Tag Archives: Eric Glesser

Spyderco C81GPCW2 Paramillie CPM CruWear KnifeCenter Exclusive — Another Smooth Operator.

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This one will be my 5th Paramillie 2, so it is a well known plateforme but the offer was to great to pass: a CPM Cruwear blade and a smooth black G10 handle: another exclusive run from the Knifecenter which is synonym of of a great attention to detail. This sprint run is absolutely flawless and its operation is smooth like butter. You really feel in your hand one of the greatest all-terrain EDC version ever made by Spyderco, no more no less. You can also check my previous review of the Knifecenter Smooth S90V Native 5.

Perfectly centered and the grind lines just great. Golden is getting better and better through the years, it is like a real jewel of a “tactical knife”. Sal and Aric can be proud of that one !

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This sprint run got smooth black G10 handles but pardon my French, I do love my edges even smoother than that. It’s really a matter of personal choice but the relation with my tools goes through the finger and the palm of my hands.

So OK It was really a matter of minutes just to round a bit the G10, as I was not obliged to sand all the slabs. So it was an minor adjustment.

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The edge is already thin, So I cannot really improve it.

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CPM Cruwear is great for stropping: a mirror edge is done very easily.

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It is just the first try at deshouldering, the factory edge is still there and I want to test it that way.
This is not my first CPM Cruwear blade as my Grey Millie “Gandalf” was my first.

The knife operates so smoothly I have decided to carry it tip up and have installed a short deep carry clip which disappears under my ring finger once deployed. My intention is also to use the version of the Paramillie 2 hard so I want to hold it by the pivot without a clip coming in the way.
More to come soon.

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En this black smooth handle reminds me that knife of my childhood: Le Couteau d’Office Nogent Carbon (Nogent carbon steel paring knife) which was the sharpest knife in the kitchen.

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet Part II.

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The Grey Mouser has been in my EDC rotation since it has arrived in my pocket.
So this a little report.

Maxamet is like a super CPM M4 to me, it cannot seem to get dull. I have deshouldered the edge and keep it sharp (razor) with white ceramic and leather. The edge behaviour in wood is like M2, it gives a gentle patina to the part cut.
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The gently rounded spine is a must for thumb push cutting.

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The lock is solid and did not give in to any vertical or lateral play.

The Para3 is really a friendly 3 inches knife with a wide spectrum of uses.
Near the pivot you got as much as any C36 Millie strenght for power cutting as this is the same “cockpit” as the good old Military. The point is easier to control as your hand grabs the blade and the handle with more ease on smaller knives. So you got a very capable knife for the outdoors, able to carve and trim wood.

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Maxamet is giving a beautiful orange red patina. I have not been able to get any pit of rust despite my every day use on acidic foods.

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It’s less sensitive to medium than K390 and close to CPM10V. You got stain but nothing more in my experience.

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I clean it directly under the tap of in a soapy water. Nothing extravagant. The action is on the smooth side even without any oil near the pivot. I have decided to treat it the hard way.

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So far I’m really impressed by the ease of keeping razor sharp that very special alloy. It’s not difficult with only white ceramic and leather and it happen once a week just for a refresh.
The deep carry clip is back for tip up carry and it makes a very low signature for an EDC.

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It’s used every day for eating and mostly I use the spine to push in the plate.

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An apple a day keep the doctor away, especially if you got a good aim.
More to come soon but so far this is a very satisfying experience.

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet — The Grey Mouser.

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It has been half a year of patience before my pre order turns into a mail call. Howard Korn from the Knifecenter.com was kind enough to send it to me as soon as he has received it. It was a quick 6 days of travelling from Fredericksburgh, Virginia to Paris.
The name of this Para3 should be”Desire” but it will be “Mouser” in honor of its color: grey. Also in honor of its almost magical alloy used: Maxamet.
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What is Maxamet ?
According to Spyderco its full name is “Carpenter® steel’s Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy”. “Maxamet is an extremely hard high-speed powdered tool steel possessing properties that transcend conventional high-speed tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides – the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels. When Carpenter developed this amazing alloy for the rollers in their steel mills, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade material. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods necessary to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to yield reliable, high-performance knife blades.”
It so difficult to work with that it has given some headaches to Eric and Sal hence the 6 months late in the production of that Para 3.
Maxamet should have better performance than CPM110V.  Now that I got both steel, I will try to see if I feel and see a difference.
What its composition reveals ?
Carbon 2,15% ; sulfure : 0.070% – 0,23%; chromium : 4,75% ; vanadium 6,00% ; manganese 0,30% ; silicium 0,25% ; cobalt : 10,00% ; tungsten 13,00%.

