All posts by Rob

Feather-Weight EDC

How light can you make you EDC?

This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.

I have been trying to carry smaller and lighter knives and lights. I have been trying to trim the gear that doesn’t get used as often. As much as I love scary looking knives and blinding flashlights, I haven’t really found myself wishing for a bigger blade or more lumens. I know it sounds like heresy, but I’m enjoying the freedom of minimalist, ultralight EDC.

The lighter and more comfortable you make your EDC gear, the more likely you are to have it on you when you need it. Hardcore EDC types don’t need the extra comfort, but they will definitely benefit from the freedom. You don’t have to worry about sitting properly so you don’t poke yourself. You don’t have to worry about printing your monster knife. I realize that part of it is just mental, but it’s still liberating.

I know that an ultralight EDC loadout isn’t really for everyday and it isn’t for everyone, but it sure feels nice!

Here’s what I’m carrying today:

  • Spyderco Dragonfly (Tom Krein Regrind)
  • Innova Microlight
  • iPod Nano
  • Minimal Keychain

 

ZDP-189 Sharpening

When I recently acquired a couple of ZDP-189 Spyderco knives, I was both excited and scared about putting them to use. I wanted to see how the steel held up to the abuse that I put my knives through, but I was looking forward to the sharpening time with much trepidation.

I carried the Spyderco Delica 4 ZDP-189 for ~30 days before I decided that it needed to be sharpened. I used it multiple times a day on ceramic plates for cutting my food at mealtime. I used it to open packages, cut cord, foam, and string, remove metal seals from our gas cylinders, cut lemons in half for tea, and many more tasks. The blade has not been babied. The blade is by no means dull, but I wanted to bring it back to the factory sharpness. I wanted it to glide effortlessly through the different mediums it is exposed to.

The sharpening itself was anticlimactic. I read several forum threads asking for help or advice with the ZDP-189 knives that wouldn’t come sharp. I had heard what an amazing super steel the ZDP-189 is. I was anticipating an hour long sharpening session filled with (Christian) cusswords, bleeding fingers, and a mediocre outcome.

I use a Smith’s sharpening kit with a blade clamp and guides for the stones so that they maintain the proper angle. It’s no WickedEdge system, but it does the job for me at a fraction of the cost.

I clamped the blade in place and started out using the coarse diamond stone(750 grit). Don’t press down too hard. Take soft, slow, and smooth strokes across the entire edge. I could immediately see that it was removing metal. That was a good sign, but there is much more to sharpening than just removing metal. When sharpening a knife for the first time, you never know if the factory bevel angle was the same as the bevel dictated by your sharpening kit settings. It could just be removing metal from the just the base or tip of the bevel. Unless you want a double angled bevel, this means you need to do a decent amount of work to reset the entire edge bevel angle. Thankfully, I saw that the stone was removing material evenly across the entire bevel!

After I was satisfied that I had an even bevel and an unchipped edge, I moved to the  “Fine Arkansas Stone”(1000 grit) with a little oil to give it some finishing polish. After I finished, I decided to do some cutting tests to see if it actually cut better or if I had just made it look nicer. My twenty minute home sharpening job had indeed brought the blade back to it’s factory sharpness.

The moral of the story is: “Don’t be afraid of the ZDP-189 super steel.” It doesn’t require magical powers to sharpen. If I can do it, I’m sure you can.

Why Do Custom Knife Makers Love Art Knives?

Tony over at Everydaycommentary.com poses the question.

I think there will be a number of reasons and they will vary slightly from maker to maker, but I’ll throw a few guesses out there:

Personal Interest – A production knife is made by machines that don’t worry about getting bored.  Creative custom knife makers want to stay interested in the work that they do.  Maybe they want to change up their work while still keeping with the overall design they like.

Market – Makers will make what people are buying and what will make them money. Whether or not people want to admit it, money is a huge motivator. When you know people collect and buy art knives, it’s easy to head in that direction. It’s a safer route than completely new designs.

Any other ideas?

Is “EDC” the new “tactical”?

Drang proposes the question

Personally, I think that “EDC” point-of-view is a slightly more practical way to approach gear selection.  The term is less specific than “tactical” in most people’s minds and I see that as a positive.  When selecting gear, you need to set out with an open mind, searching for the gear that meets your needs.  You shouldn’t be attempting to fit someone else’s gear(the local SWAT team, etc) into your lifestyle.

You can’t control what marketing “gurus” decide to slap on their products, but I hope that they don’t ruin the the idea of EDC: personalized, practical, useful gear

High Color Rendition Lights and Diapers

I just read a light review from Tony over at EverydayCommentary.com where he mentioned the importance of good color rendition in his light:

It is awfully helpful at night, allowing me to distinguish between diapers while changing my son (he needs special, “extra pee” nighttime diapers and they are a different color scheme, both of which use variations of red).

