Titanium La Griffe

Mar 19, 1999
Well, it showed up Monday. That was quick! Thanks Shannon.

It is from the production side of Emerson, so it is not a true Emerson hand made. It is number 79.It looks like there is going to be a numbered run to 1000 by the way the it was numbered 0079. It is the typical Emerson La Griffe design, except this one is bead blasted for it's finish in stead of the blackT. Looking at the grind you can see where the belt left the stair step pattern as more metal was removed. The back of the blade has a carbide coating at the edge. The same coating that was applied to the BM titanium CQC-7's. It also came with the typical Kydex sheath and cord.

This sucker is EXTREMELY light. The standard models are light, but there is still enough weight that you know there is something around your neck. I wore the titanium all day at work and forgot it was there. That is saying a lot. I seem to have a nerve or something that makes my neck sensitive to wearing necklaces for long times. I have tried all kinds of neck knifes, but they all caused me irritation. The La Griffe's are the only ones I have been able to wear without a problem.

The edge is not as sharp as the steel La Griffe's. In this area I am disappointed. This is where the carbide coating comes in. The idea for the coating is tohelp keep a working edge longer as titanium does not hold an edge with much use. The edge will cut, just not cleanly. Making some cuts on an old t-shirt, the titanium would cut, but you had to make sure the point got into the material. Comparing to a steel La Griffe, the steel one is so sharp, it would slice right through and you barely need to make contact. Since this knife is intended for a back up knife and not meant to see a lot of actual cutting, I think Emerson should lose the carbide coating and just put a nice razor edge on it. Titanium is not easy to work or sharpen, but it will take an exceptional edge. I had a Crawford titanium neck knife. It was scary sharp, especially since you don't expect titanium to be that sharp. I have heard that the edge on carbide coated blades can be improved with the right sharpening technique. Is there anyone out there who knows that technique?

The titanium feels and handles the same as a steel La Griffe, except it is lighter and won't rust.

So what we have is a titanium La Griffe with all the positives of the steel model, plus it is lighter, won't rust and will slip through the average metal detector. The only down side is it's edge. At best it could be called a working edge that will drag some hair off you arm. Will it work for self defense, no doubt, it won't slice as easily as the steel. However, since it isn't as sharp and if you do need to use it in defense, I would think that it would be even more painful since it doesn't slice cleanly.

I like it a lot and will come to love it, if and when, I find out how to improve the edge.

Dirk pretty much has this covered. I would also like to thank Shannon for #78. I cleaned up the edge with an EZ Lap fine diamond rod. It only took about three minutes. I think this might cover Dirk's objection to the edge. Also, I hung mine on a ball chain. It can be worn all day with no discomfort.
Colin, I managed to improve mine slightly with the medium stone of my Spyderco Sharpmaker. It will actually cut some of the hair instead of dragging it.

How much of an improvement did you get? Did you alter the angle of the edge or did you maintain it? Did you strop the back of the blade on leather or cardboard? Please let me know what you did. I desperately want to get a good edge on it. If it wasn't for the fact that Ernie hand ground these, I would be seriously tempted to see if I could talk Pat Crawford into removing the carbide and sharpening it like his titanium neck knives.

Thanks for the info!
Hi Dirk,

Relax, this is simple. I kept the same 30-degree angle and removed the burr from the backside with the same tool. I used the EZ Lap brass handled fine field rod. When finished it's not razor sharp but it slices in the Joe Talamudge tradition. I would not recommend removing the carbide coating. This is a specialized piece. Don't expect a Sebenza shaving edge. With all do respect to Ernie, the hand ground edge is much too coarse. I little time spent with a diamond hone yields a superior blade.

Today I carried only the Titanium La Griffe. My regular carry Sebenza and Mad Dog Operator or Pygmy ATAK were not used. I was supprised at how versatile and effective the La Griffe was. Caveate: It's not a food prep blade besides there are plenty knives for food prep in the kitchen. My brief experience with this blade has elevated it to wristwatch status. This means if I am awake, it will be with me. I can not pass out a higher recommendation.

My brief experience with this knife (which I DID not want to buy! thanks again Shannon
), will result in future orders of the steel version for gifts. What a cool piece!


Second edit note, dang Microsoft spelling checkers!

[This message has been edited by Colin Thompson (edited 05 August 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Colin Thompson (edited 05 August 1999).]