Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A.G. Russell Acies 2

When the iPod came out it was a curiosity and then after about a year it exploded.  The consumer electronics world and the music world have not been the same since.  Every year a dozen or so companies touted their new device as the "iPod killer" and none ever were.  In fact, the "iPod killer" is now better known as the iPhone.  So too, in the knife world, except this time people are doggedly trying to knock off the Sebenza.  As a production knife with the fit and finish of a custom, it is really unrivaled.  As a custom knife that has the availability and price of a production blade, it again is unrivaled.  But in the course of the past twenty years there have been dozens of "Sebenza killers."  None have succeeded.  The Sebenza will be approximately 22 years old this year and is still going strong.

A.G. Russell, however, will not be deterred.  He is determined to out-Sebenza the Sebenza.  His Acies (Latin for "edge" and pronounce A-SEE-US; thanks high school Latin!) looked like a winner--a Ti framelock with a deep carry, over the top clip, a nice blade shape, a Hinderer lockstop, and oh yes, ZDP-189 steel, the Acies was definitely a contender.  But there were some issues.  First, there was a problem with the lockbar.  There were very few reports of disengagement (few, if any), but the lockbar displayed a great deal of wobble when engaged.  Lots of frame locks do this, my Leafstorm did, for example, but it is concerning nonetheless.  Additionally there was the issue of size.  The original Acies was so big that it was not really a good EDC choice.  You could carry, no doubt, but at more than 3 inches, it was just not in that sweetspot of 3-2.5 inches.

Enter the Acies2 (ugh, why no space?), the smaller version of the now out of production Acies.

 
At 2.99 inches it stands to fix a lot of the problems (two, really) of the original.  The original was a beautiful blade, but the smaller version with its tighter dimensions seems even better.  The blade:handle would rank as the highest I have reviewed thus far, a stunning .793 (the Small Sebenza was a .74).  This is one of the trademarks of an A.G. Russell folder and it is really amazing to get that much free blade length.  Additionally, the weight is the same as the Small Sebenza.  And finally, the big issue--price.  The Acies2 is $35 cheaper.  Better steel and lower price?  It looks like we have a fight on our hands.  Only the fit and finish concern me, but I am sure Kershaw (which makes the blades for A.G. Russell) fixed the lockbar problem.  Here is the YouTube video from A.G. Russell:



I'll see if I can get one for review, but either way, we may have our first, real Sebenza killer in the Acies2. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

4sevens Preon 0 Review

When the light came out at SHOT Show I was a little down on it, see here.  The idea of yet another keychain light was as appealing as yet another singing competition reality show.  Ugh.  But over time, I had a change of heart or at least enough of a change in view that I thought a review was necessary.  I sent an email to 4sevens and a few days later Trevor sent me a Preon 0 for testing.  I have to send it back so no giveaway.

Here is the product page for the Preon 0.  It is not sold through Amazon so there is no Amazon page with user reviews.  Here is a good street price.  Here is a very Aussie video review (I half expected it to be brought to the review table by a wallaby; just kidding, we Americans have been jealous/fascinated by the Australian accent since the first Crocodile Dundee).  Here is a written review.  Here is the Preon 0 I tested:

IMG_0011

Design: 2

There are three things you will notice the minute you open the package: first, the new 47s logo is awesome; second, the packaging is very nice and minimalist; and third holy shit is this thing small.  I mean super small:

IMG_0003

That's my Preon 1 rocking the Zodiac tailcap (my current favorite single cell AAA light) and that's a small light to begin with, meaning that the Preon 0 is a speck of a thing.  Good if you are going to carry it on your keychain.  It bears a striking resemblance, minus the knurling, to the DQG AAA light, found here.  This would not be the first time that 47s is using a badge swapped item, that would be their new Ti pen (for more on the badge swap, see here).  I am less sure about this potential badge swap than I am the Ti pen, but it is something to note.

The light itself is very elegant, with a frosted or matte texture on most of the body, except for a polished section on both the head and the tail.  The light's small size makes it feel dainty, but that is not accurate.  It proved to be quite stout mostly because of the stainless steel body.  Overall, in the intended role of keychain light, this is a great design.  BTW, the magnet does not cause problems on the keychain as very few keys are actually ferrous metal (aka magnetic).

But here is where things get interesting.  I am woodworker, as you may have already read, and I like having a small light in the shop for illuminating all sorts of things, especially the interior of case goods.  In this role the Preon 0 worked exceedingly well.  The magnet in the rear of the light, let be attach it to a tool and use that as a stand for the light inside a wooden box.  And when I needed to replace the power cord on my Delta table saw, the magnet was perfect allowing me to snap this light on to the cast iron trunnions to illuminate the inside of the electrical box on the saw.  Over all, as a shop light this is a marvel of a design.  The magnet is a super awesome idea.   
 
Fit and Finish: 2

The light's fit and finish were very nice.  The threads were smooth and well cut.  The body was evenly finished, the LED was centered, and the lens was scratch free.  Even the tiny little lanyard hole was nicely made.  

Grip: 0

Like with the Steve Ku 40DD, a light this size is perfect on a keychain, but you make a trade for that size.  There is essentially zero grip here.  With other small lights, like my still favorite Muyshondt Aeon, the small size is compensated for with massive amounts of knurling.  I'd be interested to see how this stacks up against the similarly sized DQG with its copious knurling.  

Carry: 2

Part of the size trade off.  This guy vanishes in your pocket.  It vanishes on your keychain (being shorter than most keys).  Loved that.  

Output: 1

The low is a very moonlight-like .25 lumens (full moons produce .2 lumens).  That is fine for wandering around at night.  The 25 lumen high though seems like a huge compromise.  Single cell AAA lights regularly output 70 lumens with an hour runtime.  Here, for whatever reason, 47s gives you one third of the output on high that their competitors do.  Even their own Preon 1 outputs more.  I am not sure why they would hobble the light like that, but I do like the moonlight low.

Runtime: 2

The runtime of the low is really impressive and the one hour output on high is very good too, but still the lack of lumens on high doesn't make sense to me. 

Beam Type: 1


IMG_0004

Getting a single cell AAA light this small involves some major compromises.  Grip is one of them.  But in this case they had to shrink the head considerable, resulting in the loss of a reflector.  It is place is a green surface and a slightly convex lens.  The green surface glows after the light has been illuminated, but the loss of a reflector is a big deal.  This light has both no hotspot at all, making for a very even beam, and no throw whatsoever.  I'd take a little bit more size if it means that I got just a bit of a hotspot, even on a keychain light.  

