Tag Archives: Taiwan

Tuscan Raider #3 – Spyderco C215GP Euroedge.

20170916_175148-0114312562.jpeg

Again this is all made with my smartphone as I’m far from any computer.

A folding dagger as beautifully designed and made is not a bushcraft knife.

But my very first modern folder back in 1993 has been a Gerber Applegate folding dagger.

The first models were made in a stainless steel close to 420Hc.

The Euroedge is made of S30V.

Cutting wood with it is like making chop sticks with a bastard sword: it was not designed for that. The Euroedge is like a weapon a Templar will keep at hand. The blade is massive and the stock is thick.

The handle is so well made G10 feels like carbon fibers.

It is one of the most beautiful Spyderco ever made and a real tour de force in pure hommage to ancient times.

“”I can do anything”, Ed Schempp, will push the envelope, often just to see if he can. I did a “hammer” in at Ed’s house. Just a bunch of knife afi’s with great skill working on a globe. But no hammers. Ed designed and built a series of miniature rolling mills so we can produce mosaic
Damascus pieces, each with an assignment. Ed’s my “go to” guy for Ethnic series knives. Take a design hundreds, or even thousands of year old, capture the purpose and function and re-create that in a modern folder. He studies the design, the history, function and purpose before beginning. Those of you that have studied and used Ed’s designs know what I’m talking about. True original classics, each and every one.”
Sal Glesser.

SPYDERCO MILITARY C36PIN PART III: WHITTLING WITH GHOST.

We all know that the steel is only 30 percent of the equation for a great blade. And I’m not talking about the whole knife — ergonomy, lock quality, sheath, clip —  just the blade: the main “Matter Separator” to quote Sal Glesser.
Apart from the Steel they are the Heat Treating, the Grind and the BET “Behind the Edge Thickness”.
And also the quality of the edge coarsed or polished change the way the blade will cut in materials.

Wood is a fibrous material which depend of its grain and freshness when whittled.
Again, a rabbit to skin or a cardboard box to dispatch will behave differently under a sharp edge.
And a Self Defense designed knife will not need to be a Scandinavian Grind for example…

So I have decided to gather the Yojimbo 2 (Black), the Wolf Spyder and Ghost to practising my scales and mastering the rudiments of whittling on a hazel rod which has been drying for a month (since the Lil Nilakka Review actually).  My whole idea was to see and experience how the very different blades grind and shape would behave and eventually adjust Ghost for better whittling.
I have not used my Nilakka as it is a game changer. It’s too hard to reach its performance. (The pictures has disappeared because Photobucket has changed their policies, I will need time to create new links, sorry for the convenience…)
Also I’m a lost cause in whittling compared to what my father was able to do as a kid when he was whittling his own toys but I do have affinities with wood as my grandfather was cabinetmaker and my other grand father was clogmaker.

I had noticed back in the 90’s when I owned a Benchmade AFCK in ATS-34 and on in M2HSS that wood would be almost “patined” differently depending of the grain of the steel. M2’s cuts were leaving a very soft surface compared to ATS-34 which was a more aggressive cutter. I have then found that one of the most expensive wood chisels were made in M2 High Speed Steel.

The Wolfspyder is in her element here. Since I have sharpened her back to razor, the scandi grind cut deep and with ease in the wood. This little knife is purely amazing when it comes to carve  deep or caress the rod. The sturdy design is asking to be used hard and the big chunks of wood were flying. It is a pocket beaver ! (OK no more kinky innuendo, pardon my French…). In pushcutting perpendicularly , the Wolfspyder was the more aggressive.
Again, S30V as heat-treated by Spyderco has proven to be a great “all terrain” steel as its edge was not dulled a bit. I’m surprised about the way it kept a perfect edge after all the cuts in a dirty bark and hard wood. Hairs were still flying of my arm. (I heard so much about it losing that very sharp fine edge beause of its relatively big carbids…). It will not be the was with…

Yojimbo 2 Sprint Run was another surprise. First I need to clarify that I had the edge “unshouldered” to be thinner. S90V is a bear to sharpen it feels like “plastic” and without diamonds it is time consuming.
But here it’s the ergos and geometry which made a difference. I was able to cut big chunks of wood with ease. The blade was going deep and my thumb got plenty of space to push behind the edge.
Michael Janich proved it: its Yo2 straight edge keep the pressure on the material. His design was primary made for cutting clothing and flesh in a attempt to keep an aggressor away but it has always proven to be a great EDC for mondaine task. Now I know that bringing the Yojimbo 2 in the woods won’t be a fashion faux-pas. This incredibly solid folder in the right hands can be a great wood processor.

