Category Archives: Tools

Restore and Reprofile Old Knife

My Al Mar Airborne was my only folder for the longest time. It’s a 440C Steel blade in a lockback configuration. In it’s life, it withstood countless cardboard boxes, rope, hundreds of crabs* and most of all, neglect.

I’ve never been good at maintaining my blades in good condition – but hey they are meant to be used; and I’ve always been a klutz at sharpening them. I’m no good freehand on a stone and own a Wusthof 2-Stage Pocket Knife Sharpener from Amazon. The Wusthof got it sharp, but never scary sharp.

As a weekend project, and inspired by Nick Wheeler’s Damascus WIP and ewerstruly on Youtube, I decided to dig her out and give her some long overdue love.

Being a good 18 years old, there’s very little play on the mechanism. The red markings on the logo were long gone, and there were some deep scratches on it that I wanted removed. Making use of what I had around the house I clamped the blade to my desk and started sanding.

Dry Sanding

Then I realised that wet sanding was just as effective and didn’t have dust blowing around everywhere…

Wet Sanding

The “magic maker trick” I learnt from ewerstruly. It’ll help identify where the low spots are.

Magic Marker Trick

At some point, I realised I was going to grind off the Al Mar Logo before I got that deep mark out. It’s about 1cm to the left of the top of the “A” in the Al Mar word…. so there you go, leave it be… the worst of it is out.

120 Grit

Finished with the 120 grit, I moved on to 220 and then to 600… to achieve a matt look.

220 Grit

600 Grit

Next step: Sharpening. A jerry-rigged setup with 12° incline would give me about 24° – 25° inclusive.

And there we go. An amateur job complete. It slices through cardboard and is sharper than my new Kershaw Zing Tanto!

* Yes. Crabs. Killed by lifting the abdominal flap and delivering a stab. A male crab has a small triangular flap. A female crab’s flap, or markings, are less phallic and are shaped by a broad oval. The blade is then used to pry off the carapace, half the abdomen and remove the gills. Ready for cleaning and cooking. Yum.

The Praesto Modern Fliegeruhr

I pre-ordered a Praesto Modern Fliegeruhr Aviator with a beadblasted case and grey dial early last September. At that point, the image on the website was a rendering, and some specs.

I was looking for an inexpensive everyday watch, something simple with rugged looks and easy to read. What caught my eye was the sapphire crystal and 200m depth rating. It’s 44mm wide, 12.5mm thick and made of 316L grade stainless steel case with the model and serial number on the screw-down caseback.

You don’t have to stare at it to figure out the time – good when you’re half drunk in a pub. It also has nice contrasting colours. The 4-5 o’clock positioning of the second hand was unique, and so were the skeletonised hands. I would have gone for the PVD case, but I’m slightly clumsy and I would hate to scratch the coating off.

The company is Chinese (Hong Kong), the design is American, most of the other parts are Chinese (China) and the movement is a Japanese Miyota 8245 unit.

The original launch date was late November. Due to some teething production issues, I received the item in January. It arrived as advertised – in a leather carrying bag. I remember driving excitedly to the post office to pick it up.

Having lived with it for some time now, the issue that stinks sticks the most is… the leather strap. It’s beautifully made (italian?); thick and chunky, and doesn’t look out of place. Problem is, the weather here just doesn’t permit a leather strap unless you’re in AC all the time. I’ve since had it changed to a silicon rubber strap, and it is now trouble-free.

Other things I feel can be improved… the watch runs slightly fast – almost 5 minutes per week. The movement also sounds slightly rough when you’re winding it. The screwdown crown is also a little rough – and whenever I use it, I am afraid that I may crossthread it. Nothing I cannot live with – just have to be careful.

There are other imperfections, but hey this is a custom made limited production piece… only 99 other watches out there look like mine ;-)

The Superluminova looks gorgeous in the dark… here are some photos…

Hacking the LAMY Pen

I picked up a Lamy AL-star Graphit about a year ago. I was in the market for a chunky pen, and from what I heard, Lamys were good writers.

I cannot say that the experience has been good. The Lamy M63 rollerball put ink down thickly, and about 3 months ago it stopped working consistently. I chucked it aside and went back to my Pilot G-2.

Visited the shops, and thought maybe I should switch over to the ballpoint refill, just to see how that works. No dice, it wouldn’t fit. The fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pens all had different internal designs? Who knew? What happened to manufacturing efficiency and consistency?

Then I found this link online, and went to work:

Presenting the bastard child of Lamy and Pilot, with the addition of a 5mm BB pellet. The consistency of the Japanese gel ink, with the handsome looks of the German.

I like!