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Para 3 blades swapping on New Year’s Eve

I got two Para3: a M390 Lightweight and I got a Maxamet Copper handled.
The Lightweight is so good,  I wanted to use the 70 HRC blade on that plateform.
Nothing wrong with M390 which is just a great EDC steel with stellar performances but staining steels are part of DNA.
After watching Nick Shabazz having the same idea and filming it, once the novelty of the M390 faded away, I have decided to step ahead. It was really easy to do it but for the stoppong pin of the lightweight (Torx 6) which was dismounted with two tools as it was turning inside the handle.

Easily disassembled copper scales.

Now mounted on the lightweight handle.
For more about disassembling a Para3 lightweight here is Eric Glesser’s Video.

Here we go: two excellent knives. As you can notice they are users.

I have been able to thin the edge of the M390 when the Maxamet refused to give away any particules…

The Spyder logo is golden on the M390 and black on the Maxamet.

Perfectly centered blades on both and smooth action with no lateral play.
Here my Little Red Hoodie ready for tonight 24 oysters opening.

Happy Saint Sly everyone !

Maxamet being more denser it has add 3 grams on the scales.

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Spyderco Para3 – Let there be light!

So here I am, minding my own business.  (Always wanted to start a review with that kind of sentences… à la Michael Di Mercurio.)
I love heft. A heavy knife is sexy in my book.
Bought in the 80’s, one of my German version of a Buck110 was an anchor and I loved it.
I dig the Fred Perrin PPT for its massive butt balance but I’m quite certain Fred would love a lightweight para3 as he loves to hide light tools on himself. 😉

But now.

Now Spyderco has always been about Performance. Performance in geometry, ergonomics, in locking mechanism, steel’s heat treating, choice of materials… and refining refining and refining… Constant Quality Improvements they say.

That Para4 lightweight is born from that CQI state of mind.
Remember the Military ? It always been a lightweight because every kilograms counts when you are carrying a weapon and ammo. At first the C36 was using only one nested liner if I remember well. The fight against weight was hard and not understood by many.
Just look at some heavyweight folding brick found nowadays… No comment.

So Sal loves sport cars and racing boats. His passion for sailing is oozing from his designs.
He has just release a lightweight version of his Police knife.
That Para3 got only one liner like is first Millie.

So lightweight is an obsession as much is lock reliability in folders.
Just like in the Ford V. Ferrari (Le Mas 66 for Europe) james Mangold’s movie.
BTW Spyderco has just release a Lightweight Sage with a compression lock too.

You need need to have a great confidence in the materials you are using too to implement a Compression lock in a plastic handle because the lock needs tension. But FRN is considered as strong as aluminium and Fiber Reinforced Nylon is something Spyderco explores and masters for more than 25 years now.
I remember self defense instructors driving with their trucks on their FRN Delicas (pre liners version) just to show how strong this lighweight folders were.

The lightweight handle brings also great balance to a very “alive” knife. The Para 3 lightweight is something your enjoy playing with. It can be open and close it in a blink. This is really fun and elegant.

The texture is perfect when my hands were wet and greasy. The Bi Direction Texturing is perfect near the pivot: my thumb meat is gripped by the FRN in the forward direction.
It feels so secured in my wet hands ! Also the bi-texturing works in the other direction for pulling the knife out of the pocket. In term of security, not dropping your tools which is like glued in you hand, it is a must. The wonderful Carbon Fiber of my Kapara can not compete with that. It feels like a soap compares to my Para 3.So for the pragmatics, you can reach for your knife, pull it out and use it even with oil on your hands. This is so great and really rare in the knife industry. Sal’s inventor’s mind again.

Like many compression locks including the beautiful Kapara,  you can get soared hands when using the knife without gloves. It comes form the area on the top of the pivot which bites your hand skin. My friend Pascal got reported blisters from his Paramillie 2 for the same reasons. The space between the thumb and the index needs to have a surface to rest or it will hurt. Some Youtubers got that issue when cutting ropes for edge testing too.

This details has been featured in the Ray Mears Wolfspyder. You can use your knife for hours !

See the difference ?
Whittling and bushcrafting ask for the maximum of confort.

Also look at the C36 Military: again there is a surface to rest your hand avoiding soar and blisters hence its great ergos when whittling.

So let assume the Para3 is a light user or at least design as such. Nothing bad about it they are plenty of other designs and even better great fixed blade like Puukkos when working on wood and hard materials for a long session.