Now I was surprised to notice how my razor S90V edge dulled. I mean, it was still in great shape and has reached the level of a “working edge” but it was not a reliable razor anymore. Twenty seconds on white ceramics and leather and it was back to Vorpal. S30V did not have that issue and of course not CPM M4 of…

Ghost new convexed edge proved to be able to cut deep with a lot of control and also to remove bark with ease and no pressure as pictured. It was fun to use. CPM M4 got also that tendency to leave the wood’s fresh surface very smooth to touch. I could go on for hours but it needed some twist and home edjustment to ease my thumb sore.

The Wolfspyder’spoint is made to drill. It is thick solid, sharp and you can use all your force with no after thought. It’s not the case of…

…The Yo2 ! Back in the 90’s I had broken my Ronin point drilling in wood. It was a much thinner point and I was really stupid. So I was very careful with the Yo2. It’s clearly not its strong point (pun intended…) but I did not snap it.

C36’s pointy blades, first made of S60V (known as CPM440V) and then of S30V, are known to be relatively fragile but CPM M4 brings much more toughness to the whole design. Perhaps the CPM Cru-wear Sprint Run was even stronger but, anyway, I got zero concern with Ghost which was able to drill the hazel rod easily.

Eventually, the most important home improvement has been to rounded the blade’s spine. Of course the Sebenza is king in that matter, also the Slycz Bowie.

Sandpaper was used for that matter and if the edges has been removed I have not tried to round it completly but at least to make it much softer under the thumb and I don’t strike rods for sparks.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to adjust and improve your expensive EDC knives to your own uses and tastes. My first attempt has been on my Paramilitary 2 handle. But a knife is a personal tool and it needs to fit you perfectly. Just take your time. Don’t use powertools and risk to heat the blade and ruin the heat treatment (done that in the 80’s…), just go slowly. Also don’t breath G10 and Carbon Fiber dust. Use a mask or do it under the tap. It would attack your lungs badly. Anyway my EDC have really been enhanced by all those little changes and Ghost is no exception to that thumb rule (pun…).
Enjoying your personal tools is always a joy when they are based on great designs in the first place.

Cold Steel Recon 1 XL — O’ Brother where art thou ?

Everything I could have said about that knife is already in my XL Voyager Review here !

Really, you should start by that post.

This Recon 1 XL version is just proposing some real great upgrades.
Compared to the Recon 1 normal version: this is a full flat ground bowie blade when the other version is hollow ground.

The DLC coating is really really nice and not easily scratched like the goo paint used before.

The CTS XHP made by Carpenter is a wonderful alloy I have had first discovered on the Spyderco Techno. But here you got 5,5 inches of steel !!

G10 is more luxurious than Grivory and it’s easily sanded to your preferences.
My Recon 1 XL could have been used as a wood file as the G10 was too grippy for my taste. G10 is so solid, you can make blades in G10, it doesn’t need any liners. The result is a very light package. (My Voyager XL got aluminium liners).


Sanded the G10 turns white but is cleaned back under tap water.
(Don’t breath that dust !!!)

The clip is not useable. anyway clipping such a knife is not the easiest way to carry it.
It disappear perfectly in a deep pocket or in my case in my travel bag.
I would be able to EDC my K2 but this voyager asked for a vest or a bag.

The detent is smooth. even a little too smooth to my taste. But nothing to worry about. The knife can be open with a gentle flick of the wrist as the heft and momentum is important with such a blade.

Again, like all CS blade I have chosen and which are manufactured in Taiwan: the thin edge is remarquable. That monster blade slits plastic, wood and flesh with an uncanny ease. There is a lot of power in the cuts. And all is served with their Triadlock which is the Mega lock by excellence. There is zero play in any direction.
The knife is fantastic, this is a dream for Crocodile Dundey !
It also perfectly balanced with it sweet point two centimeters behind the axis.
This blade is alive and fast in your hand.

