Tag Archives: Hard used

The mighty Benchmade Adamas BM275FE-2 CPM – Cruwear for Flat Earth ? First glance at that Heavy Metal Hardcore Folder.

Here it is the Benchmade Adamas second generation with its CPM Cruwear heavy duty blade.
It has been almost 20 years since I have reviewed one of Benchmade hardchore (made for the Military) folder. The last one was the AFCK Axis in D2 and I even think it was not upload even if it was my EDC for two years. I loved the AFCKs because, well, Sal Glesser was involved in its design with Chris Caracci and Les de Asis and Bob Terzuola and I simply appreciate Sal Glesser’s way to invent and design “matter separators”.

But here it is “Tabula Rasa” as far as I am concern ! Go figure: no hole in the blade, but holes in the handle, a gifted designer which I’m going to discover named Shane Sibert who has also designed the Bushcrafter for Benchmade… and Clive Owen’s knife in Sin City.
His signature seems to be fuller on his blade.
“I started making knives in 1994 with the idea of creating blade ware that is simple, practical and efficient. I have been a full-time knifemaker since 2004. Keeping with the theme of practicality, I avoid large metal guards, bolsters and heavy pommels to keep the knives balanced and agile in the hand. Materials have been carefully selected to ensure optimal edge retention and low maintenance. Although the knives incorporate slim handle slabs to decrease unwanted bulk and weight, the handles contour the hand for a synergistic fit. I strive to hold myself to high quality and design standards and produce a knife that will invoke pride of ownership and at the same time perform the task that it was designed for with exceptional ease.”
(quoted from Arizona Customs Knives)

You can notice slabs and hole on the handle.
Actually for such a big knife the Adamas is not that big.
The first version was release in 2011 (you can see it here on Arizona Customs Knives) and was made of D2 the new version came ten years later and with its blade upgrade to CPM Cruwear.
This steel is known to be tough ! Less than CPM3V but with a better edge retention. The Cpm Cruwear Shaman was a big hit !
Here Benchmade has heat treated the CPM Cruwear to 63-65 HRC !
This is something I need to test as it is much harder than Spyderco HRC (61-62HRC) on their CPM Cruwear blades. (Sal tested his own blade at 61.1 HRC).

Cruwear Manix 2 – (63.2 – 63.7) HRC
Cruwear Military – 62.9 HRC
Cruwear Mule (re-release) – (62.1 -62.8) HRC
Cruwear Paramilitary 2 – (62 – 62.8) HRC
Cruwear Para 3 – 61.7 HRC
Cruwear Military – 61.1 HRC

At first touch, the Adamas oozes quality and delicate attention to details. The Olive Drab G10 slabs are wonderfully tappered on both ends and the jimping is done perfectly in my book, not as aggressive as G10 Manix for example. It is palm friendly even when closed. Well done. The holes in the handle help my thumb to index the tool.. There is no hot spots. The handle is totally open and easy to clean and check for debris. It is created as a workhorse which can get dirty but still reliable.
Of course this is an expensive knife with a MRSP at $280.00 but you can see where your money has gone. It is manufactured with love.
The blade is perfectly centered on mine and there is zero blade play in any direction.
I love the Axis Lock concept since its very first Henry&Williams BM710 release.
I have never had any issue with its Omega Spring. It is easy to use with one finger when the SPyderco Cage Ball Bearing needs two finger to work. The Axis Lock makes any knife as fast as automatics. I have never had any play on mine and I have been using them since their very very first release.
I won’t do batonning with the lock engaged like some youtubers seems to do until lock failure. For record, you can do batoning with an opinel…
But engaged lock (any lock) does not like to schoked and a beating can damage an disengaged any lock even a butterfly. Knowing how to use tools in the right situation should be mandatory before doing really stupid things on video and if anyone want to use a folder for batonning some wood (stupid millennial fashion as far as I am concern) just do it with no lock engaged or learn how to bring a better tool…

But once deployed, with just a gentle flick of the wrist — axis lock with heavy blade are just extraordinary easy to deplay— the blade is shown in all its power. I understand why some youtubers would like to shove it in concrete or in bricks…. I’m not certain they will be able to peel an apple in public with it but for that kind of task a Mini Adamas has been released with the same blade thickness…. Oooh well I’m not certain the thick Mini Adamas is made for fruits either. F<or that there is another tool too: the Kapara
The Adamas offering a 0.14″ | 3.556mm thick blade, it is designed hardcore for hard chores for folders. How will it behave, that will be in our next article but that blade surely offers a lot of lateral strength.
For now it is just a very first glance.
All specs of the Adamas can be found on Benchmade here.
You can also notice on that picture its deep carry clip which can be a nice touch for such a big heavy folder. More on that later.
The action is smooth at the pivot but needs a little breaking at the lock release; nothing some nano oil can not fix.

