Nowadays rendering of three iconic 90’s lock: Liner Lock, Back Lock and Integral Lock.
They are plethora of locks since the 90’s when the Tactical Folders trend started.
“Tactical” , a term which has been mainly used in a marketing way, means you can get access to your knife easily — A clip or a well thought pouch — and more important: to be able to open it and close it with one hand.
The blade needs to be locked in open position and also to stay closed while in the pocket.
Let’s have a look on the locks I prefer and use.
The Compression Lock.
“A lock mechanism that uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).”
What I like about that Spyderco in-house engineered system is how smooth the action is.
Spyderco is now developing and proposing flippers with the CL because the breaking action on the pivot is minimal. On my different CL folders I can open the blade in different ways: using the index, pushing the paddle to unlock the blade…
It’s fun. It depends on a detent ball to keep the blade closed.
It’s a lock easy to clean and check as the handle are all open framed. It also asked for some nested liners which, when they are skeletonized, need more attention for cleaning, especially when you use you knife in the kitchen like I do. I rinse them under hot tap water , wipe the blade and make them dry inside the pocket with body heat.
Also the compression lock can be hurting the palm of your hand when cutting hard matters.
Native 5 Back Lock.
The Back Lock.
Described on the Spyderco” Edge-U-Cation pages as: “A locking system positioned on the back of the handle that uses a rocker arm that pivots in the center. A lug on one end of the arm engages a notch in the blade’s tang to lock the blade open.”
The Manly Peak and the Native 5.
This lock has been infamous since the Buck110 and all its copycats. Spyderco has developed mainly mid-locking system which can be unlock without changing your grip lick on a Buck110. It was demonstrated with the first Native how safe it was it unlock their knife and let the choil of the blade get in touch with your finger before to close it.
This is still the way I do it, even on my Delica and Endura which got no proper choil: unlocking the blade by pushing the lock free and let the blade falling half way on your finger. The Back Lock got a spring which is strong enough to avoid a detent ball. Old timers used to pu a match inside their closed Buck110 to pass the stronger spring tension and get it open faster. On Spyderco’s, it’s also easy to avoid any locking noise just by pression the paddle before it get completely opened. Unless the blade is very heavy like on XL Cold Steel Voyager, it’s not a lock for gravity opening. But it’s one of the most solid lock. In fact because of the way it’s engaged, it can be much more solid than all the other locks. Spyderco were testing their strong back found on the Chinooks and Manix with amazing results.
It’s not the easiest lock to clean as there is no open framed handle. It’s hard to see if debris can be jammed in. Also it’s not the funniest lock to use as the spring tension is felt during all the opening and closing motion. The Spydies with relatively heavy handles can be spyderdropped for quick opening. I do that on my Knifecenter stainless steel spacered Delica for example. It’s also easy on your palm during hard cuts because of their closed handle spine. Some Compression Lock haters are Back Lock lovers because of that confortable handles.
Also I have noticed on many of my Back Locks knives some vertical play when cutting on board which brings us to…
The TriAd Lock
Featured on Cold Steel’s folders it is essentially a Back Lock with a stop pin. There is no more vertical play when cutting. It doesn’t change anything toward the negative force used to close the lock blade.
You can also find inside the Chaparral an hidden stop pin invisible as it’s hidden near the pivot.
The Liner Lock.
“A locking system developed by custom knifemaker Michael Walker that uses a leaf-like spring split from the liner to wedge laterally against a ramped surface on the tang of the blade.”
This lock was the king of Tactical frenzyness back in the 90’s. The Benchmade CQC7 and AFCK promoted them in titanium and Spyderco developped their Military with a stainless steel liner lock. If I remember well Sal Glesser and Les de Asis were together private students of Bob Terzuola which is a master in liner locks making before to start their own production. Depending on a detent ball, the liner lock was bringing that smoothness the Back Lock could not provide but it was not the strongest lock available.
Ed Schempp Euroedge strong liner lock.
To test it many people tried the infamous and stupid spine whack and many time with shock the liner was unlocked and damaged by that treatment.
It’s a very easy to lock to get open and close fast just be careful to put your finger out of the way when closing.
Titanium liner locks are wearing more than stainless steel liners.
It should not be difficult to clean depending of the handle conception. On that matter the last version of the C36 Military got rid of they spacer and got now a full open handle for easy check.
Then Chris Reeve came with his Sebenza and used a lock bar that is integral to one of the handle scales. It was giving you the sentiment, you hand’s grasp was also enhancing the locking mechanism. It’s also a very easy mechanism to clean and check hence the Spydiechef, or the K2 which are easy to use in the kitchen even after being defiled by grease and meat…
RIL of the Advocate and the ZT550.
