Monday, October 17, 2016

September 2016 Carry

August faded away and fall nestled in quickly.  The change from shorts to jeans has made carry a lot easier.  It is also brought with it weather that let's me fire up the camp fire a bit more often.  I got a few new items in, but one item absolutely dominated my carry this past month--the Olight S1R Baton.  Its not just a great light, it might be the best production light ever made.  The review will be chock full of comparisons because this is a great that rivals some of the very best. 

Olight S1R Baton and the GEC Small Jack #25

The Small Jack was a gift from my uncle-in-law.  I think of it as the Dragonfly II of the GEC lineup--its compact, but capable with a slightly wider than average blade.  The 1095 works well here as it is not a knife I thrust into hard use situations.  As a slicer its very nice, though I am careful to keep it clean.  The patina thing isn't my favorite.

I love cooking over an open flame and by cooking I mean searing meats and toasting other things.  I am not a chef by any means, but the camp iron is a good way to transform otherwise boring ingredients into something downright delicious.  Here I took sourdough bread added some peanut butter and buttered both sides to make something both my oldest son and I scarfed down. 

Spyderco Techno and the HDS Rotary

The Techno is probably my all time favorite Spyderco, even though rationally I know the Dragonfly II is better.  The look, the in hand feel, and the insane fit and finish make this a knife I can never get rid of, regardless of what comes down the pike.  And the Rotary, well, its still my go to light when SHTF. 

Working in an office has marked reduced the number of knives I like to carry and the ZDP-189 version of the ZT0450 is one of them.  Its feather weight, solid lock up, and great flipper make it ideal.  It has also made the 940-1 redundant.  I greatly prefer this knife to that knife even though the materials aren't all that different.  The flipping action is so much better on this blade than on the all titanium version I reviewed a year or so ago. 

Olight S1R Baton and the Zero Tolerance ZT0450ZDPCF

As I prepare for two different shoot outs I have amassed some nice stuff.  One of those pieces is this gem, the Steelcraft Mini Bodega. 

Muyshondt Aeon Mk. III and the Steelcraft Mini Bodega

It is still bonkers how good this knife is.  Even my Dad, who has a passing interest in gear, was blown away.  Normally when I tell him the price of something like this he just groans.  But here he saw where the money was used.  This blade is outstanding in every way. 

I had a chance to cross a knife off my list that I have been wondering about for a while--the Al Mar Falcon.  This is the bigger, clipped version of the Hawk.

MBI HF-R, Al Mar Falcon Ultralight, Tactile Turn Shaker

Though it took a while to get around to it, I am glad I landed this knife because it is awesome in every way the Hawk was awesome, plus a few extra ways.  This is a good blade.

MBI HF-R, the Al Mar Falcon, and a freshly pick Macoun apple (all are delicious)

One of my very favorite fall traditions, right up there with Thanksgiving, is apple picking and the Falcon came with me--its a great apple slicer and peeler and the AUS8 is 100% worry free.  Paired, as here, with the MBI HF-R, this is a super capable and super light kit.

October has the one and only holiday that necessitates a flashlight--Halloween.  This is the Super Bowl for us flashoholics.  I recommend you start thinking about what you will carry soon.  Mine will be the old stand by, the same light I have carried for the last three Halloweens--the HDS Rotary.  Does everything, does it well, just the right size and has just the right amount of throw.

Busse Watch:  Called again last week.  I was told "maybe by the end of the year."  Oh well, this year's Chopocalypse will focus on mid-sized knives.  I need one more to round out the trio.  I am still bummed, but oh well.  And no, I don't think it will be here before the end of the year.  I am hoping it is here before the end of 2017.  If not, then I might be disappointed. 2-20 weeks...BULLSHIT.


  1. Is your zt0450 zdp cf a better slicer than your review 0450?

    1. It has an identical grind to the original 0450, so not out of the box - however, the higher hardness on the ZDP-189 means you can reprofile the sharpening bevel to be shallower, which will help (if you're up for reprofiling ZDP-189, that is.)

