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REKAT Sifu... Should I?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Bergeron, Mar 9, 2003.

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  1. Bergeron

    Bergeron Member

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    I saw a Sifu in my local gun shop Friday...

    I've heard many good things about these knives, Jim March's website speaks very highly of them, and I have been considering adding a second knife to complement my CRKT Point Guard. From what I understand, these are execellent and are hard to come by. The model at the shop has a black finger groove handle and stainless (or white finish) blade, shop wants $130 for it, and that's right about at the maximum that I am currently willing to pay for a knife.

    What's the opinion of the board? Worth it, or should I give this knife a pass?
     
  2. sonny

    sonny Member

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    What do you need it for?.......the cool factor?....if so I rate it a 10
    Besides that..... it's huge folder....do you plan on carrying it?...it's heavy and a bit awkward......people buy knives for different reasons......I got a sifu....I had to have one for one reason or another but it's never been carried ...if money is an issue stick with something that would more versatile.....Are you getting the picture?.....It's like getting a desert eagle to compliment your glock.....there is something in the middle that you may want to consider:D ......nothing wrong with that if that's what you into...I have been at times;)
     
  3. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes, yes you should. Don't listen to these old women with their "reason" and "logic." It's a SIFU, man!
    ;)

    Seriously, I want one. If you're not going to send it to me, I don't care.
     
  4. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Right, it's a *great* knife. I think it's still the best fighting folder made in the 6" or under size class. The ergonomics are just incredible.

    BUT.

    REKAT had some warrantee issues. The lockwork is a bit tricky. Some had some blade scrape problems - there's a method to loosening the screws on one side and then "bending it a hair" until the blade centers and you lock it back down again.

    As the lock wears, there are ways of adjusting it if you're comfortable with taking it down and doing minor filework.

    You've got to basically be willing to tinker if necessary. Warrentees are out of the question, 'cuz the company is dead and gone.

    So unless you've got "minor home gunsmith abilities", the Camillus MAXX is a better idea so long as you ditch the clip and get a belt sheath for it. 1911 magazines seem to fit well. But the clip must be completely removed for safety, as it screws up the lock strength. I *warned* Darrel Ralf about that, he didn't listen.
     
  5. Bergeron

    Bergeron Member

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    What do I want it for?

    Well, I would like to have one general purpose knife and one defensive type knife. I like my toys and my tools, and would be willing to tinker. Is there a good book/magazine/internet site that details tinkering on the Sifu? Would be nice to know what I am getting myself into.

    I'll go check it out this week, and if it passes inspection, I'll take it home. Anything to be aware of during inspection? The only other type of knife that I've had experience with has been my aforementioned Point Guard.
     
  6. Gary H

    Gary H Member

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    I carry the Sifu comfortably, clip under belt, right front and I never know it's there. I would pay attention to Jim's advice...
     
  7. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Inspecting a Sifu:

    Like any folder, open it and jiggle the blade, checking for play and lock reliability. Study how the lock works - it's most certainly *different* but not at all hard to understand. Look in there, hit the release switch a few times, all will become clear. Make sure the half-circle piece is dropping down into the blade tang divot by at least...hmm...looking at mine now...call it at least 3/32nds of an inch of "overlap", with the edge of the half-circle dropping into the divot that much.

    Another thing: when it's fully locked open, hold it with the blade pointed away from you and the lock release slide up (blade edge to your left). Now look at the release slide: it must not be too far forward in it's slide cutout in the grip material! Basically, as the lock wears, it will "self adjust" as the slide switch goes further forward.

    In two years of daily carry, mine started with maybe a hair under a quarter inch of such "remaining unused travel" and it's now down to less than 1/8th. I estimate about 8 more months before the slide switch will "bottom out" and lock reliability will suffer. At that point, I'm going to open it up and look at my options - I think I'll be able to either lengthen the slide travel cutout in the grip panel, OR I'll shave down the slide button so that the body of the slide can move forward further. I'll have to take it apart to see which option is better. The good news is, when I give it more travel in the slide switch, the primary lock has many years left in it.

    When I deal with that, I'll take a series of digital pics and post details somewhere.

    Again: if you can look at the lock and understand how it works and you're not freaked by using files, screwdrivers and dremel tools, a Sifu may be for you. It's a bit like a Colt Python: finicky, hard to find a gunsmith for, but one sweeeet gun.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Bergeron

    Bergeron Member

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    Yes, that does help. I will be sure to check the amount of unused travel that the slide switch has. The shop in question deals almost as much in used goods as they do in new items. I'll be sure to find out the knife's history and make sure nobody butchered it up before offering it for sale.

