Initial review of Jens Ansø's Damadrop
I first contacted Jens Ansø shortly after he posted in Bladeforums looking for American's to review some of his knives. I jumped at the oppertunity, and after a couple of e-mail messages, back and fourth, a design was agreed upon, his Personal Drop-point with blade in Damasteel. Shortly after, and after a trip to a lockal knife store to fondle some custom knives, the handle material of bead-blasted carbon fiber was chosen. The knife arrived last week, and I have carried it since. This review will concentrate on the visual aspects of the knife, leaving actual performance details for a later review. Other parts of the review: Part 2, the sheath and Part 3, using the knife.
I had the good fortune to be able to work rather closely with Jens on the design of this knife, and must say that he went out of his way to make sure I would be happy with the final product. During the design stage, he responded promptly to all my e-mail(normally overnight due to the time difference). After the initial design was complete, he would send me update photo's as the knife progressed. Sometimes these were actual pictures of my knife(some of which will appear further on), while others were pictures of similar knifes further along in manufacture. This was a very nice idea, as it allowed me to follow the progress of my knife, and kept up my anticipation.
The knife is 18.3 cm long with the actual edge being an even 7 cm long and ground of 3mm or 1/8" steel. below this is a small semi-circle, and about 1 cm of ricasso, which both shows off the pattern in the steel and the makers name. The steel is Damasteel, a power-metal damascus made with RWL-34(ATS-34 with a little Vanadium) and PMC-27(12c27 also with a little V added), made by Damasteel AB of Sweden. I chose the Rose pattern, which has a circular pattern coined into the surface of standard twist steel. This leads to the most dramatic flat-ground blade I've seen in a long time: as the blade tapers to the edge, the grind passes through the coined area, and the steel near the edge has simple alternating lines of light and dark. On the ricasso, both on the edge side and on the back are 5 grooves filed into the steel. These give both good thumb purchase and help keep the hand from slipping down onto the razor-sharp blade.
The grinding of the blade is very well and evenly done, although if one looks carefully, some of the grinding marks are still visable in the blade. This does not detract for the visual appeal of the blade, however, as the marks are small, and hard to see unless one is looking for them. I think the ony flaw with the blade is the etching of the steel. Although the left(looking down on the back of the blade) side is evenly and darkly etched, the right side is lighter and somewhat blotchy. This, I think, is a result of Jens' limited experience with the Damasteel, and I'm sure it will be remedied. I bought this knife to use, not keep in a drawer, so I assume that this minor imperfection will disappear as the knife gets scratched up in use. A really neat piece of etching, which I've never seen on a knife before, is the back which Jens etched with the rest of the blade to show the internal pattern of the steel.
The handle makes up the remaining 9.5 cm of the knife in bead-blasted carbon-fiber(CF). It was the design of the handle, with it's gripping hole abt. 1 cm from the blade that really drew me to the design. The hole is abt 1 cm in diameter, and has about 2.5 mm of chamfer around the edges. It functions not only to provide a positive grip on the knife, but also to give the sheath(more later) a better grip on the knife. The handle itself started as 5mm CF, reduced to about 3 by shaping and blasting. It is held on by 4x4mm pins and the steel-lined lanyard hole, as well as epoxy. All this over the full, but tapered tang gives an extreamly comfortable grip, but I'll know for sure once I really worked with the knife. The choice of CF was mine, the bead-blasting was suggested by Jens to give a better grip, and more interesting texture. He even had made another knife with the same type of handle shortly before mine, and sent along a picture so I could make sure this was what I wanted. The surface has a definite texture to it, but all the edges are rounded and the texture isn't rough enough to cause any discomfort.
The sheath is made of half-tanned leather, wet fitted to the exact contours of my knife. The sheath is very wel made, and holds the knife tenaciously, I couldn't get the knife to fall out when holding the sheath upside-down and jumping. There is a intend in the sheath that fits into the hole in the handle, but the rest is just a good friction fit. It is dyed black, and has a Titanium clip, like one would find on a Spyderco knife, but this one if anodized all different colors. It was designed as a belt clip but works perfectly as an inside-pocket clip. Once I've had it longer, I'll know how tough the sheath is, but so far it's great!
Well that's it for this initial review. I'll be adding some pictures to this shortly, both of the finished knife and of the various parts. If you have any questions, or suggestions for the using tests, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org