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Pradel versus the world — The gentle Sheeple’s choice.

 

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When the holidays come, you are confronted to other members of your family, mostly sheeples, who will open huge eyes should you wave that K2 from your pocket to slice the turkey. That said, lets see what those sheeples bring to the table.

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Oh! This is the kind of slipjoint elderlies are still carrying nowadays: a Pradel. This one is a fishtail bakelite carbon steel pocket knife still used for getting everything you can think of done. Let say this is Tim Leatherman main inspiration and as you can guess: this is a tool, not a weapon. It can be used as a screwdriver and is clean sometimes… let say it is wiped mostly because it could rust.

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Like the Chaparral, this is a full flat ground blade. It’s a real razor blade or should we say it ‘used to be’ a real one, because this baby was dull as a knee when I got it. Fortunately the unknown carbon steel percentage enabled an easy shift back to decent sharpness.

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The blade ‘was’ perfectly centered… a long time ago but, as you can see, the knife is an old timer still not decommissioned by its owner.  Duty, that day, was to pick the potatoes to check if they were cooked and get them out of the hot water; who needs tactical flipper for that matter ?

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The Pradel is a knife used to cut the french bread known as “baguette”, to remove stones stuck under a boot’s sole, to open envelopes and more generally all the chores which would be better suited to a more appropriate tool, like stripping wire, cutting tarp, scraping paint, probing, forcing, twisting, cutting over and over again, but… ending up being accomplished with Pradel; doing it all just beacause it’s at immediate reach.

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No safety net, no lock, no guard, no clip, this is a tool for all dirty jobs and also takes its place in the kitchen and on the table: apples, potatoes, bottle necks, sink’s holes, flowers…

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My Sliverax looks at it with its envious hole: how can such a simple knife live so many adventures? Nothing is reliable in this design but the will of her owner to keep going.
Where the Chaparral shows exquisite working mecanism and engineering and no play either vertical or horizontal, the little battered Pradel is still going strong, never defeated with all her battle scars otherwise it would have broken.
Now when it is used for harder chores, it’s held directly by the blade; the handle working as a folding sheath. This is uncommon; even for the Roman design folding knives two thousand years ago.

So what do I take back from the encounter between a modern folder and the Pradel ?
First and foremost we should use our knives, thick tactical toys or slim razors alike.
Second a locking blade is luxury and because it’s viewed to be immediately oriented towards some fighting realm… sheeples are allergic to it which is a shame as a locking blade is a great security for our fingers.

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Eventually people who are still dreaming of knives as weapons are fooling themselves and give bad publicity by not using them for the most humble chores. Knives are tools to help, not ninja’s toys with “rings” and “skulls”, symbols of death and tragedy.
Real EDC knives have got battle scars and are humble. I will always respect a battered tool which wears the patina of years on its blade and handle because the true battle of a tactical folder is in its everyday chores not in the murdering fantaisies of childish dreamers that give knives a really bad name tainted with human blood. Sometimes I really understand sheeples…

 

edited by Pascal Jaffré 29 dec 2017

SLIVERAX — ELEGANT DREAMED ENGINEERED KNIFE – ACT II: Convexing.

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Many times, people asked me how I was honing my knives to my taste.
I love thin edges and I love edges which can be maintain by stropping on leather.
For that any sharp angle but the edge itself need to removed.

So my first step on the Sliverax full flat ground blade is to remove the shoulder on the secondary bevel. For that I use Fallkniven FB04 diamonds or Spyderco Double Stuff II.

As I don’t want recreate two other angles, I do it free hand creating a gentle natural convexed medium between the grind and the edge.

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Soo some dark dust of removed metal appears. The edge of the blade is untouched as after some initial testing I do trust it.

