Tag Archives: Military

Patina on Cruwear ? Not that easy !

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Forcing a Patina on Cruwear!
Why?
Because I’m going to the sea and I just need to be certain it won’t pit.
Now Cruwear seems tricky compared to 52100 or Maxamet.
Let see how it will get…

 

45 minutes later… No patina yet some stains…
“It’s not as rusty as 1095 usually, so it’s easy to get complacent. It can go 3-4 days easier than O-1 or 1095 but 3-4 months is a different story. It’s easy to get fooled by steels with this level of chrome ( 8%) as to corrosion resistance. It will appear as a tiny spot of rust. Easy to overlook as it does not make it apparent that spot is deepening, not getting wider. The surface layer of rust covers up the hole. ”
The Mastiff

And he was right…

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Trying to mix oxygen and vinegar using tissues and apple vinegar ?… Nope.

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Apple vinegar and apple sugar under the sun….. Nope.

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Aceto di Modena…. nope.

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Even in the wind…

Naaah forget it. This steel won’t stain beautifully… Just a bit but not enough in my taste.
It will perhaps pit if let unclean some weeks but in my daily uses it should not.

Putting the blade back in the handle the tolerances on that knife are so great you can tight the screws with locktite and pur a drop of nano oil… the pivot is smooth as butter.
Also ten passes on white ceramic and it is back to jumping hairs harvest again.
So cruwear seems to be a very “friendly” steel which doesn’t smell anything when confronted to apple, apple vinegar, various vinegar including aceto … nothing seems to harm it surface.
It is like CPM 3V and will be kept oiled and shiny. My Ed Schempp’s Tuff never needed or develop a patina as my grey Military in Cruwear.
At least I got less worry. 🙂

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet Part II.

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The Grey Mouser has been in my EDC rotation since it has arrived in my pocket.
So this a little report.

Maxamet is like a super CPM M4 to me, it cannot seem to get dull. I have deshouldered the edge and keep it sharp (razor) with white ceramic and leather. The edge behaviour in wood is like M2, it gives a gentle patina to the part cut.
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The gently rounded spine is a must for thumb push cutting.

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The lock is solid and did not give in to any vertical or lateral play.

The Para3 is really a friendly 3 inches knife with a wide spectrum of uses.
Near the pivot you got as much as any C36 Millie strenght for power cutting as this is the same “cockpit” as the good old Military. The point is easier to control as your hand grabs the blade and the handle with more ease on smaller knives. So you got a very capable knife for the outdoors, able to carve and trim wood.

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Maxamet is giving a beautiful orange red patina. I have not been able to get any pit of rust despite my every day use on acidic foods.

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It’s less sensitive to medium than K390 and close to CPM10V. You got stain but nothing more in my experience.

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I clean it directly under the tap of in a soapy water. Nothing extravagant. The action is on the smooth side even without any oil near the pivot. I have decided to treat it the hard way.

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So far I’m really impressed by the ease of keeping razor sharp that very special alloy. It’s not difficult with only white ceramic and leather and it happen once a week just for a refresh.
The deep carry clip is back for tip up carry and it makes a very low signature for an EDC.

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It’s used every day for eating and mostly I use the spine to push in the plate.

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An apple a day keep the doctor away, especially if you got a good aim.
More to come soon but so far this is a very satisfying experience.

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Knives for Self Defense — Is it a good idea ?

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Some knives are marketed on self defense purpose but self defense is not a current situation in the use of a knife. Before you get yourself in a situation where your life is at stake, there is a lot of extraordinary thresholds you have already crossed where your personal knife was not part of the equation.
It’s not the famous Sandbar Duel anymore and we are not, any of us, Jim Bowie’s heirs.
Finding yourself facing dangerous people with guns is not a good situation for “knife self defense”. As you know: “never bring a knife to a gunfight”.
Finding yourself assaulted by someone unarmed, is not a good situation for drawing a blade, especially in front of witnesses. Your lethal response is much too high.