This is the perfect example of how everyone’s use cases and needs in EDC gear are different. You don’t need the latest, coolest gear. You need the gear that fits your needs.

Surefire Motion Activated Light

Marshall Hoots of GoingGear talks to Ron from Surefire about a new technology that allows users to activate a light using programmable motion like a unique flick or shake of the wrist.  It uses a combination accelerometer/gyroscope to pick up on the movements for programming and activation.  This sounds like a seriously awesome idea!

Tom Krein Regrind Spyderco Delica

I recently received a set of reground Spyderco knives from Tom Krein.  The Delica is a ZDP-189 blade and started out as a full-flat ground blade.  I then had Tom regrind it to an even thinner full-flat grind.  My first question before all of this was what is the difference between a factory FFG and Tom Krein’s aftermarket FFG?  Tom grinds the blades so that the thickness directly behind the sharpened area is about a quarter of the thickness of the factory blade.

According to Tom:

Most of the FFG’s from spyderco are still between .020″-.030″ just behind the sharpened area. I take them down to around .008″ plus or minus .003″. It does make a difference.

Here are a few pics:

Creative Flashlight Charging Stand

Jason of Dark Sucks/ Promethius Lights posted photos back in October of the second light that he made.  The light is interesting enough on it’s own, but what caught my eye was the custom charging station he built to go along with it.  Although I assume it is still possible, he didn’t feel like removing the batteries for charging.  He came up with this contraption to do the trick:

The black sleeve is Delrin and the base is 304 Stainless.  Inside the base, there are 2 neodymium magnets that float up to make contact for charging or drop down flush in the base otherwise.  There are 2 fixed matching magnets in the light itself that mate with the 2 floating magnets during charging.  The center post is negative and the outside post is positive. This is to make sure that you cannot accidentally reverse the polarity.  You can just stick it in the stand and rotate till the outside magnet rises and clicks into place.  According to Jason, “It’s audible and tactile.”  In my opinion, it’s ingenious.

Check out more of his work at: http://darksucks.blogspot.com/ or http://darksucks.com/store%20homeT.html

Here is the original CPF Thread

An EDC Trauma Kit – Podcast with Bryan Black of ITS Tactical

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In this short interview, we discuss the ITS Tactical trauma kit.  Bryan is also introducing a new, slimmed down version specifically for EDC:

http://www.itstactical.com/medcom/medical/new-its-tactical-edc-trauma-kit-sneak-peek/

It weighs 5 oz and can easily fit in a back pocket:

The EDC Trauma Kit contains (1) Combat Gauze LE, (1) SWAT-T Tourniquet / Pressure Bandage and (1) Pair of OD Nitrile Gloves. The kit is also vacuum sealed and completely latex-free. Another added benefit of the EDC Trauma Kit is that it’s able to be carried on a plane without any trouble from TSA.

4Sevens Preon 1 Vs. Streamlight Microstream

Before the push button/ clicky tailcap modification that Zodiac Engineering did on my 4Sevens Preon 1, I was searching for a better clicky tailcap mechanism for a AAA light.  I was frustrated by the OEM clicky tailcap on the 4Sevens Preon 1, but I read on some forums that it was possible to remove the glued-on Streamlight Microstream head and use it’s body with the 4Sevens Preon head(with a much better interface).  I received my Streamlight Microstream about a week ago and immediately started carrying it to get a feel for the push button.  I have to say that I’m not impressed.  My biggest complaint is how difficult the button is to depress.  On my light, it starts out with the same required pressure as the 4Sevens Preon, but as you reach the bottom where the switch will click, it requires more and more pressure.

Yes, the extra pressure makes it less likely to be turned on in your pocket, but when you are frequently using the light, it makes life miserable for the user.  I’ll continue carrying it for a little longer to see if it grows on me, but as of right now, I’m ready to head back to the 4Sevens Preon 1 with the push button/ clicky tailcap modified by Zodiac Engineering.

Here are some photos comparing the 2 lights:

 

 

 

Tactical Tomahawks: Harlan Whitman Instinct

Harlan Whitman designed the Instinct Tomahawk as an evolution of the many generations of tactical tomahawks that came before.  He grew up in Missouri with an artistic Mother and a mechanical Father. He has a degree in industrial design, but claims that he “tries to forget” most of what he was taught.  According to Harlan, “As with my art and products, everything takes a lifetime of experience to develop. That’s what you pay for when you buy handmade.  It was designed to chop and look sexy doing it.”

He drew everything on paper full size, then cut it out of foam core or plywood to play with and modified it as necessary.  He kept working on the shape until people would say, “This feels like it will chop for me.”  After a few people handled the prototypes, he continued to modify it and eventually moved to real steel.  He says that he personally prefers the feel of the 1/4″ thick model.

