Short Locking Folders — A plethora of choices !

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…
Dragonfly? Where?!

More on https://nemoknivesreview.com/2017/10/05/choosing-a-knife-for-the-city/

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last edited: pjaffre 03 jan 2018

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Pradel versus the world — The gentle Sheeple’s choice.

 

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When the holidays come, you are confronted to other members of your family, mostly sheeples, who will open huge eyes should you wave that K2 from your pocket to slice the turkey. That said, lets see what those sheeples bring to the table.

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Oh! This is the kind of slipjoint elderlies are still carrying nowadays: a Pradel. This one is a fishtail bakelite carbon steel pocket knife still used for getting everything you can think of done. Let say this is Tim Leatherman main inspiration and as you can guess: this is a tool, not a weapon. It can be used as a screwdriver and is clean sometimes… let say it is wiped mostly because it could rust.

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Like the Chaparral, this is a full flat ground blade. It’s a real razor blade or should we say it ‘used to be’ a real one, because this baby was dull as a knee when I got it. Fortunately the unknown carbon steel percentage enabled an easy shift back to decent sharpness.

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The blade ‘was’ perfectly centered… a long time ago but, as you can see, the knife is an old timer still not decommissioned by its owner.  Duty, that day, was to pick the potatoes to check if they were cooked and get them out of the hot water; who needs tactical flipper for that matter ?

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The Pradel is a knife used to cut the french bread known as “baguette”, to remove stones stuck under a boot’s sole, to open envelopes and more generally all the chores which would be better suited to a more appropriate tool, like stripping wire, cutting tarp, scraping paint, probing, forcing, twisting, cutting over and over again, but… ending up being accomplished with Pradel; doing it all just beacause it’s at immediate reach.

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No safety net, no lock, no guard, no clip, this is a tool for all dirty jobs and also takes its place in the kitchen and on the table: apples, potatoes, bottle necks, sink’s holes, flowers…

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My Sliverax looks at it with its envious hole: how can such a simple knife live so many adventures? Nothing is reliable in this design but the will of her owner to keep going.
Where the Chaparral shows exquisite working mecanism and engineering and no play either vertical or horizontal, the little battered Pradel is still going strong, never defeated with all her battle scars otherwise it would have broken.
Now when it is used for harder chores, it’s held directly by the blade; the handle working as a folding sheath. This is uncommon; even for the Roman design folding knives two thousand years ago.

So what do I take back from the encounter between a modern folder and the Pradel ?
First and foremost we should use our knives, thick tactical toys or slim razors alike.
Second a locking blade is luxury and because it’s viewed to be immediately oriented towards some fighting realm… sheeples are allergic to it which is a shame as a locking blade is a great security for our fingers.

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Eventually people who are still dreaming of knives as weapons are fooling themselves and give bad publicity by not using them for the most humble chores. Knives are tools to help, not ninja’s toys with “rings” and “skulls”, symbols of death and tragedy.
Real EDC knives have got battle scars and are humble. I will always respect a battered tool which wears the patina of years on its blade and handle because the true battle of a tactical folder is in its everyday chores not in the murdering fantaisies of childish dreamers that give knives a really bad name tainted with human blood. Sometimes I really understand sheeples…

 

edited by Pascal Jaffré 29 dec 2017

Spyderco Chaparral. – Gentleman extra flat companion.

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The Chaparral is the new true gentleman folder designed by Sal Glisser. Is it destined to be proposed with various handles. The first batch was supposed to be titanium but due to some delays the carbon fiber handle version get released first.

What amazed me on that little jewelry is the flatness of the overall design and the smoothness of the operations.
I read somewhere (I think it was Paul the Deacon who wrote that) the Chaparral was an alternative to the Michael Walker.
It is ambidextrous and even smoother, flatter and its wire clip is much better than the metal one on the C22.
The Chaparral is inobstructive and sleek design. The CF handle give you perfect retention. It’s a joy to operate.
Like all Taichung release this a jewel. No blade play in any direction. A hidden pin mechanism has been added to the pivot to strengthen the lock and can be felt during opening and closing. The knife despite its ultra thin feel very solid.
Compared to my beloved C22 Michael Walker, well it’s almost beats it but on the edge, the steel, the blade to handle ratio.
I would say the Walker is a BMW Series One when the Chaparral is an Audi A3. 😉
Two great knives for sure but with different performance.
The edge on the Chaparral is a little thick for my test when the ZDP of the C22 is thin and hard.
On hard plastic the Walker is even better than my Gayle Bradley and since I have been able to buy a safe queen, my first Walker will be used hard this year.
On hard matters the Chaparral cannot compete with the Walker.
I have deshouldered its edge a bit but it is not as aggressive as that C22.
But for office task and EDC it is perfect. Also I’m certain someone gifted sharpeners like my friend JD or Tom Krein would easily turn their Chaparral into Vorpals.
Overall the Chaparral is pure pleasure to operate. I use mine when I need a discreet companion at the office or in the city. You will forget it is clipped on you and will bring you a big grin when you will use it.
Another great design with and incredible smooth and flat alternative.
This could be James Bond choice. 😉

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This is my Chaparral saluted by my two Walkers. Can you identified the safe queen?
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