Beam Quality: 2

The lens cleans up the beam quite a bit, producing a perfectly smooth, clean beam.  I loved it.  Tint was nice as well.  Excellent.

UI: 2

The twist on twist off UI is still fine, but I would have loved to see this light use a two-stage twisty.  Oh well.  In a year though, I am not sure I'd find this UI excellent.  The advent of rotary rings and two-stage twisties make these slightly fiddly UIs seem outdate.  47s you have been warned--time to step up the UIs.

Hands Free: 2

That beautiful tailcap is the secret to this light. 

IMG_0009

That is the thing that makes up for the lack of a pocket clip and makes this light an excellent shop light.  It is also a handy base for tailstanding and a fun metal tester (which came up more than a few times in the two weeks I carried it). 

Overall Score: 16 out of 20

This is a very small, very capable keychain light.  I like it okay in that application.  As a shop light it works very, very well.  It can hide in case goods and shine all over the place.  The pure, creamy, floody beam works well there and the magnet is a big plus.  I think there are about two dozen better keychain lights (ones will legit highs), but as a shoplight, this blows away those junky plastic things at Lowes and Home Depot.

1Y: 15 out of 20

The 25 lumen high is not even par anymore for these tiny lights.  The bar for 1xAAA is much higher, even with a strong emphasis on runtime over lumens.  As such, the score for Output drops from a 1 to a 0.  This is essentially slightly better output than an Arc AAA-P with none of the toughness of that light.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fixed Blade Scoring System

After some time with the Ontario Ranger RD-7, doing quite a bit of bush clearing and fire preparation (mainly for our fire pit in our backyard; I am fantastically cheap when it comes to some things, meaning I am never paying for firewood), using a few fixed blades from a buddy, and now carrying the Candiru for a week, I think I have a enough experience to put together a meaningful scoring system for fixed blade knives.

Here are the other scoring systems:

Folding Knives
Addendum to Folding Knife Scoring: "Blade Safety" Update
Flashlights
Packs and Bags
Multitools


The fixed blade system will work the same way, ten categories with scores of 0-2 in each category for a maximum possible score of 20 points.  A category in which the item fails will result in a score of 0.  A category in which the item performs adequately will result in a score of 1.  A category in which the item performs exceptionally will result in a score of 2. 

Sometime something gets a score of 20 and when it does it is a great piece of gear, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is perfect.  If something gets a 20/20 and is, in my opinion, perfect, it will receive the Everyday Commentary "Perfect" Seal:


So far only a few items have received 20s and even fewer, five to be exact, have received the Perfect Seal.  They are: 1) the Spyderco Dragonfly II in ZDP-189; 2) the Leatherman PS4; 3) BushidoMosquito SAK Rambler; 4) the McGizmo Haiku; and 5) the Muyshondt Aeon (the CRK Sebenza Small 21 got a 20/20 but no perfect as did the TorchLab Moddoolar).  The unscored FDC Hybrid got a Perfect Seal as well.

The fixed blade system is obviously going to have a lot in common with folding knife system, so that is where I will start.  Here are the categories from that system:

Design
Fit and Finish
Grip
Carry
Steel
Blade Shape
Grind
Deployment Method
Retention Method
Lock

Design, Fit and Finish, Blade Shape, and Grind are all going to look at the same thing and will be scored identically to how they would be in the folding knife category.

The different categories will be as follows.

Steel will be slightly different.  Instead of looking at the steel and nothing else, the Steel category in the fixed blade scoring system will also include an analysis of the coating on the blade, if any.  A lot of these blades use non-stainless steel.  It is a trade off made in light of their hard use roles.  Chips are great in cookies, but terrible on blade edges and so while high hardness stainless steels, like ZDP-189, are great on folding knives, on fixed blades they won't necessarily be the best choice.  These blades are designed to tackle tasks that make even the least cautious knife  user (ahem: Neptune Knives) blush from the abuse.  Batonning wood, a good test of durability even if it is a poor survival skill (though I am not sure about that), is hard on a blade.  Full force swinging hacks into fresh, green wood is hard on a blade.  And the scraping and prying tasks we use these blades for are also hard on the blade.  So many makers decide to go with a low hardness (relatively speaking) non-stainless steel like 1095 or 5160 (see Basics button above and click on Joe Talmadge's steel link for more).  These steels harden to about 56-58 Rc, but they are tough as taffy.  To get around the high carbon content (allowing for good edges) and low chromium (as a trade off for toughness) makers use coatings to ward off rust.  When looking at fixed blade steel, this coating becomes an issue.  Unlike coatings on stainless steel folders, the coatings here are really important and something that deserves explicit analysis.  

Grip will be replaced by Handle Design.  In fixed blades you have the luxury of designing a knife handle to serve one and only one purpose--holding the knife.  In a folding knife the handle serves all sorts of purposes (lock housing, blade cover, pocket clip attachment point), but here the handle is a purpose built shape and design so it needs to considered differently.

Carry and Retention Method will be eliminated and instead the focus will be on Sheath Carry.  Sheathes are essential for fixed blades and a good one can take a merely decent knife and make it awesome.  Distributing weight well and keeping the overall size as slim as possible are all good things.   

Deployment Method will be changed into Sheath Accessibility.  This is part of how the sheath is designed, but it is more--sometimes a knife will be sloppy or hard to get to and it will take too many steps or too much effort to get to.  This category will look at that.

The next two categories are not really modifications of categories from the folding knife system, but categories unique to fixed blades.

The next category is Useability.  It is important for fixed blades to be useable in a workman-type way.  Folding knives are not designed for long term, repeated, hard use.  You are supposed to take them out, cut something, and put them away.  Cut this or that and then close up the knife.  Fixed blades, if designed well, can be used over and over again all day.  How well they do this is something that I will call "Useability".  There are tips and tricks good designers (ahem, Ethan Becker) know and rely on to make a knife more useful and useable over time--cheats that make work easier and less fatiguing.  A swedge to reduce weight, a recurve to help in cutting, and a comfortable and balanced blade all make a difference in terms of Useability. 

The last category is Durability.  Fixed blades exist because they are design to take a severe beating, something that even the stoutest folding knife can't handle.  Lots of folks that can carry them prefer fixed blades because, as the old saying goes, a folding knife is already broken.  Durability will look at the overall build of the knife with an eye towards its intended use.  Things I will consider are: full v. partial tang, handle material, sheath material, blade thickness

There you have it, the fixed blade scoring system. 

