Patina on Cruwear ? Not that easy !

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Forcing a Patina on Cruwear!
Why?
Because I’m going to the sea and I just need to be certain it won’t pit.
Now Cruwear seems tricky compared to 52100 or Maxamet.
Let see how it will get…

 

45 minutes later… No patina yet some stains…
“It’s not as rusty as 1095 usually, so it’s easy to get complacent. It can go 3-4 days easier than O-1 or 1095 but 3-4 months is a different story. It’s easy to get fooled by steels with this level of chrome ( 8%) as to corrosion resistance. It will appear as a tiny spot of rust. Easy to overlook as it does not make it apparent that spot is deepening, not getting wider. The surface layer of rust covers up the hole. ”
The Mastiff

And he was right…

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Trying to mix oxygen and vinegar using tissues and apple vinegar ?… Nope.

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Apple vinegar and apple sugar under the sun….. Nope.

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Aceto di Modena…. nope.

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Even in the wind…

Naaah forget it. This steel won’t stain beautifully… Just a bit but not enough in my taste.
It will perhaps pit if let unclean some weeks but in my daily uses it should not.

Putting the blade back in the handle the tolerances on that knife are so great you can tight the screws with locktite and pur a drop of nano oil… the pivot is smooth as butter.
Also ten passes on white ceramic and it is back to jumping hairs harvest again.
So cruwear seems to be a very “friendly” steel which doesn’t smell anything when confronted to apple, apple vinegar, various vinegar including aceto … nothing seems to harm it surface.
It is like CPM 3V and will be kept oiled and shiny. My Ed Schempp’s Tuff never needed or develop a patina as my grey Military in Cruwear.
At least I got less worry. 🙂

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Fred Perrin LaGriffe, Michael Janich’s review and many more sharp objects.

PROLOGUE:
So where do we begin? It must be twenty years . . .
Long story short, it was the beginning of forums on the Internet.

When someone in the tactical new world order of the 90’s named Ernest Emerson was promoting his Tiger Claw… Saying he got that clever idea for a neck knife…
Wait a minute… Ernest invented that ?

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Immediately I was reacting on the threads asking questions about that design I already knew from the articles in La Passion des Couteaux. Ernest was bragging he was the inventor of Lagriffe ! Immediately his groupies and especially Kevin “Mad Dog” McClung   once king of the forums attacked France, French, our flag, our way of life… McClung was so proud of his lack of knowledge… He even asked one of his friend working in the FBI, a guy named “Hilton” on the forum to buy a Fred Perrin original Lagriffe and write an ugly review about it !! Shame on you “Hilton” you were such a groupie with a brown tongue.
Reading the review nothing was good for Hilton and Emerson was a true American God who give a huge chance to a little Frenchie …

Well I did not know Fred Perrin at that time but I had contacted him some weeks after my lonely war against Mad Dog and his groupies… Fred told me that Ernest had contacted him and was ready to pay royalties.

Well, then we became friends and Fred was visiting me every week to show me his last productions and we have started to write review on Geocities about the knives we loved ! It was a great fun. It was long time before digital photography: I was using my SVHS camera and extracted the frames to get images I could publishes. I was also experimenting animated gif…

fondnoel

So La Griffe was the source of this blog, it was even the wallpaper of our pages.

CHAPTER ONE:
Here the review back in those early Internet times written by Michael Janich:
“Fred Perrin’s “La Griffe,” (02/1999)

Recently, I had the opportunity to become the lucky owner of two knives made by noted
French knife maker Fred Perrin. Although I hadn’t had any previous exposure to Fred’s
work, I had seen a few articles about him and knew that he was an devoted practitioner of
defensive knifecraft and the Filipino martial arts. Since competency in knife fighting is a
unique (and unfortunately rarely seen) quality among knife makers, I had high
expectations for Fred’s work. I was not disappointed.

The knives I received were two variants of Perrin’s “La Griffe” (meaning “claw” in
French) model. Both knives are single edged and hollow ground on only one side of the
blade. The handles are a unique pistol-grip shape with a large hole at the ricasso. The
smaller of the two knives features wooden handle scales, while the larger is of one-piece
steel construction. Both knives came in well-made adjustable kydex sheaths configured for
neck carry. Also included in the package was a training version of the smaller knife made
from a high-strength fiber-reinforced plastic. Like I said, knife makers who are true knife
fighters look at things a little differently. The inclusion of the trainer immediately
convinced me that Perrin was serious about his work.

