Tag Archives: Tuff

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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Titanium Handles Sanding ? Why not !

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I always believe in personalizing your own tools. I also love how titanium can turn sweet under the fingers. So here I am on this afternoon testing different sandpapers on handles.
Eventually I have found that 800 grid is more than enough to make the frame and edges standing out. This is what I was looking for, this feel of old denim.
Of course I can always go back to it and by using scotchbrit refining the finish but I wanted something rough.
The Spydiechef was the first to be sanded. The idea is to keep always the same direction.

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On the Spyderco Tuff the effect can be more dramatic for a much more steampunk look.

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I’m quite happy with final results.
So let’s try that on the Falcon !

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SPYDERCO SCHEMPP TUFF BY ED SCHEMPP – C151GTI – My Folding Kukri

When The Going Get Tough…The Tuff gets going !

I have witnessed the evolution of that knife since the first prototype in 2005. The beautiful fuller was already its signature and I felt, this was a great complement to the hole for opening purpose.
For descriptions and length and weight, please use the link above.

This folder is not my first “heavy duty folding tool”, but certainly one of the most solid. The Gayle Bradley is an hard used cutter.
My Lionspy is another great contender as I have used it as a light chopper many times. But the heft of the Tuff is making that Ed Schempp designed knife a great woodman folding companion, in my own humble opinion. It’s unique.
Why ?
Because I enjoy being able to process wood with some light equipment: my Cold Steel Voyager, my Lionspy and now my Tuff are able to work quick as light chopping tools. Of course it won’t replace a hatchet, a machette, a campknife. But they are a folding “attempt” to create reliable hard used knives. The new fashion in folding cutlery. Tactical means nothing. Hard used knife means everything.

SPyderco Tuff and Lionspy by Nemo

My tuff has been named “Varicelle” or “Smallpox” in French. Why ? Because of its handle. All those “bubbles” give it some kind of steampunk look.
Once closed, you recognized the attention for details of Ed Schempp. Varicelle looks like a perfect oval. It’s a beautiful object even if the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just look at that mega huge screw pivot, that massive stop pin, that unique fuller on that thick blade, everything in this knife screams toughness.

Once open, you feel that you are holding a tool not a weapon. Even if the balance is perfect with a sweet spot under your index. This knife has been created to be a reliable companion toward the hardest situation a folder can withstand in a…. farm ! And what is useful in a farm can be useful everywhere. But, thinking about it: the most famous martial artists weapons were initiated by farm tools.
Ed told me he has cut into aluminium tanks without any damage to the blade. I don’t know wahta he was cutting but I trust him to put his blades in pace to test them. (E.G. My Persian is such a great knife BTW)

CPMS3V is a really tough steel. It’s another crucible powder steel. I love the behavior of that steel and its forgiveness toward my clumsiness.
I cherish a great BRKT Bravo and I love how its convexed edge is easy to maintain while being a true laser. Oh I love that powder manufactured steel.
It’s not stainless, but it’s a fine grain tool steel which can stand a lot of abuses.
Having the chance to carry “that” steel on a folding knife is absolutely rare. Another Spyderco premiere.
I had the purpose of convexing my Tuff as I knew how easy that tough alloy was with leather stropping.
So Varicelle has been slowly convexed. Using elbow’s oil mainly.

Eventually the blade on the Tuff is longer than the edge. Again the mighty choil is another Ed Schemp signature like on my Navaja.
You can hold your knife by the blade only, helped by the fuller and the choil, the hardest jobs can be soft on the lock and pivot.
The edge is making that knife very legal. It’s not threatening. Again you got a tool in your hand not a serial killer nightmare.
Yes, but it looks like a kukri and it perform like a folding kukri. And Kukris are famous to be the sacred weapon of Burkhas…
But again Kukris are great tools tunred into weapons. The Tuff’s designer was focus on some kind of G-Shock folder. Not a self defense device. Not a sentry removal tool. The Tuff is just a gentleman farmer’s knife designed by one.

By the way, I don’t have any problem to open it fast. I have changed the clip position to tip down carry. Now I can spyderdrop it, holding the blade by the hole and the fuller. It’s as easy and smooth as with my Millie. The heavy handle helps a lot. The lock bar can be harder than other knives. I won’t mind.
The closing is even easier than on my Lionspy. The meat of my thumb catches the lock release with ease. So I can open it fast and close it fast which is a must in safety for hard used tools in difficult environment. My tuff is reliable. Easy to put in play and easy to remove from sight.
This is all I ask from my folders.

