Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oops I did it again. Surefire G3 Nitrolon, jerky and resolutions

I know all of my gear will come in handy some day. Those who know me personally are aware of my fondness for Surefire's G2 polymer body flashlights. They are essentially lightweight plastic versions of the Surefire classic, 6P. G2's are powered by 2 lithium CR123 batteries and I've found these lights to be extremely reliable. Today, with a bit of Christmas cash in hand, I went North to Silverdale, WA, home of Sportsman's Warehouse. I've just ordered a handful of knives and EDC items and Sportsman's had nothing interesting knifewise. I was originally going to buy *just* a box of Surefire batteries, but the lights caught my eye. The G3 in essentially the G2 with an extra battery and increased brightness. Jesus, having a place to live rent-free is encouraging me to continue to go nuts with my obsessive gear buying!! I need to slow my roll if I want to see Europe next year, or in 2010. I'm bad with setting goals and sticking to plans, so we'll see what kind of beautiful evil knife manufacturers like Benchmade release to drain me of my potential travel funds in the coming year. Of course no visit to Sportsman's Warehouse would be complete without insane amounts of dried meat. I bought a pound and a half of assorted jerky flavors. Yes, at one time I was a staunch vegetarian, from age 16-22. Then I had foot surgeries, got lazy and realized the temporary joy a Big Mac can bring. I've never looked back. Yes, this animal loving gear-junkie is a true carnivore.

This blog is terrible for my wallet. Eric and I write about stuff we'd spend our money on anyway, but my little shoulder-devil always says "yes, yes, buy it Aaron, you can write about it on the blog!". I'm a sucker for the whispered words of my little shoulder-devil. He's the one that encourages me to make poor decisions and get fat on bad food!

2009 will be the year I tried. I'm bad at following through. I never finish anything. But mark my words, I'm going to get in shape, go to Europe, and maybe find a wife. Not neccessarily in that order though. I'm baring my soul for those who care to read. In 2009 I have nothing to lose, I'm 31 years old, single, childless and relatively happy, but I need a change. Maybe I should try to find a job in PR or advertising with a knife company? Hmm? Maybe I'll go to Germany and apprentice with some Gepetto-esque knifemaker and live off bread and wine, and run 5 miles daily until I have a better physique than educated action-schlub Dolph Lundgren.

Anyhow, if you're reading, I wish you a happy new year...more to come from S, B and T in 2K9.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Spoiled by Santa, a Sharp, Bright and Tactical Christmas


Wow. My parents rule for too many reasons to list here. Let's just say they know me better perhaps than anyone else, with the exception of select longtime friends and 1 woman who I spent nearly a decade of my life with. I got them some pretty bangin' Xmas gifts...Dad got a Cold Steel wickedly serrated bread knife, a Tactical Tailor utility pouch for his Surefire G2 and a bunch of other small but useful things like trout lures. I gave Ma a Mundial scissor set, a Fisher Space Pen and other useful items like hiking socks and a keychain knife.

Ma surprised both Dad and myself this morning with Gerber's Ripstop multi tool. I have been fairly impressed with Gerber's recent Asian made products like the Profile series and the Artifact tool, and one can NEVER have too many multi tools. I'll do an in-depth review of the Ripstop tool soon, but for now, here's a peek at the tool that retails for nearly $60.00 USD, but can be found online or at stores like Target for under $30.00.

My folks encouraged me to make a bit of a Christmas list this year, as they implied I'd get a card with money if I didn't give them some ideas. Hell! that'd be fine by me, but they like the whole ritual of unwrapping things, and we all like the fact that I'm not in the hospital this Christmas, as I was last year in 2007, with bloodclots in my lungs, a hospital-given blood infection and excruciating chest pain.

Anyhow, I randomly sent Ma some knifecenter links of knives I'd like to own, but maybe wouldn't buy for myself. So, the Lonewolf Harsey T1 with rosewood scales and a blade of CPMS30V was almost enough of a shock to put me back in the hospital this Christmas!

I'm really stoked on this little folder, the blade is just over 3 inches and the design is "tactical", yet classy. It's no wonder the look and feel of this knife reminds me a bit of the old Gerber US made knives like the Applegate folder. Lonewolf was created by former Gerber employees from what I understand. Al Mar was also a Gerber employee before starting his own company, as was Pete Kershaw. Interesting.

