Category Archives: Gear Geeks Live Podcast

The official home of the Gear Geeks Live Podcast.

Episode 31: The One with Justin OR The Tyranny of Democracy

Episode 31 of Gear Geeks Live allowed us to welcome Justin Laffer to the show to talk about custom knives, forums, and a host of other topics.  Justin is one of the more vibrant personalities on the USN and has one of the finest collection of modern custom knives in the world.  Always quotable, the alternative title comes from Justin’s paraphrase of a line from Plato’s Republic.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Justin: Caswell EDX, Prometheus Writes Alpha Pen, Serge Panchenko Dog Tag Folder, and the Fellhoelter Bolt

Andrew: Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Solitaire, Rockstead Tei, and the Victorinox Cadet

Dan: Spyderco Sage 4, 47s MLX2

Me: Spyderco Techno, Cool Fall SPY 007

New Stuff and News:

New Gear Podcast: Utility Talk

Ka-Bar signs Mike Snody and Jesse Jarosz

Nick Rossi Knives

Steve Ku/Veleno Quantum D2

Main Topic:

Barry Dawson Custom Knives

Emerson A-100

Usual Suspects Network

Jim Skelton’s Knife Show

Zero Knives

Rick Barrett Knives


Southard Knives

Ochs Sherworx

JBS Knives


Spyderco Sharpmaker

Paper Wheels


Episode 30: You can go to the strip joint when its raining

Jeff Freeman, one of the most prolific knife designers in modern history, and founder of Freeman Outdoor Gearjoins us for a discussion of gear, design, Gerber, and his own brand of outstanding blades.

Virtual Pocket Dump

Jeff: Prototype 3.5″ Button Lock, from his Gerber Skunkworks Days

Andrew: Emerson/Kershaw 6K and Red Swingline Stapler

Dan: Alox Cadet with 47s Quark

Me: Karroll Folder with Lanyard Bead and Muyshondt Aeon

New Stuff and News

Jeff is working on a new larger 451, a chopper with LSSPGK steel.

Andrew has a slew of knives in from Kershaw.  He also decided to go full on Mall Ninja and is testing out body armor from Safeguard Armor (you have NO IDEA how dangerous it is to be a videographer on the streets of Montreal).

Main Topic

Jeff talks about gear, Gerber, and his brand.  Its a rambling discussion (mostly because Andrew’s percentage of non sequiturs goes up exponentially as he drinks), but Jeff handles it all in stride.  Its pretty amazing all of the knives he has designed from the LMF II to the 06 Auto to the Venture.  He talks about getting to finally make his blank check blade, the awesome 451 fixed blade I reviewed.  We also talk about the potential for a turnaround at Gerber.  Here is hoping it works out.

Mail Bag

We got a question from a European listener looking for a folding knife without a lock and with two hand opening.  I recommended the great Pingo.  Jeff however beat me to the correct answer offering up one of a half dozen awesome Swiss Army Knives.

Episode 29: Spyderco IWA and the ZT Catalog Review

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Dan: Chris Reeve Knives Mnandi (with a brief discussion of 3M’s VHB tape, which I inadvertently called UHB tape)

Andrew: Spyderco Southard and Klarus Mi10

Tony: McGizmo Haiku and Ray Laconico Small Jasmine



Spydercollector’s IWA coverage

Main Topic:

ZT Catalog 2014

Elmax Problems

Firebreathing Cardboard Dragon Head, made with Elmax Steel:



Are small flashlights worth it?

Not only are they worth it, they are the best way to go.


When we get to 50 reviews I will give away the Brous Bionic.  Go drop a review for GGL on iTunes found here.


Episode 28: Benchmade Catalog Review


Me: Benchmade 555hg with Putman Scales and the Peak Eiger and Bellroy Card Sleeve.

Dan: Cadet and FourSevens Mini CR123a

Andrew: Small Sebenza and Klarus Mi10 and Obtainum Wallet


Brian Tighe Video and Contest from Edge Observer

Time Tested Gear Contest

Spyderco Street Prices

Boker Burch Impetus

Assisted Open Batman Knife

Massachusetts Order of Mall Ninjas (MOMN)

Spyderco Smallfly

Kershaw Skyline Collection

Snooty Andrew when he was little:


Best Made Buck 110

Filson Jacket

Main Topic:

Benchmade 2014 catalog

Mail Bag:

Gear Rec Requirements: 1) blade under 3.2″; 2) non-tactical; 3) pocket clip; and 4) under $50


CRKT Swindle

CRKT Eros SS Handle

Spyderco Pingo

Episode 27: The SHOT Show Show

In this episode we go over some of the stuff that came out at SHOT Show.  Because this was recorded on the same day as Episode 26 it was a little different.