It’s not a stainless steel it’s an high tech tungsten alloy !!

Here its data sheet in Carpenter’s.

The wear resistance of Micro-Melt Maxamet alloy is better than that of conventional powder metal high speed steel grades and is equivalent to AISI A11 cold work powder metal tool steel. A11 is CPM 10V. Better? How much better ?
According to Cliff Stamps: “Maxamet is an extreme alloy, for comparison, it is to 10V what S90V is to 420J2. Maxamet is used when HSS like M4 fail because they are too soft or wear too fast – just consider that for a matter of perspective.”
(For the record he’s not talking about CPM M4 which comes from powder metallurgy process but good old M4HSS.)

So far Mouser is shaving my arm’s hairs which are flying of its blade. Its factory edge is really thin. With that amount of tungsten it should not be sensitive to its final tooling in the Golden plant. I’m not planning to work on it yet and keep it that way for its first run.

Its complex heat treatment and the HRC should be on the very high..

Spyderco is offering that steel on many knives: not counting a Mule but a LW grey Manix 2 , a G10 grey Paramillie 2 and a lightweight grey Native…
The Maxemet version is not a Sprint run.

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I have also noticed the chamfered work they have made on the spine and the spyderhole and the jimping behind the hump. I don’t have to use my diamond rat tail file anymore !!
Thank you Golden ! 🙂

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Also the blade has been gently beadblasted which gives it a very industrial look. The grind is perfectly symetrical as always on my Colorado’s made.

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The thick grey G10 slab also concours to give that toolish look, again the attention to detail are stellar. There is nothing to change when you open your black and red box.

So far what I have changed is the clip, as I don’t plan to spyderdrop this little guy.
The smooth compression lock permits a lot of other way to open it elegantly.
Also I have sanded the G10 to smooth it to my taste and keep my pocket lips healthy.
I keep the pivot area rough for the ergos.
Now the game is on, let see all this fuzz about that Maxamet steel !
Spyderco catalog’s sheet is here.

EDIT: Eventually I have gone back to the OEM hourglass clip in a Tip Down carry option.
Because it’s so fast to draw like a I do on my Millie and Paramillie 2.
The spyderdrop is so elegant and bound to the spyderhole: it works like a breeze.
Also I have starting to test the sharpness which is uncanny right our of the box.
I did not have that kind of result with its S30V bro. The Maxamet thin edge goes through the plastic bottle butt to make tagliatelle !! The edge is really hungry.

 

Also my previous review on the Para3 is here.

 

 

Between both knives there is a little difference. It is the sound of the mechanism.
The opening and locking on the S30V version will be a TAK.
When the opening of the Maxamet version will be a TIK.
The pitch of Mouser is much higher. Different alloys, different hardness produce different sounds.

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The Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand named “Scalpel” and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other named “Cat’s claw”), and a former wizard’s apprentice who retains some skill at magic.
The cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. He’s a rogue, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. It was created by Fritz Leiber.
Part II is here:
https://nemoknivesreview.com/2018/06/12/spyderco-c223gpdgy-para-3-maxamet-part-ii/

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Amsterdam Minimeet 2018

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Again this year, eighty guests were lucky enough to gather at Hotel Mercure near Amsterdam Airport for a day of presentation and exchange with Spyderco. Eric Glesser and Joyce Laituri came from Golden and made a stop over before going to IWA next week.

Again it was the opportunity to get direct access to Eric and his prototypes and “next in production” (before June !) galore but also the chance to meet friends from all over the world (a new designer Aleister Phillips came from Australia ! He was actually in France since February taking care of a WWI memorial for the Australian soldiers.)

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Aleister Phillips Instagram picture.

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And his “Redback” custom folder with licensed spyderhole.

