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How is life with a Razel?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by The Tourist, Aug 7, 2008.

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  1. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    As most of you know, I am quite a fan of the Razel, both the CRKT version and the two original Graham Brothers models.

    But's what's the real deal? Guys here at THR hunt and fish. We drive trucks. We actually use our stuff.

    Well, about one month has elapsed since I first clipped the CRKT Razel to my jeans. Not the jeans I use to clean the garage, but my bike jeans, the denims that get bounced on the Harley, that see sun and rain. The jeans I'll be wearing when facing the most unlucky mugger in the history of Dane County.

    To bring you up to speed, I prepared the knife (when new) by straightening the edge to a uniform bevel, and then giving it a final polish. It was buffed once again, but them only stropped. In other words, it took on the life of your average EDC here at the luxurious Chez Gumba.

    The knife even got clipped to the shorts I wear to the gym. It went everywhere with me.

    Now, just about anything I would carry in this fashion would begin to show its age, and to be fair, the CRKT Razel did quite well. However, the edge was getting glitchy, part of the rear edge seemed rolled and in tests it failed to cleanly slice newsprint against the bias.

    Now one of the great ways to get a knife scary sharp (the tinkers have invented a new level, "toasty sharp") is to dull the knife right down to its socks. So I went looking for a the worst way I could to dull a blade.

    We all know that cardboard is hell on an edge, but what about the plasticene coated cardboard layers in a 24-pack or soda? Yikes.

    Take a look at the picture below. I cut and cut. Then I took a small section of newsprint (seen in the lower corner) and did some slow slices. The slices were a tad ragged, but amazingly clean considering the abuse.

    The Razel has now been taped up, and it resides in my freezer for a complete sharpening and polish. I think the little guy did a good job.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    So are you saying that it's best to dull the edge uniformly before resharpening?

    Jasons
     
  3. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Jason, even that idea is part of the debates amongst tinkers.

    As stated, some folks dull a knife completely. Some freeze it before sharpening. Some don't do anything to it until the edge dictates the need. Some believe in the adage, "Three's the charm."

    That means that about on the third sharpening the edge simply gets spooky sharp.

    I have had good luck with many of these ideas. I've failed on others.

    About the only thing I can rely on is to make the bevel completely uniform, fron to back, left to right.

    (Combat knives are the exception. Many times the cutlers make the tip area the thickest part to avoid tip breakage.)

    My thinking here is that the Razel was going to need a sharpening soon enough. I had nuttin' to do, so I cut up the cardboard spacer.

    These knives are developing quite a following. The Graham boys are usually out of stock, and e-mails from their sister Luraly Graham on availabilty produce immediate sales. The Razel is simply a good idea that has found its time.

    I'm actually surprised the knife is still in my pocket. I have greedy friends.
     
  4. EHCRain10

    EHCRain10 Member

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    I really enjoy my CRKT stubby razel, Im sure its not as sharp as The Tourist's but it always makes me happy when i get to use it.
     
  5. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    I just checked the Razel in the freezer. It's already frozen solid. By tomorrow morning it ought to be just about right. I figure I'll re-sharpen it with a medium grit waterstone and re-freeze it while I'm away at the gym.

    When I get back from my afternoon ride, it will be ready to polish.

    Too bad Stargate Atlantis isn't on tomorrow. I always like to fondle a razor sharp knife while watching my boy Ronin and his oh-so-polite demeanor around authority.

    (BTW, you do know that 'ronin' is a Japanese name for an unemployed traveling samurai. Sometimes exiled for misconduct. Now that's a idea I can get behind.)
     
  6. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    SERIOUSLY?? :confused:

    I normally try to refrain from commenting on the poor science in your posts, but come on!

    I think this may be some of the absolutely WORST advice I have ever heard as far as sharpening knives.

    It is much easier to keep a knife sharp! Your knife will also last MUCH longer!

    Tom
     
  7. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Chico,

    I'm not disputing that you can do absolutely what you want when you sharpen a knife: that's a given. Can you provide any statements from recognized experts that suggest a knife be completely dulled before being sharpened?

    John
     
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Dang! I've been doing it wrong for over 65 years! And here I always thought that shaving-sharp was good enough...

    Art
     
  9. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    Sharp? :confused:

    Heck, I'm still trying to figure out why someone would carry a chisel around in their pocket...

    :scrutiny:

    Read the 'reviews' seen the footage...still trying to figure out what's the point (or is it where's the point?) :confused:

    From CRKT's website:

    "How are mechanics, carpenters, farmers, and home craftsmen using their Razel models? The Grahams report: Scraping gaskets, removing paint and stickers. Chiseling to make reliefs, mortises and tenons. Prying tight-fitting parts. Cutting things like paracord, wire insulation, radiator hose, plastic ties and tubing. Taper reaming a hole with the twist of the wrist. Reaching into tight spaces and push cutting with the chisel edge. Opening feed bags and cutting through bales of hay. You name it, the Razel does it".

    hmmm....

