Questions about modern Stilettos

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Mario
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Mario »

As far as stiletto knives and their endurance, you usually need to keep your expectations low.

Below is how I rank different stilettos with regards to reliability and daily use vs. collector’s items/letter openers/light use (this includes stilettos in general, not just autos).

Reliable for hard daily use:

Cold Steel Ti-Lite

Works with opening some packages:

Leverletto
Mikov

Mostly collectible/letter opener/light use:

Frank B
Milano
Kissing Crane

That said, Frank B’s are light years ahead of the Chinese Milano’s in terms of quality, but like some have said, they are sometimes prone to flaws and failures.

Some of the non-stiletto autos that AGA Campolin makes could work for daily tasks, like the Calibro, Piccolo, and Diana.
sammy the blade
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by sammy the blade »

I have to agree on the Leverletto, it's a solid knife. Should hold up for a long time of daily use. I always thought the stilettos were kinda flimsy.
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jim d,
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by jim d, »

Bill D is right (as usual) about the Leverletto. It hadn't' entered my mind :oops: , perhaps because as primarily a leverlock collector, I view it as a leverlock. It does combine the strength of a leverlock with the style of a stiletto.

Jim
Fishtail Picklock
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Fishtail Picklock »

Bill is right, but I have a Queen #H1 Swing guard/Lockback with a D2 steel blade that looks great and is a workhorse It was converted to automatic and uses the Queen escutcheon as a button. The Ganzo 707 is a great alternative (if you can find one). They have the bayonet/Italian stiletto look you want and the "pocket performance you desire. These will run about $35-40 and with the 440C steel blade cut rather well.
Fishtail Picklock
sammy the blade
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by sammy the blade »

Fishtail Picklock wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:29 am Bill is right, but I have a Queen #H1 Swing guard/Lockback with a D2 steel blade that looks great and is a workhorse It was converted to automatic and uses the Queen escutcheon as a button. The Ganzo 707 is a great alternative (if you can find one). They have the bayonet/Italian stiletto look you want and the "pocket performance you desire. These will run about $35-40 and with the 440C steel blade cut rather well.
Powercutlery.com had some for $30 if anyone is interested.
button_man
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by button_man »

.

Killgar beat me to the punch..... the Cold Steel Ti-Lite is the sturdiest stiletto knife that I have seen. (Possibly a Walt's Latama could give it a run for the money; but at a much higher price.) I have several and very seldom do I go anywhere without one. Unfortunately, CS chose to make a model that's a little too small (9" class) and a model that's a little too large (13" class) and never made a model in the most popular size for a stiletto folder -- 11" class.
Don't ask me why.... it makes no sense whatsoever.

I am dying to have a couple of my Ti-Lites converted into switchblades -- I would consider that to be a fantastic "working class" stiletto.

The most annoying aspect of the Ti-Lite is the vestigial "guards" (built into the ricasso) which are useless as actual guards: the upper guard (when knife is open) doesn't do much except spike your hand if you crowd it; and can rip your pocket when the blade is closed. I have had a friend with a belt grinder remove the top guards on my Ti-Lites, and I like them much better this way.

The attached photos show my small Ti-Lite (4" blade) with the above-mentioned mods. The thumb stud has been removed; I open the knife by pressing down on the remaining guard, which forces the blade partly open -- then I snap it the rest of the way. It's close in speed to an automatic.

I have not owned a Ganzo G707, but the blade looks very similar to that of a Ti-Lite..... both are a little wider than a classic stiletto and thus provide enough real estate for a cutting edge to be applied. However, the guard orientations on the Ganzo are reversed from the CS -- the lower guard points forward on the CS but points back on the Ganzo..... the guard that points backwards and could jab your hand (with open blade) is the one that you would need to push to force the blade out when closed. But even if you left that guard as is, the backwards orientation would make it difficult / impossible to push it down to open the blade. In short, I don't believe that these mods on the CS would work on the Ganzo.

All that being said, jerseymike seems to want an oxymoron: a blade made for puncturing that will cut well. It's like asking why somebody can't make an icepick that will also be good for slicing bagels. I suppose one could attempt a stiletto with a useful cutting edge, but I feel that you would end up with
the worst of both worlds.... something that might function marginally in each capacity but not optimally in either.


.
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Last edited by button_man on Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Killgar
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Killgar »

Although not switchblades, on the topic of carrying folding stilettos, below is a pic of my daily carry set-up.

A Cold Steel Ti-Lite 6 in a shoulder rig, and a Ti-Lite 4 stuck in a section of bicycle innertube looped through my belt. I always wear a motorcycle jacket wherever I go (motorcycles are my only transportation) so people can't see either knife.

