The McBee is one of the smallest Spyderco ever produced but as they said “Proof positive that function is a matter of design, not size.” It is in the Dog Tag size. Jan Dirk has written about his Dog Tag here. Go figure the McBee got only a 39mm blade ! It really looks like someone has snapped the tip off your knife at first. After all it is what the quartermasters used to do aboard their ship to prevent the use of sailors knives for fighting. After all this another of Geoffrey’s knife and he is running a diver shop. (www.normandeep.fr). He is a Sailor too.
The Reeve Integral Lock is almost an overkill for such a short designed tool, but it works well. As you can notice its open back makes it a breeze to clean. I have found the clip very stiff and hard to pass on the lip of a pocket. But at least it is securely clipped.
Once held, it is looks two fingers knife. The ricasso creates a natural guard and the McBee is anchored to your hand by the index and the major. Now you just need to twist it and…
Voilà ! This is the way to hold it and to use it. Now it is a three fingers knife. The Index is resting on the spine of the blade and the handle is held by the major finger and the ring finger, thumb on the side near the pivot. As you can notice every finger are falling naturally in place. Now it works great. Powerful slashes, here we go ! This is a knife which works like a boxcutter: the point and the first centimeter of the blade will be in use. It can zip along cardboard with force like a good short wharncliffe will. Since the Yojimbo or the Swayback, will all know how powerful those straight edges can be.
Does it mean the McBee can also cut on a board ? Of course !
If it was my own knife, I would have thinned that CTS XHP edge a little more. The Swayback got a thinner more aggressive geometry and the McBee desserves the best.
See how this little guy is well designed ? It is a real capable little working knife and a true titanium jewell too !
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When Geoffrey from http://www.normandeep.com has sent to me is Spyderco Amalgam to test and review, he had already reground the shape of the blade from drop point to clip point.
Here is a picture of the original:
Geoffrey made a beautiful work. He was even able to create an almost sharp false edge. I understood his project and also the distance of what I loved in a folding knife. I rather use a tool than a weapon and his Bowie Amalgam was really tilting the balance toward the weapon side of that knife.
First thing first. The Brian Lai’s brainchild is a knife which can be flipped and is equipped with a compression lock. It can also be open with its generous spyderhole with a push of the middle finger or the thumb. It is a fidgeting configuration after you have found a way to avoid the flipper’s return through the lock. You need, like on the Shaman, to get your index finger out of the way when closing the knife. The action is smooth thanks to ball bearings equipped pivot and the knife is light and well balanced.
Once open it is really a knife which get a very confortable grip. The flipper once deployed is half hidden in the lower quillon, and the blade could not close on your fingers. There is zero play. It feels very solid, very tactical hence the beautiful bowie blade Geoffrey wanted to grind from the massive utility drop point blade.
Since he wanted to sell it. We have made an exchange (he will get my Siren, as he is a diver and own a diver’s shop near the D-Day beaches in Normandy) and I will finish the customization to my liking.
The first thing I have noticed is how thick the blade was to my liking. So, I have “unshouldered” its edge and decided for an aggressive convexing.
As you can notice, there is nothing fancy in my equipment. A Double Stuff 2, an Fallkniven DC4 and some lansky bali diamonds. Also some sandpaper and my old leather belt.
Some compound for erasing all the scratches I have made and polishing it all.
The first test on my wallnut rod were stellar. The Amalgam is now able to shave and also able to cut deep. The large finger choil/ricasso is great to choke up the blade.
Also I have decided to mount a deep carry pocket clip. A black one for a low profile.
One of my goal has been also to round completely the false edge Geoffrey has painfully created as I use the spine of my blade’s knife to push with the thumb of my left hand. Now it is rounded like a Sebenza’s spine which was the first design to introduce me to that confort.
So here we are, ready to test the Amalgam. The Amalgame is on ! Stay tune for another post.
shows is all. You can make a vintage lockback folder with a ball bearing driven pivot. And suddenly your understand the Spy Opera is a nostalgia flick opening knife.