Again pictures were forbidden but soon 18 knives (from the 100 shown) will be displayed on Spydercollector website exclusively. Wouter was one of the “Old Timers” who has been attending the last 14 meets like my friend JD who also wrote in this columns.

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The master of ceremony was Jur who always give good vibes and jokes.
Spyderco changed the rules this year: no more passing of the prototypes in all hands.
Instead Eric presented all the knives, from concepts to almost in production. Many designers were featured; Paul Alexander and Ed Schempp come of course to my mind as they are my favorites. Some designers were present like Tom Zoomer who was not very confortable with some questions I had, hum, asked about batonning and sharpening his bushcraft knife…

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That was also the chance for new designers to defend their concept and explain to Eric what they can bring to the knife world.

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Also we were gently asked to fill some cards showing our remarks about every prototype numbered and displayed. It was a chance for Spyderco to have written feedback about what we loved or hated. I think our favorites knives were the Wolf Mouse by Gareth Bull of SA and the Unnamed Redback from our Australian mate.

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Imagine the same with a hole in the blade. 😉

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Oh! we were given pens to write on the cards. Also the day was rythmed by a loto game with knives and goodies to win – even more surprises involving plastic spiders and other gifts. JD won a wonderful Lil’Native and soon we will have his review !

I have noticed in the past years how the new Golden factory is bringing some of the best quality in knife manufacturing to date. For example my new Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that raise in quality of execution on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control if not better. So kuddos Colorado ! Also Eric told us that they have just hired two new engineers there who will “make a real difference”. He told us that Spyderco is also training their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry. So there is a Spyderco Engineering School there.

In conclusion, one last thing to outline: this Minimeet was a Compression Lock festival. It looks like Spyderco will be using more and more one of their  successful “in-house” locks for many models to come. It’s true, Compression Locks are extremely solid and smooth but they also are challenging in terms of placing the flipper on a blade for example but like the Spyderhole, they are a Spyderco trademark.

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A lonely Eric and an empty table.

Oh and BTW Joyce showed us how to wear a Cricket the fashionable way.

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Yojimbo2 vs Paramilitary2 — Face 2 Face !

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I got two requests for writing that little comparaison hence a lot of users are hesittating between those two radical designs.

My Yojimbo2 is a special edition as is my Paramillie 2. Both got carbon fiber handles. Both are made in Golden, Colorado, USA, Earth. Both are second generation.

The Yo2 has been designed by Michael Janich and The P2 by Eric and Sal Glesser. Both got compression locks and inhouse system invented by the Glesser. The Yo2 got an S90V blade and the Para got a 52100 ball bearing blade.

The steel in those exclusive runs are totally opposite. S90V is a powder metalurgy alien steel named CPM420V in the previous Century. It is like some kind chewing gum alloy which refuses to let got any particules even during sharpening when 52100 is more of traditionnal old timer bladesmith steel of choice with carbon and a pinch of chromium. S90V got carbid of vanadium and chromium and more than 2% of carbon. 52100 got 1.2% of carbon. They are on the two opposite sides of the famouse best steels spectrum. S90V will stay sharp more than 3 times longer than 52100 if used on abbrasive material like cardboard. But 52100 will be easy to reach razor sharpness. S90V loses its razor edge very fast before to keep a plateau of working edge for a very very long time.

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Both knives got a convexed edge, it was a bear to obtain it on S90V.
Both got very pointy tips fir a equivalent lenght.
But the Yo2 blade is saber hollow ground when the P2 is full flat ground.

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On wood I have already noticed how great the Yo2 was for making sticks.
It has a very confortable handle for hard use and the keen edge got full power from the choil to the tip. Also the thick back helps a lot for pushing with the thumb.
Try the Yo2 on sticks: it will amazed you. But if you need some belly, the P2 will be obviously better. You won’t take the Yo2 for an hunting knife at all.

The Paramillie got this wonderful performance and control the full flat ground can provide. It is in his element: reliable and steady.
But the Self Defense knife is not the last in performing camp task. Do not underestimate it in that mattet as Michael Janich always advocated to use his knives to get used to their ergos and the way you carry them on your person.  the more you do it, the more you train to to draw them in stress situations.