    2. UGH. I ruined my df2 zdp-189 trying to re-profile (came with a pretty crappy grind). That stuff is TOUGH. I've been putting off sending it to someone to fix for about 6 months...

  2. I agree about the greatness of the Techno. And I also agree that the DF2 is better. But it's totally valid to say "this knife is the best one, but this other one is my favorite."
    My Spyderco collection so far: DF2 ZDP, Chaparral, Techno, Delica HAP40, DF2 HAP40, Mantra, Nirvana, Endura HAP40. And I can say that the best-made is the Nirvana, the best-designed are the DF2s, and my favorite is the Mantra closely followed by the Techno. BUT. Gun-to-head and I can only keep one, it's the Delica because it has the most sentimental value.

    Also I'm glad now I didn't ever get the S1 Baton, because now I can justify getting the S1R.

  3. Man that busse wait is a fiasco. How can they mess up an already incredibly vague and long estimation for a full tang fixed blade? Its not like they are using tiny precision parts.

    Tony, are you going to be getting a Spyderco Ouroboros in for review?

    1. +1 to this, along with the Introvert and maybe Sage 5. Maybe a "Quick Hits: Spyderco Edition"?

  4. The olight baton looks sweet and might be my next buy. Have you come across the Nitecore TIP 360? It seems like neat little USB rechargeable keychain light.

  5. I'll look forward to your full review of the Al Mar Falcon.

    I've been EDCing an Al Mar Eagle Ultralight for a couple of weeks. Really like it. It's a convenient size and weight despite the 4" blade. Totally reasonable for everyday use. Great slicer. Because my name is not Nutnfancy I carry it clipped to my back pocket rather than as my 5th backup blade in a fanny pack. ;)

    I had a bad experience with the AUS-8 on my first Al Mar a while back but this Eagle is giving me no trouble! A sound utility steel. I'd score it a 1.5 out of 2.

    I love, love the simple neutral handle shape on these Ultralights with the pleasantly rounded, barely-matte micarta handles. I am becoming really intolerant of low-affordance knives with overly-choiled grips. Our evolutionary unconscious makes our hand yearn to close around a nice rounded stick. Neutral handle is the way to go for 98% of folder chores.

    1. I recently picked up an Eagle by mistake (an embarrassing impulse auction-snipe on ebay of what I thought was a Falcon, a knife I've wanted for ages). As soon as I realized the error, I immediately started figuring out how I'd get rid of it--"That 4" blade is ridiculous, I'll never find a use for it, etc."

      When it arrived, though . . . gorgeous, in every way. And it really does kind of melt into the pocket. Oddly, it's found a role as my camping folder--best food prep folder I've ever seen, and I have a sheath knife on me to handle the heavier stuff when I'm in the woods. The AUS-8 holds an edge just fine with this geometry and sharpens in five minutes or less. I'm less and less enamored with supersteels as my experience in living with them grows, to be honest, so this suits me fine.

      I wouldn't have bought it intentionally, and at anything close to full retail I would have felt sick about it, but under these circumstances it might be a keeper. Still want a Falcon, though . . .

    2. Yeah, it's an outstanding food prep knife and is a breeze to carry.

      My EDC chores tend to involve box and cardboard cutting plus a fair amount of picnicky food prep, so the Eagle has fit right in.

      My first Al Mar was a Falcon Ultralight that eventually got sold a few years ago. I liked it a lot except for the blade steel; but, given how pleased I am now with this Eagle, I wonder if the real problem was that I lacked experience with AUS-8 and didn't know how to sharpen/strop well.

      I find the Eagle's full sized handle to be soooo comfortable. The choice between it and the Falcon probably comes down to that. Plus some people do prefer a shorter blade -- the Falcon would be a smidge handier for fine tasks like apple paring, though the Eagle is still good at that and better for slicing chicken breasts.

      (Legal restrictions might be another reason to go with the Falcon, but bear in mind that it is still over 3" blade length, so what the Falcon gets you over the Eagle is the ability to carry in 3.5" jurisdictions, of which there are still a few, e.g. Colorado.)