Earlier this year I contacted Guy Stainthorp about making a knife (Chris Claycomb had suggested him and that's a good reccomendation to follow IMHO), I originally asked about blade blanks, well you’ll never know if you don’t ask, before being politely informed that he doesn’t make blade blanks.
The commission that I wanted Guy to take on was actually a copy of another knife with a few modifications made to it. This is going to end up sounding like a review of both knives, however this is just my opinion.
To explain I own a Benchmade BM210 “Activator”, the general idea behind the knife is actually not bad, however in my opinion it’s let down by a number of it’s features.
It has G10 scales which are wafer thin, This is not very comfortable for me. My hands are not huge they are about normal size and I can’t quite get a really good grip of the knife.
The full flat grind has a huge secondary bevel that means that unless you want to spend a hell of a long time on a diamond stone grinding away (the original BM210 was made in S30V even though it is now available in D2 as well and there is nothing wrong with either of those steels) you’ll never get this thing truly flat, so you end up with a knife which has a cutting edge which is convexed.
The BM210 itself is quite a pretty little knife so Benchmade have given it a full grain leather sheath, unfortunately it’s a butt ugly pancake of leather. I do leather work and if I turned out something that looked like that I would be embarrassed to show it let alone sell it.
So what I wanted was a knife made from a steel that I would like (there’s nothing wrong with S30V, I just prefer other steels to it), so we went with RWL34. The knife had to have the same profile as the activator, however I wanted a Scandinavian Grind placed on the knife as I do a fair amount of wood working. The scales were to be replaced with Black Micarta and were to be a bit thicker than the original ones as I like something that I can grip and last but not least it was to have Kydex sheath that had the facility for me to wear it neck carry or on a belt if required.
The picture Guy sent to me just before he finished the belt loop.
I took receipt of the knife just before going off to teach the Army Pre Selection Survival Training with Footsteps Of Discovery.
So here are my initial impressions of the knife.
The knife when used for small game prep is very good, the slightly larger handle allows me to grip it sufficiently tightly to maintain control even if it’s covered in slime. When carving for prolonged periods the slightly larger handle means it’s less tiring for my hand in use.
The Scandi Grind bevels allow me to carve very good precise feather sticks, it also allows a great deal of control on fine work when carving trap triggers.
When the knife arrived it was shaving sharp, it hasn’t been sharpened yet because the edge retention is very good, it’s only been used for making feather sticks, carving pot hangers, cutting string, carving trap triggers, a bit of splitting and skinning bunnies for three days.
It is still however shaving sharp even though I battened it through a knot in some of the sticks I was splitting.
The Kydex sheath has a very secure lockup, it’s small, elegant, lightweight and easy to clean should I forget and place a blood and gut smeared knife back into it by accident.
Before this there was probably only one person I would have gone to for a Kydex sheath and that would have been Chris Claycomb. Guy’s work is up there with Chris’s.
These are my initial observations on the knife, however I must say that I am pretty much delighted with the knife and with Guy’s “Can Do” sort of attitude.
A few months down the line I'll have to review this again as time will always tell, but judging from what I've seen so far Guy's work is very very good.
I have a few of Guys knives leon-1, fantastic users all of them.
Exeptional eye for detail and a truly, truly nice guy to boot!
( while we are on the subject of 'Kydex masters' if you want a Holy Trinity you would have to add Rapid boy IMHO !)
Is there a micro bevel on that leon?
Is there a micro bevel on that leon?
I think there is, but to be honest it's very difficult to tell even under a magnifying glass, infact if you catch it at the right angle there is the thinnest of lines of light reflected back at you so yes there is a micro bevel.
To be honest you wouldn't want it any closer to a zero grind as it would probably mean having an edge that was way too fragile in proper use.
Guy is undoubtedly one of the top makers in the UK, faultless work every time. My daughter did her school work experience with kinfemaker Grace Horne and they spent a day at Guy's and she made a wonderful knife. Genuinely good bloke.
This is the knife Jojo made in his workshop when she was 15