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But in pure quick drawing, the Paramillie got a serious avantage: you can easily spyderdrop it. It is opened in a breeze just by drawing it by holding the hole. This is fast and actually faster than the Yo2 which required first to be clear from the pocket.
Both knives are equally smooth. The YO2 got a little more momentum because the blade is heavier. But, in my book, the Self Defense knife is beaten by the utility knife.
The Yojimbo got also more presence than the Paramillie2,  it is like one of wolverine claws and not really sheeple friendy.

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So really it just a matter of look and taste if you need to choose between them.
Both a high performance folders, with great locks, great ergos and an attention to detail breed in a second generation design. Both will find a way to be very useful in everyday  chores. They are false brothers but you know…
Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some……

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52100 Paramilitary 2 by the ocean.

So here I’m in Southern Bretagne near Lorient, city of Eric Tabarly with my Paramillie Exclusive Run in 52100 Ball Bearing Steel.
For those who don’t know Sal is a fan, this is why Eric is named Eric. 🙂

The moisture and salt are present and cars got a serious tendacy to rust just by being parked outdoor.

The knife has been used on food and for all the chores around another anniversary preparations. The Patina is a real surface protector as no pit or coloration has been noticed during that 4 days week end.

It eventually has been used to pop the remaining balloons after the party.
No oil needed. The edge did not rust. It was used daily. Very happy with that knife.
This is a very robust folder, with a strong blade.
It was still shaving hairs after 4 days of mild but constant uses. I did not process a lot of cardboard for example, but a lot of meat ! Duck for the matter.

The 52100 makes a beautiful blade with its mirror convexed edge. It was noticed.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 C81CF52100P2 52100 Exclusive Run – New Old Timer Workhorse !

I love Grandpa’s knives in a modern form, like the AFCK in M2HSS twenty years ago. But I was not able to jump on bandwagon to catch a Military in 52100. Lucky me, soon a Paramillie II designed by Sal and Eric Glesser was able with the same Carbon Fiber handles and the same 52100 blade.

“52100 is a very good steel for cutting organic material. If you stay with organic material it will edge hold very well.
I use it for a core steel on high carbon pattern welded laminate. My competition cutters are a laminate of 15n20-52100-15n20.” Ed Schempp

“52100 is a ball bearing steel. Most ball bearing steels make pretty decent blade steel. Especially where edges are concerned. It is my favorite steel to forge. It is hard to find in sheet. Actually, I would like to do a run of a model in 52100, but I’d prefer to make it in Golden, so it will be a year or so.”   Sal

Ed Fowler in his many articles in Blade Magazine and his books introduced me in the “magic” of 52100. Also my first blades in 52100 are my two gifted Lil Blue II made by my friend Ray Kirk of Raker knivesRaker knives. Ed as a cowboy and Ray as a Native American ? Made in Golden ? This knife is the true heir of American traditional blades !

“52100 is the steel of which most of the bearings used in all walks of life today are made. Civilization rides on 52100 steel. If it were less than reliable, another steel would be used instead. I have used 52100 exclusively in my knives for the past five years. I have forged many bearings into blades. I have given my blades every opportunity to fail, subjecting them to rigorous, destructive tests. I have found 52100 to be the cleanest, most uniform steel that I have ever used. Properly forged and heat treated, 52100 produces a high-performance blade that knows no peers. I have reached this conclusion based upon extensive personal research, testing knives for the things that they need to do in the real world of knife function.

Bearing-quality 52100 steel blades are tough and normally pass the 90° flex test without cracking or breaking. Their strength is evidenced by the force required to flex them.

I demand three levels of performance from any knife intended for serious use. First, it must have the ability to cut and cut well. Second, the blade must be tough. By tough I mean it must flex without breaking like a piece of glass. Last, but not least, it must be relatively easy to sharpen. Through the years, I have tried many steels and heat-treating methods and have tested the results by cutting a lot of rope and breaking many blades. Some combinations have cut extremely well, but have
broken or chipped when subjected to hard use. Drawn to a point where they were tough, these blades were too soft to cut effectively. I had settled upon one steel that when properly forged and heat treated cut very well. I had invested a great amount of time and effort getting the most out of that steel, so I was reluctant to change.