Anyway, I just had to share my joy. I hope everyone is warm and safe and doing well. Merry Christmas. Christian or not, this is a good time to celebrate the fact that you are alive, and to appreciate what you've got. No matter how bad things are, there's always a hell of a lot of folks worldwide who have it way worse than we do.

take care, and stay sharp...

Monday, December 22, 2008

SOG Aegis Assisted Openers now available

I have mixed feelings in general on SOG knives. I've always felt they were a little too pricey for what they were, and that they really played up the whole SEAL knife thing. Most Special Ops folks can likely choose their knife and I'm sure many Navy SEALs use other brands in addition to SOG. I own the original SEAL 2000 knife and it's decent, but I do own better fixed blades at similar, and dare I say less expensive price points.

All that aside, I have to say that the newly released line of Aegis folders from SOG, looks pretty impressive. I would like to support the once-great local company in some way, and it's been a very long time since SOG did anything that really impressed me. Don't get me wrong, they do make very high quality products, they just seemed to have been playing "me too" for several years. SOG's Arc-lock is a prime example, it's very similar to Benchmade's Axis lock. Then again, almost every major company has some sort of take on the Axis, and they obviously aren't infringing directly on any patents. I was going to say the same of their assisted knives. Kershaw's Ken Onion knives were the first assisted openers I'm aware of that saw mass production, and even Benchmade was late on assisted knives, so the same could be argued of them in the assisted knife case. It certainly is customer demand that drives these trends in the industry.

I've owned a couple of SOG knives, and they are high quality, and when I was working in retail cutlery, they most definitely stood behind their products. Their foreign-made Fusion line is very cool and creative, with their tough and inexpensive tactical tomahawk and the Spirit spear/knife that can be used as a dagger or fashioned into a spear with most common broom handles [mentioned in previous entries on this blog]. I have to say that the Aegis series from SOG looks pretty badass, especially their take on the tanto style blade with digital camo [another 'tactical trend', SOG wasn't the first, nor will they be the last]. Regarding digital camo, I suppose that trend is fueled by actual military uses and needs, as ACU [Army Combat Uniform] is the newest US Army standard for uniforms. A knife that blends in with your daily work clothing could have its advantages.

I can't find any pix of the reverse of the Aegis knives, but they all feature SOG's patented 'bayonet' clip that gives their newest folders a very deep-ride in the pocket. These new SOG clips also feature a cutout of the company name. If you enlarge these pix of the Aegis knives, you'll see another unique feature. Those little grip-strips also say "sog sog sog sog" and serve to enhance traction in the hand. It reminds me of pictures of me as a kid, maybe 3 or 4 years old with a striped t-shirt alá Ernie&Bert, that said "jeans jeans jeans" in repeating print!

I think it's cool that SOG waited until the end of the year to release these knives. Most companies won't start to trot out their new knives until 1st quarter 2009 at the earliest. I'm willing to bet Spencer Frazier knew that the knife-buying public would be hungry for new product, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah.
The Aegis knives from SOG all feature blades of AUS 8, a stainless that I know from experience to be tough and easy to sharpen. AUS [austenetized] 8 was the premier production knife steel before ATS-34 came along. ATS-34 was pushed out of the limelight by its American Latrobe-made counterpart 154CM [crucible materials].

The hot production knife steel of the hour is CPMS30V, another Crucible powdered steel. So, while AUS 8 is a less expensive steel whose buzzword status has waned, it's still a very good blade steel that I've found to be very similar to good old 440C, but slightly easier to sharpen with a stone or other hand sharpening tools IMO.

So, we'll see how these Aegis folders act in the hand, I'm curious enough to possibly place an order for one pretty soon, just to see. Again, I have confidence is SOG's warranty and the durability of their products, it's just been awhile since the look of something they've done has really wowed me. The Aegis series retails, I believe, for between $90.00 and $120.00 USD, depending on which model you choose. However, as per the production knife industry, there are plenty of cutlery retail sites selling any Aegis model for well under $85.00.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

RAT Cutlery Izula knife and survival kit

Anyone who has read Tactical Knives Magazine will recognize Jeff Randall's name. Randall is a jungle survival expert and regular contributor to TK Magazine. He is also the founder of Randall's Adventure Training, a well known South American jungle survival school.

