Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

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zuludelta
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Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby zuludelta » Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:20 am

The Yojimbo 2: An expression of Michael Janich's Martial Blade Concepts (MBC) edged-weapon system in stainless steel and fibreglass laminate, and arguably the most well-known of Spyderco's non-Glesser designs. As popular as it is, there is a subset of the knife community that contends that the features that optimize the Yojimbo 2 as an aid in self-defence compromise its functionality as a more conventional work and everyday-carry cutting tool. Is this the case in actual use?

Before we set about answering that question, a quick aside. Yes, I know that evaluating the Yojimbo 2 as a work tool is sort of missing the point—the knife equivalent of judging a C8A2 carbine on its merits as a hunting rifle—but the overwhelming majority of my experience with the Yojimbo 2 is using it in a utility knife capacity. Can I offer comments relevant to the Yojimbo 2's original self-defence intent? Perhaps, but much of that commentary would be in the realm of the theoretical, of limited practical value, so we'll skip any talk of that here.

But I digress... on to the review!

The breadth and extent of my use of the Yojimbo 2 are as follows: I have been using the Yojimbo 2 for warehouse work for roughly one eight-hour shift per week for the past two years—it shares use-time with the rest of my work knife rotation—with perhaps a total of four or five missed months when it was edged out of the rotation by some new knife I wanted to try out. A knife is my primary hand tool at work. I employ one dozens, if not hundreds, of times per shift to cut pallet straps and tie-downs, break down cardboard, and slice through stretch wrap. I almost certainly use a folding knife to cut things more times in one workday than most people do in a week. I also frequently use the Yojimbo 2 as my “convenience cutter” (i.e., my “EDC”) outside of work. All in all, my impressions of the Yojimbo 2 have thus far been formed from about 800 hours of work carry and use and somewhere around 300 hours of “EDC-ing”, plus several hours of gym jackassery with the blunt-bladed trainer version.
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The Yojimbo 2 in satin, all-black, and the trainer
The Yojimbo 2 is one of the most ergonomic folding knives I've ever handled, about on par with the Spyderco Introvert in how easily it melts into my hand in the standard orientation (an important contextual note: I am right-hand dominant, wear small to medium-sized work gloves, and have fairly narrow fingers). I can hold it in my hand using the “Filipino grip” with my eyes closed and know exactly where the tip and the cutting edge are. This is especially important to me from a safety perspective. When things get particularly hectic at work, a knife that functions like an extension of my hand lets me work fast without having to be excessively concerned about accidentally cutting or piercing things.
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Holding the Yojimbo 2 in the "Filipino grip"
Despite its handle's rather unconventional appearance, I find the Yojimbo 2 to be very comfortable to hold and easy to manipulate when doing grip transitions. The indentation on the blade spine is a perfect landing spot for my thumb when holding the knife in my preferred grip. The handle is textured enough to provide a good amount of traction. The handle's scalloping and palm swell provide adequate grip security in both the forward grip and the less commonly used reverse grip but are subtle enough not to generate any hot spots. The handle is also sufficiently tall and thick to provide good contact area for my hand's thenar eminence, which greatly contributes to comfort during extended use. The sturdy Spyderco spoon clip does not generate any hot spots in the right-side, tip-up carry configuration and has just enough tension to keep the knife securely clipped to the pocket while not making it too difficult to take the knife in and out. The knife's Trademark Round Hole as well as the compression lock tab are easily accessed with the thumb, index finger, or middle finger, even when wearing work gloves.
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Using the Trademark Round Hole with gloves on
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Accessing the lock tab with gloves on
I find the protrusion at the butt-end of the Yojimbo 2's handle, which is intended by designer Michael Janich to serve as a blunt impact and pain compliance feature on the closed knife, to also be very useful for applying pressure to break perforations and pop adhesive tape on cardboard boxes containing bagged product (because these boxes are packed to bursting, it is not a good idea to use any sort of blade to open them because one risks cutting into the bagged product inside). I also frequently use the closed Yojimbo 2 as a fist-loader of sorts, when I have to punch a box particularly hard to break stubborn or incomplete perforations.
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The Yojimbo 2 handle's rear protrusion
At 113 grams (approximately 4 ounces), the Yojimbo 2 is heavier than all my other Spyderco folders with the exception of the Li'l Temperance 3 (which weighs roughly the same) and the Manix 2 (which is slightly heavier) but this does not bother me at all in a work knife. An extra ten, twenty, or thirty grams in the pocket isn't something I really notice when my trousers are already loaded down with a tool belt at work.

