Category Archives: Gear Geeks Live Podcast

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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:

Thomas:

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

Dan:

Strider PT CC (here is Dan’s review)

Tony:

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.

Episode 23 Preview: The Order of KAI

We will not be putting out an episode this coming week.  Christmas festivities will leave me otherwise occupied.

Sad yes, I know.  But…not to worry, Episode 23 is coming and we have a whopper of a guest–Thomas W. from KAI USA.  Yes, that Thomas W.  Thomas is a truly great talker, the gear equivalent of Andy Van Slyke.  He is, in reporter parlance, good copy. He also incredibly knowledgeable and is one of the most active representatives of a gear company anywhere, regularly engaging folks on forums and websites.  No one is more in tune with the brand he manages than Thomas W, and I say that even though we have disagreed in the past (find that here and here).  The reality is that KAI is both one of the best gear companies out there and at the same time one of the most innovative.  This is not a giant resting on its laurels and Thomas W. has a lot to do with that.  His willingness to come on the podcast speaks volumes about the company and the man.

So get your questions in as soon as possible.  You can drop them in the comments here, tweet them to Everyday Comment, or send them to me via email at everydaycommentary at gmail dot com in the usual format.  I can’t promise I will be able to ask them all, but I will surely try.

Episode 22: Gear of the Year Run Down

VPD:

ME:  Peak Eiger, Emerson Mini CQC7

Dan: ZT560 CF, Alox Cadet, 47s MLR2

Andrew: same knife, JetBeam Raptor

New Stuff and News:

Spyderco’s 2014 catalog was released (you can find it here).  We do a rundown of the knives we like and those we don’t.   Here is the link to the Cuscadi Pingo.

Main Topic:

Last year I did a post on the best new gear of 2012 and this year I sent out ballots to a few gear friends on the ‘net.  We run down our discussion of the various new things that came out this year, which were hits and which were flops.  Here are the categories and some of my suggestions.

Andrew and Dan both liked the Hogue EX04 and the Spyderco Domino. I thought the MBI HF-R Ti was the overall product of the year.

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Oh, and here is a link to the crazy Ron Lake Knife, from Knife Purveyor.  Look forward to the full Gear of the Year Ballot and voting on Everyday Commentary.

Mail Bag:

Is Tumi still worth it with all of the Internet direct companies making bags?  Nope.  Not by a long shot.

Gear Geeks Live Episode 21: EDC Minimalism and a Can of Moose Fat

This one is Super Sized, clocking in at 1:55.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Tony: HDS Rotary Executive 200 and the Strider PT CC

Andrew: Sunwayman Thunder Hammer and Small Sebenza

Dan (from Blade Reviews.com): Hogue EX04, 47s MLR2

Ben: Higonokami, Peak Eiger

New Stuff and News:

We discuss the trend towards using high end tool steels, as seen in knives like the Cru Wear Spyderco Military and the PD#1 StridersHere is the datasheet on CruWear.  Here is the datasheet on PD#1.

Tony got in a slew of stuff for review: the S’well Bottle, the Kaweco Sport, the HDS Rotary Executive 200, and the Carbon Fiber Ortiba Lighthouse.  Dan got in the Benchmade Volli for inspection.  We all drool/point fun of the Seibert Dual Action.

Main Topic:

EDC Minimalism: How much is enough?

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We have a long and winding discussion about what we carry everyday and how much of it is for fun, for testing, and for use.  We poke fun at the one is none philosophy, especially for urban EDC and we talk about being prepared v. being crazy.  We talk about the bags we carry as well. I love my Bihn Cadet, probably more now than when I got it two years ago.  Dan really likes his Filson Laptop Briefcase.

Somehow in the rambling we got on the subject of moose fat and Andrew made an unintentional allusion to Last Tango in Paris.

Thanks to both Dan and Ben for coming on.

Mail Bag:

A listener asked me how to get noticed by a gear company and how to submit ideas, so I followed up with KAI and CRKT to get some ideas.