Several years ago, RAT teamed up with Ontario Knives for a series of high quality bladeware collaborations. The partnership between Ontario and RAT ended in 2007, and Randall and RAT set out on their own to make their own line of knives. I've read several very good reviews for both the earlier Ontario RAT knives and also for the newer RAT knives. Randall is somewhat of a hard use knife expert and i always find his articles quite entertaining. It should be noted though, there is no connection between RAT Cutlery/Randall's Adventure Training and the classic Randall Knives, often referred to as "Randall Made Knives". This is simply coincidence.

I was searching new products at when I came across the RAT Izula knife and survival kit "coming soon". Pretty cool little package. RAT Cutlery's site lists the knife and sheath only as retailing for $81.08 USD and the knife and kit selling for $104.80. will be selling the full kit for well under RAT's MSRP of just the knife alone! Click HERE to order the full kit and knife with sheath for about $63.00 USD!

I have a ton of small fixed blades but this one is appealing to me for some reason...hey, it even comes in an anodized pink color for the ladies, or dudes who are bold enough to carry a pink knife. It comes in black, pink, OD, or desert tan. Here's the kit according to RAT's site:
"Complete Izula kit includes: Ambidextrous Sheath, MOLLE lock, Paracord (for cord wrapping handle or use as a lanyard), cord lock, Snap (for snapping system on to outdoor gear), Split Ring, Fire Flint, Whistle, and Instruction Sheet."

The following is a quote from RAT's site regarding the name:
'Where did the name IZULA come from?
"The locals in Peru call the meanest, nastiest ant of the jungle by the name "Isula" (photo below on Pink Izula knife). We know it as the Bullet Ant. The Bullet Ant is known to be independent, tough, light on its feet, and a real aggressive survivor - the IZULA knife is built the same way. This knife is designed to be the perfect lightweight survival kit or concealed carry knife."

It should be noted that these guys offer a 'No Questions ASKED' Warranty. I think that for such an outstanding warranty, the prices of these knives are more than fair.
"No Questions Asked Warranty. If you screw it up, break it, or cut it in two with a cutting torch, send it back and we'll replace it. Warranty is transferable. In other words, we warranty the knife no matter how many times it's been traded, sold or given away. We don't ask for a sales receipt, date of purchase or where you bought the knife - No fine print and no hassles. If you have a problem, contact us.

We do not warranty against rust or normal wear and tear. Note: Our knives are made from high carbon 1095 steel. And while 1095 is a top choice for professional cutlery designed for hard use, it will rust and stain if not properly cared for - especially on the cutting edge and around the laser engraving. It is the user's responsibility to keep the blades properly lubricated and cleaned. We suggest using a dry film rust inhibitor such as TUF-GLIDE or TUF-CLOTH.

A lot of folks have asked us how we can stay in business offering such great customer service and warranty protection. The answer is simple; we believe that American consumers, as a whole, are honest people. The occasional customers who are dishonest are few and far between, so even if we lose every once in a while due to dishonesty, our reputation of great customer service, regardless of the situation, brings us more good customers. "

Check out the Izula neck knife and others, at RAT Cutlery
I think I may have to get an Izula, or the RC3 in orange when my raise kicks in later this month!

RAT Knives are also available at KNIFECENTER

UPDATE: December 23, 2008
I ordered the RAT Cutlery Izula in desert tan, by itself. A review will be here ASAP, looks like I should get the knife next week. At, the black or tan Izulas, without the "survival kit" are under $50.00 USD. Good stuff. It is made from a carbon steel, so I'll have to protect the cutting edge with Sentry Solutions Tuf-Cloth to ward off corrosion if it's to be worn as a neck knife. Also coming soon is a review of the Leatherman Crater C33x folding knife, and the Fenix EO1 waterproof mini LED flashlight. Have a good holiday, and happy new year. More to come from SBT, ASAP.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

$18.00 Gerber Profile Folder

I should really kick my own ass every time I buy another Chinese made knife from a once-great American knife company. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a bargain. First it was a Chinese Buck Diamondback fixed blade this past summer, later the Gerber Steadfast, the new Chinese version of their classic LMF fixed knife. More recently, like a few weeks ago, I purchased one [okay, eventually 6!] of the Cold Steel Kudu folders, which I feel is an excellent value for between $5-$10 USD.

