Ode to the Aqua Salt

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captnvegtble
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Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:14 pm

Let me first say that I read posts on this forum much more than I usually post myself... but I'm on here almost every day, and I always appreciate the thoughtful reviews people post (especially with pictures). I recently received the new re-release of the Aqua Salt, and I love the knife so much that I felt compelled to post some of my thoughts about it. I own a yellow SE Aqua Salt that I bought around 2010 right before they were discontinued, and I liked that one so much that I bought one for my sister as well. Most of the time I gravitate toward a SE blade in H1 steel, and in fact the only other PE H1 blade I own is the Rock Salt, which I don't use much due to the size. So when I heard that the Aqua Salt was being re-released, I jumped at the chance to buy a PE version, and I wanted to share some thoughts and comment.

First, this knife is the same size as the previous version with the same sheath. In fact, my new PE Aqua Salt fits in the old sheath, which is nice. The only design change that I can tell is that the swedge on the spine was lengthened and tapered, and is now more subtle and flows into the spine. It's less noticeable, especially with the TiCN coating. Otherwise the design looks to be about the same. Normally I don't like TiCN coatings on my knife (I don't care too much about light discipline, TiCN adds cost, and generally I like the look of the plain "steel"), but I have to say that the TiCN coating fits this knife very well, and I'm finding myself preferring the TiCN version. In the past users have complained about H1 scratching easily, so the TiCN coating also helps prevent this.

Ergonomics are excellent. hand is securely locked in. This knife would fit very well with gloves on. There is a nice subtle thumb ramp for comfortable positioning of the thumb depending on grip. The balance point is right at the index finger when griping the knife making it very controllable. The blade shape reminds me of the Southard, and I find it very usable and easy to sharpen. In fact, I re-beveled the edge when I got the knife because of an uneven bevel, and it was a real pleasure to sharpen with a slight curve and without significant belly. There is also a sharpening notch making sharpening of the edge closest to the handle very easy, which isn't the case with many of my Spydercos. I had fun sharpning the H1 partly also due to the idea that by sharpening it, I would be ultimately improving edge retention in the long run... kinda fun thought.

The sheath is very secure without any rattle. In the past people have complained about the sheath dulling the edge. I never worried much about this because the serrations on my old version help prevent this. Michael Janich in a prior post talks about needing to index the spine when sheathing or withdrawing the knife to prevent contact of the blade with the sheath (this is true for any knife and any sheath, not just the Aqua Salt). This is easy to do with the knife; however, I find that the last 1-2 cm of the knife still becomes dull and I think this is due to the way it locks and sits in the sheath. I have the same issue with my older SE Aqua Salt, and this doesn't seem to be prevented even by correct indexing of the spine when drawing the knife... I believe it's because of the way the knife locks into the sheath, but I can't be sure.

Conclusion: An excellent, ergonomic, well balanced, very usable knife with a secure sheath. I am looking forward to trying H1 more in PE. The Aqua Salt goes almost everywhere with me when hiking and outdoors and I have a sheath permanently lashed to my pack. It will be nice that I can easily interchange the older SE version with the newer PE version. I will try to post some pictures shortly with my old SE version for comparison.

Edit: Photos added (not great light).
Aqua Salt 1.jpg
Aqua Salt 2.jpg
Last edited by captnvegtble on Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:33 pm

Excellent! What a superb knife!

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elena86
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby elena86 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:57 pm

I am a H1 spyderedge fan but I'll get this one in PE also.Great knife for outdoors.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:13 pm

I added a couple of photos above. Not very good at taking photos of knives.

twinboysdad
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby twinboysdad » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:14 pm

I went to the beach and my B&M had 2 in SE and 2 in PE. I wanted to save the cash for the trip. I get back and both SE are gone and both PE are still there.

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tvenuto
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby tvenuto » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:20 pm

I have an old SE version and I love it. I find your comments to be spot on, thanks for preaching the awesomeness of the aqua salt!

mtngunr
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Postby mtngunr » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:35 pm

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Last edited by mtngunr on Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:43 pm

Cutlery Shoppe has had them on-sale now for about a week. That's where I bought mine.

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Vivi
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby Vivi » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:45 pm

I've been using a PE version as a small camp knife for years. I really like it. Light weight, useful blade shape, secure grip and extremely low maintenance. Tough as nails too. You can baton it and pry apart wood all day and it holds up.

I reprofiled my edge to about 8 degrees per side then put on a microbevel. I've found the edge retention seems much better when I use a low grit-, toothy edge. When I try I high polish on H1, I feel like it loses its bite pretty quick, and starts to slip on slicing cuts. I apply a microbevel on my Aqua Salt with an extra course DMT stone, no higher grits or stropping.

