Differentially hardened blades would be very difficult to do commercially.”

So 52100 is still a guilty pleasure, because you know it will stain, it will need maintenance but when it come to using it hard and hone it back to sharp, this steel shows is true colors !

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About Locks — How to choose ?

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Nowadays rendering of three iconic 90’s lock: Liner Lock, Back Lock and Integral Lock.

They are plethora of locks since the 90’s when the Tactical Folders trend started.
“Tactical” , a term which has been mainly used in a marketing way, means you can get access to your knife easily — A clip or a well thought pouch — and more important: to be able to open it and close it with one hand.
The blade needs to be locked in open position and also to stay closed while in the pocket.
Let’s have a look on the locks I prefer and use.

20180410_134558-01.jpegMaxamet Para3 Compression Lock.

The Compression Lock.
Described as:
“A lock mechanism that uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).”
What I like about that Spyderco in-house engineered system is how smooth the action is.
Spyderco is now developing and proposing flippers with the CL because the breaking action on the pivot is minimal. On my different CL folders I can open the blade in different ways: using the index, pushing the paddle to unlock the blade…
It’s fun. It depends on a detent ball to keep the blade closed.
It’s a lock easy to clean and check as the handle are all open framed. It also asked for some nested liners which, when they are skeletonized, need more attention for cleaning, especially when you use you knife in the kitchen like I do. I rinse them under hot tap water , wipe the blade and make them dry inside the pocket with body heat.
Also the compression lock can be hurting the palm of your hand when cutting hard matters.

20171208_120329-011500186881.jpegNative 5 Back Lock.

The Back Lock.
Described on the Spyderco” Edge-U-Cation pages as: “A locking system positioned on the back of the handle that uses a rocker arm that pivots in the center. A lug on one end of the arm engages a notch in the blade’s tang to lock the blade open.”

The Manly Peak and the Native 5.
This lock has been infamous since the Buck110 and all its copycats. Spyderco has developed mainly mid-locking system which can be unlock without changing your grip lick on a Buck110. It was demonstrated with the first Native how safe it was it unlock their knife and let the choil of the blade get in touch with your finger before to close it.
This is still the way I do it, even on my Delica and Endura which got no proper choil: unlocking the blade by pushing the lock free and let the blade falling half way on your finger. The Back Lock got a spring which is strong enough to avoid a detent ball. Old timers used to pu a match inside their closed Buck110 to pass the stronger spring tension and get it open faster. On Spyderco’s, it’s also easy to avoid any locking noise just by pression the paddle before it get completely opened. Unless the blade is very heavy like on XL Cold Steel Voyager, it’s not a lock for gravity opening. But it’s one of the most solid lock. In fact because of the way it’s engaged, it can be much more solid than all the other locks. Spyderco were testing their strong back found on the Chinooks and Manix with amazing results.

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It’s not the easiest lock to clean as there is no open framed handle. It’s hard to see if debris can be jammed in. Also it’s not the funniest lock to use as the spring tension is felt during all the opening and closing motion. The Spydies with relatively heavy handles can be spyderdropped for quick opening. I do that on my Knifecenter stainless steel spacered Delica for example. It’s also easy on your palm during hard cuts because of their closed handle spine. Some Compression Lock haters are Back Lock lovers because of that confortable handles.
Also I have noticed on many of my Back Locks knives some vertical play when cutting on board which brings us to…


The TriAd Lock
Featured on Cold Steel’s folders it is essentially a Back Lock with a stop pin. There is no more vertical play when cutting. It doesn’t change anything toward the negative force used to close the lock blade.
You can also find inside the Chaparral an hidden stop pin invisible as it’s hidden near the pivot.

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The Liner Lock.
“A locking system developed by custom knifemaker Michael Walker that uses a leaf-like spring split from the liner to wedge laterally against a ramped surface on the tang of the blade.”
This lock was the king of Tactical frenzyness back in the 90’s. The Benchmade CQC7 and AFCK promoted them in titanium and Spyderco developped their Military with a stainless steel liner lock. If I remember well Sal Glesser and Les de Asis were together private students of Bob Terzuola which is a master in liner locks making before to start their own production. Depending on a detent ball, the liner lock was bringing that smoothness the Back Lock could not provide but it was not the strongest lock available.

wp-image-1554915927Ed Schempp Euroedge strong liner lock.

To test it many people tried the infamous and stupid spine whack and many time with shock the liner was unlocked and damaged by that treatment.
It’s a very easy to lock to get open and close fast just be careful to put your finger out of the way when closing.
Titanium liner locks are wearing more than stainless steel liners.
It should not be difficult to clean depending of the handle conception. On that matter the last version of the C36 Military got rid of they spacer and got now a full open handle for easy check.

The RIL
Then Chris Reeve came with his Sebenza and used a lock bar that is integral to one of the handle scales. It was giving you the sentiment, you hand’s grasp was also enhancing the locking mechanism. It’s also a very easy mechanism to clean and check hence the Spydiechef, or the K2 which are easy to use in the kitchen even after being defiled by grease and meat…
20171130_113248312135934.jpgRIL of the Advocate and the ZT550.

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The PPT is a mix of both RIL and liner designs with the possibility to grasp it and hold it in opening position.


BALL BEARING LOCK
“A patented compressive lock that wedges a ball bearing between a fixed anvil and the blade tang. The mechanism also serves as a detent to hold the blade in the closed position.” I was developed by Eric Glesser for his Dodo and can be found on the Manix 2 folders with a caged ball version. Some people found a lot of similitude with the Axis Lock from Benchmade but here, instead of two omega springs, it is a coil spring pushing a ball bearing made of ceramic of stainless steel. It’s smooth but not as easy to clean as other locks. Actually I prefer it on the Lightweight version of the Manix which is my main travelling knife with its CPM110V blade. It’s engineering makes it one of the strongest as you can not squeeze a ball bearing easily and it is also self adjusting.

The cage ball can be exchange with a custom titanium cage in case of breaking after years of using. It happen to my cousin who has modeled his own resin ball.

The Balisong Lock.
This could be the most fun system to use and also the strongest. Easy maintenance, no spring… It’s a very old design. The first trace was found in 1780 in France with a knife called “Le Pied Du Roy” (The King’s Foot) and circa 1800, butterfly knives were uncommon. They were made in Paris and Thier. There is a beautiful collection of the old Butterfly Knives in the Thiers Museum.  French Army troops were provided with Butterfly Knives, but after WW2 there is no more trace of Butterflies made by this brand.
(More to come in the re-edition of the Fred Perrin’s balisong review soon.)

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Locking a folding blade has been a puzzle for engineers for centuries. The roman folders were not locking and 2000 years ago a folding knife’s handle was considered as an attached sheath which means it was hold like a razor: by the blade.

So how to choose a lock ? Recently I have been surprised on how well the Bulgarian Manly Peak was operating: no vertical or lateral play on its very strong Back Lock. I have been playing with the Sliverax Compression Lock flipping options. My old Sebenza RIL lock is still in great shape and my Ed Schempp Bowie flies in opening position…

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Lock is just a matter of taste and use, selling a design just by its lock won’t work. Some designs are made for compression lock like the Sliverax wasp shape flipper design could not go easily with another lock.

But always remember a folder cannot be as strong as a fixed blade. Marketing can be your enemy but the main enemy of locks are shocks because its weakest element will give in, bend or broke. Now when you choose a knife made by reknown makers and manufacturers you can trust their locks but it’s not the case with all the copycats and cheap knives which often got very bad quality elements ready to break or bend at the first use. I’m not saying the best locks are the most expensive but looking for quality in the making should be mandatory in your choice.

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.