Tag Archives: nemoknivesreview

Spyderco Proficient FB36CFP — The Nasa Lamborghini Bushcrafter – Part 1

Have you ever asked yourself why they are so many Spyderco Sprint Run released (out of the blue most of the time) with gorgeous carbon fibers handle and impressive CPM S90V blades ?
Because Sal Glesser loves both materials. 

CF is for him a reminiscence of love of motorsports and S90V is a stainless steel which has proven to be in another league in terms of high performance and reliability.

So, long story shorts: FB + S90V = Sal’s favorite combo !

And to quote my friend Spydercollector:

“When the Bushcraft fixed blade was first announced, Sal also planned to do a so-called NASA version; a version of the Bushcraft knife with all high-tech materials. I believe NASA is a protected name, but Endeavour still evokes the high-tech approach most people associate with the famous space agency. The Endeavour features a full flat grind S90V blade and full sculpted carbon fiber handles. It was a beautiful knife with a grip that had me looking around for stuff to cut.”

https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/tag/chris-claycomb-endeavour-prototype/

Here is the Proficient: it is designed by wilderness expert Chris Claycomb of Bushcraft UK, the Proficient functions perfectly with traditional bushcraft skills and cutting methods. Carefully contoured and polished to eliminate hot spots and ensure maximum comfort during prolonged use.

https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details/FB36CF/Proficient-trade-/943

Bushcraft knives have specific parameters such as having blades between 4-6 inches. Spyderco’s is typical of the genre with a 4-inch blade (no handguard) that’s fully-tanged. 

Bushcrafters don’t seek the characteristics of stainless over the performance of high-carbon edge retention and this is why traditional Bushcraft knives are produced using tool steel. O-1’s high carbon content offers long-term cutting retention but sharpens easily when laying on a new edge. The knife carries on a belt or strap encased in a leather sheath. Blueprinted for wilderness chores, it slices, chops, whittles and processes game in traditional Bushcraft style.



To quote Spyderco:
The Spyderco Proficient takes the concept of the traditional “do-all” bushcraft knife and elevates it to new levels of performance with state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing methods. Designed by wilderness expert Chris Claycomb of Bushcraft UK, the Proficient functions perfectly with traditional bushcraft skills and cutting methods while offering superior durability, edge retention, cutting performance, and corrosion resistance
Instead of traditional carbon steel and an axe-like “Scandi” (Scandinavian) grind, the Proficient’s blade is crafted from vanadium-rich CPM®S90V particle-metallurgy stainless steel and boasts a full-flat grind for low-friction cutting performance.

This concept of stainless steel with black polished handle is, ten years later, now endorsed by the excellent Casström No. 10 Swedish Forest Knife Black Micarta, 14C28N Flat Grind for example.

I had tried and discovered CPMS90V when it was called CPM420V thanks to Darrel Ralph (RIP) and his beautiful Apogee folder. Its blade was so wear resistant, without diamonds, only a back stand could turn it from dull to sharp. It was a bear to sharp.
It still is but now we got as End Line User access to industrial diamonds.


I have written a lot about S90V. This alloy has proven it can be tough enough as a stainless steel to be used in any all terrain tools; especially since it is available on Manly folders which got the reputation of using a very fine thin geometry.
Modern Bushcrafters (like the Benchmade Puukko) are focused on toughness with the use of the very tough CPM 3V.

What brings CPMS90V ?
1- It is stainless ! Even if you (and I) love the patina on a great carbon steel blade, to hold a reliable stainless steel blade is very easing the mind when working near water, rain, sea.
2- It is really hard to get dull even when used on tricky material like brown cardboard (full of silice).

Also the full flat grind is a must in a matter separator specialized in wood works. As much as I love Scandi Grind found on Woodlore clones (first designed by Ray Mears).
I have found that especially in the wonderful Spyderco Sprig full flat ground knives can be really efficient on hard wood.
(Yes when it’s written in green: it is a link !! and I have tested them here.)

