Choosing a knife for the city.

You don’t need a reason to carry a knife.
Whatever they ask you, just lie or tell them what they want to hear.
In the woods or in the countryside carrying a knife, whatever your gender, is wise.
But in the city ?
You really think you will defend yourself with a knife ? Let’s forget about it. A chair, a stiletto shoe, an ashtray will be better defense tools if you know how to train your mind first. And be prepared mentally whatever your gender, is wise.
Knife is not the best tool to get away of trouble. It’s like playing with matches in a gaz tank. It’s used by madness and idiots to create horrors. So unless you want to be an idiot.
Since knives, cheap and ugly dull knives, are often used to hurt people. Worst, some people think knives has been used when they were not even in history.
An example ? When Lucheni, a madman, has stabbed the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Geneva he did it with a file. “There was no blood on the file and the tip was broken off, which occurred when Lucheni threw it away. The file was so dull in appearance it was speculated that it had been deliberately selected because it would be less noticeable than a shiny knife, which would have given Lucheni away as he approached.”
So you want to carry a knife in the city. It’s your choice, your business. Nobody else business. Your freedom of choice. In those days where metal detectors are common and official journalists are scanned all over their body before filming some president from ten yards away, when policemen can search you with no good reason because of the state of emergency… you better carry something which is small and sheeple friendly.
Better: you should conform with the laws of your country.

Younger I felt some kind of thrills being an outlaw. My first knife even was a folding AF dagger from Gerber. Go figure ! But later, I have found it is more fun to be lawful and cleverly respect the rules, because it gives you the occasion to try new designs and new makers. Of course you can always carry a Swiss Army knife. I almost never do. It’s in my bag not in my pocket. Because since the 90’s I have fallen in love with clips. Clips are such a great way to avoid a pouch or a scabbard or anything used to say to the world: I carry a knife !! So the clip is mandatory for me. My last clipless knife has been slipping under my wallet and at the Airport it has been taken away from me. So no more clipless knife for me.

So, in the city, I need to follow the rules and I need a flat design clipped to a pocket’s lip. Again a thick Victorinox Swiss Champ is a no-no as is an rounded handle Opinel. Opinel are not for the city unless they are under N°8. And I want a slick design something easy in and easy out without telegraphing around I’m going to use it.
I love the Worker design from Sal Glesser , the very first clip it, which could be used without opening it completely the blade thanks to its false edge. Very clever.
In the city I want elegance. the object needs to be warm and tell a story. I’m not a predator, I carry a tool not a weapon. For the records, hammer, screwdrivers are much more lethal than any Perrin Lagriffe destined to wound and not kill. I like to be able to cut my food without using the dull silverware of restaurants. Because there is some places which are not fast food too. And even at the Macdonalds, using a sharp knife can help to share in two portions a single burger. But in restaurants nowadays it’s not common to find good steak knives. I always enjoyed bringing my own knife like my grandfather used to and that manner that my father hated so much. My father was carrying a switchblade for SD and then a La Griffe. He also used a small turtle shell slipjoint folder made in Nogent in his bag. The exact opposite of my way. Strange how generations go counter clockwise just to complete a full circle thinking they are re-inventing the wheel.

A knife, may it be a slipjoint of a locking folder, is a door for adventures. I often walk on the avenue of the Opera remembering Ernest Hemingway.
“He was a customer of the house Kindal, 33 avenue de l’Opéra, he used to go through the shop, after his purchases, to the Ritz, Place Vendôme. His Parisian triangle was the Harris Bar, Kindal then the bar of the Hotel Ritz. His deer stag handle locking folder, with blade, saw, bottle opener and corkscrew, was his daily companion, he even packed his tobacco and curated his pipe with it. The stag’s wood cracked at the end with time and the tobacco was constantly caught in the cracks, obliging him to clean his knife regularly, he had the idea to place an ivory knob, coming from one of his African hunts probably.
Many years after his death, Mrs. May Kindal, found Hemingway’s knife at the bottom of a drawer, left there for maintenance.
She had him reborn by Jacques Mongin, knifemaker and Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
Since then, the Hemingway knife is sold exclusively by the Kindal cutlery.” Translated from Kindal.

