Showing posts with label EDC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EDC. Show all posts

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Baker’s Dozen

My friend Aron was telling me he found a successful way of reducing the clutter he’s accumulated.  He asks one question of each item: Does this make me happy?  If the answer is no, it’s gone.  Here’s a bakers’ dozen of some of my favorite folding knives.  

In no particular order:

1:  Benchmade Griptilian  
It was a Christmas present from Karen and I’ve always liked the shape and feel of the Griptilian.  The 3.5 inch blades is 154CM steel and it sports what might be considered Benchmade’s most distinguishing feature, the Axis Lock.


2:  Twerp by Phil Booth
The sub-2 inch blade is anchored between steel liners with a moon glow plastic spacer.  Moon glow has quantum mechanical forbidden energy transitions.  I just love that.  Coming off the lanyard hole is a small noose, but unfortunately it is a 12 turn and not the traditional 13 turns of lynchings everywhere.

Knife maker

3:  Kershaw ET
It is one of the strangest knives I’ve seen or owned.  While the design is alien, ET really stands for External Toggle.  It was Knife Magazine’s 2005 winner for the “Most Innovative American Design.”  Also the scariest.  Opening the knife is not for the timid; if the blade doesn’t have sufficient momentum it will stall half-way open and close regardless of what you have in the way.  It came with a CD to show you how to open it.  Now that’s scary!

External Toggle

4:  Spyderco Citadel
It was first automatic knife from Spyderco I heard of.  In fact they often denied they made autos.  Sal didn’t like ‘em and the violence he associated with them.  They would make them when a government organization requested them, but as soon as the overrun was sold that was the end.  The Citadel sports a 3.25 inch blade of CPM S30V steel.  Sal is getting on in age and his son, Eric seems to be more involved with the company and more states are legalizing automatic knives, so we’ll see what happens.  I was assured at the last Blade Show (2017) their policy on autos would remain the same.  Like they would tell me.

Citadel  Auto knife

5:  Buck Lighting II
I like the look of the mottled green aluminum handle and the ease of one hand opening. 

Buck knife

The 420HC steel blade is 3 inches long and despite the tip down carry, I bought a second in all tactical black.

Tactical Black knives

6:  Blackjack’s Mamba
I bought this from the original Blackjack Company.  I don’t know what speaks to me, the 3 inch curved blade, the shapely handle or the cool-dagger-in-cards logo, but I had to have one.  Maybe its fixed blade big brother convinced me to buy the folder.  That’s a story for another time.

Mamba Folder

7:  Spyderco Delica
My first of many Delicas was a green plastic clip made in Seki City, Japan.  The blade doesn’t bear the Spyderco trademark.  The type of steel wasn’t stamped into the blade and remains an unknown. 
Green Delica folding knife

I was drawn to the ease of one handed opening, a clip to make it easy to find and of course the lock.  It was the beginning of the tactical blade movement and cops were picking up fast on Delicas and its big brother, Endura.  Pronounce it  ‘dee-leak-a’ and you’ll get a grin out of me every time.

Green Spyderco Delica

8:  Schatt and Morgan
This is a red bone jigged slimline Trapper made by Queen.  It’s a non-locking folder, typically called a slip-joint.  The American history of slip joints is an incestualized weave of father, brothers and uncles, buying, selling and taking over names and designs.  Even today you’ll find company X making knives for company Y.  Raymond gave me this knife.  He wasn’t young when I met him and he used to come by my table and we would talk blades.  Later he’d sit behind the table catching his breath and regathering his stamina before finishing the show.  He died on a New Year’s day and now I have this knife to remember him by and that makes me smile.

Red bone

9:  Gerber’s Paul Knife
Yeah, it’s not the original Paul Knife, but it’s still pretty damn cool.  Gerber was, (and still is) owned by FISKERS, an English company that apparently knew nothing about America or American knives.  The blade is a 2.5 inch-long piece of 400 series stainless.  I read it was originally designed for ranch hands who needed a folding knife that could open one-handed while riding a horse.