The PPT is a mix of both RIL and liner designs with the possibility to grasp it and hold it in opening position.
BALL BEARING LOCK
“A patented compressive lock that wedges a ball bearing between a fixed anvil and the blade tang. The mechanism also serves as a detent to hold the blade in the closed position.” I was developed by Eric Glesser for his Dodo and can be found on the Manix 2 folders with a caged ball version. Some people found a lot of similitude with the Axis Lock from Benchmade but here, instead of two omega springs, it is a coil spring pushing a ball bearing made of ceramic of stainless steel. It’s smooth but not as easy to clean as other locks. Actually I prefer it on the Lightweight version of the Manix which is my main travelling knife with its CPM110V blade. It’s engineering makes it one of the strongest as you can not squeeze a ball bearing easily and it is also self adjusting.
The cage ball can be exchange with a custom titanium cage in case of breaking after years of using. It happen to my cousin who has modeled his own resin ball.
The Balisong Lock.
This could be the most fun system to use and also the strongest. Easy maintenance, no spring… It’s a very old design. The first trace was found in 1780 in France with a knife called “Le Pied Du Roy” (The King’s Foot) and circa 1800, butterfly knives were uncommon. They were made in Paris and Thier. There is a beautiful collection of the old Butterfly Knives in the Thiers Museum. French Army troops were provided with Butterfly Knives, but after WW2 there is no more trace of Butterflies made by this brand.
(More to come in the re-edition of the Fred Perrin’s balisong review soon.)
Locking a folding blade has been a puzzle for engineers for centuries. The roman folders were not locking and 2000 years ago a folding knife’s handle was considered as an attached sheath which means it was hold like a razor: by the blade.
So how to choose a lock ? Recently I have been surprised on how well the Bulgarian Manly Peak was operating: no vertical or lateral play on its very strong Back Lock. I have been playing with the Sliverax Compression Lock flipping options. My old Sebenza RIL lock is still in great shape and my Ed Schempp Bowie flies in opening position…
Lock is just a matter of taste and use, selling a design just by its lock won’t work. Some designs are made for compression lock like the Sliverax wasp shape flipper design could not go easily with another lock.
But always remember a folder cannot be as strong as a fixed blade. Marketing can be your enemy but the main enemy of locks are shocks because its weakest element will give in, bend or broke. Now when you choose a knife made by reknown makers and manufacturers you can trust their locks but it’s not the case with all the copycats and cheap knives which often got very bad quality elements ready to break or bend at the first use. I’m not saying the best locks are the most expensive but looking for quality in the making should be mandatory in your choice.
It has been half a year of patience before my pre order turns into a mail call. Howard Korn from the Knifecenter.com was kind enough to send it to me as soon as he has received it. It was a quick 6 days of travelling from Fredericksburgh, Virginia to Paris.
The name of this Para3 should be”Desire” but it will be “Mouser” in honor of its color: grey. Also in honor of its almost magical alloy used: Maxamet.
What is Maxamet ?
According to Spyderco its full name is “Carpenter® steel’s Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy”. “Maxamet is an extremely hard high-speed powdered tool steel possessing properties that transcend conventional high-speed tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides – the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels. When Carpenter developed this amazing alloy for the rollers in their steel mills, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade material. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods necessary to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to yield reliable, high-performance knife blades.”
It so difficult to work with that it has given some headaches to Eric and Sal hence the 6 months late in the production of that Para 3.
Maxamet should have better performance than CPM110V. Now that I got both steel, I will try to see if I feel and see a difference.
What its composition reveals ?
Carbon 2,15% ; sulfure : 0.070% – 0,23%; chromium : 4,75% ; vanadium 6,00% ; manganese 0,30% ; silicium 0,25% ; cobalt : 10,00% ; tungsten 13,00%.
It’s not a stainless steel it’s an high tech tungsten alloy !!
Here its data sheet in Carpenter’s.
The wear resistance of Micro-Melt Maxamet alloy is better than that of conventional powder metal high speed steel grades and is equivalent to AISI A11 cold work powder metal tool steel. A11 is CPM 10V. Better? How much better ?
According to Cliff Stamps: “Maxamet is an extreme alloy, for comparison, it is to 10V what S90V is to 420J2. Maxamet is used when HSS like M4 fail because they are too soft or wear too fast – just consider that for a matter of perspective.”
(For the record he’s not talking about CPM M4 which comes from powder metallurgy process but good old M4HSS.)