I remember the first time I have seen Ray Mears on the TV. He was walking in the beautiful English countryside and he used one of his elegant Woodlore fixed blade to cut some plant and give some stories. Wait a minute, this guy is walking in the UK and carries a fixed blade in his pocket. But as a black belt in Judo he won’t go in trouble with bushcraft knife anyway.

In the city, knives are making conversations. So it will leave your hands for those of a friend who want to see it. And you will be sitting in the sun drinking a cappucino. So the knife needs to be beautiful and smooth and not aggressive in any way because it can be display in public like smartphones and cameras.

I also need the knife to be out of the way, because I carry stuffs in my pockets or I got a messenger back and it happen sometimes: the knife get hooked to something and falls. So the clip and the way to carry it needs to be secure.
It needs to be very sharp also. And stays sharp. Because I’m not going to show my honing and sharpening skills in the street and a dull edge is dangerous for your finger. So, a good geometry and a good steel. A knife thought to be used not only to be displayed.

So here are some examples.

The Delica in its Knifecenter Special Edition is my actual companion. This one is so sharp it goes beyond my scale. HAP40 can be thinly honed, it’s a true razor. More can be found on it following that link:

In the very highest performances you also got Pekka Tuominen little Wonder Nilakka. You can click on its link. Again a little big knife with performance and ergos which change the game of current gentlemen folders.

The Michael Walker is a rare Gem and this Sprint run has proven how excellent it was as a skinner for very serious hunters.

In the Slip It territory the Urban is the perfect companion unless one hand operation is forbidden by the law. The steel of this one just does wonder and I’m thinking a lot about testing the new Police Model…

One of my old little city companion has been that little Tim Wegner Mouse II knife.

Spyderco has covered all the ground about small knives to carry by men or women. The Dragonfly is one of their pure example of acceptable locking Clip It.

My friends Xavier Conil and Laurent Monnier propose an elegant not threatening folder: le Pointu.

This knife got no clip and is not one hand opening but I have bought it in South Africa at the Good Hope Cape’s shop. This is my Southern souvenir. It has no vertical play and got a story to tell.

respecting the Danish law, the Pingo is one of the solutions for having a clipped knife with no opening hole.  The hole here is only a trademark.
There is a Sprint run with Elmax blade and Titanium handle, I often look with envious eyes…

This one is French, it’s JD’s folder a Sacha Thiel which will be reviewed soon. The blade can be open with a gentle flick helped by the thumb and the deep pocket clip makes it disappears.

So here my knives for the city. My Griptilians are too tactical. My small Sebenza has been lost. I could dig my drawers for more but I think you were able to catch my drift.
Here is a following up about choosing a 3 inches folder.

Advertisements

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 C22 in ZDP189 Italian Hunter Update by Valter Nencetti

Valter Nencetti

Dear Nemo,

here is the review on the knife you have given to me to test. It has passed all the tests with flying colors during the hunting season. I thought it would chip but it has not happen. Of course I have not abuse it. I think your reprofiling of the edge is perfect. The maker (Spyderco) will be happy.

See you soon,
Valter.”

Valter Nencetti

Every year for more than two decades I have been welcomed by Walter, Francesca and all the Nencetti family in their beautiful mountains at the East of Florence in Tuscany. Walter is an avid hunter but also is a doctor in genetics working as a researcher at the University. A bear of a man, he is a true landlord knowledgeable in nature and the art of woodcraft even if he won’t use that word for something he consider as natural as breathing. He was even able to save and promote a breed of high performance hunting dogs “Segugio dell’Appennino”. (click on the name for an English article he wrote on it).
Here the link to my initial review.
Here the Michael Walker six years after.

