Tag Archives: Spydercoknives

Amsterdam Minimeet 2018

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Again this year, eighty guests were lucky enough to gather at Hotel Mercure near Amsterdam Airport for a day of presentation and exchange with Spyderco. Eric Glesser and Joyce Laituri came from Golden and made a stop over before going to IWA next week.

Again it was the opportunity to get direct access to Eric and his prototypes and “next in production” (before June !) galore but also the chance to meet friends from all over the world (a new designer Aleister Phillips came from Australia ! He was actually in France since February taking care of a WWI memorial for the Australian soldiers.)

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Aleister Phillips Instagram picture.

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And his “Redback” custom folder with licensed spyderhole.

Again pictures were forbidden but soon 18 knives (from the 100 shown) will be displayed on Spydercollector website exclusively. Wouter was one of the “Old Timers” who has been attending the last 14 meets like my friend JD who also wrote in this columns.

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The master of ceremony was Jur who always give good vibes and jokes.
Spyderco changed the rules this year: no more passing of the prototypes in all hands.
Instead Eric presented all the knives, from concepts to almost in production. Many designers were featured; Paul Alexander and Ed Schempp come of course to my mind as they are my favorites. Some designers were present like Tom Zoomer who was not very confortable with some questions I had, hum, asked about batonning and sharpening his bushcraft knife…

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That was also the chance for new designers to defend their concept and explain to Eric what they can bring to the knife world.

20180304_134349-01.jpegSo eventually, we left our chairs early to gather around tables where Ted had displayed all the knives. It was time for intense exchange and card writing.
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Also we were gently asked to fill some cards showing our remarks about every prototype numbered and displayed. It was a chance for Spyderco to have written feedback about what we loved or hated. I think our favorites knives were the Wolf Mouse by Gareth Bull of SA and the Unnamed Redback from our Australian mate.

Capture d'écran 2018-03-05 15.34.59Picture of the Custom original Wolf Mouse. Found on the Bull pictures.
Imagine the same with a hole in the blade. 😉

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Oh! we were given pens to write on the cards. Also the day was rythmed by a loto game with knives and goodies to win – even more surprises involving plastic spiders and other gifts. JD won a wonderful Lil’Native and soon we will have his review !

I have noticed in the past years how the new Golden factory is bringing some of the best quality in knife manufacturing to date. For example my new Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that raise in quality of execution 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 that they have just hired two new engineers there who will “make a real difference”. He told us that Spyderco is also training their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry. So there is a Spyderco Engineering School there.

In conclusion, one last thing to outline: this Minimeet was a Compression Lock festival. It looks like Spyderco will be using more and more one of their  successful “in-house” locks for many models to come. It’s true, Compression Locks are extremely solid and smooth but they also are challenging in terms of placing the flipper on a blade for example but like the Spyderhole, they are a Spyderco trademark.

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A lonely Eric and an empty table.

Oh and BTW Joyce showed us how to wear a Cricket the fashionable way.

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Spyderco C214TIP: The Devil’s Advocate by Gayle Bradley.

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“You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire…”

I feel like in the “Honest Trailers”: “Please review the Advocate…” OK here we go:

Oh yes, the Advocate is a looker and really catches the light.  Knowing Gayle Bradley since his first hard chores folder, I really wanted to see his new design.

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At the moment I write those lines, we are all under the official statement from Spyderco about the Advocate. To sum it up: “A careful review of the Advocate’s design revealed that the steel washers used in its pivot are measurably thinner than those used in our other flipper models and are therefore vulnerable to the effects of overtightening….We have suspended production of the current version and are working diligently to redesign the pivot to completely eliminate this concern. We have also decided to suspend shipment of our current inventory of Advocate knives until a satisfactory redesign is complete.” Michael Janich 10th of April 2017.
I don’t have any issues with my Advocate pivot, so I’m not concerned.

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Unless major purpose, I don’t feel the urge to disassemble my knives and I always find that rinsing them under hot tap water and oiling them back once dry, is more than enough to keep them going. I do however have got a gripping pivot issue with my Southard but this was before discovering and using nano oil. Here on the advocate, it seems like even nano oil did not help. but again It do not have any issue on mine. I got other issues and they are from the design, not the manufacturing.