So far Mouser is shaving my arm’s hairs which are flying of its blade. Its factory edge is really thin. With that amount of tungsten it should not be sensitive to its final tooling in the Golden plant. I’m not planning to work on it yet and keep it that way for its first run.
Its complex heat treatment and the HRC should be on the very high..
Spyderco is offering that steel on many knives: not counting a Mule but a LW grey Manix 2 , a G10 grey Paramillie 2 and a lightweight grey Native…
The Maxemet version is not a Sprint run.
I have also noticed the chamfered work they have made on the spine and the spyderhole and the jimping behind the hump. I don’t have to use my diamond rat tail file anymore !!
Thank you Golden ! 🙂
Also the blade has been gently beadblasted which gives it a very industrial look. The grind is perfectly symetrical as always on my Colorado’s made.
The thick grey G10 slab also concours to give that toolish look, again the attention to detail are stellar. There is nothing to change when you open your black and red box.
So far what I have changed is the clip, as I don’t plan to spyderdrop this little guy.
The smooth compression lock permits a lot of other way to open it elegantly.
Also I have sanded the G10 to smooth it to my taste and keep my pocket lips healthy.
I keep the pivot area rough for the ergos.
Now the game is on, let see all this fuzz about that Maxamet steel !
Spyderco catalog’s sheet is here.
EDIT: Eventually I have gone back to the OEM hourglass clip in a Tip Down carry option.
Because it’s so fast to draw like a I do on my Millie and Paramillie 2.
The spyderdrop is so elegant and bound to the spyderhole: it works like a breeze.
Also I have starting to test the sharpness which is uncanny right our of the box.
I did not have that kind of result with its S30V bro. The Maxamet thin edge goes through the plastic bottle butt to make tagliatelle !! The edge is really hungry.
Also my previous review on the Para3 is here.
Between both knives there is a little difference. It is the sound of the mechanism.
The opening and locking on the S30V version will be a TAK.
When the opening of the Maxamet version will be a TIK.
The pitch of Mouser is much higher. Different alloys, different hardness produce different sounds.
The Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand named “Scalpel” and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other named “Cat’s claw”), and a former wizard’s apprentice who retains some skill at magic.
The cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. He’s a rogue, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. It was created by Fritz Leiber.
The first PPT was release eight years ago. It was the mind child of Sacha Thiel, Philippe Perotti and of course Fred Perrin which it got all the power. For the record Philippe Perotti aka “PP” was Fred’s student in knife making (and Fred was PP student in handguns). I still own one of PP’s Streetbowie made in D2 and also one of his great Commander knife made with Sacha Thiel which looks a lot like the Perrin Streetbowie.
Now the design’s goes in the stardom with a luxury amazing S90V / Carbon Fibers corrugated stunning handle.
This rude boy is a beauty like Marlon Brando in a Streetcar Named Desire or Tom Hardy in Taboo. It’s heavy in your palm. But this weight is a pleasure exactly like the Sharpfinger. Marc Animal McYoung in his book “Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles” was choosing a butt heavy short knife over any other. The weight is like an anchor in your hand as the knife handle is cuddling inside your palm. You find the same idea of weight distribution on heavy butt first Streetbeat.
Talking about the handle, this macro-texturing shows a wild side of this tool.
On this picture you can notice the unique clever sturdy lock. It’s made to be secured once the handle is hold tight.
The steel liners and the full steel back spacer, the full steel construction, while sturdy, makes for a dense carry. Knowing Fred, being able to use the “pommel” as a crowd pleasure won’t be a surprise. Anyway it’s a tool which can certainly be used to drive a nail in a plank.
Let’s compare with a titanium folder, the Spydiechef.
It’s a matter of taste but I love it as the balance suits me.
In eight years the Taiwanese manufacturer has refined his production.
The choil used to be a hotspot in the first version. No more now, there is absolutely no hot spot but… the clip.
The way it’s stand with a point proud point …it’s really not the best SPyderco clip just compared with for example… the Lil’ Lionspy great great spoon deep carry clip !!
The point/end of the clip needs to be parallel to the handle as this one is an invitation to scratches cars doors and catches things.
But its zips easily inside the pocket. It’s a no brainer.
Like the Spydiechef the design of the PPT notice how it give you a lot of power in case of cutting on a board. But the PPT won’t be as easy to clean with it’s squeleton thick liners but nothing which cannot resist to some hot tap water.
This new incarnation got a very thin edge. Those full flat ground blade in S90V provided by Spyderco lately are a pleasure to use and performance oriented.
But its true brother in law could be the Yojimbo 2.
The PPT got a very strong spirit, mix that with Sacha Thiel attention to details and Philippe Perotti pragmatism and you got a very powerful EDC which can be used by soldiers, firefighters, hunters, cooks, collectors and bushcrafters.
