Those are the knives I choose when going out. I prefer a 3 inches locking blade.
From left to right we have got: the Falcon, the Wolfspyder, the Native 5, the Delica, the Techno and the Chaparral. They are just examples of knives I have got around and which fit the purpose to carry a non threatening but useful locking knife. You could easily add the Lil’Nilakka which are the favorite EDC of JD and Pjaffre.
As far as I love my Para2 or my Sliverax, I tend to go shorter on the blade and keep the 4 inches for in-house uses unless I’m going in the woods. Also, most of the chores can be done with a 3 in blade without rising any eyebrow.
If you think to go thin in stock, the Delica and the Chaparral are the way to go. You can notice on the picture how thin the Delica goes and with the KnifeCenter special edition, your edge is made of HAP40, a steel which refuses to chip.
Lockbacks are in fashion since… the Buck110. On the three pictures, only one has got vertical play: the Delica. This tiny play is only felt when cutting on a board and won’t bother you.
The Chaparral has a hidden pin which acts as a second locking system ala Triadlock. The Native 5 has got very high tolerance and none of them I have handled has shown any play in any direction. Let say, in that matter, that the Delica although an old fashion folder with her own character, has the best thinner slicer of the bunch and her blade shape gives a lot of polyvalence. The Delica is also the only short folder I can Spyderdrop. It is made possible by the full steel spacer’s weight. Spyderdrops is the fastest way I know to have your knife ready to cut. It’s also the safest as you are holding it by the blade.
You can notice, there are a lot of materials for the handle. Titanium handle are great as they can be easily cleaned but can be scratched easily too. G10, I do love, especially thick G10 with no liners like found on that Native 5 version and the Cold Steel Recon 1 collection. Pakkawood is a new thing for me. It’s got a warm feeling and I can rinse the handle under the tap with no after-thought. Carbon Fibers (CF) are actually very resistant to abrasion. Your knife can fall and be kicked, the CF handle will not show any scars.
Now I do cut hard material by pushing with my thumb on the back of the blade. This is also why I tend to favor a thicker spine. The Techno is king in that matter, but lately I have discovered how much the Falcon and the Wolfspyder are great. What makes the Wolfspyder very special is the ease you can twist the blade in the cut thank to her lack of blade’s height.
You can notice the amount of pocket lint in the handle, giving you an hint on which knife I carry the most. You can get a lot of great locks: RIL’s, Compression Lock… The new Lil’Native offers a very small package (I think it’s the shortest of Spyderco’s with that lock nowadays) and the choil makes the blade even shorter on that design.
To have or not to have a choil ? On a very short folder, a choil can take a lot of edge off. The good old Delica shines again but the Wolfspyder and the Techno are beating her choil-wise; they both provide one of the best solid locks with the maximum edge possible. IMHO for the 3 inches folders, choils would be really important if the knives were slip joints. They are still important in my books on longer folders which are used harder, like on Millie,
Strangely short folders are often used out of their scope like a Pradel would be. Mondane chores and abuses can occured very easily. This is also a reason why I tend to choose strong locks and tips on my 3 inches folders. When it’s possible I also choose tool steels which can provide better lateral strength.
Delica: No real choil, vertical play, very thin blade, very thin spine. Bonus: spyderdrop.
Falcon: Choil, thick spine, nice belly but not deep carry clip. Bonus: great flipper.
Lil’Nilakka: No choil, deep carry clip, thin blade. Bonus: very thin geometry.
Native 5: Choil, thin spine, thin blade but not deep carry clip. Bonus: great ergonomy.
Techno: No choil, deep carry clip, thick blade and thick geometry. Bonus: built like a tank.
Chaparral: choil, deep carry and thin spine and thin blade. Bonus: idem pin lock.
Wolfspyder: no choil, thick blade, deep carry (now). Bonus: thin scandi edge.
The most eye candies would be the Native 5 and Falcon and the most surprisingly effective in cutting power would be the Lil’Nilakka and the Delica…
The easiest to carry would be the Chaparral which is the thinnest of the bunch.
That said my best pick for hard workers would be a deep carried, solid lock, no choil, strong, thick spine and thin geometry folder: the Techno and especially the Wolfspyder.
They are just a few example of brainstorming for choosing a 3 inches folder to carry.
Oh well, there is also the Kopa… Guess I need to start this over !
The Kopa has got a choil, no vertical play, can be spyderdropped…
last edited: pjaffre 03 jan 2018