(Please click images for larger pictures. Photos and article courtesy of TwoBirds Flying Publication) Editing by XK.
...The origin of its name is not a discussion I’ve had with Extrema, but I’d venture a guess that Prionace glauca (Blue Shark) factored into the company’s decision.
...The Glacua B1 comes with a 115 mm (4.53 inches) blade made from Austrian steel, N690, which offers an excellent balance of corrosion resistance, edge retention and hardness. With a blade thickness of 5 mm (.2 inches), Glauca has a 58 HRC, making this impressive new folder suitable for tasks you’d normally expect from a fixed blade knife. The blade is flat ground from the spine down to its sharp edge, which extends back from the tip; culminating in about 1 inch of serrations.
Deploying the blade is exceptionally smooth and completely ambidextrous, even with gloved hands. I put on an old pair of rappelling gloves that are bulky and thick to get a feel for Glauca’s ergonomics. It was a refreshing experience; passing with flying colors in typical Extrema fashion - simply outstanding.
The folks at Extrema went overboard in accommodating operator preference by including thumb studs on both sides of the blade, as well as flippers. The manufacturer’s attention to detail was impressive. For example, the thumb studs are precisely positioned on the blade and long enough to provide good contact, but not so long that they interfere with a smooth draw from the pocket.
Notwithstanding superbly executed thumb studs, I preferred using the flippers – they function so well that it’s hard to go back to thumb studs. These by the way, serve as a hilt keeping your hand from sliding forward on to the blade, and protecting your hands from strikes. The flippers are also drilled providing paracord attachment points for latching.
What I love most about Glauca is its blade profile. This blade will do anything you ask of it well. Slicing is a breeze and the neat tip design had no problems punching through sheetrock and plywood.
Of course, all of this is meaningless were it not for Extrema’s locking mechanism. I gave this knife a considerable amount of thrashing and at no time did the blade locking mechanism fail. Locking mechanism failures usually manifest themselves with side to side and up and down motion of the blade. As with all of the Extrema folding knives I’ve reviewed, there was, unequivocally, no play or weakness at the blade axis of any kind. For all intents and purposes, when the locking mechanism is engaged, the knife is a fixed blade knife. The Glauca B1 design uses an extremely robust liner locking system that attaches to the massive Anticorodal scales. The lock is engaged with the blade open by sliding the locking lever forward. When the “lock” markings are exposed, a jam moves into position preventing the liner from moving out of position, and the blade is firmly locked.
Glauca’s handgrip epitomizes excellence in ergonomics. It's designers did a brilliant job of creating a secure and superbly comfortable handle. The knife is balanced just about an inch to the rear of the blade axis giving it a very fast feel. The handle material is Anticorodol; an aluminum alloy formulation consisting of magnesium .6%, silicon 1.0% with the remainder aluminum. This alloy is of Swiss origin and ideal because it can be heat treated, and possesses a tensile strength of 20 tons per square inch.
Glauca’s handle is machined with a large finger coil just behind the blade axis point. The operator’s index finger falls naturally into place and is locked into position. The rest of the hand falls naturally right behind the index finger.
...It’s hard to point out just one thing contributing to the handle’s ergonomics; however, that gentle curvature, like the arching back of the Blue shark, certainly plays a major role. Other great features incorporated in the handle include a carbide glass breaker, reversible pocket clip and a cutting tool designed for plastic restraints. I tried the restraint cutters on a couple of heavy duty cable ties I found in my tool box. Slipped the handle through the loops and snip! Voila!
As I mentioned earlier in the review, the Glauca B1 is designed to be carried opened and locked; mitigating one of the weaknesses of a folding knife blade deployment. So, at the operator’s penchant the knife can be carried closed, in a pocket or utility pouch, or opened and locked in a Kydex sheath designed specifically for the Glauca B1.
The sheath is M.O.L.L.E. compliant so it can be carried on a vest or drop leg panel. It can also be carried at the waist on a belt; Extrema includes a leg strap with its sheath.
Warning: The Glauca’s sheath incorporates a magnet in its design. The specific reason(s) for that decision escapes me, but it creates a measurable problem should the operator require the use of azimuth measuring equipment. Personnel engaged in ordnance disposal or other related work, where they may come in contact with magnetic or proximity fuses, should avoid using the included Glauca sheath. Perhaps Extrema wanted an added level of retention, which in my opinion is completely unnecessary. Who knows? I discovered the problem in field use and immediately notified Extrema.
At the risk of redundancy, if you need to use azimuth measuring equipment or if involved in ordnance preparation or disposal, do not use the supplied sheath. Simply, carry the knife in your pocket or a utility pouch.
Conclusion: Extrema’s Glauca B1 has a great deal going for it and is sure to be a great success. No other folder offers the features, robustness and durability of the Glauca B1...
In short, dollar for dollar, you’d be hard pressed to find a knife of the quality and design the Glauca B1 delivers. So, what to do with the magnet? Remove it and give it to your kids! It’s unnecessary. Extrema’s Glauca B1 is a ... great folder from a great company.
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