The Spy Opera is a version of Lionsteel Opera “spyderized” which means: adding a spyderhole, a clip, a topnotch hype steel… It’s the difference between a BMW Series 3 and a BMW M3. Also the price has been multiplied by 3 compared to the modest Lionsteel Opera in this rendition. Taxes for importing to US a European made knife is not stranger to the high prices.
At the first glimpse, the micarta handle, the decorating screws, the beveled and rounded lockbar and spacer: this is a looker, but is the Spy Opera a keeper. In my case, no, as it belong to my friend Geoffrey from Normandeep.com (a diver’s shop in Normandy near Omaha Beach) who was gentle enough to send to me some of his personal knives we wanted to review. Thank you Geoffrey ! He told me he has bought this knife and was not expecting to be surprised by that quality. He’s true. The action is stellar. certainly the smoothest lockback I have ever used. Just a little smoother than the Native V or the Siren. Now we know why: a ball bearing instead of washers.
A great detail about that knife is the total absence of any vertical bladeplay. This is the plague of lockbacks in my book and the Maniago folder is rock solid.
Ball bearing are great for fidgeting and smooth action but could be tricky in sandy or muddy environment. But the Spyopera is destined to be some gentleman folder for the US residents and typically a hunting folder for the Italian.
That shape of blade, that long handle, it is typically what my friend Valter would love for hunting and skinning. He would be especially keen of that M390 blade as hare’s skinning is especially hard on blade. For that take a look at the Walker C22 in ZDP189 or his Native in CPM110V he has used for many hunting seasons.
Follow the link for the articles with Valter and his hunting dogs:
Holding the knife with the blade shocked his its way to use and the ergos of this knife are just perfect for that. The rounded handle is contributing to avoid the boxy feel you can have with a Native Lightweight for example. Our hands love rounded shape and once you get used to it its is very hard to go back.
Now the handle won’t be easy to clean. Some parts are pinned and not screwed together. Example found on the forums:
So, the need for short folding hunter’s knives with high retention blade is real for hare’s hunter and I can really the design of the SpyOpera shining in that niche.
The sharpness is OK but if it was not Geoffrey’s knife, I would have thinned the edge much more. I have tested on the butt of a 1,5 liter Coke’s bottle and it has been stuck twice, not able to pass that test (which is not that easy as the plastic collapses under the pushcut). With a little deshouldering of the edge using diamonds, it would be a lightsaber. I have donc that with the Urban shown or my Para3 in M390. Out of the box the factory edge is just OK but again this is not my knife so I won’t touch it. Of course zero bladeplay while using the Spy Opera harder on a cutting board during that test.
So who is its designer Massimo Salice Sanna AKA Max ?
“Massimo Salice Sanna: after starting make knives in 1993 as a hobby, soon his passion became a real job and day-to-day activity. Well known for his accurate touch and the eye for details, he is considered one of the first knifemakers in Italy: he was noticed and therefore chosen by LionSteel for his precision and attention to design and mechanical features of the knives he makes. The Opera model was born in 2006, followed by other product families – Daghetta, Mini and Skinner. Currently, new designs and projects are under way to be put into production soon.” Says Lionsteel’s site.
Max Opera pictured with another Made In Maniago M390 folder with rounded spine and liners: the Clap. designed by Bob Terzuola.
Once thing I do not like, and this is purely personal and is the absence of Ricasso. I know I often calls it a “choil” as Spyderco Ricassi are often half mooned like a choil but ou understand this is the place you can put safely your index finger on the blade, as the start of the edge. In Sal Glesser’s designs they act like a lower quillon with the hump of the spyderhole acting like a upper quillon. Sal has reproduced the quillons of a boot dagger on his folding designs: the Military being the first example.
