Updated: Jan 14, 2019
Mike, Lead designer for 3DK and one of the owners of Northern Knives, waxes poetic on what his EDC currently is. As well as being brutally honest about some aspects.
First we visit his Chris Reeve Sebenza 21. As Mike has carried it over the years he has grown to love this simple yet fantastically executed folder.
The Good - Sebenza 21
First and foremost this is Mike's dailey driver. The blade shape is a ubiquitous drop point, with a standard hollow grind. The tip is extremely fine and the knife is ground thinly, allowing fine detail work. Like cleaning nails to be particularly intimidating or trimming fine cigars.
This particular Sebenza isn't just any Chris Reeve. This one has a RainDrop Damascus blade and the scale has a matching custom damascus graphic on it as well, direct from the shop floor in Idaho. Overall, it’s a great shape and form for EDC. Combining classic lines with precision that only Chris Reeve can deliver. In Mike's own words "Craftsmanship that is second to none"
The Bad - Sebenza 21
The only downside Mike has on this platonic ideal of the gentlemans drop point is that although its a stout blade, using it for extremely hard work (although very capable) feels like a crime against humanity. It's just too damn nice. Like that restored car in your garage you just had painted. You'll never pony it again for fear of it getting destroyed.
Changes We Hope Chris Reeve Offers In the Future
The only real feedback Mike has for Chris Reeve is offering a ball bearing pivot for an even smoother action and a low rise clip for easier carry.
Next we visit Mike's daily work horse. His "Shop Custom" ZT 0456
The Good - "Shop Custom" ZT 0456
Mike also carries a ZT 0456 with the full titanium handle. Mike uses this as his primary work horse. he loves the ball bearing action and the fact, that although its a manual opening knife, it can be flicked open one handed and used with little to no practice. It also has a Wharn Cliff style point lending to opening packages or cutting things and the fact it uses CPM-20CV steel means chipping, or breaking tips is less likely to happen then Nic Cage coming to hang out with us.
Mike has also extensively modified the appearance with our gradient pattern #1 and three anodizing passes giving it a Deus Ex kind of look which the author thinks is Certified Neat™.
We have since refined our processes and can get a similar finish with two anodizing passes. Check it out. He has also removed the factory, back spacer and has opted for some custom standoffs as well to all a more 'pass through' design and to shave a little weight. Lastly it is finished off with bead blasted hardware.
The Bad - "Shop Custom" ZT 0456
The major downside Mike encountered was the clip. As far as factory clips go, it's so so. It kept loosening even with being tightened and secured with loctite numerous times. Mike eventually replaced it with a higher grade clip from ZT that we go into bit of detail in the video on how we did it. It's not a simple bolt on job, but after some modification it's now rock solid. Unfortunately, he had to lose 2 other modified 0456's to finally learn this lesson.
Changes We Hope ZT Does In the Future
The big take away from it is that an almost perfect workhorse knife is almost spoiled by its poor clip choice. However, given its ZT and its build quality, as well as its adaptability, we think its an awesome knife. But, we seriously hope ZT changes their clip design on the 0456 in the future.
Here is the ZT base we started with.
Another Knife Mike Carries?
Yep, Mike also carries one of our own 3DK Riots. We have extensively covered our own knife enough. Check out our round table article here to get the skinny on what the Riot is and what its used for. Suffice to say, this is Mike's go to for "Lets remove this wall" or "I need to cut this steel ribbed radiator hose". Its for jobs that require abuse that would break other knives. Is it overkill for an EDC? Yes. Is it nice to have when you need it? Yes. It's like that full 120 piece tool set you keep in your truck. Never need it 80% of the time, but gosh darn it does that other 20% justify that sets existence.
Gotta write in style... Well at least be in style. We will get into why in a moment.
Writing Utensil - Lion Steel From Nyala
Overall Mike is happy with the construction and feel in the hand. However, he is just not a fan of Fisher Space Pens. He feels if a pen is several hundred dollars it "...shouldn't write like a Bic." We all have subjective opinions i personally don't have an issue with Fisher refills, but i think Mike was looking for more than a fancy container and was severely let down. He agrees that craftsmanship is top notch and he even went through the effort of etching the damascus to bring it out more. But it's just left a sour taste in his mouth with the writing experience not matching the build quality.
He really wants a replacement for his lost ProMag Archangel polymer pen if you find one, please contact us. You have unobtanium in our eyes and want it badly!
Other Equipment The Lead Designer For 3DK Carries
Mike also carries with him in the shop a fully custom Glock 30s double stack .45. He had a friend of the shop do custom stippling to the frame for added grip. He then had the slide done by Fire-4-Effect. They put their Dragon Scale pattern along the top of the slide, machined it for weight savings and added side errations for easier racking front and back.
Mike also had a local Phil Lincoln do a desert tan battleworn pattern.. because, why not at that point? Overall, it's a great, light hard hitter that sticks with Mike in the shop.
If you like this introspective tune in (read in?) for our next installment where Lori, the other half of Northern Knives weighs in with her (in the writers humble opinion) much more glamorous EDC.
Also check out our previous entry so far in the series here where our Web Admin strokes his ego with his EDC for everyone to enjoy.