Valter Nencetti Dogs

Those dogs are incredible: they are able to track alone in the valley as the hunter is waiting on the hill. It’s their constant barking which keep the hunter in touch with them. The way they bark gives him all the information needed as the dogs have found tracks, are now tracking and are bringing back the hare or the boar to be shot. The dogs need to be very smart to track an hare. This nocturnal big rabbit got a very special moving pattern to leave a minimum of tracks behind him. He systematically leaves dead end before to go back on his track and to go in another direction. The dogs need to be very clever to know when the heir has made a U Turn and especially to find the direction it has taken. Those dogs are high performance dogs, really.

Valter Nencetti

Valter goes hunting as soon as he got some times on his hands and he uses his hunting knives for skinning hares, deers and boars.
I have been able to offer him Spyderco knives since 2000. His favorite so far was a Paramillie of the first génération.The S30V full flat ground pointy blade has him main skinning knife.
So I have decided to gave him “Sky” my C22 in ZDP189 for good measure. (I have kept another one as a Safe’s Queen…).
As I had reviewed it before, this is the best pushcutter ever made by Spyderco with the wonderful Gayle Bradley.
So here is his review in Italian (translation are a click away with your fav translator on the Net)

Francesca e Valter in la Noce Di Francesca
(And if you want to know where Valter is living, here is also the link to his wife agriturismo:
http://www.lanocedifrancesca.com/)

Here is his review in Italian.

Spyderco C22 ZDP-189 Seki-City Japan

Agile, elegante, leggero ma al contempo robusto ed efficiente, Spyderco C22 ZDP-189 è un piccolo coltello a serramanico che riesce a sintetizzare in 54,4 g di peso un condensato di alta tecnologia a servizio della funzionalità.
Immediatamente riconoscibile l’appartenenza al marchio Spyderco, non solo per il foro nella lama ma anche per la linea inconfondibile, questo coltello si differenzia però dagli altri della serie per la maggiore leggerezza ottenuta con un’impugnatura ben bilanciata, realizzata con materiali leggeri ma di elevata resistenza e soprattutto con una lama sottile e durissima. E’ proprio quest’ultima che rappresenta una importante innovazione rispetto alle classiche, in genere adottate dalla casa costruttrice, ma anche da molte altre produttrici di coltelli. E’ noto infatti che la capacità di taglio, a parità di affilatura, è superiore nelle lame meno spesse, basta pensare al bisturi del chirurgo o anche al rasoio o lametta da barba, o anche a piccoli coltelli da cucina o per eseguire innesti in agricoltura.

Spyderco C22 si adegua perfettamente alle esigenze del cacciatore italiano che, al contrario di quello che si può immaginare, non ha bisogno di grossi e robusti coltelli per intendersi “tipo Rambo”, ma di un utensile funzionale che gli permetta anche di sbucciare una mela, oltre che spellare una lepre, un capriolo o un cinghiale. Riguardo a questi ultimi, una piccola lama affilata, come quella del coltello in questione, in mani sapienti è più che sufficiente per le normali esigenze. Occorre tener presente che il cacciatore deve muoversi rapidamente su terreni spesso impervi ed è limitato in questo dall’equipaggiamento (fucile, munizioni, scarponi e vestiario) che non può essere ulteriormente appesantito da un inutile “coltello da sopravvivenza” che comunque non risolve il problema dello spezzamento delle ossa (cinghiale, capriolo, cervo, daino) per le quali occorrono ben altri tipi di utensili.

In Italia, in genere, i grossi coltelli vengono utilizzati da cacciatori principianti, per lo più per incidere bastoni mentre sono alla posta per sparare al cinghiale; cittadini, più che campagnoli, che spesso non sanno neanche camminare nel bosco e che, il più delle volte, devono essere soccorsi, poichè si perdono nella foresta, magari nei medesimi luoghi di caccia frequentati da tempo.