Although the Griffe is an unconventional design, its purpose, as well as Perrin’s brilliance,
become apparent as soon as you grip it in your hand. What you notice is that with your
index finger placed through the hole in the ricasso, the knife becomes a natural extension
of your hand. By placing your thumb on the back of the blade, the natural motor skills of
the hand are transferred directly to the blade, allowing you to use it almost instinctively as
a cutting and slashing weapon.

With a subtle shift of the handle, the butt of the knife can be placed directly against the
meaty part of the palm. This suppors the handle firmly and indexes the point with the
knuckles of the fist. A natural punching motion now produces a powerful and accurate
thrust with the point of the blade. With the handle braced in this way, you can generate
tremendous power, and the hole in the blade provides a secure grip for withdrawing the
blade from the target. The hole also allows you to open your hand without dropping the
knife (try that with any other knife!) and provides a great index for a quick draw from the
sheath.

Speaking of drawing, the curved handle of the Griffe design helps keep the knife flat when
suspended from the neck and provides a great tactile index for the blade edge. Many neck
knives have symmetrical handles that are impossible to orient by tactile sense alone. If the
cord on these knives becomes twisted, you can easily draw the knife with the edge facing
the wrong way. Thanks to its unique design, you can draw and orient the Griffe by feel
alone.

Basically, the Griffe design combines the best features of a single-edged boot knife and
push dagger and improves upon them with the unique ricasso hole. In case you’re worried
that the hole will weaken the blade, a close examination of both knives revealed that they
are differentially heat treated. A clear temper line (like the hamon on Japanese swords)
was apparent on both knives, showing that the working part of the knife was substantially
harder than the ricasso and handle. When was the last time you saw this kind of attention
to detail on a neck knife?

In summary, Fred Perrin’s La Griffe is a unique, practical, and totally functional defensive
knife design. These days whenever I choose to wear a neck knife, it’s a La Griffe.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO: “ME MYSELF AND EYE” 16th of February 1999.

A self portrait of Fred Perrin’s La Griffe !
assisted by Sundey the Cat, specialist in claws since her prime age.

 

I don’t want to present to you a self evaluation of my own design.
Because it’s almost impossible to talk objectively about something so personal as my GRIFFE.  (The Claw in french…)

But a lot of people come to me and ask me: “Why ? Where it comes from ? Where is your hairbrush ?”

But seriously, about the design, I needed that tool for myself and there were no equivalent for real self defense and everyday chores.

During the 80’s, I have used a lot of knives. Some were good some could but I was always looking for a short blade, with an excellent grip, with a total security (like opening my hand without losing my knife, and without using Superglue!).
As a “martial improviser”, I wanted also to use all the grips I knew with no more than 2 inches of rigid blade.

I was looking around the Kerambit and equivalent but I was disappointed
because the ring was at the other side of the handle and it was too big.

With some of my “Hyena Brothers” (close friends) we began to try, to use and to abuse, different designs.  The main idea was to put the ring between the blade and the handle.
(And it was long time before the new Gerber Cameleon…)

Then we have tried many blade shapes and handles.
Finally the classic Griffe was born at the end of the year 1990.

The concept:
1/ A fixed blade is always ready.
2/ Small and easy to conceal
3/ Small edge means great control on razor edge.
4/ Short blade because with long blade I could kill to much easily (sorry but that’s true !)
5/ The ring hole is the security belt. I can climb a tree with my knife in my hand, ready to be used.
Almost impossible to disarmed. (I talk here about real combat situation as during sparing tests…)

The handle ,à la “Derringer Gun” : one finger in the ring, two on the handle and the little finger at the butt.
This is what I always wanted for Christmas !

See:
I can grasp my opponent, i can hit with hand open and then I close my fist and the Griffe gets in action !!!
It is so easy to check and then strikes back.
This is the power of that design. You can check, grasp, use all the power of your hand and the blade sticks in your hand, following your movement.
The moment your opponent will see the Griffe, if he sees it, it will be to late.