Coming very soont: a review of the hot, new ESEE Candiru.  If I was willing to work out a new scoring system, that tells you how much I like this little blade.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Muyshondt Aeon Video Review

Simple light, simple pre-review write up:

Giveaway-palooza

So the dude that won the RoBoT never got back to me.  I waited a week and now it is going to someone else.  That's giveaway #1.  The winner now is zoebios121.  Please contact me with an address and I will send the RoBoT out. 

The Logo contest was very successful and I liked a lot of the entries.  I picked one at random and that person, Dan, will win a Cold Steel Mini Tuff Lite.  Again, contact me with an address.


Contact info:

anthonysculimbrene at comcast dot net (in the usual format)

Finally, I have been authorized by TT PockeTTools to give away the TT-7 that I am testing.  I will do this in the same way that I always do--randomly chosen from one of the comments.

The total tally for giveaways from Everyday Commentary looks something like this:

1.  Custom S30V Benchmade Mini Grip ($130)
2.  Inkleaf Leather Moleskine Cover ($70)
3.  Iain Sinclair Cardsharp ($20)
4.  American Cutlery Over the Top Pocket Clip ($7)
5.  Boker Exskelibur II ($40)
6.  Coated Aircraft Cable ($3)
7.  RoBoT One Piece Multitool ($57)
8. Leatherman Sidekick ($30)

That is a good chunk of change (around $357 at retail) and a lot of stuff given away.  I am still planning on giving away a Fenix light, once I can buy it and test it, and I am also still planning on giving away a Haiku. 

All of this is a roundabout way of laying out the case for you to sign up as a follower.  It is very easy and free.  It is a no brainer if you already have a Google account.  I ask you to do this for two reasons: 1) it makes giveaways easier as I can just contact people directly; and 2) the more followers, the more likely I am to persuade companies to send me stuff for review and allow me to give it away. 

I have said this many times--this is a non-profit operation.  I don't have a lot of money invested (though there is quite a bit of time laid out).  This means I don't feel like I need to shill for anyone.  As a result I can give you the most accurate, most honest assessments of interesting gear.

The Haiku is still a ways away, but I hope the Adsense revenue will help out and I can give it away by the end of the year.  Still submit reviews, I have a backlog of three I need to get up (a review of the Large Sebenza, a review of the Benchmade Triage, and a review of the Hi CRI Mini 123).  Once those are finished, I will have no more user submitted reviews.  Click the contest link above for more on how to write and format the reviews.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting the site.

And, just so this is not all site discussion today, enjoy the video review of the Aeon.  I had to shoot it twice, but I like the results.     

Friday, May 18, 2012

Benchmade Aphid Review

It is hard to overstate the importance of the SOG Flash I to the EDC community.  In the recent boom in EDC gear, Youtube has become a central clearinghouse for information. On YouTube, no one carries a bigger megaphone than Nutnfancy.  Everyone knows that the SOG Flash I, a video originally recorded for a user review on Amazon, is one of the staples of Nutnfancy's recommendations.  Its combination of small size, quick deployment, elegant blade shape, grind and the deep carry pocket clip, made it, according to Nutnfancy's logic, one of the best EDC knives available. 

I have owned the Flash I and carried it for over a year.  It is not the best EDC blade out there (that would be the Spyderco Dragonfly II in ZDP-189).  It is also not even the best slim knife out there.  I like the Kershaw OD-2 better, but the steel was not quite up to par with the Flash I.  Until I got my hands on the Benchmade Aphid there was no knife I would say was a direct competitor and clear superior to the Flash I.  For people that don't like the broad width of Spyderco knives, the Flash I was probably the best carry option.  No more.  The Benchmade Aphid is the knife Nutnfancy thinks the Flash I is.  It is perhaps as good as the Dragonfly II (and with better steel as good as the DF II ZDP-189).  It is a different design philosophy than the DF II, but one that I find to be equally compelling.  The Aphid is a home run and a fantastic EDC choice.

But here is the bad news--Benchmade discontinued it.  It is still very readily available, but I would get them now before they are gone.  This is one hell of a little blade.  Why they would discontinue this model is beyond me.  It is essentially unique within Benchmade's line--a sub 2.5 inch folder.  Oh well, that is for another post.

Here is the product page.  There is a plain blade and a black blade version.  Note that in the "Made in the USA" sham/shake up at Benchmade the Aphid was moved from the abandoned "Red Line" of products to the main Benchmade line, the Blue Line.  All Red Line products were discontinued (though not really, they all moved to one of Benchmade's subsidiary brands, allowing Benchmade to claim very disingenuously that all of their products are Made in the USA).  Here is the Red Line product page (there are no differences between the two other than the location where they were made).  Here is the Amazon page for the Aphid:



It received 4 stars out of 5 with one review (ugh...that is terribly unhelpful information).  Here is a very good video review.  Here is a forum post review.  Here is my Benchmade Aphid with its Light&Saber buddy, a Preon 1 with a Zodiac Tailcap (see here for more about Zodiac Tailcap):

IMG_0041


Design:  2

A super slim, elegant design with a big enough blade is one thing, but a knife with all of the right touches like the Aphid has is really something else.  The Flash I, perhaps the standard bearer in this product class, is embarrassingly lacking by comparison.  The spear point blade, the slight but grippy handle and the no bullshit pocket clip all make this a knife that is great in both big and small ways.  No design detail was overlooked and I love it.  Even the thumbstuds being tiny and close to the handle works here because of the handle shape and the Optimiser assist torsion bar.  A slight nudge from a thumb nail is more than enough to open this blade and the tight layout makes it a pocket Houdini.  The blade:handle is a nice .73.

Fit and Finish: 2

Benchmade's fit and finish is always great.  This little blade, even with its comparatively low price tag (among other Benchmade offerings) still hits it out of the park.  The grind is even, the secondary bevel is well cut, the blade detent is strong but not silly strong, and the liner lock produces a wiggle free connection with the blade itself.  Even the edges of the clip are nice and tumble finished.  GREAT.

Grip: 2

Like an even tinier Mini Grip, this blade is literally covered in grip enhancements--jimping on the top and bottom, texture on the Valox handle slabs, and a nice overall shape make this a very grippy knife despite its measurements.  

Carry: 2

No other knife I have owned is as easy in the pocket as this one.  It is small enough that it vanishes but not so small that it hides on you when you are looking for it.  All of the edges are rounded and the tang is concealed meaning little chance of snagging or lint collecting.  The knife is also thin and not too broad.  That would be the only knock, and it is a very small one, on the DF II.  Best carry knife I have ever owned.  AWESOME.  

