So here I am, minding my own business. (Always wanted to start a review with that kind of sentences… à la Michael Di Mercurio.)
I love heft. A heavy knife is sexy in my book.
Bought in the 80’s, one of my German version of a Buck110 was an anchor and I loved it.
I dig the Fred Perrin PPT for its massive butt balance but I’m quite certain Fred would love a lightweight para3 as he loves to hide light tools on himself. 😉
Now Spyderco has always been about Performance. Performance in geometry, ergonomics, in locking mechanism, steel’s heat treating, choice of materials… and refining refining and refining… Constant Quality Improvements they say.
That Para4 lightweight is born from that CQI state of mind.
Remember the Military ? It always been a lightweight because every kilograms counts when you are carrying a weapon and ammo. At first the C36 was using only one nested liner if I remember well. The fight against weight was hard and not understood by many.
Just look at some heavyweight folding brick found nowadays… No comment.
So Sal loves sport cars and racing boats. His passion for sailing is oozing from his designs.
He has just release a lightweight version of his Police knife.
That Para3 got only one liner like is first Millie.
So lightweight is an obsession as much is lock reliability in folders.
Just like in the Ford V. Ferrari (Le Mas 66 for Europe) james Mangold’s movie.
BTW Spyderco has just release a Lightweight Sage with a compression lock too.
You need need to have a great confidence in the materials you are using too to implement a Compression lock in a plastic handle because the lock needs tension. But FRN is considered as strong as aluminium and Fiber Reinforced Nylon is something Spyderco explores and masters for more than 25 years now.
I remember self defense instructors driving with their trucks on their FRN Delicas (pre liners version) just to show how strong this lighweight folders were.
The lightweight handle brings also great balance to a very “alive” knife. The Para 3 lightweight is something your enjoy playing with. It can be open and close it in a blink. This is really fun and elegant.
The texture is perfect when my hands were wet and greasy. The Bi Direction Texturing is perfect near the pivot: my thumb meat is gripped by the FRN in the forward direction.
It feels so secured in my wet hands ! Also the bi-texturing works in the other direction for pulling the knife out of the pocket. In term of security, not dropping your tools which is like glued in you hand, it is a must. The wonderful Carbon Fiber of my Kapara can not compete with that. It feels like a soap compares to my Para 3.So for the pragmatics, you can reach for your knife, pull it out and use it even with oil on your hands. This is so great and really rare in the knife industry. Sal’s inventor’s mind again.
Like many compression locks including the beautiful Kapara, you can get soared hands when using the knife without gloves. It comes form the area on the top of the pivot which bites your hand skin. My friend Pascal got reported blisters from his Paramillie 2 for the same reasons. The space between the thumb and the index needs to have a surface to rest or it will hurt. Some Youtubers got that issue when cutting ropes for edge testing too.
This details has been featured in the Ray Mears Wolfspyder. You can use your knife for hours !
See the difference ?
Whittling and bushcrafting ask for the maximum of confort.
Also look at the C36 Military: again there is a surface to rest your hand avoiding soar and blisters hence its great ergos when whittling.
So let assume the Para3 is a light user or at least design as such. Nothing bad about it they are plenty of other designs and even better great fixed blade like Puukkos when working on wood and hard materials for a long session.
But what a great light user it is. It is versatile. With a powerful blade and solid point.
Easy to clean. Anti slippery handle. Non threatening design. Light and invisible once clipped. What not to love about it ? This is a milestone in my book.
And I do favor heavy knives. My Maxamet Para3 got a copper handle.
I have thinned the edge to my taste.
And now the leather is enough to keep it razor. M390 heat treated by Golden is a must.
It is light, it is red and it is cute and can skin a wolf or granny’s apple ?
DLT Exclusive M390 steel blade on the Para 3 Light plateforme has hit the old continent after NOT taking any shortcut… It was stuck in Paris airport for a week !Action is perfect. The blade is centered. Drop chute works perfectly. This DLT Trading Exclusive is clicking all the right buttons as I was not really excited to test this knife without some spicy exclusive steel.
Bringing the compression lock to the FRN is a Tour de Force Eric and Sal can be proud of.
At 69 grammes it bring a very strong little big knife into the “pocket and forget” realm.
This is going to be a very Sheeple friendly knife thanks to its red scale and deep carry clip.