The nature of 52100 has changed drastically since that first bearing was made more than 100 years ago. Bearings are performance oriented, and those that last and gain a reputation for high performance are in demand. Every bearing is, by nature of its job description, routinely tested to its limit of performance. Competition is based solidly upon quality steel, and the outfit that makes the best steel enjoys a ready market for its product. Quality control is a high priority in the manufacture of bearing steel.

In addition to everything else, 52100 is easy to work, grind, and heat treat. Even less than perfect heat treatment can result in a good knife, though it never should be said that bladesmiths should settle for simply “good enough.” As the knifemaker’s skills develop, the performance potential of the steel will offer ample room for growth.
The high chrome content of 52100 promotes a beautiful mirror polish and enhances the steel’s machinability. The 1 percent carbon is more than can go into solution in the steel. However, unlike 1095, which has about the same amount of carbon, the excess carbon in 52100 also has 1.5 percent chrome to react with to make chromium carbides that can enhance cutting performance.
The “Cadillac of steels,” 52100 has been and continues to be one of the cleanest blade materials suitable for cutlery. Its primary use demands great care in manufacture. It’s also extremely versatile. For example, I’m aware of one man who makes
“52100 has been and continues to
be one of the cleanest steels suitable for cutlery.”

Ed Fowler, the lover of 52100 ball-bearing steel, sheep horn, and dedication to the functional knife.

For Sal Glesser, the functionnal knife is carbon fiber handle and impervious to wear and tear. CF got that magic to age great even after some falls on concrete.

As you can notice mine came perfectly centered. The Colorado Plant is now bringing perfect quality controls and a love to details you can appreciate in all angles.
The action is smooth ans the blade can fall by gravity when the lock is released.
As on the Yojimbo2 the compression is lock provides an action which is one of the smoothest out of the box but othing new about that.

Ok time to smooth the peel ply CF for saving my trousers from being filed and also smooth the hump which catch my pocket’s lip. Sandpaper at 500 has been used.

For the hump, like on my previous Paramillie, a diamond file is mandatory. 15 minutes later it’s much better !

Then, knowing 52100’s fun is the fact it can get a patina very quick, green lemon juice was used to start a gentle patina.

For good measure I wanted to compare how a 1075 carbon steel Opinel and that 52100 knife will react to the lemon juice.

In the same time I could try the new Double Stuff 2, Howard korn from the Knifecenter of The Internet has just offered me.

I was able to remove the shoulder and convexe my grind in a pair of minutes. Then with the white ceramic it was own to a mirror polish.
This is true 52100 get polished very easily. And the edge is like a mirror after some pass on leather. So this is also going to be fun.

WIth the lemon juice drying on its size, a patina soon appears.

And I was able to get a nice contrats with the convexed edge.

The knife bites in the wood like an hungry edge will. This should be a dream for Bushcrafters to get that kind of steel on such a modern and reliable plateform.
It can be turned into beyond razor very easily just by stropping my new convexed edge.
Yes, so easy to get it dangerously sharp and whittling hairs !!

The good thing also is that 52100 is supposed to be tougher than S30V and the thin point of the Paramillie needs plenty of strenght. Now I wonder what is the HRC of that blade.

I also like the matte black clip provided. It’s made for a low profile EDC.

It seems like the 1075 is getting drak faster than the 52100 as the wipe marks are visible on the Opinel blade.

So the Paramillie 2 is now ready to get some used. I will go near the Ocean for four days at the end of the week. It will be occasio to test it in a humid and salty environment.

 

 

The new king of bottle butt cutting is my Opinel N°12. It goes through plastic like in butter. The Paramillie is stuck but slowly and steady goes through.
But so far nothing beats the Nilakka or the Opinel in that exercise.
But the 52100 will be slowly more thinned for that matter. 52100 is a steel to be thinned on the edge.