    I suppose that if I purchase it, I will be spending a few evenings with it dissasembled on my kitchen table learning its internal workings. Sounds exciting!
     
  9. sonny

    sonny Member

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    Go to blade forums sign up and do a search for sifu.....

    http://www.bladeforums.com/

    Mine needed help when I got it ....it fell apart several times because of the tiny screws that hold the frame together ...I forget the exact name of the screws...Jim will tell you I'm sure ...this was a common problem with sifus.....REKAT...sent me replacement screws .You may want to consider this when purchasing the knife because you may not be able to get replacement screws since REKAT is history.

    I was not trying to discourage you in my previous post,I love mine but it is LARGE and I prefer to carry something a little smaller.For defensive purposes ?....It's hard to beat as far as folders go...........I think if you are allowed in your juristiction you should consider a fixed blade.
     
  10. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Member

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  11. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    If some of the screws and "barrels" (offsets) strip, they could be replaced. Worst case you could use round-head screws that formed gentle bumps on top of the G10 or carbon fiber instead of hex heads that drop down into the grip material. Looks would suffer, ergonomics and practical effect wouldn't.

    The construction methods are similar to many benchmade models, except for the oddball lock. You could probably find a beater Benchmade linerlock cheap that could donate it's hex screws and barrels.

    All that said, the Camillus Maxx is more practical, so long as you ditch the clip and run a sheath, or custom-relocate the clip to the other end. A D2 Maxx will last a lifetime of daily carry. I would estimate an ATS34 Sifu is good for 5 years of carry at absolute most. I hope Camillus will develop a "curved grip" variant of the Maxx before another three years are up, at which point I'll be tempted to switch and finally hang "old number one" up.

    Tell ya what though...about 8 months ago, I saw two dogs attack a guy and his small dog, and I charged over there at a dead run while pulling #1. And it felt *good* to have something like that in hand.
     
  12. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    Like Mr March said, I'd go with a Camillus Mad Max. Even though it's quite long, it fits well in the pocket because it's thin(really, it does). Plus, Camillus isn't likely to go out of business anytime soon.

    They have another long blade folder coming out called the Aftermath. You might want to check it out as well.

    Chris
     
  13. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Member

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    Any knife that needs to be tinkered with from new to when you chuck it out does not sound like anything I want to be involved in carrying or owning. All the issues with these knives which others have mentioned seem insignificant and easily remedied until you actually need the knife to save your butt [ if you are carrying it as a defensive knife ].

    For defensive work/possible needs I would much prefer to go with a quality combat folder that the company can support and warranty if there are issues down the road.

    Everything stated by others seems to contradict the idea this is a knife to rely on for defensive needs when you may actually need it.

    For the money there are certainly better options out there to choose from. Ya, the sifu is a "cool factor" and I have wondered about getting one myself but just could not see spending good money for something that most have various issues with from new.

    I want a defensive knife to be dependable. The comments above don't seem to convey this. I don't want to have to worry about the lock works or screws or whatever needing some fitting and having to watch for these things to begin with.

    I like the design but the execution/production of these was not the best. Your money would be better spent elsewhere in my opinion.

    Brownie
     
  14. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    As long as the lock IS engaging, it will engage every time. Reliability in "mid-fight" is still very very good. Other than adjusting pivot tension, mine has needed no tinkering whatsoever in two years of daily carry, although as stated in a bit under a year it'll need some help which I'm prepared to give it.

    But people need full disclosure on the issues with this piece. It's hard to convey just how the pluses and minuses pan out on this thing, but as the guy who originally caused this bad boy to be developed I feel a bit of a responsibility to point out all sides.

    If I lost "old number one" via some disaster, I would desperately seek another.

    Warts or not, it's the best there is.
     
  15. ahenry

    ahenry Member

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    What in the world are you talking about? Back that up please (strength issue, I don’t care about your talks with Ralph)?
     