Enter the Gerber profile series...
I went to my favorite local warehouse sporting goods store, the one I refer to as "Redneck REI". It's a member co-op deal like REI, but their prices are way better and they carry guns, knives and a ton of fishing, hunting, climbing and camping suppies. It's my Toys R Us. Anyhow, I walked in there to get some stocking stuffers for family members...ya know, the type of shit I give as gifts, pepper spray, lexan sporks, keychain flashlights and trout lures. Useful stuff.
I chatted with Carl, the resident knife-guy there. Carl is knowledgeable, friendly and appreciative of the business that regulars like myself give to the store. I perused their usual selection of roughly 8-12 Benchmades, a similar number of Spydercos and CRKTs and Cold Steels. The only new knife line they carry is Blade-Tech, a local [for me at least] company. I purchased 2 excellent little foreign-made Blade-Tech folders the last time I paid Carl a visit. I still haven't gotten around to reviewing them, but they are getting carried and evaluated, so you'll see something new on them sooner rather than later.
I'd seen the Gerber Profile series of knives at this store, and also on knifecenter, beginning mid-summer. The price seemed right. What didn't seem right is that I couldn't find ANY info on what blade steel was used, not even on Gerber's own site! I call bullshit on that! The box of the Profile folder I obtained calls it a "surgical stainless steel", which in knife talk usually equals "SHIT". But hey, I'm willing to give it a chance. I'm guessing it's similar to one of the Chrome/Moly/Vanadium steels that benchmade and Spyderco have been using in their well-made Chinese-produced knives. Something similar to 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel would be my best guess, unless it's a sub-standard version of 420J or something.
The blade has a titanium nitride-esque coating. It came sharp enough, but I made it sharper with an EZ Lap diamond rod followed by a fine white ceramic rod. Not bad.

This is the Profile folder I got for $18.00, it retails for $32.00 USD:

The handles look to be a new millennium update of Gerber's classic "Gator Grip" textured rubber. It looks and feels similar to Kraton. There's no clip, just like the old Gators, so they include a cheap "ballistic" nylon sheath. The whole package set me back just over $18.00...again, not bad for a knife with an MSRP of $30.00+.
What's the obsession with guthook blades by Gerber and Buck? I guess they tend to cater to hunters, but strangely enough, I've never known a real hunter who's told a success story about a knife featuring a guthook. My ex-brother in law is an avid deer hunter from childhood, Idaho born and bred. He once told me that he thought guthooks were all hype and that he preferred to just use the tip of his clip-point fixed blade, which was a no-name brand, and nothing special. I've heard similar stories from other makes you wonder. Anyway, both the folding and fixed versions of the Profile have a guthook-tipped counterpart. I can think of one use for a guthook, and that would be cutting oneself free of a stuck seatbelt after a car wreck. But I think any sharp knife can do that.
Here's the guthook version:

The fixed-blade Profiles also retail for around $32.00, but can be found online, or at honest retailers for less than $20.00
Here's the non-guthook fixed blade version of Gerber's Profile, it can be found for around the same price:

I don't even really think time will tell if this is a decent knife or not. I have so many goddamn blades that I never really get a chance to put any of them through any rigorous testing unless I really buckle down and make an afternoon of it. But I will try and give the Profile folder a day-in-court by using it as an EDC blade, however inconvenient its lack of a pocket clip might be. It's a good looking folding knife, if not a little Plain Jane. Kinda vanilla if you catch me. Oh well, I'd rather buy a bargain priced knife from an American-originated company that still employs [at least some] Americans and offers a warranty than some smokeshop mini mart garbage. I am confident in Gerber's warranty, when I worked in retail cutlery they were very easy to deal with and prompt in their response to both questions and issues, even long after they were bought by Fiskars Brands.
All said and done, I suppose I'm not just a sucker for cheap knives, but for cheap knives produced by brand names who offer a warranty on their blades. As I wrote about Cold Steel's cheapie Kudu folder, even their 1 year warranty is pretty generous for a knife that can be found as cheap as five dollars.

Gerber's inexpensive Profile knives can be found at GERBERretailers everywhere

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot sale on Cold Steel at Special Projects

Cold Steel's factory discount site Special Projects is having a Christmas sale. I just got my order today. Most people aren't real impressed with Cold Steel's Kudu ringlock folding knives, but I liked mine well enough to order 5 more, through the sale, they are 5 for $25.00. They are very corrosion resistant and make great work knives. See my previous reviews below for more info on the Kudu knife.
I got my order today, and they [Cold Steel] even shipped a free Sharkie Marker/self defense kubotan.

