giovedì 17 luglio 2014

Extrema Ratio Task C_field test

Hi all,

past weeks I had the chance to give a try to the knife Task C from Extrema Ratio Knives (Italy). Here I want to show the results of my test

Disclaimer: test results and scores are related to what I use a knife for. I am just an average person, with a good knowledge and experience of outdoors activities and bushcraft. I am not a survival expert, or a soldier.

The model Task C is one of the smaller fixed knives made by Extrema Ratio. In his site, the Italian brand claim the Task C is a “back-up” knife 
Specs of the knife:
weight: g 200 
blade lenght: mm 110 
OAL: mm 212 
blade thickness: mm 6,3 
steel: Bohler N690 (58hrc)
handle material: forprene 
finishing/coating: burnished mil-c-13924

FIRST FEELING (score 8,0/10)
A “back-up” knife is, by definition, the knife you carry with you and you will use “just in case” if you lost or break your main knife. Anyway, I may ensure that when one handle the Task C, he did not think, “Oh, this is a knife to use just in case”. The Task C in fact is compact but very robust and powerful, whit his 6,3 mm thick blade, long 4”. In few words, you feel that you may use it for any outdoors/bushcraft/survival activities you may face

The Task C speaks “tactic” and “military”, like many others Extrema Ratio knives: I’m not a military moron, anyway this knife like to me, don’t know why exactly. Just my two cents. There is another version named Desert Warfare, that I like a lot too 

THE BLADE (score 7,0/10) AND THE HANDLE (score 8,0/10)

Task C blade has ha full flat grind, and a reverse tanto shape: will see on the field test how it perform. A long false-edge take almost mid of the blade spine. A finger choil is placed just in front to the ventral guard, I have XXL hands, but the dimension of the finger choil it’s just right for my hands. On the spine blade, there is a knurling, and thanks god it’s placed just in the right place for the thumb. The other knurling, behind the advanced one, it is just useless but anyway it is not bothersome 

Task C come from the factory with a good grind for a camp knife, it’s not really razor sharp anyway

Extrema Ratio in most of his knives uses the Task C handle: I have found it well shaped and safe to use, also I like the hidden tang, as this add comfortability to the knife. The handle material is Forprene, is a thermoplastic elastomer, here what I have found about this material on the net:

• Forprene ®

• Thermoplastic Vulcanizate (TPV)
Forprene® is a Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) and more precisely, it is a Vulcanised Thermoplastic Elastormer (TPV). It is made up of an elastomeric phase (dynamically vulcanised EPDM), which is deeply dispersed in a polyolefinic thermoplastic matrix, whose combination determines a real plasto-elastomeric alloy characterised by high performances and extremely easy processability.
Its thermoplastic matrix allows Forprene® to be processed in an easy and unexpensive way by means of traditional technologies used for thermoplastic materials and to be fully recyclable whereas its elastomeric phase features typically rubber-like specifications such as elastic recovery and softness.
Main specifications
The extensive Forprene® family product features an exceptionally wide range of specifications in just one single product:

- wide hardness range, from 20 ShA to 65 ShD

- typical density <1 kg/dm3
- high elastic recovery within a wide temperature range
- excellent resistance to UV ageing, ozone and weathering 
- service temperature ranging from -50°C to 125°C although a temperature up to 145°C can be reached for a short time
- excellent resistance to several chemical agents, i.e. bases, acids, alcohols, detergents, water solutions, various polar solvents etc.
- high fatigue resistance
- high thermal and electric insulation values
- good abrasion resistance
- specific rheology for each type of process
- heat adhesion on polypropylene (PP)
- excellent colorability, for some grades.