    Nothing I don't have a tool for already (scraping gaskets? with a $60 'knife'?) and not much in that list I would want to do or *need* to do with an EDC...

    Me-thinks the emperor may be catching a bit of a draft on his hindquarters...

    NOTE: Just this old dogs opinion...
     
  10. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Member

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    Mongrel,
    I used to think the same as you... PM me your addy and will send you my Graham Razel to play with.

    PLEASE don't scrape any gaskets! :eek: I am sure the knife would be up to it, but all the same.

    Tom
     
  11. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Let me address both of your concerns by what has been found on various knives, and then let me offer an opinion.

    First, as to experts, go to KnifeForum in the Keeping Sharp section. You'll notice that I prefaced my remarks with the phrase "debates amongst tinkers." Even amongst ourselves we find success, failure and disbelief. We also admit to conditional success. Dwade (a professional who sharpens for hosptals) and I have had good luck freezing knives for repair--Mike Stewart, a knowledgeable and successful cutler--doubts freezing in a home appliance would make that much difference.

    Mike has inspected one of my knives, however.

    As to dulling, yes it works. It works on my knives, and it works on clients' knives. Here, I have a knowledgeable working theory--which I believe is no longer a theory, but a fact. Follow me.

    All knives, even those whose blanks are cut by a CNC machine are at some point handled by a human. While I have seen a TV program on cable about the automated sharpening of scalpels, to my knowledge all knife edges are produced by hand. Even high-end Japanese laminates costing thousands of dollars.

    In that regard, they are all flawed. None of them would be perfectly straight or have their bevels flat tip to choil.

    Mr. Krein's comment is correct. There are many clients who run to me if a shadow appears on their edge. They panic.

    But here's my theory/belief. A knife that is constantly buffed never truly develops a working burr. An edge that is dulled needs to be sharpened, if only by medium grit stones.

    BTW, all of my stones are Edge Pro products or Japanese 3x9 waterstones, flattened and cleaned with fresh water and nagura. They remove the minimal amount of metal for the job required. I have knives going back 15 years and not one--even by my aggressive clients--looks like it's worn. Clearly, a butcher knife honed by traditional American tools appears to have "dissolved."

    While I work with lighted loupes, it is impossible to see every defect on a bevel. I believe that if a knife is used, with its initial sharpening done with a medium grit stone, by dumb luck you will hit all of the manufacturing errors.

    This is why I believe in "three's the charm." Send me a knife--no charge.

    Okay, I proffered my opinion backed up by experts and my work. Now I want to hear the rebuttal with the same use of credentials.
     
  12. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

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    It's not a chisel. It's a knife. A very sharp knife with an unusual(ly useful) tip.

    I'd been eyeing the Graham Razels for a long time, but never wanted to part with the $$$ to get one. I did, however, get one as soon as CRKT offered their version.

    I don't use it for EDC (I still prefer a folder), but when doing lots of chores, it's a great tool. The hollow-ground blade allows for a very sharp edge, with plenty of spine width and blade strength. The "chisel" tip is basically a double-sided flat grind.

    The corresponding pointy tip, at the junction of the bottom edge and the front edge, works like a Wharncliffe and allows for very precise cutting. The front (chisel) edge is flat and great for scraping, prying (no, really), and other stuff that you might not typically do with a traditional blade.

    For camping or gardening or use around the shop, the Razel is extremely useful.
     
  13. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Trapper, your comments are all things the owners know. When I saw a Razel for the first time even I thought it was funny looking. Then I used it.

    Simply, what do we do with the tools we carry? Well, if you're a guy, you slice and/or abuse a knife. So a razor and a blunt instrument would be just about perfect.

    Edit: I'm going off to polish, then I'll take a pic over today's paper. You be the judge.
     
  14. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    Out respect for The Tourist I won't mess his thread up with a side debate on the validity of the Razel pattern.

    I am very interested in his Sharpening techniques so I am following this thread mainly for that, because what's good to the goose is good for the gander. Sharp is sharp in other words.

    I will also follow up with Tom on his offer (makes me nervous using another man's blade though...) and try not to scrape any gaskets :D

    I will add that my observations and opinion are not based on mere conjecture. My entire life has been spent in the trades and in the woods. I have cut just about anything that can be cut (with the exception of human flesh-other than my own) and sharpened anything that has needed it. I own more tools than most people I am aquainted with and am more likely to cut my grass with a grass whip than anything else just because it has an edge :D

    Point is, I'm not a weekend warrior desk jockey who cuts as a hobby and is just picking on the Razel because it's 'new' or 'different'. I'm just trying to find out why I would use it when I've got boxes of the "right tool for the right job". Now, this is in the context of an EDC, and NOT with an emergency situation in mind...