Push button lock, folding, knife

10:  Spyderco Howard Viele
There are few of us that don’t need a dress knife.  The Viele, with its elegant blade and lines fills that requirement for me.  It’s not a perfect knife; the opening hole is small and hard to access and it’s almost impossible to open left handed.   The blade is 3.5 inches of AUS-8 steel.  I’ve had it for over 20 years and it still reminds me of Connery’s Bond standing at a roulette wheel.  

Dress carry, tactical classy

11:  Benchmade Mini-DeJavoo
It’s a Bob Lum design sporting 3.25 inches of S30V steel inside steel lined scales of black, cloth micarta.  It is a liner lock and its good looks give it an everyman’s elegance.  It’s set-up for left hand carry and despite the fact it’s carried tip down, I use it for my left hand dress knife.

Dress carry, Benchmade

12:   Spyderco Chinese Folder
This Bob Lum designed knife has a special spot in my heart.  This was the knife I published my first article about.  It also had an early innovation, the clip was reversible so you could carry right side, tip up or down.  

Chinese,  folder,

The Chinese green curved handle makes the knife feel like an extension of my hand.  I liked it so much I bought a second one in a steely gray Spyderco calls blue.  I have these as my back-up formal wear knives.

Folding knives, Spyderco

Luckly number 13:  Gerber Multi-Plier 600
My Father left me many things, mostly memories, but I found a Gerber multi-plier and the belt case in his salt-water tackle box.  When I did community theatre in the 80s, the union stage hands were crazy for Gerber multi-tools.  You could depress the locking button with one hand and the tool would open.  This was invaluable when you were on an the last wrung of an A-frame extension ladder 35 feet in the air hanging on to a flood light with one hand and needing to loosen a bolt with the other.  It took me a while to erase the rust and oil it up, but it has straight and serrated blades as well as screwdrivers and the all-important coffee can and beer bottle openers.  Most importantly, it was my Dad’s.

Gerber, tool, folding pliers

Could I have found more knives? 

I have one with scales composed of clear epoxy resin filled with eggshells.  Eggshells are a semipermeable membrane made of calcium carbonate but not, I believe, the common calcite.  It’s a biological form called aragonite, a different crystal arrangement.  That is just too cool!

I have a fixed blade from a day long bonding trip with my new in-laws that I purchased to let them know I’m a little off center.

So yeah, I have other knives that make me smile.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

SOG Brothers

One knife often in my pocket is the SOG Spec Elite 1.  It’s one of my working knives and it has a lot of the features I like.  The blade glides open with a little thumb pressure and the SOG Arc Lock is easy to use and secure.  The arc lock and design of the glass reinforced nylon handle makes this a truly ambidextrous knife.  The 4 inch VG-10 steel blade is sculpted into a clip point with a subtle sweep of the cutting edge giving it more power. 

The handle has a round end butt and a slight wasp waist.  Black nylon surface is generously covered with rows of small, raised elongated diamonds.  I’ve always found that surface to be non-skid, even when wet.

The blade closes into a 4.75 inch handle with a left/right reversible pocket clip.  It isn’t exactly what you might call deep carry as approximately 0.75 inch of handle, complete with silver attachment screws, extends out of your pocket.  This has never been a problem for me, I live in a relatively knife friendly environment.  That is to say, the police are more interested in what you are doing than what you carry in your pocket.  I’m fine with that.

The knife comes wickedly sharp from the factory and despite my use has required only touch-ups.  It sounds like the perfect knife doesn’t it?  I do have one tiny bone to pick.  The channel for the knife blade is wider than it needs to be at the blade tip.  Sometimes the skin of my fingers can deform enough to slip in and catch the very sharp point resulting in a small, shallow puncture.

This is a small potato problem and I finally got around to mentioning it to the SOG people at the 2017 Blade Show.  They grinned at me.

My EDC and new SOG Spec Arc
Mine's the one with a dirty blade, I told you  it was a working knife.

