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Scott Cook S90V Lochsa Integral
Folding Knife Review

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Scott Cook Lochsa Integral Folder

Lochsa, without a question is one of the most beautiful knives out there. Not only unique design, and functionality, but simply, it's an elegant piece. As usual good things are hard to come, and Lochsa was no exception. Scott introduced Lochsa on 04-17-2002 at Bladeforums, here's a link to reference thread. Scott worked for Chris Reeve Knives for quite some time, and as far as I know left CRK in 2001 and started Scott Cook Knives company.
    Scott offers several different designs, but undoubtly, Lochsa is the most unique and his flagship model. Actually, that's the only folder Scott makes. The rest of his assortment consists of various fixed blades, top notch quality and functional designs, that's all I can say. I'm planning getting some of his fixed blades as well. Just Lochsa had to be the first :)
    Despite of its relatively high price tag, 460$ for basic configuration, the waiting period on Lochsa is minimum 8 month, or perhaps even more. I've had to wait for mine around a year. Mainly because of the steel of choice, which was CPM 420V, or S90V according to new naming convention from Crucible. Obviously customizations cost little bit more, but in my opinion it is well worth it. At that base price I don't think 50$ makes big difference. And for the knife that good why not to go for the best materials available.
    As soon as you look at the box you understand that you got a real classy knife. Open the box and you'll see the nice pouch where your new knife is hiding :) Here's a shot of the pouch and Lochsa. Since Lochsa uses different pivot pin, it needs special tool for disassembly. Which is included. You can see it on this picture along with the disassembled knife.

General

 - When you look at Lochsa, surely you will see with what knife it has common roots :) Granted you know what Sebenza is, if not check out Chris Reeve Small Sebenza Review. Blade geometry is more like of classic Sebenzas, and Ti handle, hmm, technically that's where the similarities end. Considering that Scott worked at CRK for quite a while and was one of their best, or simply the best, it is no wonder to find the Sebenza influence. But in my opinion Lochsa is Sebenza design taken step further. On the paper both knives are Ti handled framelocks. But you have to see it for yourself to understand. I do have small sebenza, and at a time had a large one too for a few days before I returned it. Both are exceptional knives, cut well, sturdy, easy to maintain, and still Lochsa is the next step :) Much nicer design, fewer parts to disassemble, less things to go wrong, and better blade geometry, that's IMHO though.
    I would say Lochsa is a hi-tech, custom, utility folding knife. Hi-tech is obvious, materials used in it are the latest and the best. Anodized Titanium handle, S90V (or S30V in basic configuration) blade. As I've mentioned above quality is superb. Functionality-wise, i.e. as far as cutting goes Lochsa is very efficient. Beefy, hollow ground blade, with thin convex edge, cuts like no other folder I've had. As for the ergonomics, I have nothing but positive to say.
    Maintaining Lochsa is very easy due to its simple construction. The design is truly minimalist, as far as the parts and their number goes. Only one screw on the pivot pin and that's it(minus 2 screws on the clip, but then it's not necessary to remove the clip for blade maintenance or cleaning, besides Lochsa comes in clipless variant too). As you can see on the picture Lochsa uses phosphorus bronze washers, which are the best choice for washers for today and more importantly, it has pivot bushing. A folding knife benefits in several ways by using pivot bushing. No pivot/blade wear because the blade doesn't pivot around the pin anymore. Well executed bushing practically eliminates blade play, and for you it means you won't have to worry about tightening the pivot too much, so that your folder action will be too stiff. And with all parts well lubed the action is very smooth :).
    Some will question practicality of using 535$ knife as an EDC, but I think and many will agree that Lochsa is just too good to be sitting in the safe. Obviously it won't outcut 5 times 100$ knives, however it will outcut many of them twice or more, especially if those factory knives will be used with NIB, factory edge. Add on top of that top notch quality, extremely nice design, best materials, and... Well, to me it is worth it. High performance comes at a price, and I enjoy using my Lochsa every day. Ok, it has a little bit beat up look already, but still to me it doesn't look any worse, and that's nothing compared to the joy of using a knife of that quality. In short, it's a user knife, designed to be used with maximum comfort and to cut very well.
    As of the durability, I have no complaints regarding its edge holding. For the reference, I am using Lochsa as a light, or sometimes medium cutting knife. Packaging, food, cardboard, rubber, certain types of plastic, wood whittling, all that is handled by it with flying colors. All I did during last 3 weeks, was stropping it twice. That's all. Obviously later it'll need more serious sharpening, but so far so good. For harsher tasks such as wires, thick plastic, other stuff requiring significant efforts I either use fixed blades, of which I have a few :) Or if I am out, my trusty BM 710HSSRBCAL. I think the reason is obvious. S90V is a stainless steel, with very high wear resistance, but at high HRCs its more prune to chipping than M2 used in 710, and I am just being careful too :)
    Certainly, I won't be using Lochsa for prying, chopping and heavy duty things like that. I mean given the choice I will not :) I do hope I won't have to use it as a prybar. Anyhow, if you need a folder that can handle that sort of job there's Strider AR, GB, Strider-Buck folder, or wait for Busse folder after all :) But if you need top notch cutter, with top notch quality and design Lochsa is definitely worth considering.