While not every single Cold Steel item is on sale at terrific prices, the Special Projects site will generally save you quite a bit off suggested retail prices on many Cold Steel items. There are some bargains to be had, like the Kudus, and some of Cold Steel's VERY inexpensive closeout fixed blade knives like the Warhead and others which are under $20.00 USD

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is the Bushnell Backtrack the GPS for me?

I've been contemplating the need for a basic handheld GPS unit for about a year. I know GPS can be handy in the car, but I really don't want to spend the money when I never get lost and have a phone on my person at all times. What I really want is a bare bones GPS for outdoor use. I don't need software, I don't care about maps and color screens and advanced functions. All I really need is something where I can mark my position, say the start of a hike, or where my vehicle is parked, and find my way back to that point. I've come close to getting a Garmin eTrex or Geko a handful of times, but always abstained, knowing that there's always cheaper and/or better tech on the horizons at all times.

I may have found just what I'm looking for in the Bushnell Backtrack. It's about as basic as it gets, it runs on 2 common AAA batteries and is pocket size. I could even get it in camo, but that seems like a stupid choice. I once lost a camo Zippo the woods...because it was camo. I'm not saying if I order the backtrack I'll get the pink one, I just think there are better colors for outdoor gear than traditional ANY other color.

These things have a suggested retail of about $75.00 USD, though I'm seeing them all over online for between $55 and $65.
Here's the skinny, verbatim from Bushnell:
Store and locate up to three locations
Utilizes the latest digital technology
High sensitivity SiRF Star III GPS reciever
Self calibrating digital compass
Weather resistant
Operates on 2 AAA Batteries (Not Included)
Compact size stores easily in your pocket or purse
Lanyard included for easy attachment

Pretty funny, I've read several reviews that say the lanyard included with the Backtrack is garbage, but for that price, it's surely a Chinese made afterthought. Hell, the whole Backtrack unit may be a Chinese made afterthought for all I know! I just think it's cool because it's inexpensive and fits my very basic needs. I could go hard-core if I got a Backtrack, and secure my purchase to my person with a Tactical Tailor Pistol Lanyard!
If I order one, I'll likely have Eric make me one of his sick-as-balls handmade lanyards, or order a functional one spiced up with badass skulls from Scott at the Lanyard Zone

Anyhow, if anyone reading this sees the Backtrack for a ridiculously low price, or hears negative OR positive things about it, email me...keep me posted. As mentioned, all I really need is something entry-level that won't make me want to kick my own ass in the event I want to upgrade in the next year. So I'd like to keep my handheld GPS purchase under $150.00 USD. Pop has GPS on the boat, and I've never felt the need for it in my car. Shit, even my hiking is limited by my ever-present foot pain, so I really can't think of a need to spend more money that might be better spent on knives... or saved for once.

Hmmm....I'm gonna give this one some more thought. For my needs I've also read plenty of good reviews on Garmin's eTrex and Geko family of models also. I'm in no hurry, and in fact, if I haven't needed a GPS yet, I probably won't need one in the next several hours, or realistically until Spring 2009!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exhumer 8 from Dead On Tools

So, Eric and myself took a trip to Home Depot to try to find a toolbox that might serve him well at the gun club, for carrying ammo and tools. We both slipped into man-monkey mode and started contemplating all the tools that we thought we needed but had no real use for. Enter Dead On Tools, they have a ridiculous hammer called The Annihilator, and it's advertised as the ultimate wrecking bar. Eric and I started thinking about the tactical applications of such a brutal tool. You hear about SWAT entry teams and soldiers in the desert using ridiculously priced custom axes and breaching tools, but the Annihilator can be found at places like Home Depot for about $30.00 USD!