Steel: 1

Okay, the Exskelibur II had 440C steel and it was merely okay.  It is pretty much the same here, but the grind is a little different.  That makes a huge difference and I will address that a bit later, but the steel itself is probably more than enough for light EDC tasks.  One thing about 440C--it takes a WICKED edge.  I got this thing unbelievably sharp on my Sharpmaker (don't tell the little Aphid that I was using a Spyderco sharpener).  I tested it on rope and clam shells, two of my most common EDC cutting tasks and it worked incredibly well.  Quite frankly I got this thing sharper than any other knife I have owned or used.  It separated the clam shell with so much ease and precision it looked like a factory edge when I was done cutting the package.  There was so little pushing or pulling, just pure cutting.  440C is pretty close to the exact average steel (somewhere slightly below VG-10) but its ability to get REALLY sharp is very nice.   

Blade Shape: 2

Very nice thin blade with plenty of belly.  I like the fact that the blade it is not so wide that it eats up pocket real estate.  Sometimes though, like with the OD-2, the blade is TOO skinny and the blade has no belly.  That is a very slight but important difference between this and the OD-2.  Great blade shape, among my favorite of the knives I have used or owned.

IMG_0030


Grind: 2

If you read the steel guide in the link above Joe gives you a master class on steel.  His basic premise is that a knife's performance comes down to three things: 1) the steel; 2) the heat treat; and 3) the grind.  Harder steels can take steeper grinds making the knife a sharper blade.  Here, Benchmade really takes advantage of the 440C's qualities by giving it a very wide secondary edge (the cutting edge) and that makes the knife very sharp.  It is a simple way to get better performance out of a slightly older steel and you can see and feel the difference in the blade.  It is handy that the previous review I did was also a blade with 440C so I could compare a good grind and a bad grind.  The grind here makes the steel quite easy to use.  The blade's main grind is a 2/3rds full grind.  I like it too, but the secondary grind is the big deal. 

Deployment Method:  2

SNAP.  For a little knife this guy really fires out of there.  I think that this knife, with this size and shape, make the assist almost necessary and fortunately the Optimiser is a great version of an assisted opening.  Here is a shot of the spine of the knife with the blade closed and the Optimiser bar tensioned:

IMG_0031


My only concern, amplified by the knife's symmetrical shape, is that it might be misconstrued by those that don't know better, that it is a switchblade.  Actuation is easy and fast.  This makes the tight quarters around the thumbstud, something that could be a drawback, into an advantage as the stud and the handle scale basically force your thumb into popping the blade open and yet all but preclude accidental activation.  Really great assist and well designed studs. 

Retention Method: 2

Clips on small knives are tough.  Too much and they overwhelm the blade.  Too little and they do not work.  Here, the clip is great and actually helps in opening the knife, giving your fingers a place to hold on to.  The clip is also really high on the blade making it my favorite design--a not quite deep carry clip.  Sometimes those really deep carry clips, like on the Flash I, make it hard to pull the knife out of the pocket. 

Lock: 2

The overall thickness of the liners and the blade make this tiny knife feel stout.  I really like the liner lock and for whatever reason, despite the lack of an access point, the liner is easy to disengage.  I think the liner lock is underrated and this is a great version.  The jimping on the liner helps too.  

Overall Score: 19 out of 20

Good lord, this much utility in a small graceful package is hard to come by in a knife market increasingly crowded with thick, fat, mall ninja blades.  And Benchmade's decision to first move it around their complicated and arbitrary product lines and then drop it outright is a sign that Benchmade, while possessing great designers and supremely skillful machinists, have a few morons over in the marketing department.  This is a great blade and they missed it.  An Aphid with awesome steel would be a very good rival to the Dragonfly II in ZDP-189.  If the steels were equal, I'd have a hard time choosing between these two gems:

IMG_0033


This is an amazing knife.  Go find it.  And hey, Benchmade, bring it back.  Maybe with some CTS-XHP steel and lightning strike carbon fiber handle scales.  Oh wait, then you'd make a Gold Class knife and charge us $500 for it.  Never mind, just make it as it was again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ToolGuyd Interview

There are a group of people out there that have done something very similar to what I have done with Everyday Commentary--they take a small sliver of the world and really specialize on a few types of things.  One my regular "checks" everyday goes to a very well done tool blog run by a guy named Stuart Deutsch.  Stuart's site, www.toolguyd.com is a great spot for deals, reviews, and release information for tools, especially power tools.  One of my other hobbies, aside from EDC stuff, is woodworking and ToolGuyd is a great place to find out new information on upcoming tools.  I met Stuart by commenting on a piece he did on a sander.  If your not a tool guy, this might not make a whole lot of sense, but I basically said that the tool he was previewing is nice, but not as nice as the new Festool Rotex 90.  Festool people are like the obnoxious Mac people of the tool world.  I happen to be both a Festool snob and a Mac snob, so I am not sure what that makes me other than a double snob.  Stuart's comments were really great in response and we struck up an email friendship.  Then he started covering EDC stuff and I now have two of his sites bookmarked, adding EDCGuyd.com to the mix.  Having sent emails back and forth, I decided it was time to subject Stuart to the scrutiny of the ten question interview (this one is real, unlike the last interview).  Here goes.

Q: What are you EDCing right now?

A: Right now I'm carrying a Leatherman Wave, Streamlight Stylus Pro, Samsung Galaxy Nexus in a Sena smartphone case, G-Shock Mudman, small Rite in Rain notepad, Parker Jotter, and two sets of keys with paracord pull-tabs. I sometimes carry a PB Swiss Insider multi-bit screwdriver, but not today.

Q: What is one of your grail EDC items?

A: I am (very impatiently) waiting for the ESEE Izula folder to come out. While it will probably be too big for me to EDC, I can't wait to see what type of abuse it can handle. [Editor's Note: the Izula folder is on indefinite hiatus, but it still looks pretty]:
 
 
Q: One thing you carry you'd like to upgrade?

A: My wallet. Right now I have a slim leather wallet I bought a couple of years ago to travel with, but it always seems to fill up with cards, receipts, and notes. Maybe a more minimalist wallet will help me break free from my bad habits.


Q: Knife question: What do you prefer: a thumb hole, thumb stud, or flipper? Why?

A:  I prefer thumb holes [Editor's Note: Yep...Stuart's good people.  This is how I pick all of the people I like.  Not Democrat or Republican, but knife deployment method]. Using a flipper tends to draw looks from friends and colleagues, and so thumb hole folders provide a little more discretion. I have nothing against thumb studs, but after using holes for so long, I find them slightly more comfortable and easier to use (if properly implemented). Thumb hole designs are also usually more thoughtfully crafted into a knife blade while studs are more utilitarian. 

