This time on Steal of the Week we’re highlighting the Viper line of assisted opening folders from Schrade. The Viper line is a series of sturdy, formidable knives, and I’m not going to bury the lead here; what sets them apart is the patent-pending side-opening mechanism.
Check this out. You’ve got a finger hole here on the side, which you use to nudge the blade out, and the mechanism takes care of the rest, extending the stainless steel blade with decent speed. It’s going to take a little getting used to, for sure, but after the first few openings it becomes surprisingly intuitive.
Once extended, the blade is very solidly locked in place. To fold it back down just slide the lock back. The Vipers also come equipped with a safety slider, which very effectively prevents the blade from deploying.
The machined aluminum handles are edgy and industrial across all Viper models. I mean look at these things, it’s like they fell out of a Nine Inch Nails video. The various handle shapes all feel reasonably comfortable in the hand, with the texture providing very good grip. The jimping on the slider gives your thumb a good place to lock in when you need that extra bit of control. As an added bonus, the finger hole in the handle affords a number of unique grip styles.
All Viper models come equipped with non-reversible right-hand pocket clips, allowing for tip-up carry in most cases. Even the biggest of these beasts is quite slim, making for an unobtrusive carry. Overall, the Vipers are a very cool, unique line from Schrade. Available in multiple shapes and sizes they represent excellent options for everyday carry.
You can learn more about these products by clicking here. Or see our entire inventory by visiting knifecenter.com
This week’s spotlight falls on the new Rev multi-tool from Leatherman. This rugged item, while low-profile nevertheless manages to pack-in 13 soon-to-be indispensable tools, leaving you fully-equipped to handle just about anything life may throw at you. Except maybe reality television. A big plus for this model is the outside accessible blade, which the liner lock prevents from collapsing on your fingers while you work. This knife will certainly get the job done for you, but as is expected with a multi-tool like this, the handling is a little awkward and uncomfortable. The Rev features the standard Philips and flathead screwdrivers, a bottle opener, file, and more.
The slim design means you won’t be sacrificing too much pocket real estate to the Rev, and the pocket clip slides on and off very smoothly. As a secondary option it can be purchased with a nylon sheath to hang on your belt. The high-carbon form of 420 stainless steel makes this an extremely durable tool, and as always you’re backed by the Leatherman 25-year guarantee. That combined with the overall portability and enviable functionality makes the Rev an admirable tool for everyday carry.
You can learn more about this product by clicking here. Or you can see our entire inventory by visiting knifecenter.com
This weekend our many specials include these two affordable machetes from Condor. The Thai Enep machete comes in a durable leather sheath with swiveling belt loop for ease of carry. Snap that open and withdraw the machete with grace and precision. The 18” high carbon steel blade has an epoxy black powder coating, and clocking in at just over 2 pounds its weight and traditional shape lends the machete a very ergonomic balance. The smooth wooden handle feels comfortable in the hand, but when hacking through the South American jungle your sweaty palms may tend to slip.
The Thunderhead machete addresses this risk with its textured high impact propylene handle, tapered with a bulb on the end to enhance your grip. The 16” blade is also coated high carbon steel, though its tear-drop shape feels a little top-heavy when compared to the Thai Enap, despite weighing less than 2 pounds. The double-edged design will make quick work of your frenzied hacking, but requires extra caution if you’re the kind of person who values intact extremities. This machete also comes with its own leather case.
You can learn more about these products by clicking here. Or you can see our entire inventory by visiting knifecenter.com
This week’s Steal is a compact and exceptionally rugged line of every-day-carry knives: this is the DPx Gear HEAT/F.
The HEAT, which stands for Hostile Environment At Hand Tool, was conceived as a more compact take on DPx’s popular HEST folder, in order to give law enforcement and first responder personnel an equally constructed tool with a more economic blade and design.