A little edit: after some EDC carrying and using.
Of course I have started to de-shoulder the edge and gives the PPT a more friendly way to get strop on leather.
Ergo wise, this heavy butt is really addictive. It works like a magnet because of that handgun handle. For the record La Griffe got a Derringer shape handle too which is also heavy compared to the blade. It makes your tool almost jumped in your hand and really anchored it in your palm while the perfect radius of opening makes it a very fast and safe opener. The meat of your finger is caught by the sharp hole and SHLACK !! It’s really one of my fastest tip up carry opener so far.
Why is the PPT a tip up carry ? I remember Fred bitching about the way some newcomers (back in 90’s) who were providing RIL locks with a tip down carry: the clip was in the way. What Fred loved in the RIL lock on the Sebenza was the way the hand will secure the lock. With a clip attached near the pivot, you could not squeeze the handle anymore and secure the lock.
So the PPT reflect all those years. It’s a real biker friendly design, like the La Griffe has always been. Bikers are modern world horse riders. The PPT would a horse rider best friend too.
Here is another archive from the stainless steel Delorean which can warp twenty years ago and back !
The Spyderco Moran was the first fixed blade and the first VG10 knife ever.
So here it is without filters or editing:
THE MORAN FEATHERWEIGHT
a little review by Fred Perrin
always misdirected by Nemo
It’s important to promote the work of young unknown blade makers.
Meet, William Moran !
This young newcomer has to be watched…
The Spyderco “Moran” is a classic of little fixed blade and one of the rare made by Spyderco. You all know about it since Spyderco has decided to discontinue it and its price has drop to a very nice bargain.
Why a Moran’s review ? (Thanks to James Mattis we know it’s not discontinuited !)
a young prodigy named Moran
This is a rigid blade. This is not as common as all these taktikeul fooldears !
Its grip is mega excellent. The composition of that handle is a must even with wet hands.
You can pull or push without anyrisk to slip. Manyplaces for thumnbresting…etc etc…
This handle is unique and a true innovation.
No lanyard hole. WHYYYYYY ?
For fighting grips the handle is also a must. The butt of the handle has “a point” where the tang butt stop inside the plastic handle. This pointed handed is ready to crush any skull around.
The Moran is also an excellent throwing knife ! Do you think we are crasy ?
No, no, we are just insane…
The blade is a mirror finished à la Moran blade with the famous Moran Grind (flat ground and concave).
The steel is VG-10.
The VG-10 is the steel used by Fallkniven (since they have tried the Moran…)
Excellent steel with a really fine grain.
The blade is vorpal and really solid because it its not so thick it is wide.
The power of cut is great. It’s a slashing tool. Semi circular hits are quick and deep.
The thrust is powerfull thanks to the handle shape resting in the palm.
The lenght (less than 4 inches) is polyvalent for medium and small job. Made first as a skinner, he is the King of the Kitchen !
At first glance you think it’s fragile. But after used you feel the handle, the lightness, the serious of the blade shape.
CLIK HERE TO MEET Mr Mo’ big fans at Little River !
And after removing a sentry, it’s a pleasure to have a mirror finish blade to check your tribal make up.
Now the sheath. WHAT IS THAT SHEATH !!! It’s look like a brown fish ! It’s could be a toy for my dog !
(My dog loves leather sheaths ! I mean, that little bastard eats my favorite leather sheaths and her next target could be my sofa…)
Looking closer you see its quality leather and it’s well made.
then you put the knife inside and you see how well it’s fit.
When you put the sheath “inside” your belt behind the right hip… here it’s paradise.
Your almost forget it ! You can reach your knife for instant Ice Pick grip.
You can even reach your knife while sitting in your car.
Really this sheath is a also a must for a leather sheath ready to be carry with a very low profile. But some thought the Moran desserve a much better sheath
Meet the two Kydex sheaths made by Edge Works Manufacturing
Light, Vorpal, compact and mega grip.
Little industrial fixed blade of that quality are so rare.
This is a “premiere” let’s hope not a “dernière”.
But who will ever remember William Moran, huh ?
(Our next young newcomer to watch will be someone with perharps a little future in cutlery: Blackie Collins. )
“Where is my hair brush !”
THESE PAGES ARE DIRECTED BY NEMO
During the annual Spyderco meets in Amsterdam the Spyderco crew usually holds a few lotteries for knives, T-shirts etc. This year I was lucky to win a knife in one of the lotteries! And extra lucky because I won a Lil’Native with compression lock. I like compact knives! The knives I usually carry have a blade length of between 5cm (2″) and 7,5cm (3″). The Lil’Native fits right in there with its 6,2cm (2,5″) blade length. Also, I had not had a compression lock in years so this was a nice opportunity to play with one again.