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Cutting bread is another great test. The cruch is hard and the inside is soft. That’s why Opinel are great on that too. But here the Paramillie is also reliable.
52100 is “alive” . It means it needs care and the patina will evolve in time.
I have greased the pivot and now the cheese is greasing the blade. Let’s not forget Carbon Steel folders have been in use much more longer than stainless steel. Roman folders have been found in archeologic sites. So this Eric and Sal design enhanced by this bold move — bringing 52100 to a modern folder — is all an adventure !!
So…
“New” because it’s a new idea to give ball bearing steel to a tactical folder when the tendance is to S35V and M390 manufactured in China (Don’t mistake me I do love my Falcon). “Old Timer” remembering the Schrade 1095 collection made in the USA and Workhorse because this is a knife made to be used not kept in a safe. It needs to be oiled and sharpened and used and oiled and honed…
More to come !!

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I remove the edge’s shoulder with the diamond side of a Double Stuff 2. I do that until I got a burr.

Doing it without guide, free hands, gives a gentle convex edge.
Then I use the white ceramic to erase the deep diamonds cuts.
And then leather stropping. On 52100 it is a breeze to do.
Now it can whittling hairs.

 

And for good vintage look, some P1000 sand paper on the clip will age it.
But rust could be a problem in the pivot area… as shown on part II.

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SPYDERCO MILITARY C36PIN PART III: WHITTLING WITH GHOST.

We all know that the steel is only 30 percent of the equation for a great blade. And I’m not talking about the whole knife — ergonomy, lock quality, sheath, clip —  just the blade: the main “Matter Separator” to quote Sal Glesser.
Apart from the Steel they are the Heat Treating, the Grind and the BET “Behind the Edge Thickness”.
And also the quality of the edge coarsed or polished change the way the blade will cut in materials.

Wood is a fibrous material which depend of its grain and freshness when whittled.
Again, a rabbit to skin or a cardboard box to dispatch will behave differently under a sharp edge.
And a Self Defense designed knife will not need to be a Scandinavian Grind for example…

So I have decided to gather the Yojimbo 2 (Black), the Wolf Spyder and Ghost to practising my scales and mastering the rudiments of whittling on a hazel rod which has been drying for a month (since the Lil Nilakka Review actually).  My whole idea was to see and experience how the very different blades grind and shape would behave and eventually adjust Ghost for better whittling.
I have not used my Nilakka as it is a game changer. It’s too hard to reach its performance. (The pictures has disappeared because Photobucket has changed their policies, I will need time to create new links, sorry for the convenience…)
Also I’m a lost cause in whittling compared to what my father was able to do as a kid when he was whittling his own toys but I do have affinities with wood as my grandfather was cabinetmaker and my other grand father was clogmaker.

I had noticed back in the 90’s when I owned a Benchmade AFCK in ATS-34 and on in M2HSS that wood would be almost “patined” differently depending of the grain of the steel. M2’s cuts were leaving a very soft surface compared to ATS-34 which was a more aggressive cutter. I have then found that one of the most expensive wood chisels were made in M2 High Speed Steel.

The Wolfspyder is in her element here. Since I have sharpened her back to razor, the scandi grind cut deep and with ease in the wood. This little knife is purely amazing when it comes to carve  deep or caress the rod. The sturdy design is asking to be used hard and the big chunks of wood were flying. It is a pocket beaver ! (OK no more kinky innuendo, pardon my French…). In pushcutting perpendicularly , the Wolfspyder was the more aggressive.
Again, S30V as heat-treated by Spyderco has proven to be a great “all terrain” steel as its edge was not dulled a bit. I’m surprised about the way it kept a perfect edge after all the cuts in a dirty bark and hard wood. Hairs were still flying of my arm. (I heard so much about it losing that very sharp fine edge beause of its relatively big carbids…). It will not be the was with…

Yojimbo 2 Sprint Run was another surprise. First I need to clarify that I had the edge “unshouldered” to be thinner. S90V is a bear to sharpen it feels like “plastic” and without diamonds it is time consuming.
But here it’s the ergos and geometry which made a difference. I was able to cut big chunks of wood with ease. The blade was going deep and my thumb got plenty of space to push behind the edge.
Michael Janich proved it: its Yo2 straight edge keep the pressure on the material. His design was primary made for cutting clothing and flesh in a attempt to keep an aggressor away but it has always proven to be a great EDC for mondaine task. Now I know that bringing the Yojimbo 2 in the woods won’t be a fashion faux-pas. This incredibly solid folder in the right hands can be a great wood processor.

