Sunday, August 1, 2010

Triple Eight Professional Rexroat-designed SOL

A short while back, I reviewed Triple Eight Professional's fantastic WrightKnife. I've had the opportunity to handle and carry another 888 design over the past few weeks. It's another Kirk Rexroat design, and this one's based upon the features of WWII OSS "thumb" daggers, which were commonly stitched into clothing as a last ditch hideout weapon, or secured behind collar lapels.
Below are a couple of generic examples of what the thumb daggers of the day would have looked like:

The SOL is likely the most "weaponized" out of Triple Eight Professional's offerings thus far. It sports a wickedly pointed double edged blade with aggressive double-cut serrations on half of one side, which are handy for utilitarian tasks like cutting more fibrous materials. The SOL's tip is probably one of the most needle-like points that I've ever seen, and is short and stout enough to pack some real puncturing power.

Blade Material: Heat treated AUS8 Stainless Steel
Scales: 420 Stainless Steel
Clip: 420 Stainless Steel
Action: T8P Spinner Action
Weight 1.9 oz. (53.9 grams)
Length/Closed 3” (76.2 mm)
Length/Opened 4.25” (107.95 mm)
Length of Blade 1.25” (31.75 mm)
As I stated in my previous rundown of the 888 WrightKnife, one of my favorite things about these new knives, is the compact size. Don't get me wrong, I love my big knives like the Cold Steel Spartan folder, and my Benchmade 610 full size Rukus folder model, but Triple Eight's knives are addictive to carry and use. They boast an elegant simplicity which is rare in the factory-made knife market these days. All of Triple Eight's "folding fixed blades" feature the same frame/handle style, with a perfectly sized carry clip affixed to the rear handle slab side. The T8P Spinner Action opening is unique, the blade, and both handle sides rotate around a stout steel pivot, and the blade sits in place, virtually locked by a ball bearing and detent system mounted toward the butt of each knife.
Forgive the couple of low-res cellphone pics below; it's time for a new digital camera, as my older Canon Powershot has a scratched lens, and eats AA batteries very quickly. The higher quality pics on the white backgrounds, are courtesy of Triple Eight Professional:

You can see that I'm a fan of joining Triple Eight's knives with Glow Cobra lanyards from The Lanyard Zone. Lanyard Zone products are extremely high quality, and handmade by a fellow named Scott, in Canada. Scott delivers super high quality lanyards for knives and tools at reasonable prices, with quick shipping. His Glow Cobra lanyards are an outstanding choice for almost any knife or piece of gear you could think of. They feature a *VERY* bright glowing endcap, which glows for several hours when exposed to flashlights or natural sunlight. They're very useful for locating knives, flashlights or multi-tools in a darkened tent, or backpack.

As I mentioned in my previous review, 888's folders all draw smoothly, easily and with speed from the pocket. A lanyard "slab", as I'd describe it, is affixed to the clip side of the handle, and sticks up just enough for your thumb and forefinger to gain good purchase on the knife as it's drawn. However, I find that when a lanyard is attached, Triple Eight's knives can be withdrawn from a pocket even faster, plus they simply give the knife a cool look.
The SOL knife came out of the package razor sharp, which I find impressive due to the overall stout thickness of this tool's blade. The serrated portion of the blade is extremely aggressive, and also was sharp enough right out of the package to shave hair. And again, opening with one hand or two is extremely simple. I was surprised at how smooth the SOL opened with a single hand, and the fact that just like its cousin, the WrightKnife, I wasn't poked by the mega-pointy blade when opening the knife. That being said, I would urge owners of the SOL to use a bit of extra care when deploying the blade, simply because that tip is so sharp and acute. The small serrated portion of the SOL's blade is very handy. The SOL which I received has a slightly different cut to the serrations than the way it's pictured in Triple Eight's press photos. Between the larger arcs, the "points" of each serrated section are grooved, giving the blade a very toothy look, and producing an extremely effective area on the blade for use against rope, clothing or other fibrous materials.
The icing on the cake for this great little tool, is what appears to be a black Teflon coating, similar to the original BT coating that Benchmade used for years, before modifying their black blades with their newer BK1 coating. From what I understand with Teflon blade coatings, even in the unlikely event that a blade's coating wears off visibly, the blade remains protected from corrosion or spotting due to the fact that the coating actually enters the "pores" of the blade. The SOL's black coating serves to further the tactical look of this little cutting demon, and has held up well with nary a mark, on the SOL that I've been carrying, even after fairly tough, regular use over a period of several weeks. I've used it to break down recycling, open mail & cut open UPS packages, in addition to using it for a slew of other daily, mundane tasks. I like to evaluate knives in this manner, because this is how 99% of us likely use our sharps on a daily basis. Of course, as a real-world tactical knife, packed as a backup by cops or soldiers, this little knife definitely has what it takes to be used hard under extreme circumstances. I would advise against discounting the SOL because of its sub 2 inch blade length. It's very solid, very utilitarian, and touches up easily on a fine ceramic or diamond rod. I like "dogbone" style sharpeners. Gatco makes a fine one, but my favorite is Lansky's Spyder Crock Stick sharpener, intended for use on knives with Spyderco-style serrations. I have found over the years that this sharpener is a great portable solution to touching up almost ANY blade, regardless of serration style. Lansky makes a great US Made product, and they are inexpensive, you can usually find them for $5.00 or $6.00 USD.

I actually put the SOL knife through LOTS of daily use, before even a mild touch-up on the ceramic stick was needed. AUS8 is a good old standby, not a buzzword super-steel like the CPM steels made by Crucible, but it is effective. Triple Eight's heat treatment, or specific batch of steel used in their knives must be superior, because it feels like they hold an edge longer, and sharpen up much easier than all other knives I have which use AUS8 bladesteel, including many older knives from Spyderco, among other companies.

I feel like Triple Eight Professional has brought another reasonably priced, creatively designed EDC knife to the table. The SOL's blade-style is excellent for everything from utility, to emergency self defense, plus it simply looks badass. 888's knives are a fantastic pocket size, but still pack enough punch and cutting power to take on nearly any task that you face throughout your week. Triple Eight knives also carry a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, obviously, abuse & neglect will void the warranty, otherwise, they've got you covered. All blade styles should be available from better web retailers. Check out Triple Eight Professional for more info, or to get your SOL.


CTone said...

"my Benchmade 610 full size Rukus folder model"

I love the bug Rukus! It turns far too many heads though when you pull it out in Pizza Hut to remove a plastic tag from your wife's new shirt. A little knife like the SOL would be a perfect sidekick to not scare the cattle in public.

I've seen these briefly in a magazine before and the design never gave me much interest, but you have changed my mind.

Good post!

Aaron said...

yeah, the Rukus is definitely not sheeple friendly, you might as well pull out a desert eagle and wave it all around. I've had people lose their shit over the tiny LosBanos BokerPlus subcom folder when I used it @ work to cut some packaging apart for a customer. I agree man, I sort of ignored 888 until I handled their stuff, they are really slick, fairly priced and the SOL is a totally competent backup, for opening your kid's ridiculously childproof toy packaging, or having a go at some nasty punk's forehead to make him think twice. The little WrightKnife is great as well, and even more discrete than the SOL, it's a 1.25" plain edged, pseudo drop point, but still very hardcore for a little knife. I was lucky enough to have 888 use my reviews on their official site! So if they send anything my way, I'll try to get one to you at some point.
I appreciate your readership amigo!