Tag Archives: Maniago

Spy Opera Un’aria degli anni ’70

Do you want to drive an Electric Ferrari Dino ? Like Maranello would provide some Danny Wilde’s Persuaders car with the last computerized engine ?
Maranello, no. Maniago, si !

This picture found on https://forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=87264&start=40#p1442735

shows is all. You can make a vintage lockback folder with a ball bearing driven pivot. And suddenly your understand the Spy Opera is a nostalgia flick opening knife.

The Spy Opera is a version of Lionsteel Opera “spyderized” which means:
adding a spyderhole, a clip, a topnotch hype steel… It’s the difference between a BMW Series 3 and a BMW M3. Also the price has been multiplied by 3 compared to the modest Lionsteel Opera in this rendition.
Taxes for importing to US a European made knife is not stranger to the high prices.

At the first glimpse, the micarta handle, the decorating screws, the beveled and rounded lockbar and spacer: this is a looker, but is the Spy Opera a keeper.
In my case, no, as it belong to my friend Geoffrey from Normandeep.com (a diver’s shop in Normandy near Omaha Beach) who was gentle enough to send to me some of his personal knives we wanted to review. Thank you Geoffrey !
He told me he has bought this knife and was not expecting to be surprised by that quality.
He’s true. The action is stellar. certainly the smoothest lockback I have ever used. Just a little smoother than the Native V or the Siren.
Now we know why: a ball bearing instead of washers.

A great detail about that knife is the total absence of any vertical bladeplay. This is the plague of lockbacks in my book and the Maniago folder is rock solid.

Ball bearing are great for fidgeting and smooth action but could be tricky in sandy or muddy environment. But the Spyopera is destined to be some gentleman folder for the US residents and typically a hunting folder for the Italian.

That shape of blade, that long handle, it is typically what my friend Valter would love for hunting and skinning. He would be especially keen of that M390 blade as hare’s skinning is especially hard on blade.
For that take a look at the Walker C22 in ZDP189 or his Native in CPM110V he has used for many hunting seasons.

Follow the link for the articles with Valter and his hunting dogs:

https://nemoknivesreview.com/tag/valter-nencetti/

Holding the knife with the blade shocked his its way to use and the ergos of this knife are just perfect for that. The rounded handle is contributing to avoid the boxy feel you can have with a Native Lightweight for example. Our hands love rounded shape and once you get used to it its is very hard to go back.

Now the handle won’t be easy to clean. Some parts are pinned and not screwed together.
Example found on the forums:


So, the need for short folding hunter’s knives with high retention blade is real for hare’s hunter and I can really the design of the SpyOpera shining in that niche.


The sharpness is OK but if it was not Geoffrey’s knife, I would have thinned the edge much more. I have tested on the butt of a 1,5 liter Coke’s bottle and it has been stuck twice, not able to pass that test (which is not that easy as the plastic collapses under the pushcut).
With a little deshouldering of the edge using diamonds, it would be a lightsaber. I have donc that with the Urban shown or my Para3 in M390. Out of the box the factory edge is just OK but again this is not my knife so I won’t touch it. Of course zero bladeplay while using the Spy Opera harder on a cutting board during that test.

So who is its designer Massimo Salice Sanna AKA Max ?

“Massimo Salice Sanna: after starting make knives in 1993 as a hobby, soon his passion became a real job and day-to-day activity. Well known for his accurate touch and the eye for details, he is considered one of the first knifemakers in Italy: he was noticed and therefore chosen by LionSteel for his precision and attention to design and mechanical features of the knives he makes. The Opera model was born in 2006, followed by other product families – Daghetta, Mini and Skinner. Currently, new designs and projects are under way to be put into production soon.”
Says Lionsteel’s site.

Max Opera pictured with another Made In Maniago M390 folder with rounded spine and liners: the Clap. designed by Bob Terzuola.

Once thing I do not like, and this is purely personal and is the absence of Ricasso. I know I often calls it a “choil” as Spyderco Ricassi are often half mooned like a choil but ou understand this is the place you can put safely your index finger on the blade, as the start of the edge.
In Sal Glesser’s designs they act like a lower quillon with the hump of the spyderhole acting like a upper quillon. Sal has reproduced the quillons of a boot dagger on his folding designs: the Military being the first example.