The Sprig was a impressive tool in term of pure geometry. Designed as a hunting fishing knife, it was a wood eater, a real beaver of a knife, cutting deep and with ease.
Guess what? It the same profile on the Proficient especially after some convexing which should be arriving sooner than later and will be in a second article.
So far that contour handle is a charm to use and I will be using it for the second article. The old O1 Bushcrafter got enough heft for light chopping, the Proficient is made for powerful push cuts. This is going to be another experience.
The Proficient is not a big knife, actually once in its sheath, it can disappear in the front pocket of my Denim. No need to have dangling at my belt.

So what do we got ? Imagine the plateforme of the Bushcrafter (link) a solid companion, a reliable 4×4 and you just turn it into some Urus from Lamborghini: stellar alloy and lighter tougher handle.
What not to love ?
The Proficient is Sal Glesser’s gambit, taking a risk because the Bushcraft community loves carbon steel and wooden/natural handle.
Also that jewel got a price. And people in bushcraft are not wall street sharks. They use Opinel, Mora and at great max some 100 euros fixed blades. (Unless they want to afford an original Woodlore….)
So the stealth wealth of that Nasa Bushcrafter was not for everyone.
Like a Lambo actually. But real performance got a price.

Spyderco UK Penknife Salt – All terrain slipjoint Part II

Prologue: “Seeing what I believe.”
On one of the social networks an happy owner of a new Spydiechef in LC200N steel (like the UKPK) was displaying some pictures of his new acquisition. And there go the comments, mostly to congratulate him and share experiences… when I have noticed some young guy’s: “Too bad this knife is provided with a steel softer than the wooden board it is displayed on.”
I thought to myself: could LC200N have a reputation of being soft ?
Immediately I have checked the Rockwell of Spyderco’s LC200N found on various sites and apart the LC200N Mule being at 56 HRC, it is known to be currently at 58 HRC.
So I have asked to young guy (very proud of its REX45 collection) what LC200N knife he has had such a bad experience with, sharing with him my own mostly excelelnt experience with LC200N I own.
After a very long passive-aggressive answer from him (we know how people are such a d1ck with a keyboard under their fingers…) about how he was so knowledgable by just watching videos on youtube he then wrote me that he had never owned any knife in LC200N.
So eventually this guy was pissing on the parade with zero knowledge of the subject. It is typically the kind of behavior we can notice on the social networks those days. Some so called “experts” don’t believe what they see but only they only see what they believe. The armchairs specialists are long disappeared and here comes the arrogance of the “believers”.
This is the plague of our time: not being your own source. Not checking twice. And not experiencing first hand what is put as a statement.
This is some kind of Reign of Assumptions with its digital garden where flourish fake informations in all subjects. This is not something to be taken lightly. And the only cure is being your own source then read, check and cross opinions.


Anyway…
Is LC200N as soft as wood ? Certainly not. It is even much better than H1 in terms of edge holding. (H1 being the other steel on the Salt Serie).
But H1 is excellent on serration blade, as it is getting harder during the serrating process like 67HRC. (H1 being a work hardened steel, the process that grinds the SE blades hardens the edge to 67, while the PE blades are 58.) Also you can’t have flat ground blade with H1 but you can with LC200N.
So far, LC200N as 58HRC has amazed me. Of course it is not in the range of Maxamet or 20CV but it is worry free good edge holding and not chipping edge’s steel.


Also I have notice how people believe cutting wood is the ultimate edge holding challenge. Nope. Cutting clean piece of wood is not challenging in my own experience. I have found different grain of steel react on different grain of wood. M2HSS (Speedstar steel) gave me soft surface on chestnut cuts for example. The challenging media to cut through are brown cardboard for example because of sand in it. Cardboard and also great way to refresh an edge by stropping the blade on it.
You can have a look at my journey in Tuscany with the Spydiechef.

Back on the UKPK. I have “unshouldered” my edge to get to a gentle convex, keeping the manufactured edge with its microserrations. I always do that when I love a knife as my favorite way to refresh my edge is using an old barber leather bought in Tuscany on a garage sale 15 years ago.