When coud be the knife a good equalizer ? And in what situation ?
Against many opponents, drawing a blade can make you win some times but then your aggressors will adjust their ways to attack you, like throwing chairs and miscellaneous missiles for example.

Also, knife wounds are not painful, especially if the blade is razor sharp: you don’t feel the cuts or the stabs. A furious or drugged opponent won’t feel anything and will continue to attack and even bleed on you…

An opponent in a dark alley draws a knife  on you? Are you ready for a duel “mano a mano” ? Do you think the knife in your hand would be the best way to get away without being wounded yourself ?
Knives are part of the dirty fighting arts; if used as a weapons they are for attack – not defense..

wp-image-258869882(Bud Nealy’s knives were sold as “fast response defense knives”. Here a Peshkab near a Spyderco Mantra 2 for scale purposes.)

It’s like a piano string, the famous “wetworks” used in the commando. Warfare knives are made to kill silently. They can be good stealth weapons in the hands of specially trained soldiers but as a “defense” tool, they are much better equipment like…

The good old hiking staff, a walking stick or the humble cane.
In France, when swords were forbidden, cane fencing developed as a way to protect oneself against knives and for the record common used and carried knives were slipjoints.
After some training, rods, staffs, canes and even solid umbrellas can be used for parrying and inflicting pain should you be in need.

Before to get yourself in dangerous situations where self-defense can be useful, there are certainly other things to be honed than a knife’s edge: your awareness. This is the most important skill. Check your surroundings: always. Being immerse in music under your headphones won’t help. You need your ears and your eyes. Avoiding dangerous areas and avoiding people who makes your instinct react; so many ways to avoid a real self-defense situation. Don’t fall asleep in the subway!
Professionals who get themselves in that kind of situation will not count on their blade as their main self-defense tool. They have telescopic rods, electrical weapons, mace, even flat suitcases they carry are in fact used to “protect” as a shield. Remember: a knife will not protect you; it can arm the opponent. There are no parrying methods with a knife. Also a knife does not have any reach. It’s a close quarter combat weapon. Even a kick has got more reach than a lunge made with a knife in one’s hand. Agreed it’s not the case with a sword or a rapier, or a spear or a staff…

Now you can always learn from those various technics of using a knife as a weapon. It’s like fencing or iaido, it’s always good to learn fighting skills with all tools and the knife is one of the oldest tools used in combat. It helps you to understand a culture. It helps you also to understand the threats and the body language and the stance and the balance. You will learn that from boxing too; footwork and mobility are the first things to master…. “fly like butterfly”. Learning how to fight can also help you to learn how to carry out first aid if someone gets hurt. Knowledge is always good and the more you will learn about knife fighting the less you will dream about using it in a real self-defense situations even though dreams fuel good marketing.

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(Edited by Pascal Jaffre)

Spyderco FB33GP Gayle Bradley Pocket Bowie !

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This is Gayle Bradley first Fixed Blade collaboration with Spyderco. A “unique blend of expert design and state-of-the-art metallurgy”… But is it a real Bowie ?

A true Bowie is “the most effective fighting and survival knife ever made.”
Just to quote Bill Bagwell as he was attending the Paris Knife Show, where one of his Bowies won the award for the best fixed-bladed Damascus knife in 1995…
A stiletto can pierce, but not more effectively; a cleaver or kukri can chop with similar result; and a razor can slice, but only in one direction and without the power of a combat Bowie. A 10 inches perfectly balanced beast with a false edge ready for a back cut… This is Bill definition of a big bad Bowie.
Actually I got a Cold Steel Trailmaster but much prefer the Fallkniven A2 for camp knife purpose. The A2 is not a proper bowie but the 8 inches blade gives you the scale of the Bradley Bowie which is not much longer than a Phil Wilson South Fork.
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Also I have noticed the edge is quite thick on the Bowie. It’s not a great whittler. I was immediately tempted to get a thinner edge. I felt also the edge to be very far from the handle because of its large choil.


