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A Spirit In a Material World: Sting, The Police.

Like I have said in my previous review of that venerable folding knife :
It has taken me a very long time before to get any interest in the Police model.

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My first real step in the wide Spyderco world was the Terzuola Starmate and the Millie. The Starmate was equipped with some super new steel the CPMS60V named CPM440V then. It was the beginning of the powder steels and Spyderco was experimenting on a bold plateforme even using (like the Millie) hidden nested liners !

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The actual Police with its “non nested” liners is thinner than the Terzuola C55.

Steel wise:
Meanwhile in the 90’s, new Japanese steel VG-10 was used on their first fixed blade “the Moran” and the Seki made Police was then “stuck in GIN-1 or GIN-2″… Ah, I was and I’m still a “steel whore” (a term of self qualification of Sal Glesser) after all. I was unfaithful and really attracted by M2HSS version of the AFCK…  Not for the patina (as they were PVD covered) but for the benefits of getting a thin pointy blade with more lateral strength than usual stainless steels of that time. As much as I loved the AFCK, the long version BM800 was “plagued” by a titanium linerlock which was less solid than the short version with its stainless liners.
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I have later used (a lot) an “oval hole” BM806 with a much stronger lock and D2 tool steel blade.

K390 is a wonderful steel. Strong even not as strong as CPM3V found in the Tuff. I have used the 4th Police as an Ice pick with no fear of breakage.

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Like the famous Opinel: thin blades are such a joy to use. A super K390 gives strength to a thin ground blade and turns the “old LEO tool” into a workhorse designed for ranchers. I was disappointed the Spyderco Powerlock was not used in the new Police but, well, the Police feels so solid: I can’t complain.

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Now I would do a maximum of lobbyism to get a Nilakka Sprint Run using K390. This steel used is purely a pleasure to keep razor sharp only by stropping it on leather.

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Now for the con, I have found the grind is not really even. There is some sort of wave on both side of the blade. I have found it when I was convexing the edge and on light reflexion. This is purely cosmetic.
Let’s keep in mind, K390 is certainly a very hard steel to work on. I have noticed the same waving on my Pingo

Anyway I can explain now that passionated new love for that venerable knife. It is too long to be acceptable for the Law abide citizen but, what a great tool ! It is much better than my beloved K2: less hot spots and much better blade design from Sal.

This is the same kind of love I got with the extraordinary Bowie from Ed Schempp which shares the same thinness blade wise. I would militate for a K390 Bowie sprint run ! But it seems “Made In Taiwan” sprint runs are rare.

Thinness is good ! Look at that Strudel ! 😉

Here we got a “potentially staining” steel with great (extraordinary) qualities enhanced by a thin thin blade and thin thin geometry saved by a great heat treatment, all is delivered in a slim rock solid package hence the Steel Cheetah’s nickname from my initial review.
This 4th incarnation is an outstanding heir of a great 1980’s design. Sal Glesser is pushing the limits of folding cutlery quietly and gently:
“Integrity is being good when no one is watching.” Such an inheritance !

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet — The Grey Mouser.

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It has been half a year of patience before my pre order turns into a mail call. Howard Korn from the Knifecenter.com was kind enough to send it to me as soon as he has received it. It was a quick 6 days of travelling from Fredericksburgh, Virginia to Paris.
The name of this Para3 should be”Desire” but it will be “Mouser” in honor of its color: grey. Also in honor of its almost magical alloy used: Maxamet.
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What is Maxamet ?
According to Spyderco its full name is “Carpenter® steel’s Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy”. “Maxamet is an extremely hard high-speed powdered tool steel possessing properties that transcend conventional high-speed tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides – the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels. When Carpenter developed this amazing alloy for the rollers in their steel mills, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade material. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods necessary to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to yield reliable, high-performance knife blades.”
It so difficult to work with that it has given some headaches to Eric and Sal hence the 6 months late in the production of that Para 3.
Maxamet should have better performance than CPM110V.  Now that I got both steel, I will try to see if I feel and see a difference.
What its composition reveals ?
Carbon 2,15% ; sulfure : 0.070% – 0,23%; chromium : 4,75% ; vanadium 6,00% ; manganese 0,30% ; silicium 0,25% ; cobalt : 10,00% ; tungsten 13,00%.