I was able to import that big bad baby for less than 100 euros including shipping. Talking about power/price ratio, huh ?

Chris Reeve Sebenza ATS-34 — Honor is her name.

Nemo Sebenza Ats-34

What does it means to own a Sebenza ?

21 years ago, in September 1996, I received a phone call from Taiwan; the person calling was unknown to me, his name was Huan Chang Hsu and he told me he was an ophthalmologist, a diver and….. a knife collector! He had worked his way and managed to to get in contact with me after reading my first little blog on Geocities where I had written reviews with Fred Perrin. This call lasted 4 hours !!!

Eventually, he insisted I try a Sebenza which was, in his experience, the best of the best in folding knives. He was buying them like an investment and keeping them safe in the bank like others keep diamonds in a vault. He suggested I try out the new handle version but I wanted the classic one.
He also suggested I name it: “Honor”.

Two weeks later I received a parcel with a Microtech Socom (Huan Chang was so generous that he wanted to give me an other one of his knives) and in its box: “Honor”.

To thank Huan Chan, I sent a box back to Taipei containing a vintage Jacques Mongin; Jacques was a cutler legend who designed this folding hunting knife in response to Ernest Hemingway’s special request at Kindal.

The Sebenza was a shock. Smooth little butter. Even now it is one of my smoothest knives, really built like a tank, a absolute workhorse in pure beauty. It was not a tactical experience it was first a tactile discovery: the massive titanium slabs, the integral lock…

Back in the 90’s I remember a review in an American Magazine where the reviewer mauled his Sebenza into a log just to test the lock and was amazed by its reliability.

Two cons I had noticed:

– the thumb stub was a little in the catchy side — meaning it was able to rip the inside of a trouser pocker.
– the clip (Chris’ first attempt to mount one of his design) was scratching everything it could reach.

.

Old clip on the left.

Aware of that, Huan Chang sent me an original CRK leather pouch. Again I thanks to him for his generosity; it seemed really important for him to refine my experience with “Honor”.
So I carried the Sebenza in its leather pouch, horizontally on my belt, for years until I was able to order a better refined clip from Chris in 2000’s.

Honor rapidly became what I named “My Ambassador Knife”.

Back in those days, forums were just kickin-off and already people were arguing about “What is the best folder?”. Chris Reeve knives were the top of the list but also much more expensive than other industrial knives. “Shut up ! You are jealous because you can not afford a Sebenza !!” was a comment used in arguments against people who has doubts about Sebenza groupies.
So I got that crazy idea to send “Honor” to anyone who was criticizing the design without having the opportunity to try a CRK. Honor’s first trip was to Wales to my friend Wayne and six months later he told me Honor has broken his heart when flying back to France. Since he has been able to buy his own Sebbies.
In ten years, my Sebenza went in dozen of hands, strangers, forumites and even knivemakers for months. His last trip was to Alabama to Jeff Randall from RATS and now ESEE because he had written on his forums how he hated it before offering my knife to one of his friends for his retirement. I contact him immediately and after clearing the misunderstanding he got my knife from Nevada and sent it back to me ASAP.

The poor knife had been used hard. It was dull like a butter knife and its blade scratched like it has been used to drill holes in the soil. I was able to clean it, refurbish it with ease and it resumed its “workhorse” title after all. Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri then adviced me not to send it anymore and I have followed her advice ever since.

Honor is part of my rotation and its thin edge still does miracles.

My friend JD told me the grind and the geometry is not comparable to nowaday Sebbies which are thicker than my old one. I believe him, as I have been using a BG42 and S30V little Sebenza and I was not able to get it as sharp as my good old Honor.

Also her ATS-34 blade never chipped despite by having been used hard by many different reviewers; the last one showing genuine hate in her abuse.
Back in 1996, Chris was doing his own heat treatment and was already famous for that. The heat treatment is for half responsable of the blade’s quality; it is exceptional here.
Also 30% of quality comes from the geometry; this is a high and thin profile which is rare nowadays among tactical folding prybars sold as knives.

Despite its scars it performs as well as in 1996 when Huang Chang Hsu sent it to me.
What a legendary knife !
My advice: if you ever find an ATS-34 Sebenza… Go for it !

