Ivan Campos Christmas Giveaway Tanto

Jun 29, 1999
Obviously, I was very, very good last year. I won Brazilian cutleiro Ivan Campos’ Christmas Knife Giveaway. My first custom blade, it just arrived after a wait of only several centuries (actually, days; it only seemed longer). I apologize as I don’t have the facilities to post a scan – maybe Ivan will oblige.
As a confirmed knife junky, this puts me over the edge (sorry) into customs. It’s sort of like shoes, I explained to my wife, who wondered why I needed another blade.
First impressions: This is a MASSIVE knife. The only other I have on this scale is an original Becker K & T Campanion, ground from .25" thick 1095, and it’s lighter. From the initial scan posted by Ivan, I imagined it would be a kozuka, a last-ditch hideaway knife favored by samurai. Maybe a sumo wrestler could tuck it away. It has some striking (sorry, that just slipped out) similarities to the Strider blades – chisel ground, cord wrapped grip, totally tactical, reputedly near indestructible. You could pry up a manhole cover with this knife. As James K Mattis might have said, this is serious steel!
The blade is 7/32" thick; overall length is 10.25", and it balances just behind the grip, making it slightly blade heavy. The blade is 5.25" long with a 3.25" straight cutting edge to the yokote where the ‘American’ (curved) style tip begins its upward sweep. The blade tapers from 1.5" at the beginning of the right hand grind to 1.25" at the yokote. The yokote or secondary point is not as acute as on the CS tanto but still is effective for slashing or piercing. The long guard extends half an inch below the base of the blade.
The grind angle is around 35 degrees, Ivan says, "...the heaviest I can get without compromising cutting ability. It is the heaviest I have ever seen on a knife. Some people – it happened more than once! -- just think it is not going to be sharp and slid the fingers over the edge! OUUCH!"
He adds, "K-100 is VERY hard to grind. It takes me the time to grind about four 5160 blades to grind one K-100 blade of the same dimensions."
The grip is black resin-impregnated cord over golden pebbled rayskin, an attractive contrast. The grip is 1 5/8" deep at the center swell and about 3/4" wide. The cord wrapping covers the butt, which could still be used for striking. It came with a neatly executed cloth-lined Concealex sheath with a J clip to affix to the belt. The sheath is quite flat and of necessity, rather wide to accommodate the long guard. It fits neatly into my jeans hip pocket with a bit of room to spare.
The K-100 blade, Campos’ standard steel, is the same as D-6, Ivan explains: "very tough, highly rust resistant and when heat treated to a Rockwell hardness of around 60, it will hold an edge like 440V." His heat treatment is done by fellow Brazilian knife maker Flavio Ikoma (follow the links on Ivan’s website). I found the specs for D-6 (with a bit of help from several Forumites -- thanks!) at Terry Primos’ comprehensive and highly useful website at www.shreve.net/~primos/. Click on Back Fence.
"D" means die tool steel, air hardening and high chromium. It’s similar to D2, with more carbon (2% vs. 1-1.5%), more manganese (.8% vs. .4%), a little less silicon (.35% vs. .5%), about the same amount of chromium (12%), no molybdenum (D2 has .7-1.3%), less vanadium (.2% vs. .9-1.1%), and more tungsten (1.2% vs. .4-.6%).
There’s been enough discussion on chisel grinds on this forum to qualify for an FAQ (Joe, please add to your "to-do" list); too much to include here. In the Blade Geometry FAQ, Joe notes (in part), "It is extremely sharp. The chisel ground edge owes it sharpness to the fact that the edge bevel is typically ground at around 30 degrees. Since the opposite side of the blade is essentially at 0 degrees (it comes straight down with no bevel), that's a total of 30 degrees + 0 degrees = 30 degrees edge angle. With a more traditional edge, you'll typically have each bevel being ground at around 20 degrees, so that's 20 degrees + 20 degrees = 40 degrees total edge angle."
Ivan noted in an earlier BF post, "Chisel ground knives aren´t that good for general purpose knives, though they will do (like anything else, if it is all you have, for that matter). For fighters, though, they are a very good choice -- they allow you to have a thick, strong and sharp blade, able to reach the most dramatic effect for what the knife was designed -- cut and thrust someone else´s body. As I make only fighters -- they are, in fact, like mini-swords in concepts as they are very single-purposed -- I use only this grind in my knives." Along with Ernest Emerson and Phil Hartsfield. Ivan is in good company.
Forumite and knifemaker RJ Martin commented (in part) on BF, "On high speed, high impact cuts, like martial artists make, the chisel grind really rocks. Don't really know why, but, it does."
The consensus seems to be, chisel ground blades cut like h*ll, can wander in some mediums but that may be to the good if you are slicing divots off someone else, and will do for an all-purpose blade.
Time to test real world: The apple I tried it on screamed once (briefly) and fell neatly in two halves, no deflection. On the kitchen cutting board (I am right handed) it works great for chopping veggies and slicing cheese. I believe some Japanese kitchen knives are forged with offset edges for specific tasks, such as slicing paper thin sushi or vegetables. I just waved it over a hunk of pizza pepperoni, which immediately surrendered and divided itself into neat 1/8" slices.
I tried it on harder materials, whittling down a knotty 2 x 4, slicing up cardboard box (about 50 feet of cardboard in all), and shredding a foot of 3/4" nylon rope. It worked like a big chisel on the 2 x 4, naturally enough. I beveled the corners, two with forward grip, two pulling the blade back using both hands, drawknife style.
After a couple of initial strokes that turned in the cardboard slightly, I got the hang of it and smoothly sliced 48 more times through a cardboard box. Then I shredded about a foot of nylon rope, which gummed up the blade until it was unusable. A couple of shots with WD-40 and a wipedown took the gunk off. I could see a couple of tiny shiny spots on the edge, maybe from contacting a nail when slicing up the rope, but it still shaved nice smooth curls off the 2 x 4. I could have continued using the knife all day.
I worked the edge over on a DMT coarse diamond hone, followed by medium (red) and then an ultrafine, as if sharpening a chisel. That brought the edge as close to 0 bevel as makes no difference – it is now scary sharp.
Haven’t tried it for prying up manhole covers yet, though. There are some limits (Cliff Stamp notwithstanding).
A little bit about Ivan Campos (http://www.bitweb.com.br/users/campos/eabof.htm). He lives in Tatui, Sao Paulo State, a small town (!) of 100,000 near Sao Paulo the City. A long time ago lived in the US (he remembers cold Minnesota Decembers). He has been working as a full-time custom knife dealer for the last eight years and has been making knives in one style or another for almost as long as a hobby. Now a full-time maker, he offers only his own work, mainly fighters in the Japanese adapted style, in K-100, 440C, 440V and Talonite, chisel ground (left or right), with cord wrapped ray skin handles and various embelishments. Each knife comes with a cloth lined Concealex sheath with a J style belt clip. Lately he has been putting up a virtual magazine to promote the Brazilian knife industry (www.cutelariahoje.com.br); there is an English version. Enjoy!
His current delivery time is two months and growing. No wonder. Get your order in now. And Ivan, thanks again!