So what do you got ? A CPMS3V folder with RIL Lock in a compact package offering great ergos while open.
Now will come the time of testing.
Stay tune for part 2.


Before convexing.


In between convexing.

Spyderco Tuff by Nemo
Fully convexed.

SPYDERCO SCHEMPP TUFF BY ED SCHEMPP ~ C151GTI – When The Going Gets Tough – The Tuff Keep Going

Spyderco Persian and Tuff Ed Schempp

The Persian is reviewed here.

Ed Schempp is a very clever designer. As I have noticed in my previous post, it took him almost a decade to get the Tuff to the End Line Users. The purpose of the design was to create the tougher knife possible, kinda über Strider Sebenza Blackwood mix… A folding pry bar.
But let’s not forget: Ed is a farmer. A knife user. And his previous design included the wonderful Persian. Since I got the chance to receive as a gift one of the first batch Persian made (thanks JD!) I was also able to compare the two designs.

Persian and Tuff Ed Schempp

Ed seems to love heavy knife. The one you know you (still) got in your pocket. But also Ed got a very precise idea about ergonomy. Both knives got that angle once open giving you a great cutting power without to twist your wrist. You can push cut vertically, locking your wrist and your arm, and just using the strenght and weight of your shoulder. The Persian and the Tuff share that particularity.

SPyderco Tuff

But the Tuff is almost like a Folding Kukri. A folding mini chopping knife. The pivot is oversized as is the stop pin. The lock bar is the hardest I have ever tried. Everything is tough.
But now that I have installed the clip for tip down carry, my Tuff can be open very fast (Spyder drop) and close easily.
Despite the fact that I have oiled the pivot, my Tuff is squicking/singing like a fiddle and I now considering that sound as a part of its character.

SPyderco Tuff

The “prairie dogs hole” on the G10 and titanium are not the most sexy way to remove weight but it gives some kind of steampunk look to the knife.
Once close it’s all oval, all rounded and not thick compared to other über folder like the Lionspy. I was really surprised how it disappears once clipped to the front or back pocket and is forgotten.
The clip is a little on the stiff side but no big deal. Anyway now that I carry it like my Millies, I enjoy deploying it just by holding the blade by the fuller. Hiiiii CLACK !!!
The lock got that Reeve Integral Lock with improvements with some hardened steel insert which ensure superior strength and increase wear resistance (as on the Millie Tie, and the Rockstead Higo) and a security to prevent over bending (good luck with that anyway). It’s hard to unlock but not as hard as other lock like some Triadlock folders.

SPyderco Tuff

Ha the Fuller! I love the idea. It’s almost like Conan’s Atlantean sword ! 🙂 I would love to see the fullers adapted on the Spyderco Salt for example.
The blade is gorgeous as the light play with the fuller and the flat grind. I was not able to have a patina yet. CPM 3V is not a stainless steel and will picture my Tuff again as soon as a patina will start to develop.
It’s an heavy blade. Like with M2, CPM M4, I always got the feeling that density of non stainless tool steels is higher than stainless. I remember having noticed something like 20% between M2 and ATS34, but I could be wrong. Anyway the CPM 3V feels heavy and the knife is really well balanced.

SPyderco Tuff

Now I was able to get it to razor by stropping it on leather with ease. This is not as difficult as S90V or ZDP89. CPM 3V seems very leather friendly.
The heavy thick blade of my Tuff is shaving hair with a gentle caress. But it was also able to pass my bottle butt test despite its thickness. A beautiful Opinel with its thin and mirror polished blade was able to do it like through butter, but the Tuff was able to cut through showing its good geometry.
On flesh the Tuff is cutting with ease and this time thanks to the ergonomy and the “Schempp Angle”. I was surprised how it was borrowed to kitchen duty. Those Prairie Holes make it sheeple friendly after all and the heavy blade can cut only with its weight.

SPyderco Tuff

Now the next step will be in the woods. Time to see how tough the tuff is. I have noticed that the stainless steel liner is skeletonized. The ease of cleaning will be test also as the handle is not fully open.
The Tuff feels very solid and screaming to be use hard but for the moment it has shown me its softer side: I can open it and close it easily (changing the clip position helped a lot), it’s easy on the trouser, and it’s precise and really sharp. The big choil is a big plus when you need to choke up the blade for precise works. Oh, I have found some hot spot which won’t resist to my diamond files. the back of the blade is sharp enough for striking an iron rod, but as I love to push my cuts with my thumb, I have round it for a more confortable use.
The tuff is screaming hard use but also is whispering cleverness. There is a reason why Ed Schemp took his time on that design and this one is going to be a knife which will grow on you. Just look at the belly, the point and the way the knife goes into action and you will start to see what Ed wanted to produce.
Again Taichung plant has made a flawless work and the Tuff is a beautiful piece of steel. Let see how it performs in the woods.