The blade stays “lock” in open position when stropping and this is much better that previous version of the UKPK like I have stated in the first glimpse. The razor’s level of sharpness is easily restored and the thin blade goes steadily into all material it has encountered.
One great enemy of a fine edge is the plate under the meal. Many times I have given an angle to my knife to avoid touching the ceramic at a 90° angle. With the UKPK I have not given a shoot. I have use it as my steak knife like they were no tomorrow. Also the the yellow knife has been friendly approved by the rest of the family who has used it also on plates and stuff without any sign of pity.
The edge near the point has rolled but nothing I could not fix in less than 5 seconds on a ceramic rod. Eventually the rest of the blade was mostly as razor as before. On short blades mostly the point and the very first part of the blade are used on board/plate cutting. It is also a part I have less convexed to keep some useful thickness there.
Of course cutting lemons and any acid food will never bring any sign of patina on LC200N and many times I have fold it dirty when it was not just quickly rinsed under the tap.
The UKPK also offers a very pointy blade which proves to be very useful in many task. LC200N being very forgiving it is sturdy enough for not having any concern about it. Of course I won’t use a slipjoint like a bushcrafter or even the great Wolfspyder but still, old timers used to go in the wood only with Swiss Army Knives or Pradel slipjoints folders and were able to use them for many camp tasks. The choil and hump of the UKPK’blade working as quillions you can apply a lot of force directly to the blade as I have also been whittling with it.

The thin spine makes it not really confortable for thumb pushing cuts though. In that game of pushcuts the Yojimbo 2 is king with its 4mm spine.
But the UKPK goes deep in its cut without much pressure on the spine.
Also when the blade is stuck in the wood it has no tendencies to fold on your finger like previous version of it. This is a great relief.
The yellow handle looks like plastic but those FRN slabs are very rigid. There is no play and it gives you a felling of confidence in your tool. Also the “pro-sheeple” general look helps a lot when using the UKPK in public.
So far it has developed zero plays which is enjoyable.

Quick draw: a friend has challenged me to open the knife using my major finger. At first I thought it would not be possible unless being Check Norris. Eventually:

But this is in Spyderdrop that the UKPK is steadily open: holding the knife by the hole and with a flick of the wrist.
So it is a slipjoint with a very fast draw opening.
The previous Spyderco Splijoint as fast as this one is my Pingo which can be open by inertia as the momentum of the thick blade helps a lot.

So far the UKPK has proven to be a fun knife to use. It is easy to deploy and reliable on the tasks. It can be a primary knife in the city and secondary knife in the woods and its lightness makes it easy to keep in the pocket. It will also find a place to be clipped on any swimsuit and that what makes it so unique. Fishermen will be very glad also as it is so easy to clean and to spot. The opening of the 3 screws montage on this UPKP (some other G10 UKPK got a longer spring/backspacer and 4 screws) make it a breeze to rinse. It is a Gentleman/Lady knife with an all terrain attitude and a very reliable positive semi locking system which can sustain a lot of power cuts. Really a unique gem !

Yellow and black works well together…

Flytanium on Cruwear PM2 – a sweet customization

Disassembling the Cruwear Knifecenter edition has been a child play once I have found how to use some pliers to keep some rounds spacers from turning by gripping them.

Eventually, the Flytanium scales are perfectly adjusted. No surprises at all.
The action is as smooth as before, no worry.

The sweet point of balance is a little back further.

I have ordered deeper clips for Xmas but the OEM works great !

The feel is heftier and softer. It works well with the PM design. It gives some full metal signature to a usually light design. This scales exists also in brass and copper. titanium sounded perfect and it is under the thumb. The stonewashed finish is absolutely beautiful !

 

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The original weight was 111 grammes, so it is now 28 grammes heavier.

For those who want to know how I have made that patina: here the link.

Spyderco C135CFP PPT — Portable Praetorian Tool.

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The first PPT was release eight years ago. It was the mind child of Sacha Thiel and Philippe Perotti. For the record Philippe Perotti aka “PP” was Fred P.’s student in knife making (and PP being an instructor in handguns and fire arms). I still own one of PP’s Streetbowie made in D2 and also one of his great great Commander knife made with Sacha Thiel and produced in Maniago which looks a lot like the Spyderco Streetbowie.