But what a great light user it is. It is versatile. With a powerful blade and solid point.
Easy to clean. Anti slippery handle. Non threatening design. Light and invisible once clipped. What not to love about it ? This is a milestone in my book.
And I do favor heavy knives. My Maxamet Para3 got a copper handle.

I have thinned the edge to my taste.

And now the leather is enough to keep it razor. M390 heat treated by Golden is a must.

SPYDERCO C81GPCW2 PARAMILLIE CPM CRUWEAR KNIFECENTER EXCLUSIVE — ONE YEAR LATER

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One year ago I had ordering a Para2 in CPM Cruwear, an exclusive run made for the Knife center.  Since them It has been used as one of my reference knife toward other purchases which sometimes has not reached the blog review as I’m avoiding bad reviews unless there is something to learn from.

20190909_151658-012836386720377641815.jpegAfter some acid work on the blade and titanium scales, eventually I am back to the smooth G10 scales and a deep carry clip. So why ?
First thing, even if the titanium scales were gorgeous, they add some weight and a very slippery feel under the finger, especially during wet works. Also it shifted the balance of the millie in a strange way making it “dead” in the end. I really enjoy the heavy handle of my PPT for example or on my Copper scaled Para but on the Para2 it was not working for me. back on smooth G10, it is more grippy than titanium and the balance point is shifter near the pivot again.

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Despite my love for “Spyderdropping” I have decided to carry it “tip up” with a cheap titanium clip made in Malaysia and sold in Hong Kong. It works great and it is really low profile when I forget to pull it out of the pocket while going urban. (I carry a Lil’Native, a Roady or a Urban when going in the city those days, too much controls and metal detectors to go with a longer blade…)

CPM Cruwear as heat treated by Spyderco is a steel which loves his owner. It is not tricky to get sharp like Maxamet. In fact it asks to get sharp. Of course it is not as easy as 52100 or AEL-B but it is very tough in every task when you twist your blade like a good tool steel. Not easily stained too, my tests and zests are the proof on that and once stained it won’t go off. My edge is polished and smooth as a razor and it got zero major damage in a year of random tasks, no chipping (nothing which can not be cure with ceramic) or anything like on my thinned hard ZDP189 experiences. In fact my home convexed edge is as thin as my 52100 Para2 and it does real wonder on wood or hard plastic. In the kitchen that polish edge needs sometimes more “teeth” (S90V provides that for example) and some passes on a  brown ceramic or on a “butcher’s steel” do the trick for a coarser edge (tomato’s skin are tricky…) !

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The PM2 transfer a lot of power in the cuts. The first inch from the ricasso can go deep in push cuts helps with a thumb’s push. You got as much power as a good old Millie and this is why the Para2 is so loved. The strong tip (strong because of the alloy used in this sprint run) is not convexed (to keep some steel and relative thickness) and I was able to drill hole in hard material with no bending or damage. This is a workhorse like I love them.
It’s a medium knife I can use hard with no immediate discomfort or “palm soar”.
The flat clip I have mounted on it is part of my need for a confortable grip.
I soon going to review a Kapara which is suppose to be better with its rounded handle but at least I had done my best to round the Para2 handle to my taste and eliminate any hot spot including the blade’s spine.

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So, in my book, CPM Cruwear is an excellent choice for a EDC high performance folder.
For your information, the Knifecenter got now a new Sprint Run: a Native 5 with CPM Cruwear. I’m very tempted but the Kapara comes first. Anyway this combinaison of CPM Cruwear and smooth G-10 is just a winning hand. Spyderco (Eric) has also announced at the last Amsterdam Minimeet a Shaman in cruwear and micarta as a sprint run too. So CPM cruwear is here to stay.

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Spyderco Ikuchi C242CFP — First glimpse at Slim Shady.

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The Ikushi is a very strange Taichung made spyderco and his father, Paul Alexander is a perfectionniste-engineer who got radical new ideas on portable cutlery. Remember the Sliverax ?
My first impression after opening the Knifecenter’s parcel (thank you Howard and Tom for the fast shipment!): wow so slim ! So easy to pocket ! What a great handle to blade ratio !
My friend JD and Pascal introduced me to front flipper with both owning Des Horn and I even was a proud owner of one of them.

The Ikushi is an eye candy. The knife is unique in many ways. It is a tour de force. So let’s quote Spyderco:

“The ultra-slim Spyderco Ikuchi is a radically different approach to pocketknife form and function. Designed by Paul Alexander, a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a lifelong knife enthusiast, the Ikuchi (pronounced ee-koo-chee and named after a mythical Japanese sea monster) has an elegantly curved handle crafted with full, skeletonized stainless steel liners and stunning carbon fiber/G-10 laminate scales.