Designer Michael Janich touts the Yojimbo 2's Wharncliffe blade shape as providing the user with optimum leverage and consistent cutting power along its 76 millimetre cutting edge. The Yojimbo 2's high hollow grind (coming down from 3.7 millimetre-thick blade stock) helps make easy work of cutting through thick cardboard and slashing through synthetic netting and pallet wrap. And when held at a near-perpendicular angle against a heavy-duty polyester pallet strap for a pull cut, the Yojimbo 2's full-length straight edge noticeably “grabs” the notoriously difficult-to-cut material better than a knife with a significant belly or up-swept tip held at the same angle, although obviously not as well as a serrated hawkbill (the Tasman Salt 2 in Spyder Edge would be my only work knife if all I had to cut at my job were heavy-duty polyester pallet straps).

Does the Yojimbo 2's Wharncliffe blade mean it isn't as well-suited for certain tasks as, say, a Para Military 2 or a Native 5? Of course! But instead of a compromise made in the pursuit of crafting a better weapon, I tend to think of the incorporation of an acutely-tipped, broad Wharncliffe blade in the Yojimbo 2's design as a prioritization of consistent cutting power through the entire length of the cutting edge over the ease of doing push cuts against a flat surface. Context matters, and the Yojimbo 2 is not a categorically better or worse knife than, say, a Stretch 2 with its drop point blade. It is just a knife with a different blade shape, with attributes that make certain cutting tasks a bit easier while making others a bit harder, something which can be said for any of the Spyderco knives that have time-tested and proven utility blade shapes.

As far as the Yojimbo 2's materials and build quality go, I have no complaints. The CPM-S30V blade is more than stainless enough for my purposes. I spend a good portion of each shift in freezing temperatures (–18ºC and below) and I have had no issues with staining or corrosion despite ice and condensation frequently finding their way onto and into the knife. On the matter of edge retention, I've only needed to touch up the blade on the Spyderco Sharpmaker a few times to keep it in working condition. I have little need for a hair-whittling edge for the work that I do and prefer a relatively stout edge that I am confident will not chip or roll when accidentally hitting a wooden pallet or a steel support beam at work, which happens more often than I would care to admit. The knife's overall build is rock-solid, with no blade play developing or any hardware coming loose over time despite some fairly hard use. Over the past two years, my Yojimbo 2 has maintained what I consider to be the best out-of-the-box detent and action among my small collection of compression lock knives which include a Li'l Native, a Para Military 2, a Para 3 Lightweight, and a Li'l Temperance 3. Note that I prefer a strong detent for safety reasons, and freely recognize that for many people, the Yojimbo 2's detent may be too strong.

A common criticism levied at the Yojimbo 2 is that it is “scary” or overly “tactical” in appearance and is thus more prone to garnering unwanted negative attention from coworkers and authorities. This is a legitimate concern for knife users in Canada and other places where the more nebulous concept of user intent determines the legality of carrying a knife in public, rather than blade length (although possession of certain classes of folding knives, such as balisongs and automatic knives, is outright illegal in Canada). On paper, this means that a person in Canada can legally carry a manually-operated folding knife in public as long as it is intended to be used as a tool—for work or general utility purposes—and not as a weapon. I think this is a good, common sense knife law, in that it recognizes that it is the act of using the knife to threaten or actually harm another person that is illegal, and not the knife itself. However, this open-ended qualification for legal carry also allows for the hypothetical scenario where a knife's design may be used by the investigating authority to preemptively establish user intent. To wit: If a knife “looks like a weapon”, the investigating authority may conclude that the person carrying it is intending to use it as such. This is not something I spend too much time worrying about as it pertains to the Yojimbo 2 or any other knife for that matter, as how a constable interprets my intentions in carrying a manually operated folding knife in public is something beyond my direct control—all I can do is carry and use one in accordance with the law in the jurisdiction where I live.