Like Button_man, I'm no fan of the quilions/spurs. I removed both quillions from the T4, and removed one from the T6 (the one that sticks out when the knife is closed.

I also replaced the plastic backspacers of both knives with custom aluminum backspacers to increase strength and rigidity (pics below).

Also to increase strength and rigidity in the T6 I added 4 extra screws going through the liner and back spacer (pic further below). And for a greater, more rubbery grip I coated the handle with Plastidip.

One of the things I really like about the zytel handle Ti-Lites is how easy it is to wrist-flick them open. The action is just as fast as an auto (from my experience this only works with the zytel handle models due to the smooth satin-finish blades, less friction at the pivot than bead-blast or black-coated).

The T6 is my all-time absolute favorite folding stiletto. But this was not always the case. For most of my life I was what I considered a "stiletto traditionalist", I was only interested in the old Italian-style stilettos. But after seeing a Cold Steel Ti-Lite 6 torture test video, and being thoroughly impressed, I finally gave in and bought one, and within 5 minutes of taking my first T6 out of the box it was my all-time favorite.

Image


A few pics of one my T6 aluminum backspacer (with extra holes for the extra screws).

Image
Image


That's a 4-40 screw going all the way through under the stop pin (using the holes the pegs from the stock back spacer used to fit into), and the other three screws near the original post holes are 3-56 (nuts on the other side). One of my few minor issues with the zytel T6 is the amount of flex in the handle, but the combination of the aluminum back spacer and extra screws removed all flex (unlike the stock handle screws, which have to be tightened against the plastic handle scales, the extra screws are all metal-on-metal, so I can make them pretty tight). Now the original three handle screws and posts only really serve to attach the handles.

Image


I've come a long way from that Kissing Crane :wink: .
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Panzerfaust
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Panzerfaust »

I had an eight-inch stiletto with flat-grind blade I carried in the mid-1980s through the early 90s and it worked fine as an EDC. I even used it as a steak knife one time at a cafe that only provided plastic knives and forks. The biggest problem with Italian stilettos I have seen through the years is that many of them have non-working safeties. I own the Kershaw Launch 8 and a Protech Godson. Both are good choices for EDC, but lack the classic looks of an Italian stiletto.
button_man
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by button_man »

.

Killgar ~ Great mods! If you made the aluminum backspacers yourself, what was the process?
If you bought them, where can I get some? BTW, I find the older style (with one row of holes in
the scales) easier to grip than the newer 2-row style shown in your photos.

Lots of counterfeit Ti-Lites coming out of China.... several years ago, you could tell the difference
by subtle variations in the guards, liner lock, and thumb stud..... not sure if those have been
updated by the fakers..... any recent info would be appreciated....

.
Last edited by button_man on Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Killgar
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Killgar »

button_man wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:54 pm .

Kilgar ~ Great mods! If you made the aluminum backspacers yourself, what was the process?
If you bought them, where can I get some? BTW, I find the older style (with one row of holes in
the scales) easier to grip than the newer 2-row style shown in your photos.

Lots of counterfeit Ti-Lites coming out of China.... several years ago, you could tell the difference
by subtle variations in the guards, liner lock, and thumb stud..... not sure if those have been
updated by the fakers..... any recent info would be appreciated....

.
Thanks Button_man :)

I make my own back spacers. The T6 back spacer I made out of a piece of 3/16" thick flat. First I marked the locations of the stock handle holes using the non-lock liner as a template, then after drilling the holes to the appropriate size I secured the stock back spacer to the aluminum using the holes and the stock threaded posts, then I traced the stock back spacer onto the aluminum, then it was simply a matter of cutting out the spacer and shaping it. I did most of the shaping with a disc sander and 80 grit disc (using the very edge of the disc for the concave areas), but files would work, just takes longer. Then sand the edges as desired.

Because the stock plastic spacer is a fraction under 3/16" it's necessary to add a .010 thick bronze phosphor washer to the pivot to even everything out. USAKnifemaker.com sells the right size- .500" outer diameter, 1/4" inner diameter, .010 thick. Since the inner diameter hole of those washers is slightly larger than stock (6 mm) I add the washer to the non-lock side between the liner and the stock washer so the little bit of slack won't be an issue.


As for the T4, I made the spacer out of 5/32" aluminum flat, same process. But no additional pivot washer was required because 5/32" turned out to be a perfect match to the stock spacer.

Due to clearance issues, and my not wanting to try and replicate that really narrow point in the stock spacer, I made my T4 spacer shorter than stock (below)

Image

One nice thing about making these is that because they are merely back spacers you don't need a high degree of precision, so if you have to make the holes a little bigger to make the spacer fit properly it's still going to serve it's purpose without any noticeable effect. The main issue I see is just making sure the edge of the blade doesn't hit the spacer when the knife is closed.