The Spyderco Native hans been around since the nineties in different sizes and shapes. There are two things all the Natives have in common: one, they are all hump-less. On a lot of Spyderco knives the opening hole is in a hump on the blade which sticks out above the back of the handle, on the Natives this is not the case. And two, they all have a relatively short edge in relation to the handle which features a forward finger choil. This means you can get a full grip on the handle and put your thumb on the back of the blade for control and power while cutting.
The Lil’Native is the latest Native model as well as the smallest. Besides the version with the compression lock that I have there are plans for this same design with a mid-lock and as a slip joint. That last one will be a welcome addition to the Spyderco line-up for people in countries with more restrictive knife laws.
After returning home from the Meet I put s little Nano oil on the pivot and on the detent ball and opened and closed the knife repeatedly to work the oil in and make it (even) smoother. I quickly got used to the compression lock and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to manipulate and that it did not pinch me. This had been something I had experienced with early compression locks knives but clearly Spyderco’s engineers had improved the lock since then. CQI (constant quality improvement) in action!
Spyderco had done an excellent job with the factory sharpening. It easily push cut receipt paper! After a light sanding of the handle to make it smoother and little bending of the clip so it would go in and out of the pocket easier, it was ready for edc.
After a few day I decided to thin the edge a little and sharpen it. Not that the factory edge needed it, but I knew I could get is sharper and improve the cutting ability even more by taking it to the hone. Beside, it feels like putting your edge on a blade makes it more your own.
I thinned out and straightened the edge with my old extra coarse DMT bench hone. I refined and finished it on the diamond side of my Fallkniven DC4 until it could split a free standing head heir. This went of without any drama. The diamond hones cut the steel easily, and removing the burr represented no challenge. This suggest to me that the edge was not damaged during production or factory sharpening and that it was in good condition.. Well done Spyderco! Back in the pocked it went!
After having carried it for another week the Lil’Native had become smoother, I could flick it open with my thumb and with my middle finger. I cut a number of cardboard boxes and this caused a little bit of edge roll in front of the ricasso. Two light strokes per side on the Fallkniven DC4 got rid of it and made the blade sharp again.
All in all the Lil’Native has turned out to be a well made, practical, capable, and enjoyable compact folder. Well done Spyderco!
Thanks to JD (Dinkmaker) I was able to read some of the very first knives review written on the Internet in the mid 90’s. More than twenty years ago, no digital camera but my video equipment and so freeze frames in low res.
The Native review has been the first one we had written with Fred. I had asked him which knife he would have liked to review and he had produced a black FRN Native he just have get from a blade show in the US. So we had started the chat and I had typed. We had good time laughing and bitching about so called knives gurus. Back then the Internet was starting to boost a lot of egos from many knifemakers able to steal ideas from other and promote them fast thanks to the web. It was also the time of the first forums and the first internet knives retailers. It was before amazon too.
So here is the very very first review we ever had put on line on the old geocities site (2292). My idea was to depart from general reviews and capture Fred’s ways to express himself. I asked a lot of questions and asked him for stories and jokes. It was already my main editor angle: stories not description.
You can notice we were also talking about going in airports with short folders in our pockets and even we were featuring self defense as a possible use. It was a pre millenium and pre 911 time… Well it was another time long before any social network.
But hey we were using animated GIF for some effects like nowadays kids ! 😉
BLAST FROM THE PAST: SPYDERCO’S NATIVE
By Fred PERRIN
Master At Arm and Knifemaker directed by NEMO
These last 10 years I have used and tested (some would say abused) a lot of their models, for the simple purpose of writing reviews in many french magazines.
But for my personal use, I have carried and used :
Each time I have enjoy them a lot ! For example, I carry the ladybug for years. It’s my travel knife (you know airport controls…). It’s a perfect utilitarian you can have on your key ring. It’s also a good little weapon! Opened, I grasp it between the two first fingers, à la Wolferine’s claws but this is another story. Another example, my wife carries a Cricket since the 1994 Paris Knife show. (This little knife is also a really good folding weapon.)
Back to the Native. I have bought it at the NY Knife show for $40.00 which makes it one of the first price in the Spyderco collection.
But why did I bought the Native ? I am a knifemaker after all… When I need a knife mostly I build it ;-). First his name appeals me. « Native », for an European, this word is synonym of Indian, Sitting Bull and Geronimo… and I consider myself and my Gang as real Indians.