[This message has been edited by Alberta Ed (edited 01-17-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Alberta Ed (edited 01-17-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Alberta Ed (edited 01-17-2001).]
Great review! Congratulations on your fantastic prize and congrat's to Ivan for doing the fine work. Truly a great guy to do business with!
Great gift! Glad to see a Canuck win as well.

I just may have to give Ivan a call. I really like the look of his blades.

Hey Ed....

Are you sure you got the right link up there ???

Couldn't find the knife you mention.



On/Scene Tactical
Leading The Way In Quality Synthetic Sheathing
This worked for me for the virtual knife magazine Ivan's putting together. He sent me the link today and what a cool link it is. Great job, Ivan, and I'm going to get some orders in before the rest of you guys drive the prices up!!
Hello, everybody.

Thanks for the review, Ed. I am glad you liked your Christmas Gift. At the age of 26 I still get only socks and underwear from my mother and aunts!
Regarding the steel, one aditional explanation. K-100 is not the same as D-6. It is the same as D-3, but the differences are so small that, for most aplications, they are interchangeable. So much so that villares, that made both D-6 and D-3 in Brasil, quit making the last long ago. My mystake, when I gave the information to Ed.
Regarding the adresses, my page is locate at www.bitweb.com.br/users/campos/ and the magazine page is www.cutelariahoje.com.br
I should make a new page for me, under my domain, very soon.
Later I'll post a picture of Ed's knife.
If someaone is interested in my knives, remeber that I am a fanatic trader! I have a few unfinished blades in stock after wich I may change to talonite only, as I like the material and it doesn't rust no matter what. They'll be more expensive, of course. I am still considering, anyway.
Best regards.

Ivan Campos
Full-time knifemaker...finally!

That sure is a beautiful piece, Ivan! Congrats!

"Though the meek shall inherit the Earth, they won't keep it past Saturday night..."