Q: Flashlight question: Which do you prefer: clicky or twisty? Why?

A:  To be honest, I haven't made up my mind yet. I tend to like clicky switches as they're quicker to use, especially one-handed, but twisty switches are much better suited for multi-mode toggling. Some clickies are horribly stiff, possibly as a waterproofing consideration or to avoid accidental operation.

Q:  How did you go from Tool Guy to EDC Guy?

A: While there may be some overlap, maintaining EDCGuyd separate from ToolGuyd gives me freedom to discuss a wider range of topics. I have another catch-all site, but EDC-related content could too easily be lost there. It just did not seem fitting to discuss things like water-proof notepads, sports watches, backpacks, and mini grappling hooks next to hand and power tool previews and reviews. 

Q: Tool Question: Festool--Overrated or Gifts from the gods? You know how I feel.

A: I wouldn't say that Festool tools are overrated, although they are definitely cost-prohibitive and in some cases grossly over-priced [Editor's Note: Nuh uh]. I have found that Festool fans are always biased in favor of their costly investments [Editor's Note: Nuh uh], and opponents judge without ever using the tools they criticize. Festool tools do work exceptionally well together as a system, and some tools being much better buys than others. While they're not gifts from the gods, I wouldn't hestitate to expand my 1-tool Festool collection if or when my needs justify it and I could afford to [Editor's Note: GREEN AND BLACK, GREEN AND BLACK...]. 

Q:  What EDC related sites do you visit? What YouTube sites do you visit?

A: Every Day Commentary, EDCForum, MultiTool Forum, Blade Forum, CPF, Stormdrane's Blog, Spyderco Forums, a number of retailers' sites, and I subscribe to several gear/men's magazine sites. With limited time, I don't really spend much time on YouTube, although I'm subscribed to and try to follow Tying It All Together.
 
Q:  Fun question: How do you think 3D Printing technology is going to alter tool design in the next ten to twenty years?

A: I don't think 3D printing will heavily affect tool design, at least with respect to the ability to print out a specialty tool right at home. The material properties of plastics are a limiting factor, and there are many reasons why you won't see any metal-printing machines. While it is possible advancements in DIY 3D printing tech will lead to improvements in small CNC mill and router designs, there are many practical limitations that reduce the probability of there being a CNC solution that is as simple, standardized, well-polished, affordable, and ubiquitous as the Makerbot [Editor's Note: Easy Bake Oven for engineers' children]:



Q:  Anything you EDC that has sentimental value?

A: Not really. I try not to use or carry tools or accessories that I would regret losing, damaging, or destroying. I do have a small irreplaceable "One Hander" wrench that I discovered after my grandfather passed away, and while it's compact and handy enough to EDC, I leave it at home.

Bonus Question/Preview:

I will contact you about the Sketchup project.  Have you used Sketchup before?

I have used Sketchup on and off for a couple of years. Never really used it to model very complex objects, but I'm somewhat comfortable with the program.

[Editor's Note: I am working on an EDC-related woodworking project.  Once all of the kinks have been worked out I will release the Sketchup design and other details.]

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Fett Effect

Nutnfancy has mentioned this before in some of his videos, but I think it bear some repeating--the closer your gear looks to that of the famed bounty hunter Boba Fett, the cooler it is.  Sure, there is something nice about a pristine blade or a gleaming flashlight, but these are tools not trophies and so keeping them in their pristine state, especially with some of the more high end gear, is akin to caging a snow leopard.  It seems cruel to imprison a creature that can leap 50 feet.  Similarly, it seems cruel to keep your Steve Ku 40DD locked up in a drawer or on display.  Drop that tiny sucker in a pocket and enjoy it whenever you need a quick shot of surprisingly bright light from a package the size of a bullet.  Ku's light, if I am not mistaken came with a finished designed to show wear and I think it is a gorgeous light, once broken in.  Take a peek:

IMG_0019

But sometimes gear that isn't supposed to have that battle worn look looks cool with a few scars.  Nutnfancy loves to bust out those trail tested fixed blades and now that I have one I know why.  Nothing is as cool as well used fixed blade.  Right?

IMG_0004

Even my pricier gear has some real wear marks on it.  Check out the swirls and scratches on my Sebenza's handle in this video:

 

Manufacturers are starting to take notice of this trend.  CRKT's first Ken Onion folder, the Ripple has "hand buffed" scales so that it looks pocket worn, right out of the box.

There is just something authentic and inviting about a tool that has wear on it.  Willie Nelson's guitar, Trigger, is probably the most famous example of this:


Nelson commented how the guitar had become of a part of him and his musical style and that without it, his solos would sound like copies of the originals or bad karaoke.  For a lot of folks, like my Grandfather, his pocket knife was the same way.  He whittled with this Mini Trapper for over six decades before it became mine:

IMG_0030

So the next time you reach for your knife and then put it away because you don't want it to get damaged, think again.  No one, not a single smuggler that could make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs (yes, I am a dork), would have been afraid of Boba Fett if his armor was NIB or even LNIB.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

RoBoT One Piece Multitool

Darrell Collins, a metalworker and tool designer that runs a storefront on Etsy (remember the Etsy post?) and on Tumblr contacted me and asked if I would like to review his OPMT, the RoBoT.  Always game, I said yes and he sent me one to review.  Because this is a custom item there are no Amazon links, Amazon reviews, or price variation.  The RoBoT costs $57 and is available only on those two sites.  Here is a picture of the RoBoT Darrell sent me for review:

IMG_0044

This review took me forever to write because this little sucker took me forever to test.  I carried the RoBoT on my keychain for two weeks and it poked the shit out of my leg.  I was about to send it back and prepared a blistering review when it occurred to me, based on his description, that maybe keychain carry is not the best way to use this little tool.  One thing the RoBoT has on it that no other OPMT I have seen has is the bark scraper.  That is a hint, folks.  This is not a keychain tool, though you could carry it that way.  This is a backpack tool, something for those that hike in the great outdoors.  With that in mind, I started using the RoBoT to help around the yard with maintenance chores and I took it backpacking three weekends in a row.  