I immediatly begin to like this light knife because of it’s middle size, easy to carry and discreet (4 inches closed and 7 inches opened).
The blade is a spear point with a really wide back edge offering a tredememous thrusting ability. The Hole is made “inside” the blade (at the opposite to the rescue for example), making a beautiful profile. The thumb is resting on the grooves on the back of the blade. No risks slipping at all . Out of the box, the Native is really hair popping sharp. My personnal test ? Remember the NY knife show with the cigarette paper ? I take the cigarette paper fold it for it to stand alone and i cut it in two ! I have used the Native in the kitchen, and for light chores. Resharpning is really easy and it gets really sharp again.
The handle is Zytel. I personnaly really the Web style engraved in the handle. and the access to the blade hole is really easy. I like the improvment made by Spyderco on their clip lately. The metal clip on the back of the handle is removable for lefties and easy to be adapted to be clipped on a coat pocket for winter days.
Now when the blade is deployed: The blade and the handle create to curves for the two first fingers. Dexter Ewing in his review got the right words to describe it. Anyway, it works great for thrusts and pulls ! Also the blade (if the lock would failed) won’t cut your fingers because the blade is blocked by the index finger.
I like to have the butt of the handle fits the inside of the palm. the handle is rounded at the end and fits confortable for pushing the blade. The lock placed in the middle of the handle is on the right place to close it with one hand.
I could really use the Native as my main defense tool. It’s a matter of trust in your tool and it comes from my own personal POV on using blade to defend yourself. Because as you know the only folding knife I consider as real fighting folder is the butterfly knife or balisong., consider this as a personal compliment for the Native. I have use the Native against a compact cardboard pack. (three inches cubic) Where I can thrust and slash to test my knives.
The lock is strong and the feel is great (hammer or Icepick) One of my favorite test… I throw the knife! Yes it was not design for that. But … this is my test. But it’s a less than a meter range throw. What I do is:
Speed draw, gravity opening and throw ! (Please don’t try it at home.) This is hard test especially for the lock of the blade. The Native passes it with full success. Good balance and sturdy construction.
For its relative low price the Native offers the excellence of a true little fighter and a great utility blade. I really like it . I also like his name !
Very good knife.
Twenty years ago they were no digital caméra and I used my video caméra and extract one frame. Hey, this is Fred, in 1998 and this is a review kept in JD archives when it was first displayed on Geocities, a true blast of the past ! More to come soon… 😉
The other pictures are taken from the Sharpfinger PITS comparaison review.
So let’s see that old review and tone we use to employ back then:
SHARPFINGER and WOLFERINE
152OT 152UH by Fred Perrin (and Nemo)
An extension of your finger that was good
for skinning large squirrels and small elephants”
If the definition of a knife is a sharp piece of steel and an handle, these both models are pure knives.
I mean its a simple concept but simple ideas are the “highest” ideas.
Created in 1974 by Mr. Henry Baer, to be a skinner, this knife is now a Classic amongst the Classics. (what will be in 25 years all these tactical models of today ?).
But who cares about a $30.00 knife ($19.95 at Walmart…)?
The main difference between both models is:
The Sharpfinger is 1095 Carbon Steel and the Wolferine is Schrade Plus (440A stainless steel).
The 3.5″ is curved like a bear claw with sharpened back (the back of the claw not of the bear !)
This is unique design has been used by many other brand factory.
The handle is bowed and the ricasso forms a finger stop and prevents the hand to slip on the blade.
On the back of the blade there is a place for the thumb.
The handle is thin on the side of the blade and thick at the butt: the grip is secured and confortable.
The great control of the blade makes the 152’s an real extension of your hand. Like a sharp finger in fact.
The handle is made of plastic. It’s very confortable for hard uses.
There is a lanyard hole. And that’s an important detail !
The shape of the blade is really polyvalent and not striclky confine in capping and skinning purposes.
You can eat with it, cook with it, work on wood, clean fish etc etc…
The blade is flat grounded on both sides for a better resistance and incredible polyvalence.
To resharp the blade is really a piece of cake with both steels. Dulling the blade is not so easy as the blade got an excellent edge holding.
As far as we are concern, we really appreciate that knife because it’s a utilitary knife and the all around fixed blade archetype.
In his book ” Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles”, Marc “Animal” Macyoung shows his Sharpfinger as his utility knife and main self defense blade.
You can be shocked by this concept but it’s true.
It’s a small knife with gutts but let’s be clear, Marc and my friends strongest cuts are made in Pizzas or Quiche ! We don’t remove sentries everyday and we try to avoid gang war.
But anyway for a low price you got a low profile self defense and utility blade.