  16. Bergeron

    Bergeron Member

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    Mr. March, thanks for the info. I thought that perhaps with some minor gunsmithing type skills, I could keep a Sifu running for an indefinite period of time. Five years max for a expensive knife is something that I don't think that I want to do right now. It's too bad, it looked like such a nice knife. :(
     
  17. sonny

    sonny Member

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  18. sonny

    sonny Member

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  19. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Integral locks are *supposed* to get stronger as you grip them. Your hand strength reinforces the lock. Chris Reeve understood this, and mounted the clip on the Sebenza properly from the butt, so that grip access to the lock area is unimpeded.

    http://www.chrisreeve.com/sebenza.html

    Darrel, for some reason, does NOT understand this, and positions the clip such that it gets in the way of properly squeezing the lock closed.

    It's not just the Maxx, it's every Darrel Ralf design. He detests tip-up pocket carry.

    The way the Maxx is laid out, it's sorta understandable because with the double guards, if you accidentally stroke one of the guards it'll open, and cut your arm as you're jamming your hand in your pocket. Except that the guard in question, once the knife is open, forms the UPPER guard which is not actually necessary and in my opinion, slightly harms the Maxx's ergonomics.

    Which brings us to another major Darrel Ralf design issue: he puts cosmetic effect over combat utility on his fighters.

    OK, let me show you what I mean:

    cmcu2272.jpg

    (Pick from the Knife Center of the Internet, http://www.knifecenter.com )

    While there's still some "lock reinforcement" going on, there's not as much as you'd otherwise get without the clip. And the closer you get to the pivot point, the higher the clip rises and the less pressure you're putting on the lockwork. Granted, maybe not with all hand sizes, but for sure it does with mine - and my hand size isn't all that big despite the rest of me being outsize.

    Darrel's "flipper feature" does NOT need "dual flippers":

    2447.jpg

    http://store.knifecenter.com/pgi-Product Spec?cmcu2447

    This is an upcoming 4"-class Ralf design, with "single flipper"...and lengthened, it's exactly what the Maxx should have been in the first place.

    cu2562.jpg

    http://store.knifecenter.com/pgi-Product Spec?cmcu2562

    This is another upcoming Ralf design. Enough people wanted a "Maxx with a curved grip" that he apparantly listened. Sorta. But again, it's got that upper guard that only serves to make tip-up carry unsafe.

    This isn't shipping yet. But according to the Knifecenter site, we have another problem:

    ---
    Our Price: $328.95

    A Retail Savings Of: $131.05
    ---

    All those fancy CNC "flame cuts" add up, don't they?

    Look, y'all, if it's not clear yet: Darrel Ralf isn't a weapons-smith. He's making "art knives", that can be pressed into weapons duty so long as you understand and correct for the compromises he makes in pursuit of his "art".

    When we finally convinced him to make a REAL fighting megafolder with combat grip ergonomics, he made sure to add all kinds of fancy trash on it, jack the price through the roof and make sure it wasn't actually carried as a ("heaven forbid") street defense weapon.

    Bob Taylor, on the other hand, is a crazy little ex-streetbrawler who understands the realities of knife combat, and the Sifu shows it. Bigtime. It was built from day one as a fighting knife, no apologies.
     
  20. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    Of course, many people who prefer saber grip really like that top guard. And frankly, I don't see the lock strength issue you've cited, Jim. Even if the grip doesn't squeeze the lock in, and it looks like it would for most people even with the clip, a properly built integral lock does not (should not, at least) depend on continuous pressure from the user to keep the blade locked.

    Beyond those comments, let's just say that I have great respect for Jim March as an innovative defender of civil rights, and great respect for Darrel Ralph as a great bladesmith, and leave it at that. :)
     
  21. ahenry

    ahenry Member

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    I hold my Maxx and the lock is re-enforced by my grip. Try as I might I fail to see how you can manage to grip the Maxx and weaken the lock. Now, some tip down models are pressured to unlock when gripped (e.g. some Kershaws), but the Maxx does an excellent job of avoiding this (and the clip doesn’t factor into it one way or the other). Some people (like me) detest tip up carry (even though I own plenty of tip up knives). There are a variety of reasons and I couldn’t care less if you do or don’t like it, variety is the spice of life you know. There are more than a few options that give you tip up. It is nice to have one that gives you tip down.

    What it sounds to me like you are actually saying is that the lock is not weakened, but rather it is not re-enforced when it is gripped. I wouldn’t disagree with that view, but would add the distinction that it tends to depend on the size of a persons hand. For example my hand does actually help hold the lock some. I would suggest however, that if that is actually what you are getting at, you not make a comment like “the clip must be completely removed for safety, as it screws up the lock strengthâ€. The clip doesn’t screw up anything, the lock is more than adequate without any re-enforcement from the grip and if anything at all, a grip actually does strengthen the lock. Open your Maxx and tell me honestly that you think that lock needs to be strengthened. You could substitute the Cuda Maxx for a nail if you wanted. I have never seen a finer example of lock strength and I include the laudable Sebennza in that comment.