This design found of the Military (or the Slipjoint Urban pictured) transfers the force directly to the blade, without impacting the pivot which still is the most fragile part of a folding knife, the weakest link !
When you cut with a Millie, it is like using an antique folding knife where the handle was mostly a folding scabbard and the knife was hold like a razor. You cannot do that with Spy Opera when the slipoints designs by Sal like the Urban for example bring you that great security of holding the knife by its blade. But again the lockback is so sturdy on this Maniago’s knife you can confortably rest your thumb on the hump and your index finger on the micarta’s handles.

So the Spy Opera is a fidgeting, beautiful jewel, high quality Italian design gentleman (and lady) locking folding knife. It is easy in and out of the pocket. The attention to details is stunning. It is flawless. It got a real 70’s flavor. It is like a Ford T turned into a Hot Road to me: lovely but not for everyone. Good thing is: you can really fall in love with it as your main EDC.

Edit: thanks to JD for the heads up=> I meant “Hare” not “Heir”. 😀

Pingo Blue C163PBL K390 Exclusive Edge Matters Edition

My first (black) Pingo was almost 6 years ago. Since, Pascal has reviewed his (orange) Pingo… in his entertaining review Pingo Star !
I got the opportunity to get a very rare beast: a blue Pingo with K390 steel blade and studs to mask the tiny trademark hole and protect it from lint.

First I have noticed is the very firm and strong spring in this one, much stronger than my previous version. It is not the easiest opener with stud which is good as it keeps up its legal character: this is a two hands opening knife which can be open with a painful thumb. 😀

Now about the steel K390 is known to me as a friendly steel. I call it an hyper steel !

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION
C Si Mn Cr Mo V W Co
2.47 0.55 0.40 4.20 3.80 9.00 1.00 2.00

The numbers are talking for themselves !!
This is not a stainless steel with carbides forms from Vanadium, Tungsten and Chrome (which is not used for stainless purpose here)…
It will get a patina very quick on daily use (especially eating and cutting meat) and this patina will protect the steel even better. It will show some character in its legality.

What a beautiful tool ! It will be a beater as he name will be Bluebeat !

“Gazing into the heavens on a night as clear as ice
We held our breath
As a new jewel glistens in the Belt of Orion
Out to the west
And parked up on the ridge between all the different lands
I feel I’ve always been here
Do we go back to the city, back to the lights
To the unforgiven world or on into the night
Where there’s always something new to fall in love with
Searching after something new to fall in love with
There’s always got to be something new to fall in love with…”

Bluebeat New Model Army.

So again Spyderco has provided a non locking sub 3 inches spyder with one of the best super “engine” available hence the fun of using it hard!

It can disappear in the watch pocket. There is no reason to leave it behind !

Of course I needed to convex the edge a great deal as I know how stable this alloy is on thin edge. So no fears in making a real blue razor from it.

Spyderco C192TIP – Tasting the Pie In The Sky.

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“I am the Pie in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind…”

This knife used to have the MSRP of a small Sebenza but as it’s been discontinuited I got the chance to buy one at a fraction of its original price. And really, I’m glad to be a later adopter of that wonderful and unique attempt to make a hardchore non locking knife.

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The PITS is the acronym of Pie In The Sky. It’s a folder based on Mike Read’s knives. He is a knifemaker in the UK. So, this knife has been specifically designed for EDC in the United Kingdom. In brief, her Majesty’s laws say you can carry any knife if you have a “good reason”, but just in cases there isn’t a good reason you can still carry a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches without a lock.  The UK designed small Wolfspyder with it compression lock is not UK law friendly but the Urban is ! Also the slipjoint Manly Comrade won’t because of its longer blade… but the PITS will !

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This knife is an eye candy. It has a powerful full-flat ground N690Co steel clip point blade and a stunning precision-machined skeletonized blue anodized titanium handle that aids in providing a very positive texture for grip.

The handle features integral split spring arms to form the knife’s unique slip-joint mechanism. Titanium has got that elasticity that Chris Reeve was one of the first to explore for his Integral Locks. Here you have another variation of the use of that incredible metal here used as a strong spring.

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The very good thing I will repeat again and again is that Mike Read has designed this knife to be a tough, hard-use folder and, yes, this is not easy and also this is a good thing.
Not many non-locking knives are destined to be used hard. The Manly Comrade is an exception for example… but here, the PITS is really shining in another department: in the one hand opening and closing realm (making it illegal in Danemark too BTW) . There are no mid steps like on the Comrade as the action is smooth until the blade is fully opened or closed – making even Spyderdrops possible !