Light sharp with good balance, this is all about.
Back In 1974, they was no tactical fashion. The prime design of the Sharpfinger was surely not self defense but as a very well made tool, you can turn it as a very well made weapon.
For example the Machette is made as an agricultural tool but in a lot of countries it is the poorman sword.
There is no shame as turning a good utility knife into a good self defense knife.
Compared to all the “tactical” knives hype around, it’s strange why the152 and many classical designs are ignored by TK afficionados. Cheap doesn’t mean crap.
(Imagine a 152 with g-10 handle and kydex sheath, and with its blade bead blasted…enough tactical for you ?)
Don’t forget the “tactical knife” is the knife you got in your hand and the right moment…
Marc said to us:
“Be warned, the purist get real unnerved when you use a “fighting knife” as a tool. I beat the hell out of my knives. They look at them and say (in horrified tones) “What have you been doing with this knife ?”
That’s why bladesmiths consider me such a savage.
I got over that the day that I climbed a cliff and halfway up I discovered it turned to shale. I ended up hacking new hands holds with my knife and moving up a foot at a time. I don’t care how much that knife cost, it was either ruin it or fall.
The Schrade 152 is one of the few knives I haven’t been able to break despite seriously abusing it.”
Judicious Marc Macyoung. His books are a kind of “checkpoint” for anyone interested in self defense.
A “must know” .
The sheath of 152 is made of genuine leather. It’s old fashioned but nice “a la” scout.
Great for the price.
By the way, if you lose yourself in the jungle of your supermarket, take a look at that Schrade knives.
You will perharps notice one of that original 152 and perharps, again, you will adopt it. Definitively.
The 152 ?
A Real utility knife.
Fred Perrin & Nemo
This is my first Para 3 and also my first black coated Spyderco blade.
According to Spyderco:
“For tactical end users who are concerned about light discipline or those who just prefer the look of a black blade, the Para 3 is now available with a tough Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. This low-profile coating is permanently bonded to the premium CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade…”
Cool I do really love DLC as it’s really scratch resistant. The primary reason for blade coatings is to reduce the reflective properties of the steel. Shiny things draw the wrong kind of attention and in a military environment, can tend to get people shot. However, like anything else intended to be used in a military environment, coated blades are not immune to wearing off but DLC is really strong.
I also specifically love DLC for adding corrosion resistance. The area which normally rusts on an EDC is in the pivot area. No worries about that with a DLC coated blade!
The new Golden Co. factory is bringing some of the best quality in manufacturing to date. My Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that rise in quality on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control – if not better. So kuddos Colorado! Also Eric told us during the last Minimeet that they have just hired two new engineers who will make a real difference. Spyderco has developed a speed training of their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry.
Like the Paramillie 2 was a son of the Millie, the Para 3 is really Millie’s grandson. Same “cockpit”, stout hardchore 3 inches blade, smooth Compression Lock.
My all black version is very discreet and the the short blade makes it even less threatening. A black “commando” feel on such a short folder is almost like an tribute to military blades. On a short knife like this baby millie the “cute” factor is very strong.
My hand fits perfectly on that handle. That infact was a big question mark prior to holding the Para 3. You feel this short version of the Millie is ready for any task.
The DLC coating is absolutely stunning. I have sanded the G10 and put a great deal of care so to not scratch the steel hardware.
Here after some plastic cutting which scratched some of my other blades, there were no marks on the diamond hard coating. Let see how it will age.
At first I had mounted the clip for tip down carry (left pic) and experienced great spyderdrops. The Para3 is so smooth in its action, a middle finger is sufficient for opening.
As I got the opportunity to get a titanium clip from Massdrop (right pic), after transformation it’s now a tip up solution and a middle finger opening work best for me. After all, a black knife, even of that size, needs to be as discreet as possible.
Some thinning of the edge, from DC4 diamonds to white ceramic until leather stropping.
It worked great as I was not able to scratch the DLC coating.
I got much better performances on pushcuts into the thick plastic of this coke bottle butt.
Of course, I had soon christianized the knife with a fumble… Drawing blood means luck.
edited by Pascal – 14 march 2018.
Again this year, eighty guests were lucky enough to gather at Hotel Mercure near Amsterdam Airport for a day of presentation and exchange with Spyderco. Eric Glesser and Joyce Laituri came from Golden and made a stop over before going to IWA next week.
Again it was the opportunity to get direct access to Eric and his prototypes and “next in production” (before June !) galore but also the chance to meet friends from all over the world (a new designer Aleister Phillips came from Australia ! He was actually in France since February taking care of a WWI memorial for the Australian soldiers.)