Episode 20: Triple Aught Design and Ti Santa Beards

Virtual Pocket Dump

Tony:

Spyderco Delica in ZDP-189 with Featherlight deep carry pocket clip

Peak Eiger Oveready Edition with Prometheus Clip and Momentary On Switch

Andrew:

Spyderco Techno

C21C Sunwayman Thunder Hammer (see below for more).

Gianni:

Triple Aught Design Mk. 2 Black Production Dauntless

Triple Aught Design Edition LED Lenser KO 2x CR123a

Mk. II Blackwater MMT watch

Rotring 600 Pen, Pencil, and Fountain Pen Set

Here is the Gianni’s EDC stash:

photo (6)

New Stuff and News

Andrew talks about making a documentary about Brian Tighe.  We talk about Tighe and his approach to making knives.  We also discuss the arrival of the first batch of Tanics at Blade HQ.  I also got in the beast blade the Cold Steel Recon Scout.

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Seeing it in person and handling it are the only way to really appreciate just how massive this slab of sharpened steel really is.  Its a behemoth and an awesome chopper.  It also has the best sheath on a production fixed blade I have ever seen or handled.  For all of their ridiculous marketing, which we discuss, the Recon Scout is totally, 100% legit.  Andrew got in Sunwayman C21C Thunder Hammer.  Apparently the Nitecore Bitch Killa got hung up in the mail.

Main Topic

We have a roving conversation with Gianni about Triple Aught Design, the process of going from sketch to product, and other fascinating details.  We talked about the process constant improvement and prototyping.  We discussed the role Triple Aught Design plays in producing stuff and how they go about finding the finest production facilities available.  I then peppered Gianni with some listener questions mainly about the shortages in stuff and he explained that they were ramping up production but demand is growing faster than they can do the ramping up.  We then did a speed round on the Dauntless and its various iterations.  We poke through the gorgeous pictures and amazing detail at the Dauntless Archive.  Gianni confirmed that some of the numbers found there aren’t right and that there might be a few custom Dauntlesses floating around that folks don’t know of.  We talked about his favorite (the Rexford) and the most unusual (the Birch) and the most underrated (the JW Smith).  We talked about who they haven’t used that they’d like to lean on and other awesome Dauntless details.  Then Gianni gave us a preview of some of the upcoming stuff, new gear, gear in new colors, and the special Triple Aught Design Ti Santa Beard.

Announcements/Mail Bag

First, go take a look at the 2nd Annual WWP Giveaway I am running on Everyday Commentary.  Triple Aught Design threw in a mulitcam bag for the giveaway, so the winner will get that in addition to the other prizes (GO DONATE!).

Second, we answer a question about our sharpening routines.  Gianni uses a Lansky and carboard for stropping.  Andrew does it all free hand both on waterstones and on the strop.  I use an old belt and the tried and true Sharpmaker.

Bring Yo’ Booze

We forgot to do this on air, but here is what delicious drinks warmed our hearts and loosened our lips:

Me: Four Roses Bourbon (still)

Andrew: 1/2 a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey

Gianni: Lagavulin Scotch

Episode 19: A Cadet, Two Visitors, and a Huckberry

Andrew is feverishly working to complete a documentary on Brian Tighe and Aaron is busy at work so I have two special guests (and wife’s cooking, which is a Roasted Chicken Breast, so while the sound quality is low, the taste quality is out of this world). First guest is special co-host Jon Stokes. Yes, that Jon Stokes. The guest is Richard Greiner of Huckberry.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Me: SAK Alox Cadet, Mk. II Aeon

Jon: HTC 1, Citizen Sky Hawk, Leatherman Skeletool CX

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Richard: J Lawson Key Shackle, Bellroy Wallet, Cleveland Browns light/Bottle Opener

New Stuff and News:

Jon got in a bunch of cool stuff for review including a Slingshot from Montie Gear, a Firesteel from Hedgehog Leatherworks, and Texas Muck Boots.  I talked at length about the wave of new steels coming into the market after spending quality time with M4 steel on the Spyderco Air (review coming on Everyday Commentary).  I reviewed the knives with Agomi Super Blue Steel as well as the K390 Mule and what it means for customers that Spyderco is putting these steels in their standard knives as opposed to special, high cost Sprint Runs.  I also reviewed the Click Carabiner that I got in for review.

