Tag Archives: Whittling

Bushcrafters and Whittling: when the true Scandi grinds stand their ground.

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As I have found, a Scandi grind blade is not the easiest to be honed to your desire especially with modern powder metallurgy steels but once obtained it is a pleasure for the whittler. With that in mind I have bought two Mora Knives: a Morakniv Pro-C and a Bushcraft Survival Knife both in Carbon Steel and rubber handle. My idea was to get easily razor sharp scandi edges like I was able to obtain on the BuscraftUK from Spyderco.

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On the picture above only 3 of the knives are true scandis with no micro bevels.

I have been able to compared how Scandi behave with plastic bottles and also on wood . In fact, in my own experience, Scandi edge bites with some kind of hunger the cellulose fibers and soon also acts as a wedge which makes all the cuts strong and controlled. It doesn’t go as deep as a thin convexed full flat ground blade but the wooden chips produced are thicks. It’s a pleasure to use a Scandi ground knife on wood, there is precision in the cuts which can be shallow or radical (with the wedge effect).

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The “Zero Ground” Nilakka being an exception as it combines the strong cuts of the Scandi with the deep push cuts of the full flat ground blades. Which makes it voracious on wood and explain the 5mm stock of the Nilakka blade.

On the two Mora Kniv, the cheaper was the sharper. The Pro-C bites immediately when the Mora BSK was dull. I have put that on the fact there is some kind of coating and no secondary edge. So, my first move has been to remove that coating.

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The secondary edge put flat on a stone, the coating was removed steadily and the edge was quick able to shave hairs then the Mora BSK was able to bite in wood and was a pleasure to hold and work with.
Both Mora are much lighter than my Spyderco Bushcrafters as they are not full tang. as i don’t plan to do any batoning with them, it is not an issue. Both Mora are true Scandis like my Spyderco Wolfspyder and Buscrafters.
It’s not always the case, even in Norway.

Normally Norwegian knives looks like that:
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Scandi knives are a pleasure to cut and drill with as the thickness of the blade runs to almost the point of the blade, making a very strong tip.

But now you can also buy a Korean Puukko from Hyundai.

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It will cost you around 40 Krons, which is around 4 Euros, 5 dollars…
But here you can see. It’s not a scandi but a thick saber grind with a visible micro bevel.

It means that even Scandinavian countries are not protected against pure cutlery heresy. It also means that Viking don’t mind to buy crappy tools for half the price of a Mora.

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Why ? Because true scandi means a good steel and a good heat treatment to stand the thin geometry. It’s a century old design adapted to people building everything from wood: home, tools, furnitures… A true scandi edge angle is acute enough to be reliable and sharp.
Quoting “Patriot Dan” on the blade forums:
“There isn’t one angle really but 22 degree inclusive (11 per side) is a typical swedish midway edge angle for a scandi grind. The angle can be anything from 15 – 25 depending on use. (This is with the steels and the heat treat typical for those knives, some steels may not be optimal for such acute edge angles).The swedish and Norwegian grinds/edges are more obtuse than their Finnish counterparts. I believe the english bushcraft (woodlore being the most famous) knives that sport a scandi grind are based on swedish grinds but that’s just because they’re very similar.”

So true Scandi are NOT saber grind on disguise and NOT convexed. You need to put the bevel on the stone to keep them “true” hence my work of patience on the Nilakka, restoring her edge to zero grind after some convexing.

I haven’t made that kind of mistake on my Wolfspyder and S30V have proven to be reliable with zero chipping making that little folder a pure joy to use on wood.

More to come soon as the tests will take some time.

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Tuscan Raiders #4 – Geometries, Gayle Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction and whittling.

It has all started when I wanted to review the Spyderco Gayle Bradley Junction. It’s a great design for an EDC fixed blade which can be used for everything. Easy to carry in its pancake constructed bolteron sheath. But the edge was just too thick for my own use. To my knowledge, SPF27 is some kind of CPM D2 steel. A lot of carbon 1.5% and not a lot of chromium around 12%. Not the easiest on the stone as a semi stainless. It was not very soft under the diamonds compared to another blade in N690 HRC59 I got with me. And it was not really easy to remove the shoulder to create a gentle convex edge. Patience… In sharpening is important. And I often lack of it but I was able to improve it. Next some black stone mostly to remove the scratches. And then the white ceramic to get a better finish and a razor steel. You can notice the chamfered signature hole on the Junction. A première. The cuts were deeper. It was better! Much more enjoyable. But the spine was too sharp for my thumb and diamonds came handy to rounded the angles. It would never be a Sebenza spine…. Again the control during whittling was much much better. One should never be scared to round the edges for suiting your own needs. The handle is very flat on that knife. It’s an attention for people who wish to stash their knife in a pocket or a backpack without leaving a print. But a flat knife is not the most comfortable in the palm of your hand… Especially when cutting hard things for a long time. I decided to make a quick comparison with the Spyderco Sprig which is a pleasure to use. You can notice how the Phil Wilson’s Sprig got a thicker handle. And it change everything when cutting hard things. Also Phil Wilson’s is all about performances. Its geometry is stellar. It immediately cuts deep in wood without any real improvement needed…. But diamonds were there to be usef. 🙂 I was able to get thin regular cuts into the wood. So I have decided to try the diamonds on the Gayle Bradley Bowie I have brought with me. This one got a thicker geometry and is made if the same pulverized alloy as the Junction You can always improve an edge. Used as a light chopper it worked just fine. Gayle Bradley has provided a great compact Bowie which can be used as a light camp knife. You can see: it’s not a lot bigger compared to my Ed Chempp Bowie. And the edge once thinned is honorable. Of course it is not as thin as my Pekka Tuominen Urban II for example. And not as aggressive as the Sprig… I got…. too much knives on my table…

It was time to go to lunch. An Francesca knows how to prepare the pasta with pomodori. Crostini a la Toscane. Poultry liver, oignons, red wine, bread and a Bowie. Back in the outside I was thinking of a simple way to see the “impact” of good geometry on whittling. On the right, a single cut if the thin Delica and, on the left, a single cut of the thicker ZT0562CF. The Delica cuts deeper on a more open angle. Better geometry. But the ZT was pleasant to use even if it was not as fast at the job. Also the Delica was able to cut from the ricasso to the point without any hard pressure. In the end, I had noticed that the Junction was less good than the Sprig and the Delica was still the best whittler in the batch. No matter the steel, for wood cutting, geometry is queen. So I have taken my Bowie back to the diamonds and put a keener edge. Tomorrow it will be hunting day.

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.

Spyderco Lil Nilakka Edge rolling out fixed and used.

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

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

It hurst on a new knife !!… Ouch !


In fact I also use diamond to remove some material.


15 minutes later, it is back for more.

Simple tools…

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





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