Benchmade 200 Puukko – Call me Snake.

This is the first Benchmade’s review for a long time. Why ? Not because of the quality of Les De Asis company’s products but because I was not really excited by their production in the last decade after a huge love with their AFCK back in 90’s, and also with Nimravus and all those blades in M2HS which is a tungsten high speed steel, the granddaddy of CPM M4.
I still got a AFCK in M2HSS and browsing that blog, you will find it here.

So here we go, two words has caught my attention on that new Benchmade: Puukko and CPM3V.

“CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in a high wear-resistance steel. It offers impact resistance greater than A2, D2, Cru-Wear, or CPM M4, approaching the levels provided by S7 and other shock resistant grades. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of a high alloy steel are required.” Source Crucible.

COMPOSITION
C Mn Si Cr Mo V
0.80 0.30 1.00 7.50 1.30 2.75

To quote my friend Max Wedge:
“3V loses 1/3 of the toughness going from 58hrc to 60 hrc (still 1/3 above A2 at 60 hrc, and A2 is indestructible… almost). Both 4V and Cruware start to shine around 60-62 Hrc… so, 3V for choppers, 4V or Cruware for slicers, Cruware having best corrosion resistance ( trait appreciated by soldiers & foresters)”

So this tough short blade made of chopper steel is at a very good bargain !! Let see what it is all about.

The leather sheath is beautiful even (if there is a loop in the stitching… I will upgrade it into a kydex for pocket carry.) and cleverly designed as a dangler. You can remove the loop to transform it into a classical sheath.
There is a place for sparkling rod in the Bushcraft fashion. I don’t care about carry a knife of that size attached to my belt. I prefer to have it inside my pocket or my bag.

The blade is an eye candy for some reason it reminds me the small SOG Seal Pup knife with no false edge but that’s me… Is this a Puukko ?

That handle is made in some kinf of thermorun… but it is rubberized Santoprene is a soft, non-hygroscopic elastomer which exhibits excellent surface appearance, a durable soft-touch feel, excellent colorability and excellent “processability”… made by Exxon.

It is made from underground forgotten dinosaurs and jurassic biomass aka “petroleum” hence the look of scales on it ?  Because that handle looks like some sort of snake or cold blood creature. I love it.

Now is this a scandi ground blade ? Nope. There is a secondary bevel. Is the knife sharp ? Yep, very sharp but could be better. Later/soon on that.

It is a hidden tang construction and you can see the steel in the lanyard hole. This knife is solid as CPM3V is really tough !!
Hidden tang are great when you work in cold weather, protecting your hand from a frozen steel.

That blade is short but handy: it asks to be used hard like… Snake Plissken’s hard actually ! Because 3V is magic in toughness ! 😀

Compared to a Mora or the Urban Hunter (from Pekka Tuominen) the Benchmade 200 stands its ground.

Here are two vision of CPM3V industrial use. Ed Schempp Spyderco Tuff is pure business. So that BM200 should be even tougher as a fixed blade.

Teamed with a Manly Wasp, you got a great combo.


But a puukko (in my book) needs a thinner edge and it is time to scratch that blade to de-shoulder all that. Diamonds do scratches but then scratches will be polished later. Thinner convexed edge is destin to go deep and get twisted; this is a tough steel.

Diamonds, ceramic and leather. Who needs more ?  CPM 3V is really like chewing gum you need abrasive medium to form that convex edge.

A some compound with the leather stropping is mandatory to erase those scratches

See ? Now it is convexed and will be smooth on whittling wood. No worry for that edge stability again 3V is perfect for that use.

Standing next my Serrata which is my only naturally serrated knife.

So now, I just need some white ceramic to keep it sharp and some stropping. It is ready for testing. The Puukko shape is more for me a “Coutelas de Rahan” shape actually (French people will understand but here is the link: Rahan in Wikipedia.
making this little tough knife very appealing to bring it everywhere.
Everywhere is a good point to start. 😉

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Spyderco Lil Nilakka Edge rolling out fixed and used.

On my Lil Nilakka You can see the damage on the edge. Dry bambu cutting…

It looks spectacular but it’s just a matter to realign the edge.

It hurst on a new knife !!… Ouch !


In fact I also use diamond to remove some material.


15 minutes later, it is back for more.

Simple tools…

30 minutes later on leather;
Convexing gives a little more material behind the edge. No more stability issues.
And it’s not giving up on performances.





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PEKKA TUOMINEN IRON WOOD PUUKKO – A glimpse at the Northern Woodlord.