Overall thoughts: With this review, I sought to address the notion that the design elements that optimize the Yojimbo 2 as a self-defence implement significantly compromise its functionality as a more conventional utility cutting tool. In considering how I've used the Yojimbo 2 over the past two years, I have come to the conclusion that this isn't the case at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. In particular, two key features that Michael Janich incorporated into the knife's design with the stated intention of making it a better aid for self-defence—the high hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade and the handle protrusion originally intended for striking and pain compliance techniques—also make it a very capable and versatile warehouse knife.
Last edited by zuludelta on Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

ladybug93
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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby ladybug93 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:06 am

nice write-up! i’d love to get a trainer to work with.

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby BLJace » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:21 am

Great review, excellent points, well written!

I work in a warehouse as well. This is exactly what i was looking for. I tend to carry a Manix 2. I love the knife. It was the starter to my collection and I own many because of it. I've found that the leaf shaped blade, while perfect for most tasks. Doesn't bite in to those nylon straps on pallets. I usually have to hit it two or three times. Enduras, delicas, and dragonflys all have the same issue. Phenomenal knives, just suited to a different purpose.

Lead me to look at wharncliffes and seriously considering the Yojimbo 2. Thanks for the review!!
:spyder: I used to collect a lot of knives... I still do, but i used to too. :spyder:

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Sumdumguy » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:22 am

I love almost everything about the Yo2. My only issue, is that the dang finger grooves don't match my hand!

It is infuriating to get a knife that is near perfection, only to realize that it doesn't fit your hand...

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby zuludelta » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:32 am

ladybug93 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:06 am
nice write-up! i’d love to get a trainer to work with.
Thanks! Having a trainer has definitely made me appreciate the Yojimbo 2 more. It's really the only way to use the design to its full intended potential in a safe manner and even then, you'll still want to be careful... the "blade" may be thick and blunt, but it's solid CTS-BD1 steel.
Sumdumguy wrote: I love almost everything about the Yo2. My only issue, is that the dang finger grooves don't match my hand!

It is infuriating to get a knife that is near perfection, only to realize that it doesn't fit your hand...
You can always try to sand down the corners of the scalloping in the handle (wear a respirator when you do this, you don't want to be inhaling powdered fiberglass)... I've seen some people customize their Yojimbo 2 that way.
BLJace wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:21 am
Great review, excellent points, well written!

... I've found that the leaf shaped blade, while perfect for most tasks. Doesn't bite in to those nylon straps on pallets. I usually have to hit it two or three times. Enduras, delicas, and dragonflys all have the same issue. Phenomenal knives, just suited to a different purpose.

Lead me to look at wharncliffes and seriously considering the Yojimbo 2. Thanks for the review!!
Thanks and you're welcome. I find Wharncliffe blades like the Yojimbo 2 to be excellent for cutting polypropylene strapping (the most common straps I deal with at work)... they're less likely to skate off the material than leaf shape or drop point blades.

For cutting thick, heavy-duty polyester pallet straps however, nothing beats a serrated hawkbill in H-1 steel like the Tasman Salt 2 (I carry one in my back pocket at work just for this). Those heavy-duty straps can be really abrasive and can chip or even completely dull a plain edge VG-10 blade after just a few cuts.

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby James Y » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:43 am

Great review!

One thing that has always concerned me about the Yojimbo 2 is what appears to be its extremely delicate-looking tip. Do you find yourself having to be extra careful with the tip?

Jim

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby zuludelta » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:57 am

James Y wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:43 am
Great review!

One thing that has always concerned me about the Yojimbo 2 is what appears to be its extremely delicate-looking tip. Do you find yourself having to be extra careful with the tip?
The seemingly fragile tip did concern me when I first started using it as a warehouse knife but if it is more fragile than the tip on a more conventional blade shape, I guess I've been lucky. I've accidentally hit it on steel beams a few times and haven't had it break off. Just looking at it, I don't think it's any more fragile than the tip on the Para Military 2. I don't think the tip would survive falling tip-first onto a concrete floor from a height of, say, a metre or so, but not many stainless steel blades would.

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby DTPrime » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:51 am

Awesome review, thanks for sharing your experiences! Seems like one a lot of people dismiss for general use so it's nice to hear confirmation it functions perfectly well as is from someone who puts it through the ringer, while still maintaining the original design/purpose to boot. Cheers and hope to see more reviews for your other work faves!