Here is the series of overviews I did for the site: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

A bit on on the USA PATRIOT Act.

The Spyderco catalog review, Episode 22.

The hideous Benchmade Hunt logo:

Surefire 2014 Product Video:

DPx HIT Centric Pivot Hunter:

The Freeman Outdoor Flipper.

The Surefire 2211 Luminox:

Knife HQ YouTube channel.

Episode 26: The Emissary of Ink

On Episode 26 of Gear Geeks Live, Brad Dowdy, the Pen Addict, visits and we chat about EDC, pens, and his new company Nock Co. We were thrilled to have the Emissary of Ink and the Proselytizer of Pens with us.

Virtual Pocket Dump:


Dragonfly 2 in H1, Field Notes, Uniball Jetstream or Sakura Pigma Micron


Fantoni HB01 in 125V, Obtanium Wallet, Mont Blanc Meisterstuck



Me: I carried a Hogue EX 01 4″ Auto and an HDS Clicky.  My pen today was a Kaweco Sport with a Medium Nib.

New Stuff and News:

I announced that I would be writing exclusively for  See here for more.  I also announced that there is a knife show in New England on February 9 in Marlborough, MA.  More details here.  Brad got in a Sailor Black Luster and talked about the sleek lines of this Japanese masterpiece.  Andrew got in a kiridashi from Murray Carter and we talked about the joys of Carter’s cutlery.  Dan is prepping for a review of the Svord Peasant knife, continuing his tour through traditional knives.

Main Topic: The Pen Addict

Brad was kind enough to bring us all sorts of information about pens.  We started off with a bit of background and noted the commonalities between discussions of pens and discussions of gear.  We talked about his favorite pens and he ran us through the pens he currently has inked up (the Vanishing Point, the TWSBI 580, the Edison Beaumont, the Lamy 2000, and the Pilot Custom Heritage 910).  We then talked about go pens for hard use and EDC.  He mentioned the County Comm Embassy Pen and the MadMaxCo Bolt.  After that we discussed his new company, Nock Co. and their line of pen cases.  We also mentioned the origins of Nock Co. which came out of Brad’s head and Jeffrey’s sewing machine.  He told us that a big announcement is coming from Nock Co. very soon.

Mail Bag:

I think it was Mike Rixman that asked if there are any cheap fountain pens worth buying and Brad ran us through a few.  He recommended:

1. The Platnium Preppy (which Dan bought during the recording of the podcast–that is some series enabling).

2. The Pilot Metropolitian

3. The Kaweco Sport

Episode 25: Tuff Thumbz Visits

Episode 25 is a pretty special episode as we have Geoff Blauvelt, aka TuffThumbz.  Here is his website.  In case you don’t know who he is, here is a quick synopsis: reviewed knives on YouTube, modded knives on YouTube, traded knives on YouTube, made knives on YouTube, sold 8 $1,200 customs in 10 minutes at Blade HQ.  For those of us that really enjoy the knife community, seeing one of our own make it big, like Geoff did, is pretty awesome.  So sit back and enjoy.

Dan and Andrew are both busy, so Ben (guest writer for Everyday Commentary and all around good guy) joins us for the chat.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Geoff:  His new knife, the Switch, a G-Shock, LensLight, SIG P938, and a Graham GT.  Here is a picture of the Switch:


Me: Spyderco Techno and Muyshondt Aeon, Mk. II Masterstroke Airfoil (which brings to mind the GATLight)

Ben: Spyderco Air and the Peak Eiger

New Stuff and News:

We talked a good deal about the Emersons that dot the new 2014 line up for KAI USA.

I got in a few pieces of kit of interest including the Tom Bihn Guide Pack, the Falkniven U2, and the aforementioned Techno.

