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[Every Day Commentary] Kershaw OD-2 Review - bot Review, OD 2, Kershaw, Commentary, Every,
Kershaw OD-2 Review

What's the least amount of money you have paid for a knife? I am not talking about novelty commemorative knives from the Smokey Mountains or throw away, look-how-cheap-this-is purchases from Harbor Freight or Deal Exchange. What is the cheapest real knife you have ever bought?

For me, it is $15. I was at a knife show, mesmerized by the ZT350 and drooling over a Sebenza, but lacking funds for either, when I saw the Kershaw OD-2. It was a close out. The box had been opened and the knife was a display, but everything was in working order and the edge was quite keen. The show was ending in about an hour and I asked the guy for the price. He gave me a price that was silly. I told him, I'd give him $15 flat. He said no. I walked away and did another loop around the show. On the way passed his table he snagged me and asked if it was cash. I said yes, and he...
[Every Day Commentary] The "problem" with ZDP-189 and a short comparison to other steels - bot steels, other, comparison, short, ZDP 189, with, problem, Commentary, Every,
The problem with ZDP-189 and a short comparison to other steels

All of the reviews I had done thus far are from items that I own or have owned. Generally speaking I don't review a knife until it needs a sharpening. When I get them I usually run them through some cutting tests, like paper and shaving, but I also give them a quick swipe on the Sharpmaker. Then I let them live in my pocket for a few months doing normal EDC tasks with them. Finally, once they have lost their edge, I sit down with the Sharpmaker and bring them back. No second sharpening, no review.

IMG_0003

Well, ZDP-189 is presenting me with some problems. I have had my DF2 for a month now and I have used it almost exclusively and yet I can't tell any difference whatsoever in terms of is keen edge. I also didn't need to sharpen it when it came out of the box. ...
[Every Day Commentary] Spyderco Delica 4 Review - bot Review, Delica, Spyderco, Commentary, Every,
Spyderco Delica 4 Review

I owned a SAK Super Tinker when I was younger. It was the first knife I was given and I loved it. Then, senior year in high school, 1995 for me, my Dad went to Boston for a business trip and visited Stoddards in downtown Boston. When he was there he bought me a Spyderco Delica on the recommendation of the person behind the counter. It had a molded plastic clip, but other than that, it was pretty much the same knife we have today. That knife was my EDC from 1995 until 2003 when I mailed it to myself at a post office near a courthouse (I learned that lesson). The package arrived, obviously opened, and my Delica was gone. About six years later I purchased a Delica 4 at the Kittery Trading Post. Both were the combo edge version.

The Delica and Endura lines are among two of the oldest...
[Every Day Commentary] Kershaw Scallion Review - bot Review, Scallion, Kershaw, Commentary, Every,
Kershaw Scallion Review

After my Delica disappeared into the bowels of the Postal Service, I waited a long time before getting another knife to carry. Around 2005, about three years later, I purchased a Kershaw Scallion to live in my pocket and do urban living kind of tasks--opening packages, gutting clamshells, cutting paper and twine, nothing too heavy use. I had never heard of Kershaw at the time, but the Scallion was the right size and the right price. Plus I had seen a demo of the assisted opening device during a trip to a knife store in the Providence Place Mall.

The demo was at a store called On the Edge Cutlery and it was the only place to see knives in person. Unfortunately, the place was staffed by genuine assholes. I...
[Every Day Commentary] A New Light Company and a Frenemy Departs - bot Departs, Frenemy, Company, Light, Commentary, Every,
A New Light Company and a Frenemy Departs

A coming and a going in the flashlight world.

Darksucks from CPF has recently launched his own line of custom made aluminum lights. Here is the website. The light certainly looks beautiful: an aluminum body with a high polish plate finish. It uses a very high capacity rechargeable: the 18650. It also has a washer style pocket clip.

Interestingly, the light tops out at 500 lumens, which is well less than the portable star that is the Moddoolar Pocket (which can hit 1100 lumens), but this light is about $100 less and at least twice as nice looking. It is another entry into the getting crowded 500 lumens or more custom flashlight market.

There are some things that prevent this from being just another entry. First, it is the first light from this maker. The design is entirely his own and it is very nice looking. Second, I can't...
[Every Day Commentary] A perfect flashlight UI - bot flashlight, perfect, Commentary, Every,
A perfect flashlight UI

Only ten years ago, it would have seemed silly to talk about a flashlight having a user interface. Press button=on, press again=off. That was the extent of it. Most lights had one mode and one thing to do with the switch, toggle between on and off. But newer lights have more modes and features. Some, like the Klarus XT10, have two switches, one for on and off and the other to change modes. It is not a bad solution, but it is not ideal either. So then, what is the perfect flashlight UI?

IMG_0015

Yep, another picture of my two favorite pocket companions and my old iPhone 3GS (I have since involuntarily upgraded to the 4G after my wife's was stolen...what a fiasco). The
[Every Day Commentary] Light&Saber Recommendations Series - bot Series, Recommendations, LightSaber, Commentary, Every,
Light&Saber Recommendations Series

Having done this for a while now, like three or four months, I have decided to distill some of what I have learned into a series of commentaries on recommended gear. The idea is taken from the Recommended Systems archives from one of my favorite A/V sites, Audioholics. Here is their system recommendations page. One of the most frequently asked questions on all gear forums is usually some formulation of the following: I am in the market for X; I have Y to spend, what should I get?