Design: 2

It is hard to break out of the mold that Peter Atwood, JDR, and others have created for the OPMT.  There are only so many ways you can embellish the edge and interior of a slab of steel.  This tool is not all that different from those that are already out there--a pry tip, a bottle/can opener, some drivers...but the notion that all of these tools work only when they are on your keychain is a faulty one.  As a keychain tool the RoBoT is clearly below par.  The two driver tips poke the shit out of your leg when the keys are in your pocket.  But, as a tool to slide into a backpack or other device and use on a camping trip, the RoBoT is really sweet.  It is a little big for the keychain too, but as a pack rider it is sweet.  Whenever I go camping there is always some sort of half-assed can opener/bottle opener in the gear, kinda funky and usually not too sturdy.  The RoBoT would be sweet in this scenario and the extra "fix-it" tools would be a nice bonus.  I'd like to dock it a point solely for the pokey-ness in the pocket.  It is really pokey, but seeing as that is probably not its best or sole role, I am not going to.  It would be like docking a fixed blade for not being easy to carry.  Definitely a different take on the OPMT form and I can't hammer it for merely being different than what I expected (which is why this review took so long). 

Fit and Finish: 2

Grind it.  Cut it.  Keep it smooth.  Darrell is a gifted metalworker and while the design is a thorny issue (oh my god...hilarious...stop me, I could do this all day), the fit and finish is very, very nice.  I especially like the thematic 8-bit font (which is well cut).  All that said the grind on the snag edge/can opener is really impressive.  There is something like a yokote (the line behind the second cutting edge on a tanto blade) on the ground rear edge and with all of that geometry Darrell manages to keep things really, really clean.  Excellent. 

IMG_0041

Theme: 2

Again, if you think this is a keychain tool you will be sadly disappointed.  If you think this is a OPMT for camping and outdoors, you will be happy.  The jagged edge is actually a bark stripper and it works well.  I had a pile of firewood outside that we use in our firepit (I find it really ironic that one of the trends of landscaping is a firepit...what's next the return of the cave?  How about designer sitting logs?).  The rain came and soaked the wood and while I could get it to light, thanks to this bad mother fucker (I know it is not EDC related, but man is this thing cool):



but they smoked like a stoner.  So I stripped off the bark with the RoBoT and the logs burned much cleaner.  I would imagine that this feature would be useful for processing wood in the wilderness, but it works best on coarse barked wood and less well on things like saplings.  With this theme in mind--the outdoors--the RoBoT is really great.  Camping is one place where I can get behind a can opener and you'll appreciate the other things as well.

Grip: 0

It is a trade off--useful bark stripper or pain free grip.  The RoBoT's design made the trade off in one direction.  If you are looking for a keychain tool, you'll want to go the other way, but I can see the utility of abandoning grip if your making a different kind of OPMT.  

Carry: 1

Same trade off--leg wounds because you use this as a keychain tool or large, easy to use and access tools with a bark stripper.  In a backpack, though, this thing can disappear in a pocket or a flap.    

Materials: 2

440C is not my favorite blade steel because it is soft, but in a OPMT it is actually quite good.  Unlike harder steels, you can really thump on the 440C here.  It is less expensive than Peter Atwood's favorite steel, S30V, but I can't really see a performance difference in this device.  The added toughness is great in an outdoors tool as it just shakes off the bumps and dings of scraping wood. 

Deployment/Accessibility: 2

If the two drivers stood out anymore this thing would be very close to a throwing star.  That's bad for carrying this in your pocket, but really good for use.  Every single tool is well-placed and accessible.  It is substantially better than the next closest tool.  Not only are all of the tools stand outs, the tool itself is huge making it nice and easy to use.

Retention Method: 1

I'd actually prefer a pocket clip on something this big and this pokey.  JDR has a OPMT with a clip and the stripper edge and stand out drivers would be "hidden" better if the device laid flat in the pocket.   The lanyard hole here is both small and difficult to reach with a traditional split ring.  My preferred key ring, a coated mechanics cable, works fine, but most people still like the ole' splitter. 

Tool Selection: 2

The pry end of this thing is a fascinating exploration of edge geometry, as I mentioned above.  But all of the tools are something I could see myself using around a camp.  I'd like a rough patch for a firesteel strikeplate to round out the rugged stuff included here. 

IMG_0048

Tool Performance: 2

Again, like with accessibility--the tools work REALLY well but the drawback is a limitation on "carry-ability." It is a trade off again, add after really cranking on a flat head screw with this guy I think I might like the direction this trade off went.  The tool's size and the drivers' positions almost make this thing as torque-y as a t-handled screwdriver.  How cool is that in a OPMT?

Overall Score: 16 out of 20

The RoBoT is not like other OPMTs.  It is not a keychain tool.  It is not for "urban convenience" (when was the last time you needed to strip bark for a fire in the city?).  It is too big and too pokey.  It can be tough to grip.  But if you are looking for something a little different, something that works well and works in places more rugged than, say, your local food court at the mall, give it a look.  Darrell is a super cool guy and he has made 100 of these tools.  One will be given away here to a randomly chosen comment.  They are a bit pricey at $57, but again these are custom handmade items not stamped sheet metal (not that there is anything wrong with that, I really liked the Gerber Shard).  While most OPMTs are tiny and convenient like R2-D2, the RoBoT is more like T-101: big, effective, and ruggedly tough.

Post away for your chance to win.  And thanks Darrell for the chance to take a peek at the Robot and for the giveaway.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

StJohn Contact Me

You won the Exskelibur II and I need your address to give it to you.  I can't get your email through Blogger.

If I have no response by Friday, I will choose another winner.

As always:

anthonysculimbrene at comcast dot net (in the usual format)


Steve Ku 40DD Video Review

The Bullet, as it is known around my house, is a really fascinating piece of tech--the SSC Tuatara of flashlights--a speck of a thing CRAMMED with bleeding edge ideas.  It has become a chase item since it was released and one of the most popular reviews on this site.  Given that, I thought I'd add to the video reviews and do one of this little light, if for no other reason than to show off how smooth QTC infinite variable brightness can be.  Steve Ku is a genius. 

Here you go:

 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mid to Large Sized Heavy Duty Folders on the Horizon

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is one of the most well-reviewed mid-sized heavy duty folders (between 3 and 3.5 inches for purposes of this article).  There is no disputing it, pretty much everyone, their buddies, and their friends love this blade.  But there is some competition on the horizon that could give this super popular blade run for its money.

First, there is the slightly less expensive option, the newly released Cold Steel Mini Recon 1.



Relying on the fantastic Tri Ad lock, Cold Steel shrunk the blade to 3 inch and they add the always popular drop point to the stable of traditional blade shapes--a clip point and a tanto.  The steel is still the Cold Steel stand by of AUS 8, which is merely okay, but the lock is pretty awesome.