Instinct Tomahawk Dimensions:

  • Overall length: 14″
  • Blade length: 3.875″
  • Head length: 5.75″
  • Head thickness: .375″
  • Blade material: O1
  • Heat treating: Differential heat treat.
  • Handle material: O1 full tang construction.
  • Grip material: Red G10
  • Grip texturing: Smooth
  • Grip diameter:  3.5″-3.75″
  • Metal finish: Hand sanded to a shine, clay colored patina
  • Options available: Fully custom
  • Colors: raw steel, patina, parkerized grey or black
  • Pricing: This hawk sold for $750 /sheath $50
  • What materials: Will do leather or plastic.
Other info: (answers by Harlan)
  • What kinds of people are using this tool? Campers, military, art collectors, knife collectors,
  • For what purposes? Chopping stuff I hope! Sadly, I have produced an axe that was supposedly framed. :(
  • What is your testing process: Haha!  Someday I really should make a video! I cut, chop, smash, and pry.  Put them in a hydraulic iron worker a few times.  I break them!  Testing with out failure is pointless.  It will fail, I want to know where.
  • Who manufacturers it: Me. Heat treating or differential heat treatment is out-sourced to Stack Metallurgical. They also do work for Leatherman, Benchmade, Kershaw, and Boeing.
  • Manufactured in Portland, OR and Tuscumbia, MO
  • How many are produced? They are all unique and I honestly don’t keep track.
  • How are they sold? In person, online, or find me at The Oregon Knife Show at table C-4.
  • How can people purchase: Send an email to harlanwhitman@gmail.com
I design out of passion and dedication. I believe that the feel of steel in hand has become a genetically embodied cognition.  I would not  sell a knife that I would not give to my brother.
I started making knives because Carson(my younger brother) and I got tired of breaking the wood handles on our tomahawks when throwing multiples at the target.  At the time, we could only find crap stainless all-steel hawks.  They were always too expensive or cheap and lame, so I drew something up and sent it to Creative Waterjet .  I still every now and then will produce and sell my original design. With many it is still a favorite. Now here I am seven or so years down the road still playing with steel and not going to stop. Was forced to slow down over the past year or so due to extremely painful tendonitis. It was very hard to deal with. I have healed up for the most part and am excited to get back into the game with bigger ambitions than before.

Space Pen Performance Writing Tools For EDC

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Steve Nichols of Fischer Space Pens comes on the show to discuss their performance writing tools for Everyday Carry.

Bedliner on your Flashlight

I just finished watching a Mythbusters show involving a lot of the Line-X spray on bedliner.  They sprayed it on vehicles, clothing, and walls and had dogs bite it and c4 explosions try to break through it.  I was impressed with it’s resilience.  A few minutes later, I happened to glance at the scratched and scraped bezel of my EDC flashlight and a thought popped into my head.  What if you could use spray-on bed-liner to protect the edges of your light?

Anyone try this yet?

Titanium Tactical Tomahawk

I have seen that several inquiries about “titanium tomahawks” have led to this site, but unfortunately, I had no information to offer these people.  After doing a bit of research myself, I came across a tomahawk that did have a Titanium shaft combined with a steel head.  It is made by Jesper Voxnaes in Denmark.  You can see more of his work at voxknives.com

 

According to Jesper:

It has become somewhat of a tradition that Jena Anso and I make a couple of Axes for a show each year.  This year, like last year, we made them for the Bladeshow coming up in June.
We start out with the excact same materials and then design our axes..and yes, we are far apart when it comes to designing axes.
I ended up with a TomaHawk type design. This year it´s a smaller lighter axe with a hollow v-grind.
The Materials are; shaft in .278″ titanium, Head in N690BO steel, also in .278″ (7mm) stock. Slabs in Green Canvas Micarta…..
Well, hope you like it, we had a blast building these..
Took the cutter to the Harbour for some pictures….

Here are some of his excellent photos for you to drool over:

What is a Crenelated Bezel?

Let’s look at definitions of the two words:

Crenelation: A crenelation (from Latin crena, “notch”) is a series of indentations or loopholes around the top of a castle, battlement, or wall—with each indentation being a crenelle (or crenel).

Here are a few crude examples of different types of crenelation:

BezelA bezel is a retaining outer rim

Here is a crenelated watch bezel:

 

When we combine the two terms and apply them to lights or flashlights, we come up with some pretty cool crenelated bezels:

These are often referred to as strike bezels for obvious reasons.  Later, we’ll address the uses for and practicality of crenelated bezels.

For now, just marvel at the aesthetically pleasing engineering work!

Best Flashlight Safety Warning Ever!