Spyderco C22, durante un’intera stagione di caccia alla lepre e al capriolo, si è dimostrato un coltello particolarmente affidabile, imperdibile grazie alla sua Spyderco-clip di sicurezza, la sua lama si è mantenuta perfettamente affilata, utilizzando di tanto in tanto il cuoio per la rifinitura, non si è intaccata, nonostante la durezza dell’acciaio, forse anche per il particolare tipo di affilatura di cui era dotata e anche per la cura prestata al coltello. Un vero cacciatore, infatti non può pretendere che il suo coltello rimanga perfettamente affilato dopo un cattivo uso dello stesso e deve essere in grado di mantenerlo sempre tagliente, pronto all’uso.

Tutti i coltelli a serramanico Spyderco sono adatti alla caccia, poiché tutti sono di giuste dimensioni per il cacciatore Italiano. ZDP-189, del quale non avverti la presenza per la sua leggerezza e minimo ingombro, la mattina, quando ti metti i pantaloni per andare in ufficio al posto di quelli per la caccia, ti assicuri di riporlo gelosamente nella tasca poiché sai che ti potrà essere utile.

Valter Nencetti Carlo Boni
Carlo Boni and Valter Nencetti inspecting the knife.

SPyderco C22 Valter Nencetti

Spyderco C22 Valter Nencetti
With the Hare of the day.

Bisteca a la Fiorentina
Feeding the family with some Bisteca a la Fiorentina…

Spyderco Paramillie
Valter’s Paramillie 1 used mainly as skinning knife.

Paramillie

Paramilitary
A Paramillie 1st edition well used….

Valter Paramillie

The French version is here:
Agile, élégant, léger mais en même temps, robuste et efficace, Spyderco C22 est un petit couteau qui est capable de condenser en 54,4 g un concentré de haute technologie au service de la fonctionnalité.
Immédiatement reconnaissable de la marque Spyderco, non seulement pour le trou dans la lame, mais aussi pour la ligne unique, ce couteau se distingue des autres de la série, cependant, par plus de légèreté obtenue avec un manche bien équilibré, fabriqué avec des matériaux légers, mais d’une résistance élevée et surtout par une lame mince et très dure. C’est justemznt cette dernière qui une avancée majeure par rapport aux modèles classiques, généralement prisées par le fabricant, mais également par de nombreux autres fabricants de couteaux. Et à noter en fait que la capacité de couper, avec le même affûtage, est plus élevée avec les lames moins épaisses, Il suffit de penser au bistouri du chirurgien ou à la lame de rasoir ou la lame de barbier, ou même un petit couteau de cuisine ou pour effectuer des greffes dans l’agriculture .

Le Spyderco C22 s’adapte parfaitement aux exigences du chasseur italien qui, contrairement à ce que vous pouvez l’imaginer, n’a pas besoin de grands couteaux robustes destinés au “type Rambo», mais d’un outil fonctionnel qui lui permet également de peler une pomme, ainsi que de dépouiller un lapin, un chevreuil ou un sanglier. Sur ces derniers points, une petite lame pointue, comme celle du couteau en question, entre des mains expertes est plus que suffisant pour les besoins normaux. Veuillez noter que le chasseur doit se déplacer rapidement sur des terrains souvent inaccessibles et est donc limité en cela par l’équipement (fusil, munitions, bottes et vêtements) qui ne peuvent pas encore être appesantis par un «couteau de survie” inutile qui de toute façon ne résout pas le problème du désossement (sangliers, chevreuils, cerfs, daims) qui ont besoin de types très différents d’outils.

En Italie, en général, les grands couteaux sont utilisés par les chasseurs débutants, la plupart du temps pour couper des bâtons tandis qu’ils sont en poste pour tirer sur les sangliers; les citadins, au contraire des paysans , qui souvent ne savent même pas marcher dans les bois et, plus d’une fois, doivent être secourus, car ils sont perdus dans la forêt, peut-être dans les mêmes lieux fréquentés par temps de chasse.