Now, my first customers were policemen, soldiers, alpinists, sailors, firemen and dockers…
But soon the concept “Take it, pull it, use it …” has become famous toward women and especially my wife and my wife’s friends.

She: “Ooooh c’est joli !”
Myself : “Grrrrrrroal!”
The neck carry was also a must for me. Whatever you wear, Tuxedo or Santa Claws ‘s “suit” !
Neck knives are really useful when they are light !
Some people around me feel naked without it even consider it as lucky charm.

My Griffe ?
It’s my ” #@&$¤%” signature !

Period.

Fred

griffefred5

 

 

CHAPTER 3
Today while attempting the 29th SICAC, the oldest Parisian knife show, I came across Pierre Supper’s table to check the last Mid Tech Fred Perrin Concept releases. Pierre is responsable of all the industrial production of Fred.

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Of course, as a fan as I was immediately attracted by a Perrin/Janich fixeblade name the Fusion: an heavy short knife with a thick spine !!

 

 

A very solid massive fixed blade with an aim at self defense.
Michael Janich, like Fred Perrin are both instructors in the way to defend yourself against knives but also to use this sharp tools as equalizers. They bot have a very pragmatic approach. Fred always says that the best defense equipment are runner shoes for running fast and away of danger for example.

Looking on the table they were so many wonders.
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A Bowie La griffe. This is a Chisel 440C tool.

 

Damascus Mini and Normal !

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The famous Shark !

 

Le Shark folding version which is actually a friction folder.

 

Le Héron, another very unique concept short blade !

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The Big Hole Concept in action !

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The Mini Pic !

And suddenly the Love at First Sight:

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A beautiful double ground La Griffe !!

Eventually I have come back home

This new industrial La Griffe got only one sharp edge, all the others are rounded and D2 steel is stone washed to an exquisite finish.

Fred Perrin is a veteran of the French Army and expert in survival under extreme conditions. He has designed a knife that is the epitome of simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It is used by military and police operators throughout the world and is widely used in the open ocean fishing fleets of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. With the addition of the new variation, the WWR model, it is now the perfect emergency companion for climbers, kayakers, and white water rafters.

Fred is one of the world’s premiere “real world” fighting instructors. This fact is directly reflected in his bare bones no-holds barred style of knife making. His attitude and philosophy have propelled him to design some of the best and most affordable combat knives in the business. Fred comes from a diverse background of French Military Special Forces service and a life long study of martial arts and weapons systems.

 

Fred Perrin is a highly sought after instructor in Europe and a highly recognized and respected knife maker to those who use and carry knives in high risk environments. 

You can notice the temper line on this picture.

On this one: 3 temper lines !

From top to bottom:
a custom forged bushcrafter Lagriffe with a 1075 convex  flat ground chisel blade.
a bowie Lagriffe chisel in 1075.
the new La Griffe Dark double flat ground in D2 Tool Steel.
a double hollow ground delux custom in 1075
a three time tempered classic version in 1075.

“…I couldn’t believe it either until I held one, I had similar reservations up till that point too.
This is a very utilitarian knife, it’s made to be used. The ring helps you hold onto it even if you’ve heavily jarred the blade…

…It looks like a ring knife, but it’s not. The ring (index in, forward grip; pinkie in, reverse grip) is a retention feature. I have one and let me tell you it’s not going to leave your hand unless you want it to. The handle sits within your fist and gives you a very solid feel.”
JERRY O.

NOT ONLY A NECK KNIFE:
“Fred Perrin often carries it in the belt (his kydex sheath is set up with a strap to go over the top of your pants and the strap grabs under your belt so when you draw the sheath doesn’t move) for a reverse grip. This means the blade is down and when you draw you have the edge up, facing your knuckles. His moves were very fast, I don’t know what martial art he studies so I can’t tell you for sure. But what he told me was that he made these knives to compliment that art. A lot of stabbing moves or it seemed to this untrained eye…”
James Keating.