Turns out that I’m not the only one aware of these small injuries.  They just handed me a SOG Spec Arc.  It’s essentially the same knife, except for the handle.  It’s 4.8 inches long.  A 5/100 of an inch longer than the handle on the Spec Elite I and it’s bye-bye problem.

Pocket clips

They made a few other changes: the clip is much smaller and allows for deep pocket carry.  The handle is finished differently and it also feels good.  The blade is still VG-10 and opens like a dream.

I’m not going to replace my knife.  It isn’t that I like the little unexpected finger stabbings.  I just sharpened my tip and took a little metal off and solved my problem some time ago.  Duhh!

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between SOG’s Arc Lock and Benchmade’s Axis Lock?  Is it just advertising?  Both companies claim to have the strongest-best-easiest-to-use knife lock on the planet.  Of course they aren’t the only ones making these kinds of claims.

If we turn to the Fountain of all Internet Knowledge, Wikipedia, we find:
“Axis Lock – A locking mechanism exclusively licensed to the Benchmade Knife Company. A cylindrical bearing is tensioned such that it will jump between the knife blade and some feature of the handle to lock the blade open.
Arc Lock – A locking mechanism exclusively licensed to SOG Specialty Knives. It differs from an axis lock in that the cylindrical bearing is tensioned by a rotary spring rather than an axial spring.”

So now you know.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Schrade Color Shift

There was a car called the Crocodile, so the old vaudeville joke went.  It was touted to have Detroit’s newest safety device.  One side was painted blue and the other red.

What’s so safe about that?  You ask.

Well, in itself nothing, but if you were in accident it sure left the witnesses with conflicting statements. 

I did think it was funny the first time I read it, but I was 12 at the time.  Since then I have seen color shifting paint.  The most impressive were gun safes at the SHOT Show.  The colors shifted from red to blue as you walked by them.  It was very impressive.

the Schrade color shift knife
Yes, the handle looks black, but note the waffle-like depressions

Schrade has released a color shifting knife with the imaginative name of Color Shift.  I got one so let’s take a look at it.  And despite my first thoughts that’s this is really cheesy, it does change between reddish purple and greenish blue.  I even got a flash of gold once, but I have never been able to reproduce that relationship between eye/knife and illumination source.
The 2.9 inch drop point blade is made of 8cr13MoV steel from Ahonest Changjiang steel in China.  This is a high carbon steel similar to AUS8 made by Aichi Steel Corp of Japan. 

The blade is black coated and I don’t know the Rockwell hardness.  If I had to guess I would suspect it’s in the 56 to 58 range.  It’s not a bad steel for an everyday carry knife.  But it’s the handle that’s so interesting.

The 3.75 inch handle is aluminum with a pocket clip set up for tip up carry but you might be able to find someone who could drill and tap the metal in another position if you wanted it bad enough.  The really interesting aspect of the handle is its coating.

up close look at the pigment in the handle
The small white particles are at different depths in the clear handle material

The casual examination shows a waffle like surface pattern.  I suspect it’s a big part of the color change.  Let’s get up close and personal.

Color shift pigment
The particles have different thickness, shape and orientation in the handle material, the depressions helps insure the particles are at different tilt angles

The coating on the knife has little whitish flakes of material in random directions and depth.  If we move in even closer we can see the flakes.  They look like defoliated mica to me.  

There is a surface treatment used on pigments called ITT.  It stands for a chemical, specifically Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate.  Minerals can be reacted with compounds like ITT which allow the surface to refract light like an oil slick on water.  Oil slick colors (no, don’t worry, I’m not going to draw charts and write equations as much as I would find that fun) are formed by the very thin layers of oil refracting specific colors of light.  The organic coating formed by ITT works the same way.  Add the cone-like depressions from the waffle pattern and you get color. 

Does it work?  The difference in colors is significant in terms of when the colors are in the spectrum.  The knife handle would be more impressive if the colors lived next to each other like yellow and green.  

The Schrade Color Shift Knife at one angle 


The same knife at a different angle

Still, if you want a flashy knife for EDC, look into the Shrade Color Shift (SCH106ALC).  I understand an assisted opening is now available.