The thick two-and-a-quarter inch blade definitely carries itself like a much larger knife. It deploys smoothly and certainly via the dual thumbstuds. The bottle-opener notch calls back to Robert Young Pelton’s early experiments with fixed blade knives, and functions as a thumb grip or “quick open” mechanism. Blade steel differs depending on the model and ranges from Sleipner to D2 Tool to Niolox stainless steel.
The titanium frame lock is extremely secure, and there is even a left-handed version available, making the line even more accessible. The handle scale ranges from carbon fiber to G10 to an attractive 3D titanium version. Comes with a removable pocket clip and glass breaker. The hand feel is quite comfortable for such a compact knife.
In our final Father’s Day edition of Warehouse Hunts we’re looking at few knife options for those looking to go all out on the big day.
First up we have the king of the EDCs: the Spyderco ParaMilitary2, which won the 2015 crown in KnifeCenter’s Ultimate EDC tournament back in March. The thing is a perennial favorite; it combines fantastic functionality with solid construction, materials, and definitely punches above its price point. The blade is nearly three-and-a-half inches long and made from CPM-S30V steel, and the handle is textured G10 with a crazy versatile 4-way pocket clip. It’s easily one of my favorite knives ever.
The Benchmade 940 Osborne is another incredible carry option. It’s super slim and a breeze to carry around at under three ounces. I love the deep green color of the aluminum handle scales. The blade is three-point-four inches long and made from S30V stainless steel with a slim and interesting modified reverse tanto shape – very unique. Deployment is via the dual thumbstuds. My favorite part of the knife has to be the AXIS locking mechanism. It’s just so solid and easy to manipulate, and it provides a rare and refreshing level of ambidextrous functionality.
The LionSteel SR-1 stole my heart the minute I opened the package. The single-piece aluminum handle has great construction, a subtle, pleasing “rippled” texture, and a great overall hand-feel. Comes in several color schemes. The blade three-point-seven inches long and made from D2 Tool steel with a satin or black MilSpec finish. Deployed via the dual thumbstuds. Big fan of the frame-lock mechanism, which secures the blade with a satisfying certainty.
Finally, at the top of the Father’s Day gift Olympus we have the Rick Hinderer XM-18 flipper. Pretty much out of the realm of possibility for most of us gift-giving mortals, but mere image of Dad prying his jaw off the floor after unboxing one of these beasts is something to savor. The attractive wharncliffe blade is made from S35VN steel and the handle features a G-10 face scale and one of the smoothest titanium frame-locks I have handled. Hinderer designs are darlings of the current knife industry, and this blade is certainly something to strive for.
The QSE-8 Emmett “Doc” Brown flipper – yet another quality reference from the pop-culture-happy naming gurus at QTRM5TR Knives – is a collaboration project between the company and designer Austin Weiss. The final product retains a rock-solid construction while easing away from the rather bulking, tank-like structure of other Quartermaster models.
The modified wharncliffe blade is three-point-seven inch long and made from CPM 154 stainless steel with either a Texas Tea stonewash or limo tint finish. Its slim, tapered look took some getting used to, especially coming from a company like Quartermaster, but I’ve started to appreciate the understated and utilitarian design.
The action on this thing is crazy fast thanks to the nice-sized flipper feature and smooth movement along the ORB pivot system. Combine that with a great titanium frame lock and you have a knife that is a real joy to open and close. Total weight is just over four-and-a-half ounces, giving the knife a solid level of portability.
Overall, the QSE-8 “Doc” Brown is a nice addition to the Quartermaster line up, and probably my single favorite design from them so far.
The Spyderco Equilibrium is actually a re-design of a previous Spyderco product, the Balance, which – hard to believe – was even smaller than the current rendition.
The blade is one-point-seven-three inches long with a one-and-a-quarter inch edge, and it’s made from VG-10 steel; so not a lot of cutting room on this thing, but it’s sharp and should handle a variety of smaller everyday tasks with inconspicuous ease. Deployment of the small blade is surprisingly simple thanks to the Spyderco Round Hole.