Special grades featuring the following specifications are also available:

- flame resistance (UL 94-V0)
- additional protection against heat and UV ageing
- protection against copper
- low fogging value
- low friction coefficient
- high abrasion resistance
- RAL-GZ 716/1 approval, Class IV (building industry)

I have found interesting the possibility to disassemble the handle from the blade acting just on a single screw. I used for this task the screwdriver of my EDC Swiss Army Knife, it’s a bit small but anyway it’s good enough to do the job

On the ventral guard and the glass-breaker, we may found two holes. They may be used for a lanyard, or to fix the knife on a stick to build an emergency spear. I used them to lash a very simple D-guard 

SHEATH (score 7,0/10) AND CARRYING THE KNIFE (score 7,0/10)

Task C sheath is made by a like-kydex material, it’s for sure very robust and it retain the knife very well. To open the tek-lock placed on the rear side you have to act on the steel lock, than on the plastic leverage: this is a bit tricky, but at least you have very few chance to lost your knife 

The sheath its’ designed to be used with M.O.L.L.E. system or to be attached at your belt (6 cm high maximum).
I do not like the sheath in this last configuration, because the handle it’s very high on your belt and, IMHO, you may injure yourself if you fall down. On the butt of the sheath, there are four small holes for water-drainage. The knife weight 200 grams, 300 grams with the sheath, it’s well balanced, I have found it enough comfortable to carry over my trekking

The Task C field test was performed during a couple WE here in the Alps. The area we were visiting and hiking it’s placed between two lakes, Auronzo Lake and Misurina Lake. It’s a typical alpine area. 

WOOD CARVING (score 7,5/10), PRECISE TASKS (score 7,5/10), FOOD PREP (score 6,0/10)
The Task C its’ a thick knife (6,3 mm thickness), anyway it’s fairly good on wood carving. I think this result come from the full-flat grind of the blade and the good shaped handle, so you may do a good pressure.
Not good results instead on the food prep, here I have found in fact the blade too thick to obtain precise piece of food. Of course you may cut meat, veg, fruit, bread, everything, but I have obtained always a “rough” result on it

BATONING (score 8,0/10) AND CHOPPING (N.A.) 

The Task C it’s too compact for real chopping; yes, I have chopped down small branches (1 cm diameter) with, but anyway IMHO we can’t seriously discuss about chopping with a 4” blade.

How about the batoning. I have cutted down this way several dry branches of a dead pine, and few green woods. The Task C was very good on it, I batoned on the blade spine with a lot of force, and the dead wood was very hard, and anyway at the end the grinding was still good

MAKING FIRE STUFFS (score 7,5/10), FEATHERS (score 7,5/10), FIRESTEEL USE (score 5,0/10)

Needless to say, fire it’s maybe the most important thing in survival. I.e. I may cook ant’s larvae in case of emergency

This time I want to start my fire with “old man beard” and feathers. Well, making feathers with the Task C it’s easy, so making small wood pieces from dead branches…in ten minutes we had our fire and our hot tea

All well? Not all. The Task C it’s not the best knife to use a firesteel. Two reasons: the blade spine it’s not 90 degrees angled, and the steel it’s coated. So, I need to use the ferrocerium bar straight on the grinded part of the blade…uhm…I don’t like it, anyway this way I may obtain a lot of sparks

I’m pretty sure that this face it’s becoming more and more important, especially here in Europe. Huge, heavy knives have still their rooms, but I like more and more to carry small and friendly looking knives. I have carried the Task C attached to my rucksack everywhere, every time for several days. Well, nobody look weirdly at it on the track or the log cabins, but in the center of the two villages we crossed, someone looked at it with blame. IMHO this is because of his “tactical”, aggressive look. I would like for my activities a friendlier looking version, maybe with orange scales, so the feeling could be more on the tool side and not on the weapon side. That said, we were walking in front to any Policemen and no problems, it was clear in fact we were trekkers just crossing down the city.

My average score for the Task C it’s 7,0/10
I like this knife because it is compact, robust, has a good wood carving efficiency, it is comfortable to handle.
I did not like the facts that the sheath it is high on the belt line, also I did not like the fact that the ferrocerium bar it is practically unusable on the blade spine.
Overall, I may recommend this knife for outdoors activities, especially if you like a compact sturdy knife with a military look.

Alfredo Doricchi 

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