I love high performance blade on FRN. My Manix Lightweight is a CPM 110V version and my favorite holiday knife as it is easy to put in a luggage and keep its sharpness for weeks.
This is Little Red Riding Hood is destined to de-throne it. Less moving parts, easier to clean. Very impressive quality !
And M390 heat treated by Spyderco is a sure value since 2012 ! :-)More to come soon as right in the pocket it goes ! Riding !“But Grandmother! What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood her voice quivering slightly.My own copper Maxamet Version is just a really heavy weight.SO LIGHT…
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” roared the wolf and he leapt out of the bed…Deep carry clip and excellent lanyard hole placement.
“The first drawing of the Shaman was dated December 17, 2014. That can give you an idea of how long I work on some of these creations.”
Thanks to Tom Song and Howard Korn from the Knifecenter, I have been able to get one of the most coveted Sprint Run from Spyderco: The micarta cruwear Shaman.
Without Tom and Howard always excellent service (I know Howard since the very beginning of his Internet venture), it would have been mission impossible.
It was announced at the 2019 Minimeet by Eric Glesser and every ears were pricked up.
Since it has appears in the very frustrating way being immediately unavailable since the demand was so high.
But here it is after a long journey. This is my first Shaman actually as I was waiting for the first Sprint Run to jump on the bandwagon.
This folder got a massive blade on a smooth like butter pivot. Perfectly centered. And the blade is razor sharp. There is a lot of heft in that knife which is the absolute opposite to the Police “Cheetah” model. The Shaman is an outdoor’s folder dream. You can use it hard and clean it easily. I would compare the way it moves in the hand to the mighty Lionspy.
I regret the clip is not one of the wired but, hey, their must be reason to offer four positions.
The micarta is not polished like a Bark River Knife would be. It is rough but pleasant under the thumb. The handle is thick and made for hard use. I mean it is pleasant to old tight with no hotspot so far.
Now I need to use it but is a very solid folder not destined for the city.
More to come, stay tune… 🙂
“My designs begin with an “idea”, hard to put into words. The final design says it better than words can. I also refine that design (idea) over time to make it closer to the pure form originally envisioned. The P4 is in it’s 4th refinement and in my opinion, closer to my original “idea” than ever.
While the P4 is very different from the Shaman, they both embody the “spirit” of what I was thinking of for their purpose. I’ll start with pencil and paper, CAD it, make plastic models with Peter from CAD drawings, often for months until I get as close as I can at the time to my “idea”. Like carving an elephant; take a piece of material and cut away everything that isn’t elephant. Once the design is close to it’s “pure form”, I’ll refine the materials based on the original idea and run with it. I don’t have the “eye” of a Lum, so appearance plays little in the fished outcome.”
“On a knife edge razor day
If you listen long enough they’ve got nothing to say
It’s a time warp place don’t change
The rhythm of the night, the beating rain…” Midnight Oil.
After so much hesitation I was able to get a Kapara thanks to Tom (and Howard) at the Knifecenter. My “fear” was real since I had held the Kapara prototype at the Amsterdam Minimeet, worse it was a love at first sight when Alistair was showing is original design: the “Red Back” to the forums and Facebook… I was also hooked when Alistair came to Europe for working on the Australian museum bout WWI in the East of France.
(This should not be Forgotten Years, and if you can try to see Peter Jackson, the director of Lord of the Rings, “They Shall Not Grow Old” and see how he has used technology to render the footage from that area in colors and with sound: amazing!).
Also since the early 80’s I’m a big fan of the Oil, the Finn brothers (OK they are from New Zealand too), and even bands like Eden, Little Heroes, Ice House and Iva Davies.
Many description and test of the Kapara has been done last year but this very one here is the Version 2.0 as it has return to the bench for some adjustments as Eric Glesser has announced at the Minimeet 2019. So this is a new version.
So what do we get with that knife ? First you got a very strong flavour from the Big Southern Land: some pragmatism and commun sense for the tools you bring with you in the bush. OK the Kapara was first design as a kitchen knife for making Alistair Sandwich but this perfectionist of a designer as provided something incredible:
– beautiful line,
– smooth action of a “free dropping smooth as glass powerhouse”
– excellent blade ratio
– great ergos…
And a very very sharp factory edge. So sharp, I don’t want to convex it yet. Go figure!
So, from what I was afraid of ? I was afraid of near perfection EDC knife: the one knife which create distance with all the other designs you love.