I saw this awesome warning recently few days ago:

This flashlight poses a risk of personal injury and property damage if not handled and operated with great caution. This light is not a toy and should not be used by or entrusted to anyone other than a knowledgeable and cautious individual. Heat: The very high current from the battery and to the LED generates a great deal of heat very quickly, and the relatively low mass in this very small flashlight prevents heat dissipation at a rate that would permit extended operation of the light at a high output level. When driven to its output capacity, heat reaches a level making the light too hot to hold within minutes or less. Either the light should be turned off or Peak™s proprietary QTC system should be used to reduce the output before this happens. If left unattended, build-up of heat could reach the point of ignition of nearby flammable objects. This light should never be operated at high output unless in the hand of an alert operator prepared to quickly reduce current and output. Batteries: All batteries are affected by heat and current draw, and if either becomes too great, a battery can be damaged. At a minimum, battery life can be significantly reduced. At worst, failure could be explosive. BATTERY FAILURE CAN OCCUR DURING USE, OR DURING ANY SUBSEQUENT RECHARGING OR USE. A protected battery is no guarantee against this. Regularly check batteries after use for signs of excessive heat. Always closely monitor the recharging process and follow safe practice procedures: use a quality charger; charge in a safe location, check status frequently; terminate the charge timely; inspect and test the battery after charging. IMR (LiMn) batteries are believed to safely handle currents much greater than any other battery chemistry and are therefore the preferred battery for this light. Other Li-Ion 10440 batteries are not designed for high current applications and when used in this light can be driven to the very limits of their design. Only new batteries of good quality should be used in this light. Battery voltage should also be checked regularly. At the first sing of reduced capacity or other problem the battery should be retired. Under no circumstances should this light be operated before the user has studied the important materials readily available on the subject. We suggest that users follow the advice and instruction posted throughout the CPF Forum and in the CPF Marketplace by respected dealers.

 

To some people, this warning makes the light in question even more attractive!  The light can be used as a fire-starter in a survival situation and keep you cold in winter.

I understand that these warnings are to limit liability and are a byproduct of our litigious society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them!

Here’s where it came from…

4Sevens Preon Clicky Tailcap Modification by Zodiac Engineering

I saw a photo of a modified Titanium tailcap on the Zodiac Engineering website back in November and e-mailed Ken about doing the modification for me.  I shipped him a Ti clicky tailcap directly from 4Sevens and 7 days from his receipt, it was out the door and on the way to me.  He was also kind enough to take some Work-in-progress photos for us all to drool over.  The white background photos are his.

I’ve been using it for several days now and I love it so far. The switch is completely recessed and it’s nice not having to worry about accidentally activating the light when I sit down.

The modification does widen the contact/resting surface and shorten the flashlight a little.  Both characteristics make the light more stable during tailstanding.

The pictures may make it look a little bulky, but the clicky tailcap actually only adds ~10% extra length(Preon 1).

  • Regular static tailcap – 76mm
  • With modified clicky tailcap – 83.5mm

The tailcap width is the exact same as the head(no extra width) and the extra weight is negligible(it’s Ti).

Obviously, every flashlight is a personal decision, but for me, the clicky tailcap is worth the small increase in size.

I can honestly say that I can’t notice a difference when carrying it, even when I’m trying.

In my opinion, it was totally worth the $16+shipping.  It made my favorite little light even better.

So what do you think?

Click on any of the images for a better view:

How Much Do People Usually Spend for EDC?

Somebody made it to our website after googling this phrase:

So, how much?

That’s a loaded question.

Let’s look at what decent quality EDC gear costs:

  • Watch $50-1000
  • Knife $50-500
  • Flashlight $20-300
  • Wallet $10-300
  • Firearm $300-$2000
  • Pen $1-100
  • Phone $50-600
  • MP3 Player $40-300

Please bear in mind that these are very rough numbers and these ranges are by no means exact.  Custom gear can be far more expensive than what I listed and deals can be found on quality gear below the prices I listed.  These numbers should give you an idea of what people spend on their EDC gear.  Also remember that not everybody carries all these pieces of gear and different people can choose to spend different amounts on different pieces of gear depending on their priorities.

When you consider how much people usually spend for EDC, you should also factor in the cost of the gear that people may not be currently carrying.  EDC enthusiasts probably have several examples of their favorite pieces of gear.  It may be the same knife in different colors or configurations.  It may be different watches for different occasions.  It could be different holsters that go with different clothing.

Another factor is the cost of gear that led them to their current gear.  It normally takes people some time to find the gear that they are comfortable with.  For some people, the process of gear evolution and upgrading never stops.  What did all the previous gear cost?  Some of that is sold, but if you are a sentimentalist or pack rat, you will never recoup those costs.

So, what do I spend on EDC?  I can’t say.  My wife reads this blog! 😉

Selecting A Handgun for Everyday Carry – with Massad Ayoob

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Massad Ayoob comes on the show to discuss selecting a handgun for everyday carry.  We also talk about the gear that goes with it.