“La Griffe is Fred Perrin trademark and is a concept of its own.
It comes in a variety of styles and lengths and his 100% handmade. Every has a temper line and comes with a kydex sheath. A true utility fighter, maybe the last knife you’ll ever want to own. 100% hand crafted in France. Copied by many, never equaled. Employed by members of the French Secret Services…” LACI SZABO

 

EPILOGUE:

The only companies which got Fred Perrin‘s authorization to make a Lagriffe version are mentioning him in the description of their knife. To my knowledge here they are:
Emerson Knives for the Tiger Claw.
Spyderco for the SPOT and SWICK
Cold Steel for the Cross Guard and
Bastinelli knives for the coming Raptor.
If they are any other manufacturers who mention “Fred Perrin’s design”, he has given his autorisation to reproduce his pattern.
The main defender of inventors is an inventor himself: Sal Glesser. He will never use any design or inventions without mentionning and paying royalties to the source inventor. Sal does that for Emerson’s Wave for exemple but also for the way Fred Perrin used a hole in a neck knife before neck knives were in fashion…
Sal also give credits to locks inventors and pay royalties to them.

This is respect as Fred also shows respect to inventors and forgotten knifemakers.
And here is the Bastinelli Raptor a prototype destined to be produced in 2019.

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BFTP Fred Perrin Spyderco’s Native Review.

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Thanks to JD (Dinkmaker) I was able to read some of the very first knives review written on the Internet in the mid 90’s. More than twenty years ago, no digital camera but my video equipment and so freeze frames in low res.

The Native review has been the first one we had written with Fred Perrin. I had asked him which knife he would have liked to review and he had produced a black FRN Native he just have get from a blade show in the US. So we had started the chat and I had typed. We had good time laughing and bitching about so called knives gurus. Back then the Internet was starting to boost a lot of egos from many knifemakers able to steal ideas from other and promote them fast thanks to the web. It was also the time of the first forums and the first internet knives retailers. It was before amazon too.
So here is the very very  first review we ever had put on line on the old geocities site (2292). My idea was to depart from general reviews and capture Fred’s ways to express himself. I asked a lot of questions and asked him for stories and jokes. It was already my main editor angle: stories not description.
You can notice we were also talking about going in airports with short folders in our pockets and even we were featuring self defense as a possible use. It was a pre millenium and pre 911 time… Well it was another time long before any social network.

intero
But hey we were using animated GIF for some effects like nowadays kids ! 😉
Nemo 17/03/2018.

 

NativeFred

BLAST FROM THE PAST: SPYDERCO’S NATIVE
By Fred PERRIN
Master At Arm and Knifemaker directed by NEMO

These last 10 years I have used and tested (some would say abused) a lot of their models, for the simple purpose of writing reviews in many french magazines.

But for my personal use, I have carried and used :

  • Ladybug
  • Police
  • Mariner
  • Criket
  • Delica
  • Dragonfly.

Each time I have enjoy them a lot ! For example, I carry the ladybug for years. It’s my travel knife (you know airport controls…). It’s a perfect utilitarian you can have on your key ring. It’s also a good little weapon! Opened, I grasp it between the two first fingers, à la Wolferine’s claws but this is another story. Another example, my wife carries a Cricket since the 1994 Paris Knife show. (This little knife is also a really good folding weapon.)

Back to the Native. I have bought it at the NY Knife show for $40.00 which makes it one of the first price in the Spyderco collection.

But why did I bought the Native ? I am a knifemaker after all… When I need a knife mostly I build it ;-). First his name appeals me. « Native », for an European, this word is synonym of Indian, Sitting Bull and Geronimo… and I consider myself and my Gang as real Indians.

I immediatly begin to like this light knife because of it’s middle size, easy to carry and discreet (4 inches closed and 7 inches opened).

BLADE

The blade is a spear point with a really wide back edge offering a tredememous thrusting ability. The Hole is made “inside” the blade (at the opposite to the rescue for example), making a beautiful profile. The thumb is resting on the grooves on the back of the blade. No risks slipping at all . Out of the box, the Native is really hair popping sharp. My personnal test ? Remember the NY knife show with the cigarette paper ? I take the cigarette paper fold it for it to stand alone and i cut it in two ! I have used the Native in the kitchen, and for light chores. Resharpning is really easy and it gets really sharp again.

HANDLE

The handle is Zytel. I personnaly really the Web style engraved in the handle. and the access to the blade hole is really easy. I like the improvment made by Spyderco on their clip lately. The metal clip on the back of the handle is removable for lefties and easy to be adapted to be clipped on a coat pocket for winter days.