Blade

 - Besides the totally unique and cool handle I just love Lochsa blade geometry. Clip point, lots of belly, nicely defined and very well executed thumbramp, hollow ground blade, just begs to cut something. Besides the blade is wider than that of large Sebenza, at least seems to be. Cuts like crazy. Even though Lochsa came in razor sharp I've spent probably half an hour stropping it on CrO compound leather. Just wanted the polished edge. Except I didn't quite succeed. Apparently very high wear resistance of S90V is to blame, not my stropping skills :) Though the edge sharpness was improved from razor sharp to wicked sharp, well if that's descriptive enough, that was it. I keep promising myself to start using Cliff Stamp's method for measuring sharpness (scales and thread) but never managed to get the right equipment. Anyway, I'll do it later on.
   As I've already mentioned above Lochsa in basic configuration comes with S30V blade. Which is a new, hot steel for last year or so. Despite of all controversies around it, S30V does have it's merits and probably will replace ATS-34/154CM in high end knives.
   Considering that I wanted an ideal folder, ok there is no ideal, but closer to it, I've ordered Lochsa with S90V. Which is the most wear resistant stainless cutlery steel. At least widely known and used by several custom makers. Alas, there is no complete perfection in this world. In this case the trouble because blade hardness. Lochsa is speced at 59-60. By no means it is low, but S90V for my purposes, or light cutting can be safely pushed all the way to 62HRC. Phil Wilson does it. Unfortunately P. Boss who does heat treating for Scott cited that thanks to CA laws he can't use equipment that'd bring hardness on S90V to 62HRC. Which is a bummer.
   1 HRC in those cases can be up to 20% of wear resistance. Though that doesn't directly translate into edge holding, still it maters a lot, especially for light cutting. On the other hand, S90V at 60HRC is still plenty more wear resistance than other stainless steels including S30V, which most of the makers now run at 58-59. Most, because P. Boss does it that way. Yes, there are makers out there who push S30V to 61-62 too. Anyways, P. Boss has a good reputation in his area, and S90V heat treated by him even at 60HRC is a fine result. At least so far it has been holding up very well. Could've been better though ;)

Handle

 - It is the most unique part of this knife. Lochsa features a once piece handle. Here's a picture of the handle from the top. I like that design a lot. Ostensibly, single piece handle is much harder to machine, but increases overall knife structure integrity. And simplifies disassembling/assembling procedure. Fewer parts, fewer screws. Everything genius is simple :)
    The knife feels "at home" in your hands, thanks to smooth, fully contoured handle. When I say smooth I am referring to line flowing, not that it's grip is insecure. Anodized Ti provides enough grip for light and medium cutting, and I've never had grip security problems even when I've had to push hard. Obviously it's a matter of usage, experience and opinion. Some folks probably won't consider metal handle secure enough, and will ask for aggressively textured handle slabs, but for most of the folding knife use Lochsa's grip security is just fine. I haven't used Lochsa with oily hands to be honest, but I don't really plan to.

