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"Random Access Three" obverse side view in CPM154CM powder metal technology high molybdenum stainless steel blade, vertical and horizontal sheaths in hand-stamped brown basketweave leather shoulder
"Random Access III"

Lethal Chance

"Lethal Chance" obverse side view in CTS-XHP high chromium martensitic powder metal technology tool steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Lapis Lazuli gemstone handle sheath of Buffalo skin inlaid in hand-carved leather
"Lethal Chance"
  • Size: Length overall: 10.25" (26 cm), Blade Length: 5.8" (14.7 cm), Thickness: .263" (6.7 mm)
  • Weight: Knife: 12.6 oz. (357 grams) Sheath: 6.8 oz. (193 grams)
  • Blade: CTS-XHP High Chromium Powder Metal Technology Martensitic Stainless Tool Steel, Cryogenically Treated, Hardened and Tempered to 60HRC
  • Fittings: 304 high chromium, high nickel austenitic stainless steel
  • Handle: Lapis Lazuli gemstone from Afghanistan
  • Sheath: Hand-carved leather shoulder inlaid with Buffalo (American Bison) skin
  • Knife: The Last Chance pattern was made and developed with the direct input of a New Mexico State Policeman, for his wear and use as a backup and defensive weapon and tool. It's a popular design of mine, and this is an evolution of that pattern. While the Last Chance and Lethal Chance are similar in that they have fairly straightforward tanto blades with aggressive and acute points, full top swages to reduce the point profiles, and significant blade length with thick, strong spines to support them, the two are different. The Lethal Chance is larger, wider, more robust with a noticeable and pronounced thumb rise and 1.75" of my "Hammerhead" serrations. The blade is deeply and evenly hollow ground, and has substantial mass at the ricasso, the blade-to-handle junction, for incredible strength. I decided to take this Lethal Chance to its pinnacle of performance, so I made the blade with Carpenter Steel's CTS-XHP. This is a powder metal technology tool steel, made by the best process in the field for a uniform, dense alloy distribution and excellent performance. This is a high chromium, high carbon stainless steel, and has abundant chromium carbides for tremendous wear resistance and high corrosion resistance. It also has a good measure of molybdenum, which adds to the toughness and the content of super-hard molybdenum carbides. This is a premium powder metal technology tool steel blade, with the highest corrosion resistance possible with extremely high wear resistance and high toughness as well. It's difficult to work with, expensive, and takes considerable process machinery, time, and effort to make a superior knife with; definitely not for a casual blade. I mirror polished this steel to a beautiful finish which, though difficult and challenging, aids tremendously in the corrosion resistance. I cryogenically processed this fine steel with an extended deep cryogenics in -325°F liquid nitrogen cryogenic quenching and aging, and it's triple-tempered with deep cryogenic soaking in between tempers to maximize the thermal processing and give the steel ultimate stabilization and conversion of allotropes. What this means is that this is a superior blade to almost every other tool steel type, particularly in the critical balance of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance. This is an extremely fine piece of steel that will last for generations with extremely high durability; one of my very, very best! The striking blade has a full tapered tang for balance, with spine filework along the top of the blade in an angled "Accordian" pattern, clean and deep. The underside of the tang has no filework and is smooth and polished. The blade is bolstered with spotless, contoured, rounded, and dressed 304 stainless steel bolsters, the toughest, most corrosion resistant and most zero-care stainless possible, the same stainless steel used to make stainless nuts, bolts, and fasteners. The bolsters are mounted with zero-clearance peened pins for absolute permanence, and are dovetailed to lock the bedded handle scales to the tang. The handle scales are Afghanistan Lapis Lazuli, the stone of the ancients, stone of the bible referred to in Exodus as the pavement under God's feet. This is lapis from the ancient land of the Hindu Kush region, where the best lapis on earth is found. Lapis has been treasured for over 6,000 years, and it's one of the world's oldest and most desired of gem materials. It was the "sapphire" of Aaron's breastplate, treasured by the pharaohs of Egypt and the rulers of Greece, Rome, and Babylon. It was even ground up and used as the cherished basis pigment of the Renaissance, ultramarine blue. It's solid, it's tough, and of incredible beauty, and no other stone can compare. Lapis is actually a rock, a mixture of minerals lazurite, hauynite, sodalite, noselite, with pyrite, calcite, diopside, feldspar, and mica. Because it's a rock, it tends to dig out and undercut (removing the softer components in the finish), so it's difficult to achieve a bright, glassy polish on this rock, taking many steps and careful process. The intense color of this stone is entirely natural; it was not treated in any way, and I carefully oriented each scale so that the uniform distribution of pyrite is throughout the scale thickness, with plenty of golden pyrite showing for visual interest like stars in the night sky (see photos below). The handle is a pleasure to see; rounded, silky, and comfortable to grip, solidly nested and bonded to the tang of this knife. The handle is full and robust, and the forefinger quillon and rear bolster shape, along with the curved belly of the handle, make this knife feel very smooth, solid, and stout in the hand. The balance point of the knife is exactly at the forefinger position in forward grip. The shape of the handle also lends itself to reverse grip with the thumb easily wrapped over and reinforcing the rear bolster.
  • Sheath: This is a traditional left side wear sheath, with the orientation of the cutting edge back. On the right side, this sheath would be used for reverse grip, as the cutting edge is to the front. This knife needed a very special sheath, one that compliments the knife with a bold shape, pattern, and materials. I chose 9-10 oz. leather shoulder, and carefully hand-carved the 7 inlay pockets, large and paneled, with light camouflage tooling around the border. The inlays are Buffalo (American Bison) hide, stout and strong, a material that is difficult to work with due to its high toughness and thickness. It took considerable effort to skive this material down properly for the inlays, but it was worth it. The sheath is bold, comfortable, and tough, and I double-row stitched the belt loop for added strength. The hand-stitching is brown polyester, and the sheath is completely sealed with acrylic gloss sealer for resistance against the elements and longevity and beauty.
  • A large and meaty, incredibly wear-resistant, tough, and advanced stainless high alloy steel blade, beautifully finished and complimented with incredible blue Afghanistan Lapis Lazuli, with a robust and deep heavy sheath with character.

Thanks, S. H.!

Please click on thumbnail knife photos
"Lethal Chance" reverse side view. Belt loop and sheath back have full carved panel inlays of Buffalo skin; loop has double row stitching "Lethal Chance" spine edgework and filework detail. Spine is fully tapered for balance, and bolsters are dovetailed to lock bedded handle scales to tang "Lethal Chance" inside handle tang detail. All surfaces are blended, rounded contoured, smoothed and polished for comfort "Lethal Chance" obverse side handle detail. Handle is full, rounded and very stout and comfortable in the hand "Lethal Chance" obverse side gemstone handle detail. Lapis lazuli is tough, durable and very beautiful with pyrite floating in a sea of ultramarine blue "Lethal Chance" reverse side handle detail. Lapis is the gemstone of the ancients, prized for its intense natural blue color with sparkling pyrite inclusions "Lethal Chance" sheathed view. Sheath is deep and protective, with large inlaid panels of Buffalo (American Bison) skin "Lethal Chance" sheath front detail. Buffalo skin is tough and beautiful, difficult to work with, complimentary to this stunning knife "Lethal Chance" sheath mouth view. Sheath is deep and protective, with a high back to protect wearer, and enough of the rear quillon to unsheath knife easily "Lethal Chance" point detail. This is an extremely aggressive tanto point honed to high sharpness in an extremely durable high technology blade "Lethal Chance" hammerhead serration detail. Serrations extend into thickened area of blade grind termination for maximum strength.
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