This design found of the Military (or the Slipjoint Urban pictured) transfers the force directly to the blade, without impacting the pivot which still is the most fragile part of a folding knife, the weakest link ! When you cut with a Millie, it is like using an antique folding knife where the handle was mostly a folding scabbard and the knife was hold like a razor. You cannot do that with Spy Opera when the slipoints designs by Sal like the Urban for example bring you that great security of holding the knife by its blade. But again the lockback is so sturdy on this Maniago’s knife you can confortably rest your thumb on the hump and your index finger on the micarta’s handles.
So the Spy Opera is a fidgeting, beautiful jewel, high quality Italian design gentleman (and lady) locking folding knife. It is easy in and out of the pocket. The attention to details is stunning. It is flawless. It got a real 70’s flavor. It is like a Ford T turned into a Hot Road to me: lovely but not for everyone. Good thing is: you can really fall in love with it as your main EDC.
Edit: thanks to JD for the heads up=> I meant “Hare” not “Heir”. 😀
I have bought that folder in Bruxelles. I was attracted by the steel and the style. I love Bob Terzuola’s design and he was the master who has taught to Sal Glesser (Spyderco) and Les de Asis (Benchmade) how to make a good liner lock.
From those lessons were produced the BM800 AFCK and the C36 Military.
So where does MKM Knives come from ?
MKM is a merge between Viper, LionSteel, Fox and Mercury.
They all come from Maniago, Northern Italy. The knife capital of the south of Europe. MKM stands for Maniago Knife Makers. This MKM Clap is made by LionSteel.
The MKM Clap is a delicate gentleman’s knife, designed by Bob Terzuola. Everything is smooth about it. All corners are rounded. It is even branded on its blue spacer.
And you open it with the flipper that you can remove if you want to look like a gentleman and open the knife with two hands. After all, this knife comes with a torx key. As such the MKM Clap suddenly becomes a knife you open with two hands making it legal in many places in Europe. Because of the ball bearings around the pivot the action is smooth.
When opened the blade is locked by a linerlock. Beautiful details are the blue collar around the pivot, the blue backspacer and the blue pocket clip.
Beautiful titanium clip, huh ?
It is in the size of a gentleman folder easily compared to the Fulcrum Falcon.
The Falcon is much more ergonomic as you can notice. Curved are good to the hand. The Clap is designed by Maestro Terzuola. He knows how to make straight feels like curves.
The shape of the blade is breath-taking. A drop point shape with harpoon fin on the spine and a compound grind with fuller. Quite the mouth full, but in reality it is a combination of cool shapes and features you rarely see together. But I hated the transition between the flatground point and the hollowground… so I have worked on it. To be continued.
Why the Swayback is such addictive ? Why it always kicks my favorite folders out from my pocket since I have received it ?
The contoured titanium handle is something which is needed to be taken in consideration. In my humble opinion the Swayback’s handle makes all other tactical folders feel flatter.
The Swayback is very deceptive. It looks like a gentleman/lady folder, delicate piece of cutlery but in fact it is mega sturdy and offering a very long edge. The other folder I know in that category is the Nilakka.
Bothe very deceptive designs which are hiding their horsepowers under a beautiful hood. Both also provide a thin edge on a robust blade. So it is really a low profile EDC knife with long powerful edge.
Also there is a special mention for my faithful Ed Schempp Bowie which is again hiding his real utility under a gentle and refined design. But don’t get fooled, those are workhorses, wolves under sheep skins.
Which also means, you can display your Swayback in every situation between coffee and champagne.
There is nothing aggressive in its beautiful curves.
The thin long blade is really a sharp finger in my book. The fact the Swayback is not wide like a Shaman for example, makes it very agile once in the cutting material.
The wharncliffe got this particularity, only the point get in contact with the board or the plate where you are cutting your food. The edge is kept ultra sharp thanks to the absence of belly.
Of course the blade will be carved and the hard point won’t dull easily.
The very clever hidden choil is also something I genuinely love in this design.
A thin long blade is something really handy when cutting fruits or carving vegetables.
The straight edge offers a lot of control when cutting vegetable, oignons or even strong with the edge toward yourself. The narrow blade is easy for curved cuts. You can change direction of your cut during the cut. It makes it also a great peeler.
