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.