Main Topic:

We have a roving conversation through the life and times of TuffThumbz knives.  We run down through the trials and tribulations of being a knife modifier.  We talk about the next generation of modders including Lionhearted, SoloKnifeReviews, and Menovade.  So many modders have moved on to making customs that the ranks are shrinking just as demand is increasing.   Geoff gives us some details on his new knife, the follow up to the Tanic, a knife tentatively called the Switch.  We talk about Geoff’s influences, including John Gray,  Jens Anso, and the Knife Buddha, Jeremy Horton.  He also mentions that the Tanic was inspired by the Benchmade Onslaught.  Finally we get to the stuff people really wanted to know: production TuffKnives.  The Imp is going to be produced by BladeRunner Systems, while Boker is doing a production version of the Toad.  There are two other TuffKnives production models in the works, but Geoff had to be hush hush about them do to non-disclosure agreements.


Geoff: Larerbacher (sp?)

Me: Angel’s Envy

Ben: Angry Orchard Nightmare on Brett

Mail Bag:

Geoff answers the question of how to get started making knives.

And for Kyle, Geoff was the one flipping a knife open and closed.  It was his Switch prototype.  I feel like if you made it from scratch you can flip it.


Things and things

Thanks everyone for the very good feedback from the last two episodes especially.  Thomas W is an amazing interviewee and Kyle Ver Steeg gives the Dos Equis guy a run for his money.

First, Dan, from over at Blade Reviews, has agreed to be a permanent cohost along with Andrew for the show.  Aaron’s schedule was just not conducive for recording and Dan was willing to jump into the fray.  So thanks to Dan and Aaron, you’re welcome to join Dan, Andrew and I whenever.

Second, Dan had a great idea about recording the podcast, which hopefully will result in a consistent stream of content.  Basically, once everything gets up and running, probably in about two episodes, we are going to record two shows back to back and then release them one every two weeks.  There are a few reasons we are doing this.  First, there is a lot of stuff we don’t get to that winds up on the episode syllabus.  This is good because it means we have a lot to talk about, but it is bad in that some things we want to discuss get missed.  Episode goes long, a topic slips between the cracks, then by the time we get back to it, the topic is no longer relevant.  By recording two episodes at once it will hopefully ensure that doesn’t happen.  While I like the idea of three gear geeks chatting, I also want the podcast to provide you with some gear news.  There is no real source out there for this information and hopefully Gear Geeks Live can be that source.  Second, by recording two episodes at once we can make sure that we don’t miss a week or things go awry because of schedules, etc.  The key to any endeavor is consistency and hopefully this will make the podcast more consistent.

Third, we have a lot of interesting folks lined up for guest spots–makers, interesting voices in the community, and so on.  I want to focus on bringing you a broader swath of content and to that end I’d like to more fully embrace the EDC mindset.  I like, well no, love, knives but I like other stuff too.  I am working on getting people on that can talk about other parts of a person’s daily carry, so stay tuned.  Also, if you have a person in mind that you’d like to see as a guest on the podcast, let me know and I will reach out to them.

As the 1 year anniversary approaches I want to do a cool giveaway, so stay tuned for that.  Also, we really do have a good roster of guests coming on, so stay tuned for that too.  There is also a lot of stuff in the works, stuff that will make the podcast better (including, yes, equipment upgrades).  Busy, busy, busy.

Finally, we are looking for a second sponsor, so if you know of a business that would like to advertise on the podcast, please let me know.  A second sponsor would enable the equipment upgrades to happen more quickly.

Big thanks to Dan for being willing to step up.  His voice is a good one to have on the show.

Episode 24: Find a Way to Make it Happen and You’ll Be Fine

This episode we welcome a real life adventurer to the podcast–Kyle Ver Steeg.  Some of you might know him from the forums as Average Iowa Guy.  You can find his videos on YouTube here.  He is also the co-host, with Jim Nowka, of another podcast on gear, the Knife Journal Podcast, which you can find here.  It was a different podcast, but I think you’ll enjoy it.  We had to skip the New Stuff and News segment and the Mailbag segment to help Kyle keep his schedule.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Kyle:  a home made Gaucho and a Benchmade Presidio Auto

Dan: Spyderco Sage I, the perfect EDC (according to Dan)

Tony: Benchmade Mini Griptillian with Allen Putman scales and a Peak Eiger:


