Nov 4, 1998
Initial impression....I LIKE it.......

Santa finally gave me my new toy today, and I am pretty darn thrilled. I was kinda shocked at first at the sight of it, it looked tiny.....and it is, but only in size...

It has a very business like look to it, extremely clean lines, and feels lighter than it looks.

The edge grind on the tip is a little off, but nothing to complain about, and all of the other grind lines are perfect. Even with the knife being so small, the handle has a fulfilling feel to it, the finger notch makes for a very sure grip. The Micarta handles feel very grippy. This is accentuated by the fact that the tip of my middle finger rests in the middle hole.

On Rob's web site, he mentions that the knife might seem to dull fast at first, and this is because the knife is "too" sharp and needs to be used, and then sharpened again. This seems to be true, after playing with some cardboard and other things, I could see that the edge had rolled some. A few passes on the porcelin cleaned up the edge, and it shaves facial hair fairly well. I have never been able to put an edge like this on an ATS-34 knife. My Arm is already bald. (I may have to retire my Norelco

The bead blast on the blade is nicely done, just enough for a dull the finish with out making it rough. With use I think it will turn into a nice satin.

I am beginning to reconsider my stance on the usefullness of a tanto style blade for use a a personal knife. The Tanto Cetan has cleaned my nails, scraped cuticles (I was bored during class), opened packages of bachelor food, and other small tasks with out encountering any design specific difficulties. For tasks like scraping off stickers and such, it would out do a drop point. For most of the tasks that a personal knife might do (open mail, cut bandages, open food packages, slice bagels, etc.) I think this knife will do fine, and I take back any wishes that this were a drop point.

The only thing about this knife that I could see improved is the sheath. In my opinion, it could use a couple more rivets (6 instead of 4) and it would be nice if the top 2 rivets were moved up a little bit. I found that if you are just a little off in aim when re-sheathing the knife, the tip would slide in between the Kydex halves and then bind. It took a bit of piactice to sheath the knife with out hanging up when I wore the sheath behind my right hip. Keep in mind that I am not the world's biggest fan of Kydex. I find it to be noisy and hard, and it lacks the "personality" of a leather sheath. I have a friend who is a fairly accomplished leatherwerker, and I will probably have him make one for me, possibly tooled up nicely. The Cetan seems to beg for a more ornate home.

This is a classy knife. I like it alot, so much that it has found a permanent place on my belt, though I must admit that my pants are starting to get a little too heavy. I think I will be stashing my other knives in useful places, in the car, tool box, etc, because this little Cetan does everything I used my folders for, and does it with class. If I run into a situation where I am going to abuse a knife, I'll grab a beater knife, and save the Cetan for more Dignified duties (like cleaning under my nails is dignified).

I think I am in heaven......


"Will Dremel for Food!!"
"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!
Dyslexics Untie!


I felt a bit frisky, and decided to do some minor testing on the Cetan. I have never had anything that held an edge like this before. I started to cut up an unfortunate heavy duty cardboard box, and after about 60 or 70 slices, it still shaved hair off of my arm.

I shredded an aluminum can after that, and it still got a good chunk of the hairs that were left on my arm.

it began to not want to shave after I whittled on some heavy composite chunks (I think this stuff is some sort of imitation marble, it is used for countertops, it is a really dense plastic of some sort).

A few passes on the porcelin, and Voila!....I am shaving again. I'd spend good money for qualities such as this. I may have to get another one.

I also stabbed the tip into some pine, and and popped it sideways, making wood chunks fly out without any damage to the tip.


[This message has been edited by Yekim (edited 09 March 1999).]
Horrors! You're abusing that great little knife already.

Thanks for the review, I like to hear it like is. Mostly objective with a little subjective mixed in based on preference. Good combination.


Wait til you see how the tanto point pops off ling cod fins!

I'll need a bigger Tanto for the Lings up here
.....Actually, our ling cod are large enough to fillet, so popping fins is unnecessary...
......sorry, I can't resist making fun of small fish...I guess I am spoiled....