Aleister Phillips Instagram picture.
And his “Redback” custom folder with licensed spyderhole.
Again pictures were forbidden but soon 18 knives (from the 100 shown) will be displayed on Spydercollector website exclusively. Wouter was one of the “Old Timers” who has been attending the last 14 meets like my friend JD who also wrote in this columns.
The master of ceremony was Jur who always give good vibes and jokes.
Spyderco changed the rules this year: no more passing of the prototypes in all hands.
Instead Eric presented all the knives, from concepts to almost in production. Many designers were featured; Paul Alexander and Ed Schempp come of course to my mind as they are my favorites. Some designers were present like Tom Zoomer who was not very confortable with some questions I had, hum, asked about batonning and sharpening his bushcraft knife…
That was also the chance for new designers to defend their concept and explain to Eric what they can bring to the knife world.
So eventually, we left our chairs early to gather around tables where Ted had displayed all the knives. It was time for intense exchange and card writing.
Also we were gently asked to fill some cards showing our remarks about every prototype numbered and displayed. It was a chance for Spyderco to have written feedback about what we loved or hated. I think our favorites knives were the Wolf Mouse by Gareth Bull of SA and the Unnamed Redback from our Australian mate.
Picture of the Custom original Wolf Mouse. Found on the Bull pictures.
Imagine the same with a hole in the blade. 😉
Oh! we were given pens to write on the cards. Also the day was rythmed by a loto game with knives and goodies to win – even more surprises involving plastic spiders and other gifts. JD won a wonderful Lil’Native and soon we will have his review !
I have noticed in the past years how the new Golden factory is bringing some of the best quality in knife manufacturing to date. For example my new Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that raise in quality of execution on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control if not better. So kuddos Colorado ! Also Eric told us that they have just hired two new engineers there who will “make a real difference”. He told us that Spyderco is also training their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry. So there is a Spyderco Engineering School there.
In conclusion, one last thing to outline: this Minimeet was a Compression Lock festival. It looks like Spyderco will be using more and more one of their successful “in-house” locks for many models to come. It’s true, Compression Locks are extremely solid and smooth but they also are challenging in terms of placing the flipper on a blade for example but like the Spyderhole, they are a Spyderco trademark.
A lonely Eric and an empty table.
Oh and BTW Joyce showed us how to wear a Cricket the fashionable way.
My Spyderco PITS is like a folding Schrade Sharpfinger to me.
I always loved the Sharpfinger. I got the hint of it thanks to Marc McYoung. Marc got a very nice writing style and I always enjoyed his Paladin Press (RIP) books. There instead of trusting a folder, he was using a Sharpfinger with a very nice leather pouch I could find on the model. I even guess the guys who sold it to him did not bring him the right scabbard as I have since found some drop point Schrade with that simple deep leather scabbard.
Anyway back in th e90’s I loved the idea to carry a fixed blade as EDC. It was before 9/11, before terrorisms knives attacks… Bushcrafting gave me the opportunity to carry a fixed blade in my pocket but the Sharpfinger dream was over.
Back in the 90’s, Fred Perrin had reground mine to a thinner edge and I had offered it to a American friend visiting us. I had got the Uncle Henry Wolverine version in 440A when the Old Timer version in 1095 high carbon steel. This design is almost a Klingon steak knife, it’s great in use.
As the original Sharpfinger was always on my mind, soon I had decided to find again a genuine one (not made in China) and this is the one pictured.
“A lot of people I ride with carry that knife. I actually prefer fixed blades — like the Sharpfinger — to a folded blade. Although I carry a folded blade too, with a fixed blade you don’t have to reach inside your pocket. It’s always handy, on your belt when you need it. I use my Sharpfinger as a tool. I do everything with it. I like knives with sharp points. You never know when you might want to pop a balloon or peel a banana.” to quote Sonny Barger.
I really like how the PITS look and feel like a Sharpfinger ! Also I do love how the N690Co steel heat treated by Maniago get a hungry and biting edge on the long run. Like on the Schrade the pitch of the steel is high, giving the feeling of a hard high performance alloy. The way the integral guard work is similar on both design.
If you like motorcycle gangs, this book is for you. “Five stars for Five heartbeats. Excellent read, fast as well, couldn’t put it down. I’m a bit partial due to the fact that my band Glass Heroes had several songs on the soundtrack of the movie and were one of the performers that played our songs for Sonny and HA at bikeweek a few years ago. The ending was brutal and justice was served street style. Totally enjoyed it and was a refreshing read. I dug the Chapters names even. Well done.”
From Good Read.
Here is the link to our first review of the Sharpfinger with Fred Perrin.