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I need that convexed edge on the belly of my blade, I don’t minde about the tip and the choil which are not where I do apply the most force to push cut through wood for example. It takes 30 minutes to get where I want without to make a mess by scratching the blade finish. It means each pass on the diamond is check with my finger before, sto be certain to focus on that edge shoulder. To obtuse it will scratch the edge and to acute it would scratch the blade finish. So it takes time to be certain for each stroke.

Luckily the manufacturing lines on the blade exactly follow my pass and some miss strokes were not visible.  It takes around 500 passes on each side on S30V.
Then I switch to white ceramic directly.

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White ceramic brings some mirror polish on the convexed edge and also hone it to razor.
Here I can go much faster as I won’t ruin my blade if I’m clumsy. White ceramic are very forgiving…
Soon I got a very nice mirror on both side and I can go to leather.

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I use a century old barber accessories I have found in a garage sale in Italy. With some white compound, it has honed my blade for 15 years.
Time to test the blade on a chesnut road.
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The thinner edge goes much more deeper and with more control and more ease.
Eventually after playing with the knife for 5 minutes on various material, I inspect the edge and there is no chipping or rolling.
It takes me around 45 minutes.
That’s how I proceed to get an edge which suits my need. 🙂
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52100 Paramilitary 2 by the ocean.

So here I’m in Southern Bretagne near Lorient, city of Eric Tabarly with my Paramillie Exclusive Run in 52100 Ball Bearing Steel.
For those who don’t know Sal is a fan, this is why Eric is named Eric. 🙂

The moisture and salt are present and cars got a serious tendacy to rust just by being parked outdoor.

The knife has been used on food and for all the chores around another anniversary preparations. The Patina is a real surface protector as no pit or coloration has been noticed during that 4 days week end.

It eventually has been used to pop the remaining balloons after the party.
No oil needed. The edge did not rust. It was used daily. Very happy with that knife.
This is a very robust folder, with a strong blade.
It was still shaving hairs after 4 days of mild but constant uses. I did not process a lot of cardboard for example, but a lot of meat ! Duck for the matter.

The 52100 makes a beautiful blade with its mirror convexed edge. It was noticed.

Spyderco Chaparral. – Gentleman extra flat companion.

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The Chaparral is the new true gentleman folder designed by Sal Glisser. Is it destined to be proposed with various handles. The first batch was supposed to be titanium but due to some delays the carbon fiber handle version get released first.

What amazed me on that little jewelry is the flatness of the overall design and the smoothness of the operations.
I read somewhere (I think it was Paul the Deacon who wrote that) the Chaparral was an alternative to the Michael Walker.
It is ambidextrous and even smoother, flatter and its wire clip is much better than the metal one on the C22.
The Chaparral is inobstructive and sleek design. The CF handle give you perfect retention. It’s a joy to operate.
Like all Taichung release this a jewel. No blade play in any direction. A hidden pin mechanism has been added to the pivot to strengthen the lock and can be felt during opening and closing. The knife despite its ultra thin feel very solid.
Compared to my beloved C22 Michael Walker, well it’s almost beats it but on the edge, the steel, the blade to handle ratio.
I would say the Walker is a BMW Series One when the Chaparral is an Audi A3. 😉
Two great knives for sure but with different performance.
The edge on the Chaparral is a little thick for my test when the ZDP of the C22 is thin and hard.
On hard plastic the Walker is even better than my Gayle Bradley and since I have been able to buy a safe queen, my first Walker will be used hard this year.
On hard matters the Chaparral cannot compete with the Walker.
I have deshouldered its edge a bit but it is not as aggressive as that C22.
But for office task and EDC it is perfect. Also I’m certain someone gifted sharpeners like my friend JD or Tom Krein would easily turn their Chaparral into Vorpals.
Overall the Chaparral is pure pleasure to operate. I use mine when I need a discreet companion at the office or in the city. You will forget it is clipped on you and will bring you a big grin when you will use it.
Another great design with and incredible smooth and flat alternative.
This could be James Bond choice. 😉

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This is my Chaparral saluted by my two Walkers. Can you identified the safe queen?
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