I feel like a walking contradiction now...I am carrying a small fixed blade, and a 6" folder....It used to be the other way around....


Yekim, thanks for the honest review, I have taken notes on the problems that you point out and will pay more attention to the bevels and am going to add more rivets to the sheath. Give me your address and I will send you some rivets and you can hog some holes with your Dremel and put a couple more rivets in. I know you are just dying to warm up your Dremel!

I am glad that you are impressed with the edgeholding, ATS-34 isnt known for being the greatest, but I think it is a good steel with the proper heat treat. I an VERY carefull and attentive with heat treating or all is for nothing. If you think that stuff holds an edge well, you ought to try Talonite! (shameless plug)
Again, I appreciate you honest review, you have just helped to make my knives a bit better, and I hope to keep making them a little better each time for a long long time.

Thank you Rob,

I sent you an e-mail with my address.....
The edge grind on the tip is not really "off" so much as it is not perfectly symetrical. It is much better than most knives I have seen, and my noticing it, or even mentioning it, borders on nitpicking. Since the knife was sharpened after the bead blast was applied, any tiny imperfection in the edge grind/polish is amplified ten fold. The tiny amount that the tip is off is nothing to be concerned about, unless you are an obsessive/compulsive perfectionist, which I am not.....but if you are, I am sure that it is part of the reason why your knives are so nice.

pk...the knife is small enough to not draw attention, and I can keep the bulk of it palmed. Actually, one girl asked to see it......she thought it was "cute"...


[This message has been edited by Yekim (edited 10 March 1999).]
Call me crazy, call me a blastphemer, call me whatever, but I have to confess something....I modified my Cetan....But I did not use a Dremel.....

I polished the tip. I did this partly because I thought that it would help emphsize the fact that the rest of the blade is deeply hollow ground, and partly because I was curious as to how smooth the knife was before bead blasting. Most production knives use bead blasting to cover up the fact that underneath there are horrible grind lines that they are too lazy to polish up. I am happy to say that the metal underneath the bead blast on my Cetan was done with at least a 240 grit, and possibly finer. There were no machine marks hiding underneath the bead blast what so ever.

The polishing process consisted of first using 400 grit wet/dry, and then using some GunBrite smeared on paperboard to finish it up. This took very little time because of how smooth the metal is under the bead blast.

I guess I have a weakness for polished steel, especially the slick feel of it. A side benefit of this is the tip penetrates though cardboard easier now, not to mention how cool it looks.

I apologize for removing the some of the "tactical" from this knife, but I could swear that it asked me to polish its point. Or maybe I am just crazy...

I built my own Ctean Tanto from Rob's kit. These did have deep grind lines, all of which I couldn't get out, but for the money it's still the best kit knife package I've seen by a LONGSHOT! Anyway, I made mine with maroon Micarta handles and brass pins/lanyard liner. Turned out pretty damn cool! I'll have pictures up soon. I also made a Concelex sheath quite similar to the ones Rob shows on his webpage. I haven't had the opportunity to use the knife much, but the little I do have to say:
1) I am undecided on ATS-34. I have owned two knives now and I don't think it sharpens well at all. I can get my AUS-8 Endura like a razor blade in no time at all, yet I haven't been able to get anything over a moderately sharp edge on an ATS-34 blade yet. In defense of the tanto, though, I had to edge it myself, so it's not at a professional quality edge yet! Maybe someday...I'm going to switch from my Lansky kit to my old ceramic rods and see if that makes a difference...
2) The knife is a perfect size for everday carry, which, in most places, means concealment for a fixed blade. The shape is excellent, and while it is nice to have a slightly lengthened handle in some situations, for 95% of most people's daily chores, this knife works wonders!
Good job, Rob, and keep up the excellent work!
I've built a number kits and blade blanks...some from Rob, some from the late Bob Engnath, some from others. Without bias, Rob's are the closest to "finished"...minimally 240 grit, one was 330. All of the Engnath were 180 and black from heat treat.
Don't get me wrong as I'm not complaining about Bob Engnath blades at all, they are worth every dime of the price....when you buy a kit or a blank you save a lot of money and know you have to work hard to make a presentable knife. So, I think its unreasonable to expect a kit blade to have a close to "presentation" finish from the gitgo.
I made a Lum tanto from Engnath...took a week, but I took it from a black 180 grit to mirror....alas I learned that was a mistake
...wiping off a fingerprint with my "clean" shirt scratched it. Somehow some loose grits (I estimate 640) got on my shirt. So, I bagged it and took it down to 880.

