Schrade+ steel rant

textoothpk

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A good, solid defence of Schrade+ steel is long overdue, and maybe too late. And this is a review, from your wanna-be frontiersman, Phil, of the Schrade X-Timer XT1B, that big bolo shaped blade shown here:
http://www.schradeknives.com/xtimer.htm

Not happy with the performance of my Camillus/Becker BK7 after a first attempt to do the task (and the task was cutting a shortcut through a thicket out at my favorite hunting ground), I decided to finally make use of my XT1B. And what a great experience it was.

Remember when I posted the pic of the shaving sharp results of my last XT? This knife was not quite as sharp out of the box, I mean it was sharp, but not shaving sharp. And for what this knife is designed for, that isnt necessary. But what the heck, I got out my long diamond hone, did a few strokes, then stropped the blade on the back of a old leather belt. I then
put a bit of polishing compound (the dark red stuff) on the leather and worked the blade through it a few times. In the basement, I took the XT and made a downward slash through a section of cardboard. Wow. "knife through butter'.

After my hunt (two squirrels, thank you for asking) I went to where I needed my trail cut. It was fun, although I had to stop a few times for a cigarette. I got tired long before the blade did. Most impressive was striking downward at a two inch thick sappling right at the Y and then doing a few follow-ups, splitting it neatly from four feet up, to the ground.

This morning I took the knife out of the sheath. I had put it away wet. I wiped it off.. the black finish looked great, much better than the finish of the Becker does after trying the same task. I wonder if the very silky smooth, glossy finish on the Schrade, compared to the Becker, adds to the ease of cutting... less friction. And another thing... the bare metal edge of my Schrade was rust free.... and let me tell you, that Becker gets a rusty edge just holding it close to water. Oh, and the saw back of this big old Schrade really does cut wood. The handle is much better than the Becker as well, less hand fatigue. Oh, the Becker's handle is 'special' because it is removable and you can use it as a 'secret compartment'. For folks without pockets I guess. Don't forget to carry the hex key, and if you have no pockets to put it in, you are out of luck.

But most important, the edge was still sharp. Trying hard, I just managed to scrape a hair or two off my arm. Nice. No folding over of the razor's edge. I did my thing with the diamond hone again, stropped it, and it's as good as new.

Hmm... suppose Eathan Becker had hooked up with Schrade, instead of Camillus?

Schrade plus steel.... if one has some problem in sharpening it (the blade grind will have an impact on that as well), I'd say they just need to learn how to sharpen.

Oh, the Schrade has a lined thong hole at the end of the butt. First thing I did when getting it was put a cinch-able wrist thong on it. Safety first.

Phil

000schradeXT.jpg

top: XT1B bottom: XT2B
 
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Good review, Phil. You're getting good at this stuff!

What knife did you use to clean your squirrels?
We probably don't have 1/5 as many squirrels here in the desert, so a big hunt out here is 5 scorpions.....but I don't think that's the limit. :D

Bill
 

lrv

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Bill,
Can you use the X series to clean your scorpions? I hear you can make a fine chili with them!
;)

Phil,
Thankfully your related to Big Foot and the arm hair grows back so quickly.
Nice write up on the knife.
TTYL
Larry
 

Codger_64

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A very nice review of the X-knife AND the Schrade+ steel! Any aversion I have to the stainless blades is purely aesthetics. I have to use the Uncle Henry's in my work because caustic chemicals eat a carbon blade in no time. I also use a diamond hone on them as well as on my carbon steel blades, and find that they do take a minute or two longer to sharpen, as the chromium makes the steel a bit harder. It will definately take a keen edge. And I may yet add a couple of X-knives to my knife drawer, especially after such enthusiastic praise! Is that coating a teflon base? Is the grip the same material as used on the greenies?

Codger
 
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Thanks for the review, I feel that 420HC, 440A, and AUS6, are more or less similar in composition and very good steels for a working knife, most people will find it fine, if someone wants to pay extra for a premium modern steel (which I feel is often out of ignorance or somewhat snobbish), that´s OK but there is a big difference in price and I don´t think really that much in performance for normal tasks.

Carbon steel is nice, which I believe you do appreciate, but stainless steels such as 420HC which don´t cost too much and work fine are often the right choice, that´s why back in 1976 I changed my EDC from an Old Timer to an Uncle Henry (lately I´ve been carrying a 34OT, but it is one of those late ones in 420HC).

Also those XTs look mighty fine in overall design.

Luis
 

textoothpk

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Codger, the advertising at Schrade calls the finish 'E-coat', which I assumes means some sorta epoxy paint. If it were teflon, they'd have to have a trademark symbol on the advertising, and they would brag about it. It does seem tough.
The grip material is different than that on the big green monsters. Schrade called it TPR.

I was pretty hard on the BKs, by Camillus... but again, what if Becker had made his deal with Schrade? His knives are big sellers, I guess. I do note on the Schrade page about the X-timers, they note the XT2B's blade is inspired by knifemaker D'holder. He's the custom guy they hooked up with for the all important 'Collaborations' that are such a bid deal now among factory knives. Don't forget, Schrade was the first in that department, hooking up with Bob Loveless.

Don Luis, I wish I could get you up here in Michigan for a little hunting! We could both put on our leather fringed jackets and have a good old time! By the way, my fiancee, Rona, got her master's degree at UM... fine school.