I'm planning to take advantage of the re-release to purchase a back-up. It's a great design.

twinboysdad
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby twinboysdad » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:29 am

So PE is the better in this model?

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tvenuto
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby tvenuto » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:26 am

twinboysdad wrote:So PE is the better in this model?
Pretty much a preference thing. Like the capt'n, I have the previous version in SE (and I kind of wish I had gone with the yellow handle), so if when I pick this one up it'll be in PE. I imagine the casual knife user would prefer PE, and wouldn't necessarily be aware of the (purported) advantage of SE in H1.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:54 am

twinboysdad wrote:So PE is the better in this model?
Depends on personal preference. I've always liked H1 in SE because the grinding of the serrations improves edge retention (work hardened). The serrations themselves also require less maintenance and repeat sharpening. My very first Spyderco was also a SE delica, so I've always gravitated towards SE knives.

I don't have a whole lot of experience with H1 in PE, but it is very easy to sharpen, and I'm looking forward to trying it more on the new Aqua Salt. Goes back to user preference and planned cutting tasks.

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DougC-3
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby DougC-3 » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:00 am

Personal appearance aside (I know the AS is cool and sleek looking :)), how would the SE stand up against the Jumpmaster in heavy work like clearing brush for a tent?
:spyder: :cool:
Polysyllabic palaver poorly purveys perspicacity, so sesquipedalian syllogisms seldom signify significant sapience ;) :spyder:

mtngunr
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Postby mtngunr » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:25 am

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Last edited by mtngunr on Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:48 am

mtngunr wrote: So can anybody point me to the original quote by Sal or somebody...
I'm certainly no expert. Michael Janich talks about it here (3:08):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDE7zoSJ04" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

mtngunr
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Postby mtngunr » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:36 am

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Last edited by mtngunr on Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:58 am

mtngunr wrote:I appreciate the link....still more questions than answers on assertions that hand sharpening effects any change....no heat, minimal pressure, no work hardening....
I agree with you... there has been a bunch of "hand waving" going on when talking about the properties of H1. What would be really interesting is for some real-world testing to look for differences: test H1 cutting performance and edge retention right out of the box, 1 month later, 3 months later, 6 months later, etc. I don't have the time or dedication to do this, but maybe Ankerson or Cliff Stamp do?

All that aside... Aqua Salt is still a phenomenal knife. I highly recommend it.

mtngunr
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Postby mtngunr » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:10 pm

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Last edited by mtngunr on Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tvenuto
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby tvenuto » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:28 pm

captnvegtble wrote:I agree with you... there has been a bunch of "hand waving" going on when talking about the properties of H1. What would be really interesting is for some real-world testing to look for differences: test H1 cutting performance and edge retention right out of the box, 1 month later, 3 months later, 6 months later, etc. I don't have the time or dedication to do this, but maybe Ankerson or Cliff Stamp do?

All that aside... Aqua Salt is still a phenomenal knife. I highly recommend it.
This is why I always put (purported) any time I mention PE v SE H1, as I've never observed a difference I could attribute to the SE, other than that caused by geometry, of course.

Which brings me to my point: it would be incredibly difficult to normalize things so that you could test PE v SE and tease out the difference in what's going on at the edge, and not just see the difference in geometry. Perhaps a better mind than mine can think of a way, but I sure cant. Even if you just used the edge on one serration, the edge geometry is still different (like comparing a PE hawkbill to a leaf blade).

But even if you could do it, does it matter? You aren't using the knife that way anyway, so if serrations make the edge last longer in your use and don't prevent you from cutting things, who cares what exactly is causing it?

Although I agree, the Aqua Salt is a phenomenal knife.

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captnvegtble
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Re: Ode to the Aqua Salt

Postby captnvegtble » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:08 pm

tvenuto wrote: Which brings me to my point: it would be incredibly difficult to normalize things so that you could test PE v SE and tease out the difference in what's going on at the edge, and not just see the difference in geometry. Perhaps a better mind than mine can think of a way, but I sure cant. Even if you just used the edge on one serration, the edge geometry is still different (like comparing a PE hawkbill to a leaf blade).

But even if you could do it, does it matter? You aren't using the knife that way anyway, so if serrations make the edge last longer in your use and don't prevent you from cutting things, who cares what exactly is causing it?
I actually wasn't talking about comparing SE to PE... I was talking about comparing the same PE knife to itself over-time. An "interrupted time-series" analysis.


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