Friday, July 27, 2012

Dreaming Gear Dreams

We all have some ideal gear in our heads, maybe it is totally custom, maybe it is a production item altered a bit. I thought I'd share my top five with you (noting of course that the Custom SAK is pretty close to a piece of dream gear).

1. LSCF Bronzed Dragonfly 2

I love the Spyderco Dragonfly 2.  It is one of my favorite knives of all time.  The ZDP-189 version is awesome, but it is a little plain jane.  Even the British Racing Green is not all that distinctive because in most light it looks like plain old black FRN.  There was a carbon fiber version of the original Dragonfly, but they are so hard to get and lack the ergo upgrades of the DF2 design (not to mention old steel) that they are not worth tracking down.  That is, unless you are the most completist of collectors and even then the $200 plus price tag should dissuade you.  Here is a peek at the DF CF:

So we know it is possible for Spyderco to make the knife I am hoping for, as they have done it in the past.  But I want an updated version using the newest, hottest carbon fiber weave out there--Lightning Strike Carbon Fiber.  Here is a picture of what it looks like up close:

(Photo from

The material is normal carbon fiber with a bit of copper weaved into the matrix.  LSCF was originally developed in the aerospace industry.  It was designed to take the place of normal carbon fiber with all of its high strength low weight properties, with a small bonus.  By incorporating the copper wire into the weave, the material has better performance than normal carbon fiber in lightning strike scenarios.  This has nothing to do with knives, but the material itself looks really spectacular in person (I saw some on a custom knife at a local knife show and was BLOWN away).

The idea for the LSCF DF would be simple: take the FRN handle scales and drop them in favor of LSCF handle scales (no liners please) and then use a DLC coating on the wire pocket clip and the blade itself to give the knife an opulent two tone appearance of copper and black.  This little upgrade wouldn't be all that costly either as the amount of LSCF (which is more expensive than regular CF) would be minimal and the coatings would help with rust prevention.  I would, of course, still want a ZDP-189 blade.

Guesstimate on Price: $120-150 (based on prices for LSCF v. FRN; using the DF2 ZDP-189 as a price guide)
Feasibility: Very feasible

2. Flipper Sebenza

Oh the Sebenza, what a wonderful tool.  But it has my least favorite deployment method--the thumb stud.  The Sebenza thumb stud is probably one of my favorites, but it is still the runt of the deployment method litter.  Instead, why not take the simple graceful lines of the Sebenza, drop the thumb stud, and use a flipper instead?

Flippers have taken the custom knife world by storm.  I like RJ Martin's designs the best:

Nothing crazy, nothing complicated, just smooth and simple.  It also works as a finger guard.  Overall, it is an amazing example of design innovation.  There would have to be a little work done to the Sebenza handle slab to make it meet up with the flipper nicely, but that is not a big deal.  If anything, all of the special editions of the Sebenza prove that Chris Reeve is willing to alter his classic design.

Guesstimate on Price: $350 for small; $410 for large (referencing other variants of the basic Sebenza, like the Insingo)
Feasibility: Very feasible

3. Updated Surefire Titan T1A  in Titanium

For the love of God it is called the "Titan".  Can't we get another Titan in Titanium (there was a very limited run of Ti version, with a CR2 battery, a few years ago when the light was first introduced)?

Here is the original Titanium Titan:

And while Surefire is at it, why not bump up the specs and improve the design with a tailstanding tailcap.  Here is a prototype version of what I was referencing that somehow is up for sale on CPF.

Take the basic T1A design, give it a tail cap that can tailstand, sheath the thing in Ti, and drop in an XML emitter and call it a day.  If Surefire is feeling extra ambitious, a discrete pocket clip would be great too, something like the clip on the Mr. Elfin:


Surefire has the ability to do all of this.  I am not sure, however, that it would sell.  The Titan is already an expensive little light.  Doing all of this, with the Surefire price markup guarantee thrown in, would probably push the light into McGizmo territory.

Guesstimate on Price: $500-$600 (based on the original price of the T1 Titan)
Feasibility: Not feasible (solely for price reasons)

4. Titanium Zebra F-701

Okay, this is a cheap idea, but with the proliferation of ridiculous, expensive, and boat anchor-like "tactical" pens, the F-701 remains a cheap, durable, and well built alternative.  I love it for that, as you can see here.  It is not, however, all that exotic or unique.  Titanium would make for excellent little pen and the simple shape would keep it relatively cheap.   A Ti version would be just about perfect for me.  It would be interesting enough to seek it out and still cheap enough that I wouldn't worry so much about losing it or having it get destroyed.  Plus, the Ti would make it weigh only a few ounces.  With all of the pens on Kickstarter I am surprised that no one has built a Ti F-701.