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So I was able to snatch a model before the factory line stopped and I really wanted to try and love another great Gayle Bradley design. The Advocate is his first flipper and he’s using my favorite steel: CPM-M4 (drawing from Gayle Bradley’s extensive experience as a competitive cutting champion, CPM® M4 is a high-performance tool steel renowned for its extreme edge-holding ability).

“The Advocate’s handle consists of two 3-D-machined solid titanium scales that are radiused across their width and feature a unique “orange peel” finish that is both visually striking and provides an enhanced grip texture. The precision machining of these features ensures maximum comfort in the hand and contributes to the knife’s stunning, custom-quality appearance.”

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See how the knife looks great? This is a very thin design. It slips into your pocket very confortably but, in my own experience, its thin handle create a lot of hotspots. I would have preferred a thicker handle even if the finish and lines are wonderful, it is really more a looker than a user so far.
OK mine fires perfectly and once unlocked, the blade falls free. So the action is OK but there is a strong break to it: the ball detent on the lock making the action less smooth than on my other flipper: ZT0562 or Falcon. It’s even noisy, you hear it. What is the point of having ball bearings when you put a brake on it ? Spyderco knows what smooth means ie Ed Schempp’s Bowie the Paramillie. Why not the Advocate ?


Also you can notice how the Zero Tolerance’s (ZT) handle is thicker and hence much better ergonomic-wise. I would not mind that for a Chaparral or for a shorter folder but the Advocate is a medium folder with a 9 centimeters blade and weighs 111 grammes; so it’s not a small folder! Even on the last picture you can see that it’s thinner than the Sliverax….

Also flippers have got a fun factor shared with spinners and balisongs. We love to play with them and because of that, we have tendancies to “test” them more in their opening and closing.
Again, the Advocate’s thin profile doesn’t make it easy to close. The tension on the lock bar is very important and the edge to unlock it is sharp. So it’s not easy on your thumb, almost painful sometimes compared to my ZT and its fat lock… Even the flipper’s tab feels too thin for such a strong detent. It’s biting into the index finger’s pulp….

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You can see the sharp edge of the lock bar; actually it comes from the steel insert.

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You can notice the marks on my thumb.

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Look at the way the lock bar is chamfered on the ZT. Rick Hinderer is not at his first flipper design obviously…

After playing for some time, there is no real fun. The detent is so strong it makes thumb-opening impossible on mine; only reverse grip works for me.

So the strong lock acts like a break; you understand why Compression Lock flippers like the Sliverax are a path to explore.  That said, after playing with both knives, I also feel the Sliverax could have benefited from a stronger detent.

So far the Advocate is not my favorite Gayle Bradley design.

My opinion is not based on any pivot issues as mine doesn’t have it but in my book,
it’s too thin, too slippery, not easy to close nor is it easy to open with the thumb hole.  It’s not smooth… It’s the total opposite to its famous GB1.
Perhaps it will grow on me but even the clip is not a deep carry option… Oh well.
I need to play with my Ed Schempp bowie for good measure… as it’s the perfect opposite in the way Taichung can deliver a great folder with great ergos.

So in summary, if you want a really fun and light Spyderco to play with, try the Sliverax.

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edited by pjaffre: jan 5, 2018.

SLIVERAX — ELEGANT DREAMED ENGINEERED KNIFE – ACT III: Using.

20171122_150203-031772969397.jpeg My Sliverax is a dancer. you can open in a lot of different ways. The flipper is the first. The thumb with the hole. The middle finger with the hole. The ring finger while holding it handle first and some kind of gravity opening: just a flick of the wrist and “Schlak!” it is ready. So there is a lot of way to waltz with that folder hence her name: “Dancer”. This is bringing the fun factor to high rate. 20171124_163414-01208185727.jpeg You can see I have mounted my Ed Schempp Bowie clip for now. Now that I feel confident with S30V heat treated by Spyderco, since I have play with the Nilakka (Taichung) and the Wolfspyder (Golden), both radicaly scandi ground knives, I have decided to give the Nilakka a very very thin convex edge. The first step was here. But then I have decided to give sandpaper a try and work on thinning the factory edge not only de-shouldering it.