With that basic premise as my guide I plan on looking at gear in a bunch of price ranges. I am not, however, going to give recommendations for an entire EDC set up. I thought about it, but then I realized I couldn't do it. First, beyond a few essentials, which I will get to in a moment, what people carry everyday is highly task specific, so detailing an entire set up, purely in theory,...
[Every Day Commentary] 2011 $25 and Under Recommendations - bot Recommendations, Under, 2011, Commentary, Every,
2011 $25 and Under Recommendations

My hope is that this will serve as jumping off point for people doing research on gear. I am trying to survey of all of the tools and lights available in 2011 that can paired together and purchased for $25 or less. The goals and rules for this series of commentaries can be found here. At $25 total for a flashlight and a tool you are making serious compromises. You will not get good materials. You will not get a lot of features. You will not get many of the things that people that like tools and gear care about. But I think it is still possible to pick up a light and tool around $12 a piece that are worth owning and carrying. I'd never rely on these things in crucial situations, but for everyday convenience, they will work. This is perfect for a back up, like in your car.

The Tool

You can get a myriad...
[Every Day Commentary] Leatherman Serac S3 Review - bot Review, Serac, Leatherman, Commentary, Every,
Leatherman Serac S3 Review

I have always been curious about the Leatherman Serac S3. It seemed like a simple, yet robust design with a lot of features that I really like in a flashlight. After I did a commentary about the light, found here , I came into a bit of unexpected cash, and bought one. Here it is on my slate slab background (which makes for easier and interesting macro shots):

IMG_0018

I have been carrying it now for a while, and used it exclusively on a recent trip out of state. I have also let my infant son play with it and he beat it to smithereens. He would put it in his mouth, he would drag it along pavement, he would use it to tap baby-Morse code on heating elements...
[Every Day Commentary] 2011 $50 Max Recommendations - bot Recommendations, 2011, Commentary, Every,
2011 $50 Max Recommendations

Here are the basic rules and assumptions for this series of commentaries. Here is the previous entry, the $25 and under Recommendations.

At the $50 max level you are still dealing with gear that I would consider compromised in some way. Usually you get many, if not all, of the features for more expensive stuff, but the tool is suffering from a lack of fit and finish and/or suboptimal materials. That said, this is a vastly more competitive market niche than it was five or even ten years ago. The advent of Chinese manufacturing has allowed American firms to make things more cheaply overseas. It has also forced American firms to be more price conscious with products made here. Buck Knives, for example, has done an
[Every Day Commentary] The Spyderco Native 5 and the Element of Mystery - bot Mystery, Element, Native, Spyderco, Commentary, Every,
The Spyderco Native 5 and the Element of Mystery

Awhile ago I had gone through the Spyderco catalog and said that the Native 5 was one of the knives I was most looking forward to getting to see in person. Well, I did some research and found out that the Native 5 is coming towards the end of summer and that none other than Sal Glesser was car rying the manufacturing prototype around in his pocket.

It is easy to see why this knife is in the pocket of the man who could, if he wanted to, carry just about any folding knife in the world. The Native 5 is modeled after the Native 4 CF, with a full flat ground blade, a reworked finger choil, and a slightly modified handle slab profile.

Here is the Native 4 CF:

[Every Day Commentary] 2011 $100 Max Recommendations - bot Recommendations, 2011, Commentary, Every,
2011 $100 Max Recommendations

Here are the basic rules and assumptions for this series of commentaries. Here is the previous entry, the $25 and under Recommendations. Here is the $50 Max Recommendations.

This is the first price range where I can recommend things without reservations. You can now find tools, knives, and lights that will stand the test of time, that have all of the features you want, and have good build quality. In many ways, this price range is the sweet spot--it is the place where market forces have conspired to give you the most bang for your buck. Honestly, in many cases spending more is necessitated only by 1) your preferences; or 2) specific tasks. The gear available at this price range would suit a non-enthusiast for their life,...
[Every Day Commentary] Fenix LD10 Review - bot Review, LD10, Fenix, Commentary, Every,
Fenix LD10 Review

This is my first review of a Fenix light. They were the upstart that really started the new wave of high quality, relatively inexpensive flashlights. Their lights now range from the cheap and decent E01 all the way up to the massive and expensive TK70, a 2200 lumen monster.

Here is my LD10 with its light&saber buddy, the excellent Spyderco Delica 4:

IMG_0055

I received this light in a trade. I sent one of my walking sticks to a fellow EDCFer and said send something that you think is of equal worth back. I got the LD10 about two weeks later. Here is...
[Every Day Commentary] 2011 $500 Max Recommendations, Part I: The Tools - bot Tools, Part, Recommendations, 2011, Commentary, Every,
2011 $500 Max Recommendations, Part I: The Tools

Because this entry is so long I am splitting it up into two parts: tools and lights. The tools will have a price range of $250 max. The same with the lights. If I didn't do this it would take me a week to get this out.

Here are the rules. Here is the $25 and less entry, the $50 max entry, the $100 max entry, and the $200 max entry.

The caliber of gear in this price range is really impressive. Nothing but the state of the art production stuff and even some small batch or custom items now. Also, the bar is raised...
[Every Day Commentary] 2011 $200 Max Recommendations - bot Recommendations, 2011, Commentary, Every,
2011 $200 Max Recommendations

Here are the rules. Here is the $25 and less entry, the $50 max entry, and the $100 max entry.< br />
We are now finally getting to a place where the gear is really interesting. At $100 total you will find really well-made utilitarian stuff, but nothing cutting edge. At the $200 level, that all changes. Now you can find stuff with the finest steels--ZDP-189, S30V (or the new S35VN), Elmax and Vanax steel. You will also find lights with really nice emitters, very high end clickies, and extraordinary runtimes, some even with funky custom batteries. The other thing is that gear this pricey starts to get into what hand tool guys think of as heirloom quality stuff,...
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