This is a very beautiful folder which is very well balanced, its sweet point being just under the index finger when hold in hammer grip.
It is alive in my hands.
The axis lock makes it ambidextrous and you can notice on that picture the 3 points for adapting that clip or another three screw clip (not deep carry) if needed on both sides of the handle.

The blade handle ratio is almost to 1 with the Adamas compared to the Military C36 which is known for its long handle.
Of course the Adamas came very sharp out of the box, but not as sharp as I want. The blade is protected with cerakote coating Flat Earth colored which got excellent reputation in terms of tough protecting the CPM Cruwear from rusting. Cruwear can get a patina but it is not easy.
Here Benchmade and Shane Sibert have chosen to propose a stealthy look for the soldiers which need no blade reflection under the sun too.

It is also sold with a very nice sheath offering many carry options for soldiers and hunters alike.
The deep carry clip is perfect in term of retention and ease to retrieve the big and heavy knife.
Oh it is 183 grams (5,45 oz) which is really heavy. The liners are stainless steel not titanium. This is Heavy Metal !

As you can notice the Adamas is much thicker than the C35 Military and much heavier too. Sal Glesser wanted his military to be as light as possible as a soldier got already many heavy things to carry.
Benchmade has taken another direction. The Adamas is beefierand thicker. Actually it can also been more confortable for long usage. We will see…

Another beefy released was the Shaman which almost has the same handle length. The Adamas provides a lot of edge.

Here is my good old AFCK Axis. It was used with a lot of love as you can notice. Zero issue with the lock BTW.

Now it is time to give some work to that Adamas designed to “deliver unrivaled performance throughout hard-use applications”. The next step will involve certainly some sharpening and reprofiling…
More to come soon…. But for now on, it is a knife which makes me grin when I open and close it. Kuddos to Benchmade and Shane Sibert for bringing this second gen of the mighty Adamas.

Spyderco C192TIP – Tasting the Pie In The Sky.

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“I am the Pie in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind…”

This knife used to have the MSRP of a small Sebenza but as it’s been discontinuited I got the chance to buy one at a fraction of its original price. And really, I’m glad to be a later adopter of that wonderful and unique attempt to make a hardchore non locking knife.

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The PITS is the acronym of Pie In The Sky. It’s a folder based on Mike Read’s knives. He is a knifemaker in the UK. So, this knife has been specifically designed for EDC in the United Kingdom. In brief, her Majesty’s laws say you can carry any knife if you have a “good reason”, but just in cases there isn’t a good reason you can still carry a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches without a lock.  The UK designed small Wolfspyder with it compression lock is not UK law friendly but the Urban is ! Also the slipjoint Manly Comrade won’t because of its longer blade… but the PITS will !

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This knife is an eye candy. It has a powerful full-flat ground N690Co steel clip point blade and a stunning precision-machined skeletonized blue anodized titanium handle that aids in providing a very positive texture for grip.

The handle features integral split spring arms to form the knife’s unique slip-joint mechanism. Titanium has got that elasticity that Chris Reeve was one of the first to explore for his Integral Locks. Here you have another variation of the use of that incredible metal here used as a strong spring.

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The very good thing I will repeat again and again is that Mike Read has designed this knife to be a tough, hard-use folder and, yes, this is not easy and also this is a good thing.
Not many non-locking knives are destined to be used hard. The Manly Comrade is an exception for example… but here, the PITS is really shining in another department: in the one hand opening and closing realm (making it illegal in Danemark too BTW) . There are no mid steps like on the Comrade as the action is smooth until the blade is fully opened or closed – making even Spyderdrops possible !

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Then you got the choice to apply your thumb on the bar and it’s cleverly secure. Zero play in any direction. Also there a quillon after the choil where your index can rest; meaning, held in the proper manner, the blade cannot close on your precious finger.