Tip works great for opening wallnuts. It does not feel like a fragile Ronin’s tip.
As the kitchen and food preparation are my main battlefield in those lockdown days, the Swayback has proven to be a very reliable “couteau d’office”. When I needed more belly, I was always reaching for my Serrata.
So I had to also compared how the Swayback was behaving when whittling hard wood. Many whittling knives are wharncliffe, there must be a reason. Lil Native S30V (reprofiled and sharpen by JD), Yojimbo in CPM M4, Swayback in CTS XHP, Nilakka in S30V and Shaman in REX45.
As I always found, steel + geometry + heat-treatment makes the blade. Swayback’s CTS XHP got less vanadium carbide than S30V and I’m able to make it reach über razor level easily. It cuts the wood’s fibers like REX45, leaving some sort of patina on the wood. Once in the wood it is really aggressive.thanks to its thin edge. It goes deeper than the Shaman for example which despite its reprofiling and edge thinning can not match the Swayback’s.
The Swayback’s edge has not chipped once. It has rolled under the factory edge but nothing the white ceramic of a Double Stuff has not cured easily. I have found it reacts very well to white ceramic and leather but also Jade. It is a really fine grain steel on a thin edge and the idea it to have it reached razor level all the time.
It cuts deep and with some kind of “TAK TAK” noise in its aggressiveness. It is hungry and I have been able to cut rods in chestnut’s wood in a matter of seconds. This is really impressive.
It also means the handle is confortable when cutting hard material. Which was not a evident looking at the “swayback” of the handle butt.
Compare to my good old Para 2 there is nothing to hurt the skin between the thumb and the index. This absence of jimping is a big plus in my own experience !!
Comparing the handle’s back between the Sebenza (straight) the Spydiechef (bended).
A full titanium handle is really pleasant when you need to clean it and keep it rust free as Titanium cannot rust. The idea of Chris Reeve was brilliant has it offered the possibility even to sterilized your tools.
The Swayback shines in the Pikal’s Grip or any Reverse Grip with the edge up or turned toward the user. I haven’t found any issue when used in hammer grip in hard material but using a knife with the edge toward you is very polite and safe for people around, especially with kids running around. It forces you to refine your motor skills and to stay in control of all the cuts. Especially with a very sharp blade like this one.
Because it stays sharp for a very long time… As the edge only encounters matters it cuts and no board or plate, so you can keep your edge fresh. Something already noticed on the Yojimbo2: The Wharncliffe blade makes powerful cuts from tip to heel.
Eventually it is a knife you can get addicted to. In this is my case. Now my Paramillies feel so flat and square. And there is always a grin on my face when that Swayback’s sharp finger long blade goes steady in a push cut. Wharncliffe folders are really something you can get hooked to once you get used to.
Ed Schempp is one of my favorite designer. As I have always written, the spirit of a maker oozes from his knives. Ed is a true gentleman, a cever inventor and a gifted bladesmith and all his designs got something pure and radical. His Khukuri is a perfect example.
Look at it closed. It looks so classical. Nothing particular but beware of dormant waters.
Once open you got a tool which makes love with your hand. This knife is made for your palm and finger and to be held and use and… Well the knife is screaming to be used. It is stunning. The handle is thin and does not feel boxy. The generous choil welcomes you index. Then you notice the angle the blade is doing with handle. This natural angle is the signature of Kukri knives used in Nepal by the famous Gurkhas. It is also a signature of Ed Schempp’s knives. Especially short knives and folders. I have seen Ed’s custom Khukuri with beautiful damascus steel using Spyderco logo as pattern…
To quote Sal Glesser: “I can do anything”, Ed Schempp, will push the envelope, often just to see if he can. I did a “hammer” in at Ed’s house. Just a bunch of knife afi’s with great skill working on a globe. But no hammers. Ed designed and built a series of miniature rolling mills so we can produce mosaic damascus pieces, each with an assignment. Ed’s my “go to” guy for Ethnic series knives. Take a design hundreds, or even thousands of year old, capture the purpose and function and re-create that in a modern folder. He studies the design, the history, function and purpose before beginning. Those of you that have studied and used Ed’s designs know what I’m talking about. True original classics, each and every one.”