Second, there is the newly released little brother to the Surefire Charlie, the Surefire Jekyll.


This blade is a hard use framelock with 154CM steel for the blade and an aluminum scale on the non-lock side.  I like the fact that this is a flipper and I also really like the 3 inch drop point blade.  Lots of belly and the grind does a good job of delivering a lot of mass to the tip.  The price, around $195, is not too bad either, for a Surefire product.

Finally, there is the soon to be released TAD Gear Dauntless production knife (I am trying to get some more information, hopefully you will see that soon too).  Here is the announcement, in case you haven't already seen it:

For 8 years we’ve worked with some of the best custom knifemakers in the industry to bring our signature Dauntless design to life. Over this time, both customers and staff have often requested a production version of the Dauntless. We heard you loud and clear and are excited to say that day is close at hand. In a few weeks, we will launch the first ever TAD Dauntless designed and produced exclusively by us.

To celebrate this milestone, we’re calling on all D.O.G.'s to submit an image of their Dauntless collection to photos@tripleaughtdesign.com for a chance to be highlighted in a special commemorative book capturing the history of this distinguished blade.

Continue to follow us on Facebook for updates as the launch draws near.


And here is the sketch of the blade itself:


We don't know much, but given the proportions of the custom versions, this looks like it will fall into the 3-3.5 inch blade size.  It will almost certainly be the most expensive of these three knives though.  Nothing from TAD is cheap.  

I'd include the Benchmade Adamas but is bigger than the arbitrary 3.5 inch blade length cut off I set for knives in this category.  Also, I find the design utterly and completely boring.  It is a fatter version of the full-sized Griptillian.  And I think the Griptillian is just a better design, so why go for this heffer (7.7 oz for the 3.82 inch Adamas and 3.82 oz for the 3.45 Griptillian)?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Response to the Exskelibur II Review

I got a lot of feedback on the previous review and one of the pieces was really outstanding.  Here it is, unedited:

Hello Anthony,


Greetings from the island Continent.


Just thought I’d PM this instead of posting on your blog.


The Bog oak is not worth money over G10, granted but another Titanium liner most definitely is. That is the biggest difference between the Exskelimoor & Exskeliber. The only plus with the Bog oak is that it weighs next to nothing which means the Exskelimoor II & Exskeliber II, on my digital scale, weigh exactly the same at 57 grams or ~2 ounces.


The Exskelimoor II has a wider handle than the Exskeliber II, respectively 15mm vs 11.5mm which has pros and cons. For pocket or tight space carry thinness is good but for a more positive and powerful grip the girth is useful.


However, the two Titanium liners means the Exskelimoor II is more rigid and doesn't need a back spacer so it is a see through pillar design.


BTW I find the knife very easy to deploy:




I've never come close to issues with blade safety when opening. Different strokes I guess.


I’ve the Exskelimoor I & II and the Exskeliber II. My samples have excellent lock up and area mostly flush with the LH tang side looking at the lock reed. Maybe was just in with the knife Gods at the time of purchase. The locks can be a bit sticky so Sharpie or pencil graphite on the blade tang can be useful.


                              


So in summary and respectfully the Exskelimoor II & Exskeliber II are not just the same knife with wood vs G10 scales described in your piece but significantly distinct siblings.


For mine, and based on your merit point system, the Exskeliber II score should be more like 13 out of 20.


Thanks for your entertaining and informative blog.


Kind regards,


Glenn

Glenn's points are almost all completely right.  Here are a couple that aren't or are opinions I disagree with.

At least according to AG Russell, the Exskelibur has Ti liners as well.  The only concern I would have is if the liners on the Exskelibur were aluminum, but they couldn't be and still have the massive weight savings Glenn points out.  In all likelihood the liners are either Ti as well or they are stainless steel which is more rigid than titanium, though heavier.

There are a bunch of ways to deploy the knife, Glenn is correct.  None of them however are ways I like.  The fastest way, the jimping flip, is still an incredibly awkward motion.  You can do it with one hand and it can be fast but it is not a very fluid or natural motion.  It is certainly not as nice as the sweep used when opening a knife with a thumb hole or the tap push of a flipper.  The custom version IS in the same league, but the greatly reduced tang in the Exskelibur II is the problem.

But again I can see how one could get use to this and how it wouldn't be any worse than a thumb stud.  This is a place where reasonable people could disagree and I can see why he'd score it a 13 instead of a 9 out of 20.

I hope that I can give you a lot of different useful opinions and not just one voice.  It is why I include and reference other reviews in every review I do and Glenn's comments as well as those in the comments section are all very good points.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boker Exskelibur II Review

Mike Skellern of Burger Knives (Burger? son-in-law perhaps of Fred Burger) makes a pretty elegantly designed folding knife, the EXK-1.  The trick is simple--the jimping on the top spine of the knife also acts as an opening mechanism for the knife.  You take your thumb or pointer finger and run it down the jimping towards the pivot end of the knife and when your digit passes over the pivot the pressure forces the blade open.  No gawky thumb stud, no protruding flipper, and no thumb hole.  The result is a clean design with no extra parts.  In the original custom version, it is safe to say I am HUGE fan.  This is one of the knives on my short list of customs.  The cleverness of the design is great, but Burger's prices are really attractive for a custom--$310 is a good deal (I think this may of something to do with the funky exchange rate between dollars and rand; a friend of mine went to South Africa and told me he lived like a king for a week on like $500, including hotel).

The Exskeliber II, the smaller of the two models and the model based on the original EXK-1 custom, is produced by Boker, part of their Boker Plus line, though I will confess that the ambiguous and crowded product line makes it difficult to figure out why this is important or why it matters.  This particular model is made in China.  I got mine (which will be given away the day this review is posted) from Knifecenter.com.  All told there are four different models based on the the EXK-1, the Exskelibur I, a larger model with a blade slightly longer than 3 inches, this smaller model and then two "upscale" versions, the Exskelimoor series, that are identical except for the handle scales while are made of "bog oak" instead of G-10 and the smaller model doesn't have a nail nick (which is entirely superfluous and present to fool people into thinking this is a two-handed opening knife, which it is not).

ASIDE

Bog oak is a wood that sounds nice, but something that true woodworkers know is an inferior species.  It is like "winewood", it sounds fancy, but is really just junk--open grain, no distinguished pattern or coloration, and quite ugly.  Bog wood's most beautiful forms, curvy driftwood shapes used in the 19th century as a carving substrate for jewelry, are not helpful for handle scales and so what you end up with is something pretty dark, unimpressive, and bland. Certainly not something worth money over G-10.