After all those years this is how the lock goes.

Perfectly centered.

Scrtaches on titanium can be removed with gum and elbow oil.

But it gives character !

edited by pjaffre: jan 5, 2018.

A first glimpse at the Spyderco C187CFP2 Peter Carey Rubicon 2

I’m not a fan of thick hollow blades for quite long time now. The Gil Hibben Rambo III knife is not in my dreamlist anymore and the last hollow ground knife I have reviewed has been the Recon 1. But one of my favorite knife, which has not been reviewed is my 1994 Sebenza. Anyway, the Sebbie and the Cold Steel or even the Gayle Bradley are holow ground but not thick blades.
The Peter Carey Rubicon 2 is 3,5mm thick and for a 3 inches blade it is substantial.
(The Slycz Techno was 5 mm though…)

The Rubicon 2 is not a big knife, is it destined to be an EDC. He’s not heavy, its liners are made of titanium and the scales of peel carbon fiber.

The first you enjoy is the ease of deployment. This knife flips like no other in my collection. No need for assisted opening on this baby: the heavy blade, the ball bearing pivot and the well designed flipper make the trick. The opening is positive everytime.

Eric Glesser told how difficult is it to have a flipper which also provides an alternative opening system. Meaning: sometimes you just want to open your blade gently with the Spyderhole and not with the flipper. You want to trade a “shlack!” for a “click!”.
The Rubicon can be open with the thumb and even the index. It’s fun how easy it is! The operation is so smooth and could be catagorized into the gravity knives family. This ease of operation has been a big charm upon me: the more I’ve played with the knife, the more I have enjoyed it.

The blade got a beautiful satin finish perfectly executed, perfectly executed, symetrical and and centered.

The second big charm on the Rubicon 2 is the handle. The way the flipper create a guard and a subguard, depending how you hold it. This short handle is married litteraly to my hand. For once, there is no lanyard hole and the butt of the knife is pointer than its blade.

A beautiful orange spacer gives a very hightech look to the knife as everyparts are perfectly adjusted: spacer, scales and liners. This high quality of manfacture is again provided by Taichung in Taiwan.

The bronze washers and the ball bearing gives the smoothness and the exterior stop pin assure that the washer are wide enough for stability: no lateral play.
The only break to the action could be the ball detent of the titanium liner lock but it is minor compared to the momentum of the blade.

The design is well thought also once the knfe is closed.  The Rubicon 2 gently rests in you palm confortably. The peels carbon fiber is very nice against the skin giving a very positive grip. The jimping on the blade are purely decorative and this is the way I like them two.
I won’t need to file them.

The blade is wide and thinly ground and very effective thanks to its nice belly. I was able to push cut through hard material easily. It has surprised me how it zipped though.

The balance of the Rubicon 2 is perfect IMHO. The choice of the material again provides that. The handle is very light.

I haven’t been able yet to find an easy to clip carry the knife. The texture of the scale and the very strong clip give a lot of friction. I was even able to carry it in the pocket watch.

Compared to the Ed Schempp Bowie for example: the Rubicon 2 is not pocket friendly at all.

It is not carried deep and the orange spacer screams loud : “Hey look !!!”

I’m so unhappy with the way the knife rides in the pocket that I’m thinking to use a pouch and get rid of the clip !

For the moment my cutting test with the Rubicon 2 has been really positive. It’s a short knife with a big potential.  Also your thumb can easily rest on the spine giving you more leverage.

So here we go with a first glimpse to a very well designed knife. I would have been more excited to get some exotic steel on such a radical design but S30V heat Treated by Spyderco does the trick.

The Rubicon 2 is destined to be a reliable workhorse and not only a looker and a very addictive flipping toy. There is a strong will behind its design to provide strong cutting power in a small package in its design and all is served by an ergonomy which is for me magnificent. The knife is simply anchored to your hand.

Spyderco Chaparral. – Gentleman extra flat companion.

image

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. 😉

image

image

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

image

Gayle Bradley 2 years after – The Workhorse of outstanding performances.