Here's a picture of the beast I found at a great blog called "Soldier Systems" Click HERE to see this cool blog

So anyhow, another, smaller Dead On tool caught our eye, the Exhumer 8, which is touted as a nail puller, but it's essentially a 1 piece multi-tool, the uses limited only to the imagination of the user. The Exhumer 8 retails for about $20.00 USD, but Home Depot sells it here in WA, for about $10.00. I decided that evening that I had no use for such a tool. The very next day I found myself needing to open a very difficult box which is used to transport small animals like hamsters and gerbils. My Leatherman Kick was in the car, and there was no way in hell I was going to use the blade of my Benchmade Rift to pry this fucking thing open! The young lady I was assisting with this task instructed me to "step on the lid", and she would pull up on the edges. I informed her that telling a 350 lb. man to step on a box containing live animals was a stupid idea. I eventually used sheer finger and hand strength to remove the stuck lid. A pry bar would have been nice though. So today I went to my local Home Depot and purchased the Exhumer 8. I don't need it, obviously, but I'm pretty glad I have it. You can pull nails with it. You can use the forked end as a pry bar. I'd bet my left hand that it'd do a hell of a job as a window breaker in an automotive emergency too! The thing even has a bottle opener on the underside. There's a built-in saw wrench, and the Exhumer could easily serve as an effective hammer if needed.

I can't find any stats on how much the thing weighs, but it's not much, probably about a pound. This thing has obvious myriad self defense applications too. If you're a working class person, you could keep it in your car or tool bag and it'd probably go unnoticed. The forked straight end could be used to thrust or hit pressure points, and it's a safe bet that any aggressor foolish enough to charge a person wielding the Exhumer would be in for a rough ride. It could be swung like a hammer to strike an attacker with the claw end also. Anyone who has any knowledge of martial arts or human anatomy should be able to easily see the potential to stop aggression immediately.
I've read a few reviews of the longer Exhumer 10 online, seems that professionals using the longer Exhumer have had some bad luck with the thing breaking or snapping on them when pulling nails. I'm not too concerned for 10 bucks though. I'll keep the thing in my tool bag in my trunk for those rare instances when I feel a pry bar is needed for some reason. I can't find any info on any implied warranties on Dead On Tools, but if mine breaks under "normal" working conditions, I'll send a nasty email and attempt to get a replacement, as unlikely as that might be to happen.

All in all, I think this is a fine EDC "in-car" tool. It's not something that I'm going to tote around in my 5.11 shoulder bag, but it might be handy to have one in your vehicle or bug out emergency bag for the terrifying eventualities that can occur in daily urban and suburban life in America in 2008. It's a pry bar, it's an emergency window smasher, it could be an effective self defense tool. The Exhumer 8 nail puller is whatever you want it to be, and at an average warehouse tool store price of about 10 bucks, I don't think you really can go wrong if you buy an Exhumer.

Dead On Tools is HERE

Next time you go to Home Depot, check out the hammer section and you'll find the Dead On Annihilator, and the Exhumer in various sizes. I'm a sucker for marketing, and packaging. I'm pretty sure if this tool didn't have a little skull logo I would have passed right by it without a second glance. Kudos to the Bucket Boss family of brands for creating a line of tools to appeal to weirdos like Eric and me.

If I come up with any awesome new uses for this strange hunk of metal, I'll blog about it here. I may even go out in the yard tomorrow and see how the thing throws. With my luck I'll chuck it at a weird angle and it'll end up in the poison oak, or the saltwater bay! I have a feeling that this tool could be used effortlessly with Filipino knife and stick techniques found in Kali/Arnis/Eskrima. Alas, my uses for this chunk of burly black metal will probably be limited, though one day, it might just come in handy...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spyderco BaliYo Pen

Yes, I did it. I'm a die hard nerd. I got a Spyderco BaliYo. It's actually quite a bit of fun. I found them at knifecenter for about $25.00 USD. I didn't have the guts to order one of the fruitier color schemes, seeing as I'll actually use the pen part. I got plain old gray, or grey, if you're a Brit.
Seems every knife company is offering a pen now, Benchmade, Spyderco, Timberline, not to mention the supposedly excellent Mil-Tac Combat Pens. Diversifying I suppose. You'd think more companies would have gone this route previously, like post-911, in 2002, when the government's Citizen Disarmament Program, aka: The Patriot Act started to really kick in. Not that the BaliYo is a weapon in pen-clothing, like Benchmade's superb 1100 series pens. The BaliYo is clearly being marketed as a "motion toy". I watched the new X-Files movie last night, and couldn't put the damn thing down!