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Then you got the choice to apply your thumb on the bar and it’s cleverly secure. Zero play in any direction. Also there a quillon after the choil where your index can rest; meaning, held in the proper manner, the blade cannot close on your precious finger.

Something you ask to a hard working tool is the ease of cleaning. The handle is fully open by construction and thanks to the holes in the titanium slap, it’s very easy to clean and rinse your blade – also there is a lanyard hole !

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N690Co, heat treated (certainly with cryo) in Maniago, is a just a great steel for an EDC. I always considered it as some kind of European VG10. It can get back to razor sharpness very easily and it stays sharp long enough between touches up. It’s not brittle and I got the same sense of all-terrain steel (like VG10 on Fallkniven knives) as when I had done hard testing of other fixed blades made in Maniago. N690co is very stainless. It’s the kind of steel to use around the kitchen and even close to the sea with no after thought; just rinse it!
Also the geometry on the PITS being very thin and with its belly, the first cuts in wood were really deep. The blade did not move/unlock even when stuck in the wood fibers. So this is a very secure non-locking knife. Immediately, you bond with it and want to use it.

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The handle is generous even in reverse grip and it fits in the hand very well for such a small knife. This is in hammer grip a four fingers knife, which is welcome for hard cuts.
I have found it very confortable with zero hotspots when held tight.
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Also the full titanium handle gives a near to perfect balance. The PITS is light and fast in the hand, it is alive. To close the blade it’s better to push the spine with the thumb as the notch is not easy to pass.

The PITS Folder includes Spyderco’s  best clip: the deep carry wire clip for reversible tip-up carry. It almost disappears in my pocket.

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SO here we have got a non threatening tool, with a beautiful blue handle. It cannot make non knives people unconfortable at all. Also titanium being not easily detected by metal detectors, the PITS should not make them beep easily…. No, I mean you can cut live wire with as titanium does not conduct electricity… oh well, I only have bad recommandations tonight.

So here we have got the Pie In The Sky, a knife which is going to kick my Urban out of my pocket when I go for a walk in the city. It’s very pleasant to have a tool engineered  to be a user. Next step is to remove the sharp edges on the blade spine and give a little convexed edge to this baby…
More to come soon.

“…I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that  I can read your mind, I can read your mind …”

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The Alan Parson’s Project lyrics is an idea from our editor: Pascal. 🙂

last edited by Pascal Jaffré on 24 jan 2018.

Squeak of same feather, fly together – The Titanium Squeak meets the FRN Squeak by JD

Spyderco Squeak

Not long after the original Squeak SC154PBK came out I got one. I carried and used it for a few months and enjoyed its performance. The blade was thin enough at the edge to cut well, the steel (Böehler N690Co) held its edge and was easy to resharpen. The handle was comfortable and I am a fan of the wire clip. The back spring was strong enough to keep the knife open and closed as needed, but not to stiff to impede easy one hand manipulation. The overall fit and finish was excellent. Well done Spyderco Maniago!

For me and my urban life style I have found that five centimeters of sharp is enough for my usual cutting tasks. The Squeak fit the role of urban cutter to a tee!

During the last Spyderco Meet in Amsterdam I enjoyed handling Nemo’s titanium and Elmax sprint run version of the Squeak. When Nemo suggested I try it out for a few months, I was delighted! Having carried this one for a while now, on its own as well as alternating with my FRN version, and I must say: I am impressed!

SPyderco Squeak

It seem even thinner at the edge and making it cut with little effort than my FRN version. I was unable to find any difference between the steels. I have found that it is difficult to tell steels apart in use. It is much easier to tell them apart by much effort they are to sharpen. Besides, I have a Spyderco Urban in Elmax from the same factory that I have carried and used for months that held its edge well.

The titanium handle was nicely rounded and, after having been in a pants pocket for a while, pleasantly warm to the touch. The smoothness of the titanium helped it slip in and out of the pocket just a little easier than the FRN model, without fear of it falling out by its self.

On Nemo’s Squeak the back spring is a little stronger due to titanium being stiffer than FRN, making the walk and talk more pronounced and the blade slightly harder to open with one hand. By-the-way, both the FRN and the titanium version can be opened with the Spydie drop! A sharp flick of the wrist does the trick!

Fit and finish is of a very high level. This knife exudes quality. All in all an excellent upgrade of the standard Squeak. Well done Spyderco!

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The author: JD is a good friend and a regular contributor to the NKR. He also known for his precise skills in sharpening and is a real encyclopedia about knives. His carrying preferences goes for small folders.
All Pictures and text copyrighted by JD.