What can I say more ?
Even in Icepick grip the little folder is pure ergonomy. The full flat ground blade is generous in belly and recurve bringing very powerful cuts. No need for any jimping on the spine or the handle, the knife is simply glued to your grasp.
Can you see the family’s blood, the Schempp’s touch ? The Tuff, the Khukuri, the Bowie and their long choil and angle ? Elegance and “beautility”. Oh, I dream of a Kukhuri Sprint Run because that design needs to be used again. An AEB-L version please ? And a huge thank you to Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr who is the proud owner of my four last reviewed knives.
Thanks to Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr , I have the opportunity to test various knives of his collection. The Leaf Storm is one of them. And it was a thick bird and have bought second hand…
They are a rattle when closed and the culprit was easy to find. The previous owner has pushed to much on the lock slab… First step: I remove the screws on the G10 side. They are long and goes into the titanium liner on the other side.
It is a very simple construction made in Golden Colorado.
The lock bar has been forced outward and has not enough tension anymore. The detent ball is even not working anymore.
By gently pressing inward I was able to give more tension to the lock. Much better !
Some nano oil drops for good measure.
And voilà. I have not put any blue lock tite, leaving Geoffrey free to do it, as it can stain the jade G10 too…
What a beautiful little critter ! It has been design by American Kevin Wilkins started as a graphic designer and art student then an art director. He moved to Berlin in the early 90s where the knife bug really sank in. By 1995 he worked out how to make his hobby a livelihood and one of his favorite designs he called the Leaf Storm, dixit Spyderco card.
It is small lady and gentleman knife that fits and carries in the watch-pocket of a pair of denim jeans. Let’s compare it with one of the best little big knife Spyderco is producing.
My Lil’Native (featuring JD’s edge) got the same size and I carry it in my watch pocket. Main difference could be the hollow grind versus the full flat grind but not for me. What I miss the most is the choil…
Because as both knives got the same blade length, the Native give the opportunity to chock up the knife and have plenty of space for 4 fingers.
The Leaf Storm got no protection with its large ricasso and could be an issue if it is sharp. And it is sharp. My pinkie could be cut easily.
With the hammer grip, this is my index knife which is now the next candidate for a flesh wound… In my own opinion, the Leafstorm is an eye candy and a collector knife, as it is rare now, been discontinuited but the action is not smooth and gritty and the ergos not to my taste, I rather go with my little Walker C22CFPE or my Lil’Native. There is even some lock sticking as there is no steel interface… It is a little on the crude side compare to smooth Lil’Native. Golden factory has made a lot of progress since the release of the LeafStorm. Designing little folders is not an easy task and esthetics are not mandatory. The LeafStorm is a beauty but not palm friendly.
Did you know that John Rambo was inpired by a Season In Hell by Arthur Rimbaud. Also David Morrell, First Blood’s author, was looking for a name for his heroe and his wife brought him some apple: Rambo’s Apples. Anyway, Rimbaud was not born in Bowie, Arizona like John Rambo but in Charleville, a city dear to my heart, in the Ardennes and for fans of Nine Princes in Amber from Zelazny. So let’s see why that knife could be a Rimbaud’s knife.
