Thursday, September 22, 2016

Axis Lock Tear Down

As is often the case, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided it was time to see exactly how the axis lock works. The Axis lock is currently my favorite folding knife lock. It is very easy to operate, offers a tight lockup, and is a lot of fun to open and close. I was surprised at the overall simplicity of the design. The only fidgety part about getting it all back together is the alignment of the blade stop pin in its nested frame holes while positioning the lock bar. In all it took me around 45 minutes to strip the knife, clean, and reassemble it. Anyone with a little mechanical inclination should have no trouble doing the same.   

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Council Tool Velvicut Boy's Axe: Initial Impressions

I took my new Council Tools Velvicut Boy's Axe out for some time in the woods this afternoon. My initial impression is favorable. The axe feels good in the hands. The handle is around 27 1/2 inches. It is just slightly shorter than my Council FSS boys axe and Fiskars 28 inch chopping axe. The head weight is listed at 2.25 lb. Overall it is a few ounces heavier than the FSS version and about the same as the Fiskars. The handle is well contoured and shaped. From the factory the edge was sharp and needed no work. I tested it right out the box.

It bites nice and deep into the wood. The lighter head weight allows for a lot of chopping before arm fatigue. The handle comes from the factory un-coated. I coated mine with a few coats of boiled linseed oil. 

Overall I am very pleased with its performance right out of the box. It also seems to hold an edge well. I used it for about an hour of chopping and noticed no edge damage whatsoever. The 5160 that the axe is forged from holds a keen edge.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Ultimate Knife Sharpening System: Tutorial

This is the system for knife sharpening I have come to rely on after years of trial and error. I have sharpened well over 100 knives using this method. I have also used the same equipment to make over 50 custom knives.

The two main pieces of equipment I use are the Kalamazoo 1SM 1"x42" belt sander and a variable speed 6" Porter-Cable bench grinder with 8" paper sharpening wheels. I start off on the belt sander with a 120 grit belt. I then move up in grit to 220, then 400, and finally 600. A tip I picked up reading Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop is to apply a marker to the edge of the blade to be sure material is actually being removed where it needs to be.

After I am satisfied with the results on the belt sander  I move over to the bench grinder to polish the edge and remove any burr that still remains.

With a little bit of practice it is quick and easy to achieve razor sharp results on almost any knife or edge tool.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Spyderco Proficient Slices Into 2016

The Proficient checks almost every box on my dream knife wish list. It has a comfortable handle. It is crafted from durable carbon fiber and S90V. The fit and finish are excellent. The full flat grind blade with distal taper cut very well. The edge came razor sharp. Sounds great right, what's the catch? The two big ones are the steep price, MSRP $489, $250 street and it's not made in the United States. That being said S90V along with carbon fiber are expensive labor intensive materials and the Taiwanese craftsmanship is spot on.

The one fault I will level at the Spyderco Proficient is that the sheath does not fit the knife properly. More specifically the plastic insert is too small to allow the knife to fully seat into the sheath. Luckily this is easily remedied by removing the plastic liner.

length overall: 8.75" (222 mm)
blade length: 4.00" (102 mm)
blade steel: CPM S90V
cutting edge: 3.89" (99 mm)
weight: 6.3 oz (179 g)
blade thickness: 0.14" (3.5 mm)
handle material: Carbon Fiber

The Proficient and Bushcraft share the best handle design of any knife I have ever used. They have smooth contours, palm swell, rounded pommel and radiused edges. In use all grip positions are comfortable and secure. The carbon fiber scales feel warm to the touch similar to wood. They are also slightly grippier than the bushcraft's G10.

The full flat grind blade makes food prep a breeze. The Proficient feels right at home in the kitchen and work nearly as well as purpose built kitchen cutlery. The stainless steel nature of S90V means that I don't have to worry about every acidic food and stray water drop causing rust.

In the woods the the full flat grind works great for feather sticks, notching and fine tip work. I typically use an axe to split wood but the Proficient would do in a pinch. The spine is ground flat with a sharp edge which works great on ferro rods. The full flat grind carves well but can be a little unpredictable due to the continuously curved blade and distal taper. The blade really bites in deep making stop cuts for notching.

The knife work excellent for opening feed bags, cutting twine and removing low hanging branches around my farm. Friction holds the knife securely in the sheath even when it is shaken upside down. Walking around the farm I quickly forget I am carrying it. The weight of the knife and sheath seem just right, not too light or heavy.

CPM S90V claims to have substantial greater wear resistance than 440C or D2. So far I have no reason to dispute that. I have used the knife for every cutting task in this review and many more over the course of a week and the edge is still hair popping sharp.

In conclusion, is this the last knife I will ever buy? Probably not. Does it do the job of cutting a variety of different materials with ease? Yes. Is it absolute the best grind and geometry for all knife related cutting and splitting tasks? No one knife is. Is it an absolute joy to hold and use? Absolutely. Will this knife provide years and years of cutting utility? I don't see why not. Would I recommend this knife to a friend? You bet.

Has anyone else had a chance to put the Spyderco Proficient to work?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Axe Review: Estwing Camp Axe (E44A)

Estwing Camp Axe E44A 18 in
Price: $39.98 plus tax at Home Depot - As of 12.01.2015
Weight: 38 oz or 2.375 lb
Dimensions: Overall Length-18 in, Handle Length-16 in Head Width-7 in, Cutting Edge- 4 in Head Thickness-1 in, Handle Width-1.5in.
Materials: Head-Forged Steel 1055??, Handle nylon Vinyl Shock reduction grip, sheath-Leather
Manufactured in USA
  1. Great Chopper
  2. Cost High Value
  3. Made in the USA
  4. Excellent Leather Sheath
  5. Strength/Durability (Single piece steel construction)
  6. Fit and Finish
  7. Excellent Grip
  8. Comfortable in hand for long periods
  9. After thinning the edge it bites into wood deep
  1. Splitting performance could be better but then it probably would not chop as well
  2. Factory edge needs thinned out and sharpened (edge geometry)
  3. Choking up is tricky due to single piece construction
  1. Yard clean up
  2. Splitting kindling
  3. Car Camping
  4. Hunting
  5. De-limbing trees
  6. Backpacking if you don’t mind the weight
  7. Felling small trees

So What:
This axe offers a high value considering it is USA made, easy to find, durable, chops great after thinning the edge.
Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Entrek Forester (SOLD)

The Entrek Forester is hand made by Ray Ennis. Here is his description of the knife "The Entrek USA FORESTER is a Scandinavian design similar to a Swedish Mora.  The scandi ground blade is one of the sharpest you will ever encounter.  Overall length is 7 7/8" with a 3 5/8" long 1/8" thick blade.  Like all Entrek USA knives it comes with a Kydex sheath.  Suggested retail price is $150.00."
The knife is in excellent condition. I have polished the primary bevels to a high polish to cut even better with less resistance. The edge is flawless and razor sharp.

Send me an email at if you are interested.


Here is the video review I made with this actual knife.