Two years ago in March 2012 I have ordered and received overseas within 5 working days my Spyderco Gayle Bradley.
I knew at first glance this knife was going to be a hit. You feel it in your hand and in the way it’s operate.
Back then, some people were “blocked” by the fact it was made in Taiwan and were nagging about the fact it was not made at 100% in the USA, simply forgetting that Seki was also importing knives into the USA and since Spyderco’s first success Sal Glesser have been able to build a plant in Golden Colorado to start a local production.
Also some forumites, like myself, have been wasted their time, throwing pearls to the swines, explaining Taiwan is NOT North Korea….
But despites those “retards”, everybody able to hold a GB were going “WOW !!!”
This knife is incredibly smooth and well finished. Oh the gorgeous liners… Some friends who are also in business with Taichung told me each parts of their knives are marked and numbered. We are almost in jewelry.

Two years ago, this is my favorite hard used folding knife: why ?
Answer: outstanding performances thanks to:
its hollow grind is thin and gently convexed. The steel is great. The GB is one the best push cutter in my collection (with the C22 ZDP Walker which is a true state of the art!).
Another great asset: the chunky heavy (I got the first batch more on that later) handle.
This square handle give you a great grip for turning/twisting the edge during the cutting to remove matter, the kind of abuse the Gayle Bradley blade can withstand easily thanks to that great CPM-M4 steel!

On hard materials, the GB is the King. You control the cuts. You feel the blade making constant thick chips of removed platic/wood…. The hidden choil give the control and the “feedback”/feel of the hardware during the hard cutting. Many times you think: it won’t do it but… it does, steady and smoothly separating matters. I have noticed how the edge near the choil is usefull and got a lot of applied force for hard matters cutting. This is the same bonus you got with the small Spydie Michael Walker design. Those “hidden” choil give you a lot of leverage near the axis. You can push with all your weight on that portion of the blade, it will separate matter smoothly.

So after two years of constant use: no rust or pitting on the non stainless steel blade. No blade play what so ever. And the lock is still at the same engagement as new.
I was not able to chip /damage the handle. I was taking care of it enough not to have the liners scratched (the blade is scratched though on its sides but it gives caracter to the knife)
My GB is one of the first batch, the liner of the first version are not skeletonized and it helps a lot to rinse and to clean under tap water. It makes it a little butt heavy but I like it that way… Also the clip was so tigh I was obliged to sand the carbon fiber to have it loose. But since that first adjustement, my GB did not change a bit.
I was even able to keep it sharp with only ceramic and stropping. The edge is thin and is easy to realigned. It’s especially forgiving, like a well tempered carbon steel and with the incredible perf of a high tech alloy. I have also used the handle liners to break glass and I was glad they were exposed that way.
This is the knife I put to the test each time I got something “hairy” to cut, something, I’m not certain I can do it with a knife. And each time the Spyderco Gayle Bradly was able to do it with ease and each time I have try another knife just to check if it was able to do it as “easily” but no. The only contender is the C22 and it’s not a workhorse but a gentleman knife.
Really you can be surprise has how the GB get through wooden knots and with a twist of the handle your break the branch with no damage. The edge goes deep and the blade is resilient. What a knife !

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley

Edit of 20th of may 2012:
I have found those words of Gayle Bradley on the Bladeforums some times ago and I really think this is something to read:

“First of all, thank you for your interest in my Spyderco collaboration. I thought I would address some questions I have read on the forums.

I chose a hollow grind because it gives you a thinner edge with less resistance to the material being cut. The blade material (CPM M4) is so tough and strong it will allow for a very thin edge and still have ample strength for a rough use knife. (My competition knives have an edge thickness of about .014 before the sharpening bevel is ground.) The blade has belly from tip to ricasso for better cutting ability in most cases. The tip is slightly thicker for additional strength. The handle is large enough to accomodate any hand size and most types of grips. Some dimensions not covered in the spec sheet are: liners are .068; blade is .120; thickness is .517. Because of the size of the knife and thickness of the liner material, I chose carbon fiber to reduce weight and add furher strength. One last thing about CMP M4, it is not stainless, but I have found that applying silicone to the blade will prevent most corrosion and stains.

Thank you for your interest in my work-horse design and your trust in Spyderco knives.

Stay sharp, Gayle Bradley”
Nemo Sandman Gayle Bradley