It’s not a stainless steel it’s an high tech tungsten alloy !!

Here its data sheet in Carpenter’s.

The wear resistance of Micro-Melt Maxamet alloy is better than that of conventional powder metal high speed steel grades and is equivalent to AISI A11 cold work powder metal tool steel. A11 is CPM 10V. Better? How much better ?
According to Cliff Stamps: “Maxamet is an extreme alloy, for comparison, it is to 10V what S90V is to 420J2. Maxamet is used when HSS like M4 fail because they are too soft or wear too fast – just consider that for a matter of perspective.”
(For the record he’s not talking about CPM M4 which comes from powder metallurgy process but good old M4HSS.)

So far Mouser is shaving my arm’s hairs which are flying of its blade. Its factory edge is really thin. With that amount of tungsten it should not be sensitive to its final tooling in the Golden plant. I’m not planning to work on it yet and keep it that way for its first run.

Its complex heat treatment and the HRC should be on the very high..

Spyderco is offering that steel on many knives: not counting a Mule but a LW grey Manix 2 , a G10 grey Paramillie 2 and a lightweight grey Native…
The Maxemet version is not a Sprint run.

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I have also noticed the chamfered work they have made on the spine and the spyderhole and the jimping behind the hump. I don’t have to use my diamond rat tail file anymore !!
Thank you Golden ! 🙂

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Also the blade has been gently beadblasted which gives it a very industrial look. The grind is perfectly symetrical as always on my Colorado’s made.

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The thick grey G10 slab also concours to give that toolish look, again the attention to detail are stellar. There is nothing to change when you open your black and red box.

So far what I have changed is the clip, as I don’t plan to spyderdrop this little guy.
The smooth compression lock permits a lot of other way to open it elegantly.
Also I have sanded the G10 to smooth it to my taste and keep my pocket lips healthy.
I keep the pivot area rough for the ergos.
Now the game is on, let see all this fuzz about that Maxamet steel !
Spyderco catalog’s sheet is here.

EDIT: Eventually I have gone back to the OEM hourglass clip in a Tip Down carry option.
Because it’s so fast to draw like a I do on my Millie and Paramillie 2.
The spyderdrop is so elegant and bound to the spyderhole: it works like a breeze.
Also I have starting to test the sharpness which is uncanny right our of the box.
I did not have that kind of result with its S30V bro. The Maxamet thin edge goes through the plastic bottle butt to make tagliatelle !! The edge is really hungry.

 

Also my previous review on the Para3 is here.

 

 

Between both knives there is a little difference. It is the sound of the mechanism.
The opening and locking on the S30V version will be a TAK.
When the opening of the Maxamet version will be a TIK.
The pitch of Mouser is much higher. Different alloys, different hardness produce different sounds.

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The Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand named “Scalpel” and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other named “Cat’s claw”), and a former wizard’s apprentice who retains some skill at magic.
The cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. He’s a rogue, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. It was created by Fritz Leiber.
Part II is here:
https://nemoknivesreview.com/2018/06/12/spyderco-c223gpdgy-para-3-maxamet-part-ii/

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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 – My Knife In Law.

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Following the arrival of the PITS, the daily testing has come quite quickly as it hasn’t left my pocket still so there have been a bunch of opportunities to put it in play.
The first thing I noticed was the action required to open the folder which is much harder than for any compression locks. This is something to keep in mind as you won’t be opening it quicky;  the Urban for example is faster to open.
This resistance is also a proof of how sturdy the spring and the design are.
The second thing I had noticed was how quickly the blue handle was subjet to getting scratched.
So, I was obliged to put my mind at rest by simply sanding the handle…

I just used a 600 grind sandpaper and the result kept the blue inside the holes and inside the mechanism, like a well worn denim jacket… The scratches are easy to keep at bay and the blue aura and reflections are beautiful.

