American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hand Sharpening

Before heading out into the world today, I decided to work on the edge of my old red Victorinox Pioneer. It definitely needed some love before it was ready to cut again.

You can see everything I used to establish the edge and then bring it up to a nice polish (well, I'm really only half-way there so it's not even stropped yet.)

I use the Sharpie to color in the edge on the knife so I can tell where my abrasives are taking off steel. The little Photon Microlight is there to give me light right where I need it while looking for a burr. The pocket microscope from Radio Shack is for getting an up close look at the edge and any micro-burrs I may have. The stones are from DMT and are coarse (blue) and fine (red) and will work quickly for putting a new edge on the knife.

The knife started out the day sharper than most knives being carried by the "unwashed masses" out there but it wasn't sharp by my standards or, more than likely, your standards so it needed to go through the whole process.

After the blue DMT it's already pulling at the hair on my arms but it's not popping them off yet. I'll continue to work this edge for a short time and then move on to the red and repeat the process. It should shave hair at every stage of the process because you're setting the edge at the beginning and then simply refining it through the use of smaller and smaller abrasives as you go.

This one won't get the 100K-grit diamond spray because it just doesn't need it. The black magic compound will be more than enough to handle whatever I can throw at the SAK today. It'll be demanding work like cutting down boxes and cutting up sandwiches but I think the edge will be able to handle it. :)

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Workin' for a Livin'

I had an opportunity to spend the day working with Spen at JRE Industries today.

Spen walked me through the process of how they make their four-sided strop bats and let me make today's production run with some supervision so I had a better idea of what went into them.

Here's the first thing I can tell you:

They're not charging enough for these things considering how much work goes into them.

I got to cut out, glue up, finish, load, box, and ship them so if you get a bat in the next couple of days, there's a good chance I had a hand in the production of it. :)

While I was there, I got to see some of the things Spen is currently working on but I've promised not to say anything until products are on the website.

When I got home I found leather dust in my hair and stropping compound on my shorts but, given the opportunity, I'd be back there tomorrow to do it all again.

I really had a great time and heard about some of the things JRE Industries is doing to grow the business and it sounds pretty darned exciting.

Just remember, when it happens, you read about it here first.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Diamond Spray

I picked up some diamond spray from Graves Lapidary Supply a while back and have been using it for various sharpening/polishing projects around the house with some degree of success.

The grit selection was fantastic with everything from 600 up to 200,000 and many steps in between. I picked 600, 1200, 50K, 100K, and 200K as a sampling.

To use, you shake, shake, shake the bottle and then pump the sprayer while aiming at the surface you want to impregnate with diamonds. A few pumps is all you need.

I use the 600 sprayed on cardboard for a rough and ready strop and the 100K is what I've sprayed on a leather strop for my straight razor. My 1200 jams up on me so it's loaded on a piece of balsa and little else. The others are not being used as much but for what they cost will still find some use around here.

You can hear the 600 cutting and I can tell the 100K is working on polishing the edge because I'm shaving with that razor every day.

I've heard super fine diamonds loaded on leather sit too low to do any good but that's not been my experience so far.

The possibilities for using these diamonds seems as limitless as your imagination. Spray some on newspaper and use it like sandpaper for polishing. Instead of using sandpaper on a mouse pad, just spray the mouse pad.

One word of caution: Do NOT inhale the vapor as you're spraying the diamond suspension. Those superfine abrasives would mess you up if you got them in your lungs or even just in your nasal passages.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Spyderco Para-Military 2

I've been carrying this one on and off since I received it and it was intended as a replacement for the well-used Para-Military mainly to contrast the two versions and to judge, for myself, the improvements made.

Both feature S30V blades, black G10 handles, stainless liners, and the Compression Lock. The original (C81G) was 7 7/8" overall with a 3 3/32" blade length and weighed in at 3.75 oz. The new model (C81G2) is 8 9/32" overall with a 3 7/16" blade length and weighs the same 3.75 oz.

There were some additional refinements to the knife including the enlarged lanyard hole, the smoother transition from the hole to the pivot when the knife is closed, and the ability to move the clip for tip-up or tip-down carry. There is also a Bushing Pivot System to further smooth the action.

My only gripe about this knife or the Para-Military was the uneven edge grind. The C81G came with the edge ground too thin right at the plunge line and I've been trying to fix it ever since and the C81G2 has a wobbly grind on the right side.

Both of these issues will work themselves out in time but it's frustrating to purchase a new knife and have to immediately work on the edge to clean up a manufacturing issue.

I'm not sure I've even used the P-Mil2 enough to break it in yet but it's getting there. I just constantly grab the P-Mil because it's so comfortable in my hand and still gets the job done. It's also so smooth that the blade will fall open or closed when I press on the compression lock and the P-Mil2 isn't there yet.

Having them side by side, you can tell where the C81G2 comes from but I think of it as a distinct knife in the lineup instead of a re-release of an existing model. It's slightly longer blade, cleaned up transition from the hole to the pivot, and the refined blade shape make it an entirely different animal in my opinion.

Either way, it's still a heck of a knife made with some high-end materials and can be found online for around $100 when in-stock and that represents quite a value.

Thanks for reading,