Something you ask to a hard working tool is the ease of cleaning. The handle is fully open by construction and thanks to the holes in the titanium slap, it’s very easy to clean and rinse your blade – also there is a lanyard hole !

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N690Co, heat treated (certainly with cryo) in Maniago, is a just a great steel for an EDC. I always considered it as some kind of European VG10. It can get back to razor sharpness very easily and it stays sharp long enough between touches up. It’s not brittle and I got the same sense of all-terrain steel (like VG10 on Fallkniven knives) as when I had done hard testing of other fixed blades made in Maniago. N690co is very stainless. It’s the kind of steel to use around the kitchen and even close to the sea with no after thought; just rinse it!
Also the geometry on the PITS being very thin and with its belly, the first cuts in wood were really deep. The blade did not move/unlock even when stuck in the wood fibers. So this is a very secure non-locking knife. Immediately, you bond with it and want to use it.

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The handle is generous even in reverse grip and it fits in the hand very well for such a small knife. This is in hammer grip a four fingers knife, which is welcome for hard cuts.
I have found it very confortable with zero hotspots when held tight.
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Also the full titanium handle gives a near to perfect balance. The PITS is light and fast in the hand, it is alive. To close the blade it’s better to push the spine with the thumb as the notch is not easy to pass.

The PITS Folder includes Spyderco’s  best clip: the deep carry wire clip for reversible tip-up carry. It almost disappears in my pocket.

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SO here we have got a non threatening tool, with a beautiful blue handle. It cannot make non knives people unconfortable at all. Also titanium being not easily detected by metal detectors, the PITS should not make them beep easily…. No, I mean you can cut live wire with as titanium does not conduct electricity… oh well, I only have bad recommandations tonight.

So here we have got the Pie In The Sky, a knife which is going to kick my Urban out of my pocket when I go for a walk in the city. It’s very pleasant to have a tool engineered  to be a user. Next step is to remove the sharp edges on the blade spine and give a little convexed edge to this baby…
More to come soon.

“…I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that  I can read your mind, I can read your mind …”

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The Alan Parson’s Project lyrics is an idea from our editor: Pascal. 🙂

last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 24 jan 2018.

RealSteel Knives Bushcraft Folder – Beefy Folding Tool.

I have been dreaming about that kind of folder for quite a long time. Something heavy, strong with a rounded handle to take in the forest and built some shelter.
RealSteel Knives, a Chinese company, may have heard my prayer as they are producing a Bushcraft Folder in two versions: with and without the one hand opening option provided with two studs.
180 grams of a very well balanced 90mm blade length beefy companion.
My first experience with Real Steel was the beautiful Megalodon which has had review here. Its main flaw was the awful clip and you know what ? The Bushcraft Folder has no clip but a beautiful textured G10 handle. Also the red liners are a very nice touch bringing a real touch of class. The blade is perfectly centered; the action is smooth; the action Southpaw friendly…
So let’s have a look:

The blade is made of D2. This air hardening classical steel is not my favorite but some of my friends and co-writers like JD do have an excellent opinion about it. As a reminder let’s not forget D2 has 13% chrome steel which can stain and can be a bear to get sharp. RealSteel seems to have bought tons of D2 as their production of fixed blades is mainly using that alloy. The HRC is 58-60 which is not the hardest heat treatment for that steel but it seems appropriate for a knife destined to resharpen in the field. Oh and this is a true scandi: no secondary bevel on that baby ! You can put it flat on some stone and you should be able to keep it like a razor !


The lock is a thick Michael Walker’s liner lock and it reminds me of the one on Spyderco Gayle Bradley; thick liners locks are easy and confortable to use. Here the steel liners are heavily skeletonized to reduce weight and keep a great balance.
Don’t forget: batoning with a folder is not a good idea with the lock engaged. Let’s say it’s not a good idea, period. Some chores are better kept for the uses of thick fixed blades. But the RealSteel BF can easy drill in wood and be twisted while cutting: there is no movement, no play; everything is very well adjusted. So this is a very serious outdoor knife. The spine of the blade is sharp, certainly for striking a rod and lighting fire. I will soon round mine, as I prefer to have a confortable ramp to push with my thumb during woodworking. The handle does not have a fully open construction; there is a G10 spacer in the butt along with a lanyard hole. It looks really easy to rinse and keep clean.