Now when the blade is deployed: The blade and the handle create to curves for the two first fingers. Dexter Ewing in his review got the right words to describe it. Anyway, it works great for thrusts and pulls ! Also the blade (if the lock would failed) won’t cut your fingers because the blade is blocked by the index finger.

I like to have the butt of the handle fits the inside of the palm. the handle is rounded at the end and fits confortable for pushing the blade. The lock placed in the middle of the handle is on the right place to close it with one hand.

SELF DEFENSE

I could really use the Native as my main defense tool. It’s a matter of trust in your tool and it comes from my own personal POV on using blade to defend yourself. Because as you know the only folding knife I consider as real fighting folder is the butterfly knife or balisong., consider this as a personal compliment for the Native. I have use the Native against a compact cardboard pack. (three inches cubic) Where I can thrust and slash to test my knives.

The lock is strong and the feel is great (hammer or Icepick) One of my favorite test… I throw the knife! Yes it was not design for that. But … this is my test. But it’s a less than a meter range throw. What I do is:

Speed draw, gravity opening and throw ! (Please don’t try it at home.) This is hard test especially for the lock of the blade. The Native passes it with full success. Good balance and sturdy construction.

CONCLUSION

Soooo.

For its relative low price the Native offers the excellence of a true little fighter and a great utility blade. I really like it . I also like his name !

Very good knife.

Period.

Fred Perrin

Fredeyes

 

Bushcrafters and Whittling: when the true Scandi grinds stand their ground.

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As I have found, a Scandi grind blade is not the easiest to be honed to your desire especially with modern powder metallurgy steels but once obtained it is a pleasure for the whittler. With that in mind I have bought two Mora Knives: a Morakniv Pro-C and a Bushcraft Survival Knife both in Carbon Steel and rubber handle. My idea was to get easily razor sharp scandi edges like I was able to obtain on the BuscraftUK from Spyderco.

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On the picture above only 3 of the knives are true scandis with no micro bevels.

I have been able to compared how Scandi behave with plastic bottles and also on wood . In fact, in my own experience, Scandi edge bites with some kind of hunger the cellulose fibers and soon also acts as a wedge which makes all the cuts strong and controlled. It doesn’t go as deep as a thin convexed full flat ground blade but the wooden chips produced are thicks. It’s a pleasure to use a Scandi ground knife on wood, there is precision in the cuts which can be shallow or radical (with the wedge effect).

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The “Zero Ground” Nilakka being an exception as it combines the strong cuts of the Scandi with the deep push cuts of the full flat ground blades. Which makes it voracious on wood and explain the 5mm stock of the Nilakka blade.

On the two Mora Kniv, the cheaper was the sharper. The Pro-C bites immediately when the Mora BSK was dull. I have put that on the fact there is some kind of coating and no secondary edge. So, my first move has been to remove that coating.

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The secondary edge put flat on a stone, the coating was removed steadily and the edge was quick able to shave hairs then the Mora BSK was able to bite in wood and was a pleasure to hold and work with.
Both Mora are much lighter than my Spyderco Bushcrafters as they are not full tang. as i don’t plan to do any batoning with them, it is not an issue. Both Mora are true Scandis like my Spyderco Wolfspyder and Buscrafters.
It’s not always the case, even in Norway.

Normally Norwegian knives looks like that:
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Scandi knives are a pleasure to cut and drill with as the thickness of the blade runs to almost the point of the blade, making a very strong tip.

But now you can also buy a Korean Puukko from Hyundai.

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It will cost you around 40 Krons, which is around 4 Euros, 5 dollars…
But here you can see. It’s not a scandi but a thick saber grind with a visible micro bevel.

It means that even Scandinavian countries are not protected against pure cutlery heresy. It also means that Viking don’t mind to buy crappy tools for half the price of a Mora.

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Why ? Because true scandi means a good steel and a good heat treatment to stand the thin geometry. It’s a century old design adapted to people building everything from wood: home, tools, furnitures… A true scandi edge angle is acute enough to be reliable and sharp.
Quoting “Patriot Dan” on the blade forums:
“There isn’t one angle really but 22 degree inclusive (11 per side) is a typical swedish midway edge angle for a scandi grind. The angle can be anything from 15 – 25 depending on use. (This is with the steels and the heat treat typical for those knives, some steels may not be optimal for such acute edge angles).The swedish and Norwegian grinds/edges are more obtuse than their Finnish counterparts. I believe the english bushcraft (woodlore being the most famous) knives that sport a scandi grind are based on swedish grinds but that’s just because they’re very similar.”