In the closed position, the handle’s narrow, open-backed profile completely contains the knife’s blade—except for a small textured section of the tang that serves as a flipper opener. Stroking this section of the blade with an index finger or thumb provides leverage to swiftly pivot it into the open position, where locks securely via Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock™ mechanism. The satin-finished CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade is full-flat ground for exceptional edge geometry and cutting performance and has an acute, scalpel-like point for detailed work.

To ensure discreet carry while keeping the Ikuchi instantly accessible, its handle includes a low-profile, deep-pocket wire clip that is reversible for left or right-side tip-up carry.”

Some user has argued about the point of the blade being able to catch their finger. If clipped to the right pocket, the seam will be against the handle and it is impossible to catch that tip. I can feel that sharp tip with the meat of my finger and I can understand how I could cut myself too. We will see that in future reports.

But first I have asked to Paul Alexander what was is thoughts behind that design.
“I’ve had a version of the Ikuchi in the works for 4-5 years, but only got around to submitting it to Spyderco at the end of 2016. Part of the reason was the non-functional Spydie-hole, which I thought would stop Spyderco from producing it. The release of the Positron and Mantra 2 made me rethink that, and I started to seriously prep it for submission.

The whole design started around the blade shape. My dad has always preferred a narrow blade because it’s easier to turn the blade in the middle of a cut if you are paring, whittling, etc. Most of my designs have had a fairly wide blade, and I wanted to do something that would fit his preferences a bit more. He’s also been partial to the narrow clip blade found on the American traditional muskrat knives, and the Ikuchi blade shape is my version of that. Sticking with the traditional inspiration, I used the toothpick handle pattern as the inspiration, which also kept the entire knife nice and slim. In the end, I suppose the whole thing came out looking like a modernized Laguiole… which is likely the design which originally inspired the American toothpick pattern.

The wheel flipper was a slower evolutionary process that was a collaborative effort with the Spyderco team. Eric had sort of mentioned that he was curious about adapting the compression lock to a flipper opening mechanism when I first started working with Spyderco, and I tried coming up with a handful of options, with this being one of them. I originally had more of a tab-like interface on the flipper surface on the Ikuchi design, and that morphed into the final wheel configuration through iterations and refinement with input and prototypes from Spyderco.

The early phases of that development process got me so excited for the Ikuchi, I adapted the locking and flipper geometry to three other traditional knife patterns and blade shapes I liked, and created a series of knives. I called the series by the working title of the ‘Four Horsemen’, and tried to tap into that theme for the look and style of all four pieces in the series. The Ikuchi was initially code named ‘Famine’, which fit the inspirational traditional pattern’s name and the overall aesthetic of the design. The other horsemen designs are ‘Pestilence’, ‘War’, and ‘Death’, but that seemed too dark of a theme to use for the marketing of the designs, so I officially named them all after different mythological beasts… and that’s how the Ikuchi became the Ikuchi.”

Mine is not as easy to open/fire as I thought.
The detent is quite strong and it can be a hit and miss. I have hurt my index finger and failed attempt to fire open the knife. Not fun.
I wonder if it will get better but not being able to trust the fact to simply open it…
I have asked Paul.

Some beautiful Tour de Force but not flawless. I would be need to be certain the tip of the blade once closed won’t catch anything in my pocket and to be certain I can open the knife easily and not only half of the time. Unless I need to strenghten the tip of my index ?As you can notice this is the first design which can be easily locked to prevent children to play with it.
Also the flipper once open acts as a guard for your finger but not on a design like the Ikushi. I have never trusted a locking system even on balisongs so it is a knife which is intended to be used as a gentle tool: beautiful to admire as an engineer’s dream.
How will it perform in day to day basis ? We will see.

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Lil’ Native seasoned by JD – Lil’ Pocket Big Knife !

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This is a follow up review from last year LUCKY MEETING THE SPYDERCO LIL’NATIVE BY JD

I got the opportunity to carry JD Native avter he has used it for months (since october).

Now the Lil’Native is smooth and easy to open it and close it but more interesting, JD as refined the edge to some sort of pseudo scandi grind !

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And this knife is cutting so well…

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Push cutting through bottle’s bottom is made easy with that new geometry.