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Another thing which I had noticed: there is one very hot spot…. The horn on the talon of the blade can bite you ! It happen once when I was sanding; a sharp and neat cut!
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After some convexing of the blade’s bevel, I was able to improve the geometry and cut really easily through plastic bottles which are everyday processed before recycling.

This is also a knife I wanted to compare with my faithful Urban.
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My Urban has got a hightech tool steel blade and a customized Cuscadi carbon fiber handle. I can carry it in my watch pocket. The PITS cannot go there but it provides a much stronger mechanism and a longer blade which makes it a real all terrain folder when the Urban is really limited to the city sleakers.
So far, and that’s not surprising, the N190co steel blade has been kept as a razor using some white ceramic and leather stropping. The PITS unique mechanism makes it great to strop on leather as the blade cannot easily fold on your fingers when the Urban softer mechanism asks for a lot more attention.

The PITS is really easy to live with. The steel keeps an excellent edge with no chipping or rolling and is easy to touch up. The bad weather these days makes it outside wet and cold but the titanium handle conveys a warm touch and the grip is secure. Currently I make it team up with the big bad Real Steel D2 bushcraft folder and both seems to go very well together.
Those are the two extreme among the folding cutlery bow.

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Oh and just for the pleasure, you can also play the comparaison game with the Spydiechef !

 

lasted edited by Pascal Jaffré on 25 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.

Spyderco Lil’Nilakka – My Romantic Gentleman Puukko.

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When I consider a new knife, I like to choose it in such a way that it conveys values that appeal to me; in synch with my mood with what I recognize as exemplifying a tradition, a nation; when craft turns into art.

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I also opt for features complimentary to the ones I already have so that each knife stands out as champion in its category. Ie this one does not rust, this one will not be taken away from me in UK or Denmark, this one is really good for heavy duty stuff, this one has something so obscene about it I can’t resist!

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Setting the mood: read Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt; listen to Symphony n.5 by Jean Sibelius (pictured): dears belling in a barren wilderness where primitive elements collide – wind, sheer stones and icebergs…

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…envision cold tundra landscape depicted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s paintings – the hard conditions forging men and women. Suomi.

 

A gentleman folder with no pair equal.

Which Spyderco better conveys rigour and austerity of the North other than the Pekka Tuominen designed Lil Nilakka Puukko? It stands out immediately recognizable with its character unlike any other and its craftman, alike the aforementioned finnish artists, is a true representative of the Nordic tradition and nation.

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So to summarize: as Sibelius was once said to be the “Chopin of the north”; Pekka the Sibelius of blacksmith and cutlery.

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So what is so fantastic about Lil Nilakka?

Still life:

  • Matter of taste: traditional finnish Puukko – I love it!
  • White G-10 so elegant – like ivory but walrus friendly.
  • RWL 34 the Robert W Loveless “in memoriam” steel with excellent combination of corrosion resistance, edge sharpness and hardenability. Also its said to be easy to maintain; good for me!
  • Solid clip that nests Lil Nilakka deep in the pocket

In motion:

  • The Lil Nilakka is snug close-fitting in hand; the forefinger in the G-10 handle opening and the thumb comfortable on the spine thanks to the chanfer.
  • So perfect control when cutting – should that be the x-mas tree branches in excess or the ultimate test: pealing a ripe pear and skinning it angstrom style. The point of the blade and the blade’s width also contribute to making this tool one of extreme precision.
  • Easy to action linerlock and the blade fits perfectly; great engineering work!

 

Mine is #589; with me to stay as my gentleman Puukko!

 

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Spyderco FB33GP Gayle Bradley Pocket Bowie !