The stainless steel handle features a frame-lock design and provides enough weight and structure to make this pint-sized folder feel solid rather than flimsy. The finger choil helps gives the hand more room to move, though it will probably still disappear in larger paws. Features a 4-way pocket clip for carrying versatility.
Overall, the Spyderco Equilibrium offers a solid build, good materials, and most of all, a high level of portability.
It’s Week 2 of our Father’s Day Gift Guide and we’re looking at some products to help Dad shave smarter this summer.
Now a truly good shave starts even before the razor meets skin; it starts with a great shave soap. This shea butter-enriched soap, from Pré de Provence of France, is a nice alternative to typical canned shaving creams, which often contain irritating and suspect ingredients. The five-and-a-quarter ounce tin is attractive and the sage fragrance is fantastic.
Of course, the easiest way to utilize a bar shaving soap is with a badger hair brush like this one from Colonel Conk. The brush helps to produce a rich lather and prime the hair for shaving. You can either mix the lather right in the tin, or pop the bar into a shave mug for an extra bit of atmosphere and ceremony.
For those looking to get the closest possible shave, I would highly recommend looking into a quality safety razor – the German company Merkur, for example, is a popular razor brand. The style stands as a nice mid-point between the run of the mill disposable blade and the intimidating Sweeney Todd-ness of a full on straight razor. And while there is still a degree of finesse involved in using a safety razor, I have found the benefits of a closer and less irritating shave to be completely worthy of the small learning curve. What’s more, you’ll actually spend less on shaving products after the initial razor purchase thanks to the affordability of replacement blades, which can be had for a fraction of the price of disposable cartridges.
After the shave comes the after-shave, a crucial step in rehydrating the skin you just scraped away at with a sharpened metal flake. There are many great post-shave balms on the market; as with the soap, try to look for one with natural and soothing ingredients.
Now, for some guys out there “clean-shaven” is as good as a curse word, and their eternal whiskers require a different type of care. For the bearded and mustached faithful we have wax, trimming scissors, combs, and even specialized oils to keep their scruff up to snuff.
So there you go: a few quality products to give dad a great shave from start to finish. You can see the entire list of products mentioned by clicking here, and check out our entire Father’s Day Gift Guide here.
The first thing you notice when handling the Böker Plus Urban Trapper pocketknife is its feather-like feel. At an airy one-point-eight ounces, this thing can be carried anywhere and everywhere with worrying about unnecessary heft or bulk.
The blade is three-point-four-three inches long and made from VG10 steel in a nice slim, attractive shape. It is deployed via the flipper feature, which succeeds in the tough task of being both effective AND inconspicuous. Very fast deployments on this thing.
The titanium handle features a liner-lock design and handles scales – either black G10 or this nice cocobolo wood version – for added grip and aesthetic appeal. The hand-feel is quite comfortable, and there is a pocket clip for tip-up right-hand carry.
Overall, the Böker Plus Urban Trapper’s slim build obviously disqualifies the knife from workhorse status, but it’s a good looking blade with solid construction and materials.
The original VR-71, of course, came equipped with some slick carbon fiber handle scales, as opposed to the eponymous G10 scales that adorn the current version. That change resulted in a dramatically more accessible knife that costs nearly half the amount of its predecessor, which is especially good news for folks who dig Brous’ animalistic designs but don’t want the price tag to chew at their bank accounts for too long.
The other materials and design elements are similar to some other Brous models: the attractive drop point-style blade is made from D2 Tool steel with four different finish options, from satin to acid stonewash. The cut-out in the VR-71’s blade is more functional as a deployment option than, say, the Exo flipper we reviewed a few weeks back, though the handle’s finger guard does take some finessing around.
I’m also not a diehard carbon fiber fan, so the shift in materials doesn’t interest me near as much as the price-drop aspect. The G10 is still comfortable and ergonomic, and the liner lock is easy to manipulate. It would be interesting to see a frame-lock design from Brous at some point, though that might detract from his smooth, contoured aesthetic a little bit.