Overview After Long Term EDC Use

 - May be I should say during long term use. Anyway, this section is a small overview of Lochsa after using it for over 9 months or so. During this time Lochsa has been my EDC continuously. In other words I've carried it with me every single day. Being a knife nut, surely you can't imagine a day when you don't need to use your EDC do you ? ;) Thus, Lochsa saw a lot of use during this 9 months. As I have mentioned above it is my light/medium use folder, since I carry another one, BM710 as more heavy duty use blade. So, during this period Lochsa has been used to cut various materials including: mail, various packaging, plastic wrappings and straps, food, vegetables, chocolate(I love it;), small wires and cables, pencil sharpening and misc. wood whittling/carving, and finally the eternal cardboard. Major cardboard cutting for me happens on the weekends when I happen to be home and my garage is getting full of empty cardboard boxes. Although, most of the time I use one of the fixed blades designated for that task, or test a new knife. Few times Lochsa had to be that test subject. As usual I don't cut large amounts of cardboard with my EDC folders, because I already know how they perform in that area, and besides medium, thin fixed blades are more convenient for that job. However, because I was sort of conducting long lasting experiment on Lochsa t had to undergo cardboard cutting tests several times.

Edge Holding - To begin with, I have not sharpened my Lochsa seriously since I have it. Now, considering that I sharpen most of my knives including customs the day I get them, this is quite unusual. On the other hand, Lochsa came in with high performance edge, read - thin, convex edge, optimized for cutting. As I wrote above, I choose blade material to be S90V, very wear resistant stainless steel. In short I was testing how long Lochsa would keep its original edge and performance with minimal edge maintenance, which is stropping and occasional touchups on the 1000 grit ceramic rod. During all those 9 months I have never used anything else to make it sharper or restore the edge. For now it still keeps going. As usual I was using shaving and free hanging paper slicing ability to measure the sharpness. Not exactly scientific and precise, but that's all I got for now. Initially, it'd take from 3 to 4 weeks for Lochsa to loose that sort of cutting ability during EDC use. That stage lasted for first 3 months. Edge restoration during that period was nothing more than dozen strokes per side on CrO compound leather strop and 2 strokes per side on 1000 grit ceramic rod. Which is an excellent result.

For comparison, my kitchen knives(Global, VG10 steel at 59HRC) that are used more or less every day, require similar care every other week. Of course that's a generalized average. For example Global Knives GS-1 utility knife needs touchups once a week or so, because it gets the most use every day, on the other hand, this forged 8 inch GF-33 Chef's Knife from Global needs touchup probably once in every 2 month even if that. Much less use... Although, the G-9 bread knife from the same Global is used every day for bread and sometimes tomatoes, yet sharpening is required pretty rarely. And I am talking about the knives used only for vegitables and other soft substances, which is food. Sure, kitchen knives see harder use, but those are designated hard/utility use kitchen knives anyways. And that is a good result for kitchen knives, cheaper brands won't last half of that.

On two separate occasions I've used Lochsa to cut around 600-700 inches of cardboard. Both times Lochsa went through the whole thing still retaining free hanging slicing and shaving ability. Worth mentioning, that both times I just went to the garage and started cutting up those boxes with Lochsa as it was, i.e. I haven't sharpened or stropped it before cutting. Both times the edge cutting ability was degraded significantly, that is compared to its original state before I started cutting cardboard. But, on both occasions I was able to restore initial sharpness with ceramic rod and CrO compound strop. The rest of cardboard cutting sessions were shorter, both in terms of time and length of the cardboard cut. Just part of routine EDC use, or may be not so routine after all ;)

Eventually the edge started showing signs of degradation. I mean, the way I was using it plus regular maintenance wasn't enough to restore the sharpness. So, I've had to spend more time stropping. Although, up until today I am, or to be more exact Lochsa is still going with CrO strop and Ceramic rod :) Very good result IMHO.