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This is Gayle Bradley first Fixed Blade collaboration with Spyderco. A “unique blend of expert design and state-of-the-art metallurgy”… But is it a real Bowie ?

A true Bowie is “the most effective fighting and survival knife ever made.”
Just to quote Bill Bagwell as he was attending the Paris Knife Show, where one of his Bowies won the award for the best fixed-bladed Damascus knife in 1995…
A stiletto can pierce, but not more effectively; a cleaver or kukri can chop with similar result; and a razor can slice, but only in one direction and without the power of a combat Bowie. A 10 inches perfectly balanced beast with a false edge ready for a back cut… This is Bill definition of a big bad Bowie.
Actually I got a Cold Steel Trailmaster but much prefer the Fallkniven A2 for camp knife purpose. The A2 is not a proper bowie but the 8 inches blade gives you the scale of the Bradley Bowie which is not much longer than a Phil Wilson South Fork.
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Also I have noticed the edge is quite thick on the Bowie. It’s not a great whittler. I was immediately tempted to get a thinner edge. I felt also the edge to be very far from the handle because of its large choil.


In that matter its little brother the Junction was much more capable. Being much more thinner behind the edge.
But a 5 inches blade is not the best chopper. The size emphases the portability but not the chopping performance. This Bowie must be designed with a special purpose: hunting knife, pocket camp knife ? It’s a bastard dog but Gayle Bradley don’t design by guessing, he must have a reason. I have asked him in an email and will update this review as soon as he will be kind enough to answer me.

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To quote Bill Bagwell: ” There is a difference between the ideal fighting Bowie and an ideal survival Bowie, even though the basic design is relatively similar. The ideal fighting Bowie and survival Bowie would have roughly the same blade length of about nine to ten inches, because this is the length that offers the perfect amount of balance and leverage in both scenarios. But the ideal survival Bowie might be a fair amount heavier overall and have a greater concentration of the weight further up the blade. This concentration of weight further up the blade gives the Bowie a balance more like a hatchet, so that it has greater chopping power, separating it from the more nimble fighting Bowie class.”

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The Bradley Bowie is a Jack Of All Trade focused on a Sub 6 inches fixed blade market.
In that domain I already got some favorites Spyderco: the Serrata !
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The Serrata offers a cleaver power in the field. But the Bowie is tougher in the choice of its steel. “An incredibly tough spray-formed tool steel. Like the particle metallurgy process, spray forming rapidly solidifies molten steel into small particles so its component alloys cannot “segregate” or settle. This creates an ultra-fine, extremely homogenous grain structure that is ideal for knife blades. PSF27’s alloy composition includes molybdenum, vanadium and a generous 1.55% carbon, but because its chromium content is 12%—just below the official threshold for stainless steel—care should be taken to maintain it properly.”

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The Bradley Bowie is also an eye candy, even if I don’t like where the trademark hole has been placed, at least it is very very small and even smaller than on the Junction.

The contoured polished G10 handle is very confortable in the hands. much better than the Junction which is very very flat. I’m not a fan of the tubular holes on both models but it offers some potential in creativity: who want to make a spear from they knife ? Boar hunting anyone ? And it respects the prime designs of Gayle Bradley.
I also love the balance of the Bowie making it “alive” in the hands.

IMHO the Bradley Bowie would be great as a soldier’s knife. Some kind of modern KABAR…
It’s thick enough to withstand some serious abuse. The tip and the blade shape would make it easy for opening crates if needed.  It can be used for batoning of even light chopping.

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So it’s a Bowie easy to pocket in its boltaron sheath or rigged upside down thanks to its great retention. The pancake sheath works great and is very secure. There is no play or rattle when shaken. It’s a sheath of great quality.

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Conclusion, the Pocket Bowie made in Taichung is ready to follow you in any kind of expedition you got in mind. Its full tang construction and general design make it fit for any tasks where a solid and reliable knife is needed. The Bradley Bowie is a tough cookie.

More to come soon.