As you can notice, they are dust… No, I mean you can notice the “Drunken” texture designed for a high performance grip: a wave pattern. There is a poem from Arthur Rimbaud named “Le Bateau Îvre” -“The Drunken Boat”. This poem is famous because, at least in French, its verses are built like waves and you can feel in your guts, the fear of a sailor on a boat going out of control in the middle of a tempest. (“The poem describes the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea in a fragmented first-person narrative saturated with vivid imagery and symbolism.” dixit Wikipedia. ” Rimbaud, then aged 16, wrote the poem in the summer of 1871 at his childhood home in Charleville in Northern France. Rimbaud included the poem in a letter he sent to Paul Verlaine in September 1871 to introduce himself to Verlaine. Shortly afterwards, he joined Verlaine in Paris and became his lover. Rimbaud was inspired to write the poem after reading Jules Verne‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which had recently been published in book form, and which is known to have been the source of many of the poem’s allusions and images. Another Verne novel, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, was likely an additional source of inspiration.” More there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bateau_ivre). Rambo was a very young poet genius but the second half of his life he was a “blade runner”, also a weapon’s and spices’ retailer in the Red Sea and Abyssinie Africa, a true adventurer. Again you can read is incredible life here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud
But there is more link with John Rambo’s character freedom and survival: “After studying several languages (german, italian, spanish), he went on to travel extensively in Europe, mostly on foot. In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army to get free passage to Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Four months later he deserted and fled into the jungle. He managed to return incognito to France by ship; as a deserter he would have faced a Dutch firing squad had he been caught.”
So back to the Dmitry Sinkevich’s Drunken, and its poetic pattern, name and … price. As you can notice, this is not huge folder but it deliver a tremendous blade length for its size. The blade is shape is beautifully flat ground and is gently bevelled on the spine. Another oozing qualities knife and of course it is justifying its high price. This is not a flash batch like the Bombshell but a regular Spyderco release. Again I need to thank Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr who has sent me his own Drunken for me to have a taste. Actually I was very surprised in a good way. It is a light (the titanium scale is “webbed” to reduce weight) and solid knife with a tanked RIL mechanism equiped with a steel interface, absolutely well balanced, alive in your hand. It’s a looker, you can gaze for hours: a true gem made in Taichung.
The big issue with that near to perfect knife is the clip. I have noticed it when I found myself not able to insert the clip in my trouser.
As you can see, the lip of the pocket is getting caught between the hole in “step” in the titanium scale and the clip.
Unless I’m helping it with my index finger by lifting the clip… which is also pointy… I can’t clip it. Another issue pointed by our friend Alexandre Constantinoff in the Spyderco Fan Club France on Facebook is…
The one-screw-clip got some serious lateral play. And that’s for a knife that price is a shame especially coming from Spyderco which are the first to promote clips for more than 30 years.
As you can see Geoffrey’s Drunken got its clip already already marked and he told me he will find a solution to suit his need.
Here is the Drunken with two very similar Spyderco releases: the PPT on the left and the Spydiechef. The PPT Sprint Run share a S90V Blade and a Carbon Fiber/Titanium handle and unusual clip and the Spydiechef is really a brother in design.
They are a lot in common with those two, don’t you think ? From the side of the hole to the shape of the blade and the handle…
Actually you can notice the Spydiecheff clip is perfect, it goes far from the cut slab and the deep carry wire clip is perhaps the best clip in the Spyderco line.
So the Drunken in use is also very pleasant. The action is not especially smooth but you feel the solid lock with a loud KLAK once engaged. Then the handle is even more confortable than the one of the Spydiechef, less blocky with its facets and bevels. The large pivot screw is great for shocking up the knife and the angle of the blade is providing a lot of power and control in the cuts. If the clip’s issue was forgotten, we could have here one of the best Spyderco ever release with zero compromise in terms of pleasure to use. Just that pointy shaggy ugly clip which ruins the experience and that’s a real problem for a knife at that price. But, oh, what a beautiful geometrically handle…
The Bombshell is a Spyderco’s flash batch at 400 dollars MRSP. Painful for the wallet, huh ? A flash batch means “it will be produced only once in this exact form. To make them even more collectible, Flash Batches are individually serialized with a laser-engraved number. The Bombshell’s number can be found on the inside of the reverse-side liner.” (When the English is perfect, I have copied and past someone else…) My friend Geoffrey Vernier has given me the opportunity to try and test his own Spyderco Bombshell. We have met some years ago at the Amsterdam Minimeet, the last one where Sal Glesser was there. Since Geoffrey has developped his own business NORMANDEEP, a diver’s shop near Omaha Beach (one of the D- Day !) in Normandie. https://www.normandeep.fr/ A diver shop where is also sale Spyderco Salts. He is my official sponsor for that review on some other to come. Thank you Geoffrey !