So it’s very simple: P800 SP on my old leather belt to thin the edge, then white ceramics (a lot) to turn it into mirror. One hour later, I got a incredible performer ! On wood: it goes deep and smoothly. You got a lot of control. Of course it has been used daily in the kitchen and on meat preparation and guess what, the flipper eventually is not a problem for board cutting. On plastic and wood, I have twisted the blade inside and no harm has been noticed to the edge or the mechanism. I have used it hard at full grip and got full confidence in it in hammer or reverse grip. Like on the other compression locks knives it’s so easy to close it and put it back in the pocket, preventing any way to harm yourself or the others. It is especially great when working around animals like horses for example, when you want your edge to be out of play as soon as possible. I have also the chance to compared it to my ZY0562CF which is an excellent flipper with a sure fire every time. But it’s a knife much more heavy and less elegant, more rugged, full of screws… Another philosophy in folder making that I enjoy also, but the Hinderer design is more of a Toyota Landcruiser when the Silverax is a BMW Serie 4. I enjoy both but the Sliverax offers a very light solution for high perf. I also like the fact I can easily check/ have access to the pivot to grease it with a micro drop of nano oil BTW. In the woods , I was able to whittle a lot without any hot spots on the handle. The clip did not bother me in that matter. I have also rounded a little more the spine to feel confortable as my main technic asks for my thumb to push there, giving les stress to the pivot. Also I place my index on the flipper most of the time choking up the blade. Despite the absence of choil, I have not cut myself. Oh and I really enjoy the fact their zero jimping. Most of the time I’m obliged to file them a bit on the corner to have them to my taste. Here no need for jimping and as a tool the Sliverax is perfectly anchord to my hand. The CF/G10 material is working perfectly without chewing my pants. After EDCing the Paramillie in 52100 it’s a pleasure to get the benefits from stainless steel researches and use the knife with zero concern about rust. It’s a luxury I am rediscovering. I can pocket my dirty knife and I don’t mind. I feel like a man making fire for the first time with a gaz lighter instead of some flint… Then back home it’s very easy to rinse under hot water. It can go in my denim front pocket to dry. On of the main characteristic of the Sliverax is the long edge in such a compact design. i cannot remember a knife which has given me that impression, especially in a folder. I love my Native 5 for example but the choil “eats” a lot of blade length. This length available is another luxury. You can of course pushcut but also keep in mind that any saw motion will be very easy thanks to the absence of choil to trap the matter you are cutting. So the Sliverax is great, providing a long edge easily from a light and wasp shaped handle, giving a lot of cutting performance for a SUB 4 inches knife. More to come soon as I always got new things to write once it is published…So this is a first draft but this week end I’ll be in wood … 😉 20171123_151314-01264186372.jpeg

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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Spyderco C211TIP Marcin Slysz SpydieChef — Folding Utilitarian Cooking Knife.

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OK , I do love acronyms, pardon my French but when I have received the Spydiechef I was very excited to test a design made for chefs: a folding tool cooks could keep in their pocket.
Knowing my needs to turn SD design into tools, this time the grass was cut under my feed. Marcin Slysz purpose was very clear even in the material choice.
But first the design.

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Why using a Sebenza like handle ? Because Titanium is stainless and the opening construction is easy to clean. It’s also a relatively thin design, easy to pocket. No jimping, no need for and again easier to rince under water.
Because a cooking tool do get dirty. Here for example are the remain of Mozzarella di Buffala…
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The choice of the blade steel is also interesting. LC200N is a state-of-the-art high nitrogen alloyed tool steel that is specifically formulated to offer superior corrosion resistance and extreme toughness, even at high levels of hardness. I have used carbon steel with patina on it and no smell or taste has been noticed during their use with food, but here with that kind of steel you are certain to show a clean knife to inspection before starting your recipes…

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So the whole knife is very much completely impervious to rust. That means it could also been used near the sea and even on a boat where the possibility to open and close a rust free knife with one hand can be really safe and useful. There is no steel insert to prevent excessive wear on the lock, like many new RIL locks nowadays. I don’t know if the titanium has been heated to be harder, or perhaps the nitrogen alloy is not abrasive ?
One thing which can be noticed is that this alloy can be ground flat when H1 could not. All H1 steel were hollow ground blade.

 

Back to the kitchen. Once closed it needs a bottle to stand up right. Chose your poison !
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The detent is quite strong and is the main brake to the opening and closing of the blade. The more it will be in use the better it will become. unlock, the blade falls free and there is no blade lateral or vertical. Taichung has done a great work again.