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby James Y » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:00 pm

zuludelta wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:57 am
James Y wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:43 am
Great review!

One thing that has always concerned me about the Yojimbo 2 is what appears to be its extremely delicate-looking tip. Do you find yourself having to be extra careful with the tip?
The seemingly fragile tip did concern me when I first started using it as a warehouse knife but if it is more fragile than the tip on a more conventional blade shape, I guess I've been lucky. I've accidentally hit it on steel beams a few times and haven't had it break off. Just looking at it, I don't think it's any more fragile than the tip on the Para Military 2. I don't think the tip would survive falling tip-first onto a concrete floor from a height of, say, a metre or so, but not many stainless steel blades would.
Thanks, zuludelta!

Jim

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby zuludelta » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:51 am

DTPrime wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:51 am
Awesome review, thanks for sharing your experiences! Seems like one a lot of people dismiss for general use so it's nice to hear confirmation it functions perfectly well as is from someone who puts it through the ringer, while still maintaining the original design/purpose to boot. Cheers and hope to see more reviews for your other work faves!
Thanks, glad you dug the review. I'd actually finished writing it several weeks ago but forgot to post it... the past month-and-a-half has been a bit hectic for me at work (ever since our province has been in a state of medical emergency due to the pandemic), as I imagine it has been for anyone who works in the supply chain/logistics side of things.

I have written at length about a couple of other knives, here are links to those posts: I've thought about sharing my experiences with my other work knives, but my other work knives are among Spyderco's most popular models (Native 5 Lightweight, Delica 4, Salt 2, Endura 4, Manix 2, Para Military 2, Para 3 Lightweight) and I don't know if I can really add anything to the conversation as far as how they perform.

I do keep a Tasman Salt 2 or a Dragonfly 2 Salt Hawkbill in my back pocket as a back-up work knife (specifically for cutting thicker polyester pallet straps that would do all sorts of terrible things to a plain edge blade) so I might eventually get around to writing about my experiences with hawkbills as warehouse knives. Believe it or not, I carried a Karahawk as my primary work knife for a time—and it actually helped me save someone's life once (though not in a way one probably expects from a karambit), but that's a story for another post...

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Michael Janich » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:49 am

Dear Zuludelta:

Thank you very much for your thorough and insightful review. I'm very glad your Yo2 is serving you well and truly appreciate you sharing your experiences with it as a work knife.

You made my day!

Stay safe,

Mike

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Cycletroll » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:12 am

Michael Janich wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:49 am
Dear Zuludelta:

Thank you very much for your thorough and insightful review. I'm very glad your Yo2 is serving you well and truly appreciate you sharing your experiences with it as a work knife.

You made my day!

Stay safe,

Mike
Indeed! Thank you Zuludelta! I've been experimenting with the Yo2 as a utility user as well due to the wharnie's cutting prowess. There's more than one to skin a cat and I appreciate your insights.
Also thanks to you MJ for taking the time to add a positive comment. It's posts like this that help exemplify the great community we have here ;)

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Stuart Ackerman » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:58 pm

Since the Seconds Sale last year, the Yo 2 has been my "warehouse" knife as well...

My first Comp lock along with a PM2 in CPM20CV, but the Yo2 gets dropped into my pocket first when I go to work.

Mostly cutting woven plastic tape and polyprop rope and cordage. sometimes cardboard...lots of it.

Trimming bubble wrap, with the chorus of popping cracks.

I have only touched up the edge with a ceramic grey.

The tip has never been a problem, but then I am not been "stabby" with it.

Well written ZuluD.

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby James Y » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:42 am

Now I want a Yojimbo 2. However, it’ll be awhile before I can even consider ‘pulling the trigger’ to get one, due to the work (or rather, lack of it) situation for now. So if I’m still hankering for one by then, the only consideration will be deciding between the satin finish or the black DLC version. I’m leaning more towards the satin, as there is a $30 difference.

Jim

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby ladybug93 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:00 am

James Y wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:42 am
Now I want a Yojimbo 2. However, it’ll be awhile before I can even consider ‘pulling the trigger’ to get one, due to the work (or rather, lack of it) situation for now. So if I’m still hankering for one by then, the only consideration will be deciding between the satin finish or the black DLC version. I’m leaning more towards the satin, as there is a $30 difference.