And finally, no, Bill.... I, Mr. Big Bad Knife Boy, do not use the X-timers for preparing my squirrels for the crockpot. I use... get this...
Gerber/Fiskars Game shears But afield, for quickly gutting them, I have my trusty 97ot

And the tails of those fast moving, tasty little critters:

tail

I'll end with this tidbit... One of you guys (you know who you are) told me of a certain Ebay seller really selling to the wall.. all sorts of unusual Schrade knives. Stuff I never heard of or seen.

Phil
 
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After looking at your link, I am now quite depressed about the time I spent, when I was younger, collecting aluminum cans. :( ...... I could have been looking for tail.

Bill
 

Codger_64

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My XT1B arrived a few days ago and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. My first inclination was to add it to the last thread with the reviews of the XT2B and XT7B, but Phil did such an excellent job here on this same Camp Knife, that I felt there was no need repeating the information he had already supplied on this knife. I am in total agreement with all that he said, though I might be able to add a few trivial details from a manufacturing engineer's point of view.


The TPR handle on the XT1B is also well moulded, though the mold half allignment is a bit more misaligned than the other two XTs. Not enough to matter, but I would have had the tool room realign the guide pins at this point. There is very small flash caused by the misalignment, but most people still would no notice it as it is only really apparent in the ribbed surfaces and the gate is cut not quite as smooth. The mold temperature, again, was right on the money, because there are no "swirls" indicating too cool of a mold, or chalking indicating material burn from too hot of a mold. The rib texture and placement are the same and once again, even with this heftier blade pattern, well placed even for inverted use.

The epoxy coat on the blade is even and well applied, with no fisheyes or orange peel, and only one tiny trash inclusion. Still a quite acceptable finish. The final grind is much better than the previous XTs I have examined. Well within my expectations on a knife with an MSRP of $75.95, as good as some of the earlier production Schrades, a near perfect edge.

I just had to give the blade the now widely respected "Scarborough sharpness test". It is, you have to admit, a bit more refined than a rope or water bottle cutting event, though without a volunteer, there is a finite limit as to how many blades a single QC inspector can test without endangering their ability to procreate. It this instance my result was a bit better than the champion of this test method with the unretouched factory edge. And I had recent baseline performance to compare the keenness of the blade having been shaved for EKG and surgery this weekend by a trained professional using state of the art medical disposable razors, also with the dry-shave technique. The XT1B, I am happy to report, shaved my arm hair much closer and cleanly in one stroke than Nurse Hignite, RN., and left no telltale drips of red fluid like the pro did. Since I am scheduled for another surgical procedure next week, I will give you another report on the "SST" of the XT1B, and it's performance in the autoclave.


The thong hole liner, like the previous pattern XTs, while properly chamfered for depth and tightness, the chamfering is rough (radial gouges). All of my Safe-T-Grip series has a similar liner and none are anything but smooth. Again, no big deal, but it is also detail I noticed right away.




The first thing I noticed was the sheath. Same construction and good quality as the other XT sheaths I reviewed. And yes, the same concern over the tricot lining. This one, however, had obviously never been removed from the box by anyone since factory final packing. There was an adhesive "Made in China" label stuck to it. I had not seen this on the other XT's sheaths, but it is of no real consequence at this point in history.

Summary: Glad I bought this one, doubley so at 1/3 MSRP.


Codger Blankmeister
P.S. I wore my Schrade Tough hat to surgery as a good luck token and once again proved that I am Schrade Tough to last a lifetime! :D
 

lrv

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Here is a picture of the 4 XT's that we have had reviewed by Phil and Codger.
SMKW and EBay. All less than retail.

xts0001.jpg
 

Codger_64

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DaoPian said:
Codger, mind sharing your source for the XT? Thanks.
Larry gave you the two primary sources. I missed the heyday of deals on these at SMKW, so all of mine came from ebay. I suggest a daily search of the model #'s, save all the cheapies, and watch for ones that people miss. They come and go in cycles. For instance, when you see twenty XT7B's come up at the same time, at least one or two will go real cheap. If there are only three or four on, they will average higher prices. The order of rarity I have noticed this past month is (from rarest to most common on ebay):
1. XT1B Camp Knife
2. XT3B Fatboy Guthook Skinner
3. XT2B Drop point
4. XT7B Folder

The 60OTX and 24OTX can be found too, but the prices are seldom reduced much below retail.

Incidentally, the green handled Safe-T-Grip series is common and relatively inexpensive at the moment.
 
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I just found this thread in a link from the new Schrade out of business thread, and have to say it was pretty funny timing. I just had my XT1B out of the mortar box I use as my knife storage facility and was looking it over again. I agree with TexToothpk and Codger 64 I think it was a great knife for the money. It cuts well, and the saw actually works amazingly well for a production knife. I got mine in Feb. 04 just before Schrade went belly up. It's too bad, I was hoping to get several more of these models and was looking forward to more great things from Schrade. Don't like the look of Taylor Brands at all. I think they make the S&W HRT line as well and those seem pretty poor. Have to check e-bay out when I have the funds I guess.

Lagarto
 
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At the current selling prices, these are very good practical knives. I don't think they would have fared too well though at full price against all of the other competition out there. I have shown the knives to some friends and their first reaction was that the knives looked "cheap" because of the rubber handles and black blades. The rubber handles are one of their strongest attributes in my book. The knife is very comfortable in the hand and when it's cold and wet out there, you still have very good control of the knife. The Fat Boy skinner would be my favorite blade style if it weren't for the gut hook.
 
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