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Rich got to test out a bunch of tactical pens from friend of the blog Jack Roman at TuffWriter.  Since we discussed it, may as well drop it in.  Behold, the Blender Video.

Main Topic:

Huckberry, the search for good stuff and good stories.

Rich walks us through his transition from Finance to running his own business and selling really cool stuff.  We talk about why Huckberry prefers the narrative approach to things and how they go about picking products.  We also talk a little bit about where they will expand in the future (hint: its EDC related).  We talk about Filson and TAD Gear and how those two companies compare.  Finally, we learn the origin of the company name.

Announcements:

Benjamin Schwartz won the Topic Suggestion Contest.  Ben, drop me an email at everydaycommentary@gmail.com and I will send you out the light and make arrangements for you to be on a future episode where we discuss your topic which was: EDC Minimalism: How Much Do We REALLY Need?  Thanks to everyone that submitted topics.  We’ll get around to all of them.

Finally, I announced the WWP/Veteran’s Day Giveaway.  For more details, see here.

 

 

Episode 18: Your Dad’s EDC

This episode includes a special guest–my Dad.  My parents were in town and my Dad was kind enough to sit and chat.  Its pretty cool because he got me my first knife, a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Super Tinker and my second knife, a Spyderco Delica.

Virtual Pocket Dump:

Me: BM MiniGrip 555hg and Fenix PD22

My Dad: A SOG Mini Vulcan

Andrew: Nothing, not even the poo bag

New Stuff and News:

A new EDC related website The New Artemis, is really doing good work with a slick design, good photos, and well above par writing.   We also chat about Southern Grind, a company that deserves more exposure than it has received.  We also talk about the new Hazard 4 backpack the Patrol Pack, for folks that want something nicer than the Maxped stuff, but can’t justify the $375 price tag of a TAD or a Go Ruck.  Aaron chats a little bit about his Go Ruck.  We also talk about the new Fox Knives Meskwaki, a Cold Steel sized Italian made knife and their horrendously named Puukox.

I got in an ESEE Zancudo and a Fenix PD22 in for review.  Andrew got the LEO/Mil/EMS multitool the Extrema Ratio Police 3 and Police 3 EVO.  Andrew also got in a new and very interesting knife from Maxpedition, the Excelsa, a very good looking and relatively inexpensive Ti framelock.

Main Topic:

We discuss our gear disappointments.  I rant about Gerber, and the Artifact in particular.  I also talk about the worst product I have ever owned, the Arc 6 flashlight, as well as the Kershaw Cryo (which is a different kind of disappointment).  My Dad drops some old school knowledge re: disappointing batteries from days of yore, including AAs that cost a $1 in 1960, or $7.87 today.  Andrew complains that the market is dividing up with lots of high end, multi-hundred dollar knives and lots of cheap stuff with little in the middle.  My Dad also explains a little about the Sydney Opera House and why he liked the SOG Vulcan over the Kershaw Cryo (I promise I had no influence on this).  Finally, Andrew notes some similarities between his videos and those produced by SOG recently.

Mail Bag and Announcements:

We discuss the Gear of the Year awards and choose a winner for the review contest: Johnna000001.  Hit me up at everydaycommentary at gmail dot com in the normal format.

Bonus:

For all of those folks interested in the history of flight, stop by my Dad’s website for the National Aviation Heritage Alliance.

Episode 17: Lose Your Lunch

This episode was marked by some technical difficulties of both the Skype and gastronomical varieties, but we ended up with a fairly wide ranging discussion that I hope you like. Kickstarter was the focus, but as usually we talked about gear of all sorts.