Jim
i’m a huge fan of blacked out knives, but there’s something about that beautiful, deep hollow grind on the yo2 that just wants to shine. i’d still love a black version though, so i guess i’m no help.

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby hambone56rx » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:54 am

This makes me want a Yo2! I've been eyeing it for a long time, just haven't bit the bullet yet. Since Spyderco is always making new sprints with different handles and blade materials, it makes me want something special!

Hamilton

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Evil D » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:41 am

Sumdumguy wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:22 am
I love almost everything about the Yo2. My only issue, is that the dang finger grooves don't match my hand!

It is infuriating to get a knife that is near perfection, only to realize that it doesn't fit your hand...

I've got your fix for that right here :cool:

Image
Image
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby Sumdumguy » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:54 am

Evil D wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:41 am
Sumdumguy wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:22 am
I love almost everything about the Yo2. My only issue, is that the dang finger grooves don't match my hand!

It is infuriating to get a knife that is near perfection, only to realize that it doesn't fit your hand...

I've got your fix for that right here :cool:

Image
Image
Very nice!

I'm probably going to hold out for the Yojumbo.

Unless they make a Yo2 Salt in LC200N... I would have no control over that, it would have to be mine!

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby zuludelta » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:08 am

Michael Janich wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:49 am
Dear Zuludelta:

Thank you very much for your thorough and insightful review. I'm very glad your Yo2 is serving you well and truly appreciate you sharing your experiences with it as a work knife.

You made my day!

Stay safe,

Mike
Thanks Mike, I'm glad you dug the review :)

Cycletroll wrote:Thank you Zuludelta! I've been experimenting with the Yo2 as a utility user as well due to the wharnie's cutting prowess. There's more than one to skin a cat and I appreciate your insights.
Thanks! I used to avoid carrying wharnies for work, having mindlessly accepted the "conventional wisdom" that the lack of a belly meant that they're not as utilitarian as drop points or spear points. But upon reflecting on what I use a knife for at work, a belly wasn't really something I needed (and could actually be a minor hindrance at times).

Stuart Ackerman wrote:... The tip has never been a problem, but then I am not been "stabby" with it...

Well written ZuluD.
Thanks!

And yeah, I'm honestly a little surprised that I haven't broken off the tip on my Yo2 (and my PM2 for that matter), even after all that I've put it through. Part of that is just me being careful about not dropping knives on the concrete warehouse floor, and part of it is the knife's design (solid ergos means I'm less likely to drop it or hit things I don't want it to hit, the thick spine allows it to absorb & disperse a lot of the kinetic energy from percussive impacts to the tip & edge, etc.) but I think it's also a testament to how good Spyderco's dialed-in "Goldilocks heat treat" of CPM-S30V is. Many users have come to value very high hardness & extreme edge retention above all else in their blades (thanks in no small part to the popularity of amateur edge cutting test videos on YouTube), but in a real-world, daily hard use context, a steel that hasn't been pushed to the limits of its Rockwell potential is probably a lot more practical.

James Y wrote: Now I want a Yojimbo 2. However, it’ll be awhile before I can even consider ‘pulling the trigger’ to get one, due to the work (or rather, lack of it) situation for now. So if I’m still hankering for one by then, the only consideration will be deciding between the satin finish or the black DLC version. I’m leaning more towards the satin, as there is a $30 difference.
I hope your work situation improves soon. Stay strong bud.

Evil D wrote: I've got your fix for that right here :cool:

Image
Image
Awesome job reprofiling the handle to suit your hand... it looks factory!

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Re: Tactical Box-Cutter: A Long-Term Review of the Yojimbo 2 as a Warehouse Knife

Postby James Y » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:28 am

This video is a few years old, and I’m sure some of you have probably seen it already, but it is a great video, nonetheless. IMO, perhaps the best video out there explaining the evolution of a particular knife model. Of course, Michael Janich’s presentation is excellent; extremely detailed, yet very to-the-point, and his pacing keeps the viewer engaged throughout:

https://youtu.be/1ddOdONCCqU

Jim


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