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But what is especially great with that Marcin’s design is the possibility to cut on board.
It’s much easier than to use a flipper knife for example as here all the edge can get in contact with the cutting board with nothing on the way even no choil. Practical to do all those moves for vegetable preparations for example. This is very very practical in my book.

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The factory edge was so sharp and toothy, it was a breeze to cut into tomatoes. Tomatoes are a good test for sharpness as those fruits can have a resilient skin on very soft flesh.
The Spydiechef was a razor right out of the box and the geometry is thin enough for its main battlefield: the kitchen.

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The broad blade goes easily with a lot of control. And the lenght makes it handy in polyvalence. You would need a longer blade too, but the Spydiechef can do 90% of the work with precision and ease. It is also a beautiful tool to use and feel under the hand.

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And out of the kitchen ? Is the Spydiechef a knife to go ?
Yes it is.  With it’s belly, this knife can be a nice tool to bring with you during hunting season. You can hold it by the broad blade and you got a very efficient skinner.  I still don’t know how the edge will last on dirty rabbit hairs but so far it was easy to keep the edge razor sharp with a light touch up.
On wood, the knife goes steady and deep as the edge is thin and the belly helps a lot. The lock is also very sturdy. I was able to get big chips of wood. The blade is not fragile either especially the tip which won’t break easily. So yes, the cook can go camping ! There is even a lanyard hole, so the knife was thought with outdoor safety in mind.
Overall this is a lovely knife, which can be a great EDC. At least it’s not a free ticket to jail.
It works great in the kitchen and I’m looking forward using it on bigger chores.

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And the Chef and Honor.

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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.

Choosing a knife for the city.

You don’t need a reason to carry a knife.
Whatever they ask you, just lie or tell them what they want to hear.
In the woods or in the countryside carrying a knife, whatever your gender, is wise.
But in the city ?
You really think you will defend yourself with a knife ? Let’s forget about it. A chair, a stiletto shoe, an ashtray will be better defense tools if you know how to train your mind first. And be prepared mentally whatever your gender, is wise.
Knife is not the best tool to get away of trouble. It’s like playing with matches in a gaz tank. It’s used by madness and idiots to create horrors. So unless you want to be an idiot.
Since knives, cheap and ugly dull knives, are often used to hurt people. Worst, some people think knives has been used when they were not even in history.
An example ? When Lucheni, a madman, has stabbed the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Geneva he did it with a file. “There was no blood on the file and the tip was broken off, which occurred when Lucheni threw it away. The file was so dull in appearance it was speculated that it had been deliberately selected because it would be less noticeable than a shiny knife, which would have given Lucheni away as he approached.”
So you want to carry a knife in the city. It’s your choice, your business. Nobody else business. Your freedom of choice. In those days where metal detectors are common and official journalists are scanned all over their body before filming some president from ten yards away, when policemen can search you with no good reason because of the state of emergency… you better carry something which is small and sheeple friendly.
Better: you should conform with the laws of your country.

Younger I felt some kind of thrills being an outlaw. My first knife even was a folding AF dagger from Gerber. Go figure ! But later, I have found it is more fun to be lawful and cleverly respect the rules, because it gives you the occasion to try new designs and new makers. Of course you can always carry a Swiss Army knife. I almost never do. It’s in my bag not in my pocket. Because since the 90’s I have fallen in love with clips. Clips are such a great way to avoid a pouch or a scabbard or anything used to say to the world: I carry a knife !! So the clip is mandatory for me. My last clipless knife has been slipping under my wallet and at the Airport it has been taken away from me. So no more clipless knife for me.