In that matter its little brother the Junction was much more capable. Being much more thinner behind the edge.
But a 5 inches blade is not the best chopper. The size emphases the portability but not the chopping performance. This Bowie must be designed with a special purpose: hunting knife, pocket camp knife ? It’s a bastard dog but Gayle Bradley don’t design by guessing, he must have a reason. I have asked him in an email and will update this review as soon as he will be kind enough to answer me.

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To quote Bill Bagwell: ” There is a difference between the ideal fighting Bowie and an ideal survival Bowie, even though the basic design is relatively similar. The ideal fighting Bowie and survival Bowie would have roughly the same blade length of about nine to ten inches, because this is the length that offers the perfect amount of balance and leverage in both scenarios. But the ideal survival Bowie might be a fair amount heavier overall and have a greater concentration of the weight further up the blade. This concentration of weight further up the blade gives the Bowie a balance more like a hatchet, so that it has greater chopping power, separating it from the more nimble fighting Bowie class.”

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The Bradley Bowie is a Jack Of All Trade focused on a Sub 6 inches fixed blade market.
In that domain I already got some favorites Spyderco: the Serrata !
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The Serrata offers a cleaver power in the field. But the Bowie is tougher in the choice of its steel. “An incredibly tough spray-formed tool steel. Like the particle metallurgy process, spray forming rapidly solidifies molten steel into small particles so its component alloys cannot “segregate” or settle. This creates an ultra-fine, extremely homogenous grain structure that is ideal for knife blades. PSF27’s alloy composition includes molybdenum, vanadium and a generous 1.55% carbon, but because its chromium content is 12%—just below the official threshold for stainless steel—care should be taken to maintain it properly.”

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The Bradley Bowie is also an eye candy, even if I don’t like where the trademark hole has been placed, at least it is very very small and even smaller than on the Junction.

The contoured polished G10 handle is very confortable in the hands. much better than the Junction which is very very flat. I’m not a fan of the tubular holes on both models but it offers some potential in creativity: who want to make a spear from they knife ? Boar hunting anyone ? And it respects the prime designs of Gayle Bradley.
I also love the balance of the Bowie making it “alive” in the hands.

IMHO the Bradley Bowie would be great as a soldier’s knife. Some kind of modern KABAR…
It’s thick enough to withstand some serious abuse. The tip and the blade shape would make it easy for opening crates if needed.  It can be used for batoning of even light chopping.

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So it’s a Bowie easy to pocket in its boltaron sheath or rigged upside down thanks to its great retention. The pancake sheath works great and is very secure. There is no play or rattle when shaken. It’s a sheath of great quality.

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Conclusion, the Pocket Bowie made in Taichung is ready to follow you in any kind of expedition you got in mind. Its full tang construction and general design make it fit for any tasks where a solid and reliable knife is needed. The Bradley Bowie is a tough cookie.

More to come soon.

 

MILITARY C36PIN PART IV: Deep Carry Clip in Titanium

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After the part III where I built a patina by worshipping various acids, here comes the part IV of improving my old classic Spyderco: installing a better clip.
My first attempt in custom deep carry titanium clip has not be good. It was for the Yojimbo2 and I’ve been mounting the original clip back.
Then I have ordered a titanium clip for Ghost my Millie.

Actually I was disappointed again, once mounted the action was not smooth anymore.
For some reason the clip was exercising some forces on the pivot and the opening and closing were stiff. Also the mate finish was not helping the insertion of the knife is the pocket.

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So I have bent the clip for it to be less strong and also I have sand it to smooth it.
It made a difference.

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Talking about differences, the titanium clip is very well designed and comes with two flat torx screws. It’s a little higher/thicker than the original one but it’s not a problem and does not change the ergonomy.

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Also by sanding the clip, I have obtained a worn look which goes well with the patina.

I have also rounded all the edge on the G10 with P1000 sandpaper to have it smooth in the pocket.