I was initially disappointed in the light weight of the thing, then grateful for it, as if it'd been made entirely from metal, it would be ridiculously heavy as a pen. Here's my review I posted on, where I bought it from:
"by Aaron From WA USA on 12/03/2008
I just got my BaliYo from knifecenter. It's a really cool idea. It's a pen that flips like a balisong/butterfly knife. It comes with an instructional dvd that shows different tricks you can perform with it. When I took it out of the packaging I was a little bit disappointed with the lightweight polymer/plastic used in its construction. After I thought about it I realize now that it has to be lightweight, nobody wants a pen that weighs down their pocket. It is US made by Spyderco, a company I trust absolutely regarding the quality of their knives. The balance of the flipping-action is good, those knobs on either end are basically weights, another reason they must have chosen to make most of this thing out of the lightweight polymer, it'd just be too heavy and awkward if it was made entirely of steel or aluminum. The BaliYo writes surprisingly comfortably in its intended closed position, and the dual-wire pocket clip is secure and works well. Fisher Spacepen cartridges are great, and I can't see needing to buy a refill any time soon, but it's good to know I can get them here at knifecenter. My only real gripe is not with the BaliYo, it's with the size of my hands. If you have bigger hands and are used to flipping a full size balisong, the BaliYo may take some getting used to between the short handles and the light weight. All in all this is a cool, well made pen that would serve as a decent balisong trainer, and it's just plain fun."

You turn the tip clockwise to expose the pen, and like every Fisher Space Pen, or pen using that cartridge, it writes smoothly, and as I've mentioned regarding Benchmade's pens, the ink is as close to permanent as i've seen in a ballpoint. It's a hell of a lot more permanent than the pathetic water-based "ink" that comes in the "pen" that's inside of Cold Steel's Sharkie markers. The Sharkie only includes an actual marker inside so it can be marketed as "not just" a weapon. Jon got one and his kid colored with the Sharkie for about 3 minues before the tip crumbled into nothingness. I love Cold Steel products, but I take issue with them calling the Sharkie a "permanent marker". The ink IS water based and nowhere near permanent. But alas, this article is about the BaliYo, which comes with a dvd with 6 tricks you can learn with some practice. I skimmed it, content to try the 2 or 3 balisong flips I know, but I will sit down with the thing and the included dvd when i have some down-time [those of you who know me personally are laughing, because you know my mild weekly schedule and just how much spare time I have].

BaliYo even has a Myspace page, but, hey, everyone and their grandma has a Myspace page. If you want to see some BaliYo action, youtube delivers, but hey, youtube always delivers. Anyway, the BaliYo is a fun diversion from pens meant to poke out eyes and strike nerves and pressure points. I believe the BaliYo retails for around $35.00 USD, but can be found significantly cheaper from web retailers like Knifecenter
I'm willing to bet a pinkie finger that the BaliYo will cause controversy in schools. There's so much weapon paranoia in public schools today, understandably since "Columbine". If teachers and staff get past the fact it's a pen, they'll surely bitch about the incessant click-clacking of any number of students who forgot their Ritalin and reach for their BaliYo, it's not bad enough that the thing is made by a well-known company who's made its bread and butter from knives, especially those used as weapons by military and police personnel. Hell, maybe I'll order one for my nephew who's going into the 8th grade, as a test.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Spyderco Para-military digi-cam

I just thought this was kinda cool. Spyderco now offers their Para-military and Military folders in digital camo G10 handles. Both knives are American made and the blades are CPM S30V, which is a pretty badass steel for knife blades, some people would say it's the best steel. Spyderco's site is HERE
and the new digital camo para military at knifecenter is HERE

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gerber Artifact mini-tool, cool EDC? or copyright infringement?

It's funny, as much time as I spend online, I'm not really a forum-guy. The only forum I actively participate in is, I feel if I joined knife and tool forums, all I would EVER do is review and discuss knives and tools with fellow cutlery-geeks. I'd never leave the house! Recently though, I've been reading...or lurking on forums and it seems Gerber's new-ish Artifact tool is garnering a bit of criticism and causing a few arguments here and there. If you're familiar with the awesome handmade keychain tools of Peter Atwood, Gerber's Artifact might look a bit familiar. Atwood is not attached to Gerber in any way, yet the Artifact looks as if it might have been "inspired" by Mr. Atwood's work. To see Atwood's tools, check out the Planet Pocket Tool link on my blog follow list. Some will say that Atwood didn't invent the mini-prybar tool and that Gerber is keeping makers like Atwood competitive by offering similar tools at a tiny fraction of what Atwood generally might charge for one of his awesome little handmade precision tools. Others say it's blatant copyright infringement and that Atwood should be mad as hell. All I know is, I got a Target giftcard from my boss, and of course, those who have known me at any time over the past 18 years or so would be able to tell you what section I would likely head for at Target. Their "sporting goods" section usually contains a small selection of reasonably priced Leatherman tools, and some Victorinox and Gerber stuff. I'd seen the Artifact online when it came out, but even at around $10.00 USD, I waited...waited until I got a giftcard. I walked out of Target with the Gerber Artifact and the Season 10 Simpsons dvd set and all I had to dole out was .98c in pocket change, thanks Mark!