Guesstimate on Price: $20-40 (base price for F-701 in B&M stores is around $7)
Feasibility: Feasible (but unlikely from Zebra where every penny in price equals many fewer sales; these are commodity items after all)

5. The Sleek Leek

There have been dozens of versions of the Leek, a staple of the Kershaw line up.  It is a very nice design, with a good flipper and a streamlined appearance.  They have done all different things with the knife including a rare Damascus version, seen here:

But the Leek needs more.  It is really solid design, but not quite perfect.  Here is how to get there.  First, drop the current grind and go with a full flat grind instead.  Also, because the knife is a flipper, drop the thumb studs and put in an internal stop pin or a stop break on the handle. Finally, and this may take a bit more work, make it an integral one piece framelock like the Lochsa:

The integral design will eliminate the need for all but the pivot screw, which can be concealed (like on stainless steel handled Spyderco's such as the Lava).  The end result would be an completely clean, smooth, and elegant folder.  And since we know that Kershaw does use ZDP-189 steel (they have produced a few ZT knives with it on limited runs), I'd love to see that as the steel.  If all of this is done the knife would be in a class Kershaw doesn't currently have--$100-$200 utility/gentleman's knife.  They make a lot of inexpensive stuff and a lot of high end stuff, but very little in the middle.  This redesign, the Sleek Leek or better yet, just the Kershaw Sleek, would be amazing.

Guesstimate on Price: $100-$200 

Feasibility: Very feasible (especially if the integral design is dropped in favor of a more boring but traditional handle construction)

6. Three Stage Muyshondt Aeon (oh hilarious plug)

So really, this is a plug for the upcoming 3 stage Aeon and a bit of an update as well.  Enrique is working on doing something a little different with this Aeon, something to make the run distinctive, though I don't know what it is.  Also, he is out of a town for a while, so once he gets back we'll have more information.  Look for an update around mid-August.

As for the light itself, the two stage Aeon is amazing, probably my favorite light currently available, but the RRT-01 has shown me the value in a very low low, so adding that would be awesome.  Making it a three stage version of the current UI would be even better.  Finally, through in a Ti body and you have a home run.

Guesstimate on Price: $300-$400
Feasibility: Well....things look like a go right now...stay tuned.

Any tweaks or dream gear you'd like to see?


  1. Hey Tony, have you considered sending your dragonfly off to get pimped? Tuffthumbz does a lot of work in carbon fiber.

  2. I tried. He cant pimp the liner less version

  3. I really like the G-10 Dragonfly with its skeletonized liners. They give a solid, dressy feel to the knife and the resulting lockup is (even) better than the FRN versions. I also love the foliage green color. So my dream Dragonfly would be extremely feasible:

    Give the G-10 Dragonfly the blade from the ZDP-189 D2. Done.

    (Other G-10 colors like brown, gray, and blue would also be welcome!)

  4. BTW in case Sal is reading, I would also totally buy Tony's lightning strike CF version.

    I wouldn't mind skeletonized liners. Query whether the Cf handles would work without liners. (Hmm, Al Mar Ultralights use linerless micarta handles and they function great. So yeah, probably workable.)

  5. How exactly do the knife and flashlight makers decide on their next model features/changes? Just surveying the Amazon/EBay variety, I am suspicious that there are small in-house groups that need a little fresh air in their thinking. Too many items look just alike. Simple features like anti-roll faces on flashlights seem obvious to me. Light-leak cutouts on bezels, likewise. Spyderco's so-dark-green-it's-black scales make absolutely zero difference to me on my DF2. I'd have preferred a more noticeable color, and why even bother otherwise? The SanRenMu people have as good-looking a range as some costlier companies. I like Kershaw knives, but some of their stuff is truly lacking in style. My Buck Vantage looks nice and feels good in the hand. Just some thoughts.

  6. Compression lock Delica with G10 or CF scales. Work in a 50/50 choil and S30V and you'd have a kind of mini PM2. I'd buy one.