But I felt some resistance when I put the knife in my pocket and I also found that now the lip of my pocket was obliged to go through a new threshhold: the base of the clip.

You see ? There is step formed by the attached base of the clip which can be hard on my pocket, tearing a hole of my worn denim.

So I was back to sanding on P500 this time to smooth the steep and avoid wear.
And it worked !

Eventually I was able to ease the clip spring pressure and get my C36 back to smooth operation.

So it was not an issue with screws length but a slight deformation at the pivot due to too much spring tension.

So I’m happy, the C36 Military now disappears in the pocket but it also easy to “spyder-drop” it in the blink of an eye. The action is a little stiffer but some nano-oil helps it. I’m not able to have the blade closing by gravity anymore. Anyway the Millie as never as smooth as the Ed Schempp Bowie and not as easy to carry.
But now I can carry that C36 in the city with no afterthought. It’s almost invisible and the Jade Natural G-10 helps a lot in its invisibility and sheeple friendly carried tool.
Hence the name “Ghost”.

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Here how the clip looks before sanding the edge and the finish. You can see the sharp edge around the screw and also the jaws mark of my leatherman.

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From M2HSS to CPM-M4 — Hightech Peasant Knives and why I love them.

I always wanted a Old Timer feeling on a Nasa tool. Grandpa’s knife update, a workhorse with the latest tech but asking for the same care as the previous 20th century generation used to provide to their pocket knives.

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Back in the 90’s I was running after the Benchmade BM800HS AFCK and Mini AFCK BM812HS. (Yes, Sal Glesser was also involved in its design…) They were modern knives with titanium linerlocks but providing a High Speed Tool Steel a tungsten low chromium allow: M2 Speedstar.

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wp-image-1626599986The Nimravus in M2, and pictured : the mini Nimravus BM45HS.
It has been used a lot, isn’t it ?
The “M” M2 stands for molybdenum with 5% of it in the alloy and with 0.95% of carbon, 2% vanadium and 6% of Tungsten it should have been named T2.
“M2 is the “standard” and most widely used industrial HSS. It has small and evenly distributed carbides giving high wear resistance, though its decarburization sensitivity is a little bit high. After heat treatment, its hardness is the same as T1, but its bending strength can reach 4700 MPa, and its toughness and thermo-plasticity are higher than T1 by 50%. It is usually used to manufacture a variety of tools, such as drill bits, taps and reamers.”
For more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_steel

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Cuts in the wood were very special and left some kind of patina with M2 blades: it’s soft. Could it be the fine grain of the alloy, the tungsten carbids ? You can find set of chisels and woodturning tools in M2, some of high quality made in Sheffield, UK, but their main marketing quotes is that they last 6 times more than carbon steel which means nothing IMHO unless they use very soft low carbon steel for comparaison.
As M2HSS is not used anymore my present favorite knives are often made of CPM M4.

When the AFCK M2HSS was provided, its blade was coated. But where was the fun ? Patina is a much better coating in my book. The idea was to give to a very thin pointy knife more strenght as the current production was using mainly ATS-34. IMHO they had killed two birds with one stone by upgrading the steel to a non-stainless-steel.

wp-image-258869882Bud Nealy Pesh Kabz or Travel Knife in M2 the coating has been removed and the Mantra 2.

I was very happy with the Caly 3 in Super Blue Steel (until I lost her) but it was not as good as HS steel. Very angry edge for sure but not lasting like M2 or of course the hyper CPM M4. So for good measure I have invested in a Endura with HAP40: “Spyderco C10WDP Endura 4 Folding Knife 3.8″ HAP40/SUS410 Satin Plain Blade, Mahogany Pakkawood Handles, KnifeCenter Exclusive”.  I’m not in business with Howard of the Knifecenter but back in the 90’s I had designed their Logo !
HAP40 is an Hitachi steel which looks a lot like CPM M4 but with added 8% Cobalt and it is technically exactly what a High Tech Peasant Knife should be.
More to come when I will review it next week !