So, in the city, I need to follow the rules and I need a flat design clipped to a pocket’s lip. Again a thick Victorinox Swiss Champ is a no-no as is an rounded handle Opinel. Opinel are not for the city unless they are under N°8. And I want a slick design something easy in and easy out without telegraphing around I’m going to use it.
I love the Worker design from Sal Glesser , the very first clip it, which could be used without opening it completely the blade thanks to its false edge. Very clever.
In the city I want elegance. the object needs to be warm and tell a story. I’m not a predator, I carry a tool not a weapon. For the records, hammer, screwdrivers are much more lethal than any Perrin Lagriffe destined to wound and not kill. I like to be able to cut my food without using the dull silverware of restaurants. Because there is some places which are not fast food too. And even at the Macdonalds, using a sharp knife can help to share in two portions a single burger. But in restaurants nowadays it’s not common to find good steak knives. I always enjoyed bringing my own knife like my grandfather used to and that manner that my father hated so much. My father was carrying a switchblade for SD and then a La Griffe. He also used a small turtle shell slipjoint folder made in Nogent in his bag. The exact opposite of my way. Strange how generations go counter clockwise just to complete a full circle thinking they are re-inventing the wheel.

A knife, may it be a slipjoint of a locking folder, is a door for adventures. I often walk on the avenue of the Opera remembering Ernest Hemingway.
“He was a customer of the house Kindal, 33 avenue de l’Opéra, he used to go through the shop, after his purchases, to the Ritz, Place Vendôme. His Parisian triangle was the Harris Bar, Kindal then the bar of the Hotel Ritz. His deer stag handle locking folder, with blade, saw, bottle opener and corkscrew, was his daily companion, he even packed his tobacco and curated his pipe with it. The stag’s wood cracked at the end with time and the tobacco was constantly caught in the cracks, obliging him to clean his knife regularly, he had the idea to place an ivory knob, coming from one of his African hunts probably.
Many years after his death, Mrs. May Kindal, found Hemingway’s knife at the bottom of a drawer, left there for maintenance.
She had him reborn by Jacques Mongin, knifemaker and Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
Since then, the Hemingway knife is sold exclusively by the Kindal cutlery.” Translated from Kindal.

I remember the first time I have seen Ray Mears on the TV. He was walking in the beautiful English countryside and he used one of his elegant Woodlore fixed blade to cut some plant and give some stories. Wait a minute, this guy is walking in the UK and carries a fixed blade in his pocket. But as a black belt in Judo he won’t go in trouble with bushcraft knife anyway.

In the city, knives are making conversations. So it will leave your hands for those of a friend who want to see it. And you will be sitting in the sun drinking a cappucino. So the knife needs to be beautiful and smooth and not aggressive in any way because it can be display in public like smartphones and cameras.

I also need the knife to be out of the way, because I carry stuffs in my pockets or I got a messenger back and it happen sometimes: the knife get hooked to something and falls. So the clip and the way to carry it needs to be secure.
It needs to be very sharp also. And stays sharp. Because I’m not going to show my honing and sharpening skills in the street and a dull edge is dangerous for your finger. So, a good geometry and a good steel. A knife thought to be used not only to be displayed.

So here are some examples.

The Delica in its Knifecenter Special Edition is my actual companion. This one is so sharp it goes beyond my scale. HAP40 can be thinly honed, it’s a true razor. More can be found on it following that link:

In the very highest performances you also got Pekka Tuominen little Wonder Nilakka. You can click on its link. Again a little big knife with performance and ergos which change the game of current gentlemen folders.

The Michael Walker is a rare Gem and this Sprint run has proven how excellent it was as a skinner for very serious hunters.

In the Slip It territory the Urban is the perfect companion unless one hand operation is forbidden by the law. The steel of this one just does wonder and I’m thinking a lot about testing the new Police Model…

One of my old little city companion has been that little Tim Wegner Mouse II knife.

Spyderco has covered all the ground about small knives to carry by men or women. The Dragonfly is one of their pure example of acceptable locking Clip It.

My friends Xavier Conil and Laurent Monnier propose an elegant not threatening folder: le Pointu.

This knife got no clip and is not one hand opening but I have bought it in South Africa at the Good Hope Cape’s shop. This is my Southern souvenir. It has no vertical play and got a story to tell.

respecting the Danish law, the Pingo is one of the solutions for having a clipped knife with no opening hole.  The hole here is only a trademark.
There is a Sprint run with Elmax blade and Titanium handle, I often look with envious eyes…

This one is French, it’s JD’s folder a Sacha Thiel which will be reviewed soon. The blade can be open with a gentle flick helped by the thumb and the deep pocket clip makes it disappears.

So here my knives for the city. My Griptilians are too tactical. My small Sebenza has been lost. I could dig my drawers for more but I think you were able to catch my drift.
Here is a following up about choosing a 3 inches folder.