This is what Jerry Hossom has to say about CPM3V in 2007:

“In my opinion, CPM-3V is the best knife steel ever.

It has the finest grain structure of any high alloy steel used in knives today, about 1 micron. That translates into extraordinary toughness and arguably as fine an edge as can be had. When you sharpen it, you don’t have to cut through carbides, so it sharpens a lot easier than you might expect, certainly easier than S30V or even D2 IMO. I had a 3V knife at Rc61 destruction tested by bending it to 90 degrees, back and forth, four times before it finally snapped, and that blade was hollow ground which resists bending because of the geometry. 3% vanadium, coupled with extreme toughness to resist microchipping allows it to hold an edge a very long time.

The ONLY downside to 3V is its corrosion resistance which is pretty good but the nature of how it corrodes is annoying as hell if it happens. You do not get a smooth patina or a surface bloom of light rust. What you see IF it corrodes are some small orange spots on the blade, under which will be deep pits. This is likely due to minor oxide contamination in the steel, so I passivate all my 3V blades by etching them in 50% FeCl for about 10 minutes, before the final brushed finish is applied. This has ALMOST eliminated the problem, but I still recommend keeping a light coat of oil on the blade and have never had rust once a blade is etched and oiled. I use Birchwood Casey’s Synthetic Gun Oil, which is a great protectant for any metal. 3V is about the same as D2 in this area, but benefits by taking a much finer finish than D2 so corrosion has fewer toeholds than with D2.

I put a fine finish on all my blades, but with 3V I always go to ~800 grit. All of my 3V blades, except swords, are hardened to Rc61.

Tough? In one test of one of my swords, the tester cut laterally through a shank of beef, including over 9″ of meat and over 3″ of bone without splintering the outcut on the bone and the only evidence of the cut on the blade was a very small (~1/8”) flat spot on the edge, which had been sharpened to shaving sharpness. You couldn’t see the flat spot from the side, only by looking down on the edge where you could see the reflection. That was a single-handed sword and just an amazing cut considering that beef leg bone is a VERY hard bone.

It’s a great steel, and it’s unfortunate that more people aren’t familiar with it. It took a bit of a bad rap when it first came out because it is very sensitive to a well-controlled heat treating schedule, as is S30V for that matter, and some makers who tested it early on before that was well understood just didn’t get what the steel had to offer. That’s why I sold my heat treating oven and send all my steel to Paul Bos for heat treating.

I just read through this and guess this is as close to hype as I get, but the steel is a great steel and this is my experience with it. Just as an interesting side note, when I first started using this steel I told Crucible I was convinced that microchipping was a major component of knives going dull and that this steel would “wear” better than its component numbers might suggest because it was so tough. At the time CPM-10V was Crucible’s super wear resistant steel. About 18 months later at the Eugene knife show, the top metallurgist at Crucible told me that they we finding that 3V was “outwearing” 10V in stamping dies. When they studied the reasons they discovered the 10V was microchipping and the hard, sharp edges were crumbling long before any abrasive wear could develop.

People in the woodworking industry have known about the toughness issue for a long time and many of the best woodworking tools are made with A2, which is a very tough steel. 3V is about 7 times tougher than A2, and I recently consulted with some people in that world who made some chisels and turning tools with 3V and found they cut better and longer than anything they had ever seen. AND BTW, they are also now putting convex edges on their chisels…

Try it, you’ll like it.”

Spyderco Techno & Tuff glimpse: “Thick twice, cut once!”

I love thin blades and showing to a friend how an Opinel could push cut in hard material when high tech “tactical” folders won’t succeed, is a fact of common sens… but my still I love THICK HEAVY blades. Those which are so brutal and so manly ! And turning the Chris Reeve quote from “Think…” to “Thick…” is quite natural when both knives got a Reeve’s Integral Lock.

OK, two rapid shares:

Spyderco Techno

The Spyderco Techno.
I was not prepared to that knife as I was taken by surprise.
After weighting and holding a gorgeous prototype imported directly from Marcin Slysz in Poland at the last Spyderco Minimeet in Amsterdam, my heart skept a beat: that little Tank was incredibly beautiful and design as a über-worker. I loved it.
The beatblasted handle and beatblasted blade are an appeal to abuses and hard work. Worst the 4.5mm thick blade looks more as a wedge than a cutting instrument.