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Now the design’s goes in the stardom with a luxury amazing S90V / Carbon Fibers corrugated stunning handle.
This rude boy is a beauty like Marlon Brando in a Streetcar Named Desire or Tom Hardy in Taboo. It’s heavy in your palm. But this weight is a pleasure exactly like the Sharpfinger.  Marc Animal McYoung in his book “Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles” was choosing a butt heavy short knife over any other. The weight is like an anchor in your hand as the knife handle is cuddling inside your palm. You find the same idea of weight distribution on heavy butt  first Streetbeat.

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Talking about the handle, this macro-texturing shows a wild side of this tool.

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On this picture you can notice the unique clever sturdy lock. It’s made to be secured once the handle is hold tight.

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The steel liners and the full steel back spacer, the full steel construction, while sturdy, makes for a dense carry.  Being able to use the “pommel” as a crowd pleasure won’t be a surprise. Anyway it’s a lil hammer which can certainly be used to drive a nail in a plank.

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Balance wise, let’s just compare it with a titanium folder, the Spydiechef.

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It’s a matter of taste but I love it as the butt heavy balance suits me.

In eight years the Taiwanese manufacturer has refined his production.

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The choil used to be a hotspot in the first version I had handled back then. No more now, there is absolutely no hot spot but… the infamous clip.

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The way it’s stand with a point prouddly high …it’s really not the best Spyderco clip just compared with for example… the Lil’ Lionspy great great spoon deep carry clip !!
The pointy end of that clip needs to be parallel to the handle as this one is an invitation to scratches cars doors and catches things.
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But its zips easily inside the pocket. It’s a no brainer.

Like the Spydiechef the design of the PPT notice how it give you a lot of power in case of cutting on a board. But the PPT won’t be as easy to clean with it’s squeleton thick liners but nothing which cannot resist to some hot tap water.
This new incarnation got a very thin edge. Those full flat ground blade in S90V provided by Spyderco lately are a pleasure to use and performance oriented.

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But its true brother in law could be the Yojimbo 2.

The PPT got a very strong spirit, mix that with Sacha Thiel attention to details and Philippe Perotti pragmatism and you got a very powerful EDC which can be used by soldiers, firefighters, hunters, cooks, collectors and bushcrafters.

A little edit: after some EDC carrying and using.
Of course I have started to de-shoulder the edge and gives the PPT a more friendly way to get strop on leather.
Ergo wise, this heavy butt is really addictive. It works like a magnet because of that handgun handle. It makes your tool almost jumped in your hand and really anchored it in your palm while the perfect radius of opening makes it a very fast and safe opener. The meat of your finger is caught by the sharp hole and SHLACK !! It’s really one of my fastest tip up carry opener so far.
Why is the PPT a tip up carry ? I remember Fred bitching about the way some newcomers (back in 90’s)  who were providing RIL locks with a tip down carry: the clip was in the way. What I loved in the RIL lock on the Sebenza was the way the hand will secure the lock just by holding it tight. With a clip attached near the pivot, you could not squeeze the handle anymore and secure the lock.
So the PPT reflect all those years. It’s a real biker friendly design, like the La Griffe has always been. Bikers are modern world horse riders. The PPT would a horse rider best friend too.
In the part 2 the rider could be a nightrider ?

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Spyderco PARA 3 G-10 Black on Black C223GBK — The Black Panther Cub

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This is my first Para 3 and also my first black coated Spyderco blade.
According to Spyderco:

“For tactical end users who are concerned about light discipline or those who just prefer the look of a black blade, the Para 3 is now available with a tough Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. This low-profile coating is permanently bonded to the premium CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade…”

Cool I do really love DLC as it’s really scratch resistant. The primary reason for blade coatings is to reduce the reflective properties of the steel. Shiny things draw the wrong kind of attention and in a military environment, can tend to get people shot. However, like anything else intended to be used in a military environment, coated blades are not immune to wearing off but DLC is really strong.

I also specifically love DLC for adding corrosion resistance. The area which normally rusts on an EDC is in the pivot area. No worries about that with a DLC coated blade!

