Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Hinderer 0550 Misses the Mark

I just got a ZT/Rick Hinderer 0550.  It’s a lovely knife.  

The ZT Hinderer 0550 kinfe remains closed
What a great looking knife, a great handle and a very nice blade.  Too bad for ZT.

At least I thought so until I went to open it. 

I thought I was going to bust my right thumb pushing on the opening stud.  I changed to my left thumb.  Still no joy.  The knife remained sealed shut.

No, there’s no lock.  Just grab the blade anywhere and it pops open.  But you’ll snap the bone in your thumb if you try to force it open using the opening stud.  I am so surprised about this considering the reputation Zero Tolerance has for quality knives.

It’s hard to sell a tactical knife you can’t open with one hand, so I called my distributor.

They didn’t want to believe me.  They sell a lot of ZTs and they never had opening trouble before.

“Tell you what,” Bob said.  “I’ll go out to the warehouse and get one and call you back.”

Five minutes later my phone rings.

“You know what the problem is?”  It was Bob back from the warehouse.  I expected to be told I was holding the knife wrong, or it just needed a touch of oil, or I didn’t use the super-secret unlock feature.

“Damn stud is in the wrong position!  I can’t get it open either if I hold the knife in the regular grip.”

the only way to open a ZT0550 is with two hands
The ZT 0550 is a tactical knife that can't be opened tactically.... NYC would love it!!

At least it wasn’t me. 

“If I hold the knife low in my hand and come at the stud from the 6:45 pm position and press sideways while I jump up and land on my left foot, assuming you’re right handed…..”  I kind of zoned out on the rest of the opening ritual.

Huh,  no.  This isn’t going to work.  It’s going back.  So if you’re thinking of buying a Zero Tolerance Hinderer 0550, make sure you can return it.  Unless you like jumping onto your left foot to open a knife.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blade Show Day 2

Today’s my last day at the Blade Show.  I’m heading home Sunday June 2nd but the show continues most of Sunday.  I always feel sad about the end of the show.  For two days I’m surrounded by people with many of the same values I have.  Come Monday I’m back at work surrounded by sheeple.  I may have to go back to the sheep, but tonight I’m still entrenched in the knife culture.

I stopped at Spyderco.  I just love their knives.  Look, there are only so many variations on a knife: blade, handle, lock, cutting edge.  Many companies make the same knife in 30 variations.  Face it, see one Benchmade and you’ve seen about 80% of all Benchmades.  And I’m a big supporter of Benchmade!

Spyderco is a little different.  They are not afraid to try something different.  Take the Pingo Orange.  
Spyderco Pingo
Spyderco's Danish Pingo.  It will work in many knife intolerant US cities.

It’s a collaboration of Spyderco, Jen Anso and Jesper Voxnaes.  The two are Danish knife makers and despite their long established knife culture, Denmark has some very strict knife laws.  Citizens can’t have locking or one-hand opening knives.  The Pingo has a 2.35 inch blade made from N690Co steel and is street legal in Denmark. 

I got into a discussion about locking blades with Joyce at Spyderco.  I’m uncomfortable with non-locking blades.  I’ve cut myself a number of times when I did something stupid and the knife closed on me.  She told me about several Danish military frogmen who bought a lot of these at a dive show they were attending.

“Look,” they said. “You can do three things.  Carry illegally and hope for the best, do without, or follow the law and have something on you.”  I agree with that completely, but I’ll add we don’t know how lucky we are to be Americans!  (PS: This knife should work legally in Chicago, New York and Cleveland just to name a few.)

Also from Spyderco are a Puukko fixed blade made from CPM S30V steel and a folding Puukko also made with S30V steel called Nilakka.  It’s named after a lake where the designer Pekka Tuominen lives.   
From Spyderco Puukko and folding puukko
Two knives showing Spderco's interest in ethnic knives.

Both are excellent knives.

I stopped off at Boker to get more information on their knives.  Boker has several different levels of knives.  Some are made in Germany, others in South America and still others made everywhere else.  I know it doesn’t sound very useful if you’re trying to match quality and price.  Boker tells me all of their knives meet the quality standards set by the German parent company and you can find some remarkable knives in the Magnum class.  Much to my error I’ve always thought Magnum class was the cheaper, junk knives.  I’ve got to admit the ones I saw felt pretty good.  But as the sales rep told me, there’s German steel and then there’s other steels.  I guess you have to read between the lines.

Benchmade was selling knives.  That amazed me!  A number of years ago Benchmade stopped selling to distributors and wanted to deal only with brick and mortar stores.  They never sold at the SHOT Show or the Blade Show.  Until now.  It was a good deal:  15% off list and free laser engraving.  The engraver was a little thing about the size of a 1200-watt microwave.  I suspect laser engraving could become so cheap you’ll see it everywhere including home hobbyist.

I was looking for a neck knife, but nothing struck my fancy.  I stopped at Danny Robinson, who prints his business card on the back of a sealed band-aid, and fell in love with his files-to-knife conversions.  
Steel file converted to a knife
Utility converted to art.
I bought a high carbon steel fixed blade with a wood and brass handle and a blued blade.  Maybe someday I’ll have a neck sheath made for it.

Last word for tonight!
How does she keep her balance!!!!
How does she keep her balance?!  Yikes!