As far as counterfeits, I've never handled any, nor do I know the tell-tale signs. I've only bought Ti-Lite's from BladeHQ which I regard as a reliable source, so I haven't felt the need to learn the difference. I believe that there are videos on Youtube showing differences between real Ti-Lite's and counterfeits, but I suppose it's always possible for the counterfeiters to make improvements to their designs and make it harder to tell the difference. All the more reason to buy from reliable sources.
METALGOD
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by METALGOD »

many years ago when the leverletto came out i bought a ton of them they were kinda a cool design with just a top bolster added to a regular italian leverlock that resembles stiletto bolsters . i sold a bunch to my friend who worked in a factory and he sold a Leverletto to everyone in the factory lol maybe 20 leverlettos he sold to other workers at his factory , ok the feedback i got was this , very cool design but the guards keep getting in the way so a guy at the factory ground the guards off like 15 of the workers knives they had bought i guess the guards kept getting in the way like hanging up on pockets trying to get knife out etc.. all kinds of problems them guards caused so after this most guys i know dont like the Leverletto for a EDC and say its basicly just a looker or collector item , now that same knife without the guards is a awesome EDC, also if your not familiar with them check out the Russian leverlock knives they are super nice quality and made with way better steel but for a EDC you cannot beat a leverlock as its probably the safest automatic knife to carry trust me i have had my stiletto open up few times in my pocket never cut myself but dam close lol. i myself have carried a italian 1970's stiletto knife and have used it for many chores when needed it is razor sharp and has held up for over 25+ years .
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Bill DeShivs »

There is a little more to the Leverletto that "just a top bolster added to a regular Italian knife," and the guards don't get in the way any more than a stiletto's guards.

I agree the Leverletto without the guards is a great knife, though.
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button_man
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by button_man »

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Killgar ~ Thanks for the detailed description for making the spacers!

Since you clearly like hideout knives, and you have fabrication skills, you might want to consider making your own version of the "Last Friend" knife.
This knife is virtually unknown today; and I currently cannot find a single reference online. However, last summer there was a page on GlockTalk
(originally posted in 2017, and now missing) about this knife. Here is an excerpt:
-------------

"The knife is one made by a maker known as J. Price, handmade in the late 70's, and called Last Friend, as I recall. FWIW, I've never been able to find any reference to it online, nor the maker, and if anyone has any current info, I'd be interested.

I remember this knife being made after the Iranian Embassy Hostage situation. It was described by the maker as being a last ditch hideout blade that might escape detection, for people who might be serving in roles where it was necessary to be able secrete such a weapon. Obviously, present day knife and dangerous weapons laws might make carrying this blade unlawful.

It was designed to conform to the curvature of the abdomen, to make it less easy to detect, and the sheath was secured inside the waistband with velcro. It was offered in "handed" configuration (RH/LH), and the combination kydex and soft plastic sheath was pretty state-of-the-art for its role back then.

The side of the blade which would be facing "outward", when worn, was flat and very low profile. The "inside" of the blade was strengthened with a ground center spine, and the skeleton handle was thick and pretty comfortable in the hand, even with the unique curve to the whole knife.

That blade is hair-popping sharp, too, which was pretty unusual for a dagger-style blade back then. Scalpel-like sharpness, in a very real sense (which would make sense for its actual intended role, when you think about it)."
-------------

The writer (GlockTalk handle: fastbolt) posted some photos of his "Last Friend", a few of which I have cropped for size and posted below.
I have no photos of my own LF because, um, it's packed away with some of my other knives.... somewhere.... but it IS there, waiting to be found;
never carried, used, or sharpened. I hope to live long enough to find it some day.....

.
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Killgar
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by Killgar »

That's a very interesting knife button_man, I've never seen or heard of one before, and it has an interesting story as well. Thanks for posting it.

I think making one is beyond my current abilities. And I wouldn't be able to carry one if I could. Concealed folding knives are legal where I live, but unfortunately not concealed fixed-blades (otherwise there would be a fixed-blade hanging upside-down under my arm instead of the T6).
TMD
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Re: Questions about modern Stilettos

Post by TMD »

I second the opinions about the Leverletto, its a good switchblade that can take an edge and stand some medium hard use. and you can get it with natural handle materials.
But if you want something that will last for a long time, get a Campolin Zero, it has removable springs that can be easily exchanged if broken.
I have 2 and havent managed to brake the springs yet after hundreds if not thousands of firings. They are very rugged knives.

Button Man
Thats a very cool knife, I have never seen one like that before!
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