Pekka Tuominen Spyderco Puukko

Pekka Tuominen Spyderco Puukko

Pekka Tuominen Spyderco Puukko

Pekka Tuominen Spyderco Puukko

As you can notice the blade of the Puukko is not tapered like the Nilakka. It’s a real different animal to work with.
More strength to the tip for example.Even if I had never got any issue with the folding version which is one of my sharpest (if not the sharpest) of all my knives. The Puukko is in the same category in term of push cutting.
Also you can notice how its cousin, the Urban Hunting Knife II looks huge compare to that lil’ Northern Woodlord. Again Pekka’s Puukko is destined to be sheeple friendly. For the Finnish, this blade lenght is more than enough.
It’s a gentleman bushcrafter and it screams to be used ! And Spyderco S30V bring a very stable edge in my own experience.
I’m planning to keep that Puukko in a zero edge (when I had gently convexed my Nilakka…) and I will be confronted at one moment to the water stone. More to come soon !!:-)

SPYDERCO NILAKKA ~ C164GBN – Pekka’s Folding Puukko is a North Star !

Pekka Tuominen Nilakka

I have had the chance to meet Pekka Tuominen two years ago at the SICAC (Paris Knifeshow) but six month before I was handling a prototype of his Folding Puukko at the Amsterdam Minimeet.
The design was very ZEN. For me it was like a Japanese hidden blade in a bambu handle. I was also impressed by the smoothness, the thickness and the profile of the blade.

For me, it was an object for collector. A tour de force, including the famous hidden stop pin.
Also the final choice of choosing S30V for a zero ground blade was really disturbing. I was hoping CPM3V or CPMM4 or even O1. But my experience with S30V has never been extraordinary.
Frankly S30V is not a steel which gave me good results even with the knives of the people who introduced that steel in the first place… I prefer VG10 for exemple which is not a powder steel but at least a reliable edge on thin grinds.

Anyway a folding Puukko in S30V was like a bushcraft knife in S30V. Why not. But I was not very excited by that choice…
Then I heard and read on Cliff Stamps forum how the burned edge was rolling. I was not surprised as S30V would have not been my steel of choice. Now perhaps the thickness of the stock available was the reason it was chosen ?
It was a shame as everything in Pekka design was oozing quality and his quest for excellence. It is also a very very clever mechanism. He is a perfectionnist. I remeber how he was inspecting the prototype of his Spyderco (not folding) Puukko’s sheath. He wanted everything to be perfect. And he knows his business about Puukkos.

I had experience with thin stainless grind blade rolling on very pricey folders too. My Rockstead was an example and since I have been able to hone a secondary bevel and the de-stress the edge for excellent results.
Then I got the honor to receive a gift from Pekka: his Nilakka, second generation.
I immediately tested on hard bambu and the edge did not suffered.
There is a micro bevel which now strengthen the edge. So there is no reason not to use it hard.
Again, the folder is smooth like Normandy butter. The heel of the blade is very thick when the blade point is thin like a needle. You find yourself contemplating, trying to understand how the tappered design works. The large gap between the liners on the back of the handle is not an issue when you know how to switch your grip (like I did on my Lionspy) to avoid hurting your palm during cuts on hard materials.
What I love in the Nilakka is how original, practical and radical the design is. Closed it is wonderful to handle and manipulate. It’s an absolutely non threatening design. The gentle curve of the handle give a very natural look to the package. Open, it’s real Puukko. There is no hint, no axis, showing this is a folder. (The axis screw is hidden under the G10 slabs!)
It is a pleasure to take on hike and use in the forest. The open design makes it easy to clean by blowing air and rinsing it. The choice of a stainless steel blade gives confidence to mechanism maintenance. There is no reason not to EDC and use that knife in the wild like it was designed. It is not a safe queen curiosity anymore. (A first generation after some work on the edge would have been the same anyway.)

Looking at Pekka official site and it’s easy to find other eye candy !
His blog: http://www.puukkopekka.com/ is a feast for the eyes !!!
Living in Finnish countryside, Pekka is a colossus with a great sens of humour. You can feel in every details of his Art that he has blown passion, intelligence and a special pinch of that natural cleverness from farmers and pragmatism of soldiers. His knives need to be reliable and beautiful. Also he needs to have fun while making them. From the design, to the forge, to the heat treatment, to the choice of materials, to the different type of sheath, Pekka does everything !

So eventually the Nilakka in its second incarnation is a very unique and practical EDC. It is also a great conversation starter because this folding Puukko is a great ambassador to modern and traditional cutlery. Mine is going to be used on a EDC basis and I will complete that review later.