 

JD has made a beautiful regular thin edge from the choil to the tip.

 

The very solid construction, glass smooth action and thin edge turned the Lil’ Native into a very impressive knife. Again this is SPyderco specialty to bring short powerful matter separators. The lock is strong, the blade is strong, it is a very capable tool in a compact size. The belly also helps for push cuts.

Really impressive EDC knife.

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Spyderco Police C07GP4 – The Steel Cheetah.

“The original Police model was a response to a request from Police for a Mariner with a point. I saw that as an opportunity to create a new design that was closer to what I personally liked. I thought to call it “LaSalle”, but in the end, i pushed the ego out and called it the Police model. As the design evolved, details changed and from those changes I was able to see what I didn’t like and went from there. As you said, it was decades in the development.
Sal Glesser

I remember one of the very first advertising of the Clip It collection of Spyderco. The Police was presented in its stainless handle serrated edge version of that time (80’s…) and it was written something like: “Pure Performance” … The cheetah is a good example of incredible fast and lean animal and as this knife, it is thin and light and totally performance oriented.

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The venerable Police model designed by Sal Glesser is at its 4th version. Born in the early 80’s it is now part of Spyderco’s Legendary knives. I remember seeing some models with “Pride Integrity and Guts” engraved on their blade: they were the very first. This knife can be spotted in so many Hollywood movies, mostly in the hands of bad guys and even in the excellent classical Spike Jonze’s musical video for the Beastie Boys: Sabotage ! The stainless serrated hollow ground blade was really catching the lights hence it’s success for a dramatic entry in various films !

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I was never a real fan of the first 3 versions of the Police models even if I recognized it has a valuable tool. In my book, the Tantaka was the true heir of those years. The fourth version caught my eye as it was promoting a new steel the KC390.

Many times I had noticed some vertical play on “Made In Japan” folders from Spyderco and decided to buy one if only I could test it before.
But this one came from a Massdrop sale and I was very happy to get one with zero blade play in any direction. Mine feels solid and knowing how strong a good backlock is, this flat long folder is really impressive. So it was about time to review this venerable classic folder which is delivered with a plain edge only and K390 … but why choosing a “staining “steel high performance steel when the Police as always been serrated and stainless ?

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“We make quite a few designs for the Law Enforcement market at this time, so the design for Police use is (not?) necessarily the case anymore, like it was in 1984. I designed the Police 4 to include what I would like in a knife, more than what a LEO might like. It’s still a kissing cousin, and large for most people. I widened the blade, enlarged the hole and selected a steel that I like to use. The design’s success in the marketplace is unknown at this time. But I get to have one. ” Sal Glesser on Spyderco Forums in 2016.

 

Also the blade is perfectly centered. The construction is the same as my Endura and Delica, sandwiching the steel liners with the handle material. Here it’s black G10 on skeletonized liners: the knife doesn’t feel heavy at all but very well balanced and fast in the hands.

The long flat blade is still intimidating while deployed. Let’s see some comparaison pictures. Notice the black could of forming patina in the middle.

Here with Ed Schempp’s Bowie which is one of the best blade/handle ratio folder in the Spyderco collection, full flat ground versus high saber flat ground. The Bowie has been convexed to my taste. The large choil on the police is confortable though.

Here compared to the wonderful Manly Peak, another thin backlock lightsaber. The Manly has not been really convexed; it is really thin ground ! With its S90V blade, better edge/handle ratio and zero blade play construction, it is a real contender to the fourth version of the Police.

They share the same thin stock blade. The Manly (on the right) is even pushing the envelop a little further by proposing hidden nested liners for the same handle thickness.

It is obvious the Delica and the Police are sharing the same DNA even if the Delica main difference is the absence of real choil to choke up the blade. I have both in tip down carry position for easy spyderdrops opening. Here is the Knifecenter special edition of the Delica.

The Delica still got the Boy indentation on the lock when the Police is now leaner. This raffinement has never made a real difference to me. The spring on the Police model is quite strong actually so no worry about unlocking it will chocking the handle.

Here you can notice how longer the Millie handle is compared to the Police. Also the belly of the Millie is much more pronounced. I think now the Police 4 has been also designed to be used while wearing gloves (one of the Military plusses). Both finger holes are equally wide with a very pronounced blade’s hump. The Police’s choil is even wider than the Millie’s !

Also the Military blade is thicker as is its handle. The Police is perhaps more “urban” oriented: it is a large folder easy to wear with any suits.

