Tag Archives: French

Caper: Kid of Picardie

 

 

 

 

 

My former colleague and now friend Pascal is a new blacksmith; he makes folders and also fixed blades in the Picardie region near by the Paris area. I recently purchased one of his early makes that has become my “EDOT” (“Every Day On Table”).

The overall size of the knife is 17.5 cm. The length of the blade is 7.7 cm long and 2.2 cm wide with a small boister and a spine a bit over 2 mm. This is a full flat ground blade made from D2 steel with a belly; the profile looks to be a mix between wharncliffe and sheepfoot. The handle is made of Zircote (a tree of Central America having brown wood streaked with dark almost black lines – thanks Meriam Webster) with indentations for the fingers. The rivets are discrete and the scales perfectly joint with the tang; it’s a full tang.

 

 

 

I really like the caper shape which if we were to simulate the curve would be at minimum a 3rd degree polynomial function with an inflection point: the caper! Goto https://www.mathe-fa.de/fr#result, enter f(x)= (x/10)^3 and g(x) = (x/10)^3+2  and you will have a good idea of the knife’s overall wave! For me the size is right and the handle’s organic design fits well in my hand. Said otherwise and in a much simpler way: “ça tient dans la main, ça tient dans la main!” (Coluche)

coluche

… and the blade’s curve (belly) enables to concentrate the force in one point for increased efficiency. The hardest I cut with it has been very dry saucisson and the result was great enabling energy optimization and transfer between the forearm muscle and the masseter muscle!

 

 

So I am very satisfied with my capper born in Picardie and do recommend “Les Lames du Phenix”! https://www.lamesduphenix.fr/

 

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 Raider #3 – Spyderco C215GP Euroedge.

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

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

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

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

The Euroedge is made of S30V.

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

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

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

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

Spyderco C36 CPM M4 – Building a Patina

“After building a Patina, coat it with cheese.”

This is an old trick Fred Perrin used to do just un case someone asked him about his knife:
– Is it a weapon?
– Nope I eat a lot of cheese.
But the cheese grease also protected the blade from pitting. Olive oil, butter are also useful to coat you carbon blade. And they are not toxic.

Eating with your knife is solving a lot of issues: you use your knife a lot, you take care of your edge a lot, you display it and people get used to your taste in cutlery. It’s not a Silent Companion anymore: it’s your coming out as a knifenut.

Ok, first picture was only an industrial cheese, it was mandatory to show a real Camembert from Normandie:

(First made in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandie, she had given refuge to a priest who gave her the recipe in gratitude. She first made the cheese for her family, but word spread and the rest is legend. This version of French Camembert is produced in the heart of Normandie.
The velvety white rind encases a pale yellow interior which softens towards the outer edges. The rind has mild mushroom aromas that are well balanced with the saltiness and supple creamy texture of the interior. The flavour profile displays cauliflower and yeast notes, an indication of a real Camembert…)

You don’t need to force a patina when you eat with your knife. Here, tomatoes with vinagar provide an acid environment able to built it. CPM M4 is much slower than Super Blue Steel in getting darker. A catalyst is heat. Hot meat, hot acid dish (tomatoes) will build the patina quicker. Often, meat loaves will add some rainbow stains which once polished are beautiful.

(My father in law used to clean his knife by thrusting its blade in the earth. Old timer did not respect their blade like us. But one thing is sure, they used them for everything. Their edges were often ruined in the dirt or just by scrapping son paints on a tool, but at least they used them hard.)

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Cutting an apple pie in a plate will be hard on your blade’s point and edges. But again this is the game of letting your precious EDC goes in other hands. Iy your knife is really the quality knife you claimed, you should be able to clean it and refresh it in a blink of the eye.
Again, I also got bad experience by cutting vegetable in the garden and having dirt and earth ruining my edge.

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The point of your knife will get darker sooner than the entiere blade. But this is the signature of a used knife and they are tools to be used.

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In the end, DLC coated blades will never show as much as character as naked carbon steel.

