Let me first say that I read posts on this forum much more than I usually post myself... but I'm on here almost every day, and I always appreciate the thoughtful reviews people post (especially with pictures). I recently received the new re-release of the Aqua Salt, and I love the knife so much that I felt compelled to post some of my thoughts about it. I own a yellow SE Aqua Salt that I bought around 2010 right before they were discontinued, and I liked that one so much that I bought one for my sister as well. Most of the time I gravitate toward a SE blade in H1 steel, and in fact the only other PE H1 blade I own is the Rock Salt, which I don't use much due to the size. So when I heard that the Aqua Salt was being re-released, I jumped at the chance to buy a PE version, and I wanted to share some thoughts and comment.
First, this knife is the same size as the previous version with the same sheath. In fact, my new PE Aqua Salt fits in the old sheath, which is nice. The only design change that I can tell is that the swedge on the spine was lengthened and tapered, and is now more subtle and flows into the spine. It's less noticeable, especially with the TiCN coating. Otherwise the design looks to be about the same. Normally I don't like TiCN coatings on my knife (I don't care too much about light discipline, TiCN adds cost, and generally I like the look of the plain "steel"), but I have to say that the TiCN coating fits this knife very well, and I'm finding myself preferring the TiCN version. In the past users have complained about H1 scratching easily, so the TiCN coating also helps prevent this.
Ergonomics are excellent. hand is securely locked in. This knife would fit very well with gloves on. There is a nice subtle thumb ramp for comfortable positioning of the thumb depending on grip. The balance point is right at the index finger when griping the knife making it very controllable. The blade shape reminds me of the Southard, and I find it very usable and easy to sharpen. In fact, I re-beveled the edge when I got the knife because of an uneven bevel, and it was a real pleasure to sharpen with a slight curve and without significant belly. There is also a sharpening notch making sharpening of the edge closest to the handle very easy, which isn't the case with many of my Spydercos. I had fun sharpning the H1 partly also due to the idea that by sharpening it, I would be ultimately improving edge retention in the long run... kinda fun thought.
The sheath is very secure without any rattle. In the past people have complained about the sheath dulling the edge. I never worried much about this because the serrations on my old version help prevent this. Michael Janich in a prior post talks about needing to index the spine when sheathing or withdrawing the knife to prevent contact of the blade with the sheath (this is true for any knife and any sheath, not just the Aqua Salt). This is easy to do with the knife; however, I find that the last 1-2 cm of the knife still becomes dull and I think this is due to the way it locks and sits in the sheath. I have the same issue with my older SE Aqua Salt, and this doesn't seem to be prevented even by correct indexing of the spine when drawing the knife... I believe it's because of the way the knife locks into the sheath, but I can't be sure.
Conclusion: An excellent, ergonomic, well balanced, very usable knife with a secure sheath. I am looking forward to trying H1 more in PE. The Aqua Salt goes almost everywhere with me when hiking and outdoors and I have a sheath permanently lashed to my pack. It will be nice that I can easily interchange the older SE version with the newer PE version. I will try to post some pictures shortly with my old SE version for comparison.
Edit: Photos added (not great light).
Last edited by captnvegtble
on Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.