 

 

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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SPYDERCO MILITARY C36PIN PART III: WHITTLING WITH GHOST.

We all know that the steel is only 30 percent of the equation for a great blade. And I’m not talking about the whole knife — ergonomy, lock quality, sheath, clip —  just the blade: the main “Matter Separator” to quote Sal Glesser.
Apart from the Steel they are the Heat Treating, the Grind and the BET “Behind the Edge Thickness”.
And also the quality of the edge coarsed or polished change the way the blade will cut in materials.

Wood is a fibrous material which depend of its grain and freshness when whittled.
Again, a rabbit to skin or a cardboard box to dispatch will behave differently under a sharp edge.
And a Self Defense designed knife will not need to be a Scandinavian Grind for example…

So I have decided to gather the Yojimbo 2 (Black), the Wolf Spyder and Ghost to practising my scales and mastering the rudiments of whittling on a hazel rod which has been drying for a month (since the Lil Nilakka Review actually).  My whole idea was to see and experience how the very different blades grind and shape would behave and eventually adjust Ghost for better whittling.
I have not used my Nilakka as it is a game changer. It’s too hard to reach its performance. (The pictures has disappeared because Photobucket has changed their policies, I will need time to create new links, sorry for the convenience…)
Also I’m a lost cause in whittling compared to what my father was able to do as a kid when he was whittling his own toys but I do have affinities with wood as my grandfather was cabinetmaker and my other grand father was clogmaker.

I had noticed back in the 90’s when I owned a Benchmade AFCK in ATS-34 and on in M2HSS that wood would be almost “patined” differently depending of the grain of the steel. M2’s cuts were leaving a very soft surface compared to ATS-34 which was a more aggressive cutter. I have then found that one of the most expensive wood chisels were made in M2 High Speed Steel.

The Wolfspyder is in her element here. Since I have sharpened her back to razor, the scandi grind cut deep and with ease in the wood. This little knife is purely amazing when it comes to carve  deep or caress the rod. The sturdy design is asking to be used hard and the big chunks of wood were flying. It is a pocket beaver ! (OK no more kinky innuendo, pardon my French…). In pushcutting perpendicularly , the Wolfspyder was the more aggressive.
Again, S30V as heat-treated by Spyderco has proven to be a great “all terrain” steel as its edge was not dulled a bit. I’m surprised about the way it kept a perfect edge after all the cuts in a dirty bark and hard wood. Hairs were still flying of my arm. (I heard so much about it losing that very sharp fine edge beause of its relatively big carbids…). It will not be the was with…

Yojimbo 2 Sprint Run was another surprise. First I need to clarify that I had the edge “unshouldered” to be thinner. S90V is a bear to sharpen it feels like “plastic” and without diamonds it is time consuming.
But here it’s the ergos and geometry which made a difference. I was able to cut big chunks of wood with ease. The blade was going deep and my thumb got plenty of space to push behind the edge.
Michael Janich proved it: its Yo2 straight edge keep the pressure on the material. His design was primary made for cutting clothing and flesh in a attempt to keep an aggressor away but it has always proven to be a great EDC for mondaine task. Now I know that bringing the Yojimbo 2 in the woods won’t be a fashion faux-pas. This incredibly solid folder in the right hands can be a great wood processor.

Now I was surprised to notice how my razor S90V edge dulled. I mean, it was still in great shape and has reached the level of a “working edge” but it was not a reliable razor anymore. Twenty seconds on white ceramics and leather and it was back to Vorpal. S30V did not have that issue and of course not CPM M4 of…

Ghost new convexed edge proved to be able to cut deep with a lot of control and also to remove bark with ease and no pressure as pictured. It was fun to use. CPM M4 got also that tendency to leave the wood’s fresh surface very smooth to touch. I could go on for hours but it needed some twist and home edjustment to ease my thumb sore.