Main Topic: Kyle Ver Steeg, Modern Adventurer and Average Iowa Guy

This was a great discussion with a guy that is as high end a user of gear as you can find.  One thing I would heartily recommend is his video from the Phillipines.  Take a look at the knives being made in this little documentary he made:

Kyle tells us what is like to really be out there pushing gear to its limit and beyond.  One thing he dispels pretty quickly is more lavish kinds of gear.  Here is a short list of what you need in a knife to survive in the wilderness: 1) steel you can sharpen without power tools; 2) a handle that is comfortable; and 3) something that is non threatening.  He tells us that a fixed blade isn’t a requirement and a lock isn’t either.  He is also pretty pointed about the need for better clothing when out on an adventure.  We talk a bit about Amazon 5000 and working as a surgeon in the Phillipines.  He tells us that he loved Victorinox Spartan and the DPx HEST 2.0 and that RYP isn’t as wild as his public persona would have you believe.  We also talk about survival schools and he recommends Karamat and BOSS.  Finally, we talk about survival books and he recommends Mors Kochansky’s book, found here:

And Jim Nowka’s book, found here:

Episode 23: A Kershaw Christmas

It took me a while to set everything up, but I finally managed to get Thomas W. from KAI USA on the podcast and boy was it an awesome show.  If you have even a passing interesting in knives, how they are made, and the gear business, this is worth a listen.  Thanks again to Thomas for stopping by.

Virtual Pocket Dump:


ZT0888 (because, if you are the Brand Manager for KAI USA you can just go pick one up and carry it around).


Strider PT CC (here is Dan’s review)


XM-18 3 inch and McGizmo Haiku

New Stuff and News:

Basically we talked about the history and lineage of the ZT0888 as well as the ZT0777.  We discussed, in particular, the secondary market prices and whether or not they matter to KAI’s business concerns.  Thomas also gives us some official numbers on the ZT0888 and announces that there will be two other editions–the ZT0888MAX (which we had a hint of) and the ZT0888 in M390.  The MAX comes with a new-to-the-industry steel Maxamet (datasheet here).  The fascinating thing about the steel, which we touch on a bit, is the fact that it is so tough AND hard, coming in between high speed steels and actual carbides.  Here are the numbers breakdowns for the ZT0888:

0888: 212-216 units

0888MAX: 120 units

0888M390: 130-150 units

The MAX and the M390 version drop soon.

Main Topic:

The conversation ran the gamut from a give and take about the Cryo, the role of reviewers, Thomas’s start in the cutlery business, and a preview of some of the stuff for SHOT Show.

We hit the 0777 right away and basically it is a finished thing.  The amount of heartache and difficulty made this blade the bane of Thomas’s existence for a while.  Then we talk about how Thomas broke into the business–he started working at Plaza Cutlery and just kept plugging away.  He talks about going to custom shows, like the California Custom Knife Show, and chatting with legends.  He mentions his first custom a Ron Gaston folder (here is an example of Ron’s stellar work).  He tells us why there are so few lefty knives, why the Cryo is such a success and why I was wrong in my review.  I push back a little and I think we end up seeing it as a difference of perspective.  He tells us that there are a wave of special edition Cryos coming including a G10 version, which will hopefully be lighter.  I point him to the work of Eric Peterson and his heavily modified Cryo with a bearing pivot (found here).  There is a Cryo coming with a Blackwash blade and a recurve as well.  We then go through a few knives I did like from KAI, including the Chill, which Thomas tells us has been discontinued (RIP cheap RJ Martin folder), and the Skyline.  Thomas reveals that there are two Blackwash versions, the ones with black G-10 and the rarer blue G-10 version of which there are only 211 in existence.  We talk a little bit about how companies have to deal with big corporations like Wal-Mart and how it is more difficult to make a knife for them than it is to make the best knife possible.  We discuss how close the ZT0600 is to the RJ Martin Q36.  We ramble a little more and it is a great trip through the knife business.  We end up talking about clips, how expensive they are, and why Thomas HATES them.  In all, it was as illuminating conversation.  Note how quiet Dan and I were.  I basically lobbed out a topic and Thomas did the rest.  He was born to podcast.

Mail Bag:

Dan, Thomas and I discuss our procedures for testing knives.