Tag Archives: Gent

Pleasure of whittling — Which knife ?

A knife and a piece of wood make my day.
I can sit and enjoy a good blade taking nice wooden chips.
Steel chemistry is important, especially how fine its grain is.
Back in the 90’s I have found how a Benchmade in M2HSS was more enjoyable than the same model in ATS-34.
How is the blade is ground is also very important, scandi makes shallower cuts when hollow grind got deeper in my experience.
But more than this: the general ergonomy of the knife and especially the spine of the blade do make a difference for me.

But let’s have a look at the knives: Ed Schemp’s Tuff and Bowie, Police 4, Yojimbo 2, Sebenza, Spydiechef, PPT, Paramillie, Lil’Native, Wolfspyder, A little TOPS scandi, Mantra2, Millie and Nilakka.

A rounded spine like my Sebenza is great. It’s very thin edge is also a plus but ATS34 is not making the moment enjoyable. Of course it will cut but the pleasure of feeling how the edge is making the chips is not there. Its edge is like a mad cow !! Hard to control.

 

One of the great surprise in term of pleasure has been that Lil Blue 2 from Raker (Ray Kirk). Made of 52100 ball bearing steel and brought to razor by JD !
The rounded spine of that small fixed blade makes it super enjoyable. The fine grain 52100 makes thin chips but can also be use hard for deeper cuts. That would the kind of knife you can enjoy all an afternoon without thumb soar.

A good old Opinel N°8 is able to cut deep and with power, for sure. Do I enjoy it ? Not really. It does the job but there is no pleasure when the thin spine bites my thumb during push cuts.

A great surprise and even a better surprise that my previous whittling with a Yojimbo 2 in S90V is my Yo2 Jade with a CPM M4 blade.
It is not a knife designed for whittling but it does the job perfectly. Better even is a tougher blade in CPM M4 which is very aggressive. The spine also is thick and my thumb can push with with confort and control. The Yo2 and especially that version is a great wood companion I can use with serenity.

Another knife I highly recommend for going in the woods and whittling with pleasure. And another knife with some martial pedigree has proven to be a great whittler: the PPT.
The S90V thin blade of that edition with a very confortable handle has been eating wood like a chef.

Speaking of chef: lets’ continue with the surprises. One important side of the Spydiechef is how easily it can go out of the kitchen. Sailors and sea kayakists are using it without any risk of failure but within the woods? OK mine has been convexed but this is another great tool to bring with you everywhere. I was able to create beautiful chips and the spince have not bite my thumb. Really a nice experience with this one.

My CPM Cruewear Paramillie has been convexed and its edge was really hungry for wood.
It was in all the bunch the one which went the easiest in the rod of wood. But then the square spire was so sharp and thin: it was not enjoyable. More about it later.

The Lil’ Native with JD sharpening skill is nice and powerful for its size. Really a nice you should not judge by the size. But then again, JD reground it to almost a scandi level. The belly and the thin edge does marvel for whittling. Just a tad longer blade will improved the experience but then you got a Native not a Papoose no more.

Another knife improved by JD sharpening skill is the Mantra 2. I had rounded the spine on this one and it turned to be a very powerful wood cutter. The kind of knife which disappears in your pocket and once deployed is a game changer. The very solid construction and great ergos of that Eric Glesser design is blooming in the woods.

The Police 4, as powerful as its K390 thin convexed blade was a real disappointment. The thin spine is really hurting my thumb when push cutting. The Police is and stays a very urban design. I was not really able to enjoy fine whittling with it. It does the job but the thin spine ruined it for me. This one is much better in cutting cardboards or ropes…

Of course the Nilakka is a five stars experience. nothing new: thick spine, zero ground blade. It is powerful and accurate. Pekka Tuominen knows. Just the thin point could be an issue when digging in the wood to make a hole for example. This is were the Wolfspyder shines: a very solid point !

Another great surprise in term of pleasure has been the Gent knife from Massdrop. I had convexed the edge and its S35VN rounded spined blade is just great. Its natural belly helps a lot in term of push cuts. It is a great folder and 100% shot flipper, easy to keep clean, and look at the shape of that blade: it is stunning and for less than 100 dollars shipping included. It will be reviewed.

