Showing posts with label Cutting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cutting. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Blade Show

Sunday morning at the Blade Show is my catch-up day.  I use it to talk to the various knife dealers and personalities.  I had no idea it was going to start that morning at breakfast.

I had a chance to share a table with Phil Cookson and Sylvia Ehinger from Pohl Force.  Dietmar Pohl started this company a few years ago and they are trying to make inroads into American markets.   So far the two of them are the American staff.  But that shouldn’t matter, because these knives have the right stuff.

Dietmar Pohl, I’m told, is the designer behind Boker’s Kalashnikov design.  If you get a chance, take a serious look at that knife.  It’s a basic utility folder that delivers performance.  

Dietmar has designed over 60 knives and knows his way among the LEO and military knife communities.  He’s published a very nice book about some of the knives used by soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the Balkans.  It’s changed some of my perceptions on combat knives, the least of which is non-rounded, asymmetric handles and folders in addition to fixed blades.  The book’s pretty cool and I recommend it.


selection of folders from Pohl Force
Note the coin opener and jimping for the thumb
Later at the show I had a chance to stop at Pohl Force.  They have some very nice designs and they aren’t afraid of using different steels.  You’ll find knives made from D-2, the ubiquitous 440C, BD-1 and one that caught my eye, Niolox.  Niolox is a German steel that’s reported to be better than 440C in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance.  Since I see my knives as tools, I don’t coddle them and sometimes they are mistreated.  Edge retention and corrosion resistance is important to me.


                            440C  VS  Niolox

  • Element               440C Niolox
  • Carbon 0.95-1.2% 0.8%
  • Chromium         16-18%              12.7%
  • Molybdenum 0.75% 1.1%
  • Manganese    1% 0.0%
  • Niobium             0. 0%                 0.7%            


On the surface you might think that Niolox should be less corrosion resistant than 440C.  Isn’t chromium the magic element for rust resistance?  Well it is, but it reacts with carbon to form very hard carbides.  The more carbon you have, the more chromium is unavailable to provide rust resistance. 

Frankly, my understanding of metallurgy is very simple and not up to the task of explaining austenite stabilizers, carbide grain anchoring or continuous cooling charts. All of which are needed to understand what happens in steel.

I will say I was very impressed with Pohl Force knives.
   
I’m just sorry my camera batteries decided to run out of juice at their table.  The fixed blades were elegant!



I just want to mention the cutting contest.  

Every Blade Show has a cutting contest that allows participants from the local level to compete on the national level.  Each contest is different from previous ones.  Oh, sure you cut through hanging ropes, water bottles and a couple 2X4s, but you may have to push cut the entire length of a plastic straw and then cut as many washers as you can from an upright cardboard cylinder.  This is all done on the clock so knife control and speed count for score.

The knives are highly regulated in terms of weight, length, size and general configuration.  You don’t have to make your own.  You can buy from an approved maker/vendor.  All participants must attend a training class taught by internally certified instructors.  Cutting contests aren’t anything you can just jump into.

From what I can tell, most of cutters at the national level are big, beefy males, but this year Jessica Elias, the Creative Director from L. T. Wright Handcrafted Knives competed.  She was anything but a beefy male.  

The original stated purpose of this contest was to help evaluate grinds, steels, blade configurations, hardness and tempering as well as sharpening procedures.  Maybe it does, but I think it’s like car racing.  If you think 500 miles of left turns on tricked out tires and suspensions that could never be used outside of the race track is important to tire development, who am I to say different? 

Myself, I prefer to just lean back and enjoy the spectacle.