SPyderco Techno

But beyond look lays performances. The grind is high and thin. The result is an incredible cutting machine.
I was really surprise how deep and easy the Techno cut.
Better, the new steel is a breeze to get razor sharp and it has stay at that level since I got it.

*”From Mike Stewart of BRK&T:

On Friday I shipped 30 of the XHP Woodlands that we made to see how this steel works with our Heat Treat and Geometry.

I’m pretty sure that you will be able to get one – if you act quickly – from either Dale or Derrick.

Let me tell you about what we learned.

Three of us tested the crap out of mine on Thursday and Friday.

I cut a bunch of wood and leather.

Skittles did the same for about an hour.

jimmy then also did the same and then batoned down two small trees out back for good measure.

Re-read above.

Note that no place did we say we re-touched the edge.

We didn’t – I still have not and it still aggressively shaves hair and cleanly slices paper – just like it did when it was first finished.

I’m not sure what is going on with this stuff but I have never seen a more aggressive cutting stainless steel.

Here is what Carpenter Says:

Carpenter Technology Corporation has developed an alloy known as CTS-XHP, an air hardening, high carbon, high chromium, corrosion resistant alloy which can be described as either a high hardness Type 440C stainless steel or a corrosion resistant D2 tool steel. This steel is made using powder metallurgy and possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to Type 440C stainless but can attain a maximum hardness of 64 HRC which is approaching that of D2 tool steel. This alloy offers superior edge retention and surface finish, an ability to be machined to a fine edge, and consistent heat-treatability from lot to lot making it ideal material for knife blades.

I don’t agree with them.

This Stuff is nothing like 440C and nothing like D-2.

It grinds easily and polished easily.

It appears tougher than D-2.

440C goes dead flat dull in cutting a fraction of the wood and leather we did so this is more like A-2.

If somebody asked me to put a tag on this stuff – it would be Stainless A-2.”

Been using the Techno in a plate, or for carboard processing: the razor sharp blade was not affected.
CTS XHP steel is really an excellent steel and this is my first experience with it. (Almost bought a C36 Military Sprint Run with brown G10 handle and that new CTS XHP steel, considered as a stainless version of D2…)

SPyderco Techno

Compared to D2, the CTS is powder metallurgy steel. I just know that the Techno edge is incredibly sharp and stays that way. Incredibly friendly.
(Unfriendly steel/edges are the one who betrays you when you need it sharp and doesn’t want to get sharp afetr thrity minutes on stone…)
My concern about having a knife not enough pointy were false. My techno got enought penetration power to be use on soft or hard material.
The rounded edges make it a very ergonomic and sweet tool to use. It feels solid ans it cuts like a charm, everything I throw at it: cardboard, meat, plastic, wood…
Spyderco techno

To sum up the Techno is small, sharp, smooth, easy to carry, hefty and toolish… What a great EDC knife Marcin Slysz has designed !

Now Ed Schemp’s TUFF.

SPyderco Tuff

This knife is tuff. Tuff to open. Tuff to close. Thick (but thinner by 0,5mm compared to the techno). Heavy (compared to my Millie)
As first glance it’s not friendly.
But once open in the hands: great balance, nice folding Kukri feeling, great choil. I love the fuller since I handle the prototype in 2005.
It’s a great improvement to grabbing the blade and “spyderdrop” the Tuff. I love the “craters” in the titanium and the G10.

Ok immediatly I have changer the clip to tip down carry. Like that, I can grab it by the blade and I can open it “spyderdrop” style. Not as fast as my Millie but it is now reliable to put in use. (
Once closed the knife got a rounded shape and is not “that” thick. I was surprised how it can be forgotten once clipped to my denim pocket.
A very good point.

I ask Ed Schemp as the Paris Blade Show (SICAC) if it was possible to smooth it a little, but as the locking bar is short and strong, I need to get use to that tuff opening and closing. No big deal. This is a tuff knife ! 🙂
The blade in CMP 3V is really easy to go beyond factory sharp. CPM 3V loves leather stropping. Despite it’s saber flat grind, mine can get hair popping sharp.
Now I need to use it in the woods to see what the design is all about.
I want this knife to be a folding kukri. Tuff enough for light chopping. The gun handle ask for a beating.
Like with my Lionspy, I want to be able to cut a walking staff with ease and no after thinking.
The tuff ask for going in the wild like a good old Land Rover is asking to take the long way home.

SPyderco Tuff

So more to come soon about this two thick brothers.

(FYI there is also got two slimmer sisters in the review pipe: the Gayle Bradley Air and the extraordinary South Fork… Different strokes !)