The G10 has got a very nice texture: not harsh. You can notice it on the picture. Also there is no hot spot on that handle so you can hold it really tight; it’s almost like a fixed blade. The linerlock is recessed and you can not disengage it by holding tight the handle. Just be careful and always remember: regardless how strong a folder is, it will never be as strong as fixed blade. Use it with respect and care; should the lock fail, there is no choil to protect your precious fingers!

This the heaviest folding blade in a 4 inches folder I have ever owned!
You certainly can put that 3,5mm thick blade in good use. Especially as the scandi is very keen and easy to keep ultra sharp – as much as you don’t create a bevel.
Even though the studs do not get in the way when sharpening, it should be easy to remove them with a flat screwdriver if you want a pure two hands opener.

A first test on dry wood shows I have got a very serious contender; the blade cuts deep and makes as good chips as my Casstrom (Scandi type blades give you a lot of control when cutting wood). This is always such a pleasure to use them. Also the solid tip is great to drill and open crates without fear of breaking it.

The pouch which is provided with that big heavy workhorse is well made, but I will certainly carry it vertically in my front pocket against my leather wallet. I have tried that before going for a one hour walk and the knife did not move.

The knife snuggles perfectly inside the pouch you can pass in a belt.

In my opinion a nice cocoon to transport the knife in a coat pocket or in a bag, featuring its toolish function in opposition to all those fast draw tactical response tools always regarded as weapon and also marketed as “tactical” knives, conveys a comforting message.

My wonderful Wolfspyder is dwarfed by the heavy RealSteel folder which’s size is very close to any classical bushcraft fixed blade. You feel you can easily use it for light chopping, for finishing off a cut. Again, impacts are not folding knives’ best friends, but the momentum of that heavy blade could be used for light chopping in wood, like trimming branches in one whip of the wrist.

This is a mean blade perfectly centered beware parallax illusion in this photography.

And the handle is even thicker than the fixed blade.

Of course the main limitation of a folder is the blade length which cannot exceed the handle length (except for some hunting daggers).

So what have we got in the end ? An heavy, solid, easy to keep sharp bushcraft tool.
OK. But for what price ? Mine was bought for less than 60 euros ! This is great for a knife destined to be used a lot and not kept in a safe.
In my opinion, this is a very solid bargain for a very serious wood companion.
“Made in China” tools are getting better and better in terms of quality, prices are competitive and don’t forget…. your Iphone X are also made in China. Here you have got a Chinese Viking Folding Knife, which is great !!
More to come soon !

last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 17 jan 2018.

Spyderco C22 in ZDP189 — Amazing After Six Years Hunting in Tuscany !

Six years ago, my friend Valter Nencetti took my Walker for a one year mission which turned into a six years journey. It was his favorite knife for hunting and he reported that to me in this article:  https://nemoknivesreview.com/2012/12/30/spyderco-c22-in-zdp189-italian-hunter-update-by-valter-nencetti/

This year, he has given it back to me after I had offered him my Native 5 in 110V which is IMHO an upgrade for Hare Hunting. The Backlock of a Native 5 is a perfect lock for that kind of use, but you can notice the Walker lock as not travel very far. The curved concave notch prevents it to go further.
There is absolutly no play !

For the record skinning hares is not an easy task for an edge as the hairs and the skin are ruining the sharpness very fast. There is a lot of dirt which acts as abbrasive. I have made a video and soon will put it on line.

Being used everyday, Valter eventually broke the clip which is a very fragile part of the walker compared to spoon clips used noawadays in spyderco line. You can also see it was not clean everyday and used as an EDC in the countryside of his beloved national Park in the North of Florence in Italy.

You notice the normal wear on the handle but Carbon fibers is incredibly sturdy as an slob material. It can be easily cure with some 1000 sandpaper work.

There were also no pitting on the blade or on the liner lock. ZDP189 is known for pitting strangely with its 3% of carbon and 20% of chromium. But here anyway, no issues.

I have started to clean the marks on the blade with some sandpaper.

Then I have restored the edge to razor.

No chipping.
No pitting.
No blade play.
No marks on the handle.
A broken clip.

