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Review: GiantMouse GM1 Folder

GiantMouse GM1 ReviewI always have room in my pocket for a good folder. When I finally got my hands on the GiantMouse GM1 from two good guys from Denmark – Jesper (Vox Knives) and Jens (Anso Knives) – I couldn’t have been more happy! However, the knife won’t be still nice and pretty after I finish my review. I like to beat the hell out of things to see if they stand up to my standards, which are set pretty high by knives known as the “best-of-the-best” from very reputable companies.

Vox and Anso are two well-known names among the knife community. I went into the GiantMouse GM1 with really high expectations. When I unboxed the folder for the first time, I just smiled just like a kid in a candy shop. Wow, this  folder is a looker! The knife is a limited production release of the first “12 Blades Brooklyn” custom project from that Viking team, which I was drooling over last year! Just Google #12bladesbrooklyn by Vox & Anso and you’ll notice how cool it was. It was surely out of my financial range, but today everyone has a chance to get his or her hands on that project without spending four figures.

Let’s start from the basics. The GiantMouse GM1 is an adult titanium framelock flipper. Its broad blade pivots on stainless bearings, which are supported with stainless washers to prevent the titanium handle from wear. The blue titanium collars on both sides of the pivot add just that small touch of class, which separates a plain tool from a classy one. The overall design is simply organic, anatomically shaped, and takes the best details from both makers.

GiantMouse Review GM1

The GM1 fits very nicely in the hand and has a solid feel all around.

The handle of the knife is smoothly sculptured with hefty chamfering on top and bottom. A pronounced ‘hump’ fills the user’s palm, and the index finger falls directly into the generous cut-out. As a result, even despite any heavy texturing, the grip is very secure – even more if you consider the flipper-guard, which prevents your hand from slipping to an edge. I tried it also with my Hestra outdoor gloves on and it fits my hand really fine. Something to note – I wear gloves No.10, so put into perspective that my hands are not tiny. So first and foremost, they’ve done an absolutely great job on the handle ergonomics.

GiantMouse Review GM1

Notice the unique design of the lanyard hole on the GM1.

If you flip the knife to the other side, the first thing you notice is an awesome carved blue clip. 3D clips get more and more attention from the manufacturers these days, but it’s really not easy to make one that works well. Most of them are just fashion pieces, usually too thick for the job. Contrary to that, the GM1’s clip works just as it should.

First of all, it is just springy enough and has correct wall thickness. Secondly, it is shaped underneath to allow for easy clipping-on, which is (surprisingly) often incorrectly done on production knives. The clip is held in place by one big torx screw, but don’t worry, its base sits in a precision milled socket so it won’t go anywhere. There is simply zero side-to-side movement, so what looks like just one screw is in fact a far more complex design. Last but not least, that ‘denim blue’ anodizing blends nicely with my Levis 501s for a more stealthy everyday carry. A smooth backspacer matches the clip and pivot-collar’s finish.

Now this is interesting – a lanyard hole goes through one side of the frame and up through the backspacer – not a common design. However, it has a real practical value. Your lanyard will never cross the line of that sharp blade. You won’t cut it by accident when closing the knife. That being said, what’s even more important is that it won’t loop and stop the blade upon opening, which can happen with a standard through-the-handle lanyard hole.

GiantMouse Review GM1

I love the clean lines and attention to detail on the GM1.

There is one detail I almost forgot to mention. The tiny mouse logo located on the clip is the only marking visible on the outside of the knife. It’s a very clean look and a 100% Scandinavian approach to design! The rest of the maker’s details like name, number, etc are engraved inside the frame. This is something that Jens with Anso has been doing for years. It gets a thumbs-up from me. Clean, isn’t it?

Giant Mouse Review GM1A blade truly defines a knife, and this one is a slicer with performance on full-throttle! It has a really broad, lotus leaf-like shape and a full-height flat ground. Sized just perfect for EDC, the blade is 3.5″ long and 0.160” thick. The pronounced belly occupies the full length of the cutting edge, which makes the cutting edge even longer than just blade length, and it ends with a wicked sharp tip.

As I said previously, I was admiring this shape when the custom version was released. I can remember my fascination with other leaf-shaped blades over the years from reputable makers. Bob Lum is one of them that comes to mind instantly. Jens and Jesper took this shape even further and combined it with super-sharp point, which should add even more versatility to the classic lotus leaf blade style. I’ll talk more about the performance later in the practical part of my review, but man, it really cuts!

The rounded spine adds another touch of style on this project. What about the blade steel? It’s N690 Cobalt from Bohler – a reputable stainless steel and well made for sure. It has a polished stonewash finish, just like the handle. Both are nice and they’ll also hide small scratches. The combination of the polishing and the stone washing makes it very smooth and takes away as much of a resistance as possible during the cut.

Giant Mouse Review GM1The generous choil lets me choke up on the blade REALLY hard while aggressive spine jimpings provide an additional blade controlling point for thumb or index finger… it allows for a vise-like hold on the knife. And with the additional protection of the flipper-guard there is no doubt – the GiantMouse GM1 gives a seriously solid grip!