So here is the Bombshell aka the Danger Pickle. Two kind of people will be interested: collectors and adventurous users. First thing you notice when you hold the Pickle is quality oozing for her pores. There is feel like it is a custom knife not industrially made in Taichung. Michael Burch, her designer, is also known for his previous Spyderco’s design, the Chubby. The Bombshell is also a fat little fellow. Same breed as the Slisz’s Techno 1. As described in Spyderco’s site, this is a heavy-duty folding knife with a thick CPM® 20CV® stainless steel blade, which features a drop-point profile, a hollow grind. “Its stout handle is crafted with full, skeletonized titanium liners, radiused olive drab G-10 scales and a matching G-10 backspacer. The liners form the backbone of the Bombshell’s high-strength LinerLock mechanism and a pocket clip configured for right-side, tip-up carry ensures quick access.”
There is no steel interface between the blade and the thick liner. I don’t know if the liner’s end has been heat treated harder but titanium liner locks can wear faster than harder stainless steel’s. It was the case with my 20 years old Benchmade. It is also a designer choice to make a hard use workhorse with a liner lock when the previous design, the Chubby got a Reeve Integral Lock which is in my book, easier to clean.
For the record a steel liner lock like my 1998 Starmate is a work horse with the possibility to adjust the wear just by changing the pivot settings. Its nested liners and improved Walker LinerLock mechanism, which features a concave ramp on the blade’s lock face can be also found on the Bombshell.
As you can notice, the 22 year old Starmate stainless steel liner show less wear than the new Bombshell but the Pickle got thicker liners.
Also the Pickle’s stop pin is closer to the axis and thinner. So, the old Starmate shows a sturdier construction and it has been used very very hard through the years with zero issue. These two folders got a lot in common: hollow grinds, same way to put a hole in the blade (frowning hump)… same destination: a workhorse.
The first thing I have noticed with Bombshell is how it was pleasant to touch. The rounded G10 handle. The heft. The Bombshell is no bigger than a Para3 which means you can carry it in the city easily. The belly of its blade makes it a nice wood cutter as its geometry is also thin. Compared to a factory edge Para 3, it is better at pushcutting into wallnut wood. Also the thick spine makes it very confortable for pushcutting as the thumb finds a nice place to rest. There is also a choil where the index goes immediately for precision cuts. So it is pleasant to hold and use. It is well balanced. A very nice tool. The only issue for me would be the clip but it is a designer’s choice and at least it is not creating any hotspot on the handle. Holding the pickle makes you smile and forget the price it has cost you. So far I really enjoy that Danger Pickle. It is pleasant to hold and use and the material are top notch. It is not only a looker but a true user. But as mentioned, it is really expensive and rare and I would have prefered it to be a regular release instead of a flash batch because it will appeal the collectors more than the users and this knife was destined to be used. Anyway if not a safe queen, it will be a pleasant EDC with a real “Big Little Knife” character.
Here it is, the new Marcin Slysz designed Spydie some have been dreaming for almost 10 years. Inspired by 19th Century pocket knives design this is another grand child of the Mighty Sebenza with a Reeve Integral Lock and many other details which relie on Reeve’s legacy of making high quality folding workhorses. (BTW big kuddos to the Coutellerie Tourangelle which has been able to send it during vacation’s period in 3 days.) You will see, it is more a Sebenza’ heir that I thought.