    I'll also add that I am fully educated in the preparation of CROW and I stand ready to eat it if necessary :neener:

    Sorry for the hi-jack attempt Tourist...

    I'll get out of the way now....

    :(

    (damn old men shuffling around threads they have no business in just to piss and moan about stuff they know nothing about...:cuss:)
     
  15. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    Where are you finding them for $60 bucks?.....I can't locate one for less than $85......please post the location..... :D
     
  16. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    I've got a feeling you'll have an answer shortly...

    :D
     
  17. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Contact me PM.

    You just speak your mind. There's nothing more to say but, "Tourist, I disagree." This is a debate, so I will ask for facts and be allowed to offer a rebuttal.

    Now, below is the picture of the Razel after it was fully dulled. It still cut, but that's more a credit to the design that my obvious abuse.

    You will notice that the Razel now slices on both of the bias' of newsprint.

    Okay, Mr. Krein, I will give you one point in the debate. Most/no knives are carried in this condition. This is simply my EDC and a test mule. Yes, the edge is perfect. Yes, these edges out-cut one of my Doctor's scalpels in tests when I had a mole removed last year.

    But here's the postulate in my argument. If a biker can pound a knife down the highway, exposed to all of the elements (and in a soaking wet gym), cut everything needed, and deliberately force the edge through plasticene and yet make the edge sharper than a scalpel with waterstones and a freeze, then the basic idea is sound.

    In fact, this knife is not safe for clients.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. JJE

    JJE Member

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    I did buy a Stubby CRKT Razel about 3 weeks ago based on The Tourist's earlier review in this forum. I own lots of knives and always have one on me, but I don't think sharpening is "fun". Fortunately, the Stubby Razel was sharp enough for me out of the box (although I couldn't resist stropping the edges a little). The fit' n' finish on the knife are good, but the Kydex sheath is ROUGH. I've never made a sheath, but if my first attempt turned out this way, I'd be disappointed - very thick Kydex, several (cosmetic) flaws in the Kydex panels, riveting isn't neat. It works, but it isn't pretty.

    I've used the Razel in the garden a few times and it works well for most small cutting tasks, but I'm not sold on the advantages of this blade shape over a traditional shape for a general-purpose knife. I'm not saying that it isn't a good idea - I just wasn't overwhelmed by the design. Time will tell.
     
  19. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    Mongrel & Tourist: Thanks to you both....I've got an itch for the Stubby, and you may have helped me scratch it.... :D
     
  20. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    I also wish to be fair to JShirley and Mr. Krein.

    You may contact Ben Dale at Edge Pro and/or Mike Stewart at Bark River Knife and Tool (Mike has examined one of my knives) and ask them to authenticate my credentials. In a debate, I feel this is only fair.

    Added, there are five or six of my clients who are members here.

    My underscore of this portion is critical. I run my mouth on fakes and mall ninjas, so my reputation must be seamless on sharpening. Not only am I one of the few Caucasian tinkers in this realm of study, but I also test new equipment for Ben Dale before it is sold. I even ask for special tools, which he now is selling.

    I just found out that my edges were a topic on a cooking forum I didn't even know existed.

    On with the debate! Let's have some fun!
     
  21. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    Hey Tourist...

    Could you take a look at this mole on my neck?

    :neener:
     
  22. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Mongrel, let me get this straight--you want a biker near your neck with a toasty Razel?

    And I get PMs about stability...?
     
  23. Mongrel

    Mongrel Member

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    Just living on the edge man...

    Living on the edge...

    hahah
     
  24. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    :scrutiny:


    -T.
     
  25. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

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    Thernlund, let me clarify that statement.

    This edge is not suitable for the average client. Obviously I have clients who are professional chefs and folks who have used my services for a number of years.

    I wouldn't give this knife to a kid, a sports hunter who only guts a deer once every few years (I've had guys cut their fingers with the knife up inside the chest cavity of the deer) or a guy who wants to surprise his wife with a edge she's never seen before.

    Within days of my start with Panera's, they took a girl to the ER for stitiches.

    But give me a break here--this knife is mine. I use it show potential clients. I took it to a new kitchen shop here in Madison for a demonstration.

    If a knowledgeable hunter said, "Chico, I've been tramping around the TN wilds hunting pigs and everything else has crapped," I'd probably sell him the knife.
     
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