It was a pretty cold January, but it didn't snow a lot. It seemed Mother Nature saved her fury for a three week stretch in February, where we got a winter's worth of snow in three storms, and a single huge dump the day in March I published this post. In between those two times it warmed up considerably, so there was a lot of wet slushy days.
I was testing quite a few knives, as is always the case in January. With SHOT Show as the starter's pistol for the gear year, I got a bunch of press packets and a few review samples. The Efficient, above, was a sterling start to the year. As was the excellent CRKT Pilar:
The Squire has been one of the most difficult to review products I have ever encountered. I think it is the fact that when writing it is quite amazing, but in the pocket or on the table (which eventually ends in "on the ground") it is bad. My kingdom for one less logo and a pocket clip. I have calmed down from my ranty self that you can see in the overview on the YouTube feed (above under "Videos"), but the pen still irks me.
If the S-series has been overdone, they certainly saved the best for last. The H1R is an incredible light--smaller than the S1R, just as bright, with a better UI and the crank head design isn't as jarring as I thought it would be. I really like the light in the included headband, which on its own, is actually pretty decent. As a single do-everything light, the H1R is hard to beat. It works well in the pocket and on your forehead, even if you still look one step removed from tin foil hat status.
Let me just mention this--I am know I am not a great photographer, but boy is that a cool picture. The textures and colors and worn elements all just work. No filters ever, mainly because I forget.
The BOSS 35 is making a very strong case during its testing period to be the ultimate "One Light to Rule Them All." Its low light performance is amazing, only bested by its high. And the clicky, which baffled me for awhile, until I realized it was a forward and not reverse clicky (as is so common these days), is actually very responsive. Oh, the light is a positive joy for the fingers. They just drink in all of the smoothed out edges and burnished surfaces. This is one light that is as cool to handle as it is to inspect with your eyes.
The EQ-1 returned to me after a year or two being gone. It is a very unique knife, something that I get is not for everyone, but its worth experiencing a knife that is 100% handmade at least once. It has no impact on function, but it is cool to inspect all of the details and imagine all of the work being done. Making screws by hand seems like terribly fiddly work. On some of my bigger woodworking projects there were times when I was nearing the end that I was just beyond done with fiddly bits and here I can only image threading metal rods through a threadcutting machine and wanting to scream, but the tradition is that Yuna Knives are 100% single authorship pieces.
Time and again as I drift in and out of custom knives and production blades I come back to this point--the Mnandi is one of the most beautiful, well-made knives I have ever handled, custom or otherwise. It is a splendid blade and has one of the best pocket clips ever. For all the clip's beefiness, it still has a bit of snap to it. How Mr. Reeve made that happen is beyond me. This is a great pocket pair for dress slacks and no one, even the most anti-knife person on the planet, hates the Mnandi when they see it. It is just classy.
I am still working through the stub nib I bought for the Vanishing Point. Clearly something was amiss with the tines when I received it. I had to hold it at JUST the right angle to make it write and if I didn't oh man was it a mess. I am not going to review a nib, but I much prefer the stock medium nib that came with the VP than this nib. That said, over the last few days it has smoothed out considerably and is more forgiving with the angle of writing. Its not so crisp that the vertical strokes and horizontal strokes look all that different, but it is getting there. This nib simply underscores how good the nib on my Edison Pearlette is. With three different stub nibs from three different makers under my belt, I feel like I can meaningfully review the Pearlette now. BOLO for that review.