So true Scandi are NOT saber grind on disguise and NOT convexed. You need to put the bevel on the stone to keep them “true” hence my work of patience on the Nilakka, restoring her edge to zero grind after some convexing.

I haven’t made that kind of mistake on my Wolfspyder and S30V have proven to be reliable with zero chipping making that little folder a pure joy to use on wood.

More to come soon as the tests will take some time.

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On the edge of the Polestar by JD

Like Nemo I have received my Polestar as a gift from Spyderco. It was in the goodie bag at the 2017 Amsterdam Meet. When I took the knife out of the box and looked it over my first impressions were positive. The blade opened smoothly and locked solidly with the lock bar fully engaging the tang. I liked how the gray G10 looked and felt, a nice combination of grippy and smooth. Clip tension was also excellent. I could slide the knife in and out of the pocket and waistband without any problem. The edge it came with from was less impressive, it could push cut receipt paper but had no slicing aggression at all.

When I came home I put a drop of Nano oil on the pivot which made it even smoother. I could flip the knife open with my middle finger, which is a lot of fun! Other than flipping it a few times I didn’t know what to do with Polestar. For me it is quite a big knife, having a blade length of 8,5cm. In my urban environment and with my use I have found that a blade length between 5-7 is ample. Small knives are often just more convenient for me.

After a few weeks of from time to time picking it up and flipping it I decided to give it a try and see how I would like to carry and use it. Like Nemo I moved the clip to the tip down position. I was going to carry it in the waistband and tip down carry reduces the chances of the blade accidentally opening. Thanks to the Spyder hole hump it could still be easily and quickly opened with the Spydie drop.

Before I was going to use it the edge would need to have more slicing bite then it did new. So, I thought a few passes on a coarse DMT hone would be enough for a quick touch up. I was wrong! I found out that, especially close to the recasso, the edge was pretty uneven. In some places it was even a high angle convex. The edge would need to be formed anew!

I cut of the old edge with a few light cuts into a stone and then created a new edge with my extra coarse DMT hone. I was interested in how the knife would function as it was intended by Spyderco. So I did not change the angle of the edge much but just evened out the edge bevel and formed a new apex. The steel was not hard to grind but, due to the unevenness, some parts needed lots more work than other parts. After I had was sure of having formed an apex by creating a burr on either side of the edge, I removed as much of the burr as I could by using alternate and high angle strokes. The burr flip flopped from site to side a lot and was not easy to cut of. Once I had removed most of the burr on the extra coarse hone I repeated the procedure on the fine DMT with the same difficulty in removing the burr. At that time the edge would slice receipt paper well but I have had better edges.

From past experiences I know that often a new knife needs to be sharpened a few times before the edge reaches its full sharpness and edge holding potential. So, this did not disturb me much. It was to early for conclusions.

I proceeded to cut up some cardboard before repeating most of the afore mentioned sharpening procedure. Only this time I finished on the diamond side of the Fallknives DC4, one of my favorite hones, to an edge that would just split head hair. Removing the burr and finishing the edge had become a bit easier this time around. Over the following days I carried this knife and used it for my normal cutting tasks. Mostly cutting paper cardboard and plastic packaging material and perhaps a bread bun for lunch. A funny thing I noticed: the edge its cutting ability seemed to first increase, then settle down, before slowly starting to dull!

After about a week of use the edge would still work for most of my cutting tasks but had lost some of its sharpness. I decided to resharpen the edge with just the diamond side of the Fallkniven hone again. Getting it sharp enough to shave arm hair was easy but getting it to split head hair still proved to be a bit fiddly, although I did managed it in the end. By comparison: my Elmax Squeak went from not biting in to the hair to cutting the hair with much less effort. A few passes on the hone did the trick there.

Normally I would have put the knife in pocket pocket as it was sharp enough for me use, but out of curiosity and to check my findings I resharpened it once more. I had become a bit easier to remove the burr and to make the edge arm hair shaving sharp. But to get the edge to split head hair was still a challenge. With other knives like my Maniago Spyderco’s in N690 and Elmax and, for instance, my Victorinox Bantam this had never been this difficult.