Valter used his knife with no afterthoughts. I know it was not used on wood but mainly as a skinning tool. It has processed hares but also been used on boars and deers. Also it was used on plastic and everyday mondane tasks as Walter is breeding hunting dogs.

That’s not bad for a little gentleman knife which is a true workhorse.

SPYDERCO SCHEMPP TUFF BY ED SCHEMPP – C151GTI – My Folding Kukri

When The Going Get Tough…The Tuff gets going !

I have witnessed the evolution of that knife since the first prototype in 2005. The beautiful fuller was already its signature and I felt, this was a great complement to the hole for opening purpose.
For descriptions and length and weight, please use the link above.

This folder is not my first “heavy duty folding tool”, but certainly one of the most solid. The Gayle Bradley is an hard used cutter.
My Lionspy is another great contender as I have used it as a light chopper many times. But the heft of the Tuff is making that Ed Schempp designed knife a great woodman folding companion, in my own humble opinion. It’s unique.
Why ?
Because I enjoy being able to process wood with some light equipment: my Cold Steel Voyager, my Lionspy and now my Tuff are able to work quick as light chopping tools. Of course it won’t replace a hatchet, a machette, a campknife. But they are a folding “attempt” to create reliable hard used knives. The new fashion in folding cutlery. Tactical means nothing. Hard used knife means everything.

SPyderco Tuff and Lionspy by Nemo

My tuff has been named “Varicelle” or “Smallpox” in French. Why ? Because of its handle. All those “bubbles” give it some kind of steampunk look.
Once closed, you recognized the attention for details of Ed Schempp. Varicelle looks like a perfect oval. It’s a beautiful object even if the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just look at that mega huge screw pivot, that massive stop pin, that unique fuller on that thick blade, everything in this knife screams toughness.

Once open, you feel that you are holding a tool not a weapon. Even if the balance is perfect with a sweet spot under your index. This knife has been created to be a reliable companion toward the hardest situation a folder can withstand in a…. farm ! And what is useful in a farm can be useful everywhere. But, thinking about it: the most famous martial artists weapons were initiated by farm tools.
Ed told me he has cut into aluminium tanks without any damage to the blade. I don’t know wahta he was cutting but I trust him to put his blades in pace to test them. (E.G. My Persian is such a great knife BTW)

CPMS3V is a really tough steel. It’s another crucible powder steel. I love the behavior of that steel and its forgiveness toward my clumsiness.
I cherish a great BRKT Bravo and I love how its convexed edge is easy to maintain while being a true laser. Oh I love that powder manufactured steel.
It’s not stainless, but it’s a fine grain tool steel which can stand a lot of abuses.
Having the chance to carry “that” steel on a folding knife is absolutely rare. Another Spyderco premiere.
I had the purpose of convexing my Tuff as I knew how easy that tough alloy was with leather stropping.
So Varicelle has been slowly convexed. Using elbow’s oil mainly.

Eventually the blade on the Tuff is longer than the edge. Again the mighty choil is another Ed Schemp signature like on my Navaja.
You can hold your knife by the blade only, helped by the fuller and the choil, the hardest jobs can be soft on the lock and pivot.
The edge is making that knife very legal. It’s not threatening. Again you got a tool in your hand not a serial killer nightmare.
Yes, but it looks like a kukri and it perform like a folding kukri. And Kukris are famous to be the sacred weapon of Burkhas…
But again Kukris are great tools tunred into weapons. The Tuff’s designer was focus on some kind of G-Shock folder. Not a self defense device. Not a sentry removal tool. The Tuff is just a gentleman farmer’s knife designed by one.

By the way, I don’t have any problem to open it fast. I have changed the clip position to tip down carry. Now I can spyderdrop it, holding the blade by the hole and the fuller. It’s as easy and smooth as with my Millie. The heavy handle helps a lot. The lock bar can be harder than other knives. I won’t mind.
The closing is even easier than on my Lionspy. The meat of my thumb catches the lock release with ease. So I can open it fast and close it fast which is a must in safety for hard used tools in difficult environment. My tuff is reliable. Easy to put in play and easy to remove from sight.
This is all I ask from my folders.

So what do you got ? A CPMS3V folder with RIL Lock in a compact package offering great ergos while open.
Now will come the time of testing.
Stay tune for part 2.


Before convexing.


In between convexing.

Spyderco Tuff by Nemo
Fully convexed.