I finally caved in and got a mule blank. I've been wanting one for a few years but as you all understand when I'd get a knife some other model was selected. But a few months ago I got the mule team 20 with CTS-B70P blade steel. I made a handle for it out of leopardwood and curly maple (red leaf) woods. I added two mosaic 1/4" pins.  Here are some pictures.

I worked on this handle in spurts. I'd do something and then it would be a few days (or weeks) before I continued. I used polyurethane on the handle.

This knife came extremely sharp. But I went ahead and lowered the edge angle and polished the bevel. I also added a sharpening notch at the heel of the edge.  This blade steel gets EXTREMELY sharp and isn't hard to sharpen. When I started re-profiling the edge I started with a 1k Shapton glass stone. This proved to not be coarse enough to start with. So I jumped down to a 320 grit. About 45 minutes with this grit got the edge bevel how I wanted it. Then I progressed through the Shaptons up to 2k. Then I finished the polishing with a Spyderco UF stone. This is what that looks like now.

I had no idea what to expect from the blade steel. I got this particular mule because it was time for me to get one and this is the one available. I haven't done any actual work with it yet but I have cut up some vinyl siding and cardboard. When I started cutting with it the edge was hair whittling sharp. I test sharpness two ways. One is of course just how the knife is cutting whatever I'm working on. But to test very sharp edges I judge how it cuts into the edge and continues to slice phone book paper. In this case there was almost no resistance when slicing through the paper. Then I made several cuts through some scrap vinly siding. Vinyl siding doesn't seem to damage an edge very much. I've used my knives when working with it quite a bit. Then I cut up one cardboard flat that held a case of drinks. This isn't enough to dull a knife at all but I was very pleased that the edge didn't loose any of it's hair whittling sharpness either. It was still super sharp. I was expecting it to still have a great working edge but not the very sharp, crisp edge I started with. So, I'm extremely pleased with this knife. I'm looking forward to using it. I do need a sheath for it though. I ordered an eye-setter, some foam and kydex material and I'm going to try my hand at making my own sheath.

Summary:  I'm very happy with this knife. Happier than I would have been satisfied with regarding the blade steel's sharpening ease and edge retention.  Some blade steels just seem to get sharper than others. This is when I'm doing the sharpening and using the same stones. To explain this it requires someone with more knowledge about steel than I have. I'm no expert at all but I'd eagerly recommend this blade steel to people.

Does anyone else have mule's you have pictures of? Maybe some discussion of the blade steels as well?  For anyone not familiar with Spyderco's mule knives they are made in limited numbers with a blade steel new to Spyderco or maybe the cutlery industry as a whole. Spyderco then likes the feedback from the users who buy the mules and use them. I'm sure you could wrap the handle with para-cord for a handle if you don't want to make one or have one made. There are pre-made mule handles available since the model shape doesn't change. Just the steel changes. If anyone has been considering a mule you may want to call Spyderco to see if there are any of this one left. IMO it's a very good blade steel. These knives aren't cheap expecially since they will require more money to get a handle on the thing. Therefore I would want the knife I keep to be of a very good steel and the CTS-B70P seems to be plenty good enough to make me happy. My main issue with a blade steel is edge retention. I HATE using a knife that doesn't stay sharp. Especially a work knife where I may use it all day and don't want to take the time to do a quick touch-up.

Jack

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Replies to This Discussion

Congrats and kudos, Jack! 

Nice write-up and a sweet lookin' Mule.

That blade steel is new to me so I'll be curious to hear how that edge holds up for you.

Cheers, mate!

Jack,

Great work!  It looks good and the review reads very easy!  I am not familiar with CTS-B70P steel but it sounds like I might want to become more familiar with it.  Are there other manufactures using it also?

I don't know if any other knife companies use it or not. This was the first time I had heard of it. But I don't follow the knife world enough to know about what the different companies are trying. I only hear about stuff like this by chance. As I said before, the knife gods saw to it that I had the extra money and no particular knife on my wish list. Therefore I was able to get this mule. Maybe that is good that I waited because I doubt if I'll buy many mules. I have considered getting another one of these though but I'm going to wait to get a better opinion of how it performs. At this point I have great expectations. I sort of wish I had known about Spyderco and the mule knives a long time ago. It would be cool to have one of every steel.  Maybe I could make handles and get reimbursed by selling some on ebay. One thing about the mules is once a particular run is sold out that's all there is.

Here is a link to Carpenter's site about B70P if you are interested. There was enough on this one page to cure my curiosity about it. That's good because any more detailed information I doubt I would understand it.

http://www.cartech.com/ssalloysprod.aspx?id=4397

Oh wait! I forgot to put a pic of my temp. custom made sheath. I made it from scrap vinyl siding. You know, I use scrap vinyl siding to make lots of different things. Sharpening stone boxes and stuff like that. I've heard some people even put it on their houses. lol

This sheath is good enough to protect the blade and edge. I should have the kydex stuff on Monday according to the USPS.com.

Jack

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