Now I was surprised to notice how my razor S90V edge dulled. I mean, it was still in great shape and has reached the level of a “working edge” but it was not a reliable razor anymore. Twenty seconds on white ceramics and leather and it was back to Vorpal. S30V did not have that issue and of course not CPM M4 of…

Ghost new convexed edge proved to be able to cut deep with a lot of control and also to remove bark with ease and no pressure as pictured. It was fun to use. CPM M4 got also that tendency to leave the wood’s fresh surface very smooth to touch. I could go on for hours but it needed some twist and home edjustment to ease my thumb sore.

The Wolfspyder’spoint is made to drill. It is thick solid, sharp and you can use all your force with no after thought. It’s not the case of…

…The Yo2 ! Back in the 90’s I had broken my Ronin point drilling in wood. It was a much thinner point and I was really stupid. So I was very careful with the Yo2. It’s clearly not its strong point (pun intended…) but I did not snap it.

C36’s pointy blades, first made of S60V (known as CPM440V) and then of S30V, are known to be relatively fragile but CPM M4 brings much more toughness to the whole design. Perhaps the CPM Cru-wear Sprint Run was even stronger but, anyway, I got zero concern with Ghost which was able to drill the hazel rod easily.

Eventually, the most important home improvement has been to rounded the blade’s spine. Of course the Sebenza is king in that matter, also the Slycz Bowie.

Sandpaper was used for that matter and if the edges has been removed I have not tried to round it completly but at least to make it much softer under the thumb and I don’t strike rods for sparks.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to adjust and improve your expensive EDC knives to your own uses and tastes. My first attempt has been on my Paramilitary 2 handle. But a knife is a personal tool and it needs to fit you perfectly. Just take your time. Don’t use powertools and risk to heat the blade and ruin the heat treatment (done that in the 80’s…), just go slowly. Also don’t breath G10 and Carbon Fiber dust. Use a mask or do it under the tap. It would attack your lungs badly. Anyway my EDC have really been enhanced by all those little changes and Ghost is no exception to that thumb rule (pun…).
Enjoying your personal tools is always a joy when they are based on great designs in the first place.

Zero Tolerance ZT0770CF – Fast and Furious.

I love my Spyderco mantra 2.
Great engineering, ergos and materials. An attention to details and a signature: Eric Glesser. He is a perfectionist and a clever one. But I do hate one thing: the trademark “little” hole. A place to catch grim and hard to clean on the field.

Why don’t you just print a circle instead to drill into the blade ? The trademark hole is even on my Spyderco fixed blades…
Anyway, the Des Horn was a first step. A second step is the ST0770CF.

I was in need of a “blind” folder. I mean a folder without any hole or thumbstub or disk.
The Real Steal Megalodon was on my list: with its beautiful lines like a Sukhoi 27, M390 steel….
But then the Zero Tolerance caught my eye through all its great reviews.

ZT knives were always synonym of heavy fat ground knives à la Strider. Not something I would enjoy as EDC.
Unless I start to follow a special project around the ZT0770in M390 and especially a version in CPM M4 (ended with 69 dollars of international shipping fees).

So I went to “La Coutelerie Tourangelle” famous for their good prices, great shipping fees (5.9 euros with tracking in France) and total absence of communication…. 😉 Just kidding, even if they are mute like a brick wall, they delivered a great service world wide.



The ZT0770CF got no name. Its blade is beadblasted. This is a user not a safe queen.
The assisted opening is strong and seems reliable. I have found some people were able to remove the spring easily and even order another bronze washer. But my idea was to have a spring making my flipping secure and complete.
Many times my flipping was not 100% on my Southard on my Domino…. and it was frustrating.
So no ball bearing on the ZT but a strong spring. Again if you don’t like it, you can remove it.
I love it.
It is positive and definitive. SCHLAKK !! It’s open.

Now if you don’t want to be noticed you can open it against your leg, halfway and with a gentle flick it is open.
All is silent.

Balance wise, the ZT is perfect: the Carbon Fibers handle is so light. There is a black spacer, beautiful and very scifi. But the point of balance is just behind the pivot ! Perfect.
The knife is “alive” in your hands.
The texture of the carbonfiber is smooth but matte. Just like my sanded G10 handles. There is enough blade to open the knife like a gentleman folder. It won’t jump from your hands, the spring is not “that” strong.
There is a detent you can also feel at the end of the blade course.
The action is smooth, enough smooth to have the gravity works fine when unlocked.
This is a beautiful knife with a great attention to details.