Le Spyderco, au cours d’une saison entière de chasse au lièvre et au chevreuil, s’est révélé être un couteau particulièrement fiable, imanquablement grâce à son clip-Spyderco de sécurité, à sa lame qui est restée parfaitement afilée, en utilisant de temps en temps le cuir d’affutage, ne s’est pas abimée, en dépit de la dureté de l’acier, peut-être aussi grâce au type particulier de l’émouture dont il a été équipé de et également pour le soin apporté à la lame. Un vrai chasseur, en fait ne peut pas prétendre que son couteau reste parfaitement afuté, après un tel usage de maltraitance et doit être capable de le garder doit être en mesure de le garder toujours tranchant, prêt à l’emploi.

Tous les couteaux pliants de Spyderco sont adaptés pour la chasse, car ils sont tous juste là a bonne taille pour le chasseur italien. Le C22, qui ne signale pas sa présence par sa légèreté et sa petite taille, le matin, quand vous mettez votre pantalon pour aller travailler au bureau au lieu de ceux de la chasse, assurez-vous de le mettre dans votre poche jalousement parce que vous savez qu’il pourra vous être utile.

Spyderco C22 Walker : Sky The Limit !

Thea and the C22CF
Thank to Jurphaas from Spyderco, I got the chance to own one little wonder of that limited production ! Thea loves it too and she’s in charge of the technical review…
The Michael Walker C22CF is not a new pattern in the Spyderco line.
The first C22 were produced in Switzerland 18 years ago. They were the first industrial folders with Carbon Fiber handles !
This Sprint Run got a gorgeous thin blade made of Hitachi Super Steel ZDP189.
The 67 mm long blade is wide and 2,5mm thick offering incredible performance in pushcuts.
The Hollow grind is so well executed by Seki City craftmen, you know by holding it between your thumb, it’s so thin, it could be almost transparent.

Black and Wlaker

Opening the C22 is not as smooth as a Sage (for example) but the positive force used to deploy the blade give a feeling of tough tool to this gentleman blade.
The knife is so light but feels so solid, it screams to be used ! And then, it’s like piloting a small racing car. The cuts are accurate and outstanding in their power.
My Plastic Butt’s test was passed with flying colors in one push cut. The C22 was even better than my reliable Gayle Bradley in that matter which is really remarquable !
The ergonomy on that little knife is so great, the strenght is directly transmit to the edge. And hidden choil give also a big sentiment ot security as you can keep your fore finger next to the edge for delicate/strong cutting.

The liner lock is also very “manly”: you need to push hard to disengaged it. The spring is very strong.
The carbon fibers handle is ultra smooth and you trousers will thank you for that.
Using the knife with greasy hands is not an issue as it anchors well in your palm.
So what do we got here ?

A light little big knife ! Carried like a breeze. Sharper and harder than many bigger knives. Pure efficiency in a small package.
It’s like driving a Lotus Seven on steroids. This little tool is really representing well the brandname “Spyder”co !
It cuts cuts cuts… and super powder steel ZDP189 if strop often enough is a great steel to use in EDC situations.
The C22cf is really a knife which make you smile once you have used it as you are amazed by the power of this pocket lightsaber.

C22CF

More to come as I will complete this review later. I’m now carrying that little blade every day with a gorgeous borrowed Rockstead Higo (I will review on a longer run), together they are forming a great daishō of ZDP189. Two examples of ultra high perfomance of modern cutlery.
Rockstead Higo J + Michael Walker C22CF

A little example of the raw cutting power of that incredible beast:

The plastic of that 1,5 liter Coke bottle is almost as thick as its blade and it passes through in one push cut (no sawing necessary!)
It was like in butter !!! Incredible !!!

Here is Valter reviw of this knife used as a skinner.

Here is a link of the Walker 6 years after skinning used.