I don’t have cherry trees or I would have pictured the Higo with some cherry tree blossoming… but here we got roses almost a month earlier !
So it was the occasion to picture the blade in the middle of them.
As you can notice, the Rockstead quality is something you can mesure in time. The knives which has been included in my EDC rotation and my hicking in the woods, did not suffered from his chores. The mirror polished blade is still perfectly intact. The lock up is secure and there is no play.
Now ZDP-189 is a very nice steel on the long run. I mean by “nice”…. “gentle” !
Using a Paramilitary 2 Sprint Run with a blade S90V, this last is a bear to get sharp. As Sal Glesser said S90V do not want to give away molecules.
ZDP-189 which I EDC with the Michael Walker and the Rockstead is “gentle” as I can polish it. (I was not able to do that yet with S90V.
The Higo is a very pragmatic knife, it is made to get dirty and to be clean easily. WIth his incredibely hard blade, I did not have any issue to keep it razor sharp in the woods. The choil makes it a very precise knife for wood cutting. You can applied a lot of force in confidence and the handle is very confortable despite it’s open fram structure.
Spring is the time for cleaning. I have used my Higo to cut hard plastic before to have it recycle. I was able to try to compare ZDP with S90V.
I’m very confident, even with a 66,6 HRC ZDP when I’m still very careful with S90V at 60HRC. S90V is like a “alien” steel, it can stay as sharp for “strange” reason I can not quantify even if I can qualify it, knowing how the steel carbid matrix is reinforced by vanadium…
ZDP on the other side both on the Michael Walker and the Rockstead got at first some micro chipping issue, but once resharpen never shown any more unreliability.
Oslo I was not able to get any patina on ZDP and my main way to keep it sharp is some white compound on a leather belt.
It’s razor and don’t want to give up.
My only little complaint is the shape of the clip but this is really not a big issue as I have prevent any scratches it could have done. (That was not the case on my various Sebenza clips wich has been very nasty on car paint…).
All in all after eight months of use, the Higo-J is still like a new knife. I was not able to scratch the handle, despite my rings on my left hands. The blade stay sharp with easy maintenance. The lock up is secure and the feeling of using a fixed blade is very strong.
The Rockstead Higo-J # 102 continues to be worn and used daily as part of my testing of this high quality knife through the seasons in France.
The road so far:
“Rockstead Higo-J part I – A Folding Masamune in Paris”
“Rockstead Higo-J ZDP-189: Fears and Cures”
“Rockstead Higo-J In the woods”
The mechanism did not show any sign of wear since I got the knife used daily. The feeling/sensation of holding a light fixed blade is real once open. The opening and closing is getting smoother (the retention ball was the main brake to the butter like opening provided by huge phosphoric bronze washers) the clip (despite its lip) was a great surprise in confort of carrying and did not caught anything.
What is appreciated in the ergonomy of the Higo-J conceived as “a very pragmatic knife” is the natural way the fingers find their places on that very straight design.
The choil offers a very nice position for the index for any precise work. And the balance of that light knife makes it a natural extension of your hand. There is no issue or hot spot while using the knife even on hard wood.
Some bushcrafters friend of mine really appreciated its grind which is almost scandy. It seems to remove the bark of wood stick like a zipper: with a lot of control.
The Higo was also used in hunting dejointing and skinning and the ZDP grind and heattreated by Rockstead did not failed us.
Now how the ZDP-189, hard as Rockstead like to treat it (HRC66,6) was a concern for me. The initial grind was a little to fragile and my regrind did not permit to recover the initial performance of the knife. This was an issue that many users of thin grind knives may have encountered: rolling edge on stainless can be messy.
Now with patience and elbow grease, the edge of the Higo-J has been restored and maintain to an excellent level of working sharpness.
As a very polish edge (I don’t see myself putting a toothy edge on it, sorry…) the knife shows a constance in performance: it cuts cuts and cuts with accuracy and reliability. Now I only strop it once a week with compound and leather and it enough to keep it sharp.
So I don’t use saw motions and mainly pushcuts. It’s easy to reproduce the demo of Hanada-San. even the “Schtock” sound of the repeating cutting is reproductible.
Also the encounter with some hard surface and even some stapples were not able to mark the edge: no nicks, nothing which could not be fixed with a light ceramic and a lot of stropping.
The more I use it, the more it grows on me. It’s easy to use and very easy to clean. So you don’t mind getting dirty and use that beautiful blade on messy jobs.
I have even seen Hanada-San being able to put it apart in a matter of seconds: there is only two main screws on that incredible design.
I was not able also to scratch the mirror finish and only some little scars are visible witnessing the use of the Higo on hard material.
So far I’m still very impress by the overall quality of that expensive tool.
The handle don’t show any scratches or anything which could alter their beautiful lines. I’m conscient that, if the knife would fall on concrete it would be marked (when G10 or carbon Fiber are very shock/scratches friendly) but it did not occur to me. So far the Higo-J only fell on soils and was rinse after.
BTW the ZDP blade did not stain (that steel is known for being sometime easy to stain).
This is the end of my update. The Higo-J will be used on X-mas turkey and I will come back to it in 2011…