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

 

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.

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.