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Opinel N°8 Carbone — The Crowned Hand

(You can notice the factory edge is a mess…  Easy to fix !)

I have been using Opinel since my very childhood. I was 8 years whe I was throwing my Opinel N°8 in the dirt figuring I was James Coburn in the Magnificent Seven. The blade was dull like a butter knife and black of stain but it was a constant companion.
Later when I had started to really use it I had discovered that it was really easy to get really really sharp and even to get it to razor sharp and keep it that way with just a steel sharpener. It was with an Opinel paired with a Glock knife (The Field Knife 78 (Feldmesser 78)) that I was living my first bushcraft adventures: building a shelter, making fire and cooking, making bows and arrows, sleeping in the woods…

I was buying some plants for the garden when I saw at the cashier some Opinel N°8 for 8 euros. It was the occasion to buy a new one just for the fun of using it.
I got a stainless N°10 somewhere and a filet… This Tradition Carbon is welcome.

As you can see the factory edge needs some work. But it’s so easy and fun to do.


Locked once closed.

The Jade CPM M4 Military looks like a BMW X5 compared to a Renaud 4L.
But both are fun in their own way.

Manufactured in the heart of the french Alps since 1890, Opinel N°8 hasn’t changed much. It got a new rotating ring which works also to block the blade when closed and this is a really great improvement in my own opinion.
“In the 90s, the Virobloc® system was modified to allow the blade to be locked in its closed position. ”

The con:  a round handle which not help to know in which direction the edge is. You need two hands (or your teeth and one hand) ton open the blade. Two hands to lock the blade. No clip, so the knife will disappear in the pocket. Carbon blade which can rust. But that not a problem if you know how to keep your tools oiled.

The pros: 8 euros !! This is a bargain. Half the price of Douk Douk. A very confortable rounded handle.
To quote them : “To protect our handles from external aggressions, there are two available finishes: buffing and varnishing.
Handles shaped from rare and precious tree species are buffed with wax applied with a cotton disk. For every other wood, we apply a varnish which has been selected for its highly protective properties against moisture and staining.
The varnish is tinted for the carbon range and clear for all the other ranges. To create coloured handles, we first apply a water-based wood stain before the varnish.”
The lock is reliable and easy to check.

A full flat ground blade with a thin edge. 40mm made by hand. German steel with 0.90% carbon heat treated in France at 57-59 HRC. (The Stainless version is Swedish 12C27).
“When it was first designed, the OPINEL blade was made from carbon steel. We still use a similar grade today, with an approximate carbon content of 0.90% which is still better than stainless steel. Our carbon steel is first produced in Germany and finalised in France before being worked by OPINEL.”

And this is where the Opinel is so fun to use. In all my knife it’s with my Opinels (stainless or not) that I got the best results in cutting plastic. Of course the steel won’t last like one of the new super steel but it’s so easy to go back to a very high sharpness: it’s fun.

Of course the Opinel beats all my other knives in my plastic butt/neck bottle tests. Even my great Nilakka or my reground Yojimbo 2.

The crowned hand.

Thinner and thinner !

I’ll  keep my new Opinel in my kitchen drawer. Sometime I will pocket it for going into the woods.
Compared to many modern folders, I know its performance are incredible and shows how thick the edges tend to be especially in the “tactical” scene. Strider comes to mind…
My Opinels wer beaten in wood work by the Dodo ! The Dodo got a belly which does miracle on cutting wooden rods.

I have read in a magazines some years ago that a famous hunter guide in Scotland was using an Opinel N°8 Carbone as his main hunting knife. He was using one knife by hunting season.

Anyway my good old new folder provides me “The original Opinel steel, the famous high quality cutting edge, easy to sharpen.”

Coke bottle are getting thicker at the butt, certainly a new manufacturing using more material and my new reprofile Zero Tolerance 0562CF cannot not cut through when she can still cut easily mineral water bottle’s butts.


The Opinel still can. Thin edge powaaa ! But you notice the 4mm thick plastic at the center.