When I’ve heard about the collaboration between Ray Mears and Spyderco, I was really excited. Ray Mears !! I knew his show since the 90’s and his gentle way to walk in the beautiful English countryside and doing a lot of thing with a short fixed blade.
Wait a minute ?! A short fixed blade in the UK ?! Is that forbidden by UK laws ?
But Ray’s knife was a tool to do things, to create shelter, to elaborate traps, a cutting tool used for construction, for cleverness… not for fear and destruction.
At the last Minimeet in Amsterdam I was able to play with a prototype of the coming Wolfspyder. I was not impressed. Almost disappointed : it was a very short knife with a big notch in the handle asking for my thumb to find a linerlock… without any liner lock. Oh yeah, it was a very goofy handle at first sight… And a thick edge on a short blade…
Eric Glesser was hosting the Meet alone for the first time and he was giving a lot of informations about this design : how Ray Mears has contacted Golden and how they have decided to join force. The best ‘in house’ lock being the Compression Lock, it was an immediate choice. Now the folder needed to be used in the way Ray uses his knives, so it needed to be tough, solid, reliable and ergonomic.
Ray Mears Woodlore was his first attempt in the knife designing world. Alan Wood was the maker of his short fixed blade with scandinavian grind. The result was a no non sense design of a versatile tool. (Spyderco also got their own Bushcrafter knife vaguely inspired by the Woodlore craze…)
To my own knowledge the Wolfspyder will be the first folding knife designed by Mears, so I figure this is a very personnal attempt. He had time to think about what he wanted in a folder. So this a knife of maturity.
The result is absolutly fascinating if you know the philosophy behind Woodlore Inc UK’s premier School of Wilderness Bushcraft: using knowledge to live from what the wilderness offers.
In the past years, I had noticed in his TV shows that Ray Mears was often using a Suedish folding knife (a Fallkniven 3 inches folder) instead of his famous Woodlore fixed blade knife. It was funny as I remember how Peter Horstberger (Fallkniven’s CEO) was not advising to use his folding knives for cutting wood… (When his Fallkniven U2 was released…)
Anyway, Ray Mears was counting now on a full flat ground folder as his main EDC in the wild and on the show. But now he was going to Golden: the ‘Temple of Full Flat Ground Folders’ to get his own design refined and produce and we got…. A scandi grind folder !?
OK. Scandi means hard use for me. The blade offers some thickness to almost its point. Its edge goes deep when push cutting and trimming wood and the cuts can stay shallow for creating feather sticks.
But as much as I love S30V, will the choice of that steel be the best « sharpening friendy » choice ? CPM S30V is one of the rare steel made for knives but Bushcraft tools tend to be more on the “carbon steel” side. O1 is the tool steel found mostly.
Scandy grind, if you don’t create a new bevel, can be a bear to sharpen as S30V a big carbid vanadium steel is very resistant to abrasion and you need to keep the original geometry to remove a lot of metal.
I dont think I will get a good result with my Japanese water stone.
Diamonds will be S30V scandi ground best friend. But then, will the cratches ruin the finish ? Oh well… I’m really looking forward to watch some Woodlore video showing us how to… ;-)
Back to the Wolfspyder intriguing design. As odd as the handle looks, it is eventually a pleasure to hold. The unusual horns are perfect for a resting thumb, even the pinky got its own place ! The integral guard works great, you can firmly hold your knife, your hand won’t slip on the blade. It works edge down in hammer grip but also it works great edge up.
The compression lock is hidden/integrated/nested in the G10, this is Spyderco’s usual ‘tour de force’ they know to achieve since 1995 on their C36 Military’s liner lock …
The G10 green colour is dark and perfect for a UK offspring tool. The back of the handle (where the lock is) does not bit your hand when using the knife hard. It was my main concern since the Paramilitary compression lock was sometimes really painful when used hard without gloves on. Which means the Wolfspyder can be used harder, with more power than the Paramillie !
For my own confort I have sanded and rounded all the G10 edges. Also the back of the blade as I don’t have plan to make fire this way and my sore thumb was asking for that improvement. Now the edgy back was designed to scratch some ferro rod… I prefer to push cut with my finger on a rounded back blade like on the Sebenza.
The Wolfspyder again oozes quality from all its pore. The action is smooth. There is zero play in any direction. It’s heavy in your hand, well balanced… it screams to be used.
Once clipped to a pocket, the knife rides high compared to my recent wired clipped Spydies… But odd enough, eventually it makes quick draws so easy! The fingers find their way around the handle and the thumb ready to push open the holed blade in the same motion. Easy and fast for tip up carry knife. This is not a southpaw friendly knife BTW.
I close the blade using momentum and inertia. The relatively heavy blade is perfect for that. I release the compression lock and with a quick wrist movement it closes.
On my Plastic Bottle Butt test, the Wolfspyder was not the best performer. The grind is a little to « wedgy » for pushcutting through thick plastic. But I was able to pass through. When my Swick, my Manta 2 and of course my Nilakka were able to cut through it easily. Again, that particular grind is primarily made for wood tasks.
All in all, I’m very satisfied with that purchase. It’s a very well thought EDC companion imagined by a gentleman who got only two knives designed and made in 30 years, the Wolfspyder being the second to my knowledge. At least Mears is not Bear with a collection of low end tools mass produced for his TV fan. And this UK designed knife is proudly made in the Colonies: Golden, Colorado, Earth !!😉
So the Wolfspyder is finding its gentle place in my front pocket, easing my craves for new bold designs, asking to be used in the wild even if I carry it in the city. Have a knife, will travel…