The new Golden Co. factory is bringing some of the best quality in manufacturing to date. My Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that rise in quality on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control – if not better. So kuddos Colorado! Also Eric told us during the last Minimeet that they have just hired two new engineers who will make a real difference. Spyderco has developed a speed training of their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry.

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Like the Paramillie 2 was a son of the Millie, the Para 3 is really Millie’s grandson. Same “cockpit”, stout hardchore 3 inches blade, smooth Compression Lock.

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My all black version is very discreet and the the short blade makes it even less threatening. A black “commando” feel on such a short folder is almost like an tribute to military blades. On a short knife like this baby millie the “cute” factor is very strong.

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My hand fits perfectly on that handle. That infact was a big question mark prior to holding the Para 3. You feel this short version of the Millie is ready for any task.

 

The DLC coating is absolutely stunning. I have sanded the G10 and put a great deal of care so to not scratch the steel hardware.

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Here after some plastic cutting which scratched some of my other blades, there were no marks on the diamond hard coating. Let see how it will age.

 

At first I had mounted the clip for tip down carry (left pic) and experienced great spyderdrops. The Para3 is so smooth in its action, a middle finger is sufficient for opening.
As I got the opportunity to get a titanium clip from Massdrop (right pic), after transformation it’s now a tip up solution and a middle finger opening work best for me. After all, a black knife, even of that size, needs to be as discreet as possible.

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Some thinning of the edge, from DC4 diamonds to white ceramic until leather stropping.

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It worked great as I was not able to scratch the DLC coating.

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I got much better performances on pushcuts into the thick plastic of this coke bottle butt.

Of course, I had soon christianized the knife with a fumble… Drawing blood means luck.

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The Maxamet PARA3 Review is here.

edited by Pascal – 14 march 2018.

Spyderco C192TIP – Tasting the Pie In The Sky.

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“I am the Pie in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind…”

This knife used to have the MSRP of a small Sebenza but as it’s been discontinuited I got the chance to buy one at a fraction of its original price. And really, I’m glad to be a later adopter of that wonderful and unique attempt to make a hardchore non locking knife.

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The PITS is the acronym of Pie In The Sky. It’s a folder based on Mike Read’s knives. He is a knifemaker in the UK. So, this knife has been specifically designed for EDC in the United Kingdom. In brief, her Majesty’s laws say you can carry any knife if you have a “good reason”, but just in cases there isn’t a good reason you can still carry a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches without a lock.  The UK designed small Wolfspyder with it compression lock is not UK law friendly but the Urban is ! Also the slipjoint Manly Comrade won’t because of its longer blade… but the PITS will !

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This knife is an eye candy. It has a powerful full-flat ground N690Co steel clip point blade and a stunning precision-machined skeletonized blue anodized titanium handle that aids in providing a very positive texture for grip.

The handle features integral split spring arms to form the knife’s unique slip-joint mechanism. Titanium has got that elasticity that Chris Reeve was one of the first to explore for his Integral Locks. Here you have another variation of the use of that incredible metal here used as a strong spring.

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The very good thing I will repeat again and again is that Mike Read has designed this knife to be a tough, hard-use folder and, yes, this is not easy and also this is a good thing.
Not many non-locking knives are destined to be used hard. The Manly Comrade is an exception for example… but here, the PITS is really shining in another department: in the one hand opening and closing realm (making it illegal in Danemark too BTW) . There are no mid steps like on the Comrade as the action is smooth until the blade is fully opened or closed – making even Spyderdrops possible !

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Then you got the choice to apply your thumb on the bar and it’s cleverly secure. Zero play in any direction. Also there a quillon after the choil where your index can rest; meaning, held in the proper manner, the blade cannot close on your precious finger.

Something you ask to a hard working tool is the ease of cleaning. The handle is fully open by construction and thanks to the holes in the titanium slap, it’s very easy to clean and rinse your blade – also there is a lanyard hole !

