Friday, July 30, 2010

The Izula done got its har' did

She shore's puuuuurrrrdy pawwwww!!!

I'm fresh out of 550 cord at the moment, so I played around with some boot laces that I had and came up with a better grip for the handle. Yes, the cord wrapped handle will pick up funk and water which can be uncomfortable, but the real reason behind wrapping the handle is to have some cordage handy if your plane goes down in the Alps. 550 cord is perfect because it can be used as-is for building a shelter, or you can pull the internal strands out of it and use it to affix hand made broad heads to your arrows for slaying Bambi's baby brother. Mmmmmm. . . .backstraps!

Too bad bootlaces don't have the internal guts to make primitive arrows; I'll have to order some from Saigon Sam's. While I had the time, I took the shitty metal clip off of that abomination of a cell phone case that I bought from Maxpedition - yes, the very one that abetted the death of my Blackberry this past winter - and drilled some careful holes in it to use on the Izula's sheath.

I used two Chicago screws from a Blackhawk Serpa holster to hold it together, and I have the ability to change the angle if I so desire:

Once I get some 550 cord, I'll re-wrap the handle and my fixed EDC knife will be complete! MUGH-HUH-HWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Here is a way to comfortably carry all day and have the knife instantly available to either hand for the very moment you get that JuJubes stuck in your teeth in a darkened movie theater:

Add in not one, but TWO shiny new Brownells catalogs and things get super cool in a New York instant:

Imma gonna hit the Brownells website like a ton of bricks here in the very near future; there's a couple of AR upper builds I have in mind that will get my undivided attention soon.

But back to the star of our show: I found out on the ESEE website that the steel of choice in their knives is 1095, which happens to be my fav. Some consider 1095 a pain because it rusts fairly easy unless you take proper care, but you can't beat it for its ease of sharpening, the nasty edge it holds, its toughness, or how freakin cool the edge looks when you get it polished!

Try that with your super steel!

I learned to sharpen knives when I was a little boy using bench stones. Many folks prefer to use one of the fixed setups, which I can appreciate, but bench stones give a very rounded edge radius vice the beveled radius that you get from a fixed rig. That has many advantages in my world, one of them being a smoother cut in flesh - like when you're skinning a flock of alpacas or scalping tangos after your berserker rage settles down.

I find that factory edges from all manufacturers pretty much suck, so the first order of business is to remove that sucker and put a worthy one on. That takes some elbow grease to do, especially for big knives like a Ka-Bar:

Fortunately, Ka-Bars have 1095 steel in them so it's not too bad; the one in the picture I sharpened in Iraq in 2006 and haven't touched since. One night I fell in the back of an RG-31 on a road in Hit, and the blade cut through the stitching in the sheath and hit the floor, putting some dings in the blade. Last night I finally got around to addressing them, and I could shave my face with the edge it has now.

And while I have the stones out, why not just knock the edge off them all? My little Benchmade 3550 auto has 154CM steel, which can sometimes be fickle when it comes to sharpening; this one's no different. I find stainless in general to be like that at times, and last night was one of those times because the Cold Steel Spike didn't want to take a sick edge either. It does take a pretty nasty point though.

The smaller stone is a hard Arkansas which is decent for removing material to get the edge radiused like you want, and it does OK for getting a fine edge. My stone of choice for radiusing is a soft Arkansas, but I generally follow up with the hard Arkansas so that the edge will take a good polish; if you only use the soft stone before a polish you can't get rid of the micro cuts that the stone leaves behind. The larger stone in the picture is a translucent Arkansas which is only used for polishing: it does not sharpen. Once you get the blade as sharp as you can get it on the hard Arkansas, or if you get a bur on the edge which you can feel by dragging your thumb perpendicular to the edge, than it's time to put it on the translucent stone. Follow that up by stropping it on the top of the wood case that my father made for me and you can go shave a whole litter of puppies with it. Of note is that I use basically any oil on the hard or soft Arkansas, but use none with the translucent stone as it doesn't have large enough pores to soak in the oil. The outcome is that you have a lot of wasted effort when your blade rides just off the surface of the stone instead of on it.

So, the long and the short of it all is, go forth and purchase thee an ESEE Izula and sharpen it! It's therapeutic! Take the laces out of Paw Paws snow boots and dressy the lass up! Take a couple of days off from work and spend the night in the back yard whittling marshmallow roasting sticks and fending off wild bears. Or, you could be like me and only use your darling shiv for trimming your cuticles while watching Deadliest Warrior. Which, speaking of, the season finale this week pitted US Navy SEALs against Israeli Commandos, and their close range weapons of choice were the Cold Steel Recon 1 (in one of my pics above) and the Ka-Bar, respectively. If you look close, just for an instant, you can see that the SEAL broke the very tip off his Recon 1 when he massacred a ballistic gelatin torso. Coooooool!


Aaron said...

hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
nice work!

Unknown said...

Thanks much!