Overall the Spyderco Polestar is an enjoyable and capable knife: flipping the blade open with the middle finger is still fun and the handle works well, it handled my cutting tasks fine ones I got it sharp, but I am not impressed with the condition of the steel at the edge on my example. Still, it was interesting playing around with a knife that is so different from my usual fare!

JD

Spyderco C127PGY Urban K390 – Lil’Grey Alien armed with Hyper Steel.

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Mostly knives company gives the best steel to there flagship models but again Spyderco create the surprise in bringing a 1200 pieces sprintrun of their lightweight Urban slipjoint folder with the best of the best of the cold tool steel: the Austrian Swedish-made Bohler K390.

The steel is a third generation powder steel and to quote them:
“Just as mountaineers need the best equipment to conquer the highest peaks, it‘s essential to use the best materials for your tooling to ensure trouble-free production and achieve outstanding tool life. Three reasons why BÖHLER K390 MICROCLEAN is highly cost effective: Extremely high wear resistance, excellent toughness and very high compressive strength. The high-performance powder-metallurgy steel BÖHLER K390 MICROCLEAN is a reliable solution for your difficult cutting, die-cutting and cold forming operations, and it has a very good track record for applications in the plastics industry.”


Phil Wilson has been using it and he’s known for getting the best of super steels.
“I have been using K390 from the start ever since it was introduced by Bohler and I got some small samples to try. A bit of history is that it is the European version of CPM 10V but not the exact chemistry (about 1% less V plus small addition of a few others). That is because the CPM 10V chemistry was protected by patent at the time. If you check the K390 data sheet it claims that the bit less V gives K 390 a little boost in impact toughness. It also can be heat treated at a lower temp. than 10v. So it is pretty much the same as the A11 grade but different in a few small details. It is hard to tell the difference between CPM 10v and BU K390 in the real world in my experience. I like both grades and they are the base line (along with Vanadius 10 and K294) from which I measure wear resistance. The 5 chrome is there to make them all air hardening among other things and does not contribute much to corrosion resistance. It is going to make a killer knife in the new offering and be another classic. Phil”  On the Spyderco forums.

So one of the best steel is available on a slipjoint the C127.
It’s almost the same cockpit as the Squeak, the blade is a tad under three inches with a full flat ground blade. The backspace is in stainless steel and is used as main spring and the handle are FRN: fiber reinforced nylon. A generous choil gives you security as the blade cannot close on your finger. It’s the same idea as on the C36 Military you hold the open folder by the blade so there is less stress on the pivot. The hump and the choil work as the quillons of a boot dagger. It means also you can give a lot of power into your cuts.

The C127 is modest. This is not the K2. The Urban is a gentleman knife legal in many places. If it was a car, it would not be a Landrover but a Mini.
But here the Mini is turned into a mini Cooper with a very powerful prepared engine as the steel is the chore of the knife.
Again steel is nothing without a good heat treating and without a great geometry adapted to the steel.
And my C127 arrived with a very thin edge. The Maniago naufacturer seems to be very good lately in the way it provide good edges to its blade. Like the Elmax Squeak I was able to cut through the bottle butts with ease and control. The knife cut precisely with not a great amount of force, this is always a pleasure to fill the thick center crossed without the rest of the bottle to collapse due to too much strenght.

Now K390 is not stainless and it suppose to develop a patina. This is good news as it will gives to the knife a lot of character by turning it full grey !

It’s not the first time that Spyderco equipped his FRN knives with the best exotic super duper steel. It was the case with CPM110V on the Blue Manix 2 FRN and the Blue Native FRN . K390 is going also on another flagship: it will equiped the 4th edition of the Police Model. I had the chance to handle it yesterday at the Minimeet and this is going to be a great big folder with a lot of cutting power (Full flat ground large blade) on a sturdy construction (I just regret the did not bring the Power Lock on the Police model, but this is just me…).

For my European fellow have found easily the knife for 77 euros shipping included.
You can use the search functions and do your math and have the chance to try K390 on a very low profile plateform.
I have since mounted Cuscadi Carbon Fibers on this little gem.