END ASIDE

Here is the Exskelibur II product page.  Here is a good street price from Amazon (again, clicks benefit the site and help with giveaways): 


Here are the Amazon reviews.  It got a score of 5 stars out of 5, with 1 review.  Here is a good video review.  Here is a good written review.  Here is my Exskelibur II:

IMG_0030

Design: 0

Sometimes you know something could be seen differently from how you see it.  You have an opinion, you can back it up with facts and arguments, but you recognize that in the end, reasonable minds could disagree.  For example, I love movies, love them.  And I love classical music.  But I HATE Amadeus.  I know it is a good movie.  F. Murray Abraham's fictionalized take on Salieri is an amazing performance, but I just hated the movie.  It was long, boring, and poorly paced.  But some folks, people whose opinion I respect, cherish the flick.  I can see their point, but I am never going to agree with it.  

It is like that with the Exskelibur II.  I can get the knife open with one hand.  I like the opening's design, as it is on the custom original, but for inexplicable reasons, Boker sheered off the portion of the knife that overhands the handle scales behind the pivot.  Take a peek at the custom original:

 

and a picture of the Boker production version

IMG_0033

The difference is subtle but the effects on the knife are HUGE.  The tang extending beyond the handle on the custom gives you tons of leverage, enough to pop open the knife with one hand, as demonstrated in this video (fast forward to around 2:30):


The larger version of the Exskelibur has this overhang as well and allows for smooth one handed opening.  The smaller version does not and while it is possible to open the knife one handed it is an awkward two step procedure.  The result is a failure on every level.

But here is the thing.  I really don't like it, but I can see how some people would love it.  It is awkward and less than smooth, but there is something appealing about how the opening works.  With lots and lots of practice I was able to get it to pop open in one motion.  The look of the knife is greatly aided by the lack of adornments such as thumb studs or flippers and so, if you can get over the opening (or if you happen to like it), this is a major plus for the knife.  I don't, but I could see how some would.

Oh and one other thing, a good thing, this knife packs in the blade with the best blade:handle I have seen thus far with a .77.    

Fit and Finish: 0

There is really no dispute here--Boker cheaped out on just about everything.  The liner lock moves WAY TOO FAR OVER on the blade tang for me.  Evidence:

IMG_0038

That much movement means that there is little room for wear AND that you have really engage the knife to make sure the liner lock is in place.  Strike one.

Then there is the weirdo pivot screw.  Why is this necessary?  Why make the pivot screw a perfect copy of the custom and bork the opening mechanism?  Ugh.  I hate proprietary screws.  Boker does include a handy little spanner device, but why go to the extra expense of making that thing?  Why not just use a standard pivot screw?  Strike two.

Then there is the fact that the pocket clip is both insanely tight AND uses Phillips screws.  One sub-three inch knife, three different fucking fastners.  Knife makers, learn from the master--every single fastner on the Sebenza is the same and interchangeable with every other fastner.  One of the maxims of good design is to reduce complexity whenever you can.  THREE different fastners is not doing that.  There are six fastners total--two torx screws on the handle, the custom pivot screw, and three Phillips screws on the pocket clip and three different kinds among those six.  Strike three.

Grip: 1

The knife is a really nice size and the G-10 handles are smooth (but not too smooth) and convex.  The only ding is that there is really no traction plan AND the shape of the blade and handle promote forward motion.  It is one sloping graceful shape into another, until your fingers run across the blade.  

Carry: 2

The G-10 is smooth and the knife is very slim.  Overall carry is quite nice.

Steel: 1

This blade uses 440C which lots of people like (see the Talmadge steel guide in the "Basics" link above).  I am not one of them.  This was the super steel in the early 80s.  That was thirty years ago.  Computers from the early 80s aren't cutting edge anymore and neither is this steel.  For a comparison I whittle some small sticks to make roasting sticks.  I whittle two with this knife and two with my favorite EDC knife the Dragonfly II in ZDP-189.  The difference was night and day.  Technological development is a wonderful thing.  This steel is merely okay.  

Blade Shape: 2

I like the overall shape of the blade. It gives you a ton of belly, and a graceful silhouette.  The shape is also quite nice to tuck into the pocket and forget.
IMG_0034

Grind: 2

Alright, this is a close one.  I love the hollow grind on the main blade, but I am not thrilled with the steep approach on the secondary bevel.  Not my favorite.  I also like the horizontal brush on the satin finish.  That is the good.  

But here is the bad, and I am not sure it is all that big a deal given that this is an EDC knife: with a blade shape like this and a very high hollow grind there is very, very little left at the tip of the knife.  

IMG_0035

The Skyline had the same problem and that knife got a point taken away because it was a larger knife more likely to be pressed into a higher impact role than mere EDC use.  This smaller knife is probably safe with such a thin tip.  Not my favorite, but the slicing action with this knife is really amazing, so I will take the trade off here.  

Deployment Method: 0

Most of my problems with the deployment method were laid out above.  This could be so great, so elegant and stylish and for no reason whatsoever Boker killed the design.  It looks really nice, but it fails on the most fundamental level.  That is, this knife's deployment is like the Ponitac Solstice--good looking but terrible performance.  

Retention Method: 1

I can ignore the screws, I guess, but the tension on the pocket clip is insane.  I have never experienced a pocket clip this tight on any knife.  It just doesn't make sense.  The clip design itself is pretty nice and quite simple but there is no way around it--this thing will shred your pocket, even with the underlay of smooth G-10.

Lock/Blade Safety: 0

The lock is fine, a little far over on the tang, but fine.  There is a serious problem with blade safety though.  Because of the neutered opening mechanism in order to really pop the knife open you have to switch grips and in doing so your finger passes perilously close to the knife's live edge.  This is the very definition of a bad idea.  It's just not good.   

Overall Score: 9 out of 20

If you like this knife's opening mechanism, and I can see why some people would, it is a much better knife, but in my eyes this knife is a failure.  It is not awful, the blade shape is pretty glorious, but what a missed opportunity.  As a representative of the Boker line, this is something of a disappointment.  Lots of weird, unnecessary problems, and a fundamental disregard for the whole reason why this knife is cool in its custom formulation leaves me cold to Boker in general and this blade in particular.

GIVEAWAY:

I feel bad that this is the knife that is going to be given away, seeing as I panned it.  It is honestly okay and hell, who, out of the people that read this blog, wouldn't take a free knife, right?

So, the winner of the Exskelibur II giveaway is User Name stjohn.  Send me your email and I will send you this blade.

anthonysculimbrene at comcast dot net in the usual format.