I was right to be afraid.
No need to ask, he’s a smooth operator…
As you can see the blade ratio is excellent bringing a maximum edge for than handle, the hidden choil helps a lot.
The carbon fibers rounded handed is so nice to watch and use.
A word about Taichung manufacturing again: I was not able to find a single hotspot on the V2. The blade is centered. The blade drops with a release of the lock. The red spacer and the liners are soft and perfectly adjusted. This is really something to experiment to understand: it is like if Des Horn has been on the quality control for this one. Very very impressive !
Alistair has designed a very utilitarian high performance blade. There is not jimping.
The blade of the Kapara has been enhanced with a subtle hidden choil for the more precise cutting tasks. With this choil you will have a lot of control over the knife which is practical when peeling fruit.
The wire clip is set for deep carry and this is simply the best Spyderco configuration. The one which is missing on the Shaman design for example. I cannot imagine you would wear a pocket with that smooth handle and deep wire clip. It carries so easy like the marvelous Ed Schempp Bowie.
People call it “fancy pocket knife” but it is a Miss Australia in a Terminator design. The smooth and precise action, the long sharp edge, the wonderful ergo which can be used to cut on a board like the Spydiechef of the PPT.
It is a practical EDC knife with as a main function in mind: the cutting and peeling of different types of fruit and vegetables: the 9.1 cm blade is measured exactly to be long enough to cut most types of fruit in half. This is a fruit knife with an open back design: very easy to clean. And yes: tomatoes are fruits.
This is a tool with a healthy purpose as quoted on Spyderco site.
“Phillips originally created the Kapara as a personal carry knife to help him prepare healthy, vegetable-based meals.” Fruits and vegetables are good for your health. This knife could be a life saver but for now it is a “Coup de Maitre” !
Bonza Mate !!
On the Knifecenter description:
“According to Phillips, he originally designed the Redback/Kapara as a personal carry knife that he could use for food preparation in an office environment. After gaining a bit of weight, he was committed to eating healthier and trimming down, so he decided to create a cutting tool that would help him achieve that goal. He began by measuring a variety of fruits and vegetables to determine an appropriate blade length. He then tried using several of his existing designs, which happened to be flipper openers, to prepare food on a cutting board. Realizing that the flipper tab got in the way of using the entire length of the edge, he envisioned a knife with a long cutting edge, a Spyderco Round Hole for easy opening and a Compression Lock to keep food from getting into the lock mechanism.”
From the spyderco forums:
“We’re working on a 3.0″ Slippie for the UK market. I’ll keep a 3.25 compression lock model in mind as we watch the model in the future.
A Kapara Slippie ? WOW !!
Convexing the edge!
At the FICX 2019 I have bought one of Pekka Tuominen’s Puukko to replace my Spyderco Puukko.
The husband of Pekka’cousin, who was also exposing as the Paris Knives Show told me: in my country, to “taste” a knife we just hold it in our hand without to loot at it: to feel its balance and if it suits us.
Holding that marvel of a Puukko in your hand is something to experiment. First, the handle is made of birch’s bark, which feels like a hard cork from a seasoned wine bottle. It is soft under the thumb but also grippy in the palm.
Pekka assured me this kind of handle are indestructible! Just some soap and water.
This handmade knife is a display of the highest craftmanship. Everything is perfect.
With that kind of handle, you need a pommel.
As you can see the mirror finish on the nicorros pommel is “melting” with the showing tang’s end. Look closer, there is some microscopic lines ! This is the level of craftmanship you are encountering with Pekka’s knives.
Now the blade being made of RWL34 and mirror finished, it is not easy to picture it without reflections.
RWL34 has been used in the Lil’Nilakka I have reviewed here.
Pekka used his own Spyderco version to cut leather for his sheaths. But I have also seen a video where he use the same puukko as mine in his workshop.
For record, RWL34 is some kind of powder steel version of ATS34: with a very very fine grain and an easy to put a mirror finish on.
A puukko is not a real puukko without its sheath.
I remember 4 years ago, Pekka talking with Sal Glesser about the sheath of the Spyderco Puukko version. There were testing prototypes of the sheath and Pekka was adamant in what retention he was asking from it. It a sheath with wood inlays inside encapsulating the blade, the traditionnal puukko scabbard is very elaborated.
So here are my main Pekka creation, the Nilakka which is my sharpest Spyderco ever.