The Wolfspyder’spoint is made to drill. It is thick solid, sharp and you can use all your force with no after thought. It’s not the case of…

…The Yo2 ! Back in the 90’s I had broken my Ronin point drilling in wood. It was a much thinner point and I was really stupid. So I was very careful with the Yo2. It’s clearly not its strong point (pun intended…) but I did not snap it.

C36’s pointy blades, first made of S60V (known as CPM440V) and then of S30V, are known to be relatively fragile but CPM M4 brings much more toughness to the whole design. Perhaps the CPM Cru-wear Sprint Run was even stronger but, anyway, I got zero concern with Ghost which was able to drill the hazel rod easily.

Eventually, the most important home improvement has been to rounded the blade’s spine. Of course the Sebenza is king in that matter, also the Slycz Bowie.

Sandpaper was used for that matter and if the edges has been removed I have not tried to round it completly but at least to make it much softer under the thumb and I don’t strike rods for sparks.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to adjust and improve your expensive EDC knives to your own uses and tastes. My first attempt has been on my Paramilitary 2 handle. But a knife is a personal tool and it needs to fit you perfectly. Just take your time. Don’t use powertools and risk to heat the blade and ruin the heat treatment (done that in the 80’s…), just go slowly. Also don’t breath G10 and Carbon Fiber dust. Use a mask or do it under the tap. It would attack your lungs badly. Anyway my EDC have really been enhanced by all those little changes and Ghost is no exception to that thumb rule (pun…).
Enjoying your personal tools is always a joy when they are based on great designs in the first place.

Military C36PIN Part II: Ghost’s edge.


It has been 3 months since my Millie in CPM-M4 has landed in my pocket.
I believe it’s time for an update about it since it has been used a lot.

It is my first “new handle” C36 as mentioned here in my previous post.

Is there any change in my end line user experience ? Not really apart loving the new stop pin and the larger lanyard hole. It was easy to clean in the previous version, now it is easier and I clean it a lot as it’s used in the kitchen.

Smoothness ? As usual. The main break is the strong detent and the strong liner lock. It is open in a breeze with the major finger or by spyderdrop. The factory edge has been kept for almost three months. I have decided to refresh it at mid July and now the next step has been passed as I have convexed the edge to suit my need in cutting hard plastic (mainly bottles) before recycling.
There is no vertical or horizontal play and the liner has not moved since I got.
It’s a very very solid lock up !

Again CPM-M4 is my friend. In edge holding but also in refreshing by stropping on leather. The thin point of the blade has been used for delicate cutting on hard materials and it has been very reliable in that role. Choking up the blade gives a very nice whittling tool too.

In the kitchen the knife has been confronted to meat processing: chicken, turkey, rossbeef but also sausages hot or cold, fish…

The pointy point has been used to open a lot of hazelnuts: meaning twisting the blade to open them.
The favorite test in sharpness is how it cut tomatoes. This is a tricky fruit as it skin doesn’t have a lot of support from its flesh.

The Millie has also been used almost daily as silverware confronting its edge to hot and acidic materials. The patina did not come easily and no pit has been noticed. I use some nano oil or some olive oil to keep it in good shape, depending of my needs. Olive oil being less toxic of course.

I have invested in a titanium clip for deep carry. I have mounted it but for an unknown reason the pivot was much less smoother after. I think it is due to tolerances a the screw seems to be in some kind of tension but once removed the Millie was smooth again. Eventually I have found I love the original steel clip which is smoother to draw than any beadblasted titanium. But after sanding the titanium clip and bending it for less spring force on the pivot it was perfect for deep carry.

Today it was the opportunity to get rid of the factory edge and start a new chapter with a gently convexed edge. I have used sand paper on my old leather belt. Starting with 500 and finishing with 1000. I like a “rough” feel on my working blade. It comes from scratches and patina and it gives a lot of character but my pleasure is in a mirror finish edge.


On this model, the Jade or Natural G10 gives a very sheeple friendly look to that relatively big EDC knife. Of course it has been sand also to preserve my pocket lips. I have just kept the original feel/aggressivity of the G10 around the pivot as it is where I put my thumb.

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.