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N690Co, heat treated (certainly with cryo) in Maniago, is a just a great steel for an EDC. I always considered it as some kind of European VG10. It can get back to razor sharpness very easily and it stays sharp long enough between touches up. It’s not brittle and I got the same sense of all-terrain steel (like VG10 on Fallkniven knives) as when I had done hard testing of other fixed blades made in Maniago. N690co is very stainless. It’s the kind of steel to use around the kitchen and even close to the sea with no after thought; just rinse it!
Also the geometry on the PITS being very thin and with its belly, the first cuts in wood were really deep. The blade did not move/unlock even when stuck in the wood fibers. So this is a very secure non-locking knife. Immediately, you bond with it and want to use it.

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The handle is generous even in reverse grip and it fits in the hand very well for such a small knife. This is in hammer grip a four fingers knife, which is welcome for hard cuts.
I have found it very confortable with zero hotspots when held tight.
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Also the full titanium handle gives a near to perfect balance. The PITS is light and fast in the hand, it is alive. To close the blade it’s better to push the spine with the thumb as the notch is not easy to pass.

The PITS Folder includes Spyderco’s  best clip: the deep carry wire clip for reversible tip-up carry. It almost disappears in my pocket.

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SO here we have got a non threatening tool, with a beautiful blue handle. It cannot make non knives people unconfortable at all. Also titanium being not easily detected by metal detectors, the PITS should not make them beep easily…. No, I mean you can cut live wire with as titanium does not conduct electricity… oh well, I only have bad recommandations tonight.

So here we have got the Pie In The Sky, a knife which is going to kick my Urban out of my pocket when I go for a walk in the city. It’s very pleasant to have a tool engineered  to be a user. Next step is to remove the sharp edges on the blade spine and give a little convexed edge to this baby…
More to come soon.

“…I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that  I can read your mind, I can read your mind …”

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The Alan Parson’s Project lyrics is an idea from our editor: Pascal. 🙂

last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 24 jan 2018.

Manly Comrade S90V – Heavy Duty Slipjoint !

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What strikes first when you hold the Comrade is its thickness and weight.
This 9 cm blade non-locking slipjoint folder is massive; once open, see how its beautiful classical lines are gentle to the eye.
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I have chosen the CPM S90V version with a camo G10 theme. As this non locking knife, it deserves some virility. It’s a a slipjoint with a very strong attitude. The kind of knife our grandfather would have loved. The notch in the blade is like a reminiscence of my childhood…

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Also it is such a pleasure to have a non-locking traditional knife with a CPM420V AKA CPM S90V blade.

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As you can notice the blade is perfectly centered !

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And it comes with a clip which is unfortunately not a need carry clip.

Surprisingly it is much more beefy and thick handled than its grand brother the Peak.

The Peak has got hidden recessed liners whereas the Comrade has got a more simple layered construction. It gives a real confort as the square handle fits the palm of your hand.

There are three steps before to open it completly. The last one is the harder to pass giving a very secure feel in the non locking open position. This is really a knife to open with two hands. Once open the choil forms almost a quillon where the index goes to secure it.
Like on a locking Spydie Millie, this is a system found first in boot knives. The force applied during the cut goes directly to the blade.

I have sanded mine to my taste and for that I removed the clip.
No doubt we got here a hardchore workhorse non-locking folder with enough blade for many tasks and a steel which is hard to beat in term of edge holding.
Its clip makes it easy to carry. The edge is thin like on the Peak and it’s going to be a great knife to go around places where locking knives are forbidden.

Also after watching the video of BlackforestGhost here, I think batonning with a slipjoint non locking knife is less stressful for the tool as there is nob lock to take the impact. The slipjoint is a spring ! So no lock failure possible. 😉 “I bend and do not break…” from the Oak and the Reed from Jean de la fontaine.
I really love that Bulgarian Comrade which is the only industrial S90V slipjoint I know so far. Manly, please do a 3 inches version and a one hand open version !! 🙂
More to come soon.

A shorter version The WASP can be found here.
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edited by Pascal Jaffré on 17 jan 2018

RealSteel Knives Bushcraft Folder – Beefy Folding Tool.