“Ned” which is a “Urban Hunter II” with carbon fiber and titanium and the new Marvel.
You can notice the pure and clean lines of their edges.
Pictures wise, I will meet Pascal who has bought a Hunter with the same finish as my Puukko. Those marvels encounter will be photographed.
Having harvest a piece of chestnut wood, dried under the summer sun, I have put the new Puukko at the test.
The rounded spine makes it an ideal thumb pushcutting’s friend. The blade goes deep like in butter. In fact it beats the Nilakka and the Hunter in terms of spine confort and for an unknown reason it was just cutting like the proverbial lightsaber. The experience is putting a grin on my face.
To get the blade to the razor sharpness I really wanted , I have used white ceramics for 20 minutes and then leather stropping for another 15 minutes as Pekka has advised.
Yes it is now a razor with the same caress found on the AEB-L Urban.
Now, I’m going to use it also in the kitchen, which is some kind of battlefield where the Puukko will ne
Some pictures from Pekka’s Facebook page:
A picture of my Puukko by Pekka. The handle is like a finger print. 🙂
A tactical version which I loved too.
A sistership with brass bolster.
That could be Pascal’s hunter.
A Hunter and a Puukko.
And the last one with a strong French flavour is “Ned” my Hunter.
One year ago I had ordering a Para2 in CPM Cruwear, an exclusive run made for the Knife center. Since them It has been used as one of my reference knife toward other purchases which sometimes has not reached the blog review as I’m avoiding bad reviews unless there is something to learn from.
After some acid work on the blade and titanium scales, eventually I am back to the smooth G10 scales and a deep carry clip. So why ?
First thing, even if the titanium scales were gorgeous, they add some weight and a very slippery feel under the finger, especially during wet works. Also it shifted the balance of the millie in a strange way making it “dead” in the end. I really enjoy the heavy handle of my PPT for example or on my Copper scaled Para but on the Para2 it was not working for me. back on smooth G10, it is more grippy than titanium and the balance point is shifter near the pivot again.
Despite my love for “Spyderdropping” I have decided to carry it “tip up” with a cheap titanium clip made in Malaysia and sold in Hong Kong. It works great and it is really low profile when I forget to pull it out of the pocket while going urban. (I carry a Lil’Native, a Roady or a Urban when going in the city those days, too much controls and metal detectors to go with a longer blade…)
CPM Cruwear as heat treated by Spyderco is a steel which loves his owner. It is not tricky to get sharp like Maxamet. In fact it asks to get sharp. Of course it is not as easy as 52100 or AEL-B but it is very tough in every task when you twist your blade like a good tool steel. Not easily stained too, my tests and zests are the proof on that and once stained it won’t go off. My edge is polished and smooth as a razor and it got zero major damage in a year of random tasks, no chipping (nothing which can not be cure with ceramic) or anything like on my thinned hard ZDP189 experiences. In fact my home convexed edge is as thin as my 52100 Para2 and it does real wonder on wood or hard plastic. In the kitchen that polish edge needs sometimes more “teeth” (S90V provides that for example) and some passes on a brown ceramic or on a “butcher’s steel” do the trick for a coarser edge (tomato’s skin are tricky…) !
The PM2 transfer a lot of power in the cuts. The first inch from the ricasso can go deep in push cuts helps with a thumb’s push. You got as much power as a good old Millie and this is why the Para2 is so loved. The strong tip (strong because of the alloy used in this sprint run) is not convexed (to keep some steel and relative thickness) and I was able to drill hole in hard material with no bending or damage. This is a workhorse like I love them.
It’s a medium knife I can use hard with no immediate discomfort or “palm soar”.
The flat clip I have mounted on it is part of my need for a confortable grip.
I soon going to review a Kapara which is suppose to be better with its rounded handle but at least I had done my best to round the Para2 handle to my taste and eliminate any hot spot including the blade’s spine.
So, in my book, CPM Cruwear is an excellent choice for a EDC high performance folder.
For your information, the Knifecenter got now a new Sprint Run: a Native 5 with CPM Cruwear. I’m very tempted but the Kapara comes first. Anyway this combinaison of CPM Cruwear and smooth G-10 is just a winning hand. Spyderco (Eric) has also announced at the last Amsterdam Minimeet a Shaman in cruwear and micarta as a sprint run too. So CPM cruwear is here to stay.