    Perhaps you could direct me to a better legal defensive knife? Ironically, some people (myself included) enjoy a pretty blade as well as a utilitarian one. In fact, my personal opinion of the main stream knife world is that there are not enough knives of sufficient quality with enjoyable looks and a reasonable price (read that to mean non-custom prices).

    Thank you Don. That was essentially my point.
     
  22. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Ahenry: You're absolutely correct, I'm NOT saying the lock is weakened by your grip, I'm saying it's not strengthened as much as it would be with no clip.

    Without grip reinforcement, an Integral Lock knife is "just a linerlock". And as Joe Talmadge has proven over and over again, you can get a linerlock to fail with a modest hit to the spine.

    To me, that's a problem, because the two times I've faced criminal weapons on the street, it's been "short moderately heavy clubs" (hammers once, a large wrench the other time). Which is exactly the situation where the spine of your knife could take a hit.

    A Maxx lock has already failed and cut somebody rather badly. It wasn't a Camillus, it was a $500+ Ralf handmade; the report on Bladeforums had the user chopping light wood and "choking back" at the rear of the grip, not reinforcing the lock with his grip. It failed...because without grip reinforcement, it's a big linerlock which is not an adequate lock for a megafolder. (AlMar proved that with the "Jumbo".)

    ------------

    The Maxx grip ergonomics are in my opinion, not very good. The tip is hard to get "low" and the whole thing feels dead in the hand. The 5" SOG Pentagon Elite is the same way, for the same reason...somebody thought the "boot knife look" was "cool".

    It's not.

    ------------

    My comment re the "fancy trash on it" was about the fancy flame-pattern on the new curve-grip. Nothing else could explain a list price up past $450(!) and a street price up near $330 when the materials and build are otherwise similar to the Maxx.

    Would you really pay $150 extra for fancy cosmetics on a street defense knife? Willingly? If so, cool, let him and Camillus offer both plain and fancy variants the same way Chris Reeve does with the Sebby.

    What I care about is getting through the night when I can't get a friggin' CCW permit. If I was Darrel and was providing knives that could do that, I'd make sure there was a version as affordable as possible available.

    But that won't happen, because he's an artist, not a (deliberate) weapons-smith.
     
  23. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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  24. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Member

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    "Joe Talmadge has proven over and over again, you can get a linerlock to fail with a modest hit to the spine."

    Yes, the linerlocks can face disengagement if wacked on the spine of the knife, agreed.

    I just don't see it as an issue in defensive knife tactics. Where in the knife fight will the opponent get the opportunity to "hit" the back of the spine on your defensive edged weapon when it is in your hand [sabre or reverse]?

    It seems that to think a club, wrench etc would unlock my knife if whacked on the spine is sorta mute as to get to the spine of any of my defensive tools in any grip you will have to go through the back of my hand in sabre or reverse grip. If that happens I have more to worry about than the lock disengaging, and the lock probably would not disengage due to the cushioning affect of my hand.

    Those that think the linerlocks are weak or can be defeated in this way could post their ideas of exactly when the spine of the knife would be suseptable while being used in a defensive role.
    Inquiring minds would like to know when it would be relevant in the real world where one is defending him/herself with a linerlock where the spine of the knife is presented for an opponent to even attempt this.

    Brownie
     
  25. ahenry

    ahenry Member

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    Then you should stick to comments like that, rather than comments like you made.

    What has been shown is that a linerlock can be susceptible to failure when hit on the spine. I’ve taken a hammer to my Maxx and it hasn’t failed. Why don’t you share with us all just what sort of whack makes this knife fail. We are all curious...

    One out of how many? A knife is a manufactured item. Just as a gun is and just as a car is. And just like these other items, they can and do fail. Even the venerable Sebenza is not immune to this. I have done my own testing on many different knives, and while I still find a few faults with the Cuda Maxx (more preferences than true shortcomings) I would put it up against any other folder out there in terms of strength. Just because Darrel Ralph didn’t follow your suggestions doesn’t mean his creation is a bad knife, or a weak knife. Name me ANY other knife that is of the same size and strength and can be readily had for under 150 bucks.
     
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