I have been dreaming about that kind of folder for quite a long time. Something heavy, strong with a rounded handle to take in the forest and built some shelter.
RealSteel Knives, a Chinese company, may have heard my prayer as they are producing a Bushcraft Folder in two versions: with and without the one hand opening option provided with two studs.
180 grams of a very well balanced 90mm blade length beefy companion.
My first experience with Real Steel was the beautiful Megalodon which has had review here. Its main flaw was the awful clip and you know what ? The Bushcraft Folder has no clip but a beautiful textured G10 handle. Also the red liners are a very nice touch bringing a real touch of class. The blade is perfectly centered; the action is smooth; the action Southpaw friendly…
So let’s have a look:

The blade is made of D2. This air hardening classical steel is not my favorite but some of my friends and co-writers like JD do have an excellent opinion about it. As a reminder let’s not forget D2 has 13% chrome steel which can stain and can be a bear to get sharp. RealSteel seems to have bought tons of D2 as their production of fixed blades is mainly using that alloy. The HRC is 58-60 which is not the hardest heat treatment for that steel but it seems appropriate for a knife destined to resharpen in the field. Oh and this is a true scandi: no secondary bevel on that baby ! You can put it flat on some stone and you should be able to keep it like a razor !


The lock is a thick Michael Walker’s liner lock and it reminds me of the one on Spyderco Gayle Bradley; thick liners locks are easy and confortable to use. Here the steel liners are heavily skeletonized to reduce weight and keep a great balance.
Don’t forget: batoning with a folder is not a good idea with the lock engaged. Let’s say it’s not a good idea, period. Some chores are better kept for the uses of thick fixed blades. But the RealSteel BF can easy drill in wood and be twisted while cutting: there is no movement, no play; everything is very well adjusted. So this is a very serious outdoor knife. The spine of the blade is sharp, certainly for striking a rod and lighting fire. I will soon round mine, as I prefer to have a confortable ramp to push with my thumb during woodworking. The handle does not have a fully open construction; there is a G10 spacer in the butt along with a lanyard hole. It looks really easy to rinse and keep clean.

The G10 has got a very nice texture: not harsh. You can notice it on the picture. Also there is no hot spot on that handle so you can hold it really tight; it’s almost like a fixed blade. The linerlock is recessed and you can not disengage it by holding tight the handle. Just be careful and always remember: regardless how strong a folder is, it will never be as strong as fixed blade. Use it with respect and care; should the lock fail, there is no choil to protect your precious fingers!

This the heaviest folding blade in a 4 inches folder I have ever owned!
You certainly can put that 3,5mm thick blade in good use. Especially as the scandi is very keen and easy to keep ultra sharp – as much as you don’t create a bevel.
Even though the studs do not get in the way when sharpening, it should be easy to remove them with a flat screwdriver if you want a pure two hands opener.

A first test on dry wood shows I have got a very serious contender; the blade cuts deep and makes as good chips as my Casstrom (Scandi type blades give you a lot of control when cutting wood). This is always such a pleasure to use them. Also the solid tip is great to drill and open crates without fear of breaking it.

The pouch which is provided with that big heavy workhorse is well made, but I will certainly carry it vertically in my front pocket against my leather wallet. I have tried that before going for a one hour walk and the knife did not move.

The knife snuggles perfectly inside the pouch you can pass in a belt.

In my opinion a nice cocoon to transport the knife in a coat pocket or in a bag, featuring its toolish function in opposition to all those fast draw tactical response tools always regarded as weapon and also marketed as “tactical” knives, conveys a comforting message.

My wonderful Wolfspyder is dwarfed by the heavy RealSteel folder which’s size is very close to any classical bushcraft fixed blade. You feel you can easily use it for light chopping, for finishing off a cut. Again, impacts are not folding knives’ best friends, but the momentum of that heavy blade could be used for light chopping in wood, like trimming branches in one whip of the wrist.

This is a mean blade perfectly centered beware parallax illusion in this photography.

And the handle is even thicker than the fixed blade.

Of course the main limitation of a folder is the blade length which cannot exceed the handle length (except for some hunting daggers).

So what have we got in the end ? An heavy, solid, easy to keep sharp bushcraft tool.
OK. But for what price ? Mine was bought for less than 60 euros ! This is great for a knife destined to be used a lot and not kept in a safe.
In my opinion, this is a very solid bargain for a very serious wood companion.
“Made in China” tools are getting better and better in terms of quality, prices are competitive and don’t forget…. your Iphone X are also made in China. Here you have got a Chinese Viking Folding Knife, which is great !!
More to come soon !

last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 17 jan 2018.