VPD:

Aaron carried his Burch Tangent, McGizmo Haiku Hi CRI, and a Smith and Wesson 340 Scandium Airewight Revolver.  He also had a Mont Blanc of some sort.  We’ll figure it out eventually.  Andrew carried a Small Sebenza 21 that some asshole gave him.  He also had his trusty Anso Ti Carabiner 3.0 with him for photog work.  His writing tool was an inherited Mont Blanc Solitaire.  Finally he rounded out his EDC with the customary Poo Bag.  I had my oddly disappointing Dragonfly II in ZDP-189 with Nishijin scales (the “Whore Knife”) and the Prometheus AAA-QR.

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New Stuff And News:

We talked about the USN’s Fifth Gathering and tried to figure out who won what to no avail.  We ran down the list of other gear podcasts including Knife Thursday and Knife Journal.  We also talked about the return of Tudor watches to America.  Aaron gave us a little insight into how to get good watches on the used market and how to get them serviced outside of warranty.  Andrew is not accepting new stuff for review, so he was little light on gear he got in, Aaron revealed that he is in line for a Tom Ferry tactical knife, the Tango Foxtrot Radical 194.  I ran down the stuff I got in, the aforementioned Prometheus AAA-QR and the 47s AO Ti.

Main Topic:

We talk about how Kickstarter works, how a person backs a project, and the kinds of projects that have done well.  We reviewed the Prometheus Alpha Pen, the Tuff Writer Ultimate Clicky, the BladeKey, the Obtanium Wallet, and a few other projects.

We talked about whether Kickstarter would appeal to Andrew, if he decided to make gear or as a way to fund studio quality video reviews like those found on the Edge Observer.

We also discuss whether custom knife makers could better utilize the Kickstarter platform, either to transform their business or to launch a new product line.  I asked Aaron if a high scale custom maker like Todd Begg could leverage his capacity to really power a good Kickstarter campaign.  After that we considered if it was possible for someone like Chris Reeve to use it to launch a new product line, in the same way that Jack Roman of Tuff Writer did with the Ultimate Clicky.

Mail Bag: Local Only EDC

A listener asked what we’d do if we had to make our EDC only from stuff found locally, like things from the big box stores.  Aaron pointed people to Blade HQ and their good return policy.  I recommended a few widely available items like the SOG Mini Aegis.  I also dropped a tip–seek out police supply stores, as they usually stock a few Benchmades and Streamlight lights.  I also pointed the listener to a set of 5.11 lights available at most Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Episode 16

Aaron was unable to join us for Episode 16 so it was just me and Andrew.  I think we had a lively if not sprawling discussion of a famous book on design, The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, which you can find here:

Mr. Norman is, like Immanual Kant and Aristotle, a very good thinker and a half-assed writer.  The organization of the book, with headings, sub headings, and sub sub headings is confusing and his inconsistent use of his own jargon is befuddling, but deep in the book there are some incredible ideas that will change how you look at gear.

VPD:

I carried an AG Russell Barlow with cocobolo (or Chocobo) handles:

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and my trusty Peak Eiger Oveready Edition, now with the Momentary On tailswitch.

Andrew carried, um, well…a poop bag for his dog.  The day before he carried his Nilete Quiete and the Hardcore Hardware Pen, found here.

New Stuff and News:

We skipped the news section for this week, waiting for Aaron to return to comment on things like the USN GV, but we had good discussion about stuff we got in for review.  The Barlow came up as did the Blade HQ edition of the HEST/F 2.0, which you can purchase at Blade HQ . We also discussed the Brous Silent Soldier Flipper that I got in for review.  Andrew ran me through a gauntlet of delicious and tempting fixed blades, and I pined after the TRC Apocalypse-L.

Main Topic:

Okay, so I went a little crazy, bouncing from the driverless car to Douchamp’s Urinals to the beauty and genius that is the Zulu.  IT was especially handy to have Andrew as the cohost because his artistic background and talents lent themselves well to the discussion of the process of creating good design and I paraphrased Clarke’s Third Law (he said that when technology is sufficiently advanced it is indistinguishable from magic; I said that the creative process of true geniuses is sufficiently obscure to non-artists that is the indistinguishable from magic).  This was definitely a different discussion, I hope you appreciate it.

Mail Bag/Contests:

We reviewed the contests that are spelled out in detail here.