Anyway, I will admit that Gerber has seemed to have gone downhill, even since I worked in retail cutlery in 2000-2003. They've increasingly resorted to Chinese manufacturing, like everyone else, and the memory of the 2007 recall of the EAB [exchange a blade] still lingers in the minds of informed cutlery enthusiasts. Afterall, the EAB was yet another of hundreds of tools found all around the world inspired by the Superknife razor folder concept. You can't really call "ripoff" on that though, as Gerber, through Fiskars owns the Superknife brand and all trademarks. Cannibalization? maybe, infringement? probably not.
Anyhow, Atwood ripoff or not, the Artifact, by Gerber, promises to be a useful little if I need another knife or tool.
Here's the lowdown:
Overall Length: 4.80"
Closed Length: 3.50"
Components: EAB #11 hobby [think, Exacto kniife] blade, cross [that's phillips to most of us] driver, small flat driver, medium flat driver, bottle opener, wire stripper, pry bar, lanyard [no, it doesn't come with one, but has a hole for keychain or lanyard attachment]
Handle Material: Stainless steel
Handle Color: Titanium nitrade coating

Titanium Nitrade? Gerber's own website says "nitrade", good attention to detail guys!
From WikiPedia:
"Titanium nitride (TiN) (sometimes known as Tinite or TiNite) is an extremely hard ceramic material, often used as a coating on titanium alloy, steel, carbide, and aluminium components to improve the substrate's surface properties.
Applied as a thin coating, TiN is used to harden and protect cutting and sliding surfaces, for decorative purposes, and as a non-toxic exterior for medical implants."
Either Gerber has created a new coating, or they just have a lazy copy editor for their site.

I've read threads on forums about people injuring themselves with the sharply pointed #11 hobby blades on these knives, but rumor has it that the Artifacts being sold now in stores have been redesigned. For $10.00 USD paid for by my boss, I don't care enough to contact Gerber about the legitimacy of these rumors. I'll take my chances, if the little bastard draws blood from me while I'm using it as intended, I may just have to start badmouthing the formerly 'Legendary Blades' and contact my attorney! Kidding, I do look forward to keeping this in my Cabela's carpenter jacket's zipper pocket for a backup the event that any or all of the several knives and tools in my car should mysteriously fail. All sarcasm aside, the Artifact looks to be an inexpensive intermediate McGuyver tool to handle a multitude of daily tasks without breaking out your SOG Power Plier for a screwdriver, or voiding your Benchmade's warranty by using your $200 knife as a prybar or scraper. I can see the Gerber Artifact maybe being a popular Christmas stocking stuffer, and if it works as promised, gaining a following among working class heroes like cops, medics and firemen worldwide, as a small and light addition to their EDC arsenal.

I'm gonna cut my Gerber Artifact out of the package [with my Benchmade Rift] and either attach it to my 5.11 Tactical man-purse, or maybe throw it in my work bag. The Gerber Artifact might be a good tool to use at work around Sheeple whose eyes tend to widen when I bust out a 3.75 inch black tactical folder in some podunk family retail establishment somewhere. I'll provide updates and report on my experiences with this surprisingly controversial little piece of Chinese-manufactured American engineering.
Stay Sharp yo.
ps: I've ordered some lanyards from Scott, at The Lanyard Zone, his stuff is mega-cool and reasonably priced if you want to spice up your EDC gear with some skulls...he even offers skulls that glow and metal skulls with glowing eyes! Eric, check 'em out! The Lanyard Zone is here. Scott offers a ton of different styles and color choices, there's something for everyone and he seems like a hellofa nice guy.