Let’s read the description:
“Inspired by 19th century English Jack knives, the sway back pattern is a stylish and extremely functional cutting tool. In his latest Spyderco collaboration, renowned Polish knifemaker Marcin Slysz supercharges this classic design by rendering it with state-of-the-art materials and craftsmanship. The SwayBack’s hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade is crafted from CTS® XHP stainless steel and has a handsome stonewashed finish. It is housed in an open-backed handle constructed with solid titanium scales. Both scales are beautifully crowned for comfort and the reverse-side scale forms the foundation of a sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) with a stainless steel interface. A polished stainless steel clip provides convenient carry and is reversible for left or right-side tip-up access.“ OK… Polished stainless steel on a Polish expensive knife… tss.. tss… Now the specs: Overall Length 204mm Blade Length 90mm Steel CTS XHP Closed Length 115mm Edge Length 84mm Weight 111g Blade Thickness 3.5mm
When I have receive the knife I was chocked. Chocked by a simple fact: I could not open that damn folder with one hand ! It was like glued !! Two hands I could. One hand -> impossible. Glued. Again: IMPOSSIBLE. And again. And again. The hole is not sharp, he got a light bevel and my thumb cannot catch it.
In fact, as seen on the 3rd picture, the lock bar is wide, the hole is deep in the handle, so instinctively my other fingers push the bar and augment the detent strength -> you can not open it. On the second picture you can notice my middle finger pushing the handle’s bar of the the frame lock. So I was the source of my problem. Not the knife. It is just a matter of NOT touching the lock bar when opening the damn thing ! Also it is also important to push at 90° from the handle, like Chris Reeve was advising 20 years ago about his Sebenza. You see ? It is really a Sebbie grand child. 🙂 With the Spyderco Ikushi, this is my second tricky Spyderco. Eventually I gave up on the Ikushi. The Swayback is more on a learn curve and finding new muscle motors way.
As you can notice, it ask a little gymnastical way: holding the knife by the pivot and the clip. But it is learnt quick. I really thought it is the answer of Marcin to all that fidget fashion. For example the Para3 is so easy to open and close it is almost a game for some people. Click open. Clack closed. But here, the Swayback tells you “I am a very serious knife ! Not a toy.” Like Chris Reeve said: “Think twice, cut once”. You open it with a certain joy and he closes just by gravity. It is ‘that’ good.
Perhaps this is also a way to force you to use two hands to opening it. It is a polite way to open your knife in public. Also it prevents children or other people to open the knife without your permission. In this case it is great ! 🙂 I also found a way to open it in reverse grip with my ring finger. It is also a very polite way to open a folder as the point is turned toward yourself. Also the reverse grip is really made for that knife.
Now the other point of disappointment is the stainless steel clip.
It is high and really not in the style of all the previous Spyderco Slycz which were wired like you can see it on my picture of the Swayback next to the Spydiechef.
I got some titanium clips in spare so let see… which one could fit.
They are all as high as the OEM Spyderco but I do not wanted the deep carry titanium clip to stand over the handle edge. Also I wanted it to match the handle better.
So let’s make some pictures:
So now the edge is very thin on this knife. It is an hollow ground blade like the Sebbie. My 1997 ATS34 is still in a great shape.
Let’s try the edge….
The factory edge is impressive. Just a few pass on leather and it get to real razor. CTX XHP fine grain is known for that behavior. I have used it on tomatoes and it passed the test with the famous flying colours.
It is a relatively big folder with great ergos. I appreciate the hidden “choil” or hidden guard and the sway back fits the meat of my palm perfectly. No hot spot there, even with the old or new clip.
The plastic coke bottle’s butt has been perfectly passed. It is really amazing.
The edge/handle ratio is also great. It is really a tool which screams to be used and looking forward to use it on wood for whittling. There is plenty of space for my thumb to push on the spine. The Swayback is also an exquisite work of love by Taichung plant. Many details are hidden like the double pins screw inside the blade around the pivot. They works as stop pin with bevel inside the slabs. Nick Shabbaz has made a nice video about it. Taichung rocks really.
So here we got a very elegant folder with a lot of very thin edge. I told you it is very CRK in his blood. The clip provided is OK but it is a matter of preference to find another one. Once you have learned to put your index high on the handle, near the pivot, the opening is flawless.
It is very very sharp and the straight edge us generous in length and geometry. I’m looking forward using it and it will the in another article.
And now you can proudly say: “THIS IS THE SWAY !!” 😉