I think sometimes within next month or two I'll have to do medium sharpening job on it :) Plan is to use 600 grit sandpaper initially, and then move up to 1000, 2000, then move to 3000 grit polishing tape, and end with whatever I've used all this time, stropping on CrO compound leather strop and a few light strokes on 1000 grit ceramic rod. Well, that's the future plan. For now, resuming these 9 months I have to say that I haven't had a knife that would hold the edge that well and for that long with such minimalist maintenance.

It is a little bit hard to compare Lochsa to other knives, because I haven't carried anything else for 9 month non stop, except my trusty BM710HSSRBCAL. However BM710 is a little bit different story, especially since I got the Lochsa. It is different because since I carry them together, I use those two for different materials. Lochsa for more delicate stuff, 710 for rougher things. Since M2 steel used in 710 is a lot more resistant to chipping due to higher toughness than stainless S90V that seems to be the obvious choice. On the other hand I've been using BM710 for 3 years now, all the time. I think I know how it behaves and its capabilities and limitations. Overall, my impression is that S90V at 60HRC still has better wear resistance than M2 at 61-62HRC on soft materials. For tougher stuff to cut, I still prefer M2, because of its toughness. I haven't really had a problem with Lochsa's S90V blade chipping, but on the other had there was no reason for it. I never cut something that hard with it. Small wires don't really count, as usual they're made of copper, aluminum, etc, soft metals in other words. Although I've seen thin edges deformed on plastic wrapping, but so far Lochsa's been fine handling those :)

Usability And Comfort - I'm glad I only have positive results to report in this area :) Even with the limitations I've imposed on my Lochsa use still, it has proved to be quite versatile and very user friendly knife. For various types of cutting, such as slicing, slashing, push-cutting, it performed equally well. As mentioned above the blade is rather wide for the folding knife, even compared to its closest relative Large Sebenza. Wider blade was real help with cutting thicker substances. Also, because of the larger blade, the belly is big too. Obviously that increases cutting ability. You cut more in one pass. Even though I didn't have to cut tough materials Lochsa's thumbramp, which is very nicely executed, has become handy numerous times. It's well defined to be helpful, and provide positive support for your thumb, yet not rough to irritate your fingertip. As you can see from the pictures Lochsa is quite pointy blade. Which is obviously a good this :) Especially for the folding knife, that gets used more often for delicate tasks, and using it as a screwdriver doesn't count as a delicate work Ok ;) I don't do it with Lochsa or any other knives.

And last but not least the handle, which is sort of trademark and identifying feature of the Lochsa. First of all, even though the handle is integral piece I didn't notice any excessive contamination inside the handle and around the pivot. That is to answer the concerns some of the people expressed earlier when Lochsa was just introduced. Also, it is no problem to clean the knife internals. Q-Tip works just fine, and I am using the same method to clean my other folder handles. So, I can't say cleaning Lochsa was any extra effort. Next is handle comfortability. Very good! Contoured handle is "at home" in all grips. Standard, reversed, some modifications of standard grip, which happens when you're using your knife for delicate works, donno the name for those :) On several occasions I've been using Lochsa for prolonged periods, anywhere from 1 to 3 hours of continuous use. At no point my palm was sore or irritated by its handle. One way or another, that thing works just great and I think Scott Cook deserves extra credits and kudos for that handle alone ;)

Lochsa Lochsa Lochsa Lochsa
Lochsa Lochsa Lochsa Lochsa

Specifications:

  • Blade - 101.60mm(4")
  • Thickness - 3.04mm
  • Width - 26.80mm
  • OAL - 228.60mm(9")
  • Steel - CPM S90V steel at 60HRC
  • Handle - Titanium Alloy 6AL 4V
  • Weight - 113.10g(3.82oz)
  • Acquired - 04/2003 Price - 535.00$

Last updated - 09/01/11