My point? You can get any machine grind marks out if you work.

From my extemely limited experience, I have notices that ATS-34 needs a really acute edge angle to be worth able to cut like and sharpen like AUS-8. I was disappointed in how dull my Ascent seemed to be, and how I could never put an edge on it that was able to shave facial hair. I finally started to sharpen it as close to flat at I couldhold it and have gotten a fair edge, but nothing to call home about. My CSVaquero seems to take an edge just by looking at it, holds it reasonably well, but nothing like the Ascent. The Cetan showed up reasonably sharp (and dulled quickly like Rob said it would, I guess that is proof of consistancy) and then sharpened up to perfection. I can tell that the edge is at an extremely acute angle, and the fact that it holds this edge even through some unreasonable cutting tasks makes it even more amazing. I am not good at estimating angles, but to give you an idea, when I touch it up, the spine is about 1/8" away from the surface of the porcelin. With the hollow grind, this thing is like an old fashioned straight razor.

I think I am hooked....I might have to get another one....for the Girlfriend...and one for Mom, and another for Dad, I think my little sister could use one...oh, and Grandpa.....My future in-laws perhaps?.....

Grind lines can be a bitch to get out. And it's true that a lot manufacturers cover up their bad grind lines with bead blast. Microtech leaves these incredibly deep lines under their bead blasted knives (or at least they used to, i've only worked on older knives of theirs). The best way to get them out is just plain elbow grease...
Just a little update on my continued abuse of this little knife.....

I like it more every day......

I can slice and dice cardboard all day without noticing any major difference in sharpness, my job requires alot of opening boxes, and cutting plastic straps and tape. I have not noticed any major dulling, even after whacking up a couple of soda cans.

Right now I am attempting to cut a frozen package of ground turkey in half, a task that has ended the servicable lives of a couple of kitchen knives.....grrr...the handle is quite comfy even when gripping really hard, and it doesn't feel like I am going to slip towards the blade....(I am stabbing the blade into the package, forcing the tip in as far as I can and then pulling the handle down in the direction of the edge..if that makes any sense...) TAADAA...The Cetan survived, and I don't have any new cuts...For those of you who do not know, frozen ground turkey is the second hardest material on this earth, right after frozen hamburger.

I just can't keep from modifying something...I promised not to Dremel the knife, but I DID say the sheath was fair game

I drilled a couple of new holes at the top of the sheath so I could mount the belt loop higher up (Thus the knife will ride lower). I found that with the original high ride configuration, the handle of the knife interfered with the free movement of my spare tire. I am sure someone who is as trim and svelt as our own DC would not have such a problem, but since I am a survivor of numerous BigMac attacks, I am not so fortunate.

Playing with the configuration if the kydex sheath will also help make a pattern for the tooled leather sheath I am going to have made.

I admit that, for the first few days, I packed along a trusty folder because I wasn't wuite sure that the Cetan would make the grade, as far as utility concerned, but the Cetan has earned my confidence now, and it, and my leatherma are all that I carry...with a couple of folders stashed in convienient places, but not necessarily on my person.

I got the rivets Rob sent to me today. I did not solicit these, but Rob sent them to me just to make sure that I was completely satisfied. I only needed two of them, but the extra seven or so might come in handy sometime.

Thank you again, Rob. I do really like this knife, and I hope that I will be able to get more of your handywork sometime. You have gone out of your way to make sure that someone who was given one of your knives was happy, and I appreciate it.


PS...One of the highlights of the Mantis I just got is that you were the one that did the heat treat. Knowing that you had a hand in this knife's creation is a comforting thought.