Giant Mouse Review GM1Here are the mechanics of the knife in a nutshell:the GiantMouse GM1 is a smooth operator! It’s also fast and flips open with a crisp release in all directions – on a side, tip up, or tip down – it doesn’t matter. The flipping action is WAY above average, mainly due to perfected geometry between flipper, pivot, the blade’s center mass, and stop pin. Proper tension of detent ball also plays a key role to release GM1’s blade just when enough force is applied to the flipper. I especially like all the small details, which enhance flipping: jimpings for index finger, chamfered area where the flipper goes between handle slabs, and rounded edges.

At first I was wondering if I’d ever use the opening hole with such a good flipping action, but sometimes you don’t want to alert everyone around with a healthy “CLACK” when opening your folder. Also, in a northern continental winter (when wearing thick gloves), two-hand operation with help of a generous hole could be a true benefit. The latter one was not obvious for me instantly as it is the middle of a summer, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate it in January or February. The usual winter weather here in Poland is at least -15 Deg C with heavy snowfall. Such weather could also change your perspective, couldn’t it?

Now a quick skip to the most crucial part of a folder’s mechanics – the lock. As you can guess, it matches the overall class of the knife and it is rock solid. The titanium framelock is equipped with a stainless end insert, which also works as a stabilizer and prevents from over-opening (which can usually lead to lock slippage).

What I particularly like is the lock’s cross-section width. Some companies make it just too thin at the base in my opinion, exactly where the springy action is located and where you need some ‘vertical strength’ in titanium to prevent from instability. Well, on this design, the job has been done correctly and there is hefty width of the titanium left in at the lock’s base. The stainless insert can be helpful to prevent from lock wear over time. It’s not always necessary, but I know of some knives which suffer from ‘lock travel’ after a couple of years of extensive use. So in the end it’s good – if not just for the knife, then for the owner’s peace of mind.

GiantMouse Review GM1

Putting the GM1 to work and field testing …

Last but not least, the real question is how does the knife work in the real world? It’s not always a given that great components make a great final product. It was time to do some cutting and find out. First, the blade retention and geometry of the GiantMouse GM1 was tested by cutting hemp rope, which I keep around my country cabin (it’s always handy).

GiantMouse GM1 ReviewThe photos show some of the initial cuts – one pass on each of them. You can easily see that sharpness is really good. The cuts are clean and even. Not a lot of force was needed to get through this rope. Keep in mind, raw hemp rope is not a soft item to cut either. So with full confidence, I can confirm, “Yes, the GM1 has cut and slash positive edge geometry!”

I continued on more, and more, and more. After a couple of minutes, and a lot of cuts without any considerable effect on the sharpness, I just stopped. The N690 Cobalt steel plus proper heat treatment of the GiantMouse GM1 do the right job when paired together. Most importantly, after all of that work cutting and cutting the rope, neither the knife nor my hand were tired.

Giant Mouse Review GM1

Testing the GM1 doing push-cuts into wood …

Here is another performance test: push-cuts into wood. This is an important area of knife use in bushcrafting and general camp chores. This was (of course) not as easy as with a scandi-grind, but thanks to a good bevel angle and relatively thin edge base, the job was done quite effortlessly. As you can see from the photo, all the cuts went into the branch right across the grain, really deep, with just one push per cut. Check out the BIG wood chips on the stump if you have any doubts.

Giant Mouse Review GM1

It’s always good to have a solid knife, even when you’re just working in the garden.

There is always a reason to have a good knife in your pocket when you spend your time in the countryside. My wife asked me to harvest in the forest nearby for some sticks to be used as a support for tomato plants. It was a good excuse to grab the GiantMouse GM1! Again, it gives clean cuts and makes the job easy.

Giant Mouse Review GM1

The GM1 is right at home in this photo …

Here is the bottom line. The GiantMouse GM1 is a damn fine knife! It’s superbly built and very strong, but not overbuilt. It’s a great cutting tool that delivers serious performance. It’s pretty as well, but first and foremost it is a TOOL. It has now joined my personal herd of fine titanium EDC tools. Even though it’s totally accidental, I like the fact that it matches the blue accent on my custom Makar Ti Pen.

Giant Mouse Review GM1

The “Pirate” version of the GM1.

GiantMouse GM1 ReviewFrom what I’ve been told, only 300 pieces of the GiantMouse GM1 in this configuration will ever be produced. There will be an additional 100 pieces of the “Pirate” version, which has a black PVD finish that has bronze anodized titanium accents instead of blue.

Honestly, I know it can’t be considered a cheap knife with a retail price of $325 (for the GM1), but it certainly represents a great value for the money. In my personal opinion, in the “up to $400” folder segment, it’s one of the best choices if you want a framelock flipper. Like I said, it’s not cheap, but more than worth be a solid consideration!

I had a great week out of town testing this knife. I used my GiantMouse GM1 in both the field and forest, around the house for odd jobs, in my workshop, even as a kitchen knife during our barbeque. It also helped me make a bonfire for my kids almost every evening we were gone. It’s always a great time when a good knife is handy

Written by

Piotr is an avid backpacker, mountaineer, skier, sailor, and all around backcountry adventurer. <a href="http://motusdev.wpengine.com/author/piotr-ma/">Read more …</a>

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