Sorry, but the Mora has been the worst. It was not able to bring me nice chips.
I’m certain it would be a great hard used tool in the wood but here for fine gentle whittling: zero pleasure.
The synthetic handle is becoming sticky, the scandi edge is rusting and it was not able to bite in the wood. Cheap fixed blade.

So eventually, using 400 grits sandpaper, I have decided to rounded the spine of my Paramillie 2 and of course it makes a huge difference. Actually I have been really surprise in how deep It was cutting in the wood, kind of remembering its brother in 52100.
Soon I will try AEB-L steel which is considered as a stainless 52100 on a Sprint Run Urban already in transit. So more will come.

In conclusion my more enjoyable whittler is still the Wolfspyder.
The surprise joy came for the Gent, The Yojimbo 2, the Mantra 2 and the Raker.
The Paramillie with a more rounded spine will be certainly part of the club.
The biggest down was the Police 4 and the Mora.

But in term of sitting under the porche and whittling a rod the Ray Mears designed Wolfspyder is winning. It was designed for that task.

 

Massdrop Ferrum Forge Gent — The Ultimate Contender.

My first experience with Massdrop exclusive design was one year ago.
The Falcon has been a surprise in its quality and design and since has been my Spyderco Techno replacement. The Gent is even a better deal !! We are in presence of a real masterpiece in modern cutlery and, pardon my French but I weight my words.
First thing I have noticed is the blade to handle ratio: in a folder, the blade will be most of the time shorther than the handle but with some designers tricks you can give the illusion… It was already the case with the Falcon: we got a real elegant knife despite being short, the blade is perfectly centered, the blade evenly ground, the action is smooth as butter and the edge cut my hairs… WOW !!

The large choil seems to be a Ferrum Forge signature and it is handy for precision cutting. Also when not using it I can hold the handle with 4 fingers. It is much more ergonomic and fonctionnal that my Izulas in that matter.

The lock is similar to the Spyderco PPT.  It is a thick pride liner lock made of bead blasted grey titanium. The slabs are G10 with a very nice texture. Attention to details is stunning: quality is at the rendez vous. The lock feels strong and any way your hand is protected by the flipper used a guard and by the choil if you choose to use it. This is a very solid folder.

The blade is exquisitely ground and the edge is thin, razor sharp our of the box.

The opening construction is ultra minimalist and VERY EASY to keep clean !!
I love ultra minimalists design as found on the Spyderco K2 for example.

The spine is gently chanferred for an excellent confort in thumb pushing cuttings.
Something I won’t have to do myself.

Immediatly you want to play with and put the high saber flat ground S35VN blade in its pace. A steel first introduced to me through the Spyderco Native 5.

As a Lady/Gent knife it is small like a jewel.

Non threatening is a must in that kind of EDC knife. But don’t get fooled by its size; this is a real workhorse !

The detent is a little harder than the one of my Falcon or my ZT0562CF but it works and fires every time. It is really smooth and no side play so far. I was not able easily to open the blade without using the flipper.

The deep carry clip is well thought and it makes the knife disappearing in the pocket. EDC is often better in low profile configuration.

So let’s put a little convexing on that baby: Stuff 2, Fallkniven DC4 and leather…

Diamonds are in play for the first round. The thin edge makes it easy to scratch and of course I have scratched it. You can notice the very nice belly on the blade.

But nothing some use and future stropping won’t erase in a “beautility” attempt. The idea is just to bring convex in the middle of the belly.

Leather stropping, razor sharp let try it on my favorite test in ergos and edge: the Bottle Butt !!

As you can see it was an easy cut for that little knife. There is power in this one. The blade is just thick enough to provide a comfortable spine to strongly push through.

The Belly always help for push cutting in hard material.

So far what do we got:

an elegant, non threatening short folder with premium materials (Titanium and S35VN).
It can be deployed and close with one hand.  Great balance with its sweet spot just behind the pivot. Great ergos, thin edge and easy to clean ?
This is almost the perfect EDC, worst it the best EDC you can buy for 80 dollars !!
This kind of high quality knife could be the only folder to bring with you anywhere. A great little big knife ready for anything ! Thank you to my friend Dan Sharpe for having introduced me to that little wonder !