The liner lock is thick and nested. Easy to operate. The detent ball is visible. Everything is in place.
The jimping on the blade is not to aggressive. The jimping on the flipper is more aggressive but do not come in contact with finger once open.

The guard is very cleverly thought. The position of the pin and the jimping on the flipper. It’s a clockwork !
Closed or open, there is no hot spot on the ZT0770CF, all lines flush together: very impressive.

The pivot screw is beautiful and despite its exotic look just need a torx to be unscrew. You can rest your thumb on it, it works like my Calypso’s screw guard.
The CF handle is renforced by nested liners and despite being light the construction is very solid.

Ergos are great. I mean they suit my four fingers. I already loved on my Mantra how the flipper served as guard once the blade open. Here on the ZT the guard in integrated with flipper like on the Domino but more pronounced. I really love that configuration.

The ZT got a particular blade: high flat thinly ground with a kind of sheepfoot shape. It works.
You got some belly near the pivot and a straight edge near the point, something between a Spyderco Positron a stretch Cricket.

It cuts aggressively and pass my plastic bottle bottom with force and ease. Eventually I find the ZT’s blade is simply gorgeous, all in curves… The belly near the pivot will give a lot of power for pushcuts into wood.

I love Elmax since my Lionspy. I remember beating the crap out of it and it was really forgiving: no chipping and great sharpness.
Also I’m in love with a Squeak in Elmax with titanium handles for a year now and this pure little Italian wonder will be review soon.

Elmax is such a great knife steel. No chipping, edge stability, ease of maintaining. What not to love ?



The black clip is short but made for deep carry. This is a very low profil configuration which leave almost zero print. The knife can find a nest into the watch pocket too. We got here a very compact package and very light: a true EDC.

Great engineering all in all. Now more pictures:






Some more test once the edge is “de-shouldered”.


 

Spyderco Mantra 2 – Pure Flipper Workhorse !

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The Mantra 2 is Eric Glesser’s design and is one of a kind Spyderco as its blade’s hole is only here as a trademark. Your only way to flick the knife open is the flipper invented by Kit Carson at the end of the 90’s. There is no hump. It’s a very slick knife.

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There is a lot of edge on this blade/handle ratio as there is no choil too !  Not your typical Spydie huh ? (Apart from the autos destined for Militaries and LEO, you won’t find that in Spyderco Catalog.)
All of these makes the Mantra 2 a compact design with a deep wire pocket carry. A solid R.I.L. lock , an ergonomic handle and a full flat ground CPM M4 blade. This powder metalurgy super tool steel once introduced on Gayle Bradley’s designs has proven to be one of the best in strenght and edge retention.
So the Mantra 2 is a very powerful package which can withstand punishing and be easily washed under tap water thanks to its all open handle design (no back spacer).
Its strange nose seems here to strenghten the tip of the blade. Again with Spyderco, aesthetics come  second in their knives.

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The lock is wearproof and reinforced  with steel. All engineering details has been thought to get to the ELU a reliable heirloom tool.

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Dwarfed next to my K2, I use my M2 for mondaine chores including eating in a plate. M4 has no stain yet BTW.
It’s not the kind of knives which raise any eyebrows in the sheeple crowd which is good nowadays. It’s low profile apart from its flipping opening. There it could almost look like an auto. There is no way to open it in a softer way but to use both hands. It works also.

The deep carry clip doesn’t make it very fast to draw compared to the Wolfspyder for example. But it disappears in your pocket and is very stealthy, perfect for an EDC.

Edgewise I have found mine a little on the thick side. I will thin it even if CPM M4 can a bear on a stone.  Nothing serious there.

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All in all the Mantra 2 is a very unique design. A compact tool with a lot of applications.
Again this is a gentleman knife with the power of a much bigger knife.
Eric Glesser has provided another very clever design with the best material available and a great attention to details. This is not a safe queen but a compact and slick workhorse.

And FYI a portion of sales of the Mantra is donated to The National Parkinson Foundation.