MANLY PEAK S90V — THE BULGARIAN WONDER AT WORK.

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The Manly Peak is a workhorse. So, it has been put to good use in various tasks.

The main features of that folder are a very thin geometry and a zero play mid backlock.
It has not developed any play and the edge has ever been thinned for outstanding results.

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Tomatoes are great for testing. As you can notice, it was a very easy task to cut through the skin.

The same for any fruits it was confronted to. The thin and long blade gives a lot of hand control when peeling and cutting or on the cutting board. No pitting on the S90V alloy after intense and daily kitchen duty.


Pushing the envelop, I have thinned both my S90V Native and S90V Peak. I was inclined to think that the Native 5 with its belly would be better than the Bulgarian folder but in fact not. The thinner grind of the Manly got better results on hard plastic and when the Native was stuck, the Peak was going through like the Nilakka or my Opinel would do.

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I was even able to do multiple cuts on the same bottle butt. This is really impressive. Let’s not forget that should should have the same results on a 45 euros Peak with D2 steel.

The mechanism feels a little smoother now on opening and closing but it is also due to a drop of nano oil.  The clip is really perfect, it is deep, secure and smooth. It has been well thought and I really wish the future generation of Manly folders will be likewise equipped.
So the Manly Peak is really a high quality workhorse in terms of reliability, power cuts and ease to wear. This is a serious tool for any users, from the LEO to the ELU.  It’s a thrill to see it compete against folders which can reach 4 times its price and see how easily it can beat them. Now this is a stiff mechanism “à la Cold Steel” and you will need some open and close mileage so that it folds and unfolds with ease. Once in action though you have a pocket lightsaber able to work hard and keep going. Highly recommended!

More Manly folders here.

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last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 18 jan 2018

Manly Peak S90V — First glimpse at a Bulgarian Wonder.

Thanks to my friend Dan Sharpe I had ordered a Manly Peak directly from the manufacturer in Sofia in Bulgaria.
Having the choice of steel I had clicked on S90V but a D2 Tool Steel and CPM156 versions are also available. For a D2 version it will cost you around 50 euros with shipping.
This is a beautiful folder. Two keys are provided for pivot adjustement and pocket clip placement.
It’s a very solid backlock with zero vertical play. The full flat ground blade’s edge is really thin. The G10 is not harsh and feels like I sanded it myself. The clip is deep…
It’s a wonderful industrial knife with a lot of attention to details.

About the action:
There is a gentle resistance when opening at the end of the course then it clicks like a vault. So it’s not a fast intervention tool. No spyderdrop possible. There is no fun like on a Paramillie with compression lock but you feel it is VERY solid. For the record Backlocks are perhaps the strongest system of all according to some destruction test you can find on the internet. One of BladeHQ comes to mind…
Something I immediately love: the blade’s spine is all smooth. No guards but some jimping under the pivot.
The hole seems oval which means this is not a Spyderco licence. Let’s have a look.

The blade is perfectly centered. Don’t forget we are talking here about a 40 euros folder.

The deep clip is trademarked and beatblasted.

The oval opening hole… and the sharpening choil (indentation). This is S90V which is the king of powder metallurgy.

Thin and alive in the hand. You can notice the jimping under the pivot.

Deep carrying with a long and easy to pocket clip.

Attention to details here with the name of the model on the lock.

The clip pad on the other side of the handle is screwed inside the steel spacer. The liners are skeletonized and nested inside the G10. The knife is light and well balanced. The sweet point is between the lock and the lock screw.

The adjustment is top notch with the G10 slab chamfered on both sides. The liners are invisible as they are nested into the G10 slabs.

Size comparaison with my  mighty Millie.

So far I’m really impressed by this Bulgarian wonder. Mine (in S90V) is around 80 euros shipped. I have also ordered a slip joint Comrade which should be arriving soon.
More to come as now the Bulgarian game is on. Here is Part II.

edited by pjaffre 3 jan 2018