Here you can admire how the Police is a steel cheetah: lean and mean. The clip was mounted that way and I was tempted to add a deep carry clip but eventually, the spyderdrop is the more handy way to open that large folder so the clip is now mounted near the pivot.

This thin blade enhanced by a great steel (K390) is pushing that venerable model to new heights. We are far from the serrated hollow ground model of the 80’s which was respecting special requirements from the LEO. “It was designed to have an as large as possible blade built into a thin, equally sized handle. Because of this, Save and Serve professionals continue buying the Police Model as an essential tool for their trade.”
From Spydiwiki.

It is a flat and elegant design with a very clever purpose: to insert easily the knife inside the pocket when tip down carried.

Some sanding was required to get the handle even smoother for easier pocketing.
Aerodynamism is one thing, pocketodynamism is another.

Again, never breath that dust it is toxic for your lungs.
“”The benefits of G-10 as a handle material are many. It can support a building, be drilled and sawed. It’s doesn’t retain heat or cold, shuns chemicals, discoloration and peeling. “

And that makes it long folder which can easily be pocketed. Carried tip down, the handle shape pushes my wallet away  when inserted and allow very quick and positive spyderdrop openings. They are four positions to mount the clip on the Police since the 3rd version in 2008.

Next step, with some diamonds, it was time to reprofile the blade to a Manly Peak level and to thin the edge by “deshouldering”. Not an easy task as K390 is a bear to sharpen.

The occasion to picture the blade before to scratch it.

The light reflections on the blade shows it has already started a mild patina while being stored.

K390 develops naturally a beautiful patina like storm clouds. Here is the Police with my Pingo and Urban.

Funny how it is hard to catch on photography but the Urban got the convexed grind I want to achieve for the Police. Both knives are signed by Sal Glesser’s logo.

I have check how the patina was easy to remove before going back to sharpening.

Here you can see the dust formed by the diamonds of a DC4.
K390 is a very wear resistant steel…

 


Here what Phil Wilson said about it in the Spyderco Forums:
“I have been using K390 from the start ever since it was introduced by Bohler and I got some small samples to try. A bit of history is that it is the European version of CPM 10V but not the exact chemistry (about 1% less V plus small addition of a few others). That is because the CPM 10V chemistry was protected by patent at the time. If you check the K390 data sheet it claims that the bit less V gives K 390 a little boost in impact toughness. It also can be heat treated at a lower temp. than 10v. So it is pretty much the same as the A11 grade but different in a few small details. It is hard to tell the difference between CPM 10v and BU K390 in the real world in my experience. I like both grades and they are the base line (along with Vanadius 10 and K294) from which I measure wear resistance. The 5 chrome is there to make them all air hardening among other things and does not contribute much to corrosion resistance. It is going to make a killer knife in the new offering and be another classic. Phil”

So slowly it is deshouldered but I will be obliged to go back to the blade later. It is, for me, like painting a ceiling… I always come back for another layer… 😉

All right, the performance are already promising. The plastic Bottle Butt is as thick as the blade itself but it has been able to got through it right in the middle. Again, zero blade play on that huge folder: very happy.  Same punition for the bottle neck. The Police shows how powerful it is and that the recipe of “thin blade + super steel” is always a winner for high performance knives. More to come, as this one is going to be user !

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I have mounted a deep carry clip from Blade4sell.

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A Spydiechef in Tuscany – Spyderco’s Polish Folding Office Knife

In the ease of maintenance department few knives are easy to live with, the Spydiechef is part of that very small club. You can pocket it while it is still wet. For a travelling knife this is a must and the reason I have taken it for that Xmas Journey.

 

Reuniting with an old friend: the 110V CF Native.

 

When used in the kitchen or on the dining table, knives get dirty and the food is dried and hard to detached. Avoid the use of the green back of sponges or you could scratch the blade’s finish badly.

Hot cheese from that Napolitan Pizza is part of that dirty equation but the plate is also not the edge best friend as ceramic is harder than knives and will ruin any razor sharp knife. You should cut with an angle of 45° on the plate to avoid any real damage.

The Spydiechef is a actually whittling friendly. LC200N is not losing its edge as fast as H1 and I was able to work on wooden rods with ease.

Of course mine has been enhanced with some gentle convexed edge.

But really that knife is really happy in the wood. It has not the most ergonomic handle for hard wood cutting but the gentle belly helps a lot in push cuts.

LC200N is really easy to keep fresh on ceramic. no need of diamonds like on other Hyper Steels.