Tag Archives: Military

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.

 

Military C36PIN CPM M4 Exclusive Run — Ghost in the Machine

For a funny reason I give name to knives I keep. It gives them more personality. For a strange reason all my C36 Military got name starting with G like Glesser.
My Military Sprintrun CPM Cruewear is “Gandalf” because of its grey handle.
My new Military with Natural G10 (or Jade G-10) and CPM M4 blade will be name Ghost. It’s an exclusive run for Blade HQ.

This is the first time I got the chance to handle the new version: no spacer, bigger lanyard hole, bigger screws… My first Millie “Glesser”, back in 1996 was already a new version with CPM440V (S60V) and the three screws clip. 21 years later here is what I consider the apogee in this design: a blade alloy I really love and a “light” construction.
Gandalf and Ghost weight almost the same: 124g versus 123g on my cooking electronic scale. This is a light package with a lot of cutting power.
I also love the fact that the Jade handle makes it very sheeple friendly and less “military”.

Since I have reviewed the M390 CF version and the Titanium handle version.

Now I have really convexed the grind on Gandalf for wood working.
But I wonder how it will compare to CPM M4 on Ghost.
It will be the subject of another review.

Spyderco Mantra 2 – Pure Flipper Workhorse !

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The Mantra 2 is Eric Glesser’s design and is one of a kind Spyderco as its blade’s hole is only here as a trademark. Your only way to flick the knife open is the flipper invented by Kit Carson at the end of the 90’s. There is no hump. It’s a very slick knife.

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There is a lot of edge on this blade/handle ratio as there is no choil too !  Not your typical Spydie huh ? (Apart from the autos destined for Militaries and LEO, you won’t find that in Spyderco Catalog.)
All of these makes the Mantra 2 a compact design with a deep wire pocket carry. A solid R.I.L. lock , an ergonomic handle and a full flat ground CPM M4 blade. This powder metalurgy super tool steel once introduced on Gayle Bradley’s designs has proven to be one of the best in strenght and edge retention.
So the Mantra 2 is a very powerful package which can withstand punishing and be easily washed under tap water thanks to its all open handle design (no back spacer).
Its strange nose seems here to strenghten the tip of the blade. Again with Spyderco, aesthetics come  second in their knives.

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The lock is wearproof and reinforced  with steel. All engineering details has been thought to get to the ELU a reliable heirloom tool.

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Dwarfed next to my K2, I use my M2 for mondaine chores including eating in a plate. M4 has no stain yet BTW.
It’s not the kind of knives which raise any eyebrows in the sheeple crowd which is good nowadays. It’s low profile apart from its flipping opening. There it could almost look like an auto. There is no way to open it in a softer way but to use both hands. It works also.

The deep carry clip doesn’t make it very fast to draw compared to the Wolfspyder for example. But it disappears in your pocket and is very stealthy, perfect for an EDC.

Edgewise I have found mine a little on the thick side. I will thin it even if CPM M4 can a bear on a stone.  Nothing serious there.

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All in all the Mantra 2 is a very unique design. A compact tool with a lot of applications.
Again this is a gentleman knife with the power of a much bigger knife.
Eric Glesser has provided another very clever design with the best material available and a great attention to details. This is not a safe queen but a compact and slick workhorse.

And FYI a portion of sales of the Mantra is donated to The National Parkinson Foundation.

 

Spyderco Military CPM CRU-WEAR ~ C36GGY – Fifty Shades of Grey

Spyderco Military CPM Cru Wear

A smooth G10 handle after some sanding.

Back in 1996 I was handling my first Military. It was a CPM440V (S60V) blade with a black G10. Here the link to our old review Fred Perrin and I back in the Geocities’times.
Since, well, the constant refinement have made it ever more reliable.

Anyway, when I heard a Sprint run will be made with a CPM Cru-Wear blade, I knew this was going to be a excellent update.
What is CPM Cru-Wear ? My old fellow forumite Cliff Stamp was able to give the link:
http://www.nsm-ny.com/files/CPM%20CRUWEAR.pdf
It’s the powder version of the ingot Cru-Wear an American cold work tool steel. A Mule MT12 has been made with the ingot version of Cruwear and their users were wishing out loud for a folder with that steel. Ingot Cru-Wear is tough and with a toothy edge which is really wear resistant.
Quoting Spyderco Mule Sheath: “Upstate New York’s Crucible Steel manufacturers Cru-Wear which is very similar to Vascowear, a steel used by Gerber Legendary Blades in many of their past production knives.
Cru-Wear is a high-performance “V” tool steel that is difficult to process making it challenging for knife manufacturers to work with. It follows the same high-alloy, metallurgical tool-steel recipe used to produce D2, but with greater levels of vanadium, tungsten and molybdenum. It is air-hardened and worked in a cold state. Cru-Wear exhibits exceptional toughness, impact resistance and hardness for exceptional edge retention and is the first tool steel offering in Spyderco’s Mule Team Series.”

Cutting aluminium is easy and do not damage the edge.

Here is also a link to a great discussion on Bladeforums: MT12-Cru-Wear-real-world-feedback/a>
Now “CPM” Cru-Wear should be even better.

OK now, why I’m so excited? CPM Cru-Wear is destined to be tough. Not as tough as CPM 3V but more wear resistant. It supposes to be tougher than CPM M4 but less wear resistant.
The fantastic blade of the C36 can only get better with a tougher steel especially the needle point. Though, I have never had any issue with it, knowing the steel is tougher is always a plus.
Also I got a excellent user experience with CPM3V from Bark River Knives & Tools and Spyderco (Ed Schempp’s Tuff!). So having a new steel in that range is a must for a great folder as the Millie.

Spyderco Military CPM Cru-Wear

Gandalf the Grey is socially accepted

I have sanded the beautiful grey G10 handle to suit me taste and spare my pants. Now they are smooth and… sexy. I like G10. But I love smooth G10. Being long, tall and grey, I have christened it: Gandalf. I have tuned the pivot for smoother operation. The knife is light is the pocket and is open in spyderdrop with authority. No play whatsoever. The blade is centered. Holding and using a Millie is pure Spyderco experience and performance.

Anyway. I do use my knives in the plate. I eat with them. Cook with them. Plates are very bad with the edge, unless you manage to never cut with the blade at 90°, which is not really easy. They were no bending or chipping of the edge after some clumsy “accidents” in the kitchen.
There is no stain. Cutting acidic ingredients or even been in contact with hot vinegar did not change the finish of the blade. No pitting, nothing. It’s like a stainless steel so far.

I was not able to dull that CPM Cru-Wear edge, like, for example, my Persistence or my Delica. I was always able to shave my arms’hairs. Brown cardboard cut and disposed on every day basis were not able to dull Gandalf yet.

Stropping CPM Cru’ on leather is pure joy. Like CPM3V actually. I got some kind of mirror finish and a very agressive cutter. One of my favorite tests are tomatoes and bamboo. Both are no matches. The tricky tomatoes skins are cleanly cut and the hard bamboo do not roll or chip my edge (like I had experienced with ZDP189 at HRC66)
Also a Grey knife is not menacing like a tactically black camo counterpart: Gandalf is displayed in restaurant with stealth and elegance. Eating a good steack with a Millie is pure joy. They should have name it the “Meal-itary”.
The four inches blade give great polyvalence with its pointy needly point and its strong heel. You can push cuts in oak wood and later do some eye surgery. Anyway, Millies are Millies great knives which get even better in those sprint runs involving CPM M4, CTS XHP, M390, CPM D2, BG42…
But it shines even brighter with a tougher steel like CPM Cru-Wear.